One of Paso Robles' most noteable ranch families was recently featured on America's Heartland, a weekly public television program that airs nationally. You may remember Tom, Debby and Cactus Harris of Harris Stage Lines from an earlier blog post (seeA Taste of the American West) written by Debby Harris in August 2010. The Harris' are skilled trick ropers and stage coach drivers that work to celebrate western heritage by offering educational classes and horse related activities to visitors. The Harris' believe in keeping western heritage alive in Paso Robles and wish to experience this passion with you and your family during your next visit! It is an incredible way to experience Paso Robles' old wild west days!
Check out the Harris family's American Heartland segment below:
If you are anything like my mom, you still have no idea what to cook for Christmas dinner, let alone how you plan to entertain your friends and family visiting from out of town for the holiday. With only three days left until Christmas, I imagine the panic has set in, and you have trouble sleeping at night, mentally checking items off your to-do list, all while lying awake in bed. We’ve all been there, however, now is not the time to panic! It’s the time to forge ahead and develop a schedule of meals to and activities for your family, and we are here to help!
Christmas Dinner Ideas Lucky for you, our monthly Paso Pairings blogger Tina Swithin has written a great arsenal of delicious food and wine pairing recommendations from our vast repertoire of local chefs, restaurateurs and winemakers. I suggest the Filet Mignon topped with a Violeta Port and Blue Cheese Reduction sauce for a hearty Christmas dinner. Or try a traditional New Orleans approach for dinner with Clayhouse Winery’s hearty Duck and Andouille Sausage Gumbo. This gumbo recipe is spicy and delicious, certain to keep you warm and cozy all over. For an appetizer or first course option try the sweet tasting Cass Winery Crab Cakes or the cheesy goodness of Artisan’s Fondue. Couple these recipes with the recommended wine pairings and you will be ready to set the table and enjoy a terrific meal as if you were in one of Paso’s delicious restaurants, all in the comfort of your own home.
Holiday Activities For family friendly group activities I recommend a trip to Hearst Castle. Be sure to build time into your schedule for a stop-over at the San Simeon State Beach so the little ones can watch the elephant seals and their babies from the vista point. Hearst Castle is a Central Coast treasure that offers daily tours to visitors. Your family will surely enjoy the spectacular grounds and architecture as they learn about the history of the castle and its mogul, William Randolph Hearst. Other great activities include a trip to Carnegie Library, located in the middle of Paso Robles charming downtown city park, a visit to Studios on the Park to take art classes or observe local artists work (click here for holiday art classes), and a trip to the Paso Robles Children’s Museum, complete with an antique fire truck, puppet stage and art exhibits to keep the little ones entertained. And of course, for adult entertainment, there is always a prized Paso Robles winery, wine bar or brewery to be explored!
I hope these recommendations for food, wine and family activities will give you some delicious and care free entertaining ideas during this holiday season!! After all, the holidays are all about food, family and fun!! Cheers to a great holiday celebration!
Click here for more Paso Robles attractions to explore during your holiday.
The holidays are my favorite time of year! For most people, it’s the season of generosity and giving; and, if you are like me, it’s filled with parties and overindulgence. So, I thought that a nice light, but really flavorful meal would be in order for when you are cooking at home, in between parties, this holiday season. So, I’d like to share a tasty recipe personally given to me by one of Paso Robles largest producing wineries: Meridian Vineyards.
Meridian Vineyards is one of my personal favorites- perched above an impressive canvas of grapevines and surrounded by 200-year old giant blue oak trees. Whether you choose to partake in the views from the hilltop or enjoy a stroll through the garden area, the beauty of this winery is breathtaking.
The wine at Meridian is renowned for the bright, bold fruit flavors and lively crispness, which is the perfect complement to this month’s Travel Paso Insider recipe: Pasta with English Peas, Pancetta and Herbs. Winemaker Lee Miyamura selected this scrumptious recipe by well known wine country cuisine Executive Chef David Frakes. This recipe pairs perfectly with the 2009 Meridian Chardonnay. This truly classic California Chardonnay has lush tropical fruit flavors enhanced with a wonderful creaminess and a crisp, lasting finish while hints of brown sugar and butterscotch dance hand in hand.
It is my hope that this delicious recipe brings as much joy to your table as it did to mine.
Enjoy! Pasta with English Peas, Pancetta and Spring Herbs 2 cups fresh (or frozen) English peas 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 3 ounces pancetta, sliced into thin strips ½ cup chicken stock ½ cup cream Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper 8 ounces of your favorite pasta 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, finely chopped 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped 1-2 teaspoons grated lemon zest Freshly grated parmesan 1 tablespoon chives, finely sliced ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted In a generously sized pot, begin boiling salted water for pasta. If using fresh peas, remove them from their pods and place in a bowl. Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Add peas and blanch quickly, until bright green and tender, 1-2 minutes. Transfer to an ice bath, then quickly drain and set aside.
Melt butter in a large frying pan over low heat. Add pancetta and cook until golden brown and tender. Add peas and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Turn off heat and reserve.
Begin to cook pasta per instructions.
In a separate pan, bring the chicken stock and cream to a boil. Season with salt and pepper and cook gently for about 3 minutes, until sauce has slightly reduced. Pour over the peas and pancetta.
When pasta is ready, drain—reserving about 1/8 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta and reserved pasta water to the pea, pancetta, and sauce mixture, tossing well over very low heat until the pasta is well coated with sauce. Add herbs and lemon zest and stir to incorporate. Taste and season as needed with salt and pepper. Garnish with grated Parmesan, chives, and toasted pine nuts.
Last weekend some of my family was visiting from out of town, including five of my elderly grandparents. I decided to take them all to the 24th Annual Vine Street Victorian Showcase for a little celebration to put us all in the holiday spirit. While I was right about the holiday merriment, to our pleasant surprise, I was wrong on the size of the event.
Vine Street is a wide two lane street that runs through the heart of downtown Paso Robles, just two blocks from the downtown square and the Paso Robles Inn. All along Vine Street, from 8th to 21st Streets, the homes, churches and office buildings were magically lit up like a holiday exhibit, similar to a Macy’s holiday storefront window—if it were 14 blocks long! Both sides of Vine Street are lined with beautifully ornate Victorian-style homes and office buildings, each with its own unique crown, spindle and panel details indicative of the Stick-Eastlake architectural era, during which, Paso Robles was incorporated. To my surprise and delight, thousands of visitors from all over California came to Paso Robles to stroll the holiday Victorian Showcase; some from even as far as the great state of Utah (as my grandpa would say!)
We strolled past unforgettable Victorians adorned with traditional nativity scenes, some with live actors posing as wise men, and listened to lovely Christmas carolers and jingling bells. There were vendors serving yummy hot chocolate, cotton candy, and my favorite, homemade vanilla ice cream! The biggest hit of the evening, hands down, was Ebenezer Scrooge, a local Paso Robles resident who puts on a great show for people of all ages. Even my 70 year old grandma joined the festivities with a cheerful, “Merry Christmas Mr. Scrooge!” I was surprised to see the crowds surrounding Scrooge’s house, but after a few minutes of standing out front I understood why. There were grouchy, little murmurs of “there is no Santa Clause” and “leave me alone,” in a very low-key, Scrooge-like manner, coming from the loud speakers hanging in Mr. Scrooge’s trees – all in good holiday humor, of course. Also, Mr. Scrooge's house was decorated to a T, as evidenced in the photo above.
The Vine Street Victorian Showcase was a huge hit with my family – as with the many other cheerful spectators present. This leisurely, strolling affair was the perfect way for our family to get into the holiday spirit. We may have to make this a holiday tradition!!
To keep up on all Paso Robles events, holiday and otherwise, check out our events page. See you in Paso!