Vine & Dine

When in Carmel

wine glassMy husband and I often head to Carmel and try different places to stay. This time we had an overnight at Vendange—an elegant wine-themed hotel close to the center of Carmel.

Vendange general manager Jonathan Lee came up with the innovative idea of partnering with local wineries to showcase their wines. Suites and other rooms are named after them, including: McIntyre, Ventana, Joullian, Galante, J. Lohr, Manzoni, Blair, Tudor, Cima Collina and Dawn’s Dream—and each room is decorated in a theme chosen by the winery. Selections of these Monterey and Carmel wines await the guest in each room, for those in the mood to crack open a bottle. Vendange, meaning “late harvest,” features a fire-pit and beautiful gardens, and comes with a lovely continental breakfast.

After wine tasting in Carmel, we picked up a bottle of Dawn’s Dream 2013 Pinot Noir Rosé ($35), to take to Favaloro’s Big Night Bistro in Pacific Grove, an Italian restaurant recommended by friends, and named after the 1996 movie Big Night. And what a splendid pairing of wine and food! The Rosé, with its splashes of peach, green apple, lemon and guava, and a crisp dry finish of fresh grapefruit and citrus zest, was a perfect match with the bountiful flavors of Favaloro’s cuisine.

A plate of succulent gnocchi was followed by healthy portions of pasta and salmon—all well prepared and delicious. The Favaloro family is dedicated to serving up the freshest food possible, and they even ply the waters for local catch in their own boat, The Lucky Marie.
Voted as one of the Top 100 Neighborhood Gem Restaurants on OpenTable, Favaloro’s was the only restaurant in Monterey and Carmel to make the list.

Every mouthful of Favaloro’s food, paired with Dawn’s Dream Rosé—with grapes harvested from Arroyo Seco—was simply delicious. Winemaker Dawn Galante, wife of well-known vintner Jack Galante, started her own label to fulfill her dream of making “elegant and readily approachable wines from some of the finest vineyards in California.” She has certainly achieved her goal.

Dawn’s Dream tasting room is on the corner of 7th and San Carlos, Carmel-by-the-Sea, 659-2649.
Favaloro’s Big Night Bistro, 545 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove, 373-8523.
Vendange Carmel, 24815 Carpenter St., Carmel, 831-624-5111.

Oktoberfest at the Elks Lodge

As well as a plethora of interesting stuff to bid on, the annual Friends of Hospice Oktoberfest always has an amazing selection of wines—all to be had to the highest bidder in a silent auction. So treat yourselves to some tasty German-style food, including sausages and sauerkraut, enjoy the lively Bavarian music and a wonderful live auction, and remember what a worthy fundraiser this is—with all proceeds going to Hospice of Santa Cruz County.

Info:  Noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5, Elks Lodge, 150 Jewell St., Santa Cruz, Admission is free.

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