Don’t Drink the Water

Chuck Weber - Article on WineSage advice when traveling to certain parts of Mexico and then there are always the Margaritas. They are smooth and they say that if you drink enough of them you will see diamonds on the rim of the glass. Of course, this is just before you keel face first into your chili verde.

If you find yourself at the mercy of a Mexican wine list, there are two names worth remembering;

Santo Tomas

Located 45 minutes south of Ensenada, this historic and beautiful like winery like most Mexican wineries has roots back to Franciscans and the late 1700’s. As a frequent traveler to Baja, I have consumed more of this product then I care to admit and have seen it go from barely palatable to very presentable in the past 20 yrs. Not hard to figure when you learn that their winemaker for much of this period was none other than Dimitri Tshelistcheff, son of the famed Napa Valley winemaker of the 60’s and 70’s. Legend has it that the elder Andre Tshelistcheff a Russian émigré to United States first introduced the grape clones that would grow well in the sultry Mexican climate in the 60’s and even helped the Mexicans refine their production of Tequila, a product for which he also had a strong affection.

Monte Xanic

Pronounced “Monte Zaneesh”, is located in Baja Guadalupe Valley. This is quaint little winery which uses very modern Bordeaux inspired techniques was founded in 1834 by the Dominican fathers at the Mission of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Now it is jointly owned by the Chalone Wine Group of Napa and Baron Erick Rothschild of Bordeaux. What would inspire Rothschild to get involved in a backward little winery in a region where the temperature ranges from hot to hellish? Well, I’m sure it not the money. Making quality wines in the area which many would fine hostile to the wine making effort, poor quality grapes and low yields, is the same as a bicycle racer loading his bike down with bricks. If you can make wine here, you can make wine anywhere and learn a lot while doing it.

You will find these wines very pleasant drinking, well structured, especially the reds and reasonably priced. And, you will be able to get up the next morning.


DonerG Is a Must Try for Foodies Who Like Mediterranean Cuisine

There are times foodies are not in the mood to cook or dress up and make reservation to go to a fine dining restaurant. Looking for a good dining experience and wanting a healthier choice then fast food establishment a new wave or restaurants are opening up called fast-casual. A new player in Orange County to the fast-casual restaurant trend is DonerG Turkish & Mediterranean Grill. Recently I was invited to try their menu and meet the owner Yolan Aslan. I get invited to many restaurant tasting over the years and very few restaurant surprise me. Some that do are restaurants such as The Kitchen in Sacramento California, The Boulevard in San Francisco, California and Sushi Den in Denver Colorado. Any well-traveled Foodie in the US would know at least one of all three and understand my pallet and distinguish good dish from another.

DonerG Is a Must Try for Foodies Who Like Mediterranean Cuisine

That being said DonerG has some amazing dishes that are remarkable. It’s amazing seasoned meat dishes could compete to high end Mediterranean restaurants. Their lamb kebab listed in their menu as the Adana Kebab was the best I have ever tasted. It was so good it has made come back over and over and order it. I have learned others like it as much as I do because if you show up close to closing around 9pm or later they will be sold out of the Adana Kebab and I totally understand why, they are just that good. I also would recommend the Gyros, Hummas, Falafels, Sheperd’s Salad, Tabouli Salad and Beef Shish Kebab.

DonerG Is a Must Try for Foodies Who Like Mediterranean Cuisine

When can the food at DonerG is made from local fresh produce with a portion being organic. Thus DonorG not only is a healthy choice over other fast-casual established it also supports local farming industry. For those who find it important DonerG food meets Halal requirements.

The pleasant surprise was that the dishes are surprising affordable between $4 to $17 dollars average dish costing $7. At those prices even the frugal foodies can afford it.

DonerG Is a Must Try for Foodies Who Like Mediterranean Cuisine



Recipe: Grilled Ribeye Steak with Lemon Cilantro Garlic Butter

ribeye steak recipesButter on steak is a French classic, but can be eaten by any foodie in a good steak restaurant.  Instead try something different this recipe is a twist on the classic with a lemon cilantro garlic butter.

The Butter

1 stick (8 tablespoons) soften salted butter
1 fresh lemon juiced
¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper

In a blender of food processor combine the soften salted butter, garlic cloves, cilantro leaves, lemon juice and black pepper and blend until smooth

The Steaks

2  16-ounce boneless ribeye steaks, cut 2 inches thick
Salt and fresh ground pepper

Heat grill to high. Season the steaks with salt and pepper. Grill until lightly charred and crusty. This will take 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the steaks over, reduce the heat. To medium and grill until medium-rare which will take approximately 8 to 10 minutes longer. Remove the steaks from the grill and brush the Lemon Cilantro Garlic Butter liberally on both sides. Let the steaks rest for 5 minutes as the butter melts and server immediately

ribeye steak grilling recipes

Roots 1, Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, an Excellent Red Wine for only $12

wine recommendationsAs we all know, wines can be a hit or a miss. An expensive bottle of wine or a winery with a good advertising firm don’t mean much if the wine tastes bland on your palate. An excellent wine will stop you in your tracks on the first taste; you take note of the label and year, and began researching the winery and it’s products online, and asking for them in stores.

wine recommendations

Some wines are so good you can almost fall off your chair when you see the retail price. Not because they are expensive, but because they are affordable for an afficionado on the tightest of budgets.

This is how I feel about Roots 1, Cabernet Sauvignon 2004. It is an excellent, rich, and elegant polished full-bodied wine; complex, concentrated and balanced. The flavors are mature and savory. Despite the retail price of $12 wines many selling for $50 a bottle pale in comparison. I am convinced Felipe Tosso, the winemaker of the Roots 1, truly has an award winning wine. I feel it is one of the best wines from Colchagua Valley in Chile. I wouldn’t hesitate giving it as a gift, serving it to guests, or buying a case or two to keep in reserve.

Roots 1, Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 pairs well with full-flavored cheeses, pasta with red sauce, steak, ribs, chicken and chocolate.


Recipe: Fresh Herb Coated Shrimp & Rosemary Sprigs

shrimp-recipe Rosemary sprigs double as flavoring agents and skewers. Perfect to pair with salad and/or steak.

This simple but elegant rosemary shrimp recipe, is easy to prepare and will impress your dinner guest.

Serves 4


The marinade

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • ½ a  teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons of  extra-virgin olive oil


  • 24  large uncooked shrimp (about 2 pounds), peeled, deveined, tails left intact
  • 4 10-inch-long woody rosemary sprigs

Preparations  & Cooking

  1. Preheat BBQ or broiler.
  2. Skewer 6 shrimps, per a sprig of rosemary
  3. Sprinkle shrimp with salt, pepper, paprika.
  4. Whisk olive oil, chopped garlic, parsley, chives, thyme and lemon in medium bowl to blend.
  5. Coat shrimp with the whisked herbs and lemon and let stand at room temperature 15 minutes.
  6. Broil or BBQ the shrimp until opaque in center
  7.  Arrange on platter and serve.


Recipe: Roasted Asparagus, A Lemony Twist

A great twist to cooking asparagus.


1 bunch/bundle of asparagus
1 fresh lemon
handful of fresh rosemary sprigs
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 380°F.
Thinly slice half of lemon.
Prep asparagus sprigs, and spread them along with the lemon slices and rosemary on tin foil.
Toss all with olive oil, as well as salt and pepper.
Squeeze juice from remaining half of lemon.
Roast in oven for 7 minutes, then carefully turn asparagus over and continue roasting for another 8 minutes.
Watch for preferred doneness. Add additional time if needed. Total roasting time should be between 15-20 minutes.
Serve warm.





Recipe: Steak with Red Wine Sauce

Recipe: Steak with Red Wine Sauce
A vino spin on a traditional steak that will impress your guests.

Serves 6

  • 2 bottles (750 milliliters each) hearty full-bodied red wine
  • 8 ounce apple wood-smoked bacon, cut into ½-inch strips (about 2 cups
  • 2 cups ½ inch diced sweet onions
  • 2 cups quartered cut button mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 cup fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to state
  • 3 steaks, ideally 32 ounces each.

The Sauce
In a Medium saucepan simmer the wine over medium heat for 1 hour or until it is reduced to 2 cups

In large skillet sauté bacon over medium heat until fat has reduced about 10 to 12 minutes. Spoon off the fat. Add the onions, mushrooms and garlic and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until soft.

Add the wine mixture to the bacon and slowly whisk in 8 tablespoons of butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, sprinkle in cornstarch and stir until the sauce is thickened. Remove from the heat. Add the tomatoes, and parsley. Cover and keep warm. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary.

Preparing and Cooking the Steaks
Preheat a barbecue or stove top grill to medium heat.

Spread the steaks with the meaning 3 tablespoons of the butter. Season them on both sites with salt and pepper. Place the steaks o the grill and cook until browned about 3 minutes. Turn the steaks and brown on the other side about 4 minutes or more. Transfer the steaks to a cooler part of the grill. Cover and cook for 20 to 23 minutes more for medium-rare.

To  Serve

Place the steaks on plate and server the sauce on top of the steak.

    • sauces recipes


Simple Instructions – How to Carve the Perfect Holiday Turkey

Good instructions on how to carve a turkey properly.Take the Mystery Out of Carving the Holiday Bird.
    • It is up to your preference but don’t feel required to carve table side. Though a common tradition in many families, it’s perfectly fine to carve the turkey in the kitchen and bring the arranged platter to the table. This especially holds true if you’re a novice at carving.

Turkey Carving Tools

Use a carving knife or a chef’s knife. The longer the knife, the better it will work, as a long, smooth slicing motion will make for better slices. We used a long carving knife with oval indentations along the blade to reduce friction. Tip: Be sure to let the turkey rest for at least 25 minutes before slicing: this helps the juices redistribute through the meat, making for a better-tasting turkey. (It also makes it easier to carve.)

  • Remove the drumsticks and thighs. Start by pulling a drumstick away from the bird and using the knife to disconnect the thigh bone from the body. Set it aside to carve later, and remove the second drumstick.
  • Remove the wings in the same fashion to fully expose the breast for carving. The wings on modern, commercial birds contain very little meat, so they’re often used mainly for presentation on the platter.
  • To carve the bird, make sure it’s lying on its back, breast-side up. Begin with a long horizontal cut at the base of the breast. You might be able to feel where the breast meat ends and the bone begins–cut as close to that area as you can.
  • Begin slicing the breast from the top down, working at a slight angle to cut away from the carcass. The horizontal cut at the bottom provides a convenient stopping point, making it easy to finish each cut. Transfer slices to a warmed serving platter.
  • To carve a drumstick, hold one end and slice off one side. Lay it flat on the cutting board and continue carving. Slice each side, turning the drumstick a quarter turn until you’ve removed all the meat.
  • Place the thigh on the cutting board and begin slicing parallel to the thigh bone. Cut into even strips.
  • Arrange the rest of the meat onto the warmed platter and serve.