Get Your Pumpkin Passport and Taste Your Way to Tahoe!

You can never have too much pumpkin! Throughout the month of October, 15 different Gilroy restaurants are featuring pumpkin-flavored dishes and drinks on their menus (from pancakes and pasta to muffins and martinis) as part of the city-wide Pumpkin People celebration.

To enter the Pumpkin People Restaurant Passport contest, just pick up a passport at any participating restaurant or the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce office. Purchase any of the featured pumpkin items and get a stamp for every participating restaurant you visit in October. Once you’ve got 12 or more stamps, you can turn your passport in for the chance to win a 3-day, 2-night stay in South Lake Tahoe!

PARTICIPATING RESTAURANTS

  • Black Bear Diner
    • Pumpkin Pie
  • Café 152 Bread Company
    • Pumpkin Bread
    • Pumpkin Cookies
  • Cafe 152 Burger Co.
    • Pumpkin Milk Shakes
  • The Claddagh
    • Pumpkin Soup
    • Pumpkin Cocktails
  • El Charrito Market
    • Pumpkin Flower Quesadilla
  • Fifth St. Coffee Roasting Co.
    • Pumpkin Spiced Latte
    • Pumpkin Bread
    • Pumpkin Ice Cream
  • First Street Coffee
    •  Pumpkin Spiced Latte
  • Mama Mia’s Ristorante Italiano
    • Pumpkin Cheesecake
  • The Milias Restaurant
    • Pumpkin Martini
    • Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Pumpkin Risotto
  • Mimi’s Café
    • Pumpkin Muffins
  • Old City Hall Restaurant
    • Breakfast: Pumpkin Pancakes
    • Lunch: Spinach, Avocado and Pumpkin Seed Salad
    • Dinner: Pumpkin-Chorizo Bow Tie Pasta
    • Pumpkin Sangria
  • Victoria’s Mexican Restaurant
    • Pumpkin Margarita
  • Westside Grill
    • Pumpkin Ravioli
  • Yoghart
    • Pumpkin Yogurt

For restaurant locations, go to the VisitGilroy.com Restaurants directory. 

Purchasing more than one pumpkin dish from the same restaurant will only count as one visit to that participating restaurant. To qualify for the drawing, patrons must visit at least 12 of the participating restaurants and purchase one of the pumpkin dishes, items, or drinks being offered.

To be eligible for the contest, passports with 12 or more stamps must be returned to the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce office at 7471 Monterey St. in downtown Gilroy no later than Friday, November 4, 2016. Be sure your name and contact information is on your passport. Passports returned with no name and contact information will be automatically disqualified. Selection of dates for the South Lake Tahoe stay are based on availability; holiday dates are not available.

We wish you all luck on your pumpkin passport tasting adventure!

>>EXPLORE MORE:  Book a hotel room in Gilroy so you can fill up your Pumpkin People Restaurant Passport and also enjoy great shopping, wine tasting, hiking, and more!

Get Your Passport Now for a Weekend Wine-Tasting Adventure

During 2016 Fall Passport Weekend (September 30 – October 2), curious wine tasters and adept connoisseurs are invited to experience 25+ uniquely wonderful wineries along the Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail. Participating wineries will provide guests with live music, barrel tastings, winery tours, new blend releases, and special discounts all weekend long.

The celebration kicks off on Friday night, September 30 from 6-8 pm at the Morgan Hill Community Center, where 14 different member wineries will offer tastings along with delicious food from local restaurants. Wine will also be available for purchase by the bottle.

Once you’ve got your passport and your souvenir wine glass, you’re welcome to stop by any (or all!) of the participating wineries on Saturday and Sunday, October 1-2, from 12-5 pm. As a Passport holder, you have the opportunity to meet the talented winemakers and staff of the Santa Clara Valley’s family owned wineries, and learn how they produce some of the world’s finest wines. You can expect up to four one-ounce pours at each winery you visit during the weekend. You’ll also be treated to live entertainment, catered meals, and special barrel tastings. 

During your journey, you’ll take your souvenir glass to each winery to receive your wine tasting. The winery will use a unique stamp on their designated page in your Passport to commemorate your valued participation. Make notes on the wines and wineries you most enjoyed, so you can come back and revisit your favorites!

Satori Cellars in Gilroy will have live music both days, featuring BLAM on Sunday. Guglielmo Winery in Morgan Hill will be serving barbecued tri-tip sandwiches on their famous garlic bread and will also have assorted meats and cheeses available. Medeiros Family Wines in Gilroy will have a barrel tasting of their 2015 Santa Clara Valley Malbec. 

At Morgan Hill Cellars, you can enjoy the Fancy Nancy Band on Saturday and The Four of Hearts on Sunday (1-4 pm). They’ll be serving Italian meatballs, pasta and garlic bread (while they last!), and the Morgan Hill Lions Club will be selling desserts to help support their scholarship program. A wine club member will also be selling jewelry from Touchstone Crystals. 

Purchase advance tickets at the Gilroy Welcome Center or online at www.santaclarawines.com for $40 each. Tickets at the door may be purchased for $45 each. Tickets include access to all participating wineries along the wine trail for the duration of the event, a souvenir wine glass, and a Passport Booklet to be stamped at each winery.

For more information, please visit www.santaclarawines.com or call 408-607-2491. 408-842-6436

>>EXPLORE MORE: Book a hotel room in Gilroy so you can stay and use your passport all weekend long!

Fall Passport Weekend 2016 Participating Wineries:

  • Aver Family Vineyards
  • Casa de Fruta
  • Clos La Chance Winery
  • Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards
  • Creekview Vineyards
  • Fortino Winery
  • Guglielmo Winery
  • Hecker Pass Winery
  • Jason Stephens Winery
  • La Vie Dansante Wines
  • Lion Ranch Vineyards & Winery
  • Kirigin Cellars Winery
  • Martin Ranch Winery
  • Medeiros Family Wines
  • Miramar Vineyards
  • Morgan Hill Cellars
  • Ross Vineyards and Winery
  • Sarah’s Vineyard
  • Satori Cellars Winery
  • Seeker Vineyard
  • Solis Winery
  • Stefania Wine
  • Sunlit Oaks Winery
  • Sycamore Creek Vineyards
  • Tass 

Download a Wine Trail Map so you can plan your tasting tour today!

Rock on the Dock Returns to the Ventura Harbor Village With an Array of Great Bands Performing on a Floating Dock

Ventura Harbor Village will rock through September 24 with great music.

The Rock on the Dock Concert Series returns to the Ventura Harbor Village with a dynamite line-up of musicians performing FREE to the public on a floating dock in the Harbor. This is one of the central coast’s best after-summer events and not-to-be-missed. The shimmering waters of Ventura Harbor are where it’s happening, kicking off the Labor Day weekend, September 3, and continuing the 10th, 17th and 24th, 3 – 6 PM at Ventura Harbor Village along the Village Promenade. Soak up the sun as the entertainment plays on, surrounded by the picturesque harbor and mountain views.  Guests can catch the show from the water with kayak, SUP, electric and paddle boat rentals from Ventura Boat Rentals, dance along the promenade, or stroll throughout seaside boutiques. The Rock on the Dock is presented by Ventura Port District and sponsored by Ventura Boat Rentals

Band Line-Up for Rock on the Dock from 3-6 PM

September 10, 2016:  Hard Times Band (Rock & Blues)

September 17, 2016: The Phantom Riders (Surf Rock)

September 24, 2016:  Super Stoked (Rock/Dance Music)

For more fun after Rock on the Dock, head to the Ventura Harbor Comedy Club, an intimate harbor side venue, for comedy shows by top comics and fresh, up-and-coming talent. Tickets: www.VenturaHarborComedyClub.com

Sit along the waterfront edge for delicious dinner cuisines and colorful cocktails while catching the September sunset at these Harbor restaurants: 805 Bar & Grilled Cheese, Copa Cubana, Harbor Cove Café, Andria’s Seafood Restaurant & Market, Baja Bay Surf N’ Taco, Boatyard Cafe, Brophy Bros. Clam Bar & Restaurant, Coastal Cone Ice Cream, Rhumb Line the Sunset Restaurant, Coffee Dock & Post, Le Petit Café & Bakery, Margarita Villa Mexican Restaurant, Milano’s Italian Restaurant, The Greek Mediterranean Steak & Seafood, and The Parlor. Rock on the Dock includes free admission and free parking.  Ventura Harbor Village is located in the Ventura Harbor on Spinnaker Drive off of Harbor Blvd. For more information, visit www.VenturaHarborVillage.com or call (805) 477-0470. 

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Living Gallery to Transform Ventura Harbor Village

The Annual Ventura Art & Street Painting Festival is one of the most colorful, vibrant events at Ventura Harbor Village

8th Annual Ventura Art & Street Painting Festival Benefits FOOD Share of Ventura County

 VENTURA, Calif. – The iconic Ventura Harbor Village will once again serve as the seaside backdrop for the 8th annual Ventura Art & Street Painting Festival to benefit FOOD Share, Ventura County’s regional food bank. On Saturday Sept. 10 and Sunday Sep. 11 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the waterfront promenade will be transformed into a working street art gallery and fine artisan marketplace.  The non-profit event, which has donated over $32,000 to FOOD Share since 2011, is the only street painting festival in Ventura County and draws artists from across Southern California. Considered by many to be a performance art, street painting draws attendees into the creation of the work by allowing them to experience the process with the artist as they paint.  The Ventura Art & Street Painting Festival will feature 40 such chalk artists creating vivid “living” murals overlooking the docks.  50 fine artisan vendors such as painters, photographers, jewelry makers, potters and craft designers will also be displaying and selling their works throughout the weekend. “People will be amazed at what they see on the sidewalk,” said Barbara Hinton, Founder and Executive Director of the festival.  “It is rare that the public sees the creative process take place, but at this event they get to be part of it.  Families can really make a whole day out at this event; watching the chalk artists, browsing the various booths, buying art and even taking a walk on the beach.” Award winning chalk artist, Willie Zin, will make his return to the Ventura Art & Street Painting Festival to share his love of chalk drawings with event attendees.  Zin’s passion for street painting began in early 2009 when he stumbled upon the medium while browsing the internet.  For the last seven years, he has attended a number of street painting events and has been a Featured Artist at several festivals while earning numerous awards, including Best In Show. Kids will also get a chance to show off their talent by creating beautiful works of art.  With the purchase of a box of chalk, each child will receive a 2’x2’ square to create their own masterpieces and the proceeds will be donated to charity. A limited number of chalk art squares are available for sponsorship by companies or individuals and will feature the sponsor’s name. Sponsorships can be purchased through Ventura County Art Events, which hosts the festival. The Ventura Harbor Village has free admission, complimentary parking, and over 30 seaside restaurants and boutiques, a new waterfront coffee house, and several local artist galleries to enjoy during the two-day festival.  For artist application or sponsorship information, please contact Executive Director Barbara Hinton at (805) 650-9858 or visit venturaartfestival.com.

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Sit along the waterfront edge for delicious dinner cuisines and colorful cocktails while catching the September sunset at these Harbor restaurants: 805 Bar & Grilled Cheese, Copa Cubana, Harbor Cove Café, Andria’s Seafood Restaurant & Market, Baja Bay Surf N’ Taco, Boatyard Cafe, Brophy Bros. Clam Bar & Restaurant, Coastal Cone Ice Cream, Rhumb Line the Sunset Restaurant, Coffee Dock & Post, Le Petit Café & Bakery, Margarita Villa Mexican Restaurant, Milano’s Italian Restaurant, The Greek Mediterranean Steak & Seafood, and The Parlor. Rock on the Dock includes free admission and free parking.  Ventura Harbor Village is located in the Ventura Harbor on Spinnaker Drive off of Harbor Blvd. For more information, visit www.VenturaHarborVillage.com or call (805) 477-0470.

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Garlic Gourmets, Rejoice! Try the 2016 Great Garlic Cook-Off Winning Recipe at Home

The distinctive aroma of this year’s Gilroy Garlic Festival in July may have faded, but now you can bring the flavors of the Festival into your own home any time of the year

Rebecka Evans from Danville, California has her own food blog (“At Home with Rebecka”) and came to the Great Garlic Cook-Off in 2015 as an observer. She was so inspired that she decided to enter the contest herself in 2016. Then she went on to beat out seven other amateur chefs from around the country on the Great Garlic Cook-Off Stage on Saturday, July 30 to claim the coveted garlic crown –and a $5,000 cash prize!

Evans’ original recipe for “Garlic Goat Cheese Bacon Soufflé with Creamy Garlic Mustard Sauce” wowed the panel of judges. Try it for yourself and let us know what you think!

(And if you’re similarly inspired, be sure submit your own recipe to next year’s contest! The 2017 Gilroy Garlic Festival will be held July 28, 29 and 30, 2017.)   

Garlic Goat Cheese Bacon Soufflé with Creamy Garlic Mustard Sauce
by Rebecka Evans (Danville, CA)

Decadent goat cheese soufflés served with creamy garlic mustard sauce and blistered garlic grape tomatoes are a satisfying and delicious garlic-infused meal.

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, plus more for buttering ramekins
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk
  • 3 ounces mild fresh goat cheese
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1½ tablespoon thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chives, snipped
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs (for dusting ramekins)
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • Boiling water
  • 4 heads garlic (about 35 cloves), peeled and separated
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ pound bacon, drippings reserved
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Bourbon (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 8-ounce package red and yellow grape tomatoes
  • Salt and white pepper to taste
  • 1 bunch Mache or baby greens
  • 6 ½-cup ramekins and large shallow roasting pan

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter six ½-cup ramekins, dust buttered ramekins with bread crumbs, removing any excess by gently tipping upside down, and set them in a large roasting pan.

Make garlic paste: To a small sauce pan, add about 30 cloves garlic and about 1 tablespoon water. Cook over medium high heat until all water is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and continue to cook until garlic is caramelized/roasted. Transfer garlic to a food processor. Add ½ tablespoon chopped thyme and a pinch of salt. Process until very smooth. Makes about 4 tablespoons of paste. Set aside until ready to use.

Chop bacon and fry until crisp. Remove bacon from grease and set aside. Turn off the heat and keep pan with reserved bacon grease. Cool bacon slightly and chop fine. Set aside until ready to use.

Thinly slice 4 garlic cloves and set aside until ready to fry. Mince 2 remaining garlic cloves. Set aside until ready to make blistered tomatoes.

Soufflés: Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook over moderate heat until lightly golden, 1-2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk and simmer over low heat, whisking constantly, until the white sauce is thick and has lost its floury taste, about

4 minutes. Mixture will be thick and creamy.

Stir in the goat cheese, Parmesan, chives, thyme, 2 tablespoons garlic paste and season generously with salt and pepper. Transfer the sauce to a large bowl and let cool slightly. Whisk in the egg yolks one at a time.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites at medium speed until firm peaks form. Stir one-fourth of the egg whites into the white sauce to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whites until no streaks remain. Add about ½ teaspoon crumbled bacon to the bottom of each prepared ramekin. Pour the soufflé mixture into the ramekins, filling them almost to the top.

Pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden and firm. Remove the soufflés from the roasting pan using tongs.

>> EXPLORE MORE: Even if you can’t make it for the Gilroy Garlic Festival in July, you can always find garlic in Gilroy! Discover great garlic shopsrestaurants, and more at www.VisitGilroy.com.

Celebrating Solvang: Jazz & Beyond in the Garden

If you’d enjoy some live, Sunday afternoon entertainment this summer, make plans to attend the “Jazz & Beyond in the Garden” series of concerts at Solvang Festival Theater, located at 420 Second Street. You can relax under the oaks and listen to outstanding musicians while sipping locals vintages and refreshments. Wine, other beverages and fruit & cheese plates are available for purchase before the concert and during intermission. This Sunday’s concert (8/14/16) is already sold out with The Robert Hart Project. Robert is a genre-bending vocalist, saxophonist, pianist, flautist, bassist, composer, engineer and producer.

On Sunday, 8/28/16, experience the stylings of internationally renowned violinist and composer, Mads Tolling, a two-time Grammy Award winner accompanied by keyboardist Colin Hogan.

Finally, groove on smooth Bossa Nova and Brazilian Jazz to contemporary pop and lively samba with Téka and NewBossa on Sunday, September 18.  (pictured above)

Buy tickets online for only $30 per person at www.solvangfestivaltheater.org/concerts.php or at the gate (opens at 2:30 p.m., and concerts begin at 3:00 p.m.) For complete details on more summer events in Solvang, visit http://www.solvangusa.com/events/

#ShareSLO photo of the week: Sunset Drive-In

Often ranked as one of the top ten drive-in theaters in the nation, the Sunset in San Luis Obispo offers a throwback to another time.

Last month, we featured a different angle of the drive-in. This time, we have a nice aerial night view.

Located close to town and featuring affordable prices, the Sunset is a popular place for families. 

Thanks for @_Huck21 for posting this bird’s eye view of the Sunset from the weekend (the double feature included “Suicide Squad” and “Jason Bourne,” in case you’re wondering.)

Next time you’re at the Sunset, please post any photos with the hashtag ShareSLO.

#ShareSLO Photo of the Week: Mid-State Fair Rodeo

Every year, the California Mid-State Fair draws huge crowds from in and around San Luis Obispo. After two weeks of animal judging, art exhibits, carnival rides, food and concerts, the fair wraps up with its final big event, the country rodeo.

This photo captures the focused moment just before a bull is set loose, with a bull rider on its back.

Thanks to @kaoriphoto for posting this and other great fair photos. If you have some fun fair shots, please post with the hashtag ShareSLO.

 

Celebrating Solvang: Summer Time = Ice Cream Time!

With this warm, sunny weather we’re having, if you’re like me and my family, thoughts turn to the classic summer treat—ice cream! I think you’ll agree that Solvang has more ice cream shops and restaurants per capita offering this cool delight than most any other town our size. Fortunately, with so many places to indulge here, I recommend you stroll around and do some taste testing, then let us know your favorites—are you more of a traditional vanilla or chocolate fan or a cookies & cream, mint or rainbow sherbet aficionado? And let’s not forget frozen yogurts and gelato, too!It’s all here within a few short blocks!

Yummy delights can be found at Solvang Trolley Ice Cream Parlor, Old Danish Food Farm, Kate’s Yogurt, Ingeborg’s Chocolates & Ice Cream Parlor and Café Dolce just to name a few. For more delicious details, visit http://www.solvangusa.com/explore-solvang/dining/

#ShareSLO Photo of the Week: See Canyon Hard Cider

According to most accounts, the fermentation of apples dates back to 55 B.C., when the Romans noticed villagers in Kent, England, drinking alcoholic cider.

The Brits brought cider making to the colonies in the 17th Century, and it became a favorite drink of the Founding Fathers. (Ben Franklin once said, “It’s indeed bad to eat apples — it’s better to turn them all into cider.”)

But alcoholic cider, or “hard cider,”  didn’t recover from Prohibition and all but vanished from the adult beverage industry — until more recently. Today, the craft cider movement is one of the fastest growing segments of the industry.

See Canyon Hard Cider is made without sugar or sweeteners and pairs well with summer foods. Located in San Luis Obispo, the company uses apples grown from their own trees.

Thanks to @brassmashband for posting this pic of See Canyon Hard Cider. If you’re out and about, tasting beverages or food, remember to post pics with the ShareSLO hashtag.