If you needed a new reason to sit and soak in the magnificent Pacific Ocean, you have one in the breathtaking surroundings at Chandler’s, the new restaurant and lounge inside the equally beautiful new Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort & Spa. A sleek, fresh, environmentally friendly décor invites comfort and cordiality and connects directly with the resort and spa’s coastal colors and architecture.
Chandler’s executive chef is the acclaimed French stylist Pascal Vignau, who is well-known as the former executive chef for Four Seasons Aviara Resort and most recently chef/owner of Savory Casual Fare in Encinitas with a widely celebrated international menu.
Vignau’s passion is comfortable and approachable food, presented in a first-class setting. His approach to wine is equally impressive.
He has personally designed a private wine room, allowing guests to personally select their favorite wine from a spectacular world-class selection.
California wines are dominant on the list, with my value favorite being the Turley Zinfandel from the Central Coast. A premium wine to know is the Lewis Cellars Cabernet from the Napa Valley.
The evening I sat with Vignau he had planned a tribute dinner in honor of America’s favorite chef Julia Child, who mastered the art of French cooking. It was a delicious French Onion Soup, classic Boeuf Bourguignon and French Apple Tart.
“Tonight would have been her 100th birthday and in the days when I worked alongside Julia, she was the nicest lady ever,” he reminisced.
“She received the Legion of Honor from France and the Medal of Freedom from the United States. How big is that from someone who made her living in the kitchen!”
I then asked him what made him turn from his own restaurant to a large resort-style dining room. “Look at this beautiful place,” he said. “I come here to create my dishes and watch the magnificent ocean. In the other place I watched a parking lot in a shopping center. I love it here.”
Other things to know about when you visit this Hilton: its 215 guest rooms have mostly ocean views, directly across from Ponto Beach on the Coast Highway; spectacular surf art splashes bright color throughout the corridors, created by the world renowned surf photographer Aaron Chang; the Ocean Crest Spa is an artistic triumph inspired by the ocean with next-generation wellness experiences, and the resort now offers an “Endless Summer Beach Package” full of benefits for one low price.
For more information and reservations, visit hiltoncarlsbadoceanfront.com or call (760) 602-0800.
Veraison in the Vineyards
No it’s not a grape varietal, it’s what happens to the leaves and grapes as the September harvest arrives.
It reminds me of the fall foliage back east, with leaf coloration that is nothing short of gorgeous, and the grapes go from green to a deep purple.
Up in the Napa Valley when I visited recently, the excitement was building as weather signs indicated a memorable harvest ahead.
The grapes also increase in volume, weight and sugar content.
Generalities though are hard to underline in the wine business due to “micro-climates,” where one vineyard will show very different results from another just a few miles down the road.
For instance, in lower Napa Valley, Lewis Cellars is raving about the prospects for the growing season, while Michael Keenan of Keenan Wines up in the mountains near St. Helena sees a late harvest due to lack of hot weather.
Over at nearby Provenance Winery in Rutherford, lead winemaker Tom Rinaldi’s one-word comment was “giddy.” He gives a big thumbs up to 2012.
The San Diego Zoo has a benefit food and wine celebration from 7:30 p.m. to midnight Sept. 22. One hundred and seventy-five food and beverage suppliers will serve guests. Live music, animal ambassadors and silent auctions will keep it lively. Cost starts at $90 for admission. More details at (619) 718-3000.
A Day in Tuscany is the theme, including a four-course lunch with Italian wine pairings and a seminar at San Antonio Winery, downtown Los Angeles from 1 to 4 p.m. Sept. 23. The cost is $68 per person. Call (888) 223-1401.
The Taste of Hope is a wine and food benefit event from 4 to 7 p.m. Sept. 23 at Rancho Valencia Resort in Rancho Santa Fe. Cost is $65. RSVP at (858) 452-6846.
The San Diego Wine Show is a two-day celebration of wine, food and music in the Paddock area of the Del Mar Fairgrounds from 2 to 8 p.m. Sept. 29 and 1 to 6 p.m. Sept. 30. Great whites and reds from California and the Pacific Coast with live entertainment in an intimate outdoor setting. Fine food available. Tickets are $55 per day, $65 at the door, available at sandiegowineshow.com or by calling (800) 653-8000.
Frank Mangio is a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator. His library can be viewed at www.tasteofwinetv.com. (Average Google certified 900 visits per day) He is one of the top five wine commentators on the Web. Reach him at email@example.com.