Beer-Braised Onion Burger
This beer burger with beer-braised onions will take your love of beer to a whole new level. I encourage you to tap your beer supply from a local brewery, if available. For us on the Central Coast of California, we’ve got several great sources for bringing home our “growlers” of beer. Check around your area, fresh beer with its many available flavors, adds a way to customize the taste of this burger.
Recipe by: Carlyn Berghoff
1 ½ lbs. of ground beef – try locally raised grass-fed beef
2 TBS. beer
½ tsp. Tabasco Sauce
¼ tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
Salt and pepper to season
4 slices of a sharp cheddar-style cheese
Thoroughly combine the ground beef, beer, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce with salt and pepper to season.
Form the seasoned beef into 4 burgers. Cover the burgers with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed. Prepare the beer-braised onions. Assemble the hamburger on the Kaiser roll, adding the onions to the top of the meat.
1 TBS. unsalted butter
1 Large onion (about ¾ lb.) sliced thin
1 Cup of beer
1 tsp. granulated sugar
½ tsp. salt
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté, stirring frequently until very tender, about 5-6 minutes. Add ¾ cup of beer, sugar and salt. Cook until all the beer has been absorbed by the onions and they begin to brown lightly, about 15 – 20 minutes. Add the remaining ¼ cup of beer and bring to a simmer.
Enjoy this savory lamb burger with a herbed focaccia bun. You’ll find the seasonings and fresh goat cheese prove a perfect addition to creating this delicious burger. And being in Paso Robles wine country, gives us a great wine to pair with this burger!
Savory Lamb Burger
Serves: 4 burgers
Wine suggestion: Anglim’s Pinot Noir 2010, Fiddlestix Vineyard (“Dark cherries and spice with a complex, earthy core”.)
Bun Option: A grilled focaccia, brushed with olive oil. You can purchase this at your local grocery or better yet, it is easy to make from scratch.
- 2 lbs. of fresh ground lamb (preferably grass-fed)
- ¼ Cup of chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 3 cloves of garlic peeled and minced
- 1 TBS. plus ¼ tsp. of freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp. plus 2 pinches of salt
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 4 ounces of fresh goat cheese
- 6 sun dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- 1 TBS. toasted pine nuts
- 2 tsp. of fresh chopped basil
- 1 tsp. of chopped fresh mint
- 1 tsp. of chopped fresh chives
- fresh arugula to top the burger
- ½ Cup of balsamic vinegar
In a bowl gently combine the ground lamb with the chopped parsley, chopped mint, minced garlic, 1 TBS of ground pepper and 2 tsp. of salt.
Form the seasoned lamb into eight 4-ounce, 1 inch thick patties. Cover the patties with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
While the calendar may not say so, the temperatures clearly say, “summer is here”!
We’ve had some very warm days and lovely evenings which calls for one thing – the BBQ! Yep, it’s time to roll it out, dust it off, and clean it up because the the season for outdoor grilling has clearly arrived. If you need a refresher on how to clean a grill, click here.
During the month of June, and in the spirit of welcoming summer, I plan to share some of my favorite burgers for the grill; I call them wine country burgers. Along with my recipe for a tasty burger, I’ll be pairing it with a side or specially crafted condiment – and, let’s not forget the wine! I mean we are in wine country, after all!
So get those grills refreshed and stay tuned for the recipes…
What better way to enjoy Paso Robles wines than at the upcoming 33rd Annual Paso Robles Wine Festival. The festival runs from May 14-17 and kicks off Thursday evening with a variety of Winemaker Dinners. These dinners offer a fabulous opportunity to taste the area’s wines paired with the fare from local chefs. If you are a “foodie” take a closer look at these winemaker dinners at the www.visitpaso.com event site.
On Friday, May 15 the RESERVE Event will take place and offers up select Library, Reserve, White/Rose and Futures wines served among tasty local gourmet bites.
Come Saturday, you may want to partake of some education by attending the Winemaker Seminar. Let’s face it, do we ever know enough about these wonderful wines and what makes them special – no! After the seminar the Paso Robles Downtown City Park is taken over for the headliner event: The Grand Tasting. More than 80 wineries are slated to participate; what a great opportunity to see and meet the folks behind our fabled wines! To streamline your organization for tasting, the wineries will we organized according to the ‘regions’ their wines represent, i.e. Bordeaux-style, Rhone-style, etc. This year the festival organizers have even made a provision for attendees to pre-order their picnic lunches.
red lentil salad
This red lentil salad has become one of our guests’ favorites on our wine tours. Thanks to Chef Maryann for sharing this recipe!
This recipe is super easy – the hardest part is assembling all the ingredients that make up the vinegarette. Hint: make extra dressing and keep in a bottle in the refrigerator, then whip up this salad simply by boiling the lentils!
Vinagarette – whisk the following ingredients together.
3/4 C Olive Oil
1/2 C Wine vinegar
2 Tb Sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp Ground cumin
2 tsp Pepper
2 tsp dry Mustard
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp mace
1/2 tsp Cardamon
1/2 sp coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Cook 1 lb red lentils in water for 4-5 minutes. Cook until just crunchy – if you cook too long they become mushy. Drain well and pour dressing over lentils. Let set overnight in the refrigerator to allow all the spices to sink in.
When ready to serve the lentils it’s fun to add in one or more of these ingredients depending upon your tastes, or simply serve as is:
1/4 C Capers
1 C chopped red onion
1 C dried currents
3 TBS chopped fresh mint
Down the Rabbit Hole
On a recent Paso Robles Food Tour, our group decided to venture “Down the Rabbit Hole.” This tasting room modeled on Alice’s experience in wonderland, is a true adventure in itself – not to mention the tasty bubbly and wines.
As we entered the tasting room, our group eagerly dispersed to explore all the wine-related goodies for sale. There were lots of cool wine accoutrements to enliven your experience with wine. I particularly liked the mesh lid to place over your wine glass to prevent the bugs from getting in. But that aside, we all bellied up to the bar to enjoy tastes of what Rabbit Ridge had to offer.
Enjoying the Rabbit Hole
The wines are a nice alternative to some of the pricier tasting rooms in downtown Paso Robles as most of their wines are under the $30 price point. In an area heavy on it’s reds, it was nice to see some whites (and bubbly?!!?) on the tasting menu. With tasting fees now reaching $30 p/p at some of the wineries, it was refreshing to see tasting for only $5 p/p.
If you haven’t been Down the Rabbit Hole, give it a try! You’re sure to find a new discovery.
Enjoy a Sip and Sail tour with Central Coast Food Tours! Our Sip and Sail Tour is a wonderful way to experience the best of what the Central Coast has to offer: 1) otherworldly views and scenery, 2) sumptuous wines and, 3) delicious local food!
We partner with Captain Mark of Central Coast Charters out of Avila Beach to bring you this special tour. Captain Mark is a first rate sailor and Captain, and his 44 foot sailing vessel, the “Spirit”, is a beautiful and comfortable way to see the Central Coast from the ocean side – in!
Central Coast Food Tours’ Sip and Sail Tour is exclusively a private experience created just for you. We charter the Spirit for a private sailing and combine this with a catered four course lunch and wine pairings served to you on the boat. You’ll enjoy not only the thrill of a sail along the coast line, but a perfectly crafted gourmet lunch and wine. Hey folks, it doesn’t get much better than this!
Those of you who have toured with us on one of our other tours will enjoy knowing that Yule will be your guide on this tour. Between Captain Mark and his aquatic expertise and knowledge and Yule as your food and wine entertainer, you’ll be assured of a rousing good time!
We love sharing the Central Coast with our guests and invite you to try a zip line tour. Every time I mention taking a zip line tour, I am invariably met with either squeals of excitement or … a look of abject horror. It’s interesting to note how such an adventure can invoke such opposite responses in people!
Zip Line Tour
A one who is fearful of heights, I embarked on my first zip line tour more so in the latter camp. I was apprehensive and certainly short of being convinced that the thrill was 1) safe and, 2) fun? Since that first trip up on the Santa Margarita zip lines, I’ve been back many times to share the adventure with our tour guests and find the thrill of soaring among the trees and over the vineyards almost addictive. There is something so very freeing in the experience – physically and emotionally.
Now that I’ve made it to the other side of my initial trepidation, I invite those who harbor similar fears to give it a try. Once you’ve faced the fear, I have no doubt you’ll find the same exhilaration and freedom I did… and that, my friend, is a pretty cool feeling.
How often do we all dream of a getaway to the beach? Well, pretty often if we’re talking about me. We’ve spent a good amount of time in beach hotels in the 25 years we’ve lived on the Central Coast and have one thing to say: El Colibri Hotel and Spa is our favorite.
El Colibri Hotel
The older I get the pickier I get, and tend to notice the small details that many folks just gloss over in their exuberance to be on vacation. While I’m not one of the “White Glove Club” I do notice things that don’t seem right, are cheesy, or otherwise show the proprietors don’t really car. I guess this is why the El Colibri has won my heart: the place is spiffy clean, the hotel and rooms exude a certain modern vibe, while still being warm, and they know how to do the little details that make a difference.
We plan a stay at the El Colibri at least once a year, and sometimes twice a year and have been doing this since it first opened. I think we might be considered a long standing friend, as when we book our dates we are often treated to a room upgrade, free sangria and welcome tapas in the bar. There is so much we want to enjoy at the hotel that we rarely find time to do it all. Between the wine tasting, spa massages, walks on the beach, and lounging in our incredibly comfortable bed – before we know it we are out of time!
Try Our Culinary & Wine Weekend on the Central Coast !
Gourmet 5 course Dinner with Central Coast Wines
We invite you to stay and play with Central Coast Food Tours!
Every other month we invite 4 couples to spend a weekend in our home loving and living the Central coast as only locals do.
We are reserving our vacation home one weekend every other month for our “Stay and Play” guests to join Central Coast Food Tours in a whirlwind weekend of fabulous food, wines and comfortable and beautiful accommodations.
What does your weekend look like?
- Check in at Casa Balboa is 4 p.m.
- H’ordeuvres and wine start at 6:00 p.m.
- Breakfast at Casa Balboa.
- Private group wine & farm tour with lunch at the winery.
- Chef Mary Ann (our fabulous wine tour caterer) will be serving a five course gourmet dinner prepared with seasonal foods and items from our tour. Our wonderful Central Coast wines will be paired with your dinner.
- Dining alfresco to the sounds of a local musician overlooking the starry hills of Atascadero.
- Big, beautiful and bountiful brunch: Dine on all natural eggs fresh from the hens at Casa Balboa, locally raised meats, and fresh, local produce.
- Check-out is 1 p.m.
Prices include your lodging for 2 evenings, transportation for your private group tour, all tasting and tour fees, brunch, gourmet dinner w/wine pairings, beverages, wine and snacks.