Monday, July 31, 2017

La Bellasera Hotel & Suites - ES DOES PASO ROBLES

By Kelly Grace Thomas, Edible Skinny

A long day of wine tasting can be difficult and tiring work. All that deliciousness and decadent sure has a tendency to tucker us out. While Paso offers many place to sip the day away, it’s important to have place to rest and recover. La Bellasera Hotel & Suites, a boutique Paso Robles hotel, is the perfect retreat from your exhausting winescapades. With a charming mix of comfort and elegance Bellasera provides every amenity you need for a perfect wine country experience. 

Nestled in the heart of Paso, La Bellasera fuses the Italian and Mediterranean architecture with Central Coast countryside. The full-service hotel with 60 over-sized rooms has anticipated every need for those returning from a long day of fun or for those who don’t want to leave the premises. In fact, a day spent at La Bellasera feels like a vacation itself with their in house spa, dining and signature bedding. Seriously, Edible Skinny thought the bed sheets were smooth as butter. La Bellasera even offers in-room spa therapy treatments for looking for the ultimate experience in relaxation.

La Bellasera also offers a flare of culinary creativity at their very own Enoteca Restaurant & Bar. Their Innovative menu pairs bold flavors, seasonal ingredients and award-winning wine highlight the elegance and organic flair of California cuisine. With a heated outdoor patio and weekly live jazz, this is a relax, sit back and drink in all the La Bellasera has to offer.

La Bellasera is focused on luxury through every guest encounter. Each detail is a commitment to comfort with their Hypoallergenic Goose Down Pillows to their plush bathrobes to their pool and Jacuzzi overlooking the Paso landscape, La Bellasera feels likes its own vacation. Edible Skinny had a suite larger than most Los Angeles apartments. We also had a bathtub the size of a swimming pool. La Bellasera offers outstanding amenities and suites to make every moment and outstanding one without breaking the bank. With rooms starting at $199 La Bellasera is affordable luxury allowing extra cash to buy more wine. La Bellasera is also more than happy to accommodate corporate retreats, wine tasting tour groups, family reunions, and other group travel.

Friday, July 28, 2017

ONX Vineyards - ES DOES PASO

By Kat Thoma, Editor in Chief, Edible Skinny

Our final vineyard of Day One of our Paso Robles trip was the delightful ONX Vineyards.  Down a windy dirt road nestled behind a suburban housing development that would give Weeds a run for its money is ONX.  There we encountered our tour guide Mike who led us through the hour-long Tour Experience which began in the Tract Shed, an outdoor tasting room where you can wander out back for tranquil views of the Santa Rita Creek.
From their Matt our knowledgeable guide (who has an issue with Boxer dogs that grab cash of his wallet and chew it up) drove us around the vineyard in an off-road vehicle.   These vineyard tours are available by appointment (ONX also has a tasting room in Tin City) but we highly recommend the vineyard tour. 

ONX is a boutique vineyard, 120 acres making only 3,500 cases per year, a number that allows for a dedication to detail.  With our Tour Experience, we stopped at ONX’s Oasis areas to drink each of our tasting wines; sipping our wines surrounded by the varietals we were drinking.  Picnic areas decorated with vintage accents and arbors covered in vines were serene hideaways offer respite from the busy world beyond the vineyard.
With fun names like Field Day, Indie, Brash, and Mad Crush ONX doesn’t take itself to serious.   One of the most notable was their Brash (of which they make 274 cases).   Their tasting notes for this Zinfandel were so poetic I couldn’t not rewrite them, “Brash parades a multitude of down home aromas.   Plummy compote and a heaping portion of berries intermingle with cinnamon.”  Brash is a “Hot Wine,” which rounds the corner running straight into a peppery spices.  

We finished our last wine at the recently opened Briarwood Cottage, an English Fairytale Cottage with a field of lavender and a tire swing hanging over a gully in the backyard.    There in the storybook vineyard house we sipped another standout ONX’s Mad Crush, which received 91 in Wine Advocate.  Our mouth swirled with lavender, sage, and cranberries.  An “infatuation with delicacy.  The innocence of an ingĂ©nue; the bone structure of a star.”   

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


By Kelly Grace Thomas, Edible Skinny

Niner Winery in Paso Robles is without a doubt the best restaurant Edible Skinny has visited all year. With their astounding view of the estate, including Heart Hill, food grown a few feet from your table, and the juxtaposition of idiosyncratic textures and flavors, Niner has mastered the ultimate edible experience. Their staff is not only friendly and beyond knowledgeable, but talk about food and wine as if the closest thing to their heart. They describe each flavor profile or big red as if speaking about a dear friend, or favorite memory. They highlight each flirt and quirk to create the most provocative and divine pairings. 

Niner, voted 2017’s Best Winery Restaurant in America by Food and Wine Magazine, says, “Everyone talks about farm to table cuisine; our goal is to live it.” And that is exactly what they do. Executive chef, Maegen Loring, takes pride in every ingredient. He is invested from first sprout to last bit.  This is not farm to table, its backyard to table.  A place where your food is grown a few feet away. Niner, regulates quality, with 100% care and supervision. Nothing is too small to be looked over and cared for. With over 200 acres their outstanding wines are 100% estate grown, the chicken eggs come from chef’s house, their shelter (that they frequently escape from) was built by the winemaking team, and they feed on leftover veggies grown from their Estate Garden & other compostable from the restaurant. We were told by Sam, Niner’s Restaurant and Events Manager that Loring even meets and visits with the cows. 
Throughout our meal we paired Niner’s amazing wines, with food inspired by creativity and daring dazzle. Starting from white to red, we first enjoyed the Marsanne, which Sam called his “daily drinker.” which first sips soft and then opens up. This was perfect pairing with our appetizer of burrata with grilled peaches and beets. A creamy dive into ripe summer time flavors.  We also sampled Niner’s Chardonnay which is one of the most balanced buttery minerally chardonnays we have ever had. This complemented Niner’s Ricotta Tart made with lemon, ricotta, asparagus, mixed greens, garden herbs. The super flaky croissant crust and turmeric lemon zest from garden was light but decadent. 

Next we tried the Pinot Noir which was Kelly and Kat’s Favorite.  From Coastal Vineyard Jespersen Vineyards this wine is describe by Niner as, “quiet but impressive with aromatics of blueberry, black raspberry and cloves. Niner’s Pinot Noir, “slowly wake up as you swirl this wine in your glass.”
Next we had the Flatiron Steak pineapple salsa, coconut risotto, pear mint jalapeno chutney. A traditional dish with a non-traditional approach, this combination of flavors not usually found together gives Los Angeles restaurants a run for their money. This paired nicely with Niner’s Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, a nice fireplace wine. This wine is rich a rounded with black currant, tobacco, dried herbs. Also on the palate black cherry, dark chocolate and dried sage are balanced for a long elegant finish. We also enjoyed their Super Paso, a wine that, “This wine pays homage to the Super Tuscan winemakers who scorned convention in order to create unique blends.” This blend drinks with the confidence of a great wine and the Paso region, a paradise gaining more and more much deserved attention. The Super Paso was one of Edible Skinny’s favorite reserves.  It’s reminded us of “a dark wood kitchen with stone hearth and copper kettles.” There was a traditional sense of taste and history. 
To finish our meal we sipped on a French press barrel-aged Coffee aged in Niner’s Syrah barrel and roasted locally by Joebella Coffee exclusively for Niner Wine Estates.  This coffee with accents of wine, was one of the most luxurious experiences Edible Skinny has encountered, and trust us, we have had a few. That paired with the panna cotta with blood orange, albarino, candied orange was a heavenly final note. 

From start to finish Niner restaurant and wines are a showcase of both grace and gusto. Their dedication to the freshest flavors juxtaposed with creative culinary combinations makes Niner one of our favorite dining experiences in the state.