Monthly Archives: December 2012

Points for Paso

Whenever you run to the store for a few things in Paso Robles, don’t be concerned if no one asks you if you’d like a bag. The law there is to charge $0.10 a bag so most cashiers assume you wouldn’t want to pay that. Most locals are already in the habit of bringing their own bag when they go to the store so the town is one step closer to godliness.

The county also has a law against removing or uprooting an oak tree. Quite an earthwise community!

Opolo Spiced Cranberry Sauce


3 ½ cups Opolo Mountain Zinfandel

2 cups sugar

2 cups (packed) golden brown sugar

12 whole cloves

12 whole allspice

4 cinnamon sticks

2- 3×1 inch strips orange peel

2 -12 ounce bags fresh cranberries


Combine all ingredients – except cranberries – in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced to 3 1/2 cups, about 15 minutes. Strain syrup into large saucepan. Add cranberries to syrup and cook over medium heat until berries burst, about 6-8 minutes. Cool. Transfer sauce to medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until cold. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

Unless your family really loves cranberry sauce you might want to cut this recipe in half… the best part about doing that is that you’ll end up with half a bottle of Mountain Zinfandel left over to drink while you cook!

By Rick Quinn

Pony Club

Wednesdays at the Pony Club in the Hotel Cheval are always entertaining because they bring a winemaker in to do a tasting flight. The flight showcases their wines, some of which are on the menu but others are wines only available at the winery. So, it’s a great place to taste while you’re downtown.

It’s also a great place to meet the winemaker and hear their story first hand.


Great tasting experience! Not just because their wines are elegant and delightful but because of the beautiful setting, fun and knowledgeable tasting room hosts, and natural comfort that comes from a family business. This is not the Godfather kind of family business but the kind that opens your eyes to a new way of doing business. Their wines are clearly worth a lot more than they charge but you can tell the family makes an effort to keep their wines affordable.

Ancient Peaks

A really adventurous wine tasting experience is at Ancient Peaks in Santa Margarita just south of Paso Robles. They offer a zip line tour over their vineyard and ranch. You can even do a tasting combo with the zip line ride!

Kenneth Volk

If you are interested in trying heirloom grape varietals in Paso, head to Kenneth Volk. They’ve got wines seldom found elsewhere like Malvasia Bianca, Cabernet Pfeffer, and Tannat. All are elegantly designed for drinking now.

Stacked Stone

Totally cool place, totally cool winemaker, totally cool wines. How do I know the winemaker is totally cool? He was pouring the wines at the tasting room. He is also a culinary school graduate and can wax poetic on the food and wine connection, at any length.

I cannot even recommend a particular wine here because they were all well crafted and delicious. But I bought the high alcohol zinfandel because the fruit and body were so in tune that you cannot tell how much alcohol is in it.


Gotta give a thumbs up to Vessel Day Spa for the best pedicure in Paso Robles. Not only did I get a same day reservation, but my pedicurist was very conscientious. I sat in one of those robotic massage/vibrating chairs and was offered wine, green tea, and water. My toes look and feel beautiful! Cannot put a price on that! Plus, the whole thing only cost me 35 bucks for both a mani and pedi.

Wise Men?

I just walked 30 blocks looking for a mail drop in Paso Robles and arrived at the Post Office before finding a place to drop mail. Apparently, the city has removed all postal drops on city streets. But I did make an interesting discovery along the way; I counted 6 men with full beards driving past me. These are not just guys who forgot to shave or had a carefully manicured goatee. These were full beards, the kind that grows when you haven’t bought a razor in like a year.

Does it keep them warm in the winter? Or is it some kind of statement I should read?

Vine Street Showcase

Paso Robles’ Christmas tradition is a bit uncommon and another one everyone should do at least once in a lifetime. Vine street, which is usually a busy street lined by Victorian homes, is blocked off and each homeowner decorates to light up the street. We were prepared for a stroll like a street fair. But this was packed. There must have been all the inhabitants of Paso, Atascadero, Templeton, Santa Margarita there last night, not to mention the baby Jesus in a manger, a few goats, Mary, and Joseph as well as X Game like acrobats. But the crowd favorite appeared to be Ebenezer Scrooge’s home because of his ranting from his balcony in his pajamas.