Point Pinos Grill was featured in yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle as part of an article on Monterey/Carmel wine-pairing dinners.  See an excerpt below or the full article on their website

Point Pinos Grill

The terroir: Across from the Point Pinos Lighthouse and the Pacific Grove Golf Links, the recently remodeled, airy restaurant is also close to Asilomar and Lovers Point — i.e. well-suited to refueling sightseers, especially since it’s open daily for breakfast and lunch, and Thursday-Sunday for dinner.

The vintage: Under the management of Aqua Terra Culinary since April 2011, the city-owned site only began serving dinner in December, but executive chef and manager Dory Ford quickly ushered in a series of winemaker’s (and occasionally beermaker’s) dinners, starting last month with Bernardus. The next wine-themed event is Jan. 19, featuring Napa’s Etude Winery. The five-course dinner starts at 7 p.m., with a reception at 6:30 p.m.; the cost is $65 plus tax and tip (36-person limit, call 831-648-5774 to reserve.)

Tasting notes: “Doing a wine dinner is kind of like telling a story,” Ford said. “Who doesn’t like a good story? It’s the story of the winery and of the food. I had just gotten back from Italy, Bernardus is one my favorite places to eat, and they make good wine — it’s gotta be about good juice, too.”

That led Ford to pairings such as Bernardus’ 2010 Griva Vineyard (Arroyo Seco) Sauvignon Blanc with a prosciutto and pear carpaccio with candied hazelnuts, watercress and Vella Dry Jack in cask-drawn Castelvetro balsamic vinegar. Another course matched braised California rabbit with roasted chanterelles, glazed pearl onions, pancetta and quince conserve with the winery’s 2008 Monterey County Pinot Noir.

“We want to present value,” Ford said. “We’ve all been to the really, really expensive wine dinners, and trust me, I’ve enjoyed and done more than a few, but you want to make it reachable. You want people to go away and realize, ‘Wow, for the money I’ve spent, that was a great deal.’ ”

The proposed menu for his Jan. 19 dinner includes Dungeness crab and Meyer lemon gnocchi with Etude’s 2010 Pinot Gris; a blood orange scented pot roasted pork with the winery’s 2009 Estate Carneros Pinot Noir; and a roasted dried cherry and pistachio-stuffed loin of rabbit with the 2009 Deer Camp Pinot Noir.

More local flavor: Although Etude isn’t local — nor is the Feb. 4 winemaker, Oregon’s Domaine Serene — Ford said his cuisine certainly inspired by his surroundings, as well as by local foragers, butchers and farmers. “We have five farmers markets here a week, and the Monday one is literally outside my kitchen,” he noted. “We’re very lucky.”

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2012/01/11/central_coast_wine_pairings.DTL&ao=2#ixzz1jAI95ubs

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