Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Los Olivos Grocery / Picnic at Koehler Winery

As much as I love a good restaurant and the thrill of a perfectly cooked steak, sometimes it's even more enjoyable to slow things down with a picnic. And there is no place I have ever been where I enjoy picnicking more than the Santa Ynez Valley. Before wine tasting on Saturday, Elizabeth and I stopped by the Los Olivos Grocery to pick up some food.

We'd been to the store before on other adventures in this area. In the back of the market is a deli counter, a few cold boxes of items, and a relatively impressive selection of cheeses. On my previous trip I'd had a turkey sandwich made here that was completely average. I decided to go a different direction this time: bread and cheese and cold cuts.

An hour or so later at Koehler Winery on the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail, we took everything out of our picnic basket. We had purchased two kinds of cheese: Cypress Grove Chevre and Artequeso Manchego, a firm Spanish cheese that had been recommended by someone at the market.

We had Italian salami, prosciutto, and a package of sliced turkey, and we tore off hunks of bread and ate them with the meats. I had also picked up a large container of roasted vegetables. What I did not know about them - and was pleasantly surprised to learn - is that they were cooked with chili flakes and were quite spicy.

We purchased a bottle of Koehler's "Magia Nera" red wine to consume with our lunch. This is my favorite of their wines, and one of my favorite examples of the "New World" Super-Tuscans that pop up in a few places in this area. Too often (in my opinion) they strive to be overwhelming first and good second. This one is less intense, a perfect Sangiovese-Cabernet blend, and is a nice complement to the meats. (I wish I had brought a bottle to dinner with me; it would have paired beautifully with the Hitching Post II's steak.)


Anonymous said...

That looks awesome.

SuperLarge said...

That lawn looks pretty familiar. Were the cats still cruising around and the lama/goat still frolicking about?

Nosh Gnostic said...

Nice mess kit.
You see, THIS is my idea of living well.
If it could only be bottled...(*sigh*)

Nosh Gnostic said...

Oh, and by the way, I like your new photo at the top of the page!

JustinM said...

Tracie: Yes, I got a picture of one of the picnic tables with one cat on top and one underneath.

Tim: If only wishing made it so. The new pic is from Rusack. It was my first time there and it has already catapulted to my second favorite winery location in the state (behind Laetitia).

Rachel said...

What? No mention that this is where Rachel & James shared their wedding vows and threw a kick ass wedding?

Good choice of wine -- Jim also loves that wine from Koehler.

We almost went back for our first year anniversary, but...since I can't drink this time around...we opted to stay in SB.


newrunner said...

So crazy that you are there, I was just there two weeks ago and ran my first half marathon in Santa Ynez and we hit up the hitching post AND the same grocery store. Amazingly, when we were at the grocery store, they were grilling tri-tip steak sandwiches (it was on a Sunday) OMG! The best sandwich I have ever had, so delicious! Strange that they didn't have them when you were there.

Melissa Good Taste said...

I drive past this grocery store everytime I head down to Ojai. It is wonderful! Good find!

o0angie0o said...

Oh I will have to try that wine, my bf makes wine with Sangiovese grapes and cabernet is starting to grow on me now.

I had a friend that introduced me to salami and cream cheese roll ups which were a good combo I didnt expect as well.

Anonymous said...

i love los olivos grocery