Weekday Gourmet – Rustic Fireside Tortilla Soup

This is the best dry soup mix we've found!

With busy schedules and full-time jobs, ‘gourmet’ takes on different faces throughout the week.  So when we find a recipe or a product that can add a little more gourmet to a hectic work day, we get pretty excited.  Our latest find is Canterbury Naturals Rustic Fireside Tortilla Soup mix.  It’s a dry mix, containing various dried vegetables and different spice packets.  The beauty is, all you need to add is water and a pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast.

Preparation couldn’t be easier.  Add all the contents of the dry mix and spice packets, along with 7 1/2 cups of water, to a large pot.  Submerge the chicken breasts into the water/spice mix.   No need to cook or dice the chicken first.  Then you just bring to a boil and let cook for 20 minutes.  After that, you’ll need to pull out the now cooked chicken breast and shred with a fork.  Add the shredded chicken back into the soup and simmer for an additional 20 minutes.  That’s it!  You won’t believe what a great soup this makes.

Rustic Tortilla Soup

Add your own touch with an array of toppings and garnishes.  Some of our favorites are;  crushed corn chips, grated cheese – pepper jack is especially good with this, diced avocado, cilantro, and a dollop of sour cream.

Our only warning, this soup mix is not always easy to find.  My local Whole Foods used to carry this, along with some of their other soup varieties, but then one day, I could no longer find it.  Same scenario happened at my local Sprouts market.  Missing our tortilla soup, and not having a ton of luck finding it in the store, we bought it on Amazon.  Of course, a week later, there it was on the shelf at Albertsons!  Seek it out, you won’t be disappointed.  Bon Appetit!





Wine Tasting on the West Side of Paso Robles

Paso_Westside_CoverWe recently visited Paso Robles, California on a picture perfect fall weekend.  The air had a cool, crisp feel, and the vineyards were full of color, delighting us with shades of yellow, red, and orange.

We picked three wineries for our Saturday afternoon adventure;  Thacher Winery, Halter Ranch, and HammerSky Vineyards. Armed with a cooler of cheeses and prosciutto, we headed out 46 West to our first winery of the day. Continue reading

On the Town – Paso Robles, CA

hammerskyLocated on California’s Central Coast, Paso Robles is surrounded by over 200 wineries and vineyards and is quickly becoming one of the country’s premier wine regions.  Dubbed ‘The Next Napa’ by Forbes a few years ago, as well as being named the 2013 Wine Region of the Year by Wine Enthusiast, Paso Robles has grown into a great food and wine destination.

La Cosecha Bar & Restaurant – Afternoon Cocktails

La Cosecha Bar & Restaurant was our first stop, conveniently located on the square in downtown Paso Robles. The weather was perfect, so we grabbed patio seat overlooking the park. Continue reading

Thanksgiving for Two

fallAs we work our way through November, the first of the big holidays is right around the corner.  As lovers of food and wine, Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays.  But this year, our original plans fell through and Thanksgiving will be just the two of us.  So, do we cook the big turkey?  Indulge in a fancy meal at a restaurant, or perhaps a little of both.


On the Town – Cocktails in Denver

Whenever we go to a new city, we always check out the cocktail and food scene.  Each city has its own flair, bringing in local traditions and ingredients.  Some cities are on the forefront of craft cocktails, others are still finding their way.  The same with food.  Obviously, cities like New York and Chicago are well in front of the pack.  But we were excited to see what the Denver scene had to offer us in terms of cocktails.

A good evening on the town starts with a good pre-dinner cocktail.  We did some research before departing our hotel and found that a Denver cocktail bar had made a few ‘best of’ lists on both a local and national scale.  The Green Russell was going to be our first stop! Continue reading

A Little About The Vintage Gourmet


Hiking in the Cascades

The Vintage Gourmet blog has been around for a few years – owned by Jen (me) and Eric – sometimes referred to JenEric.  It started as an online photo album and journal of our move from California to Seattle, and the adventures we were having in our new home.  It originally debuted as Seattle Tales.  Our target audience at the time was our family and friends as we embarked on our new journey in the Pacific Northwest.  Eric has done the majority of the writing and the photography.  I mostly posed for photos and did some proofreading.

As we settled in to normal life, The Vintage Gourmet blog started to collect dust.  We’d post here and there Continue reading

Cocktail Corner – The Negroni

Our go to cocktail of late is The Negroni.  A simple cocktail, found most commonly in Italian restaurants, but is now making its way into craft cocktail bars across America.  The Negroni is best known as an aperitif due to its bitter notes brought on by the Campari.  Bitter flavors help us get ready for a meal by stimulating the appetite and the palate.

Besides being delicious, here are a few other reasons why when the bartender asks what I’ll have, I regularly say, ‘a Negroni please’. Continue reading

7 Must Visit Tasting Rooms in Woodinville, WA

woodinville_WAA good friend of ours recently asked where they should take some out-of-town friends who are big wine drinkers. So we put together a list and sent it over. It then occurred to me that others may be interested in that same list. Here is it – enjoy and let me know if you feel some must-visits were inadvertently left off the list.

(1) JM Cellars – we are surprised at how many locals are unaware of this little gem. Trick is, they are only open Fri thru Sun from 11-4. Awesome grounds, good wine, unique experience and they usually serve cheese, crackers and salami. And if you happen to be a member, their pick-up parties are insane! Lamb burgers – enough said. http://www.jmcellars.com/

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We Will Miss You Seattle…

Jen and I left Seattle three months ago for a fantastic opportunity in California. And while I can say with all certainty that it was a sound career decision, it has come at a cost. We spent 3 wonderful years in the Pacific Northwest and have very fond memories of the scenery and people who made this area arguably among the best places we have every called “home”. Simply put, we miss it tremendously.

Fortunately our beloved city by the Sound is a short two-and-a-half hour flight from Burbank Airport. In addition, we have a wonderfully supportive friend and family network in Cali – so I suppose it is important to take a moment and recognize all that we are thankful for. Nevertheless, we still find ourselves longing for that spur-of-the-moment ferry ride to neighboring Bainbridge Island for wine tasting at Eleven, dinner at Hitchcock or an afternoon beer and burger at the Public House. And who can forget our favorite neighborhood Italian restaurant Serafina (miss you guys) next to one of the best damn cocktail bars in city: Cicchetti. Or how about our afternoon strolls to the ballpark or to the Clink for an exciting Sounders soccer match. Sunday afternoons in the quaint and bustling Ballard scene or a leisurely stroll along the waterfront in Fremont.  Honestly, I could go on-and-on! Continue reading

Yakima Valley, WA

When the pressures of life demand some downtime and you don’t have a vacation on the horizon, we suggest a weekend road trip to Yakima Valley wine country.  Here you will sample what is sure to become among the elite wine regions here in Washington State.

As California transplants we have soft spot for golden hills scattered with orchards, groves and vineyards. Valleys that wind endlessly through gorgeous back country which seems to transport you miles from civilization. That euphoric feeling of stumbling on a “hidden gem” tasting room tucked in such obscurity that it was surly undiscovered until your arrival. And the destination wineries perched on bluffs with cinematic views ideal for sampling an array of whites, reds and rosé. If Walla Walla is Napa 15 years ago, then Yakima Valley would be Paso Robles 20 years ago. Well, at least that’s our opinion – here are a few photos to judge for yourself!

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