Wine Tasting in Amador

Wine Tasting in Amador


Amador is by far the favorite region of mine to go wine tasting. Now, there are so many regions in California to choose from, Napa being the most popular. But if you are interested in saving money for wine and not blowing a lot on the tasting fees, The Sierra Foothills are a good place to go.

My experience with Amador wines did not start with expertise. The first time I went was on an anniversary trip with my wife in 2007, our first one to be exact. We did the smart thing by renting a limo to take us to several wineries. We had no idea where to go so we selected, I think, 5 at random. Obviously, you can only go to places that can accommodate limos and busses. Every winery we went to that day was friendly and easy to talk to about their wines. But, not knowing much, I didn’t know what to ask. I knew nothing about swirling, what to smell for, what to look for, and what to experience when tasting. All I knew was that if it tasted REALLY good going down, it must be worth buying a bottle. That day, looking back, because of our inexperience, we didn’t know when our taste buds were shot or when we needed to say “enough is enough”. We only cared about one thing: drinking wine.

After about a year from this trip, we signed up for our first wine club. It was pretty simple, 2 bottles a quarter. The winery had a nice picnic area on a hilltop and would have live music for their member events. We eventually had to cancel our membership because we both were laid off from our jobs and needed to cut unnecessary expenses. We were sad but we knew when we were both employed again that we would be back.

One time while wine tasting in Sutter Creek, there was a winery that served us what seemed like everything they made. We must have tried at least ten wines. We were so impressed by the variety, taste, and overall experience that we signed up to become members. We found out that day that the things they do for their members is quite extraordinary. For our membership, we and 8 other guests can have a winemaker’s dinner with food and wine pairing AT NO COST! What is nice is that they have two tasting rooms, one in Sutter Creek, and the other in Plymouth at the wine cave.

Over the years we kept going back to Amador, trying new wineries, talking with the wine makers, expanding our horizons from just red wines to include whites. Then came our first event: Behind the Cellar Door. This event involves most of the wineries in Amador over a two-day period. You can go to as many wineries as you can handle (please be responsible) with food and live music at most of them. It was such a great time, but I think we only went one day. This happens in the spring in the beginning of March. They give you a wrist band and a commemorative wine glass that you take to the wineries so they know you are part of the event.

Then came our second (or third, depending on how you look at it) wine club. We instantly fell in love with the wines at this small little winery. It was nothing fancy and it didn’t have a big sign or a super elaborate tasting room, but oh my gosh! Their couple of Zins are crazy good! We just had to join. Theirs is a small commitment, just two bottles a quarter, unlike our other wine club at this time of 4 bottles three times a year. We were very excited about this one and felt proud to be expanding our tastes. At the time, they did not charge for tastings, but now, like so many others, the tasting fee is $5 per person (unless you are with a club member or buy a bottle. Just ask, and I will go with you so you can taste for free!).

Then came our next event: The Barbera Festival. In Amador, Barbera is huge! Practically every winery has a Barbera that it makes. Some are great, some are good, and others not so good. At the Barbera festival, you taste wines from 75 wineries. Yes, that is correct. 75! All in one place. The tip to lasting until the end is to take one taste then dump the rest. I didn’t do that the first time and I was hurting the next day. We have been to this event several times.

In 2017 we took part in another event: The Big Crush. This one is held in the fall to celebrate the end of the harvest. Like Behind the Cellar Door, it is a weekend-long event and often has food and live music. We had been to Amador so many times that we thought we had been everywhere. That was not the case. For this big party we decided to try to visit only the wineries we hadn’t been to before. So day one, we stopped at 3 or 4 new ones and then a couple of old ones. Among the bunch, there were a couple that stood out more than the others. One of them we keep debating on whether to become members, but something keeps pulling us away. Not sure what. A characteristic of that winery is that the wines are all smooth. Even the bigger wines like Cabernet Franc and Syrah. On day two we stopped at 2 wineries before the winery that we gravitate toward and go to every time we are there. We didn’t become members that day, but we did a month later. We walked out of there with 6 bottles of wine, something we rarely do, only to follow by another 4 the next month. That weekend we came home with 10 bottles from 5 different wineries.

This year we had the privilege of taking part in Amador Four Fires, their most expensive event. This one has only been around for a few years but is already a huge hit. For this one we went all out and paid for the VIP treatment: brunch and champagne as you first walk in. I have to say, I don’t know what happened, but somehow we overdid it. We probably only visited 70% of the wineries featured. What a shame! But the food was really good and provided for you at no extra cost.

So tell me, what are your wine experiences like? When did you get started? Have you only been to Napa, or have you explored other regions like Amador? I would love to hear your thoughts. Be sure to stay tuned next time for a review on the reader’s choice of wine!


The Great Bordeaux Challenge by James Dressler

Bordeaux wine is among the most famous of wines. It ages well, tastes great, and, let’s face it, French wine is known for being superb. But what makes it so good? Can there be American Bordeaux wines? Like champagne or port, it cannot be called Bordeaux unless it comes from France. But what constitutes a Bordeaux blend? It is at least two varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. They can also have percentages of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and sometimes Carmenere. So if there are American wines that have a blend of Cabernet, Merlot, and/or other varietals mentioned, it is a Bordeaux-style wine, just not called that. For instance, Cante Ao Vinho, a small winery in Northern California, has a wine called Le Rouge Fonce. This is a Bordeaux wine because it has a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. A real deal for members at only $19 a bottle. But I digress.

In this post I am going to bring two Bordeaux wines together on a head-to-head battle. Left bank vs. Right bank, to see which one I think is better. To explain, left bank wines are primarily Cabernet Sauvignon based with the other part being mostly Merlot and maybe Petit Verdot. The right bank is primarily Merlot with smaller portions of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc, Petit Verdot, and possibly Malbec. For this battle I am tasting both the Chateau Fourcas Dupre Medoc Bordeaux 2015 (Left bank) and the Chateau Villars Fronsac Bordeaux 2009 (Right bank).

The Chateau Fourcas is unique in that it has equal percentages of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (44% each). I didn’t know this when I bought it. I thought that it being a left bank wine would be at least 60% Cabernet Sauvignon. Also in this wine are Cab Franc (10%) and Petit Verdot (2%). This should make for a great tasting wine with these blends. The tannins should be relatively strong and the color should be a garnet color, practically purple. Because of the higher tannins and moderate alcohol content, this wine should age up to 20 years and still be good. This vintage is relatively young so I wouldn’t be surprised if I buy another bottle later and let it age for a few.

The Chateau Villars is VERY Merlot-centric. It is 77% Merlot, 17% Cab Franc, and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon. What I am expecting are medium tannins, a long finish that lingers on the back of the tongue for a good long while, and the color should be almost the same as the Chateau Fourcas. This wine will also age well, but maybe not as long. At a 2009 vintage, it is definitely ready to drink and won’t have bottle shock. Now for the fun part: The tasting!

First I will try the Chateau Fourcas. What I notice right away is that the color is lighter than what I was expecting. Since I poured both wines at the same time (also aerated them, a good practice for bold wines), I notice the definite differences. As I look in the glass, I can see to the bottom, whereas with the Villars I cannot. What is interesting is that Merlot is a lighter wine than a Cabernet Sauvignon, but the color doesn’t tell the story. I am curious for more. I hardly notice any legs. Again, this doesn’t mean a whole lot, other than that the alcohol content may not be very high, something you want if you so desire to age your wines for a while (nothing above 13%). What I smell right off the bat is cedar. As I smell further for what fruit comes out, I get blackberry, black cherry, and pencil lead. Pencil lead certainly doesn’t sound appealing, but it is common among Bordeaux blends, along with graphite and charcoal. When I taste the wine, it doesn’t feel heavy in my mouth but coats my palate nicely. It is super smooth, but I can definitely taste the alcohol going down as it produces a slight tinge in the back of my throat. This wine has a lot of character and nuances that every time I taste it, it changes a little. After the second taste, the tannins came out more and the alcohol lessened. In the flavor (aroma plus taste), there is strong blackberry and cedar, actually quite pleasant. I get hints of black cherry, but not as pronounced. Definitely a wine worth drinking, even if it is young still.

Now for the Villars. Just like the Fourcas, the legs are negligible. However, after a good 10 seconds, the legs start forming, whereas with the Fourcas, they never did.  The moment I smell it, the wine is a little off-putting. It smells like wet cement primarily, menthol, raspberry (I get that once I swirl the wine and smell it right away. That part is pleasant). Once I taste it, the wine has a really nice mouth feel and seems to cling to the inside of my mouth. There is no wet cement taste and the raspberry comes out a little more. I do get a hint of pipe tobacco. For a Merlot heavy wine, the tannins seem to be more pronounced than the Fourcas. Interesting since Merlot is lighter in tannins than a Cab. The taste seems to change more toward the front of my palate than the back like the Fourcas. It seems to have a lot of character and subtle nuances that make it very appealing. I don’t get any twinges in the back of my throat so the finish is quite nice. The entire experience of the wine is all in the front.

So, what do I think? What would I prefer? Well, both have great structure and are pleasant to taste. I really like tannins so you would think that I would lean more toward the Villars, but that is not the case. I actually prefer the Fourcas, and let me tell you why. The taste changes a lot, from the first sip to the last. The flavor is not just in the front of the mouth but all over. I like the smoothness and the mouth feel a little better, and definitely the aroma is more appealing. Now both wines are delicious and if someone bought me a bottle, I certainly wouldn’t turn it down. But for this side-by-side match up, the Fourcas wins.

So, what are your suggestions going forward? Is there a favorite wine of yours you would like me to review? I’m thinking about reviewing La Crema, but we will see what the suggestions are. Happy drinking! For learning how to taste wine, See Wine 101.

Flavor ideas from Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine.

What is Keto?!

Some of you have asked, “What is Keto?” I know my blogs have been focused on my experiences with being on the Keto diet. I haven’t shared what it is exactly. In a nut shell, it’s a high fat, moderate protein, very low carb diet. People get nervous that eating too much fat is bad for your heart. Others have no idea that eating carbs converts to sugar in your system. To make sure that my readers have an understanding of what it means to follow Keto, I’m attaching a link to a very good article that will provide the basics.

I’ve been eating Keto for almost a year. It’s not for everyone. I can tell you all the great things about it, and the science behind it to prove that it’s healthy. It still won’t be for everyone. There are so many misconceptions on how to follow a Keto diet. The one I just heard recently was from a doctor. This medical professional said following a Keto diet is great, but it’s not to be followed long-term. There was no explanation as to why you can’t follow it long-term. Just that it’s recommended that you don’t. Really?! Of course this is long-term. Why would I go from eating food that my body processes as sugar as a short-term energy source when I can eat healthy fat as my energy source that lasts longer? Going off and on it would only cause other issues. That is for another blog.

Click on the link and let me know what you think? Can you change your lifestyle? Would you be hesitant because of the fat? Would love to hear from you.

Confessions of a Keto Cheater

I must confess. I haven’t been faithful. I’ve cheated on my Keto lifestyle. Please understand that I absolutely love Keto. What’s not to love? I eat fat, protein and more fat. Yum. However, there is this undeniable attraction to the bad boy. It’s name is Carbs. There are times where the warm soft roll is too hard to say no too. Pasta drenched in sauce cries out my name. I fell prey to its temptations. Here is my story.

Last month was the first time I gave in to Carbs. It was a special trip to Ninja Sushi to celebrate my husband’s birthday. It’s unlikely to find really good sushi without rice. I indulged in 3 rolls. Oh, but that didn’t end my indulgent evening. They offer free dessert – fried ice cream. I looked at it that I’ve already given in this much why stop now. I felt like a stuffed pig. I woke up feeling remorse because I allowed myself to give Carbs more of me than I should. There was no point to live in guilt. I had to move on.

The following week, Carbs beckoned me back. I was celebrating yet another birthday. I hardly ate anything all day. Come dinner time, I’m ravenous. We get a table with a view of the San Francisco skyline at the Cheesecake Factory. So here is what I did. I ate the chips with the artichoke and spinach dip, mowed down on bread with butter and moved on to a large pasta dish that was totally amazing. Oh, I can’t forget the sugary, carb-loaded margarita. However, I did redeem myself by sharing a low carb cheesecake with my friend. Ugh. The damage was done. Now I have to deal with the morning after – feeling bloated and pudgy. Carbs were delicious and wonderful, but the physical response told me it wasn’t worth it.

After getting back on track and only proving that my decision to go Keto was definitely the right choice, I’m back in the game. I felt great. My brain fog was lifted. My poochy belly was gone. I had energy to burn. Ahh, free of Carbs. Then it happened. Carbs came knocking on my door again. I tried to resist. I fought as hard as I could against its seduction. I didn’t stand a chance. I gave in. This time it was pizza. The toppings aren’t the problem. It’s the crust. How I love a soft and crispy pizza crust. I was ordering a pizza for my son and his girlfriend. Carbs were sitting there looking desirable. I couldn’t do it alone. I dragged my husband in my sin. It’s hard to admit, but we both gave in to Carbs. We practically ate a large pizza between the two of us. What have we done?! My husband was innocent. Now we both have to reap the consequences. There went my energy and my flat belly. Here came indigestion and water gain. Another cheat day. Blah.

That didn’t end Carbs’ tyranny in my life. It crept back in like a thief in the night. Before I knew what I was doing, I shared in my friend’s popcorn. Then I ate a hot dog with the bun. I’ve gone mad! Was I a lost cause? Can I ever just let Carbs go and live my life?! YES!!!!! Keto isn’t a diet for me. It’s a lifestyle. It’s not to get to a goal weight and stop. I decided almost a year ago that this is the way I want to feed my body. This is the best way to keep healthy for me. How many times did I give into guilt and shame because I cheated on my diet? More times than I can count. Now that’s not worth it. I confess I’ve had more Carbs in the last two months than I have in a year. Guess what? I haven’t gained a pound. I’m holding steady. What I know is this. I’ve never felt better since being on Keto. That’s the bottom line. I’m human. I ate things that were delicious, but didn’t make me feel well after. I’m done beating myself up. When you fall, you just dust yourself off and keep on moving forward. Have you ever had a cheat day then beat yourself up? Felt guilt and shame for that one indulgence? Did you pick yourself up and keep moving forward? Share with me your thoughts. It’s just a part of the journey. Live abundantly.


Wine 101 by James Dressler

Hello friends!
My name is James Dressler. I’m Heidi’s husband. I’m really excited about her new food blog, and I wanted to be a part of it. She has been gracious to let me be a guest writer on the topic off wine. She loves food, and I love wine. What wonderful pairing.

First, the title needs some explanation. I am no wine expert. I don’t have a huge wine cellar, and I don’t go through a bottle a day. Rarely will I have two bottles a week. However, I know what I like and don’t like. In our area, Zinfandel, Barbera and Petite Sirah reign supreme. What joy! I titled this Wine 101 because it is a blend of education of wine tasting as well as it will be the first of many to come wine posts.

Now you may be thinking, “James, can you have wine on keto?” The answer is yes, but of course in moderation. Heidi has to be more careful drinking white wines because the sugar content is a bit higher so she mostly sticks to the reds. I don’t have that problem. I can drink all types of wine. I am fonder of red wines, but if I find a white I really like, I will definitely buy it. It’s rare, but I simply cannot pass on something that pleases my palate. I find that the more I educate myself on wine and understand what I am supposed to be tasting, the more open I am to new experiences. So now, off to the races, as they say.

Something that most people may be familiar with is the Apothic wines. They have several different options, anywhere from their flagship Red to the lesser known Inferno. Yes people, I’ve tried them all and each have their own special qualities. I will be reviewing the one I have had the most of, Apothic Crush.

Apothic Crush was first released in 2014 as a limited release and again in 2015. Most stores carry this wine at a good price point. I tried it, liked it, and then the following year in 2016 bought 13 bottles because I thought I would have to stock up. Little did I know that Apothic decided that year to make the Crush year-round. Yes, I liked it that much! Don’t judge. The question some people ask is can a cheap wine be any good. I am going to explore that in this post. The challenge for me though is to express my experience with this wine in a simple way. Luckily, I have a glass of it right next to me so I can review it without going from memory (when was the last time you tried to describe flavors from a month ago?).

There are three keys to proper wine tasting. The first key is the look, the second is smell and the third is taste. The color is first because it gives an idea of the type of wine. For example, no one would confuse a white wine with a red wine. That is obvious. But what about wines within the same family (white or red)? If the wine is a lighter red and you are able to see through it that will typically be a light-bodied wine like a Pinot Noir. If it is a little darker and not as easy to see through, it could be a Zinfandel/Primitivo, Barbera, or another medium-bodied wine. If the color looks purple and not at all see through, it could be a Cabernet, Syrah, or a similar full-bodied wine.

Let’s start with the color. It is medium-red and I have difficulty seeing through it, so initially I am thinking it is medium-bodied. Looking at it, it reminds me of a Zinfandel, or a lighter colored Merlot. Many people judge a wine by the “legs” or “tears”. I don’t. Wine legs do not determine the quality of the wine, against what some people believe. What it does mean is the alcohol content in the wine. If you are planning on storing your wine for a long time, like over ten years, then alcohol content matters. But for the average person who doesn’t hold onto wine for more than two years, alcohol content is negligible. What I notice about the ” legs” are minimal, so that means the level isn’t very high.

The aroma, or smell, is fruity, but not totally in your face. It is a good idea to swirl the wine to release the aromas more. A good experiment is to see how far away you can be from the wine glass and still smell the wine. So what I pick up is fresh blackberry, a hint of vanilla bean, and plum. To train your senses, close your eyes when you smell and try to visualize the smells. A way to get better is to isolate two or three aromas, like fruits, herbs, spices. I must admit, I am not good at that yet. I can typically get two aromas, but three is really difficult.

Now for the taste. Some wine descriptions describe the flavor as complex. What that means is that it keeps changing every time you take a taste. For example, maybe you taste raspberry and clove first, then oak and tobacco as you swallow. So as I taste the wine, slowly swirling it in my mouth to coat all areas of my palate, I definitely get fresh black fruit and some spice. It does not dry out my mouth, so that means the tannins are low, as you would experience in a Pinot Noir. It doesn’t feel thick and it goes down really smooth. The flavor is constant from beginning to end, so definitely not complex.

What is my opinion of Apothic Crush? It is a simple medium-bodied wine that is good on its own, or maybe paired well with white meat with roasted vegetables. So the next time you are at the store, pick up a bottle. Do your own experiments. I would love to know your experience with this wine. What do you see, smell and taste? Does this post give you an idea of what to expect, or does it turn you off? I welcome your feedback. Until next time. Cheers!


Food, People and Beauty – Seattle Stole my Heart

Hello everyone! I’m way overdue on my trip to Seattle. I last left off dining out on Super Bowl Sunday, and trying my first oyster. Let me now share the many culinary delights I encountered Monday through Friday.

Monday: I woke up to my first day of my training course. I started off with my chocolate protein shake and bullet proof coffee. That satisfied until we are released for lunch. I headed out toward Pioneer Square. I couldn’t get over how many restaurants there were to choose from. Where to go? I had to stick to keto so I have to be menu conscious. I walked around and found a park that has foos ball, ping pong, a large Connect Four game, a children’s activity center and bistro tables for those avid chess or card players. What was more shocking was that it was super clean. The homeless were all around the area, but there wasn’t trash laying about. Amazing. I came across McCoy’s Firehouse Bar and Grill. I took a seat, and I was immediately greeted. I ordered the Peanut Butter Bacon Burger no bun and a side salad. I had no idea what it would taste like, but I was being adventurous. It didn’t disappoint. The peanut butter and bacon didn’t clash. It was total harmony even with the lettuce, tomato and onion. I’m sure there would be no way to convince you, but it was quite tasty.  

Dinner rolls around, and I decided to stay in. I had other work to do, and snacks in my room. I”m set. Until tomorrow.

Tuesday: Lunch today was nothing to speak of. I went to Damn the Weather. Let’s put it this way, that restaurant should be called damn that food.

It’s dinner time! Met up with an old friend at Peso’s Mexican Restaurant in Queen Anne. I always get worried with Mexican food, because there is hardly any keto friendly choices. Fear no more keto lovers. Peso’s has an extensive menu that has more than enough to choose from. I got the clam dip – no chips or bread. Huge pieces of clam that is super fresh and tender. I ended the night with their seafood stew. Stop the presses!!! I’m blown away. This tomato based stew is chocked full of rock fish, scallops and mussels. I couldn’t get over the size of the seafood in this massive bowl. They didn’t cheat you on quantity of fish. Good golly, I can’t say enough on how delicious this stew was. It was spicy and flavorful to the point of pure bliss. I got back to the hotel in total food paradise.

Wednesday: I’ll be honest. I didn’t eat lunch. A bunch of us from class were going to go out for dinner to a really nice place on the waterfront. I needed to save my money because I can only spend $60/day on meals. I was starving by the time we got to the restaurant. Dukes! A warm and cozy place. The server was funny, and very attentive. It was still happy hour, but nothing a keto eater could partake in. I ordered a Bloody Mary, a filet with a red clam chowder and grilled veggies. That wasn’t a typo. It was a red clam chowder. I love the creamy based chowder; however, it has potatoes. I don’t eat potatoes. This chowder is a play on the Manhattan style chowder, which is a tomato base soup. The clams were so big that the soup played more like a stew. The seasoned veggies were perfectly grilled in olive oil along with a nice blend of spices. The filet was thick, juicy, and cooked to a tasty medium rare. I followed the Bloody Mary with a Malbec wine, and finished every last bite. The other dishes looked absolutely tempting. Halibut fish and chips, Caesar salad, lamb burger and fried calamari. It was a wonderful night with great food and friends.

Thursday: My week was winding down. Two more days left. So much more to explore and try. Again, a bunch of us from class went to this funky burger place called Brgr Bar. That’s not misspelled. I so wanted to try the peanut butter and jelly burger, but I can’t risk the sugar. I had a scrumptuous 1/2 pound burger with caramelized onions, grilled mushrooms, brie cheese with a garlic aioli. Tasty, but dinner trumped that place. Cutter’s on the waterfront down the street from Pikes Market. Happy hour was insane. Crab Nachos, Beef Yakatori, Crab and Lobster Mac and Cheese and Mussels in a garlic cream sauce. For cheap! I had wine and started with the Beef Yakatori without the sticky rice. The pickled peppers were addicting. Sweet and tangy. The beef was tender. The sauce was smooth and sweet. My instructor James showed up so he joined me. He ordered a feast of the nachos, mac and cheese and the Yakatori. I had the mussels in the garlic cream sauce. The seafood is mind- blowing fresh. The mussels were tender not chewy. The sauce wasn’t thick but wasn’t soupy. It was this pleasant in-between place that was just divine. It also had this surprise kick of spice of red pepper flakes. That was a dinner to remember.









Friday: My last day. What did I do? Class got out around 2pm. My instructor James and classmate Amanda decide to check out the sites. We went to Kerry Park. What a view!!! Got pictures of Meredith Grey’s house from Grey’s Anatomy. Went to Pikes Market to the famous fish market and got crab cocktail. I didn’t take a picture of that. I ate it too fast. Sweet, fresh crab off the boat that morning. We continued our exploration. My friends got cookies and cinnamon rolls. I’m sure they weren’t meaning to torture me. Whatever. Walked by the original Starbucks. The line was ridiculously long. Went back to Cutter’s for happy hour. Headed back over to Pikes Market to pick up another crab cocktail and champagne. My new friends and I went out with a bang. Thank you Seattle for the best week of food, drinks, sights, friends, and training. You will be missed.

Tell me what you think. I stuck to keto when it was very hard to do so and still had fantastic food. Would love to hear about your experiences in Seattle or anywhere where you were pleasantly surprised by the food options.


Ahh Seattle! Can I still Stick to My Keto Lifestyle?

Seattle is a city that leaves you in awe. The region is rich in culture, the arts, music, and history. I arrive and my eye catches the magnificent cityscape, the diverse markets, and the exceptional restaurants. I’m here on business, and I’m taking the opportunity to explore the cuisine of the local area of Pioneer Square. Delis, specialty markets, international, and the delightfully quirky. So much to do and so little time to do it. I’m so excited. Are you ready to enjoy some food? Let’s go!

Sunday, my first day. Super Bowl. I’m not very enthused about the Super Bowl this year. I’m about to butt hurt some people out there, but who cares. I don’t like the Patriots, and I certainly do not care for Tom Brady. You can throw at me all the stats, and winning records this team has accomplished. I don’t care! To see them in the Super Bowl once again, seems boring to me. However, it’s a terrific fortune that during sporting events there are meal and drink deals that wouldn’t normally be offered. Nachos and a Margarita for $5. Sliders and a beer around $6. Appetizer sampler platter $10. Anything to draw the crowd to their establishment. Is it a Keto rich environment? NO!! I don’t eat chips so Nachos are out. I don’t eat bread so sliders are out. The appetizer platter is filled with fried foods. You guessed it. I don’t eat that either. Heck, beer is out! That one hurts. Don’t despair my friends. I’m a pro. You can order tasty keto food in a bar. Have them make the nachos without the chips (this works the best if they’re loaded nachos), and bring in your own fried pork rinds and eat it as a dip. Yummy! Have the sliders wrapped in lettuce instead of the bun. Most stuffed mushrooms are totally acceptable. If the chicken wings aren’t battered or breaded, eat all the chicken wings you want.

After settling in at the hotel, I decided to venture out and find me an ideal bar food location. I went to Target first and got snacks and necessities for the room – heavy cream, butter, mineral water, chocolate almond milk for my protein shakes and these great snack packs with salami, cheese, almonds and a hardboiled egg. Walking back, I decided to take a detour from my route to get closer to the waterfront. Well, one block down. I was on the hunt for a sports bar. Well, no luck. The streets of Seattle are quiet. Coffee houses, shops and delis line the street. Then I stumbled upon a restaurant that had the game playing in the bar. It was Happy Hour. Perfect! Off I go. I got seated at the bar, and was greeted by a very nice and rather handsome bartender named James. We hit it off right away. No, I wasn’t flirting. He hates the Patriots too. However, he wasn’t perfect. He’s an Oakland Raiders and USC fan. The name of this little find is All Water. They had $2.50 oysters. I’ve had no interest in trying oysters. They just look like snot in a shell. Now that I’m blogging, I must try things I wouldn’t normally. Oysters are keto friendly and the price is right for my food per diem. I order it. The little guy arrives. I’m nervous. I’m unsure. Ugh. I really don’t want to do this. I put some of the red wine vinegar concoction on it, squeezed some juicy lemon on it and slurped it right up like a pro. Eek. Not my thing. It was briny and slimy. It was positively tangy with vinegar and citrus. I don’t know. Maybe prepared differently? I can say now I’ve tried an oyster. Thank you world for getting me out of my comfort zone.

I then order the buffalo chicken wings. I can’t go wrong with that. Really?! I was wrong. The wings came to my seat with luscious buffalo sauce, crispy and quite large for wings. A side of carrots and celery accompanied by ranch dressing. I picked one up and discovered these are not wings but tenders. Ugh! Tenders are breaded! Crap! I should’ve turned them away. But I didn’t. I ate them anyway. Now, if they were bold and tangy as a typical wing is, I would be like whatever and not worry about it. They were bland. No tang. No spice. The ranch was even a bit boring. This meal isn’t worth doing something outside keto for sure. I’m human. I was into the game, drinking my Pinot, which happened to be the best thing I had all night. It was smooth, had a nice mouth feel, and was surprisingly fruity. However, I mindlessly ate the “wings” anyway. I still think this was a great place. I saw a table with the most amazing looking salmon plate, the truffle fries were a fragrant wonder and happy hour prices do give anyone pause. I need to be more careful. I need to ask questions. That’s what is responsible for me to stay on track. I recommend doing what is right for you. If you are following a keto lifestyle, then you know you must be aware. What would you do? Would you have eaten them anyway? Do you think I should’ve returned them? Let me know. I want to hear from you. Until tomorrow’s new food adventure, adieu.

Delicious Keto Breakfast at Bella Bru

I just have to say, that sometimes it isn’t always easy to eat out and find keto friendly menu items. So many restaurants use sugar in their recipes or soybean oil for cooking. No thank you. However, there are those times where you find a gem of a place that blows your socks off.

A co-worker and I decided to go out to breakfast. I didn’t want to eat at the the usual place, so I went on the Google hunt for best breakfast places in Natomas. Several options came up. My co-worker doesn’t eat keto food but is a little picky. We looked at the breakfast menu for Bella Bru. The menu wasn’t extensive but appeared to have some nice options. My co-worker was cautiously optimistic when he saw chorizo breakfast burrito. Bell Bru had me at crab omelet.

We arrive and there was hardly anyone there for 8:30am. We were seated immediately and asked what we would like drink. I wanted coffee and to my surprise, they have heavy cream. Yes, heavy cream. You can have that on keto. My coffee came in a huge mug, piping hot and deliciously bold in flavor. This was no diner coffee. We ordered exactly what caught our eye on the menu. Me, the crab omelet, no potatoes or toast, side of sliced tomatoes and bacon. Keto rocks people! My co-worker ordered the chorizo breakfast burrito. Service was great. The atmosphere was pleasant and clean. So far so good.

Our meals arrived and they looked amazing. The burrito is stuffed thick with chorizo and light on the potatoes. It came with a side of fresh salsa and guacamole. It’s hard to find a breakfast burrito that has more meat than filling. My co-worker was in 7th heaven. Even full to the gills, he kept eating.

My omelet was the same, jammed packed with fresh crab. It had melted Fontina cheese, spinach, onions and a tomato relish. Oh my Gosh!! It was so fantastic. The eggs were fluffy and not overcooked. The cheese was balanced and perfectly melted. That tomato relish was divine. My only complaint would be that there wasn’t enough of that relish. I couldn’t be more pleased. It was a wonderful dining experience.

My hat’s off to the wait staff and chefs of Bella Bru. I will be back. You can count on it.

Hey, if you’ve eaten at Bella Bru or have insights to my post, please send me your comments.


Is Keto a Journey to Healthy?

KETO! Have you heard about it? Are you interested? Here’s my beginning.

Doesn’t It seem that more and more people are not happy with their bodies? Male and female. Being a woman, I can attest to the constant pressure of looking good. I come from the adage that men age gracefully and women just age. Why is that? I’ve seen plenty a man who looked older than their age and that’s far from graceful. However, I’ve seen men look really good for their age. It just seems there is more pressure to keep up our image. You have someone like Christy Brinkley who is 60 something and looks like she’s half her age. She claims it’s genetics and clean Vegan eating. OH, don’t forget exercise. How can I forget that?! It’s shoved down my throat with infomercials of exercise equipment and videos to change your body. The hype around cross fit, HITT and boot camps. I digress. Maybe that’s all true with Christy. Maybe she never shoots collagen or chemicals in her face or gone under the knife. Good for her! I on the other hand am not as lucky. I’ve struggled with my weight since the third grade. I was extremely active too and yet, that gosh darn scale gave me bad news day after day, year after year. I’ve gone from being really heavy to really thin. I can stand with the rest of the people out there that say, “I’ve tried it all and been there done that.” Haven’t we all heard that it’s our diet and our portions that make us gain/lose weight? Exercise more and eat less. Exercise less and eat even lesser than that. I know more people who have been on the dieting roller coaster than those who look fit and chiseled. I respect people who work hard on taking care of themselves. It’s important to take care of this temple (our body) that our Lord God has given us. Can I say this yelling without offending? WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BEEN SO HARD?!!!!!! Good grief. If I had every dollar that I spent on dieting gimmicks, gym memberships, exercise videos and equipment, I would have enough for retirement. Ok, maybe not that much but pretty darn close people. So what does a person do to lose weight and keep it off without eating dull, bland food, exercise until you collapse and spend every dollar in the bank? I honestly don’t think it exists. However, you can make changes and you have to find the right fit for you. Cliché? Yes, but it’s true. Since there isn’t any reason to write a drawn out, sad and pathetic past story of my insecurities over weight and bod image, here is my current story.

I’m 47 years old. Married with 2 teenage boys. I have a good job and even have a side business. I have great friends and my most precious friend of all is Jesus. Can’t do anything without Him. I’m active, no health issues, no aches and pains, my knees aren’t breaking down and my back isn’t messed up.  Overall, doing well and loving life. Except for one area. Can you guess what that is? You are too smart. Yes, it’s my body – my weight. I’ve tried to love my body. I don’t hate it as much as I used too. Thank God for that! Nevertheless, this nagging dislike for my body still lingers. Some days it doesn’t bother me. Then there are those days when you go to put something on for the day, and it feels tighter. I see rolls that I’m almost positive weren’t there the day before. Anyone picking up what I’m throwing down? Anyone?! Those are the days I wonder if I will ever be comfortable in my own skin, if I will be content and just be happy. The answer to that question for today is, no. I’m afraid if I become content I will give in and gain more weight. This is my thought process. This isn’t by any means to offend those who love themselves for who they are or what they look like. All power to you!! I wish I had that overcoming thought process over my own short sighted view of myself. For me, I want to get rid of the extra weight. I want to be in my golden years feeling light on my feet and fit as a fiddle. So I had to make a decision. What did I do? I did nothing. I couldn’t figure out what I needed. I had no clue what to do anymore. Maybe counseling. Maybe the waist trimmer I see pop up on Groupon. Another diet program! Nope, I couldn’t do it. I just refused to get sucked back into another diet/exercise scheme.

One day, while volunteering at my church café, this young lady asked me if we had heavy cream. She wanted a latte with heavy cream. My arties clogged up just hearing that. We didn’t have heavy cream but we had whole milk. She proceeds to tell me she needs the extra fat. This is a woman who was perfectly thin for her body and fit. I politely asked her why she needed the extra fat, I mean who wouldn’t. She said it was part of her keto lifestyle. Whaaaat?! I never heard of that. Keto? Inquiring minds wanted to know. The Keto lifestyle is one of high fat, moderate protein and very low carbs. Sounded like Atkins. I did the Atkins diest and lost some weight but I just craved bread too much. She ordered an Americano with a splash of whole milk and she went on her way. Never gave Keto another thought….until one day in Costco. My husband I were shopping and buying things we didn’t need (I know we aren’t the only ones who do that), and we saw this cookbook for the Ketogenics diet. BAM! It hit me in the head. That’s what the girl at the café was talking about. I grabbed the book, and was perusing the pages with awe and wonder. Ok, that’s a stretch, but I was pretty stoked to see bacon, avocado, eggs, red meat, fatty chicken, butter and so on. They even had Keto bread! I will talk about that another time. Not as good as you might hope. Anyway, my husband showed excitement that he can eat meat and fat and not cardboard and rice cakes. We decided right then and there we were going to buy the cookbook and change our lifestyle. It’s not cheap to change everything over to ketogenic friendly food. It cost us over $600 (this is what it cost us not that this would be the case for everyone) to switch out things like sugar with erythritol and Stevia glycerite; white flour with almond and coconut flour; soy sauce with coconut aminos. How about nutritional yeast? Do you know what that is? I hadn’t a clue. It’s hard to find (Amazon of course has it) and it’s not cheap. By the way, it’s a replacement for cheese if you are dairy sensitive or living the Vegan life. I like cheese better. I can have cheese on this diet. I don’t like calling it a diet. I refer to it as a new lifestyle of eating. My husband and I have enjoyed the yumminess of fatty ground beef, lamb, steaks, and bacon. This goes against so much brainwashing we’ve endured that saturated fats are bad for us. Well, when eaten with carbs and sugars it is bad for you. The point of this is to burn fat for energy instead of sugar. When you are so accustomed to eating refined sugars and flours, potatoes and fruit, eating heavier fat foods seems odd. I totally get it. The truth of the matter is, we don’t need any of that stuff. It doesn’t damage your heart; it won’t shut down our kidneys and it won’t turn your liver into a permanent storage room for fat. I’ve been eating the Keto way for almost a year. I’ve lost 25 pounds and all I do for exercise is 2 days of strength training for only a half hour and walking/running. This isn’t a quick weight loss plan. This is truly a lifestyle. If you choose to go this route, do your homework. Be prepared to change a lot of things in your eating habits. Get used to eating fatty foods and not freak out about it. It takes some getting used to, but I can honestly say, it’s well worth it. The journey to be continued. If you want to know more, please comment below or email me at

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