Whet your appetite for great food-and-drink weekend trips, from cheese to craft beer with our list of the top Western destinations.
Tomales Bay, CA
Oysters: Tomales Bay, CA
Just under an hour north of the city lies Point Reyes, a gorgeous seashore that also boasts the Bay Area's lauded oysters. At Tomales Bay Oyster Company, you bring the sides, the drinks and the appetite; they supply picnic supplies, hot sauce, and some of the best oysters you can find.
Fort Collins, CO
Beer: Fort Collins, CO
We said what everyone else says after they first taste New Belgium Brewing's La Folie: This isn't beer! The Flemish-style sour ale, squeezed out in small batches year-round, is aged for up to three years in French oak. The result: an intensely tart brew with a long-lasting dry fruity finish. So much better than beer.
Best time to go: April, for refreshing sour beer and spring skiing.
Beer: Bend, OR
Don't let the skull and crossbones fool you. Up-and-comer Boneyard Beer kegs some of the most balanced beers in the West.
Blog Posts by Sunset Magazine
Whet your appetite for great food-and-drink weekend trips, from cheese to craft beer with our list of the top Western destinations.Read More »from Top 15 Foodie Weekends
Whether you're cooking for your sweetheart on Valentine's Day or dining out, we've compiled a list of some of the West's best wines and perfect pairings that will be sure to impress the apple of your eye on the year's most romantic day.Read More »from 12 Varieties of Wine and Pairings
Sauvignon Blanc: crisp and refreshing
Taste: Tart lemon, grapefruit, melon, and tropicals like passionfruit over a pleasant grassiness and herbal quality.
Pair with: Cheeses, green vegetables, oysters, delicate fish, fresh herbs, mild vinaigrettes, dishes with tangy dairy, pesto.
Try it with: Roasted Artichoke Salad with Lemon and Mint
Cabernet Sauvignon: the king of reds
Taste: Plums, blackberries, and black currant; sometimes violets or rose petals, and often mint, mocha, and eucalyptus or cedar; strong tannins underneath.
Pair with: Well-marbled beef, hearty fowl, spice rubs and sauces, marinades with soy sauce, long-braised stews, pot roast, grilled red meat.
Chardonnay: rich and complex white
Taste: Green apple, pear, melon, creamy lemon, and
Here are 10 of the tastiest, most versatile ingredients from the eastern Mediterranean, plus easy ways to work them into your repertoire.Read More »from 10 Essential Mediterranean Ingredients
Think yogurt is just sweetened snack cups? The plain full-fat stuff has a beautiful tang and creaminess, and is a revelation as an ingredient
Get: At any grocery story
Try: Add a little salt and mint for a sauce for vegetables or grilled meat. Drain so it's thick and satiny, and you've got labneh. Mix with olive oil and garlic and toss with pasta, or serve with bread for dunking.
Labneh recipe: Line a strainer with cheesecloth and spoon in 32 oz. plain whole-milk Greek yogurt. Set over a deep bowl, cover, and chill 7 to 24 hours to drain. Makes 3 cups. Keeps, chilled, up to 1 week.
A fruity, mildly hot crushed chile with a hint of smokiness. Grown in Syria and Turkey, it's reminiscent of Mexican ancho chile (a good sub).
Get: At gourmet grocery stores
Try: Toss with seafood, ground meat, even fruit salad.
Mint is an herb that wears many hats. It not only delivers a perfect pop of flavor in both sweet and savory dishes but garnishes beautifully in a myriad of different drinks. Do you know your way around this refreshing and easy-to-grow herb? Here are 6 of our favorite varieties.Read More »from 6 Great Mints to Grow
Chocolate: Tastes like a peppermint patty.
It's fun to nibble and good for warm tea-or added to ice cream.
Curly: Has a pleasant fragrance.
The texture is a bit rough for eating, but it's a fun garnish for cold drinks and berried desserts.
Kentucky Colonel: Mild fruity-spearmint flavor.
The Kentucky Colonel is the traditional choice for mojitos and mint julep. It's also good added to lemonade or iced tea for a doubly cool and refreshing kick.
Egyptian: Strong spearmint and fruit fragrance
Egyptian is a good choice for savory dishes like tabbouleh or raita (Indian yogurt salad).
Habek: Musky and rather savory fragrance.
Habek is the ultimate companion to iced tea.
Moroccan: Contains elements of both
Save time with these easy sandwich recipes, perfect for a delicious breakfast, lunch, or dinner.Read More »from 10 Fast and Fresh Sandwich Recipes
Almond Butter and Smashed Berry Sandwich
1/4 cup fresh or thawed frozen blackberries
1/4 cup fresh or thawed frozen blueberries
1 teaspoon honey
2 whole-wheat English muffins, split
2 tablespoons almond butter
Pinch of kosher salt
Smash berries with honey in a small bowl, using a fork.
Toast muffins, then spread each half with almond butter. Sprinkle lightly with the salt.
Transfer berries to muffin bottoms, using a slotted spoon. Set muffin tops in place.
Bunk's Oregon Albacore Tuna Salad
2 cans (5 oz. each) local sustainable albacore tuna
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Mix all ingredients together and serve on toasted whole-wheat bread.
Smoked Salmon Bagel
1 pumpernickel or plain bagel (6 oz.)
2 tablespoons chive cream cheese
1/3 cup thinly
How to build your valentine vocabulary―and jump-start your eveningRead More »from A Lover's Guide to Wine
Aromatic, flamboyant Albariño
Aphrodite had her tools―apples, pomegranates, and a mythical girdle that, legend has it, made her irresistible to men. We reject the girdle in favor of a glass of wine with seductive edibles. A half-dozen oysters, a few almonds, some spicy chiles, and a racy bottle of Western white.
Have a Latin fling
Get cozy with the West's new wave of flamboyantly aromatic, thoroughly romantic Latin grapes. Don't be surprised if you fall in love―especially when you pair them with these aphrodisiac foods.
Almond cake and late-harvest wine
Almonds in ancient Arabian baking might have fueled The Thousand
and One Nights, but we'll settle for just one night and just one pastry: an Italian Almond Cake from Pacific Sourdough company on the Oregon coast ($25; almondcake.com)
Pair it with a wine that, as food editor Margo True says, "puts both arms around the cake"―Beringer's honeyed "Nightingale," a 2005
The sweet potato is an essential flavor of winter. Get delicious ideas for soups, sides, and dessert.Read More »from 5 Sweet Potato Recipes
Sweet Potato Soup with Prosciutto Crisps
Served in demitasse cups, this sophisticated little soup makes an easy-to-handle big-party hors d'oeuvre. For a purely vegetarian soup, garnish with chopped chives.
Recipe: Sweet Potato Soup with Prosciutto Crisps
Marmalade- and Ginger-glazed Sweet Potatoes
This simple recipe highlights the sweet potato's bright flavor with hits of orange and ginger.
Recipe: Marmalade- and Ginger-glazed Sweet Potatoes
Roasted Sweet-Potato Cheesecake with Maple Cream
This prize-winning recipe from a Sunset reader is one of our absolute favorites, creamy and moist, with just the right amount of sweetness, this dessert will wow your guests.
Recipe: Roasted Sweet-Potato Cheesecake with Maple Cream
Sweet-Potato Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Spinach
This spectacular main dish will impress discerning vegetarians and omnivores alike.
Recipe: Sweet-Potato Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Spinach
Sweet Potato-Parsnip Latkes
These latkes feature sweet potatoes, parsnips, and shallots making them ideal for Hanukkah celebrations.
From the culturally-diverse West, flavorful comfort foods to perfectly match your mood.Read More »from Multicultural Comfort Foods
Photo: Annabelle Breakey
Creamy Pumpkin Seed and Green Chile Posole
A puréed salsa made with roasted pumpkin seeds helps give this posole a rich flavor and chowder-like texture.
1 large yellow onion, cut into wedges
3 large poblano chiles
1 serrano chile
1 1/2 pounds tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed
4 unpeeled garlic cloves
2 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
About 1 cup salted, roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas), divided
2 cans (29 oz. each) white hominy, rinsed and drained
5 to 6 cups vegetable broth
About 5 tsp. dried Mexican oregano, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 large zucchini, cut into large dice
Accompaniments: corn tortillas, cilantro leaves, thinly sliced green onions, and crumbled cotija cheese
Preheat broiler with oven rack 3 in. from heat. Set yellow onion, poblanos, serrano, tomatillos, and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil, turning, until vegetables are