Hello From The Road: Chef Larry Checks-in

Many of you met and spent time with Chef Larry during his time at WhitehallLane Winery. After fives years at the winery, he and his wife decided to retire and move to the East Coast. As many friends and club members have asked about Chef Larry, we decided to let him tell you in his own words. Chef Larry will write an occasional blog to let us know how he is doing. His first few blogs will cover his journey across the country, surrounded in food and wine! Please enjoy his first blog.


In the Beginning . . . .

“You’re leaving Napa to move to South Carolina, REALLY?”

It was a grey morning in Napa but the heat was coming. We packed the car and drove off, we had already said our goodbye’s, so no tears and no waves goodbye. It felt a little surreal as we drove away, but off went to begin a new season in our lives. Only five weeks earlier I had retired from my job followed by a heart procedure the next day (how cliché!), followed by another procedure only two weeks later. Although I knew I would miss my job as Executive Chef and the people I worked with, this was all very exciting! My wife, Joan, also just left her job of 5 years and was also going to miss the companionship of her co-workers. The first leg of our trip was a 5 ½ hour drive down Hwy 5 to Bakersfield. What to do in Bakersfield? We found the little Greek restaurant that we had seen on the Food Channel, Althena’s Greek Café. They feature amazing Cabbage Rolls in Lemon Sauce and are run by a really nice family. We took some Spanakopita back to our hotel and enjoyed it with a glass of Whitehall Lane Sauvignon Blanc. This was the perfect finish to a 95 degree day. The next morning, we continued our journey to Henderson, Nevada, to see my son, Mike and his wife. We haven’t seen each other in a long time, so we were all looking forward to the visit. As usual, it was a hot, windy drive through the desert. We were only going to be here a few days so I jumped right into the kitchen. We started with one of Mike’s creations, Bacon Brittle – bacon baked into a sweet and spicy brittle mix. No calories here! We then started on pizza dough, sauce and some meatballs. As it was a warm day, I made a dough that we could throw on the grill. I made a side dish for the pizza, a green salad with my famous (yet incredibly simple) Dijon Shallot Vinaigrette. The final and crucial part of the meal was the Whitehall Lane 2012 Las Brisas Pinot Noir, perfect! We finished off with some Almond Anise Biscotti and more Pinot Noir! The next day, we roasted a turkey breast to pair with 2013 Pinot Noir. After a few days of eating and drinking and spending time with my son, it was time to move on. Next stop: Flagstaff, Arizona.

Ok, I’ll give you the Vinaigrette recipe!

1 Shallot, minced (small shallot, about 1½ T.)

1 T. Dijon mustard

3 T. Champagne or White Wine Vinegar

2 T. Fresh lemon juice

7 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Pinch of Herbes de Provence

Salt & Pepper to taste

Add all the ingredients except the olive oil into a mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until fully emulsified. If you are interested, my favorite salad mix is butter and red leaf lettuce with a little fresh fruit and avocado.