One Cheesy Event: The Chef’s Homage to Fromage

For the first time ever, Chef Alexander has conceived a prix-fixe event that revolves around rounds of cheese.  And, the dishes he is presenting span a wide range of cuisines. . .Italian, French, Belgian, Indian, Greek and more.  Join us from April 21 to 26 for a four-course (with choices) prix-fixe triumph, Chef Alexander’s Homage to Fromage.  Cost is $59.95++ per person; call 530-823-0320 for reservations (recommended!!) or go online to www.opentable.com.

Next Monday I’ll be sending out a course-by-course description, but you can review the full menu on the Carpe Vino web site.  Some highlights:  Indian Paneer Pakoras (say what?) and Buttermilk Fried “Chicken Cordon Blue,” (oh mon dieu!).  For dessert, how does Brie and White Chocolate Cheesecake sound?

Though it seems impossible, fabulous new themes and amazing food continues to flood out of our tiny kitchen.

Tables of 5+ Must Now be Secured With Credit Card

When it comes to seating capacity, Carpe Vino is a Mini Cooper of a restaurant.  We have just 34 seats, which makes for an intimate dining experience.  That’s great. . .as long as everyone with a reservation fulfills their commitment and shows up.

And all too often, that’s just not happening.

On a recent Friday night the restaurant was fully booked, forcing us to turn away a number of walk-in customers.  That evening, we had a table of five and a table of six both cancel a half hour before their reservation times.  As a result, we lost nearly one-third of our seating capacity and took a major hit on revenue for the evening (as did our service staff).

We understand that issues come up and people are forced to change their plans, but when a reservation is made, it is in essence a contract.  We agree to make sure seating is reserved exclusively for customers at the time they request in exchange for their commitment to appear as promised.  It’s quid-pro-quo, except when our guests don’t show and we’re left holding an empty bag.

So, starting May 1, we will request a credit card number to secure all reservations for parties of five or more.  If customers cancel on the day of their reservation, $25 per person will be charged against the card.  This modest levy will help cover our fixed costs and help limit potential losses.

This policy will not apply to parties of four or less.  Reservations may be cancelled the day before without issue.

Actually, this is the last thing we want to do, but we really don’t have any options other than to continue to put our business at risk.  We genuinely appreciate the legion of customers who always fulfill their reservations; for them, this policy is of no consequence.

We’d welcome your feedback.  Thanks!

Placer Food Bank is “Our Big Day of Giving” Recipient

Big Day of GivingFor the second year since the program’s inception, Carpe Vino is joining with the Placer County Community Foundation to participate in a very special event:  On May 5, for 24 hours only, everyone everywhere is invited to make a cash contribution to the non-profit of their choice. It’s all about 24 hours of giving where you live through the web site, www.GiveLocalNow.org.

Last year, the program received nearly 19,000 contributions totaling more than $3 million in the Sacramento region.  Carpe Vino’s selected charity, the Auburn Interfaith Food Closet, raised nearly $10,000.  We started the ball rolling with a $500 contribution, and we asked our customers to consider donating to this very worthwhile, food-based cause that helps solve a significant problem:  hunger in our community.

This year our charity is the Placer Food Bank, and we’re donating $500 on May 5.  We’re inviting our customers to join us by going to www.GiveLocalNow.org and direct your contribution to the Placer Food Bank or your own favorite charity.  It’s up to you, but the main thing is to simply contribute.

We really love this idea because the big winners are the non-profits serving our community.  No golf tournaments, no galas, no “feeds” to get in the way and dilute the impact of money raised.  And the best reason is there is no reason at all except pure, unadulterated giving.

We hope you join us again this year and help make our region a better place for everyone.



Next Prix-Fixe: Chef Alexander’s Homage du Fromage


It’s commonly accepted that adding bacon to anything makes it better.  Coming in a close second is the theorem that adding cheese to anything makes it better.

Prix-fixe fans will get a chance to find out for themselves with Carpe Vino’s next event, “Chef Alexander’s Homage du Fromage”, April 21 to 26. No fondue, no cheese plates, but you won’t believe how our resident guru creatively incorporates cheese into four courses (with choices).

Still just $59.95 ++ per person.  Call 530-823-0320 or go to www.opentable.com now to make reservations. . .or take your chances and wait until the menu is announced (and posted online) next week.  I’ll be doing a dish-by-dish rundown soon!


Opening Day at Wrigley Means Chicago Dogs Tonight

It’s been 15 years since the Moffats moved to Auburn from Chicago, and while I still really love my hometown, it’s firmly locked in my rearview mirror.  There is one time of year that makes me misty, though. . .the first crack of the bat every April at my beloved Wrigley Field.

Now would be time for Giants fans to start with the “three-rings” tirade and taunts about the Cubs never making it to the big dance in October.  Sorry, I can’t hear you. . .nah, nah, nah, nah.  Actually, I’m over the Cubs after a lifetime of institutionalized disappointment, broken childhood dreams and a parade of heroes who all too often choked when it counted.

While Wrigley Field prevails in my mind as the pre-eminent shrine to small ball, the new owners have done the unimaginable:  installed a Jumbotron above the left field bleachers, one of many “improvements” to the venerable ball yard being made in an effort to drive more revenue.  With the aim of helping finance the fielding of a winning team, much of the building is being renovated and expanded. . .making purists like me cringe.  It was inevitable, and I get it, but my interest in making another pilgrimage to the Friendly Confines has diminished significantly. . .

. . .but Carpe Vino’s annual tribute to Opening Day continues unabated with this week’s return of Chicago Hot Dogs, running Tuesday night through April 12, or for as along as our supply of 20 dozen tube steaks lasts.  This is a significant increase in our order of raw dogs, resulting—we pray—in fewer irate customers this year.  In 2014, Chi-town dogs were 86’d after just a couple of evenings, and, boy, did we hear about it.

Wrigley Field

The pristine skyline lakefront view from the stands at Wrigley is forever scarred thanks to the installation of a Jumbotron above the left field bleachers. First lights, now this. . .how many sacrileges must we endure?

For the uninitiated, here’s what distinguishes a Chicago Hot Dog (the best ones are served at little mom & pop stands near Wrigley; the ones in the park, not so much): It all starts with essential raw materials imported from the City of the Big Shoulders:  S. Rosen poppy seed buns, steamed before serving; all-beef Vienna brand hot dogs; neon green relish; sport peppers; dill pickle spear; tomato, onion and yellow mustard (French’s is traditional).  The secret ingredient is celery salt (plus Chef Alexander’s expertise); the poppy seed bun is essential.  Ask for ketchup and you earn a Pete Rose-style lifetime ban from Carpe Vino.

Served with French fries, these puppies are priced at $8 each or two for $14 (absolutely worth it).  Available in the bar only and at dinner only.  First come, first served.  Please do not request that we reserve dogs for you!

I can’t wait!

(BTW, despite the new fan mantra of “It’s Gonna Happen,” the Cubs dropped their home opener Sunday in a 3-0 loss against the St. Louis Cardinals. . .not exactly the fast track to ending Chicago’s 107-year World Series drought.)


More information
Carpe Vino (Find Us) 1568 Lincoln Way Auburn, CA 95603
Phone Number: 530-823-0320
Get Directions to Carpe Vino
Bar & Restaurant Hours Tuesday - Saturday
4:00pm - 10:00 p.m.
Closed: Sunday and Monday
Dining Room Hours Tuesday - Saturday
5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Closed: Sunday and Monday
Make A Reservation Guests must be 21 years of age or older.
Reservations are suggested for preferred seating, especially on weekends.