Just 20 Lamb Dinners Up for Grabs This Thursday

Circa July 2014 from World Cup Party!

Our dynamic duo supplied 100%-grass fed young, whole lambs for a private party over the weekend, and it is our good fortune that a limited amount was made available to Carpe Vino.  Chef is wood-roasting this USDA-certified meat at the Friendly Confines for dinner service on Thursday, July 2.

This is a very special opportunity, because we seldom go off-menu.  And since we have just 20 dinners available for purchase, you must make reservations (phone only, 530-823-0320) and guarantee your spot with a credit card:  $49.95++ per person.  Sorry, but “no-shows” will be billed 50% for each person.

With this delicious menu, we anticipate everyone will arrive precisely on time!

First Course:  Heirloom Tomato Salad with Purslane, Shaved Cucumber, Feta, and Za’atar Flatbread.

Main Course (served family style):  Carved Wood roasted lamb with Harissa (a fiery, North African chile paste) and Charmoula (an herb sauce made from parsley and cilantro); Sautéed summer squash with garlic, mint, and lemon breadcrumbs; Freekeh with arugula, barberries, roasted onion, and yogurt.  (FYI. . .Freekeh is a whole green wheat kernel similar to a wheat berry.  Barberries are a dried fruit used commonly in Iran and have a tart flavor.)

Desert Course (choice of one):
Orange Blossom Meringue, Coffee and Cardamom Soaked Dates, Toasted Almonds.
Chocolate Ganache Cake, Caramel Plum Ice Cream, Caramelized Cacao Nibs.
Peach Profiteroles, Late Harvest Viognier Ice Cream, Caramel-Stewed Peaches

Attention:  Customers who have already made reservations for Thursday.  If you would like to order the lamb dinner, please call 530-823-0320 and let us know!  We cannot make any guarantees without confirmation.  Thanks!

Next Bar Special: Southern Comfort Shrimp & Grits



Circa August 2011 from “Southern Hospitality” Prix-Fixe.
Low-Country Shrimp and Grits, Andouille Gravy
IPhone picture quality has come a long way!


Next up in our monthly series of weeklong, bar-only specials is “Southern Comfort Shrimp & Grits,” a stunning dish available exclusively from July 7 to 12.  Relax. . .this is comfort food, sans any alcohol!

The basis of this classic, below-the-Mason-Dixon-Line dish is grits:  a southern staple of dried, ground corn cooked into a creamy porridge.  Chef Alexander is going local here, with grits sourced from Grass Valley Grains.  Chef’s grits are nice and creamy, topped with sautéed Louisiana Gulf Coast shrimp, Andouille sausage and the trinity of Cajun cooking—onions, celery and green pepper.

You’re gonna love this. . .we Garruntee!  Just 10 bucks, bar-only!

For Every $100 Spent on July 3rd, Earn $20 Gift Card



If you are planning a party this weekend, or just want a night out of the heat before the July 4th festivities, there’s no better day to visit Carpe Vino than July 3.  That’s because for every $100 you spend that day—in the wine shop, restaurant or online—you’ll earn a $20 gift card for use on a future visit.  There are some caveats, of course.

First, you must spend in full increments of $100.  Spend $200, earn a $40 gift card; spending $300 yields a $60 gift card; spend $399, you still earn a $60 gift card. . .get it?

This promotion is for Wine Club members only, and you must present the postcard sent to you in the mail at time of purchase, one purchase only.  Not valid for the purchase of gift cards.  For this promotion we are accepting cash, debit or credit cards only.

Do the math:  this is equivalent to earning a 20% discount when you shop or dine at Carpe Vino. . .or purchase online.  Pretty smokin’ deal, so stop by and stock up for your July 4th BBQ and for the entire summer!

Cailey Wilson: Out Front and Unflappable

Cailey Wilson


Next in our continuing series of staff profiles is Cailey Wilson, someone with whom regulars will be very familiar as a welcoming personality in Carpe Vino’s front of the house.  We asked her 18 questions. . .

1.  Position and start date:  Server and shift supervisor, April, 2014

2.  Birthplace:  In Lincoln, California at our former house on 5th street.  Our midwife was driving from Grass Valley and didn’t make it to our house in time, so my dad delivered me.

3.  Family: Are you married, engaged, children. . .?  No/no/no

4.  How did you get started in the hospitality business; where else have your worked?  In 2005 I moved to Arizona.  My high school sweetheart got a full ride playing football for U of A.  The coaches got me a job as a hostess for Metro Restaurants. The rest is history.

5.  College or formal hospitality training:  Junior college at Butte and Sierra College and 10 years in hospitality, which includes being a hostess, server, trainer, seven years as a full service bartender and now a manager.

6.  The part of your job you like best:  My guests, of course!

7.  If you ran this joint, what would you change?  I would like to inform the staff on a weekly basis of new wine that is coming in. What it is, who makes it, taste it, ect…

8.  The book on your nightstand is:  “The Sound and the Fury” by William Faulkner, “The Looking Glass Wars” by Frank Beddor, “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis.

9.  What do you do for fun?  Are you involved in any sports?  I love football (49ers) and baseball (Giants) games.  I participate in a 10K trail race once a month, and I have a vegetable garden.  I also like to play pool.

10.  What’s your passion?  Hospitality…I truly love creating an amazing experience for my guests.  Every time I have considered doing anything else with my life, I revert right back to furthering my experience in what I love instead.

11.  In five years, I’ll be. . .:   Still working in a restaurant. Have my 1st level Sommelier certificate, worked at a winery to learn the process first hand, and get married. . .maybe have a baby.

12.  Favorite Carpe Vino dish:  That’s a hard question. . .the pork chop, but I have so many.

13.  Favorite restaurant, other than Carpe Vino:  Sushi in the Raw in Nevada City

14:  Favorite wine:  All wine is my favorite :) but I prefer Italian wines.

15:  What would we be surprised to learn about you?  When I went to college I wanted to become a midwife.

16.  What do you like best about living in the Foothills?  The outdoors and the people.

17.  What one quality of yours do you think makes you most successful at your job?

For the most part, I genuinely like people.  I also really enjoy the challenge of pressured multitasking.

18.  Who in the whole world inspires you most and why?  I am very blessed to have amazing parents and step parents. None of us are rich, but they have instilled the value of hard work and common sense. In a world where neither seem to be so common anymore, this gift is priceless.

Marriage Proposal Wasn’t on Prix-Fixe Menu

Chef Alexander’s “At the Crossroads of Culture” prix-fixe event came out of the box strong last night with 55 diners enjoying “The Cuisine of the Holy Land,” an inventive and unusual first-time menu.  Beyond stellar food, what really made the night special was a pre-dessert surprise at Table 10 (in the window).

That’s when Stanton Miller of Grass Valley popped the question to his beloved partner of eight years, Sharon Connor.   When our Cailey Wilson brought out the Rosewater Malabi and Orange Blossom Meringue, a diamond ring materialized and Stanton pitched Sharon on the notion of facing eternity together.

Sharon Connor and Stanton Miller

Sharon Connor and Stanton Miller embrace after she said “yes” at Carpe Vino on Tuesday evening.

No decision on a date or whether or not Sharon intends to hyphenate her name, but they are already united in their Carpe Vino Wine Club membership. The pair connected through E-Harmony.com (bet they both checked the “wine” and “dining out” boxes), and our joint is their favorite place to nosh.

“Crossroads” continues through Sunday, with our usual proposition of four courses with choices for $59.95. Click here for the full menu; to make reservations, please call 530-823-0320 or go to www.opentable.com.

As a final note, Sunday evening I watched “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” on CNN, and Beirut was the featured locale. I bring this up because of proximity of this battle-torn country to the Holy Land. To paraphrase Tony, he described the place thusly: “There are two million Christians, 1.5 million Sunnis, 1.5 Shiites and two million Syrian refugees, all living together in a place the size of Connecticut. Some pray on Friday and some pray on Sunday, but they all eat at the same restaurants.”

With a different mix of religions and peoples, this is a direct analogy to what you can expect from our menu this week.




“Crossroads of Culture” Prix-Fixe a ticket to Jerusalem

Chef Eric AlexanderOver the last decade, I have taken inspiration from the Middle East and tried to highlight the incredible array of flavors wherever I could.  From our selection of dips with flatbread to the Moroccan lamb meatballs, the bold spices and fresh flavors of the region have had permanent homes on the Carpe Vino menu.  Finally, we now have the opportunity to showcase this cuisine and delve deeper into the food that fueled the “cradle of civilization”.  The Middle East has one city that truly has become the melting pot of all the different cultures and the food that they eat. Jerusalem:  North African, Arab, Jewish, and European cultures all have homes in this city.

In recent years, the popularity of this food and its ingredients has increased in America and all over the world. Much of this rise can be credited to London’s Yotam Ottellenghi with his best selling cookbooks Plenty, Plenty More, and of course, Jerusalem.  I would be lying if I said much of my inspiration for this menu didn’t come from his books.  With our Crossroads of Culture prix-fixe menu, we will be showcasing classic Jerusalem dishes as well as ingredients from the entire region. Enjoy!  –Chef Eric Alexander

First Course (choice of one):

Tuna Kibbeh Nayyeh:  Classically, a kibbeh is a mix of ground meat with onions, herbs, spices, and bulgur wheat which is shaped into ovals, skewered  and grilled. A kibbeh nayyeh is the same mixture served raw.  We have substituted the usual lamb for diced sushi grade Ahi tuna, mixed with the bulgur, mint, parsley, spices, and chile.  It is basically a Middle Eastern Tuna Tartare.  Garnished with Labne, a yogurt cheese, and crispy fried flatbread.

Dungeness Crab Falafel:  The ultimate Middle Eastern  street food. Ground chickpeas mixed with  parsley, cilantro, cumin, coriander, scallions, and garlic. Rolled into balls with sesame seeds and deep fried. We are making our version
A little bit more luxurious by adding fresh picked Dungeness crab to the mix. While most versions are served in a pita pocket with several toppings and sauces, ours will be plated with homemade hummus, a salad of shaved farmers market cucumbers, tomatoes, and herbs. Finally a drizzle of tahini sauce made from sesame paste, garlic, and lemon juice.

Farm Egg Shakshuka:  This dish may have originated in Tunisia, but the people of Jerusalem enjoy it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  A dish of eggs poached in a mixture of tomatoes and peppers. We start with a cast iron skillet layered with a sauce of tomatoes, roasted red peppers and red chiles.  A farm egg is cracked into the mix along with roasted artichokes and then baked in the oven until the egg is cooked but the yolk still runny.  Served in the skillet and garnished with sheep’s milk feta, cilantro and grilled bread.

Second Course (choice of one):

Fattoush:  An Arab chopped salad featuring the freshest vegetables possible. Tomato, cucumber, radish, scallion, mint and purslane are diced and mixed with fried pieces of pita bread, olive oil, lemon juice, and sumac.  Purslane is a green weed that grows wildly all over the Mediterranean and here in California.  It has a citrusy flavor and great texture. The pursulae is sourced from Chef Alexander’s Mt. Vernon Rd. farm where it grows between the row crops.

Charred Eggplant Soup:  Chefs in the Middle East know the best way to coax flavor from eggplant is to first char it over hot flames to give it that wonderful smokiness.  From simple eggplant salads to the classic baba ganoush, this technique is used most frequently.  Our pureed eggplant soup is no different.  First, we char the eggplants and scoop out the flesh. Combined with onions, roasted garlic, tomato, stock, and ras al hanout, it is simmered until the flavors meld and then pureed. Ras al hanout is a North African spice mix that varies depending on the person mixing.  All spice blenders will have their own recipe, but most include cumin, coriander, cinnamon, peppercorns, allspice and clove.  The soup is garnished with argan oil, made from the Moroccan argan tree. Argan oil has a nutty, slightly smoky flavor.

Main Course (choice of one):

Zaatar Crusted Swordfish:  Wild California swordfish is crusted in zaatar, a spice mix comprised of dried thyme, sesame seeds and sumac.  It is pan-roasted and served with sautéed sweet corn, cherry tomatoes and green chickpeas. . .the fresh version of the most commonly used dried varieties. Finally, the dish is finished with a butter sauce prepared with harissa, a spicy condiment made from red chiles, tomato, garlic, cumin, coriander and caraway.

Saffron-Roasted Petaluma Chicken:  Organic chicken thighs are marinated with saffron, lemon, onion and spices and roasted until golden brown. They are served with a mix of freekeh, charred summer squash, and barberries. Freekeh is a whole green wheat kernel similar to a wheat berry.  Barberries are a dried fruit used commonly in Iran and have a tart flavor. The dish is finished with zhoug, a spicy Yemenese condiment made from fresh parsley, cilantro, green chiles, and spices.

Grilled Lamb “Shawarma”:  A preparation featuring large pieces of meat marinated and then grilled over a hot fire.  The meat is then shaved and served with flatbread and various condiments. It is similar to Greek Gyros. Our lamb dish is inspired by shawarma: the whole lamb shoulder is marinated in similar spices and grilled over wood. . .but that is where the similarities end.  Our marinated and grilled lamb is sliced and served with mejadra, a classic Jerusalem dish of lentils cooked with rice, spices and fried onions. Also on the plate will be a sweet and sour eggplant jam made with onions, tomatoes, pomegranate molasses and vinegar.  A spoonful of yogurt and cilantro finish the dish.

Dessert Course (choice of one):

Rosewater Malabi:  A malabi is a thick sweet cream pudding flavored with rosewater, and similar to the Italian panna cotta. Our version will be set in a glass mason jar and layered with fresh raspberry puree, toasted coconut and pistachio

Orange Blossom Meringue:  A classic egg white meringue cookie flavored with orange blossom water served with fresh Medjool dates poached in a coffee sugar syrup scented with cardamom. Garnished with toasted slivered almonds.









Chef Alexander on INSTAGRAM


CHEF ALEXANDER is HEATING IT UP…not only in the kitchen but on INSTAGRAM.  If you aren’t a FOLLOWER yet of #CARPEVINOAUBURN…swipe right and download the APP.  Every week CV will be posting PULITZER PRIZE QUALITY IMAGES (okay maybe a stretch) of some of the new dishes, classic dishes, fun ingredients and/or whatever comes to MIND.  If your MOUTH ISN’T WATERING yet…then in true #CARPEVINOAUBURN fashion…we will find something down the road that does!

COMING UP NEXT WEEK is our newest installment of our PRIX-FIXE series called “At the Crossroads of Culture” inspired by the cuisine of the HOLY LAND.  FOLKS…this dinner is going to be LEGIT…definitely one of the MOST CHALLENGING but EXCITING meals to be prepared by Chef Alexander!  Everything from the planning of the menu, SPECIAL ORDERING ingredients to execution of plating takes an INCREDIBLE TEAM & LEADER in that CV Kitchen.  This will be ONE FOR THE AGES and I hope you will take the time to enjoy it with us!


Tonight's Menu

At the Crossroads of Culture

Any Tables?

Drew, gary & the CV Crew


Jay Johnstone: Sales Manager & Resident Rebel

This is our second in a series of profiles of Carpe Vino staffers.  Here’s what you didn’t know about the folks of the Friendly Confines. . .


1.  Position and start date:  Sales Manager, November 28, 2012

2.  Birthplace: Sacramento, CA

3.  Family: Are you married, engaged, children. . .?  Engaged to Wendi Wilson; no kids; I’m the youngest of six kids with 13 nieces and nephews.

4.  How did you get started in the hospitality business; where else have your worked?  My first gig was a dishwasher in high school, and I have worked my way through the restaurant industry for 20 years as busser, server, bartender and manager before selling wine for a living .  Last job was Food & Beverage/Wine Director for Citizen Hotel and Grange Restaurant in Sac.

5.  College or formal hospitality training:  Attended both San Diego State and Sac State for business. Currently Level One Certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers and will take Level Two Certification this fall.

6.  The part of your job you like best: I love wine and found a niche where I can work with something I enjoy.

7.  If you ran this joint, what would you change? I would turn the Wine Mine into a cellar…we’d lose some dining space but it would look cool.

8.  The book on your nightstand is: Of course it’s the Wine Bible.

9.  What do you do for fun?  Are you involved in any sports?  If I could, I’d play golf for a living. . .I’ve been playing since I was six; played on my high school and junior college teams and once sported a 4 handicap.

10.  What’s your passion? Wine and Golf

11.  In five years, I’ll be. . .:  Vice President of Sales for the Carpe Vino sales force.

12.  Favorite Carpe Vino dish: Definitely the “noosh” (inside joke), but my favorite entrée is the duck when available.

13.  Favorite restaurant, other than Carpe Vino: Lou’s Sushi in Sacramento where we eat once a week.

14:  Favorite wine:  In general it’s definitely cabernet sauvignon but right now I really like the 2012 Linne Calodo “The Outsider” Red from San Luis Obispo.

15:  What would we be surprised to learn about you?  I am a Civil War Re-enactor and I’ve skydived twice.

16.  What do you like best about living in the Foothills?  I live in Sacramento right now but if I did it would be the proximity to enjoy outdoor activities and Tahoe.

17.  What one quality of yours do you think makes you most successful at your job? Integrity, defined as adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

18.  Who in the whole world inspires you most and why? No one person in particular I suppose but I aspire to be the best that I can be in love, work, and life so at the end of the day I can say to myself, “I did it the right with no regrets”.

For Our Story in Pictures, Follow Us on Instagram

instagramlogo.154157You’re reading this email, so you’ll probably agree that as marketers of wine, we do a fairly decent job at Carpe Vino. . .at least when it comes to more traditional forms of promotion through opt-in emails (like this one) and through our content-rich web site.  When it comes to harnessing the power of Social Media, not so much.

We’re working on that though with a fairly solid base of followers on Facebook (1,600+), though much of the magic of this medium has vanished.  What really appeals to us now is reaching out to our peeps via Instagram.

It’s a very visual communications tool, and it’s fun when it is not employed as a commercial baseball bat to hammer home sales themes.  Our goal is to share entertaining images. . .to have fun and engage our customers.  We won’t ask you to buy anything, though we are clever enough to use tactics of latency.

Please check out what we are doing by clicking on the Instagram image.  Thanks!

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.