Join Us Tuesday for “Fall Squash Harvest”

This month’s prix-fixe event is literally a mash-up not only of squash but of international cuisines.  Check out the menu below and you’ll see entries with distinct influences from Italy, France and especially Asian cultures.  The reason why is because there are abundant varieties of squash that are enjoyed around the world.  That’s what motivated Chef Alexander to step up to the challenge of creating delicious and flavorful dishes employing such a simple, fleshy vegetable.

I’m personally excited to sit down for what is sure to be a another memorable dinner because I’ve just returned from three weeks in France, traveling from Paris to Provence and many points in between.  The highlight was a nine-day “Pilgrimage to Provence,” tour with a group of 26 mostly Carpe Vino Wine Club members that traversed a wide swath of the southern Rhone from Monaco to Chateaneuf du Pape.  We encountered fabulous food and wine wherever we traveled, but I gotta say I’m very glad to return to the Friendly Confines.

Join us starting Tuesday and continuing through Sunday (October 27 to November 1) starting at 5 p.m. for four courses with choices for $59.95 pp++.  As always, we recommend you make reservations by calling 530-823-0320 or go to www.opentable.com.

First Course (choice of one):

Spaghetti Squash “Carbonara” (Applewood Bacon, 64° Egg, Sage, Parmesan Cream):  For this dish, think classic Pasta Carbonara sans pasta.  Instead, Chef Alexander is substituting spaghetti squash that has been cut in half lengthwise, coated liberally with butter and then baked.  He scoops out the flesh with a fork to create pasta-like strands tossed to order in a light parmesan and applewood bacon cream sauce (is such a thing possible??).  The squash is plated. . .and then the cool part. . .Chef gently places an egg on top—cooked for an hour sous vide at 64 degrees.  The egg white is oh-so barely set and when you pierce the orb with your fork, the yummy yolk goo oozes triumphantly.  Lordy. . .I’m coming early to get mine!

Chicken Liver an Foie Gras Parfait (Musque de Provence Pumpkin Brulée, Huckleberry, Pain d’Epices):  Take this to the bank. . .your hosts at Carpe Vino are anything but politically correct, and we demonstrate this fact in amazing flavors with Chef Alexander’s  very special “parfait,” or more succintly in English, a mind-blowing mousse of chicken livers and foie gras blended with shallots, herbs, port, eggs and butter cooked in a water bath in the oven.  After chilling, this pure decadence is spooned onto a plate, served with carmelized chunks of Musque de Provence (a squash variety grown on Chef’s Four Tines farm).  Oregon huckleberries are cooked down into a sweet syrup and dripped on the plate; pain d’epices, bread that has been doctored with warm spices like ginger and cloves, is served on the side.

Sugar Pie Pumpkin and Rice Croquettes (Country Ham, Rye Crumbs, Smoked Cheddar Fondue):  Cinch down your palate for this one. . .Chef roasts and purées sugar pie pumpkin (not for making jack-o-laterns!) and then folds in cooked rice, diced country ham and Parmesan cheese.  This mixture is chilled, formed into balls, coated in house-made rye bread crumbs and then deep-fried.  Plating consists of a layer of smoked cheddar fondue with croquettes arranged on top and garnished with young greens.

Second Course (choice of one):

Hokkaido Squash and Pear Soup (Shiro Miso, Crispy Ginger, Shiso):  Also known as “red Kuri squash” this Japanese variety is sourced from Pilz Produce in Penryn—as is much of the squash on this menu (with a few entries from Four Tines).  Chef peels and dices squash and cooks in chicken stock with onions, garlic, fresh ginger, Asian pears from his farm and Shiro miso (made from fermented soybean paste that contributes saltiness).  This Japanese inspired soup is garnished with julienned strips of ginger that have been fried into delicate wisps.

Fall Chicory Salad (Pickled Butternut Squash, Persimmon, Chevre, Squash Seed Brittle):  This salad starts with a mix of bitter greens. . .endive, radiccho and frisee lettuce that is tossed in a house vinaigrette with shaved pickled butternut squash (for a sweet and sour flavor), goat cheese and sliced Fuyu persimmon.  For a crispy garnish: toasted butternut squash seeds (nothing is wasted!).

Main Course (choice of one):

Passmore Ranch Sturgeon (North Georgia Candy Squash, Red Cabbage, Chanterelles, Pickled Mustard Butter):  Chef starts with perfectly seasoned and cooked farm-raised sturgeon sourced from Michael Passmore’s ranch in Sloughhouse.  This is plated on a silky purée of cabbage cooked in red wine and a bit of sugar.  Accompanied with sautéed chanterelles and North Georgia candy squash prepared thusly:  squash is halved lengthwise, seeds are scooped out, half moons are cut from flesh and roasted.

Kabocha Squash Gnocchi (Duck Meatballs, Russian Kale, Prune, Walnut, Charred Onion Broth):  If you love gnoochi keep an open mind here:  Chef creates a purée of kabocha squash (roasts easily and has reduced moisture content), flour, water and egg yolk which is formed into dumplings and poached in water.  Plated with ground duck meatballs, wilted Russian Kale, prunes and walnuts.  Chef finishes the dish by drizzling it with a sauce made from caramelized onions infused with chicken stock.

Niman Ranch Pork Porterhouse (Fall Squash Hash, Quince, Pumpkin Butter, Spiced Red Wine):  Think porterhouse steak but not beef. . .the Niman Ranch pork porterhouse is a pork tenderloin and striploin connected by a bone that Chef Alexander brines in cider and herbs and roasts to a perfect medium rare (it’s perfectly safe, trust me).  The “fall hash” is a selection of ends and cuttings remaining from squash used in other dishes on the menu (remember, we’re doing our best to earn a gold star by not wasting food) that have been diced with potatoes and sautéed with quince and Brussels sprouts.  A combination of pumpkin purée and whole butter is melted on top of the porterhouse and a reduction of red wine, sugar and spices is drizzled on the plate.

Dessert Course (choice of one):

Pumpkin Upside-Down Cake (Cranberry, Glazed Pecans, Maple Ice Cream):  This is Chef McDonald’s squash interpretation on an American favorite.  She layers the bottom of a baking pan with cranberries and glazed pecans and then pours over a cake mix made with pumpkin purée and cinnamon. This is baked and then inverted so that the cranberries and pecans are featured on top.  Served with house-made maple ice cream.

Butternut Squash Crème Brûlée (Amaretti Shortbread Cookies):  A very simple take on a classic dish—crème brûlée.  Chef McDonald creates a custard from eggs, cream, sugar, vanilla, spices and butternut squash purée. . .making this the perfect fall dessert.  Served with house-made Amaretti shortbread cookies.

We’ll look forward to greeting you for what is sure to be another delightful event.


gary, Drew & the Carpe Vino Crew

Wine Club Members – Taste With JAY TONIGHT 6-8PM

imgres.092224Now that we have successfully completed a year of complimentary Saturday afternoon wine tastings for our wine club members we asked ourselves…what next?  Our goal is to give our WC members every opportunity they can to get down to CV and try the next latest/greatest wine, best deal, or hidden gem you never knew about.  We understand that Saturday afternoons just don’t work for everyone so we decided why not taste during the week?  One day we will offer 3 NEW RELEASES…anything from the obvious, a new vintage release, or maybe a completely new winery from California, Oregon, Washington or anywhere in the world.  The following Thursday we will be tasting 3 IMPORTS to help introduce you to wines that your palate may not be familiar with tasting.  We appreciate Import wines from all different regions including, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Hungary, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa to name a few.

ACV_shoot_0012299.123047gain, the goal here is to procure international wines that we know you will want to taste and hopefully purchase for yourself.  Not only are you getting to taste more wines (as part of your WC membership) but you are getting more one-on-one time with CV’s Jay Johnstone that can help you pick the wines that are best for you.

To get this kick started we are tasting NEW RELEASES tonight from 6-8pm in the CV Wine Bar (front window so you can’t miss him) but going forward it will be the 2nd Thursday of the month.  Next Thursday (10/22) we will introduce the IMPORT tasting from 6-8 but going forward it will be the 3rd Thursday of every month!  Again, this is limited to 2 persons per wine club membership and is absolutely complimentary.  No need to make a reservation…just drop on by!



What We Are Tasting Tonight?

By Jay Johnstone

The Senses Estate Vineyards are located in the West Sonoma Coast region.  Specifically right smack dab in the small town of Occidental.  Founded by three childhood friends who grew up on the land, they decided to go into the wine biz and make wine in the True Sonoma Coast region style which is known for delicate, distinguished wines that exhibit great depth and balance.  It was then they enlisted the services of one of the most sought after winemakers in the world Thomas Rivers Brown.  It’s Thomas’ expertise with Burgundian varietals and his love for Occidental’s Sonoma Coast region that makes these wines so amazing and an ideal fit for Senses Winery.  Just to give you a little background on TRB, in 2008 he was the youngest winemaker to score not only one, but two perfect “100 point” ratings from Robert M. Parker, The Wine Advocate.  Then in 2010, Thomas was again awarded two top “100 point” ratings from Wine Spectator’s James Laube. This made Thomas the first American winemaker to ever receive 100 points from Wine Spectator. This same year Thomas was named “Winemaker of the Year” by Food & Wine. Since then, Thomas has gone on to receive three consecutive 100 point ratings from The Wine Advocate.

Betz Famiy Winery is located in Columbia Valley, WA and they specialize in Rhône-Inspired Wines.  Available only to a select few or by mailing list only, the Betz Wines are also some of the most interesting hidden gems you’ll find anywhere.  If you haven’t heard of them, then here is your chance to taste what the best of Columbia Valley has to offer.  Only 28 cases total of Betz Wines were available to the whole state of California for distribution, and Carpe Vino secured the lions share to offer the CV faithful.  Plus, all the wines from 2013 vintage were highly praised by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.

2013 Senses B.A. Theriot Chardonnay (Sonoma County) $64.95/bottle

2013 Senses Hillcrest Estate Pinot Noir (Sonoma County) $54.95/bottle

2013 Betz “Cuvee Frangin” Red Wine (Columbia Valley, WA) $35.95/bottle  – unpublished discount: $29.95/bottle on six +

Upcoming Events Schedule @ Carpe Vino

• Thursday 15th 6-8pm New Releases Wine Tasting
• Saturday 17th 1-4pm Complimentary Wine Tasting
• Thursday 22nd 6-8pm Import Wine Tasting
• Saturday 24th 1-4pm Complimentary Wine Tasting
• Tuesday 27th – Sunday, November 1st 5-9pm “Fall Squash Harvest” Prix-Fixe Dinner
• Saturday 31st 1-4pm Complimentary Wine Tasting

Menu Available to View – Make Reservations Online

The Carpe Vino monthly prix-fixe dinner series is quickly coming to an end this year and the last two dinner dates have been announced, with this month’s “Fall Squash Harvest” prix-fixe menu ready to view (CLICK HERE)!  Don’t be fooled folks, it’s not just pumpkins!  Chef Alexander is going all out with Spaghetti Squash Carbonara, Hokkaido Squash and Pear Soup, Kabocha Squash Gnocchi and a Niman Ranch Pork Porterhouse w/ fall squash hash, quince, pumpkin butter and spice red wine…just to name a few dishes!  Pastry Chef Courtney McDonald is whipping up fantastic desserts as well including Pumpkin Upside Down Cake and Butternut Squash Crème Brulee.

Look for Gary’s dish-by-dish breakdown next week but don’t wait to make your reservations…CLICK HERE NOW!

October 27th – November 1st “Fall Squash Harvest” Prix-Fixe

November 17th – November 22nd “Provenance” Prix-Fixe


dirtyfeet.093754 This Sunday, October 18th at 5pm, Carpe Vino Auburn Chef Eric Alexander (along with several other of the finest chef’s in the Sacramento region) will be preparing a SIX course “Farm to Fork” dinner at Twin Peaks Orchards! Space is limited, so make those reservations today…BTW temps look to be in the low 80′s! What a perfect way to spend your Sunday evening!



Here’s The Program!

552868-250.122249Dirty Feet Dining and Twin Peaks Orchards are working together to offer a seasonal Farm to Fork dinner, highlighting all of the unique produce Fall at the orchard has to offer. Guests will be dining in our historic packing shed located at our orchard in the Foothills of Placer County. The evening will include hand crafted cocktails featuring Darjeeling Gin of Auburn, CA and coursed wine pairings by Miraflores Winery.

The chefs of Dirty Feet Dining are composed of local farm partisans, all committed to the continuation and preservation of small, local family farming and agriculture and include:

Tyler Bond of Kru Contemporary Japanese Cuisine and founder of Dirty Feet Dining
Brock MacDonald of Block Butcher Bar
Eric Alexander of Carpe Vino Auburn
Gabriel Glasier of Chef and Baker
Misty Olsen Green of Hawks Restaurant

A portion of all ticket sales will go towards the Food Literacy Center of Sacramento, a non profit organization that teaches low-income elementary children cooking and nutrition to improve our health, community and environment.

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.