Wine Country Lifestyle

Living in Northern California offers plenty of great lifestyle choices.

Santa Lucia Highlands

California’s Overlooked Treasure: Santa Lucia Highlands

Photo by Frank Gutierrez, Wagner Family of Wine Right smack dab in the middle of the state of California sits the Santa Lucia Highlands in the massive Salinas valley—California’s prime agricultural region located 20 miles southeast of Monterey between the Gabilan and Santa Lucia mountain ranges. They grow everything there from lettuce to raspberries, and chances are your local grocery…

Opus One

Opus One: The Evolution of an Icon Pt. 2

When I told some friends I was going to visit Opus One on my birthday they scoffed. “Ooooh, GOD! They are sooo pretentious there!” they said. “Don’t forget to kiss the ring on the way in”. I brought my Mom and Mrs. B along for the ride because, hey, it was my birthday. Not sure what experience others had at…

opus one

Opus One: The Evolution of an Icon pt. 1

Twenty years ago if you were in a restaurant and ordered a bottle of Opus One you were important. You were a fine wine connoisseur and you liked the best. Opus One raised the bar for Napa Valley and for domestic wine. If you were drinking Opus One you were drinking a regal wine that presidents and diplomats held in…


Braised Beef Ragu with Pappardelle Pasta

Braised Beef Ragu with Pappardelle (or any kind of braised short ribs) might just be my favorite recipe ever. Like, ever ever. We’re talking last meal kind of dish. I love it for the hearty braising liquid and the tender, succulent meat. As a wine lover, some of my favorite red wines (and probably yours) just happen to go with…

Thanksgiving Ravioli

Thanksgiving Ravioli w/ Turkey & Cranberry Filling

Mrs. B is six months pregnant which means she’s been on a comfort food tear lately, especially with pasta. She whipped up this Thanksgiving themed Ravioli dish with turkey and cranberry after seeing Giada De Laurentiis make something similar on the Food Network last year. Our original goal was to find ways to use leftover turkey from Thanksgiving in something…

chianti classico

5 Days in Tuscany: The Misadventures of the Chianti Classico Kid

The first cigarette I ever had I smoked behind Grandpa’s barn. It made me dizzy, and I coughed a lot. “Don’t worry, that always happens with the first one,” said Grandpa. “Try another one.” And you know, he was right.  -Jack Handey It’s funny the things you remember from childhood. I don’t remember the first tooth I lost, or the…

2daysinseattle logo

#2DaysInSeattle Trip Giveaway

That’s right, I said it. I’m giving away a trip to Seattle to one fellow wine+food lover. All you gotta do is subscribe to this blog and answer the following question: What will you do with $500 and 2 days in Seattle? Last year, Mrs. B and I were challenged with this exact question. We fit a whole month’s worth…

col solare

Washington Wine Giveaway Week

Listen up wine lovers, I’m giving away a bottle of Washington wine each day this week. Well, technically, I’m not giving it away, the wine is going to be sent to you from and it’s paid for by the folks at Visit Seattle who are behind the #2daysinseattle promo online. Mrs. B and I spent 2 days in Seattle…


Spicy Cioppino

Wine Pairing We shouldn’t have to look far to find a wine to serve with this. Seafood is the protein, so that helps decide the choice of wine. Although buttery Chardonnay’s are a dime a dozen in nearby Sonoma or Napa, I’m leaning towards a Sauvignon Blanc or possibly an Italian varietal like Vermentino. Unoaked Chardonnay might have the crisp…


A Perfect Day in Dry Creek Valley

When driving north on California’s Hwy 101 over the Golden Gate bridge with the city of San Francisco in the background, the scenery quickly changes from asphalt, trolleys and steep city streets to the sparsely developed green hills of Marin. Few 5-lane highways can feel like a winding road like Hwy 101 as it meanders around bends over hills with…

Top 10 List

Top 10 Posts of 2012

Another year is in the books, and for this site it was a big step forward. With a new design in May and a new mobile look, Back to Bakas is getting closer to what  it’ll ultimately become. The redesign was inspired by a combination of Sunset magazine and Pinterest—in other words it’s all about the lifestyle of living in…

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