Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, January 19, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 9



 Mountain Views News Saturday, January 19, 2013 


Southwest Airlines doesn’t fool around. Just this past week I made a two-day turnaround trip to 
the Bay Area, booked my tickets on the internet and flights scheduled for morning depart and 
morning return. Both flights were on time!!! I mean on the dot! Travel tip: when flying out of 
Burbank get to the airport 45 minutes before your flight. On busy travel days the security and 
check-in lines can be a tad long.

Recently, I was the benefactor of an exceptional question from a reader named Tony. It appears 
that Rodeo Drive and their wine list may have immigrated to a location near us. I dream of a 
day when a poor restaurant critic may soothe his many worries with an exception glass of wine 
and not be required to carry a bag of gold dust as payment. Like the majority of us, Tony strikes 
me as a regular consumer of wine; a person who is not cheap but searches for value when he 
is dining out. To be more explicit, it appears that Tony has some difficulty in partaking of the 
wine experience when he perceives that he has been taken advantage of, or possibly robbed by a 
very kind and wholly inoffensive waiter... one who surgically extracts substantial sums of money 
through the use of a corkscrew.

The hero of our tragic story, Tony, recently went 
to a Pasadena restaurant and ordered a glass of 
house Cabernet. He liked the initial selection 
and proceeded to order another glass. The bill 
arrived and Tony was shocked to discover that each glass of wine was ($14). His night went 
from a great evening to one of disappointment and incredulity. Tony asked me to investigate the 
practice of mark-ups at restaurants. Tony also did some research and discovered the same bottle 
for ($15) at Vons. The waiter told Tony it was ($52) to purchase the whole bottle and that they 
pour five glasses per bottle. 

I reached out to my many sources in the industry and this is what I found out. Ian Blackburn, 
founder of, said, “That ($14) is common for a good glass of wine and the 
math works out to ($52) for the full bottle at that price.” Many chain restaurants use a Libby wine 
glass that costs them a couple of bucks, while upscale restaurants will use a higher quality glass. 
My next call was to Randy, who owns the Domenico’s restaurant on Washington. He tells me that 
his wine purveyors suggest “triple the cost of the bottle. Thus if you see a bottle for ($30) at your 
favorite restaurant the rule of the thumb is that they paid ($10) for it.” My suggestion to Tony and 
my readers is it to never let the server blindly pick the wine. Ok, how about corkage fees? Most 
restaurants charge $4-$15 for this service because, yes, they still have to open your bottle and clean 
the glasses. It is unacceptable to bring in a bottle of wine that is already listed on the restaurant’s 
menu. If it is an owner-occupied restaurant, often it is a good gesture to let the owner sample the 
wine that you have brought in. Erudite wine broker Eddie Ramirez offers this insightful advice, 
“Always have the wine list when ordering, and I do not recommend asking the servers for a wine 
unless you do not 
have any issues 
with the price.” I 
hope this helps. I 
learned something 
as well.

Become a fan of 
Peter Dills on 
FaceBook, and 
read about events 
and restaurants not 
covered here. 

Email me your 
suggestions to the 




1 1/2 lb. extra lean ground beef

2 tbsp. Sierra Madre Seasoning 

6-8 white cheddar cheese slices 

12-16 bacon strips, cooked

6-8 whole wheat hamburger buns

1 jar Sierra Madre Grocery Company Caramelized Onion & Garlic Spread* 

(Available at Taylor’s Market - Sierra Madre) 

1 package arugula 

tomatoes & pickles optional


Lightly mix Sierra Seasoning in with ground beef and form into 6-8 patties.

Grill patties 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through.

Place cheese to melt on burger while grilling second side.

Grill whole wheat buns, inner side down until lightly toasted.

Spoonful SMGC Caramelized Onion & Garlic Spread on cheese.

Top with bacon strips, arugula, tomatoes & pickles.

Smile and Enjoy!

TABLE FOR TWO by Peter Dills


SIERRA MADRE GROCERY COMPANY is excited to introduce two new Bruschetta flavors to our 
product line; Rustic Roasted Vegetable Bruschetta and Fruit 'n Fire Salsa! Our salsa recipes are naturally 
low in sodium and some are gluten free. The company will NOW use Olive Oil! Additionally, 
we are taking the peanuts out of our Sweet 'n Spicy Mountain Trail Mix to make the product more 
allergen friendly. 

Opening in early 2010 Sierra Madre Grocery Company has been growing as a specialty food company 
to gourmet food stores, supermarkets and wineries. We are on the shelf in many of the San Gabriel 
Valley Albertson's, Claro's Italian Markets and both of the San Antonio Wineries in Los Angeles and 
Ontario. The company aims to increase the distribution of quality selections along with helping to 
cultivate new relationships in 2013. 

The current product line consists of Roasted Garlic and Olive Bruschetta Salsa, Black Bean & Corn 
Salsa Madre, Sweet & Spicy Mountain Trail Mix, Sierra Seasoning Rub, Four Cheese & Olive Crisps, 
Sierra Flatbread & Caramelized Onion & Garlic Spread.


Cooking at the Arboretum

301 North Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia 91007

$50 Arboretum members / $60 non-members

Reservations Required: Please call 626.821.4623

Steven Mary, Executive Chef of CATAL (a Patina Group Restaurant in Downtown Disney)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Through the years, Steven Mary has been an active and giving participant in many of the Arboretum’s 
programs, and in particular has served as a role model and chef for all the children in our Roots and 
Shoots Children’s program. In addition, he has delighted many adults with his delicious and innovative 
classes here. In between all of his Arboretum volunteering, he has also been a chef under Craig 
Strong at the Ritz Carlton/Langham Hotel, Executive Chef of Pinot Bistro in the valley, and is now 
Executive Chef of CATAL in Downtown Disney. Call now for reservations as this class fills quickly, 
and is limited in size. Chef’s menu includes: 

Coq Au Vin 

Tuscan Cabbage

Roasted Root Vegetables

Cauliflower “Risotto”, Preserved Lemon, Blistered Grapes

Lavender Panna Cotta, Blackberry Caramel

Sponsored by CATAL Restaurant, part of the Patina Restaurant Group