Lisa Dinsmore

taco.jpg After growing up in Western Massachusetts, it didn’t take me long to become spoiled living in Los Angeles. Not only do we constantly have fresh produce from around the world, but delicacies from every nation are well-represented.  Mexican food didn’t reach my hometown until I was in college and even then it was either Chi-Chi’s or Taco Bell, neither of which is very authentic or culinary genius.

Regardless of quality, the food was something completely new and I was immediately hooked on guacamole, chips, salsa and greasy crispy tacos. Once I landed here – and got a taste of the real thing – there was no stopping my cravings for all things “South of the Border.“ L.A. is the crossroads of the world when it comes to food and I never realized how lucky I was to live here until I went to Europe for a month. 

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pasopic.jpgIt’s all my fault. I’ve been telling people for almost a decade about this lovely wine region in the middle of California. Most of them had no idea where Paso Robles is – halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco – and had never heard of any of the wineries that call this region home. Until the last 3-4 years I couldn’t really blame them. Even though some people have been successfully making wonderful wine here for over 3 decades, their efforts rarely reached beyond the county’s borders.

Unless you made the trip, you’d have no idea what you were missing…and you are missing some of the best Bang-for-the-Buck wines being made in California. With the upswing in popularity of the Rhone varietals (especially Syrah, which grows very well in Paso) the region is starting to make a real name for itself. Is this a good thing? For the over 100 wineries trying to make a living, sure, For me, I just don’t know.

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lisasunset.jpg Every other year for the past 10 years my husband and I make the long and arduous trip from Los Angeles to Bangor, Maine for a week’s vacation at his family’s camp on Lake Pushaw. There’s nothing like relaxing on the dock with a nice glass of wine and listening to the Red Sox games on the radio. Usually we have to stop in New Hampshire or Massachusetts to get anything remotely drinkable because, in past years, the wines found in the grocery store were for emergency use only.

Always on the lookout for wine shops with a wide selection and affordable prices – it’s my  not-so-secret obsession – I noticed a listing for the Bangor Wine & Cheese Co. on the Bangor city website and was intrigued. I still stocked up in MA before we left, because we couldn’t be left high and dry. A week is a long time without good wine.

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