January 31, 2024

Paso Robles Wine Tour May 5-9, 2024


 Paso Robles Wine Tour

with Phillis Carey—“The Casual Gourmet”

May 5 to 9, 2024

 Nestled in the heart of California’s Central Coast wine country sits Paso Robles, or just “Paso” to the locals.  Brimming with good taste yet always down to earth, Paso Robles is rich in history against a backdrop of vineyards, olive orchards, farms and ranches that inspire its local culture. Paso is as warm and vibrant as its residents with its welcoming attitude and reputation confirms it as one of California's unique, easily accessible gems.

This trip is the perfect opportunity to explore several of the over 200 wineries in this area.  We will visit 9 wineries for tastings as well as Tin City where you can taste more—if you dare!  We will enjoy a wine country BBQ at an award wining spot in downtown Paso as well as a wine country Cooking Class held at one of our winery stops.  There will also be 3 lunches included at wineries during our travels and one Mexican food truck to visit on Cinco de Mayo at Sensorio.  Oh, yes, we can’t forget the Pasolivo olive oil tour which takes us out into the grove and then back in for tastings. You will have some free time both in Tin City as well as downtown Paso and our days will be full of great tastes, beautiful scenery and fun times.

 Our group will meet up at the Oxford Suites in Paso Robles on Sunday, May 5, 2024 at 3:30 pm. Find your own way to Paso by car or plane (Alaska Airlines flies from San Diego to San Luis Obispo once a day and then you can uber ($80 each way) or rent a car for the 35 minute drive to Paso) or even train north (warning--it’s a long 9 hour train trip).  It’s about a 5 to 6-hour drive from San Diego and is doable in one day but you might want to make a stop Saturday night somewhere along the way and make a more relaxing trip out of it. Once you check into the hotel in Paso you really won’t need of a car unless you want to travel around on your own during your evening off.  Transportation will be provided by two 14-passenger vans to drive us on our daily tours.  If people want to car pool to Paso I can get the word out to see if others would like to as well.

 I have left it up to you to book your own hotel room but I have reserved rooms at Oxford Suites in Paso which is where all the activities will start and end each day.  This is probably the best place to stay but you can actually stay anywhere you would like. You will, of course, have to get yourself to and from our hotel each day.  I chose this hotel for its central location, its easy access to the freeway, the fact that they provide breakfast each day (and everyone needs to eat breakfast before we start tasting!) and it’s only a 15-minute walk to downtown Paso Robles.  It’s also clean and friendly and you won’t be doing much more than sleeping there anyway.

Please note: There will be lots of walking but not for extensive distances.  You will need to be fit enough to enter and exit the van with ease and be able to walk around tasting rooms and vineyards.  While this is a first class tour, dress is casual and comfortable shoes are a must.

 Cost for the trip which includes everything I mentioned is $1475—again you must book and pay for your hotel and travel separately as well as dinner on our night off. This price includes the tour only.  Reply to this email to register as soon as possible to hold your spot. There are only 26 spots available for this tour.

A $500pp deposit is due on registration and is totally refundable until final payment on 4/15/24.  After that the deposit refund will depend on someone taking over your spot.  You might want to consider trip insurance just in case.

 Payments are best made by Zelle through your bank.  Once you have emailed Phillis to sign up for the tour simply go to Zelle online for your account or in your app and choose to pay by Zelle. Then search for me by name (Phillis Carey) and my email address (philliscarey@aol.com).  Then it's easy, just put in the amount and it will go to my account.  You can also mail me a check (I will hold your reservation for only 4 days waiting for a check). If you prefer to pay by credit card I can send you a paypal link but there will be a 3% fee for this service.

 Time to get excited!  Below is the day-to-day itinerary for the trip. As usual something might come up and cause the need to move/change an event. Stuff happens but we are not planning on any problems.  As we get closer to the date Phillis will send each participant more information about the Paso Robles area, the wineries we will be visiting and restaurants to try.

Paso Robles Tour Itinerary

Sunday, May 5

          3:45 pm—Meet the group in the Lobby at Oxford Suites and board buses

         4:30 pm—Tasting at Tobin James 

          5:45 pm—Arrive at SensorioLight Show with Terrace Seating and

 Mexican meal; No-host bar

          8:30 pm—Return to Oxford Suites for the night


Monday, May 6

          9:30 am— Group #1 board bus at Oxford Suites for 10 am tasting at

                   Austin Hope/Treanna 

          10:30 am— Group #2 board bus at Oxford Suites for 11 am tasting at

                    J Dusi 

          Noon—Both Groups meet at Epoch for tasting and grazing table luncheon

          2:30 pm—Group #1 leaves for 3 pm tasting at J Dusi

          2:30 pm—Group #2 leaves for 3:15 pm tasting at Austin Hope/Treanna

                    After tastings buses will drop you off in Paso Robles for free time to

wander around the town on your own.

          6 pm—Then meet up in town at Jeffry’sWine Country BBQ for dinner

          7:30 pm—Walk (15 minutes) or Uber back to Oxford Suites

Tuesday, May 7

          9:30 am—everyone boards buses for 10 am cave/winery tour and tasting at

Halter Ranch

Noon—board buses for 12:30 pm tasting and buffet lunch at Calcareous

          2:30 pm—board buses for 3 pm tasting at Lone Madrone 

          4 pm--Return to Oxford Suites

          Dinner on your own in Paso Robles (make your own reservations for this)


Wednesday, May 8

          9:30 am—board buses to Pasolivo for 10 am Olive Oil Tour and tasting

          Noon—board buses for 12:30 am for tasting with 3 coarse-lunch at Niner

2:30 pm—board buses and travel to Tin City for free time to wander the

area on your own for more wine, beer or even ice cream!

4:30 pm—board buses and travel to Cass Winery for tasting and

Wine Country Cooking Class which includes dinner

          7:30 pm—return to Oxford Suites for the night


Thursday, May 9

          End of Tour with breakfast and check out by 11 am--travel home safely.

November 17, 2023

Phillis Carey's 2025 Cruise to Japan

Japan - Home of the Rising Sun

Sail with Chef Phillis Carey  

"The Casual Gourmet"

Roundtrip Tokyo on Oceania’s ship Riviera - 12 Days

April 13th - April 25th, 2025

Visiting Tokyo, Nagoya, Kochi, Kagoshima, Nagasaki, Pusan (Busan), Hiroshima, Beppu, Pacific Ocean, Kyoto, Shimizu   

The exclusive cruise Includes:

*Airfare through Oceania or discount compensation if you use points or purchase your own flights. (There are flights direct from San Diego now!)

*Prepaid Gratuities

*Hands-On Cooking Class with Chef Phillis

*Welcome and Farewell Cocktail Parties

*Culinary Lecture--Food History of Japan

*Optional Pre-Tour of Tokyo+

*Optional Private Group Sushi, Whiskey or Sake Tours+

(+ For additional fee)

(Japanese for travel or traveler)


For cabin and cruise information

contact Adam Martindale at Cruise Planners

(206) 399-2138

Or visit the Cruise Planners website to learn

about this group, cruise information, cabin prices and to register online.


September 6, 2023



 Coming this December 3, 2023 the 



$149. per guest 

click to Pay Now 

includes samples of all the food, 2 glasses of wine and water plus the printed recipes to take home so you can cook the dishes Diane Phillips and 

Phillis Carey prepare in the class.

Sign up soon--space is limited!

Event will take place on

Sunday, December 3, 2023

from 2 to 4:30 pm 

   at The La Jolla Community Center   

located at:  6811 La Jolla Boulevard
La Jolla, CA 92037


Phillis Carey’s “Comfy Cajun/Creole Holiday Recipes”

Artichoke Crab Cakes with Louisiana Remoulade;

Creole Slaw with Cajun Seasoned Corn Dressing;

Shrimp and Grits (with Bacon, Mushrooms and Cheddar);

Bacon and Cheese Stuffed Turkey Tenderloins (or Chicken Breasts) with 

Cornbread Stuffing Crust and Creamy Creole Fresh Herb Sauce;

Charred Green Beans with Toasted Pecan Butter;

Flambeed Bananas Foster Bread Pudding with Pecan Praline Sauce.

Diane Phillips “Italian Comfort Foods for the Holidays”

Herbed Ricotta Crostini with Balsamic Cherries;

Prosciutto and Parmigiano Stuffed Mushrooms;

Field Greens with Cranberry Vinaigrette, Candied Pecans and Crumbled Goat Cheese;

Pork Osso Bucco With Gremolata;

Oven-Baked Parmesan Polenta;

Lemon Sage Zucchini;

Black Forest Cherry Cake (not traditionally Italian but so good!).

 Once you sign up and pay you will receive a confirmation of payment.

       You may cancel for a full refund by November 26.  After that you will receive            a refund if your seat can be filled from the waiting list.

            A week before the event you will receive more information with directions                 and parking particulars. 

Seating will be arranged in the order you sign up and pay for the class. 

         If you wish to sit with a friend(s) be sure to let Phillis know at philliscarey@aol.com after you have all reserved and paid for your seats.

First day of registration is Friday, September 8, 2023 at 8 am. 

Come hungry and expect to enjoy yourself!

July 28, 2023

Culinary Tours

 Culinary Tours I've Lead Over the last 12 years!

Phillis and George in Amsterdam in 2023

It's hard to believe that it's been 12 years since I first took a group on a Holland America Cruise to Baja.  What an adventure that was with so many sights to see and so much food to try.  Many of that first group have traveled with me over and over again with new people joining us each time.  There have been many more adventures that followed as well traveled the world sampling good food and wine along the way.  I can't wait to continue the journey!

Let's see:

1. Baja in 2011 on Holland America (I remember the air show that flew right above us on the day we sailed out of the harbor as well as all the amazing tours we took and food we ate!)

2. Alaska in 2012 on Holland America (I loved watching the glacier calving--so glad I was there to see it.)

3. River Cruise Lyon to Arles, France in 2013 on Uniworld (Loved the small boat and walking off the ship and into the quaint towns.  France in the fall was perfect!)

4. New England and Canada in 2014 on Regent Seven Seas (It was great sailing out of New York City as we passed the Statue of Liberty all lit up!  We also got to see some colors change especially as we got further up the St. Lawrence.)

5. Land Tour of Australia in 2017 (Three great cities on this tour--Sidney, Barossa Valley and Mebourne.  Loved that they sort of spoke English the whole way and the food was amazing and so was the wine!)

6. Mediterranean Cruise from Rome to Rome in 2018 on Oceania (A big group on this trip with lots of specialty tours for our group.  Meals were amazing and loved Oceania's hospitality.)

7. Land Tour of Sicily in 2019 (Probably my favorite because my sister and brother came along and we visited the town my grandfather was born in and oh, yes, we ate a lot of cannolo!)

Canceled Cruise to Greece in 2020 plus 2021 off  (Oh Covid!)

8. Lisbon south and through the Mediterranean to Rome in 2022 on Oceania (So nice to be on the sea again after lockdown.  We visited all the best places including small towns and big cities.  Sick with covid for much of this trip but have some great pics of the harbors!)

9. Lisbon north to Amsterdam in 2023 on Oceania (Fun times on this cruise and really loved Bruges!  Great waffles and chocolates there. Finished in Amsterdam for several days--wow.)

Special Tour not scheduled yet for 2024?

Cruise Around Japan in early 2025 on Oceania!!!  Join me for this one!

I've seen so many places and met so many special people.  I look forward to continuing our travels together in the future, Phillis




June 14, 2022

My Birthday Cake -- The Rocky Road Cola Cake

 My Birthday Cake  --  I make this only once a year and always when others will be around otherwise I eat the whole thing!  It's a simply cake--no mixer needed--but oh, so moist and rich.  I usually use the Mexican Coke but any regular sugar Coca Cola will work.  Be sure to serve it with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream!

ROCKY ROAD COLA CAKE                 Serves 12.


2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

4 T. unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 cup coca cola

2 large eggs, at room temp.

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. vanilla


1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/3 cup coca cola

1 tsp. instant espresso

2 T. water

1 lb. powdered sugar, sifted

5 T. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup chopped toasted pecans

1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

1. To make cake, grease and flour (or spray with nonstick spray) a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa and salt in a large bowl.  Bring butter and cola to a boil in a small saucepan.  Pour over the flour mixture and stir with a spoon until combined.  Whisk eggs in a medium bowl and add buttermilk, baking soda and vanilla.  Stir into batter until incorporated. The batter will be thin.  Pour into prepare pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

 2. While cake bakes, make the frosting.  Bring the butter, cola, instant espresso and water to a boil in a small saucepan.  Whisk the powdered sugar and cocoa together in a medium bowl and pour the butter-cola mixture over; stir until well blended.  Fold in the nuts and marshmallows.  Remove cake form oven and pour the frosting over the top of the hot cake, spreading to sides of pan.  Cool to room temperature.


May 27, 2022

Blueberry Cheesecake Galette 5/27/22

Memorial Day Dessert

This is a delicious tart with the twist of also being a cheesecake.  It is especially nice because it is free-form so no tart pan is necessary and it looks as good as is tastes.



1 3/4 cups flour 

2 T. sugar 

1 tsp. cider vinegar 

Pinch salt 

1/2 cup unsalted butter, diced and chilled 

1 large egg mixed with 2 T. water 


2 cups fresh blueberries 

1/3 cup plus 

2 T. sugar, divided use 

1 T. fresh lemon juice 

4 tsp. cornstarch 

1-8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened 

1 large egg plus 

1 egg yolk, divided use

 Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

 Coarse sugar for sprinkling 

1. For the pastry. Place flour, sugar, vinegar and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the cold butter and pulse until butter in pea-sized. Add egg/water mixture and pulse until dough just starts to form. Turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap; shape into a disk, wrap tightly and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. 

2. Place dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll out into a 12-inch round. Set on a baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to form. 

3. For the filling, toss blueberries with 1/3 cup sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch and salt. In another bowl, whisk cream cheese, egg yolk, 2 T. sugar and nutmeg. 

4. Remove dough from refrigerator and peel off top sheet of parchment. Spread half the cream cheese mixture over the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Top with blueberries. Fold edge of dough over filling. Drizzle with remaining cream cheese mixture; refrigerate 30 minutes. 

5. Put a second baking sheet in the over in the lower third, upside down. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Whisk the whole egg and use to brush the exposed crust; sprinkle with coarse sugar. Place the baking sheet directly on the hot baking sheet in the oven and bake until crust is golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

April 2, 2022


I love this cake and make it about once a year when I'm having people over in the Spring or Summer.  If the candy part seems daunting just leaving it off.  The cake is just as good with only the Lemon Curd Cream Frosting.  

I prefer Chiffon to Angel Food Cake.  They are similar but Chiffon includes the egg yolks so it is richer but still light in texture.  Enjoy make this cake!



Serves 8 to 10.


2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 T. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/2 cup vegetable oil

7 egg yolks

3/4 cup cold water

1 T. lemon zest

1 tsp. orange zest

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup egg whites (7 to 8 whites)

1/2 tsp. cream of tartar


1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1 T. baking soda

2 tsp. lemon extract


2 cups heavy whipping cream

3/4 cup prepared lemon curd (see below)

Sliced strawberries, sugared

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. To make the cake, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center and add in order the oil, egg yolks, cold water, lemon and orange zests and vanilla.  Stir until smooth.

2. With a mixer, whip egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff peaks form.  Gradually pour egg yolk mixture over beaten whites, folding gently until just blended.  Pour into an ungreased 10 inch angel food cake pan.  Bake for 65 to 75 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly with finger. 

3. Invert pan and let stand until cake is completely cool.  To remove from pan, loosen first by moving a spatula up and down against in the inside of pan.  Next, hit edge of pan against counter top and gently shake cake out onto cake plate.  Leave cake bottom side up and cut in half across to form 2 layers.

4. To make candy, cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.  Combine sugar, water and corn syrup in a heavy 4-quart saucepan.  Cook over medium high heat, without stirring, until sugar dissolves.  Continue cooking, again without stirring, until syrup reaches the hard-crack stage, 300 degrees on a candy thermometer. 

5. Remove pan from heat and immediately stir in baking soda and lemon extract.  Stir until blended—it will be very foamy.  Quickly pour candy on prepared parchment cover pan and spread as thin as possible.  Let cool completely, 20 to 30 minutes.  Break and crush candy into tiny pieces—you probably won’t need it all for the cake.

6. Whip cream to stiff peaks and fold in the lemon curd.  Fill and frost cake with lemon cream and press crushed candy into the sides of the cake to coat well; refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours to set cream into a mousse-like texture before serving. 


LEMON CURD                         

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1 egg yolk

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces

6 T. fresh lemon juice

1 T. lemon zest

Whisk sugar, eggs, yolk, butter, lemon juice and zest in a medium saucepan over medium low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens to the consistency of lightly whipped cream, about 5 minutes. Mixture should reach 160 degrees on an instant thermometer at this point. Pour into a bowl; cover with plastic wrap set right on the surface of the curd and chill for several hours until cold.