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Last Updated: 08/31/2008 05:00PM • Subscribe via RSSATOM

VW Sportwagen

08/31/2008 ● By Super Admin

With the cost of fuel helping to short out the world’s economy, fewer people see the logic in buying massive SUVs for the daily grind. Interestingly, buyers who once saw station wagons as an automotive styling plague are beginning to rethink the idea of a tiny SUV, or essentially, a wagon. And, fuel economy aside, there are a lot of other reasons to love a wagon over an SUV – they’re easier to drive, ride better, often easier to get in and out of, take less room to park, frequently look better and are simply smarter for a daily use regime.Volkswagen is the latest to the segment with the new Jetta SportWagen. Where the Passat wagon was once the VW wagon of choice (it was the only one), the Jetta SportWagen brings a level of youthfulness and fun that the Passat is simply too formal and familial to offer. In a word, the SportWagen is fun. Yes, that adjective can be used in conjunction with wagon.The SportWagen is available in three trim levels and accompanying prices: S (starts at $18,999), SE (starts at $21,349), and SEL (starts at $25,990); and they are all well equipped from the get go. But, VW has taken the liberty of offering a wide array of optional extras to help tailor the exact SportWagen that customers would like to have. Things like polished aluminum exterior mirror covers, several rims from 16 inches to 18 inches, mild body kit upgrades, fog lights, leather, rear cargo cage, panoramic moon roof, manual or automatic transmission, and normally aspirated or turbocharged 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine (SEL only) are but a few of the things buyers can choose from to build the wagon that suits their lives perfectly.The top-of-the-line SEL is the best equipped with heated leather seats, leather shift knob, brake lever, and steering wheel, the turbocharged engine, 17-inch wheels, 12-position power driver’s seat with three-position memories, larger dual exhaust tips, premium sound system, and several more standard features that all come together to create a vehicle that truly rivals even higher-priced nameplates.Beyond how well equipped it is, the SEL is also no slouch, zipping to 60 miles per hour in 6.9 seconds, roughly a full second quicker than the non-turbo equipped S or SE. Each is relatively athletic and much more inspiring than the heavier, larger Passat, but not quite as capable as an Audi A4. Again, keeping the prices in mind, the SportWagen is a gem.Poking around with the “Build It” feature at vw.com, and selecting the most expensive wheels, panorama moonroof, and no roof storage options, we were able to load an S model to the hilt, and tip the price to just over $28,000, but for all the goodies we checked off in the options box, it’s a bargain. We clicked the same options with an SEL and broke the piggy bank for a cool $37,917. A bit flabbergasting for a VW, but again, taking into account all of the bells and whistles, both standard and optional, it’s not a horrific deal, but does knock loudly upon the Audi A4 door. Electing the same options for an SE, we built a $33,276 wagon.In terms of comfort, the SportWagen isn’t cavernous, but it’s not tiny either – it’s just right. A little snug, but not overbearingly so, the seats are supportive, the visibility is good, and it’s simply an easy car to drive. It also offers no pretensions whatsoever, meaning you don’t get glaring jealous eyes staring at you along the highway, but rather curious folks wanting to know more. And, should you go antiquing one weekend, you’ll have plenty of room for all the needful things available, and the merchants won’t be inclined to demonstrate the pricier sides of their goods, thanks to owning a VW.Later in 2009, VW will offer a Clean Diesel version of the SportWagen, which promises to be a much more efficient vehicle than we’re used to seeing. Some sources cite that 35 MPG on the highway isn’t far fetched, and in town, the Clean Diesel SportWagen won’t be hard pressed to achieve 28 MPG, which is utterly amazing. However, the turbo and non-turbo gas-powered engines currently available do pretty well too, finding 21/31 (T) and 21/29 (NT) respectively.All things considered, the wagon is back, but in a new way. Thanks to sleek styling and ample performance, the VW SportWagen isn’t the plague-inducing wagon of yore, but rather a sexy alternative to the bank-breaking SUV.

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Food & Wine

08/31/2008 ● By Super Admin

Café CampanileAppetizer:Summer Heirloom Tomato salad with Bufala Mozzarella, Opal basil, sea salt and aged white balsamic vinegar¼ cup of aged white balsamic vinegar¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil 3-3oz balls of Mozzarella di Bufala6 heirloom tomatoes ¼ cup of green basil leaves1 bunch of Opal basil1 cup of basil micro greensSea saltFresh cracked pepper Preparation: In a small saucepan, slowly reduce the balsamic vinegar by half; once cooled, pour into a squirt bottle and set aside. In a small saucepan, boil salted water and blanch the basil leaves for five seconds, remove the basil and place in a salted ice bath. Squeeze the basil until it has no water content and place into a blender with the extra virgin olive oil. Blend for two minutes, strain through a cheesecloth and place in a squirt bottle, set aside.Using the same pot with the salted water, core two of the tomatoes and score the bottom of each, making an “X” pattern. Place them into the boiling water for 10 seconds, then into the salted ice bath. Once cool, remove the skin from the tomatoes, cut in half and squeeze them to remove the seeds. Finally, cut them into half-inch cubes.  To serve: Slice the tomatoes and Mozzarella into quarter-inch discs and arrange them on the perimeter of a plate, alternating tomatoes and the cheese. In the center of the plate, pile a stack of the chopped tomatoes, and dress them with the olive oil and balsamic. On top of the chopped tomatoes stack the basil micro greens. Lastly, dress the salad with the basil-infused oil and vinegar, and season with salt and pepper.   Wine Pairing:2007 Chateau Bonnet Sauvignon BlancFor more Wine Pairing Recipes, be sure to pick up this month's copy of FoothillStyle. Click on the "Get Your Copy" link on the bottom of this page for some of our newsstand locations. Or, to order a copy of this issue, please email Gloria Schroeder at gloria@sierrastyle.com, or call her at 916-988-9888 x116.

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Artistic Expression

08/31/2008 ● By Super Admin

Like love, art is indescribable – better defined as an act than as something that is. Here, a potter, a painter, a sculptor and an organization not only create art, but also define it. Brian Hayes – The Potter“All potters know a little bit about Japanese history, since the oldest pottery in the world is Japanese,” says Brian Hayes, who has taken that truth a bit farther in combining his own pottery work with a love of Japanese culture and history.Hayes’ love of pottery and interest in Japanese history have always been intertwined. He has a master’s degree in Japanese aesthetics, art and philosophy, and has traveled to Japan four times, including a trip in the early 90s to work with a young Japanese potter.While most of Hayes’ work is 70 percent functional and fired in gas-burning kilns, he also has two Japanese-style wood kilns on his five-acre property in Coloma. He is currently involved in helping raise money for the purchase of the Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony location at Gold Hill, next to his property, by donating Japanese tea bowls fired in either his gas-burning kilns or traditional wood-burning kilns for contributors of $500 and $1,000. It was the first Japanese colony in the United States, established in 1869.The Wakamatsu Project centers on the life of Okei Ito, a young woman who died on the property shortly after its establishment. Hayes created a tea bowl to honor Okei’s life with the symbol for woman carved into its surface.An assistant professor at the El Dorado Center of Folsom Lake College, Hayes manages to spend enough time doing the things he truly loves – making pottery, working on his farm with his wife and fishing.He holds two annual shows at his studio, and advertises them through his mailing list. To get on the list, e-mail him at hayespottery@yahoo.com.For more Local Inspiring Artists, be sure to pick up this month's copy of FoothillStyle. Click on the "Get Your Copy" link on the bottom of this page for some of our newsstand locations. Or, to order a copy of this issue, please email Gloria Schroeder at gloria@sierrastyle.com, or call her at 916-988-9888 x116.

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Local Winemakers

08/31/2008 ● By Super Admin

Winemaking, or vinification, starts with the selection of grapes and ends with the bottling of a perfectly finished wine, and in our region, it’s some of the best around. Recently, Style visited a few of our notable wineries and vineyards to get a taste of what’s being crushed in our own backyards. Montevina WineryNestled in the rolling hills of Amador County, Montevina Winery is steeped in history. Established in 1970, Montevina was the first post-Prohibition winery in the Sierra foothills region. Soon, the winery became known for its top-quality wines. Amador County is known for its Zinfandels, many grown from centuries-old vines; the soil and climate combination make it the perfect home for this varietal. And, Montevina produces some of the best Zinfandels around.Now part of the Trinchero Family Estates, Montevina is the largest and most modern winery in Amador County. Under VP and General Manager Jeff Meyers and winemaker Chris Leamy, Montevina produces world-class, award-winning wines in its state-of-the-art facility under the Montevina and Terra d’Oro labels, and its eclectic red and white blend under the Wild Bunch label.Set within 400 acres of gorgeous scenery, Montevina’s tasting room and shaded outdoor patio is casual and inviting, and provides an idyllic setting for a romantic picnic. So pack your picnic basket and head to Plymouth to experience the history and delicious wines of Montevina.Varietals:Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Barbera, Pinot Grigio, Muscato, Anglianico, Teroldego, Sauvignon BlancFavorite:Terra d’Oro Zinfandel – Terra d’Oro, literally translated as “land of gold,” is Montevina’s premier wine, produced from the winery’s best lots in limited quantities. It's one Zinfandel that's just right! According to the winemaker’s notes, “Like a backyard barbeque, dark smoky molasses and hickory aromas warm the nose. Blackberry flavors are spiced with pepper, clove and anise like homemade preserves. A long lingering caramel finish touched by dark toasty oak begs for another sip.”Where to find Montevina wines: Montevina’s wines can be found at montevina.com, and at Total Wine & More in Roseville, Beverages & More, Raley’s/Bel Air and Sam’s Club locations throughout the Sacramento area.Winery & Tasting Room:Montevina Winery20680 Shenandoah School RoadPlymouth209-245-6942Open daily, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. For more Local Winemakers, be sure to pick up this month's copy of Style-Folsom El Dorado Hills edition. Click on the "Get Your Copy" link on the bottom of this page for some of our newsstand locations. Or, to order a copy of this issue, please email Gloria Schroeder at gloria@sierrastyle.com, or call her at 916-988-9888 x116.

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Preschool

08/31/2008 ● By Super Admin

To say that young children are impressionable is a blatant understatement. From birth to age five, the physical framework and wiring of a child’s brain develops largely based upon his or her experiences during those early years.Quality experiences are the goal of First 5 California’s investment of nearly one billion dollars into affordable, quality preschools for all. First 5 Executive Director Kris Perry explains, “A series of studies over a period of 40 years shows that children who participate in high quality preschool programs are less likely to be in the court system, are less likely to require social services, are more likely to graduate from high school and college, and are more likely to make higher earnings.”  Experts say it’s the basic lessons learned in preschool that set the stage for success in school, and in life. ...Preschool and Kindergarten Readiness ProgramsParents researching preschool choices will find hundreds of private preschools in the Greater Sacramento area. For eligible families, the federally-funded Head Start or State Preschool programs provide free early education and kindergarten preparedness classes. In Placer County, the Eureka Union School District has teamed with Star Enrichment to offer economical year-round preschool and/or kindergarten readiness programs at Maidu, Oakhills and Olive Ranch schools in Roseville/Granite Bay and Foskett Ranch School in Lincoln.And over the summer, free transitional programs offered through county school districts give future kindergartners a chance to visit their new school, spend time in group circles and meet their new teacher. El Dorado County’s summer camps are provided at five different schools, and the county’s First 5 commission produced a video called “Off to School: Kindergarten is Cool,” available on the county Web site. ...<hr>For more Preschool Information, be sure to pick up this month's copy of FoothillStyle. Click on the "Get Your Copy" link on the bottom of this page for some of our newsstand locations. Or, to order a copy of this issue, please email Gloria Schroeder at gloria@sierrastyle.com, or call her at 916-988-9888 x116.

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