Santa Ynez + ALDI & Friends

Do you know what it’s like to have two days away to enjoy food and wine with no kids? All you parents out there know exactly what I’m talking about. For those of you not quite there – one word: amazing. Made more amazing when it’s set against the Bridlewood Winery in Santa Ynez.


A few weeks ago, I did just this. I, along with a few others were invited to the Taste of ALDI. A two-day food and wine mini-retreat that included a menu put together by Mary Nolan from Bon Appétit. 

The dinner included all that you see in the menu pictured above—premium assorted cheese and charcuteries, steak and scallops entree, cauliflower steaks, a pasta side, salad and a chocolate cake dessert. It was a lot of food . . .a lot of food for only $14.53 a person!


I know, I’m as shocked as you are. I don’t think I’ve ever pulled off a menu with that much variety for under $30-40 a person. In fact, I’m already planning my birthday dinner around offerings from ALDI because of their low prices and top quality food. Now the only thing I’m trying to figure out is how to make the scallop dish. It was mine and Matt’s favorite.


Beyond the staggering low price of $14.53 a person, it was great to actually have adult conversation that did not include chubby little hands tugging at me for baby needs. That left me to enjoy time with my peers and get to know the people behind ALDI.

I’m like the queen of multi-tasking for any given situation, so 99% of the time I don’t give it a second thought, but when I’m in a setting like what you see below—al fresco dining with perfect spring weather—it was nice not to put that aside.


Pass the cheese board and another glass of wine, please! Which by the way – the cheeses are an unbelievable deal! I’m pretty sure if you did a blind taste test against some other brands that are double the price you would pick the ALDI brand. And pssst . . . pick up the Specially Selected Pepperoni Marinara Hand-Crafted Cheese next time you are in ALDI because as the name indicates—it tastes just like pizza—literally!


Speaking of wine, the two-day ALDI retreat included a wine tasting with sommelier Leslee Miller. Admittedly, I’m not totally adept with food and wine pairings, so not only did I learn a few things, but I can’t wait to raid the ALDI wine section and get crazy with some pairings.

That said, stay tuned for Part II of this series where I’ll be doing just that – loading up on some ALDI wine and goodies to share a killer recipe and some tips and tricks for pairing that I learned.

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  1. Avatar for Naomi Robinsonsue | theviewfromgreatisland says

    Yikes, I could get used to that! We have an anniversary coming up, I might just suggest a retreat to Santa Inez :)

  2. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonRobin | CaliGirl Cooking says

    Sounds like it was an amazing event! And kudos to you for getting away for a couple of days sans kids. So important! Love that you were in my own backyard, too. Can’t wait to see Part II of your post!

  3. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonStephanie says

    How nice to have some YOU time! That’s my kind of dinner! Nothing better than outside dining with plenty of cheese and wine!!!

  4. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonAggie says

    What a spread and beautiful setting to enjoy it! I have yet to visit Aldi, I need to! I hope you recreate that scallop dish, it looks delicious.

  5. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonMary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen says

    Sounds like a good time was had by all Naomi! Wine, cheese and some adult time is always good!

  6. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonNutmeg Nanny says

    What a fabulous dinner! Growing up we only shopped at Aldi so it’s nice to see that it’s finally catching on in other parts :)

  7. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonMonique @ Amb says

    This looks like the best kind of event! Love that all that gorgeous food was so inexpensive. Aldi is amazing for organic produce too and we’re huge fans of their tortilla chips!

  8. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonShopping Store says web portal offers easy and fast access to different quality brands