Category Archives: Travel

Countdown to Flavor! Napa Valley March 22-26, 2017

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Countdown to Flavor! Napa Valley March 22-26, 2017 Five Days, plenty of  amazing events and one legendary festival – The countdown to Flavor! Napa Valley, March 22-26, 2017, has begun! The five-day food and wine festival support programs and scholarships at The Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone Campus in St. Helena, CA. Flavor! During Flavor! Napa Valley, you’ll soak up inspiration from iconic chefs and winemakers while experiencing the best that Napa Valley has to offer. As you discover new flavors, you’ll also be supporting programs and scholarships of emerging talent from The Culinary Institute of America.

Flavor! Napa showcases the finest in farm-to-table cuisine and world class wines with a series of local and celebrity chef demonstrations, intimate winemaker workshops, as well as grand tastings and exclusive experiences to bring out the best flavors of Napa Valley.  Tickets for Flavor! Napa Valley are available at FlavorNapaValley.com.

A highlight of Flavor! Napa Valley 2017 events include:

Thursday, March 23, 2017

“From Vineyard to Bottle – Exploring Napa Valley with Iconic Winemaker Heidi Barrett” at the CIA at Copia 2:30 – 4 p.m.; $95 per person

Moderated by wine, food and television star Leslie Hartley­Sbrocco of KQED’s “Check, Please!” this exclusive seminar and tasting is focused on Heidi’s secrets behind how she captures the deep and complex flavors of the fruit in the wines she makes for her La Sirena and Barrett & Barrett labels, as well as other special selections from the highly­touted Napa Valley brands Paradigm, Fantesca, Kenzo Estate and Lamborn Family Vineyards.

“Napa Valley Icons Dinner” presented by the Silverado Resort and Spa at Silverado Resort and Spa 6 – 10 p.m.; $295 per person

Guests will celebrate the food and wine icons of the Napa Valley at the Silverado Resort and Spa while honoring legendary winemaker Heidi Barrett, who is responsible for some of California’s most notable cult wines. From multiple 100­point rated wines to setting a world record when a 6­liter bottle of her Screaming Eagle 1992 Cabernet Sauvignon sold for $500,000 at the Napa Valley Wine Auction in 2000. Participating chefs include Host Chef Jeffrey Jake from Silverado Resort and Spa; Matthew Accarrino from SPQR; Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski from State Bird Provisions and The Progress; Ken Frank from La Toque; Michael Schulson from Schulson Collective; and esteemed CIA graduate Waldy Malouf.

Chef Demo “Tyler Malek and Lisa Vega at the CIA at Copia 10 – 11:30 a.m.; $75 per person

Indulge your sweet tooth with Chefs Tyler Malek, co­owner and chef of Salt & Straw Ice Cream, and Lisa Vega, executive pastry chef at Dandelion Chocolate.  Guests will experience what happens when great minds collide with their unique use of ingredients, techniques, and secret tricks of the trade, and reap the delicious benefits of this culinary match with Salt & Straw’s innovative, seasonally­driven ice cream, and Dandelion’s small batch bean to bar chocolate.

Friday, March 24, 2017

 Terroir to Table – “The Blend Experience at Paraduxx” at Paraduxx Winery 10 – 11:30 a.m.; $95 per person

During this lively, hands­on experience, guests will be guided through a component tasting of the three core varietals that make up Paraduxx and learn the techniques of winemaking. Wines will be seasonally paired with bites from local chefs, Natalie and Jonathan Niksa, of La Saison, Napa Valley.

Terroir to Table – “The Spirited Side of Napa Valley” at 2:30 – 4 p.m.; $95 per person

The class is designed to showcase the spirited side of Napa Valley. Guests will start with a welcome beverage and short distillery tour, followed by a whiskey barrel tasting with the Napa Distillery owner and distiller. After the tour, guests will enjoy a multi­course small plate and cocktail/spirits pairing experience in the grand tasting salon. Each course will be prepared exclusively for each cocktail/spirit, made with spirits crafted at the distillery.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Terroir to Table – “Exercise Your Senses with St. Supery Estate Vineyards and Winery at St. Supery Estate Vineyards 10 – 11:30 a.m.; $95 per person

This class explores wine aromas suggestive of fruit character, barrel aging and terroir while tasting four estate grown St. Supéry wines. Guests will exercise their sense of smell through a series of aroma identifications designed to discover how personal sensory memory impacts how aromas are recognized. This interactive sommelier­led experience includes a mystery wine game to ultimately guide guests to identify more aromas in their glass to heighten the enjoyment of wine.

“Legendary Napa Valley, The Grand Tasting” at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone VIP admission is 6 – 7 p.m. and tickets are $225 per person; general admission is at 7 p.m. and tickets are $175 per person.

The sixth annual Grand Tasting at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena allows guests to taste their way through the Napa Valley with a selection of sweet and savory bites from more than 25 Napa Valley restaurants, paired with wine from more than 80 Napa Valley wineries. Participating restaurants include Angele Restaurant; Brasswood; Harvest Table; Lucy Restaurant & Bar; Nuri; PRESS Restaurant; Sam’s Social Club; Silverado Resort & Spa; Tarla Mediterranean Bar & Grill; The Farm at Carneros; and The Restaurant at Auberge du Soleil. 2 Flavor! Napa Valley includes additional Napa Valley Wine Tours; Terroir to Table events, Chef Demonstrations, and Wine Classes.

Wine Events at Flavor! Napa Valley with Christopher Sawyer of SawyerSomm.com – WINE MANAGEMENT AND PROGRAMMING – Christopher Sawyer is an internationally-renowned sommelier,  wine educator, journalist, consultant, critic and public speaker: He travels the world following trends in wine and participating as a VIP judge in the world’s top wine competitions, and has been featured in a wide range of national media, including USAToday, MSN, NBC, ABC, CBS, Redbook, The Hollywood Reporter, Maxim, National Geographic Traveler, CNN and Esquire.

Visit Napa Valley is proud to announce the event sponsors for Flavor! Napa Valley 2017:

● Founding Sponsor: Silverado Resort and Spa
● Presenting Sponsor: Downtown Napa Association
●Jeroboam Sponsor: Bright Event Rentals
● Double Magnum Sponsors: Celebrity CruisesMr. EspressoTriMarkNapa Valley Marriott.

by Manda Bear:  Instagram and Twitter.

 

First Day at NAPA VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL NOV 11, 2015

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The Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF) is the ultimate celebration of Uptown Theaterfilm, food and wine, in the picturesque towns of Napa, Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga at the most colorful time of year, November 11-15, 2015. In addition to amazing films, attendees enjoy industry panels, culinary demonstrations, wine tasting pavilions, special events and parties, winemaker dinners and more.

jason wise dlynn proctor marc lhormerThe opening day and night of the Napa Valley Film Festival on Wednesday, November 11, 2015. The Opening Night World Premiere Screening of SOMM: INTO THE BOTTLE and Somm: Into the Bottle Opening Night Party with Director Jason Wise and documentary subjects Steve Mathiasson, Festival Co-Founders Marc Lhormer & Brenda Lhormer and many more.

Uptown TheaterThere’s about 120 films will be screening this year, just as last year. There’s more seats added this year with three more theaters showing. The opening night much anticipated with medias, movie lovers, and Festival pass holders at the Uptown Theater got turned away.

This is our first year cover Napa Vally Film Festival and we were disappointed with the process from the BWR PR company. We didn’t get to see the Somm: Into The Bottle, and we didn’t get to meet any of the documented Master Sommelier nor director Jason Wise. We can’t share with you how good to movie was.

YOUNTVILLE, CA - NOVEMBER 11: Members of the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, from the film 'Landfill Harmonic' at the Lincoln Theatre during a screening of the film at the 2015 Napa Valley Film Festival on November 11, 2015 in Yountville, California. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup)
YOUNTVILLE, CA – NOVEMBER 11: Members of the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, from the film ‘Landfill Harmonic’ at the Lincoln Theatre during a screening of the film at the 2015 Napa Valley Film Festival on November 11, 2015 in Yountville, California. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup)

The Carol screening with Producer Christine Vachon and Composer Carter Burwell was  on the Opening Night Red Carpet. The screening, Q&A and concert for Landfillharmonic, featuring 24 children from the Paraguayan musical group, the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, performing with their musical instruments made entirely out of garbage at the 2015 Napa Valley Film Festival.

NAPA, CA - NOVEMBER 11: Q&A for the film 'Somm: Into the Bottle' at the Napa Uptown Theatre at the 2015 Napa Valley Film Festival on November 11, 2015 in Napa, California. (Photo by Bob McClenahan/PictureGroup)
NAPA, CA – NOVEMBER 11: Q&A for the film ‘Somm: Into the Bottle’ at the Napa Uptown Theatre at the 2015 Napa Valley Film Festival on November 11, 2015 in Napa, California. (Photo by Bob McClenahan/PictureGroup)

We are looking forward for screenings of the award-winning dark comedy MOMENTS OF CLARITY, part of the Narrative Feature Competition. The film stars Lyndsy Fonseca (How I Met Your Mother, KICK-ASS), Xander Berkeley (24, Nikita), Eric Roberts (LAZARUS RISING, RUNAWAY TRAIN), Mackenzie Astin (The Facts of Life, IN LOVE AND WAR, IRON WILL), breakout star lead actress/producer/co-writer Kristin Wallace(LETHA ACIDENTS, TREE LINE), and Saxon Trainor (SAND CASTLES), also featuring Marguerite Moreau (WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER), Jonathan Lajoie (The League), Bitty Schram (Monk, A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN) andA.J. Trauth (WELCOME TO HAPPINESS, Even Stevens).  It was directed by Stev Elem, written by Christian Lloyd (and Kristin Wallace), and produced byDavid J. Phillips (and Kristin Wallace).

MOMENTS OF CLARITY is a dark-comedy adventure in which a repressed agoraphobic’s daughter (Kristin Wallace) meets a hardened pastor’s daughter (Lyndsy Fonseca). While escaping their homes to fix a broken camera they end up en route to attend an annual church youth group jamboree and on the way they encounter a host of characters that slowly reveal that their worlds aren’t what they thought they were.  Here is the trailer :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7CURsvzOGI

One of the honest and vibrant film, Crafted, directed by Morgan Spurlock, at the Napa Valley Film Festival. Crafted: inspired by the Häagen-Dazs brand’s own artisanal roots and unwavering commitment to master its craft. The brand commissioned Spurlock to direct this unbranded documentary short that explores what the artisan mindset means in today’s world. Like the Häagen-Dazs brand, the documentary film craftsmen demonstrate a keen dedication to perfecting their craft and holding themselves to the highest standards to deliver products of the finest quality. Check them out.

Buy your passes here: Napa Film Fest Passes

Website: NapaValleyFilmFest.org
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NapaFilmFest
Instagram: https://instagram.com/napafilmfest/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NapaFilmFest

Beauregard Vineyards, Ben Lomond Mountain AVA, A Premier Santa Cruz Mountain Wine Tasting Experience

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Wines & Winery Reviews

In 1945, retired Sheriff Deputy Amos Beauregard bought 13 acres SF Napa Michelin Star 001of Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay from Quistorf who originally planted the vineyard circa 1880. Amos farmed the land at the newly named Beauregard Ranch until his final days. Amos’ son Emmit (Bud) Beauregard, the founder of Shopper’s Corner Grocery Store in Santa Cruz, farmed the family land for a lifetime while running Shopper’s.

Bud’s son Jim Beauregard took to farming at a very young age with SF Napa Michelin Star 009his grandfather Amos. In 1982, Jim worked rigorously to establish the Ben Lomond Mountain AVA, a distinctively different terroir than the rest of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Over the years, Jim has planted hundreds of acres of vines throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains and still maintains his 68 acres of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, and Cabernet Sauvignon.” You can’t find a better deep rooted history of a winery in Santa Cruz Mountains than the Beauregard Vineyards family.

Beauregard 1  Driving up to the tasting room, it was very familiar, because it took over the historical building “The Lost Weekend Bar” 1950-1983, it was once home of the Bonny Doon tasting room.

The cozy tasting room offers plenty of places for you to sit down on the comfortable chairs, the beautiful couch or over 12 seats by the bar. On a nice day, take a walk outside, the spacious yard with a few tables, a perfect spot for a picnic, you can bring your snacks. You just need to call and reserve that outdoor table in advance.

SF Napa Michelin Star 020   It was our lucky day. We got to Mr. Warner Strejan, their Director of Sales, gave us a winery tour includes a wine tasting, a private guided experience to our old world winemaking facility. Beauregard Vineyards is offering guided cellar tours Saturday and Sunday at noon by appointment only. The tour includes in detail a tasting, a vineyard overview and tour of the winery and barrel room.

These winery tours are ideal for corporate groups, business team building experiences, event planners, or other more groups. Tours are free with the purchase of a $10.00 Tasting Fee.

It was so quiet and peaceful up here. Beauregard Vineyards Tasting Room is overlooked to the beautiful Pinot Noir Vineyard that the 4th generation winemaker Ryan Beauregard has planted and planning on release that vintage in 2017.

Beauregard 3   For a small fee, you get to taste quite a few wines. There were a few lovely wines that surprised me.

– 2012 Pinot Gris Orange Wine, from Reagan Vineyard, quite lovely, bright and vibrant and orange in color with perfect clarity. it’s a perfect bottle for a hot summer day.

– 2011 Chardonnay Bald Mountain, bright green apple with floral notes, a well- balanced acidity, beautiful finish. A bit of oak, light buttered toast and vanilla, only 150 cases made. I adore this wine.

– 2012 Pinot Noir, Coast Grade Vineyard, inviting notes of berry and spice box, a sense of place, speaks of a bed of limestone in the Santa Cruz Mountains overlooking the coastline, a medium body Pinot Noir that’s perfect with a grilled fish dish and seafood. Less than 50 Beauregard 2cases made, a must try.

– 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Beauregard Ranch, a perfect cab to pair with your steak or lamb chop.

I got to meet 4th generation winemaker Ryan Beauregard over a winemaker dinner at Bourbon Steakhouse, at Levi’s Stadium over Ryan Beauregard Jenna Boyerthe Summer.  Sommelier Jenna Boyer of Michael Mina Group was introduced us to the winemaker.  I follow Somm Jenna at all her” Vine to Table” dinner events at Bourbon Steak. This winemaker dinner was fantastic. And listening to Ryan Beauregard was refreshing. “It took me over ten years to make the wines and the styles that I truly love.” Says Ryan. An old world wine style, less oak, minimal intervention, native yeast, organic, well-balanced, good acidity, and to pair well with food. He undoubtedly makes some of the best Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Santa Cruz Mountains.

I also met the  3rd generation viticulturist Jim Beauregard. He was also at the winemaker dinner. “We want to go all organic, and this is the way Beauregard Vineyard will be.” says Jim.

Ryan was so passionate in his speech to the diners. He speaks from Ryan Beauregardhis heart, and how sincerely he believes in what his family does. “My technique to accomplish this valued combination starts with the absence of chemical manipulation from the crush pad to the bottling line. Instead of using commercially manufactured yeasts that may impact flavors from other areas of the world, I use yeasts that are present in our vineyard and cellar. All wines are aged ‘sir lees’ creating vintages of notable minerality, expressive of our coastal mountain terroir. Finally, I use minimal percentages of high-quality oak barrels to ensure that the fruits are expressed and not covered by the flavor of the oak.” Says Ryan.

So if you are taking a trip here, it’s only 15 minutes drive from SF Napa Michelin Star 024Santa Cruz on this scenic drive North on HWY 1 and 1.5 hours drive South on HWY 1 from San Francisco.

Award-winning wines for a fraction of what you pay for Napa Valley wines, price ranges from $20.00-$65.00, so drive a little, explore your Beauregard 4palate, and you will be in for a real treat.

Beauregard Vineyards
10 Pine Flat Road
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Phone: 1 (831) 425-7777 X1

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by Manda Bear

Bazaar Meat by José Andrés at the SLS Hotel, Las Vegas

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What not to love about Award-winning chef José Andrés BAzaar Meat CHef Jose Andrescombines traditional Spanish flavors with cutting edge culinary techniques in Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres at the SLS hotel recently opens in 2014 in Las Vegas.

Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres is the James Beard Award-winning chef’s wild and delightful celebration of the carnivorous, in all its forms.  Enjoy nuanced, playful cuisine and cocktails for which The
Bazaar Meat Dining RoomBazaar by José Andrés has become known on both coasts, in a strikingly seductive setting by Philippe Starck, in collaboration with Gensler and SLS Hotels.

Voted one of the “44 Best Restaurants in America” by Business Insider; Chef José Andrés goes beyond the traditional steakhouse, Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres, it’s social, shared plates dining experience. It’s such a fun place for family and friends to get together.

Bazaar Meat Barman Hien Truong    Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres also features a creative cocktail selection with the well-known Bar Manager Hien Truong (formerly opening Hakkasan Vegas & Rose. Rabbit. Lie). With drinks like the Smoke on the Water, made with blackberries, atomized Scotch, Islay mist and flame and many cocktails are served table-side to show you a spectacular show of craftsmanship, only for those who truly appreciate it.   And Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres is also a recipient of Wine Spectator’s “Best of Award of Excellence”, an equally impressive wine list to match with the incredible cocktails list.

Bazaar Meat food     Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres is designed by the famous architecture/designer Philippe Starck (Mondrian, Paramount, Hudson hotels in NYC, LA, Chicago, and Delano Miami South Beach) and features two private dining rooms, make me think of company dinner during CES. The restaurant is spacious. It’s probably one of the biggest restaurants that I’ve seen in Las Vegas, beautifully designed, warm, inviting, and quite intimate with an open kitchen, open flame grill when you first walk it.

Bazaar Meat Steak Tartare     Love the beautiful wooden communal table can hold up to 30 people.  It’s a perfect table for Birthday, bachelorette, or a  post work conference dinners.

While chef José Andrés bears the name, Chef De Cuisine David Thomas is the man in charge the kitchen and GM Yassine Lyoubi offers an impeccable service from the moment we arrived till we left.

SLS Celebration for Jose Andres   The extensive menu offers everything about meats and a whole lot more from Mediterranean mussels to sea urchin, seared quail, farm chicken and oxtail. For dessert, enjoy delights like dark chocolate lollipops, bonbons, ice creams and sorbets.

The food:

Bazaar Meat cocktail– José’s Asian Taco – Jamón ibérico de bellota, toasted nori, flying fish roe – who would have thought, they go so well together?

– Cotton Candy Foie Gras Crispy amaranth – a MUST TRY

– Sea Urchin – Soy, Wasabi, pickled ginger, lemon

Bazaar Meat wagyu– Bagels & Lox Cone – Dill cream cheese, salmon roe

– Jamón Ibérico de Bellota* (Fermín, Salamanca, Spain) Hand-cut from the famous black-footed Spanish pig, Acorn-fed, free-range

– Wagyu Beef Cheeks Mojo Rojo, oranges

Bazaar Meat 1– Grilled Baby Corn Mayonnaise, chile piquin, popcorn powder

– Grilled Pulpo a la Gallega Galician style octopus, potato, pimentón

– Wagyu steak by 3 OZ minimum order, prepared to perfection

– The sausage was delicious for days….

Everything was prepared to perfection, out of this world with an impressive creation that I’ve Bazaar Meat steaknever seen before. So if you come here, please leave your ‘narrow-minded’ and ‘traditional steakhouse mind’ at home. It’s Vegas, so go wild baby! You are surely in for a real treat!

Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres is just ten minutes cab drive off the strip. It’s worth the drive!  This is one of the most exciting restaurants recently opening in Las Vegas.

Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres at the SLS Hotel in Las Vegas
Restaurant Address: 2535 S Las Vegas Blvd,
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: (702) 761-7000
Website: http://slslasvegas.com/dining/bazaar-meat
Instagram: @BazaarByJose
Twitter: @BazaarMeat
Facebook: Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres at SLS LasVegas
Bazaar Meat 3
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by Manda Bear 

Portofino by Chef Michael LaPlaca, at the Mirage Hotel, Las Vegas

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I saw his name flashing on the billboard display at the Mirage Hotel portofinoin Las Vegas, each time I pass The Strip. Voted 1 of the best Italian restaurants in Las Vegas. I finally got to take my family here.

Portofino by Chef Michael LaPlaca, a young chef that I had met a long time ago when he worked at the infamous Michelin Starred and James Beard Awarded Bradley Ogden restaurant at Caesars Palace. He also worked for portofino chef michael laplaca 2chef Thomas Keller at Bouchon at the Venetian, and Alex at the Wynn back in the day. This chef was once dreamt of becoming a professional skateboarder or joining a punk-rock band. He told the story that when he first moved to Las Vegas with no money with only $70 in his pocket and to start a culinary school then.

On the first day of culinary school, Chef Michael LaPlaca was told to write a long-term goal on the first page of my notebook so that every day when he got to class, he would remember that dream. He dreamt of someday; his name will flashing on the billboard of Las Vegas Strip. He wrote down, “Executive chef on the Las Vegas Strip.” Dreams do come true!

Now this over 6 FT tall, muscular, handsome, and young chef runs one of the best Italian restaurants on the Strip.

We were greeted nicely by the beautiful hostesses. A long bar with portofino loungebeautiful chandeliers, and mirror opposite of the bar reflecting the brightness of the place, somewhat intimidating when I first walked in. The main dining room was warm, cozy and inviting. We got the booth table in the corner, comfortable for all.

They offer the incredible value for your money. The Summer Tastings menu is only $30 for three courses, and wine pairing for $25, unheard of at a fine dining on the Strip!

A good selection for vegetarian and gluten-free to choose, a pre-show menu and a regular a la carte one.

– MEATBALLS – fried squash blossom, goat cheese, and San Marzano tomatoes – a must try!

portofino pasta tasting– Grilled Octopus – Calabrian peperonata, fingerling crisps, salsa verde

– Calamari – housemade Mariana, pepperoncini, Parmesan, and the Mariana sauce was so addicting, tasty, full of flavor. We had to ask for more sauce for bread dipping.

– PASTA TASTING – is a must if you’re pasta lover or if you come with a few friends.
1. Ravioli with poached egg and truffle
2. Gnocchi with sweetbreads, fava beans
3. Ripateli with housemade lamb sausage, peppers, grilled lamb, San Manzano tomatoes
4. Chicken Pappardelle, Foie Gras alfredo
5. Agnolotti with lobster, chanterelle mushrooms, corn butter

– Veal Osso Buco – Saffron risotto, bone marrow, gremolata – arr, portofino lobstermeat lover, this is for you.

– Steak – was perfectly cooked to our liking.

– Branzino – asparagus, potato leek gratin, hen of the wood mushroom, delicious

DESSERTS:
– Nutella Creme Brulee – if you love Nutella, a must order dish.

– Cassata Cheesecake, strawberries, “Italian Wedding Cake” portofino steakcroutons – this was beautifully presented, looks like a gift box.

– Cooke Souffle Trio – Chocolate chips, Oreo, Vanilla Anglaise – sweet tooth heaven!

Portofino by Chef Michael LaPlaca, at The Mirage Hotel & Casino, offers foodies a once-in-a-lifetime culinary experience with its exclusive “Diamond and Gold” Lasagna. We didn’t get to order this dish on this visit, but chef LaPlaca told us that he might bring it back December 2015. I can’t wait.

According to the chef, the “Diamond and Gold” Lasagna will tantalize taste buds with layers of pasta stuffed with porcini mushrooms, portofino diamond and gold lasagnaIberico Ham and Prosciutto di Parma. A generous serving of 24-month-aged Parmigiano-Reggiano, buffalo mozzarella, and Kobe Bolognese is spread between each layer, making the dish melt in your mouth. This luxurious creation is covered with  Alfredo sauce infused with Foie Gras, leaving it dripping with flavor. White Diamond winter truffles shaved tableside adorn the dish, along with glittering 23-karat gold flakes for a finishing touch. Designed by Executive Chef Michael LaPlaca, this decadent lasagna dish boasts the authentic flavors of Italian cuisine.

Service was efficient and fast, perfect timing between course. The portofino chef michael laplacawines by the glass were reasonable, and the wines pairing was done reasonable for the strip. The GM was very nice and checked up on us to make sure we had a good time.  Portofino by Chef Michael LaPlaca is surely a great spot for you to visit if you want authentic Italian cuisine with a modern twist, doesn’t break your bank and such a charming restaurant.

Portofino by Chef Michael LaPlaca at the Mirage Hotel
Restaurant Address: 3400 S Las Vegas Blvd,
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: (866) 339-4566 minimum age requirement is 5 years old
Website: http://www.mirage.com/restaurants/portofino-by-chef-michael-laplaca.aspx
Instagram: @TheMirageLV
Twitter: @LaPlacaMichael
Facebook: Portofino by Chef Michael LaPlaca

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by Manda Bear 

Celebrated Chef Fabio Viviani, with a Passion for Wine, Life After Top Chef

Who can forget Chef Fabio Viviani with his vibrant personality on chef Fabio VivianiBravo’s hit reality series “Top Chef” season 5 & 8 – earning the “Fan Favorite” title.  He also starred in the spinoff, “Life After Top Chef,” Chef Viviani has appeared on many television shows such as Good Morning America, Good Day LA, Access Hollywood, CBS The Talk, abc The Chew, and Ellen. He is a guest host on the Hallmark Channel series Home and Family. He was also the host of the Telly and Webby award-winning web series Chow Ciao! On Yahoo!

Fabio American CokbookHe has published three successful cookbooks: Café Firenze Cookbook, New York Times Best-Seller Fabio’s Italian Kitchen, and his most recent cookbook, Fabio’s American Home Kitchen. Chef Viviani also shares recipes with his fans through his magazine, Fabio’s Magazine. He currently oversees six restaurants, and a few more restaurants are slated to open later this year.

With an intense passion for food, Chef Fabio Viviani brings that Fabio Viviani Cabernet Sauvignonsame spirit to winemaking. He aims to simplify the magic in pairing wine and food, making it easy to elevate a simple meal to an extraordinary event. His first release was 2012 Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. There’re two new wines are soon to be released later this year. The Fabio Viviani Signature Red Blend, a balanced fruit and sunbaked earth tones and the Fabio Viviani Signature White Blend with medium body fruity aromas and crisp acidity.
Fabio Viviani ChardonnayThe Fabio Viviani Wine Collection emphasizes quality while maintaining approachability. Time and energy are focused on finding the best grapes and using the best winemaking practices while staying conscious of our environment. His wine collection is available online: http://www.fabiovivianiwines.com.

We got to share a glass of wine with Chef Fabio Vivian recently. We would like to share with our readers our interview here. Thank you Chef Fabio Viviani for sharing your love for food and wine with us.

MB: You have been in America for such a short time, and you have become one of the most successful chefs around with show, restaurants, wines, cookbooks, and more. Can you share with us few pointers?

Chef Fabio Viviani: You have to have a good game plan and clear chef Fabio Vivianigoals that you tackle one at a time. I first moved to America with the goal of learning the language in a year and a half. After I had done that I moved on to the goal of opening a few restaurants, writing a cookbook and beginning a wine collection. My overall success is built upon a series of smaller successes. Take the time to lay out a plan of action and then stick to it!

MB: When were you most satisfy with your job? What make you get up every morning and thrive for it? How do you manage your time?

Chef Fabio Viviani: I’m most satisfied with my job when I see things come to fruition. You can talk forever about “I’m going to do this” or “I’m going to do that” but until things are actually accomplished, that is all talk. It makes me happy when I see my goals realized. It’s my drive to overcome obstacles that stand between myself and what I chef Fabio Viviani foodwant to accomplish that drives me to get out of bed every morning. I’m a do-er I don’t like when people are lazy or procrastinate. I’ve learned to manage my time by realizing that I have to be able to say “no” I have to be realistic when I don’t have time for things that aren’t absolutely necessary to the completion of the goals I have for myself. Also, you have to learn how to manage your leftover time. I don’t let myself get distracted.

MB: With all the restaurants that you have now, and we heard that you were launching the new wines?

Chef Fabio Viviani: I like always to be busy. I like working long hours chef Fabio Viviani food 2and taking on new projects! I started building a brand with my restaurants after I moved to the states in 2005 and opened the first one. I want my name to be synonymous with quality, and that extends to my wine collection. I’ve been in the wine business my entire life – and beginning my own line seemed like a natural next step.

MB: Would you please tell us more about the wines that you about to launch? What make it different than other wines on the market?

Chef Fabio Viviani: I launched the collection with my good friends Fabio Viviani Chardonnay 1Carlos Quimbo and Sean Thomas late last year. We began with a 2012 Chardonnay and 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon. We wanted to make two quintessential California wines, and we wanted to make them very well. I think we accomplished that! We’ve continued this legacy with the release of 2013 vintages of the Cabernet and Chardonnay as well as a Signature Red Blend and Signature White Blend (www.fabiovivianiwines.com). They are all delicious wines that are best enjoyed with good food and good friends. I want my wines to be like my cooking – approachable, but high quality.  What makes them different from other wines is that, because I’m from Italy, I know that a good wine doesn’t have to cost a crazy amount of money. We’ve scouted for the best grapes and refined the best winemaking techniques to produce a bottle of wine that can compete with bottles 3 or 4 times its price.

MB: Will you be at any food and wine festival this year? What is your plan in the near future?

Chef Fabio Viviani: I’m working on a leadership academy that will most likely debut early next year that will teach business chef Fabio Viviani food 3approaches and best practices to be a successful entrepreneur through live conferences and events. I’ll be partnering with some very important people in the business world – stay tuned for more details! I’ll also be attending the LA Food & Wine Festival as well as the August 15th California Fig Festival at Cal State Fresno. Here is to great wine, delicious food, loving family, and friendships that last forever. Raise your glass and drink with me. Cheers.

Fabiano Viviani Wines
Address: Fabio Viviani Estates, Buellton, CA
Phone: 1- 312-508-6198
Fabio Viviani Wines Website
Fabio Viviani Wines Twitter
Fabio Viviani Wines Facebook
Fabio Viviani Wines Instagram
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by Manda Bear 

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Silver Trident Tasting House, with Co-Founder Bob Binder, at Ralph Lauren Home Furnishing, Yountville, Napa Valley

   Silver Trident Tasting House is nestled in the charming downtown SilverTrident_Family_29718Yountville. Tuscan-style home furnished in the famous Ralph Lauren Home Furnishing from the chandelier to the plate, from the comfortable chair to the beautiful picture frame, everything to detail, are Ralph Lauren. You can buy just about anything they have in this house and take it home with you. How cool is that?

It doesn’t feel as I was at the winery or a tasting room, which there Silver Trident Ralph Lauren 1are few in this town. I feel at home, or better yet, a luxurious hotel, but yet I was so comfortable and relaxed.

There are three rooms, which each can host for 4-8 people max. There’s no sitting nor standing bar. The arts on the walls are beautiful, modern, and inviting.

Silver Trident Ralph Lauren 4   We arrived a little earlier than our appointment. We were greeted nicely with a splash of rose by Susan. She’s sweet, beautiful, and gracious. She told us the story of this small and limited production of wines. They only make about 1,800 cases per year. That’s little compared to over five wineries in Napa Valley.

Silver Trident Ralph Lauren 3– The Rosé of Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast – $28, only 200 cases, a perfect wine for Summer, #RoseAllDamnDay is my hashtag 🙂

– The Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc – $28, only 200 cases, think of Sunday brunch with your family and friends.

– The 2013 Benevolent Dictator Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, Dutton Ranch Vineyard – $55, 400 cases. The microclimates of the Sonoma Coast AVA include the western portion of Carneros and the Petaluma Gap. This Pinot Noir was delicious, nice nose, bright cherry, bright acidity, a food-pairing Silver Trident Ralph Lauren 8wine, a Burgundian style, love it. A balanced wine with ripe flavors, silky texture and crisp acidity. Bright ruby color with aromas of cherry skin. The palate shows more cherry and dried fruit flavors with earthy notes. Clean, solid backbone, structure, ready to drink now or you can cellar aging it for years to come. It’s an ideal to pair to grilled fish, vegetables, or barbecued meats.

– 2010 Twenty Seven Fathoms, Napa Valley – $90, 400 cases – A Bordeaux blend style, this striking 2010 Cabernet is loaded with bright, vibrant fruit and has an exceptional body to match. The aromas and flavors of blackberry, currant, black cherry and toasty oak meld exquisitely with ample midpalate weight, a silky mouth-fee,l and luxurious tannins that add good length to the finish. An excellent wine to enjoy now, but it will also improve through cellar aging beyond 2020. I dig this wine! Think of Mediterranean lamb chop, a juicy Wagyu, or braised pork shoulder.

Kari Auringer, Winemaker, she’s been creating outstanding wines for over 14 years, including working on the team to create many of Napa’s Cult Cabs such as the 100-point Scarecrow, Lindstrom, Hollywood and Vine and Keever.

Silver Trident Ralph Lauren - Bob Binder   We got lucky on this visit. The co-founder Bob Binder was there. First met him, you wouldn’t know he’s the proprietor. He was energetic, vibrant, good sense of humor, and so humbled. “If you do the same things, the same way everyone else does,” he says, “you’ll end up being average. And average is synonymous with boring.” Binder said.

If we only knew he came from the best of the luxury hospitality business. The world of luxury cruise lines, think of the Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, he and good fortune to work with culinary luminaries like Jacques Pépin, a team of world-class chefs and sommeliers, and a host of outstanding epicurean partners like Bon Appétit and The Wine Spectator.

Silver_Trident_0066   Walter Jost, the vintner, co-founded Silver Trident. Walter is past president of one of the world’s most prestigious travel companies. Although he left his native Switzerland at an early age, he’s proud of his heritage—and insists that the Swiss produce world-class wines, which they simply chose to drink themselves and not export. Walter walks each row of the estate vineyard, inspecting the vines every day while enjoying his morning coffee. Some call his meticulous attention to detail extreme. He simply calls it Swiss.

Binder and Jost, because they wanted to make extraordinary wines—wines that would be at home everywhere from a festive dinner table at home to the world of luxury hospitality where they’ve made their careers.

With only $25,  you got to taste four wines, refundable with a Silver Trident Ralph Lauren 5purchase of $100 or more. If you want food pairing, you need to call in advance for it. The food pairing is a must. We got to try four different small bites, and it was fantastic to pair with the wines.

We enjoyed our visit very much, and I can’t wait to visit again. Silver Trident Tasting House is walking distance to Bottega Napa Valley, Bouchon Bistro,  The French Laundry,  Ad-Hoc, REDD, Redd wood, Hurley’s Restaurant, and Lucy’s Restaurant & Bar. It’s a perfect stop before your dinner in Yountville, or on your way back since most wineries are closed at 4-5 pm, Silver Trident opens till 7 pm.

Silver Trident Winery – Ralph Lauren Tasting House
Address: 6495 Washington Street
Yountville, California 94599
Tel: (707) 945-0311
Website:www.silvertridentwinery.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/silvertridents

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by Manda Bear 

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Eat, Drink, and End Hunger, OCT 15-18, 2015, The 8th Annual New York City Wine Food Festival

nyc_wff

 

 

NYCWFF 2014 raised more than $1 million! 100% of the net proceeds benefit Food Bank For New York City and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry® Campaign. After seven years, NYCWFF has raised more than $8.5 million to help fight hunger for this worthy cause.

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 15:  Tony Bennett and Daniel Boulud attend the Le Cirque 40th Anniversary Dinner Hosted by Sirio Maccioni during New York City Wine & Food Festival at Le Cirque on October 15, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for NYCWFF) *** Local Caption *** Tony Bennett; Daniel Boulud
NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 15: Tony Bennett and Daniel Boulud attend the Le Cirque 40th Anniversary Dinner Hosted by Sirio Maccioni during New York City Wine & Food Festival at Le Cirque on October 15, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for NYCWFF) *** Local Caption *** Tony Bennett; Daniel Boulud

OCT 15-18, 2015, for three nights and four days of indulgence in food and wine, an epic epicurean event each fall in the Big Apple. The 8th Annual New York City Wine and Food Festival, sponsored by the Food Network and Cooking Channel and presented by Food & Wine. One of the country’s premier

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 18:  Shaw-Ross International Importers pouring wine Chateau D'Esclans at The Lobster Place Presents Oyster Bash sponsored by Negra Modelo hosted by Tyler Florence during the New York City Wine & Food Festival at The Standard, High Line, Biergarten & Garden on October 18, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Mireya Acierto/Getty Images for NYCWFF)
NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 18: Shaw-Ross International Importers pouring wine Chateau D’Esclans at The Lobster Place Presents Oyster Bash sponsored by Negra Modelo hosted by Tyler Florence during the New York City Wine & Food Festival at The Standard, High Line, Biergarten & Garden on October 18, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Mireya Acierto/Getty Images for NYCWFF)

destinations, bringing together the world culinary talents, celebrity chefs, mixologists, vintners, and foodies unite to eat, drink and end world hunger. Proceeds go to the Food Bank For New York City and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry® campaign.

Attendees are invited to explore the world-class properties as well as parties at Pier 92, Pier 94 and various locations around the Big

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 18:  TV Personality Andrew Zimmern runs a presentation at KitchenAid stage at the Grand Tasting presented by ShopRite featuring KitchenAid® culinary demonstrations presented by MasterCard during the New York City Wine & Food Festival at Pier 94 on October 18, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for NYCWFF) *** Local Caption *** Andrew Zimmern
NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 18: TV Personality Andrew Zimmern runs a presentation at KitchenAid stage at the Grand Tasting presented by ShopRite featuring KitchenAid® culinary demonstrations presented by MasterCard during the New York City Wine & Food Festival at Pier 94 on October 18, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for NYCWFF) *** Local Caption *** Andrew Zimmern

Apple.   Where more than hundreds of celebrity chefs and  wineries come together to showcase a dynamic weekend of exceptional lunches, dinners, cooking demos, chef collaborations, and experience the amazing Grand Tastings, featuring the industry’s leading experts, and most coveted restaurants in the world. And it’s held at 1 of the iconic culinary destination in the world.

After seven successful years, the Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE (NYCWFF) is gearing up to once again pay homage to one of the greatest dining cities in the world while fighting to end hunger! It is the only Festival in New York to bring together both legendary culinary icons from around the globe and America’s most beloved television chefs.

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 18:  Absolut Vodka on display at CHOPPED! Best Bloody Mary Brunch Perfected By ABSOLUT during the New York City Wine & Food Festival at New York Hilton – Grand Ballroom on October 18, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for NYCWFF)
NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 18: Absolut Vodka on display at CHOPPED! Best Bloody Mary Brunch Perfected By ABSOLUT during the New York City Wine & Food Festival at New York Hilton – Grand Ballroom on October 18, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for NYCWFF)

NYCWFF began as a one-night event, SWEET, in the fall of 2007. In 2008, Festival Founder and Director, Lee Brian Schrager (Vice President, Corporate Communications & National Events at Southern Wine & Spirits of America) launched the inaugural NYCWFF that has quickly grown to mirror the success of its sister Festival, the Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by Food & Wine.

NYCWFF 2014 raised more than $1 million! 100% of the net proceeds benefit Food Bank For New York City and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry® campaign. To date, NYCWFF has raised $8.5 million to help fight hunger.

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19:  Chef Tyler Florence signs copies of his book "Fresh" at the Grand Tasting presented by ShopRite featuring KitchenAid® culinary demonstrations presented by MasterCard during the New York City Wine & Food Festival at Pier 94 on October 19, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for NYCWFF) *** Local Caption *** Tyler Florence
NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 19: Chef Tyler Florence signs copies of his book “Fresh” at the Grand Tasting presented by ShopRite featuring KitchenAid® culinary demonstrations presented by MasterCard during the New York City Wine & Food Festival at Pier 94 on October 19, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for NYCWFF) *** Local Caption *** Tyler Florence

The 2015 Festival will once again bring together the world’s greatest chefs, winemakers, spirits producers and personalities to educate palates and entertain attendees in high style.

If you are a foodie, wine lover, this is an epicurean event, that you don’t want to miss. We look forward to seeing you there. Flow NYCWFF on Social Media for the latest update and don’t forget the hashtag #NYCWFF.

Website: http://nycwff.org
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Website: Food Bank For New York City
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Website: Strength’s No Kid Hungry®
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by Manda Bear 

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WONDERING WHAT TO PACK FOR VEGAS? TIPS FROM ARIA RESORT & CASINO, LAS VEGAS

I’m not sure how often you go to Vegas, but I’ve been there 6 times in 2015, and ready to go back on July 4th weekend. And even how frequent to go there, I still struggle to pack each time. Here is quite a few great tips to share with you from Aria Resort & Casino Las Vegas. It’s #HowWeVegas.

What do you plan on packing for your one-of-a-kind Vegas experience? No matter the size of your luggage, prepare to live large. Bring your distinctive style, your colorful attitude and your appreciation of the unexpected. While Vegas tends to remove any limitations on your personal sense of style, you may occasionally find that a venue has a dress code. Stand out from the crowd with fashion choices that will take you places, and be sure to plan for the unexpected indulgences which make ARIA a Vegas experience like no other.

What to Pack for Vegas Infographic

 

DAY LIFE

LADIES

Whether you’re relaxing poolside or exploring the town, seek a style embracing the desert heat with casual elegance. Jean shorts and a casual tank top can be dressed up with wedges, dangly earrings and your favorite sunglasses. A big hat can finish the look and keep you shaded from the blazing sun. Be sure to keep your makeup routine light and bright to avoid run-ins with the summer heat. Pair your bikini with a chic, colorful cover-up accentuating your best features.

GENTS

Guys, don’t let the ladies have all the fun. If ever there was a place to let your style shine, Vegas is it. Pair your jeans or crisp shorts with a colorful polo, or even a linen button-down. Flip-flops are fine for a day at the pool, and boat shoes will take you just about everywhere else. Top off your style with a straw boater hat for a refined, yet casual look, and you’ll be ready to make Vegas your own.

NIGHT LIFE

LADIES

In Las Vegas, things really start to heat up after the sun goes down. Ladies, this is your chance to live it up with glam and glitter. Whether your style is flashy or refined, be sure to go a little further than necessary for a look that is uniquely you and then some. Think black sequins, stilettos and diamonds offset by a shawl that can be either classy or flashy — your choice. Make comfort a priority — followed by individuality, and you can’t go wrong!

GENTS

You’ll be all class when you dress for your evening on the town. A tailored suit is welcome anywhere. Paired with a slim-fit oxford in a color that pops, and you’ll be ready for anything. Small, but significant features like sparkling cufflinks, wingtip shoes and a designer watch will allow your unique style to shine through. Turn on the charm with an evening style that sizzles until the sun comes up.

EXTRAS

What are the extra style elements that you can’t live without? For ladies, maybe it’s that shiny black handbag to hold life’s necessities or a splash of your favorite perfume. For guys, it might be a classic pocket square or your trusty pomade tin. The Vegas experience is about looking and feeling your very best, so whatever you’re coveting, be prepared to indulge in the little extras that will make you look and feel spectacular. This is what makes Vegas special, and this is what you can expect with a customized ARIA Las Vegas experience.

Start packing, Vegas is waiting.

This article was shared by Aria Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, NV
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