Category Archives: Restaurant

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.

 

EAT SHOW, The New Standard For Tasting Events, To Launch This October 1st, 2016 In Los Angeles.

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This October 1st, the EAT Show will launch at The REEF in Los Angeles. Hosted by the event organizers behind popular food festivals “KTOWN Night Market,” “OC Block Party,” and “Crave Expo.” The EAT Show differs from the teams larger scaled festivals that have brought over 100,000 of Southern California’s foodies. It’s a more intimate showcase that is industry focused, a celebration of the culinary industry and the restaurants and chefs who are doing their part in making Los Angeles one of the food capitals of the world.
Follow them here for more details, this an event you foodies don’t want to miss and it’s going to be epic. Don’t forget to use hashtags  #The EatShow #EatShow and #DepLifestyleMagazine to be re-gram on Instagram @DepLifestyleMag.
eatshow2
The event will showcase over 50 vendors from the LA and OC area, including Fogo De Chao, Seoul
Sausage, The Halal Guys, Roscoes Chicken and Waffles, Street Churros, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream,
Raindrop Cakes, Dino’s Chicken, and more.
There will be a ticket cap of 2,000 guests which will be spread out between two sessions, lunch and
eatshowdinner. This voids the problem that thousands of attendees face while attending other tasting events –
crazy, unorganized lines, which usually lead to overwhelmed vendors and unhappy attendees. The limited ticketing distribution was implemented to make food the headliner of the show, not the crowds.
eatshow1Tickets for the event are $50 for general admission, and $90 for VIP, which allows for early, priority
entry along with a gift bag from participating sponsors. For more information visit
DATE: October 1st, 2016
Session I: 12:00pm – 3:00pm
Session II: 5:00pm – 8:00pm
1933 S Broadway Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90005

$50 for 3 hours of exclusive tasting from all 50+ food vendors! That’s less than $1 per vendor!

eatshow3They offer limited to 1,000 tickets per session to avoid the crazy lines!21+ Open Bar! **

An industry tasting event featuring the best restaurants in LA


Each ticket gives you access to sample ALL of our amazing vendors. Purchase a VIP ticket to avoid the lines with one hour early access, along with special gifts from sponsors!
Confirmed Restaurants & Sponsors*
118 Degrees
Aqui Es Texcoco
Aroha New Zealand Cusine
Boxed Water*
The Brixton SM
Cacao Mexicatessen
Chibiscus Asian Cafe
Chocolate Chair
Choctal
Clearly Kombucha*
Cold Bruja Coffee Co.
Dahlicious*
Dino’s Chicken & Burgers
Dirt Dog LA
Enlightened*
El Tepeyac Mexican
Emporium Thai
Fala Bar
Family’s Beef Steakhouse
Fogo De Chao
Fruigees*
Glico*
Golden Owl
Haagen‐Dazs*
The Halal Guys
Hanaro Sushi
Hansen’s Cakes
Helados Pops
Jangsoo Makkoli*
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream
Krave Jerky*
Kona Red Hawaiian Coffee
Company*
Komodo
Lady M
LAVA Bloody Mary Mix*
Le Petit Paris
Lucky Boy Burgers*
Lucky Strike
Maggiano’s
Max City BBQ
Monster Energy Drinks*
Nitro‐Pop
Norigami Tacos
Nyotaimori Sushi Experience
Okamoto Kitchen
Organic Gemini*
Pig N Whistle
Pop Champagne Restaurant
& Bar
Raindrop Cake
Restauration Long Beach
Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles
Seoul Sausage Co
Sipp*
Smarty Pants Vitamins*
Stir It Up
Street Churros
Summer Buffalo
Swami’s Sandwiches
Temple Premium Protein Bar*
Tentenyu Ramen
Tito’s Handmade Vodka*
Tom’s Urban
Tsingtao Beer*
Vita Coco*
Woo Bamboo*
Yelp LA*

Yojie’s Japanese Fondue .. and more!

Company: Lights and Sounds Collective and Ganma Magazine.

 

pokéLOVE has landed in Palo Alto, California

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pokéLOVE is excited to announce the opening of its first restaurant in June, 2016 located in Palo Alto at Town & Country Village.

pokeLOVE4pokéLOVE has a healthy fast-casual structure with an extensive menu that has been creatively crafted by restaurateur Alex Chan and Executive Chef Colin Long. The concept for pokéLOVE was created based on their passion for creating simple food that is natural, sustainable, minimally processed, and also incredibly flavorful.

pokéLOVE cares about every ingredient and the quality of their
seafood is paramount. Chan is a man of exceptionally high personal standards and values genuine collaboration. With connections to Northern California purveyors and local ingredients, they source their seafood from some of the best sources locally and around the world, such as Wild Isles Organic Salmon.

pokéLOVE’s values are centered on the fact that “Delicious food can pokeLOVE3still be really healthy and good for you, and that you should not have to compromise taste for calories.” pokéLOVE believes in using only the freshest ingredients of the highest quality that are bursting with nutrients, vitamins and plenty of fatty acids.

We got to sit down and interview restaurateur Alex Chan this week. And we also got to try variety of the dishes, endless combination even for the pickiest eater. And if you can’t eat raw, they can can steam or bake the salmon for you. Sous vide chicken and Unagi are also on the protein list for you. Plenty of choices for vegetarian and vegan. All their sauces are gluten-free, no nut, and children friendly place.

DLM:  What inspired you to pursue this pokéLOVE restaurant concept?
Alex Chan: I have a sincere appreciation for all things food and wine.
pokeLOVE5Not counting Antarctica, I’ve traveled to 6 continents in search of the best food. Food is so much more than just 3 stars or 0 stars. I’ve been to best restaurants in the world, but I really don’t give a damn about ratings and stars.  Some of the best meals I have had are in night markets that would not pass any reasonable health inspections. But I’m cool with that. Food is so much more to me than stars.  It’s about sharing, about giving, about experiencing. Why did I start pokéLOVE?  Because I’m crazy about simple food, that is healthy food, that is really tasty.  And because what’s worth doing is worth doing RIGHT. My inspiration for pokéLOVE is create the very best poke experience by serving the best poke, with the best toppings and dressings in a fun place that is chill with a cool vibe. 
 
DLM: Do have a corporate chef to help you with creating the menu? Where have chef worked before?
Alex Chan: Our executive chef is Colin Long.  Colin graduated from pokeLOVE2the Culinary Institute in Florida. From Quattro at the Four Season’s in Palo Alto to Blowfish Sushi at Santana Row, Colin brings a unique culinary background in western and eastern flavors.  He has spent a lot of time sourcing fantastic ingredients and creating dressings that would fit in most fine dining restaurants. There is a purity and sincerity to the food he makes and to the fish that he cuts. The little details do matter to Colin. The subtle nuances of flavor, color and texture do make a difference. Even something as simple as our wakame (seafood salad), is locally sourced and has no artificial flavors or preservatives.
 
DLM: There’s quite a few poke restaurants popping up around the Bay Area recently. Do you think it’s an emerging trend now? Just like Boba drink or crawfish a few years back?
Alex Chan: It is emerging and it currently is a trend. Put good food is never trendy, good food is always “in” and the consumers move to healthy and nutritious food is not going to change.  pokéLOVE brings a unique fast casual dining experience that is exciting to this space.  Inevitably, the crème always rises to the top and some players will fall by the wayside. Our food, our vibe, our brand, our respect for our ingredients and our level of customer service is anti-trendy.
 
DLM: What’s your philosophy here and what set pokéLOVE different than the rest of the poke restaurants in the Bay Area?
Alex Chan: My motto is:” we don’t eat to live, we live to EAT!”  First and foremost, the food at pokéLOVE is so much different than other strip mall poke shops.  We give a shit about our ingredients and we treat it with care and respect.  The quality of our seafood is paramount.  We have taken great pains to source our seafood from some of the best purveyors in the Bay Area and around the world and we are the only ones to proudly offer Wild Isles Organic Salmon.  In addition to the extensive protein selection, customers can select from organic quinoa, organic farro, soba noodles, rice pokeLOVE1noodles, or even quinoa tortilla chips for their base. We offer our customers an unlimited selection of traditional and edgy toppings to build their own bowl, including numerous organic options.  We pickle all our pickled vegetables in house; including our pickled leeks, shiitake mushrooms, and daikon.  We make all our dressings from scratch utilizing natural ingredients and all out dressings are gluten free.  We don’t believe your food should have dressings that come out of a PUMP! At  pokéLOVE , we want our customers to let their creativity and tastes buds roam as we craft whatever they desire, in whatever combination they wish.  Our goal for every customer to help them find that elusive healthy balance of salty, sour, sweet, bitter, spicy, and umami in a fun, relaxed and chill atmosphere. 
 
DLM: What does sustainability mean to you?
Alex Chan: Sustainability to me means walking a fine line between eating what we want and giving a real damn about the environment and our oceans. At pokéLOVE, we source all our seafood from highly reputable vendors and we are able to trace the origins of everything we buy.  We have some wild items on our menu, but only when the item is in season and bountiful.  Our farm raised products come from some of the best seafood farmers in the world. In fact, our house salmon is from the Faroe Islands, long regarded as the benchmark salmon preferred by chefs around the world.  Beyond our food, sustainable also means to be environmentally conscious.  All our bowls and utensils are compostable or recyclable and nothing in our operations go to a landfills.  Even the garbage bags we use are compostable.
       
DLM:  How did you get to this restaurant business? What’s your background? Can you share with our readers?
Alex Chan: I was an accountant turned food dude.  After graduating from the University of Southern California, I was a Consultant at Price Waterhouse. I  eventually lost interest in bean counting, and became the Master Franchiser for Cold Stone Creamery in Northern pokeLOVE7California. I developed over a hundred units in less than 5 years.  A wine enthusiast, I jumped into the vino business and started Vintage Wine Merchants at Santana Row (“Best Wine Shop” – San Jose Mercury News Readers Poll).  A few years later, Vintage Wine Bar at Santana Row opened, serving up cabs by the glass, stinky fromage plates and became the “Hottest Wine Bar” in San Jose (METRO San Jose).  I’m also co-owner of several established independent grocery stores in the Bay Area.  I’m happily married to my crazy low maintenance college sweetheart, and has three beyond super cool kids.  
DLM: What do you for fun?
Alex Chan: When I’m not working. I love to get out on the hills and pretend that I’m in the Tour de France, play golf when my old-man shoulder does not ache, watch some USC football with the family, play Iron Chef at home, and will never turn down the occasion to have some good eats and a nice glass of wine with family and friends.
 
DLM:  You’ve emphasized community service in your career and through your restaurant. In addition to being active in many organizations?
Alex Chan: We are still evaluating which community and non-profit organizations we plan to partner with.  As a sign of how serious I am about giving back and being involved, 10 cents will to go charity for every bottle of water we sell. Community involvement is a core value of the company and we give damn about giving back to the local communities that we do business in. 

855 El Camino Real, Suite 9
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Open from 11am to 9pm daily

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
 Bazaar Meat 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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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 

Lago Italian Restaurant, Chef Julian Serrano, at The Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas

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Lago means ‘lake” in Italian,  is the latest project of Michelin Starred Vegas Uncork'd 2015Chef Julian Serrano, he’s been one of the original celebrity chefs to see the vision of Las Vegas; believe in it enough to move from San Francisco to Las Vegas to open Picasso at Bellagio; nearly 20 years later, just opened up LAGO in April 2015.

In 1998, Serrano brought his memorable Mediterranean-French Vegas Uncork'd 2015 514cooking to Bellagio in Las Vegas as executive chef of Picasso. The Michelin two-star restaurant has been a 14-time recipient of the AAA Five Diamond Award from 2002 to 2014 and has received the coveted Grand Award from Wine Spectator magazine for its extensive wine list.

pasta gnnochi crabChef Serrano then turned his unerring eye to the cuisine of his native Spain as executive chef of his eponymous restaurant, Julian Serrano, at ARIA Resort & Casino, which opened in 2009. Featured on the restaurant’s multiple à la carte menus is an ensemble of Serrano’s signature creations including traditional and Lago branzanoinnovative renditions of tapas, paellas, seafood and more. In 2010, Esquire magazine named Julian Serrano one of the Best New Restaurants of the year. The restaurant also received the Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine in 2011.

In April 2015, Chef Serrano opened LAGO at Bellagio in 2015. Lago
Vegas Uncork'd 2015 045by Julian Serrano will be the chef’s first Italian restaurant and explored a new take on social dining. The restaurant’s small plate menu will celebrate Chef Serrano’s creativity and signature flavors. Lago serves contemporary, Milan-inspired Italian small plates. I got to try plenty of dishes the last few months here, and all were on point.

Lago boasted spectacular views of the resort’s iconic fountains on the Las Vegas Strip. If you can RSVP an outdoor table in the evening, you would enjoy it tremendously.

Chef Julian SerranoChef Julian Serrano at Vegas Uncork’d talked about Lago: “In Las Vegas, people got many places to go to, lots of choices, Lago is a casual fine dining. It took months for us to open this space (former Circo Restaurant location). I love the open space, the patio, the bar, bright lighting, and design, and I can see the beautiful Bellagio water fountain.”

Chef Serrano visioned Lago to be a place for people sharing small plates, conversations, food and be yourself, having a good time.  Lago has elevated the game in Las Vegas. If the two Michelin Star Picasso was the first five stars restaurant in Las Vegas, Lago is setting a new trend, an evolution for foodie, Las Vegas lover, and tourists alike

Lago OctopusService is excellent here as always. If you don’t have time for dinner, Lago is a perfect spot for cocktails before dinner or show. Sit at the beautiful long bar and the lounge, offer a relaxed atmosphere and ideal place for people-watching.

We enjoy bartenders Emer and Christopher; they are both fantastic. They gear up their cocktails game here. They use the freshest ingredients, hand-crafted,  housemade, and creative.  You should try at least one or two before your dinner or show.

Some of the delicious dishes that we got to try:

– POLPA DI GRANCHIO E FARRO, fresh crabmeat, organic farro grain, confetti

Lago dessert 2– FEGATINI DI POLLO, chicken liver, capers, pepperoncino

– FUSILLIORO, corkscrew pasta: Abruzzo, lamb ragù, spuma di ricotta, love it.

– BRODETTO DI VONGOLE, clams, spicy white wine, love it.

– AGNELLO SCOTTADITO, grilled lamb chops, garlic, rosemary, perfection.

– POLPETTE DI CARNE, tomato braised beef meatballs, so good.

– OSSO BUCO, red wine-braised veal shank, polenta al Formaggio, delicious, super tender.

Vegas Uncork'd 2015 160Chef Serrano told us that his favorite dining table at Lago is sitting at the bar. We couldn’t agree more with him, once you get to visit Lago.

Lago at the Bellagio Hotel
Restaurant Address: 3600 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV
Phone: (866) 259-7111
Website: http://www.bellagio.com/restaurants/lago.aspx 
Instagram: @Bellagio
Twitter: @chefjserrano
Facebook: Lago at the Bellagio Hotel

__________________________________

by Manda Bear 

 

ALEXANDER’S STEAKHOUSE, LED BY EXECUTIVE CHEF MATT BATA, GRAND OPENING JULY 17, 2015

Alexander’s Steakhouse, a Silicon Valley / San Francisco Bay Area Alexanders_Steakhouse_Pasadena_6restaurant icon, is migrating south to the beautiful city of Pasadena. The restaurant group proudly announces the appointment of Chef Matt Bata as executive chef of the new location.

Chef Bata started his culinary journey a bit later in life. He studied accounting for two years before an option to relocate to Las Vegas opened up, compelling him to move in a different direction. He enrolled in the Culinary Arts Program at Le Cordon Bleu, Las Vegas, combining two of his favorite passions; art and food. While studying at Le Cordon Bleu, one of his instructors provided him the opportunity to work in the bakery at Treasure Island Hotel and Casino under some very talented bakers and pastry chefs. The Alexanders_Steakhouse_Pasadena_chef_matt_bataopening of a new, high-profile restaurant, Social House, and a few fortuitous conversations with their pastry chef, Ralph Perrazzo gave Matt his start as a prep cook under head chef Joseph Elevado (Andrea’s Wynn Las Vegas) and Ben Dayag of Nobu (now Morimoto). He also worked alongside other talented chefs including sushi chef Kouji Yamanashi and then Chef Marc Zimmerman. Under their tutelage, Matt quickly rose up through the ranks of the kitchen and, after 2 years, became sous chef of Social House’s sister restaurant, Company, under their newly appointed executive chef, Marc Zimmerman.

Matt accompanied Chef Zimmerman to San Francisco in 2010 as opening sous chef of Alexander’s Steakhouse SF. He was exposed to the finest ingredients Northern California has to offer and during the next four years he gained a solid understanding of the direction he wanted to go as a chef.

Chef Bata finds inspiration through multiple channels and usually Alexanders_Steakhouse_Pasadena_1when he least expects it. He refuses to limit himself to a specific cuisine, ingredient or technique, preferring a more “global” approach to cooking. As Chef Bata makes the move south to Pasadena, he looks forward to building relationships with a multitude of companies specializing in providing the best quality ingredients from local farms and around the world. He will continue to strive for the very best from himself and those around him, to never settle, to always be creative and, most of all, to EAT!

Pastry Chef Gail Romulo will also make the move to the new Pasadena location.

Watching Chef Romulo work her magic in the kitchen, one would assume she has been mastering the art of pastry her entire life but Gail entered the workforce in a completely different field. She Alexanders_Steakhouse_Pasadena_dessertearned her Associates Degree in Computer Information Systems and spent three years working in computer technology before discovering her true passion. She says, “I realized that I was the only one in my family who was fascinated with food and cooking so I decided to apply to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.”

Before and during her training at the CIA, Gail worked at several NYC restaurants including Chinatown Brasserie in NOHO and Lever House, restauranteur Josh Pickard‘s stylish. Sophisticated midtown eatery nominated as “Best New Restaurant” by the James Beard Foundation. She then moved on to work for James Beard award-winning pastry chef Richard Leach at Park Avenue.

Gail graduated with a Bachelors Degree of Professional Studies in Pastry Arts Management in 2010 and took her first job as pastry sous chef to Chef Joseph Gabriel at The Pluckemin Inn in Bedminster, New Jersey. Here Gail continued to develop her pastry and leadership techniques, finding both essential to achieving success in the restaurant industry.

Alexanders_Steakhouse_Pasadena_4Gail joined the Alexander’s Steakhouse family in San Francisco in 2013 as head pastry chef. Her modern pastry creations were a beautiful compliment to Chef Marc Zimmerman‘s savory fare, constantly changing with the season to feature the finest local ingredients.

Alexander’s Steakhouse Pasadena has a dry-aging room to feature 28 days dry-aged certified Angus beef from the mid-west as well as a large selection of imported Wagyu beef from Japan and Australia. You can’t go wrong with the T-bone, Cab Prime Rib, and the Japanese A5 steak selection, of course. Don’t forget to order the side of pan seared Foie Gras or Bone Marrow with your steak.

They also feature exquisite seafood and vegetarian dishes that foodie would love. For seafood, try the Passmore Ranch trout, butter poached lobster, hamachi, tuna or crab legs; for vegetarians try the salad, grilled vegetables, sautéed seasonal veggies, or the simple Mac & Cheese, you will be delighted.

They also serve food with a focus on sustainable seafood and local, seasonal produce. A full bar with premium liquors, hand-crafted cocktails, in-house preserved ingredients, attention to details, and is managed by Bar Manage Erik Lund (formerly Rivera, Messhall Kitchen, Republique). If you’re a cocktail evangelist, trust me, he will blow your mind with some of the best cocktails in town, hands down.

If you are a wine lover like me, check out the extensive, eclectic wine list hand-selected by and the Sommelier/Wine Director Andy Brady (he used to be at Alexander’s Steakhouse San Francisco). From old world wines Champagne, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Barolo to new world wines Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, Napa Valley Cab, they have it all. If you got the dough to spend a few grand on a bottle in style, no problem. If you don’t want a bottle, by the glass is plenty and approachable for all.

INTERVIEW WITH ALEXANDER’S STEAKHOUSE PASADENA AND EXECUTIVE CHEF MATT BATA


Alexanders_Steakhouse_Pasadena_2DLM
: We know that you offer the best Japanese & American steaks selection in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, can you tell us about what will you offer in Pasadena location?

AP: Alexander’s Steakhouse has built their reputation on serving the highest quality Japanese and American beef available. We intend to continue this trend in our Pasadena location. We will focus on being “beef forward” in every aspect of the menu.

DLM: Can you tell us about the chefs and the team in Pasadena?

AP
: Chef Bata and his core support staff have migrated south from our San Francisco location. We are filling out the rest of our team with wonderfully experienced local professionals.

DLM: Chef, what is your vision for Alexander’s Steakhouse Pasadena? What’s your background?

Chef Matt Bata:” We want to offer our guests the opportunity to savor some of the tastiest ingredients in the world. I am constantly interested in trying new proteins and special ingredients. The goal is Alexanders_Steakhouse_Pasadena_3to prepare dishes focusing on usually 1 or 2 ingredients and turning those ingredients into multiple forms and textures while leaving them as bold as we can. For example, if we put a carrot salad on the menu, our vision will be to make it taste like the best tasting carrot we have ever tasted, while trying to do the humble carrot justice. ” Says Chef Bata, “I am committed to providing our guests a chance to savor some of the most sumptuous food the world has to offer. My goal is to prepare dishes that focus on one or two amazing ingredients, drawing from them multiple forms and textures while keeping them as bold and fresh as nature intended.”

DLM: How do you compare with other steakhouses in LA area? What makes you different? And what can you bring to LA community?

AP: We will be offering a 7-9 course tasting menu with every course having a component of beef, sometimes being the star of the show and sometimes having a subtlety that lets other ingredients shine. We will also be utilizing our wood burning Infierno 64 grill to impart a unique flavor on many items. In addition to focusing on the tastiest beef we can source, we will also have multiple options to satisfy every palate on any particular visit.

DSL: We heard that AS Group also planning to open other locations in LA, and expanding to Taipei and Shanghai?

AP: Alexander’s Steakhouse looks forward to future growth and expansion! We are opening a few more locations in Asia. Please stay tuned for details!

Alexander’s Steakhouse Pasadena
Restaurant Address: 111 N. Los Robles Ave Pasadena, CA 91101
Instagram: @AlexandersPasadena
Twitter: @AshPasadena1
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/alexanderssteakhousepasadena 

About Alexander’s Steakhouse

Alexander’s Steakhouse Group currently owns and operates three restaurants and a patisserie in prime locations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Their flagship restaurant, award-winning Alexanders_Steakhouse_Pasadena_5Alexander’s Steakhouse Silicon Valley in Cupertino, CA, opened its doors in 2005 providing a fine dining interpretation of the classic American steakhouse with an Asian influence. Alexander’s Steakhouse San Francisco brought the “twist on the American steakhouse” concept to the SOMA neighborhood in 2010. All steakhouses utilize a dry-aging room to feature 28 days dry-aged certified Angus beef from the mid-west as well as a large selection of imported Wagyu beef. They also feature exquisite seafood and vegetarian indulgences. The Sea by Alexander’s Steakhouse came to fruition in Palo Alto, CA in 2012 with a focus on sustainable seafood and local, seasonal produce. All restaurants offer a full bar with premium liquors and specialty cocktails as well as an extensive, eclectic wine list hand-selected by an in-house sommelier.  Alexander’s Patisserie, a traditional European style bakery featuring pastries, fresh breads, and sweet treats, opened in downtown Mt. View, CA (Silicon Valley) in the fall of 2014 to immediate acclaim.

Each location is captained by its own executive chef and all menus are created around extraordinary, high-end ingredients and designed to take guests on an unparalleled food adventure.

Alexander’s Steakhouse Silicon Valley was recently named “Best Restaurant for Culinary Excellence” and “Best Steakhouse” for the fourth consecutive year by Metro Silicon Valley. For more information on Alexander’s Steakhouse, please visit www.alexanderssteakhouse.com. Like us on Facebook or follow on Twitter @AlexandersCuper, @AlexandersSF, @AshPasadena1, @TheSeabyAsh, @APbyASH1

 

Seaside Metal Oyster Bar, Chef Mike Selvera, Guerneville, Sonoma County Wine Country

The casual and modern 35-seats classic raw bar and seafood Sonoma Co June 2015 066restaurant is located in downtown Guerneville, just a short drive from the Russian River Valley wine country, a spin-off of the popular Bar Crudo in San Francisco. Chef Mike Selvera offers a small menu with an assortment to choose from, shellfish, oysters, crudo, cold, and hot dishes. Many of the plates are on the smaller side Sonoma Co June 2015 079which is perfect for sharing. To pair with these delicate seafood dishes, they offer more than 40 domestic beers and local wines.

Seaside Metal is the latest creation of Executive Chef Mike Selvera and Front of House Manager Tim Selvera to join the growing culinary scene in welcoming downtown Seaside_Metal_arctic_charGuerneville.  When dining in the open kitchen you will experience the freshness of pristine oysters, and the complexities of his signature crudo. Seaside Metal sources local produce, artisan cheese, award winning wines, and craft beer that only Sonoma County can offer. Mike Selvera is a San Francisco Seaside_Metal_octopusChronicle Top 100 chef that brings his ideas on seafood, from his well-loved Bar Crudo to the intimate, unique, and gorgeous surroundings of the Russian River Valley.

Beside the fresh oysters, marinated mussels, lobster are always on the menu; the seafood chowder is one of the popular dishes here. Sonoma Co June 2015 070The Spanish octopus with chorizo, cranberry beans, caperberry, and tomato was unique and full of flavors. But the Arctic char remains our favorite, simple, nothing overdone, crudo at its best.

Sonoma Co June 2015 083Seaside Metal Oyster Bar
16222 Main Street
Guerneville, CA 95446

HOURS: Dinner, Wednesday – Sunday, 5-10 p.m.

RESERVATIONS: 1.707.604.7250

Website // Twitter // Instagram // Facebook

by Manda Bear – Twitter | Instagram

About the Author
Manda Bear

Manda Bear, a former restaurant owner, has had a strong passion for food and wine from a very young age and has traveled the world dining at over one hundred Michelin Star/James Beard award winning restaurants. Currently with Dep Lifestyle Magazine San Francisco Bay Area, Manda Bear works as publisher and contributor Drink Me Magazine, @DepLifestyleMag,  @DiningOutVegas. Previously, she was a contributor for Viet Press USA, Studio 14 Magazine, and DiningOut Magazine. Additionally, Manda Bear is a certified level II Sommelier at www.VintageWineMerchants.com on Santana Row in Silicon Valley, a PR/brand ambassador for hospitality, food, and the wine industry, as well as a Social Media consultant for high-tech companies in Silicon Valley. To follow her food and wine adventures, you can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

Valette, Chef Dustin Valette, downtown Healdsburg, Sonoma County Wine Country

Chef Valette honed his craft in some of the most celebrated Sonoma Co June 2015 150restaurants on the West Coast; including the Michelin-starred Aqua in San Francisco, Napa Valley’s Bouchon, and Dry Creek Kitchen, a Charlie Palmer restaurant in downtown Healdsburg.

Sonoma Co June 2015 154The dream of Valette Healdsburg began some 15 years ago amongst two brothers. Dustin Valette and Aaron Garzini were sitting at their father’s house overlooking the Alexander Valley. Over a glass of wine the two dreamt of opening a restaurant that showcased all Sonoma County has to offer.

Opening a restaurant together is a dream come true for both brothers.  The combination of Chef Valette’s culinary acumen Sonoma Co June 2015 152featuring fresh, local ingredients and Aaron’s savvy ability to provide a warm and authentic environment has brought these two local brothers full circle, back to the land they are from, and working together in the industry they love.

 

Sonoma Co June 2015 170Valette was born in spring 2015; Chef Valette offers the intense, flavorful, and dynamic cuisine.

House made charcuterie was a real treat. The furikake crusted Hawaiian ahi tataki; the flavors were delightful. The smoked lamb
Sonoma Co June 2015 178sausage “Banh Mi” with a twisted, bold flavor, a Vietnamese influenced dish. The chicken fried chicken with organic salad, buttermilk dressing was also fantastic.

Our favorite dish was the Day Boat Scallops en Croute, fennel, caviar, Champagne Beurre ValetteBlanc was one of the most creative scallop dish. It was balanced, tasty, smooth, and explode in your mouth.

Valette

344 Center Street
Healdsburg, CA 95448

HOURS: Dinner, Monday – Sunday, 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Lunch, Friday – Sunday, 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

RESERVATIONS: 1.707.473.0946

Website // Twitter // Instagram // Facebook

by Manda Bear – Twitter | Instagram

About the Author
Manda Bear

Manda Bear, a former restaurant owner, has had a strong passion for food and wine from a very young age and has traveled the world dining at over one hundred Michelin Star/James Beard award winning restaurants. Currently with Dep Lifestyle Magazine San Francisco Bay Area, Manda Bear works as publisher and contributor Drink Me Magazine, @DepLifestyleMag,  @DiningOutVegas. Previously, she was a contributor for Viet Press USA, Studio 14 Magazine, and DiningOut Magazine. Additionally, Manda Bear is a certified level II Sommelier at www.VintageWineMerchants.com on Santana Row in Silicon Valley, a PR/brand ambassador for hospitality, food, and the wine industry, as well as a Social Media consultant for high-tech companies in Silicon Valley. To follow her food and wine adventures, you can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

Underwood Bar and Bistro, Graton, Sonoma County Wine Country

A hidden gem in West of Sonoma, Underwood Bar & Bistro is underwood_barbistro_mussellocated in the picturesque Sonoma wine country, sleepy town of Graton. About an hour drive from San Francisco, Graton is the geographical hub of Sonoma’s West County, nestled in the middle of Occidental, Santa Rosa, and Sebastopol. Underwood provides classic dishes and local wines in a laid-back bistro setting. It’s a happening spot for the locals and tourists alike on the weekend, and also offers a late-night menu.

underwood_barbistroMoroccan lamb sandwich, spicy grilled lamb sirloin, tomatoes, arugula, red onion, grilled flatbread, and French fries; that tzatziki, slightly aromatic garlicky spread made all the different. It’s a perfect sandwich to fill up before you continue your wines tasting adventure.

Underwood Bar and Bistro
9113 Graton Road
Graton, CA 95444

HOURS: Dinner, Tuesday – Thursday, Sunday, 5:30-10 p.m.
Friday – Saturday, 5:30-11 p.m.

Lunch, Friday – Sunday, 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

RESERVATIONS: 1.707.473.0946

Website // Facebook

by Manda Bear – Twitter | Instagram

About the Author
Manda Bear

Manda Bear, a former restaurant owner, has had a strong passion for food and wine from a very young age and has traveled the world dining at over one hundred Michelin Star/James Beard award winning restaurants. Currently with Dep Lifestyle Magazine San Francisco Bay Area, Manda Bear works as publisher and contributor Drink Me Magazine,  @DepLifestyleMag,  @DiningOutVegas. Previously, she was a contributor for Viet Press USA, Studio 14 Magazine, and DiningOut Magazine. Additionally, Manda Bear is a certified level II Sommelier at www.VintageWineMerchants.com on Santana Row in Silicon Valley, a PR/brand ambassador for hospitality, food, and the wine industry, as well as a Social Media consultant for high-tech companies in Silicon Valley. To follow her food and wine adventures, you can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.