Category Archives: Travel

Countdown to Flavor! Napa Valley March 16 – 20, 2016 Five Days, 40 Events and One Legendary Festival


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The countdown to Flavor! Napa Valley, March 16 – 20, 2016, has begun! The five-day food and wine festival

foodsupports programs and scholarships at The Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone Campus in St. Helena, CA. Flavor! Napa Valley 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.

A highlight of Flavor! Napa Valley 2016 events include and a whole lot more events at Flavor! Napa Valley :

  • rose-grabWednesday, March 16First Taste, Napa Valley, presented by Downtown Napa at the Culinary Institute of America’s new downtown campus at Copia in Napa, 6 – 9 p.m., *$95 per person. *Those who book overnight accommodations in downtown Napa will receive two tickets to the event.
  • Silverado-500wThursday, March 17The Celebrity Chef and Winemaker Golf Tournament, new for 2016, at Silverado Resort & Spa in Napa, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. $200 per person.
  • Thursday, March 17 – A Celebration of the Judgment of Paris Dinner at Silverado Resort & Spa in Napa, 6 – 10 p.m., $295 per person. Participating chefs include Matthew Accarrino, Bradley Ogden, Justin Yu and Larry Forgione.
  • ChristopherKostow-150wFriday, March 18 – “Chef Demonstration: Cooking with Chef Christopher Kostow – Join Chef Christopher Kostow of The Restaurant at Meadowood Napa Valley, 12 – 1:30 p.m., $101.22 for a behind-the-scenes look at his cooking style and techniques. A Michelin-starred chef before the age of 30, Kostow attributes his culinary philosophy in part to Napa Valley’s vibrant terroir.
  • Saturday, March 19- “Legendary Napa Valley, The Grand Tasting –  all presented in The Culinary Institute of America’s
    ToddEnglishhistoric Greystone building, St. Helena, Napa Valley, VIP 6 p.m, general admission 7 – 9:30 p.m., $185.62-$238.37. This epicurean adventure showcases a collection of the Napa Valley’s most celebrated and innovative vintners and chefs. The Legendary Grand Tasting will feature nearly 80 wineries and fare from over 25 of the Valley’s best restaurants.
  • Sunday, March 20 — The Meet Your Maker; The Butcher, The First-TasteBaker, and The Sparkling Wine MakerBrunch Party at The Meritage Resort & Spa in Napa, 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., $125 per person.Saturday, March 19 — Legendary Napa Valley, The Grand Tasting at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, 7 – 9:30 p.m., $175 per person.

Terroir to Table
In addition to the Flavor! Napa Valley events listed above, the five-
Flavor_Hero_1280x618v3day food and wine event also includes a series of “Terroir to Table” workshops Thursday, March 17 through Saturday, March 19. These include “Behind the Scenes with Nickel & Nickel;” “Detox to Retox” at Indian Springs Resort; “Appellation Exploration” at HALL Wines; and “Winery Aromatherapy with a Corkscrew” at St. Supery Estate Vineyards.

Chef Demos
A highlight of Flavor! Napa Valley “Chef Demos” include an “OpenTable Industry Trends Panel” at the Culinary Institute of America at Copia; “Cooking with Christopher Kostow,”chef at Michelin three star The Restaurant at Meadowood; “Pizza Making with Tony Gemignani,” of Tony’s Pizza Napoletana; and “From Vegas to the Valley with Chef Rick Moonen.”

Wine Classes
Additional highlights of Flavor! Napa Valley include Wine Classes, offered Friday, March 18 and Saturday, March 19, include “Spring First-TasteAwakening & the Rose Revolution;” “Aromatic White Wines for Spring;” “Exploring the Rhone Zone;” and “The Young Turks of Napa Valley.”

Other exciting events, including “After Parties,” and “Tours,” as well as full descriptions of all events, including dates, times, pricing and ticket information, may be found at Flavor! Napa Valley.

Overnight Packages
For those wishing to enjoy a “full” Flavor! Napa Valley experience by attending multiple events over the course of four days, Visit Napa Valley offers an array of overnight packages, many of which include tickets to select Flavor! Napa Valley events.

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Buy your tickets here: Flavor! Napa Valley
Website: FlavorNapaValley.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FlavorNapa
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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

SOMM: INTO THE BOTTLE TO WORLD PREMIERE AS OPENING NIGHT FILM AT THE 2015 NAPA VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL

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somm-into-the-bottleDirector Jason Wise’s Widely Anticipated Follow-Up to His 2013 Hit Film SOMM Will Kick-Off the – 
Festival’s 5th Edition on November 11

The Napa Valley Film Festival 2015 announced that Samuel Goldwyn FilmsSOMM: INTO THE BOTTLE will have its world premiere as the Opening Night Film on November 11, 2015. SOMM: INTO THE BOTTLE is writer/director Jason Wise’s highly anticipated follow-up to his 2013 acclaimed film SOMM, which provided viewers with an illuminating look into the prestigious Court of Master Sommeliers and the massively intimidating Master Sommelier Exam. SOMM also world premiered as the Opening Night Film at the Napa Valley Film Festival, at the festival’s second edition in 2012.

DLynn Proctor in SOMM_INTO THE BOTTLE (1)Through the eyes of the world’s greatest somms and winemakers, SOMM: INTO THE BOTTLE raises the curtain on the seldom-seen world that surrounds the wine we drink by allowing viewers intimate access to the most accomplished sommeliers in the world, as well as to some of the most prestigious winemakers working today. By opening some of the world’s most rare bottles of wine, the viewer will understand how a wine ages, what happens in a cellar and exactly what oak in wine means. The film takes a look at how history has impacted wine, from the Romans, to Prohibition, to the World Wars and even current events such as the Napa Earthquake.

jason wise“We were honored in 2012 to host the world premiere of SOMM, so it makes it doubly sweet to be hosting the world premiere of the sequel, SOMM: INTO THE BOTTLE,” said NVFF Executive & Artistic Director Marc Lhormer. “If you know and love wine, you know that when you plant a new vineyard, it takes five years until the grapes are good enough to go ‘into the bottle,’ so we’re thrilled to open our fifth annual Napa Valley Film Festival with such a prestigious film.”

Filmmaker Jason Wise, a 2015 Wine Enthusiast 40 Under 40 Tastemaker, added: “The Napa Valley Film Festival provided an excellent launching pad for SOMM, and I’m very excited to be returning to where it all started with SOMM: INTO THE BOTTLE. I could not imagine premiering the film anywhere else, and I am proud to share it with the Napa community.”

somm MSThe Napa Valley Film Festival’s Opening Night, Wednesday, November 11, will feature a pair of screenings of SOMM: INTO THE BOTTLE. The premiere itself will screen at 5:00 p.m. at the Uptown Theater (1350 3rd St.) in downtown Napa, a historic art deco movie palace serving as the headquarter theater for the festival. Filmmaker Jason Wise will be in attendance, as will renowned sommeliers: Brian McClintic, Ian Cauble, Fred Dame, DLynn Proctor and Geoff Kruth, who are featured in the film and were also featured in SOMM.

15630479190_08fe91d7b3_zAdmission will be granted to members of NVFF’s Patron Circle (memberships available) and other invited VIP guests. A limited number of individual tickets may also be available in advance. An encore screening at 8:30 p.m. at the Uptown Theater will be open to all festival passholders.

NVFF’s Opening Night Party will be held following the premiere screening at Napa’s Riverfront Promenade at the Napa River Inn.
A Forgotten Man Films production, SOMM: INTO THE BOTTLE is directed by Jason Wise, written by Jason Wise and Christina Wise and produced by Jason Wise, Christina Wise and Jackson Myers. Executive produced by Diane Carpenter and William Fowler. Co-produced by Geoff Kruth.

Napa Film Fest 2015Goldwyn plans an early 2016 release for the film. For more information, please visit:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sommdocfilm
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SOMM_FILM
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The Concerts and The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards, Livermore, California

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Wines & Winery Reviews

I’ve seen the concerts line-up at Wente Vineyards that last few wente concert singerstimes I visited here for special events, the restaurant, and wines tasting. I finally got to attend the Colbie Caillat, Christina Perri, and Rachel Platten ‘Girls Night Out, Boys Can Come Too’ tour in August 2015.

Christina Perri is best known for hits: Jar of Hearts, Arms, 1000 Years, and Bubbly. Colbie Caillat is a two times Grammy winner. Special guest Rachel Platten, whose Fight Song has been played on the radio all day long! They surely put on an incredible show. Each sang at least seven-eight songs. They were engaged with the guests, and it was so much fun.

wente summer concert 6  The Concerts at Wente Vineyards has showcased some of the top entertainers in this beautiful winery’s picturesque natural amphitheater. The stage was nicely set. Artists can be easily seen if you don’t sit too far out, good speakers, and sound systems. I love how the amphitheater is not big so that the concert feels very intimate and romantic. The Concert at The Wente Vineyards is a perfect spot for celebrate special occasions.

They transported us from the parking lot to the gate with their golf wente summer concertcarts, just perfect for 5-inch heels.The staff was super attentive. The event was well organized. The buffet dinner was good. There was chicken, halibut, pork, salad, pasta, side dishes, tea, coffee, and 2 desserts; more food that you can imagine. The line can be long after 6:30 PM. So arrive early to avoid that. The Buffet serves from 6-8 PM.

The Buffet food was catered by Wente’s new executive chef Mike chef and gardenerWard of Restaurant at Wente Vineyards. Chef Ward believes in embracing the history and tradition of food by using fresh ingredients from local sources. Aside from The Restaurant’s own on-site organic herb and vegetable garden, Ward continues to support regional purveyors.

The restaurant at Wente Vineyards features ingredient-driven California wine country cuisine using sustainably and organically grown local ingredients. While the menu holds its foundation in American dishes, it is influenced by French and Italian provincial cuisine. The seasonal menu changes daily, utilizing produce from The Restaurant’s organic garden. The award-winning wine list offers more than 1,000 selections, providing numerous options for wine pairings.

wente summer concert 4   It was a beautiful evening summer weather in the Livermore wine country. Good time had by all and a few new friends along the way.

We also got lucky to meet the outgoing  and super tall 5th generation
Karl Wente 1winemaker Karl Wente. He’s such a charming character. I have met other winemakers before Brad Buehler and Claude Bubba as well as vineyards manager Julio  Covarrubias. Everyone was kind, shared their stories, and truly love what they do here and have been working for Wente for decades.

Did you know Wente Vineyards was the first family brought the Chardonnay grape to the U.S.? Their clone is now widely planted in California by other wineries

The staff was knowledgeable and excellent. Wente Vineyards is a must stop if you plan to visit Livermore Wine Country. The wines are good, reasonable price point, and plenty of choices for you to choose.

The  Summer Concerts at Wente Vineyards has been around for almost thirty years. I’m so glad I made it here this Summer and looking forward to Summer 2016 concerts.

The Concerts at Wente Vineyards
Wente Vineyards Tasting Room

5050 Arroyo Road
Livermore, CA 94550
1.925.456.2424

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by Manda Bear 

Iron Horse Vineyards with CEO Joy Anne Sterling, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County Wine Country

Iron Horse Vineyards is one of Sonoma County’s most beautiful,
Sonoma Co June 2015 025small, independent, estate, family-owned wineries. It is located in cool and foggy Green Valley. You can get lost if you don’t pay attention to the sign, and don’t trust your GPS, it might get you to the back road which we did!

The founding partners, Audrey and Barry Sterling first saw it in the iron horse 4pouring rain in February, 1976, they were thepioneer of their time to buy this 300 acres of gentle rolling hills, looking like Camelot. Incurable romantics with extraordinary vision, they bought the property in just two weeks.

The estate was named after a railroad stop, which crossed the property in the 1890s. Rodney Strong rediscovered it as a vineyard iron horse 3site in 1970, planting the original 55 acres of Chardonnay and 55 acres of Pinot Noir. 13 miles from the Pacific as the crow flies. There are approximately 160 acres in vine, planted exclusively to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The predominant soil-type is called “Goldridge”, a sandy loam that has excellent drainage and is perfectly balanced, making it the most coveted for growing Pinot Noir. The estate is divided into 39 blocks, farmed individually, harvested separately and then each vinified as a ‘single vineyard’. Each has been planted with site specific root-stock and clone selections. From 2005 to 2012, we replanted 82 acres originally planted in the early 70s, enhancing all our wines.

Iron Horse is renowned for its Sparkling Wines, which have been Sonoma Co June 2015 049served at the White House for five consecutive Presidential Administrations, beginning with the historic Reagan-Gorbachev Summit Meetings ending the Cold War.

Their delicious wines have served many world leaders, presidents, and celebrities around the world. Including the  White House Millennium celebrations, the White House dinner honoring the Pope on his 80th birthday, the 2011 State Dinner honoring the Queen of England at the Ambassador’s Residence, Winfield House, in London, the dinner President Obama hosted for the President of China in Southern California in June 2013 just to name a few.

Sonoma Co June 2015 034The winery produces a limited production, vintage Sparkling, called Ocean Reserve, in partnership with National Geographic. The winery contributes $4 for each bottle sold to establish Marine Protected Areas and reduce over fishing around the globe.

It’s a beautiful place, on the drive in, you will see all these palm trees that have been planted almost 40 years ago. Breathtaking view of the rolling hills of the vineyards, you can see Mount St. Helena in Napa Valley from there, on a clear day. And their tasting room is outdoor, a perfect place to drink sparkling on a warm day in Russian River Valley.

Sonoma Co June 2015 055 We also got to meet the CEO Joy Anne Sterling, she was kind and wonderful to show us around. She is the second generation of Iron Horse Vineyards, lives on the property with her family. They only produce about 12K-15K cases per year. It’s everything to her and her family. We’re truly humbled by the experience and feel so blessed to talk to one of the best people in the wine industry.

“This is my life, my passport to the world. Because of Iron Horse VIneyards, I can talk to anyone, anywhere, and I got to meet some of the amazing people.” CEO Joy Ann Sterling said.

A pioneer in the Green Valley appellation within the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County, the Iron Horse family is building a legacy of prestige sparkling wines and estate bottled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Sonoma Co June 2015 038We got to tour the estate and was impressed with the operations. We saw many bottle made just for special occations. One of the bottle that we got to enjoy was the Michel Mina sparkling. I’m a fan of chef Michael Mina, and have dined at dozen of his restaurants, Iron Horse is his choice for sparkling wine on his wine list.

TASTING

Sonoma Co June 2015 048 The Tasting Room is open seven days a week from 10am to 4:30pm. Tastings are $20 for a flight of five wines, refunded with purchase, no charge for wine club members with a choice of three flights.

Tours are by appointment Monday through Friday at 10am. Tours are $25 per person (including tasting), refunded with purchase.

Winemaker David Munksgard offers a truck tour through the vineyards and private tasting on Mondays at 10am. Visiting Iron Horse Estate was a truly memorable experience. Limit four people. $50 per person.

WINES

Sonoma Co June 2015 040Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, price ranges from $27-$85. Sparkling wines, price ranges from $42-$220 (magnum). Their sparkling is as good as it gets. I’m a big fan.

Iron Horse Chardonnay is a signature Green Valley region wine. Pinot Noir is the winery’s rising star. All their wines are estate wines Sonoma Co June 2015 030only. The first winery and vineyards in Russian River Valley and they remain family-owned estate operations. If you ever visit Sonoma County, Iron Horse Vineyards should be the first one on your “must visit” list.

Iron Horse Vineyards
Address: 9786 Ross Station Road
Sebastopol, CA 95472
Tel: (707) 887-1507
Website: www.IronHorseVineyards.com
Instagram: https://instagram.com/ironhorsevyds
Twitter: https://twitter.com/IronHorseVyds
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ironhorsevineyards

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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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5th ANNUAL LOS ANGELES FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL RETURNS AUGUST 27-30, 2015

LA Food Wine 2015

Michelin starred honorees, James Beard Award winners, Food & Wine Best New Chefs, and 200 wineries, will once again converge on the City of Angels during the annual epicurean jubilee produced by Coastal Luxury Management.

LA Food Wine Alan FergieThe fifth annual Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival, presented with founding partners FOOD & WINE and Lexus, is set to feature three nights and four days of unrivalled tastings, dinners, lunches, seminars, book signings, cooking demonstrations, and special events, showcasing the finest in food.

Enjoy 4 days of the decadent in food and wine with an epic epicurean event, Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival. One of the country’s premier destinations, bringing together the world’s most revered culinary talent for 3 nights and LA Food Wine ches4 days of epicurean excellence.  Headquartered in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, with main events directly in front of the iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall (with closures along Grand Avenue, between 1st and 3rd street), attendees are invited to explore world-class Beverly Hills, happening West Hollywood, beach town of Santa Monica, and LA Food Wine 6upcoming downtown LA, more than 100 celebrity chefs and 200 wineries come together to showcase a dynamic weekend of exceptional lunches, dinners, cooking demos, chef collaborations, live concerts,  and experience the amazing Grand Tastings, featuring the industry’s leading experts and most coveted restaurants in the world.

In past years, the star-studded LA Food Wine 5 Elliot Graham Fabiolineup has included celebrated chefs such as Daniel Boulud, Curtis Stone, Dominique Crenn, David KinchGiada De Laurentiis, Rick Bayless, Wolfgang Puck, Nancy Silverton, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, Thomas Keller, Roy Choi, Michael Chiarello, Michael Voltaggio, Robert Irvine, Guy Fieri, Fabio Viviani, and Graham Elliot, as well as local favorites including Tim Hollingsworth, Michael Cimarusti, Suzanne Goin, Ludo Lefebvre, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, Jessica Koslow, Ari Taymor, Ori Menashe, Josef Centeno, Sang Yoon, Ben Ford, and Ray Garcia, to name a few.lexus

Marquee events slated to return include Live on Grand, Asian Night Market, the Power Lunch series, exclusive chef collaboration meals, and live musical performances from award-winning artists.

Lexus Grand Tastings
The Lexus Grand Tasting Tent at Los Angeles Food & Wine is the weekend’s most spectacular opportunity for maximum culinary LA Food Wine 1indulgence. With over 200 wines from top-notch producers from around the world to a “who’s who” list of 30 top celebrity chefs, this is your chance to mingle, mix and sip with the very best in the field. As always, there will be opportunities for book signings and photo moments with many of the weekend’s biggest and brightest names, so buy your tickets early as this extravaganza sells out each year.

no kid hungryThe Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival has supported Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, St. Vincent Meals on Wheels and other L.A. based charitable endeavors.

LA Food Wine 3Get your tickets here: www.LAFW.com

Save the date: Thursday, August 27 through Sunday, August 30, 2015

To follow Los Angeles Food & Wine events:  www.lafw.com


Facebook
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Photo credits: Gina Sinotte, Stefanie Parkinson, Tomo, Muscionico, and Jake Ahles

 

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by Manda Bear

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LA Food Wine Chef MorimotoLA Food Wine SPQR

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BITE Silicon Valley Grand Tasting Recap

levisThis inauguration Bite Silicon Valley 2015 wasn’t only for foodies + techies get together, but also for a great cause, supporting two outstanding organizations in the Bay Area.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties (SHFB) is the trusted leader dedicated to ending local hunger in Silicon Valley. And the 49ers Foundation mission is to ‘Keep Kids Safe, on Track and in School.’

The two days Grand Tasting fill with food, wines, cocktails at the state of the art Levi’s Stadium, the home of the 49ers. There was food_bite_silicon_valleymore than 60 chefs, 30 wineries, liquor, beer, sake, and more; all come together to showcase a dynamic weekend of exceptional bites, cooking demos, and chef collaborations. Bite SV featured the industry’s leading technology experts and celebrity chefs such as including José Andrés, Michael Chiarello, Roy Choi, Dominique Crenn, Michael Mina, and Michael Voltaggio. And it’s in the heart of Silicon Valley at the newest and beautiful stadium, the host of Super Bowl 50, and the first professional football stadium to have achieved LEED Gold certification. Levi’s® Stadium is predicted Bite Silicon Valley 2015 052to be the first Californian pro sports venue to achieve net zero energy performance. There’s no place better to host Bite SV than here.

The two days Grand Tasting with over 700 guests for the first year. The two afternoons that you can get up close and personal with celebrity chefs for the first hour or so, it’s best if you get the VIP ticket so that you can attend the wine seminars. You got to meet your favorites, TV celebrities, Master Top Chefs, you name it, they were there to greet and hand you food. There was no line on both days. There were plenty of food and drinks, floating all day, except a few stations the dishes were gone after 2.5 hours. There is no place else can do a grander epicurean event for foodies + tech together like Bite Silicon Valley.

The best part of the Grand Tasting was that no food gone to waste. Bite Silicon Valley 2015 087The excellent company Feeding Forward made sure all food leftover was to deliver to feed the less fortunate. A social venture using technology to connect those with excess food to feed those in need through their mobile app. According to @FeedingForward, by saving just 5% of food from being wasted, we can feed 4 million people. Did you know that 365 million pounds of edible food are thrown away every day? Feed Forward goal is to eradicate hunger & food waste in America. Their platform enables businesses with excess edible food to fed communities in need, instantly. Please join the movement. Follow them @FeedingForward www.FeedingForward.com.

Thank you www.BiteSV.com and Octagon Culinary for an unforgettable weekend.

Some of the high-tech dishes that fans loved:

  1. Chef José Andrés used Clean Cook Stoves solar to make that tasty tacos  @CookStoves. Many attendees were wow by it, only in Silicon Valley.
  2. Revolutionary Plant-Based Dairy @KiteHillCheese, healthy, nutritious, and sustainable. The truffle Dill & Chive cheese and 2-3dcream cheese options make out of almond milk is perfect for lactose intolerance.
  3. 3DS Culinary, 3D Printing candies booth was a popular attraction for techies here.
  4. Cracker bite by @Nomiku was a big heat with a lot of home cooks and chefs.

3-motoA few of our favorite vegetarian dishes:

  1. Chef Richie Farina, Executive chef at Moto Restaurant in Chicago, Top Chef Texas contestant, with his stunningly beautiful edible garden.
  2. 2-beyondmeat-burger100% plant base meat, burger, and taco @BeyondMeat was a popular choice for vegetarian and vegan alike.
  3. Vegetarian bite by chef Charlie Parker at happening spot in Oakland @HavenOakland, Furikake Cracker, Smoke Goat Cheese, Sweet and Sour Eggplant, Mint.

Some of the tastiest dishes of all:

  1. Bite Silicon Valley 2015 055The Glazed Pork Belly bite by Michelin Starred Chef Peter Armellino @PlumedHorse, it was our favorite dish on Day 2 Grand Tasting.
  2. Txampis “Bar Soriano” by Chef Jeffrey Weiss @JeninniKWB Seared Mushroom and garlic, it was our favorite 3-mushroomdish on Day 3 Grand Tasting. It was so good that brought many foodies back to the line for second or third bite at Sunday’s Grand Tasting.
  3. Since Foie Gras is legalized again in California, it was 3-ateliercrennpopular at BITE SV. Foie Gras Mousse bite elegantly displayed on a nice wood log by Michelin Starred Chef Dominique Crenn @AtelierCrenn, it was gone an hour before the Grand Tasting over.
  4. Delicious & the most aromatic Minced Lamb Sandwich dish @DosaSF.
  5. 3-spoonbarSimply Tasty Chilled Carrot Broth, Fermented Curry, Shallot, Peanut Granola, and Basils by Top Chef finalist Louis Maldonado @SpoonBar in downtown Healdsburg.
  1. Fresh oyster prepared by Chef Yu Min Lin’s signature dressing and Chef Dan Huynh of @TheSEAbyASH of Alexander’s Steakhouse Group was a perfect dish for 95-degree hot afternoon.
  1. 3-bourbonsteakpubLocal Salmon Crudo, Pressed Caviar, Yuzu Kosho, Crème Fraiche was the most photogenic dish by chef Chris Curtis @Chefcurtiss of @BourbonSteakPub a @ChefMichaelMina restaurant.
  1. Duck and Crab Fritter bites packed with flavor by Chef Dinari Brown @CenterPlate @LevisStadium
  2. Smoked Sea Scallop with Drop Biscuit, Bacon Aioli and tomato jam by Chef Parke Ulrich @Waterbar
    Bite Silicon Valley 2015 065
  3. Have you ever tried Foie Gras Macaron? Michelin Starred Chef Dmitry Elperin @TheVillagePubCA undoubtedly delivered this savory bite.

For sweet tooth foodies, there’re plenty desserts and pastries:

  1. 3-slanteddoorFor sweet tooth Chef Charles Phan @charlesphansf  @TheSlantedDoor served Vietnamese Coconut Rice Pudding dish. We have seen chef Charles Phan countless time at many food festivals, recently at the Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival, but he hadn’t prepared any 3-michaelminasfdesserts before. This dessert spoon bite was a real treat.
  2. Perfect chocolate Jasmine, Hibiscus, Strawberry by Chef Matt Siciliano @MattSiciliano of the Michelin Starred @MichaelMinaSF
  3. Delicious chocolate mousse dessert from chef Veronica Aroyo @BourbonSteakPub
  4. 2-iccChocolates and plenty desserts by International Culinary Institute @ICCeduWebsite: BiteSV.com
    Twitter: Twitter.com/bitesv

Buena Vista Winery, Sonoma Wine Country

buena10 Buena Vista is oldest winery in California, founded in 1857, Buena Vista is California’s first premium winery, and its history is as colorful as it is proud. Today, it’s belong to the vision of Jean-Charles Boisset. Just a few minutes drive from downtown Sonoma, the original winery is now a California Historic Landmark, and home to our Winery, Tasting Room, and Visitor’s Center.

It’s a beautiful and historical estate, open Daily from 10 am to 5 pm, buena3excluding major holidays. The drive here is quite easy. Plenty of parking spaces, stroll down the pathway, you will see the maze garden on your left and some of the historical figures on your right, before you arrive to the chateau-like main tasting room.

They offer so many tours and wines tasting options, check on their website is best: www.buenavistawinery.com/visit

buena7– Barrel tour and tasting  – $35 per person, the Barrel Tour and Tasting is available daily at 11am and 2pm, the tour and tasting lasts about 1 hour. Reservations are required.

– Private reserve tasting – Escape the crowds and explore a flight of our Private Reserve and limited-release wines at the Private Reserve Bar overlooking our main tasting salon. Available daily between 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. $30 per person, $24 for Wine Club Members. No Reservations Required.

buena9– Grand reserve tasting experience – Enjoy a seated, by-appointment-only tasting experience that features library wines carefully selected by our winemaker and poured in the quiet seclusion of The Count’s Cave. Reservations are required. Available daily at 11:00 am, 1:30 pm and 3:00 pm. $40 per person, $32 for Wine Club Members.

– Be the count blending experience – Who would like to be The Count or Countess?  90-minute,  you will play with Zinfandel, Merlot and buena5mixed reds. Find the perfect palate then bottle, cork, foil and label your bottle. You will design your own label and leave with a newly branded wine tailored to your masterful palate. The best part is you can order as many cases as you desire.
Available daily at 10:30am and 1:30pm. $100 per person, $80 for Wine Club Members. Reservations are required.

buena1– Picnic hampers – Picnicking at historic Buena Vista has long been a favorite for many guests, and we now offer a Picnic Hamper from a fine local food purveyor filled with delectable delights! Available daily between 11am – 3pm, we are offering two options:

The Count’s Hamper, named for our original founding proprietor in 1857, Count Agoston Haraszthy. For two: rustic sandwich, salad, assorted sweet delights.

buena2The JCB French Hamper, named for our current proprietor Jean-Charles Boisset. For two: assorted Artisan cheeses, Charcuterie, rustic potato salad, baguette half, assorted sweet delights.

Reservations are required  and the hamper is for day-of use only. Both Hampers are $75 and include a Buena Vista wine tasting and two glasses for your picnic. This is a good choice if you just want to lay out at chill and not worry about bringing your own food.

They offer variety of wines from rose to sparkling, from chardonnay to zinfandel, blend varietals and more. The wines range from $20 + to over hundred with their soon to be release red.

buena4  I enjoyed their Pinot Noir Carneros but it’s sold out currently. Their zinfandel is another one that you should try if you like spicy, full bodied red.

They are dogs friendly which is so awesome, so you don’t have to leave your 4-legs friend at home. Although they can’t come inside the tasting room unless they’re service  dogs.

I love the Champagne tasting room a lot, off-white leather couches, buena6chandeliers and by the cave, bring a jacket. It’s much more chill and peaceful than the main crowded tasting room.

If you come on the weekend, expect slower service and not much personal, but if you can come on week day, always excellent service here.

Follow them:
Instagram https://instagram.com/buenavistawinery
Twitter https://twitter.com/buenavistawines

by Manda Bear @1MandaBear

Cairdean Vineyards, St. Helena, Napa Valley Wine Country

cairdean1  Cairdean Vineyards just opened their tasting room in St. Helena in the Spring 2014, just right down the street from the Culinary Institute of America, opens 7 days a week from 11-8 PM and no reservation required; which is a perfect last stop on your way back since all the wineries are closed at 4-5 PM.

A beautiful tasting room, spacious, modern, and quite charming with a square bar makes it easy to serve guests as they can stand around or sit down. The earthy palette, concrete flooring and dark stained cabinetry are brightened with brass accents.Love the table with black marble top and brass base, leather club chairs, chandelier constructed out of wine bottles which give me a great idea for my own and a beautiful stone fireplace.
cairdean5
We got to try a lot of wines but a few that stand out.

– Haley Margaret White Wine – $10 of this wine helps raise awareness and funding for others who battle Cystic Fibrosis. Nice nose, stone fruits, smooth, bright, just a good wine for Sunday brunch, a unique blend of Pinot Gris, Roussanne, and Viogner.

– 2010 Cairdean Vineyards Merlot Bordeaux blend – 81% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1.5% Malbec, and 0.5% Petite Verdot. On cairdean4the nose, red berry, dark cherry , and blueberry aromas,  oak spice, hazelnut and cocoa, lingering finish, medium bodied with balanced acidity. Maybe I’m bias because I love Bordeaux, this wine reminds me of a good bottle of the Right Bank, Pomerol 2010 vintage, to be exact. Only 492 Cases Produced.

– 2011 Cairdean Vineyards Syrah – 84% Syrah, 11% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, dark cherry, spice, herbs, beautiful and cairdean3voluptuous on the nose, even more curvy on the bodied, long finish, full bodied. Syrah is not my favorite varietal, but this bottle makes me think of Northern Rhone, well done, I enjoyed this very much and I got to tried this the last 2 years. If you love a BIG wine, you must TRY this! Winemaker Stacia Williams surely nailed this one! She’s also very sweet and humbled, I’m lucky to get to meet here and her husband Edwin Williams co-owner of Cairdean Vineyards during Flavor! Napa in 2014.

cairdean2  Service was wonderful here as always and the tasting fee is very reasonable and affordable for Napa Valley. Cairdean Vineyards is a perfect last top for you before you leave Napa Valley, don’t forget to check out their newly opened restaurant The Farmer and The Fox cairdeanestate.com

Follow them on Twitter and IG: twitter.com/CairdeanWine

by Manda Bear @1MandaBear