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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Steak – was perfectly cooked to our liking.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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by Manda Bear 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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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

 

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

nyc_wff

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Website: http://nycwff.org
Twitter   ||   Instagram   ||   Facebook

Website: Food Bank For New York City
Twitter   ||   Instagram  ||  Facebook

Website: Strength’s No Kid Hungry®
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SpoonBar, BravoTV Top Chef Louis Maldonado, Healdsburg, Sonoma County Wine Country


Sonoma Co June 2015 091BravoTV Top Chef Season 11, Chef Louis Maldonado launched his culinary career in San Francisco as co-executive chef at Cortez, where under his direction Cortez was awarded one Michelin star in 2006. Chef Maldonado has worked at top Sonoma Co June 2015 133restaurants including The French Laundry in Napa Valley and Aziza in San Francisco. Now the executive chef of Spoonbar at h2hotel in downtown Healdsburg, where he was able to create a menu of contemporary, clean, and creative yet approachable American fare. The menu was impressive with many options for Sonoma Co June 2015 110-2vegetarian and vegan.

The chicken cracklings, duck liver mousse, celery, elderflower was crispy, tasty and delicious. The lamb loin grilled over charcoal, braised morels, spring onion, charred white bean with Sonoma Co June 2015 125crystallized lettuce was beautifully presented, perfectly cooked, and it just melt in your mouth. The Thai inspired beet boudin wrapped in a crispy pastry, lime, cilantro, coconut, peanuts, shallots, was so much flavor at one bite, amazing. The tuna sashimi,
fermented chili, shiso, serrano chili, and wild onion salsa was delightful.

Sonoma Co June 2015 116However, the roasted zucchini, pickled squash blossoms, beef bouillon, crispy buckwheat noodles was the winner of it all. It was refreshing with unexpected flavor, a perfect dish for a warm evening the wine country.

Sonoma Co June 2015 099It was refreshing with unexpected flavor, a perfect dish for a warm evening in the wine country.

Sit at the big long Acacia Tree communal center table where you can Sonoma Co June 2015 105mingle with others. If you are all “wined out” from the wine tasting all day, Spoonbar is also a perfect place for a crafted cocktail, their menu is so scientifically delicious. And with a critically acclaimed cocktail program led by rising star bar manager Alec Vlastnik, the atmosphere is lively and vibrant. From plate to place, everything about Spoonbar is a rich alchemy of art and craft.

Sonoma Co June 2015 122Spoonbar at h2Hotel
219 Healdsburg Avenue
Healdsburg, CA 95448

HOURS: Dinner, Friday – Saturday, 5-9:30 p.m.
Monday – Sunday, 5:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Sonoma Co June 2015 127

RESERVATIONS: 1.707.433.7222

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by Manda Bear – Twitter | Instagram

Sonoma Co June 2015 088About 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.

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

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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.

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


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

 

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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