Tag Archives: food

Winter Fancy Food Show at Moscone Center, San Francisco January 22-24, 2017

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INNOVATION – YOU’LL DISCOVER IT HERE

Mark your calendars for the largest specialty food and beverage show on the West Coast!

Join us in San Francisco from January 22 – 24 to discover the hottest new products, producers, and trends at the 2017 Winter Fancy Food Show.

Don’t miss your chance to network with more than 33,000 industry professionals and tastemakers. Register today!

Sunday, January 22, 2017: Show Open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.*
Monday, January 23, 2017: Show Open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.*
Tuesday, January 24, 2017: Show Open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.*

* The Gateway Ballroom open early at 9:30 a.m. each day

Win a $500 Amazon Gift Card!To enter, take a selfie at the SFA Booth (North Building, Lower Lobby) and post to Twitter with hashtag #LiveFromWFFS17. Winner will be randomly selected on Tuesday, 2/1 and notified via Twitter private message.

Schedule for Sunday, January 22, 2017 

 

Flavor Trends: Hybrids, Extremes, and What Tastes Good Right Now
8 – 9 a.m.
Get up to speed on food and beverage trends and the flavors that will drive successful new products.

Start Right, Grow Strong: 9 Critical Steps
8 – 9:30 a.m.
Gain a comprehensive, commonsense plan for entering and succeeding in the specialty food market.

How to Create a Product Mission for What You Make or Sell: A Workshop with Bi-Rite 9 – 10 a.m.
Join Bi-Rite founder Sam Mogannam and discover how to write a product mission that reflects your values and strengthens your business.

Sell Smart: The Best Channels for Your Product
9:45 – 11:15 a.m.
Learn about trade channels, the role of brokers and distributors, and how to create a successful sales pitch.

Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony
9:30 a.m. | North Building, Lower Lobby

Price It Right: Using Costs to Create Real-World Price Sheets
11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Master the ins and outs of product pricing in this practical, hands-on workshop.

Leadership Awards Ceremony
5 – 6:15 p.m. | South Building Esplanade Room 305-307
Join us to celebrate the outstanding contributions made by Association members.


About the event:

Discover 80,000 on-trend and best-in-class products including confections, cheese, coffee, snacks, spices, ethnic, natural, organic and more. Connect with 1,400 exhibitors representing the latest in specialty foods and beverages from across the U.S. and 35 countries and regions.

Since 1955, the Fancy Food Shows have been North America’s largest specialty food and beverage marketplace. Between the Winter Show in San Francisco and the Summer Show in New York City, the Specialty Food Association events bring in more than 40,000 attendees from more than 80 countries and regions to see 260,000 innovative specialty food products, such as confections, cheese, coffee, snacks, spices, ethnic, natural, organic and more.

The Shows are attended by every major food buying channel, influential members of the trade and consumer press and other related businesses.

The Winter Fancy Food Show presents educational seminars and talks addressing the basics of specialty food, innovation, trends, and other topics important to manufacturers, retailers and other members of the trade.

Exhibitor Information:

The Winter Fancy Food Show is the West Coast’s largest specialty food and beverage event. Exhibit with over 1,500 exhibitors and put your products in front of over 19,000+ quality buyers.

Exhibiting in the Winter Fancy Food Shows is the most convenient and cost-effective way to meet buyers from every major food/beverage buying channel in the U.S. and around the world.

The Fancy Food Shows are known for the quality of their attendees. An impressive 85% of all Show attendees either authorize or recommend purchasing decisions. A sampling of buyers that attend every Show include Whole Foods, Costco, Kroger, Barnes & Nobles, Wal-Mart, The Fresh Market, Amazon.com, Restaurant Associates.

About Specialty Food Association, Inc.:

The Specialty Food Association is a thriving community of food artisans, purveyors, importers and entrepreneurs who bring craft, care and joy to the distinctive foods they sell. Established in 1952 in New York, the not-for-profit trade association provides its 3,000+ members in the U.S. and abroad the tools, knowledge and connections to champion and nurture their companies in an always-evolving marketplace. The Association (formerly the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, Inc.) owns and produces the Winter and Summer Fancy Food Shows, and presents the sofi Awards honoring excellence in specialty food.

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This is the second year that @DepLifestyleMag will cover this amazing event. Remember to tweet and Instagam @DepLifestyleMag and  harshtag #WFFS17 #DepLifestyleMagazine.

The Winter Fancy Food Show 2016 had record-breaking attendance up 16% over last year. With nearly 20,000 attendees, 1,500 exhibitors, and over 1,000 new products. The Specialty Food Association is the industry authority. They are the market’s largest audiences, and the unmatched visibility for your brands and products. The Specialty Food Association is the single most authoritative resource for information on specialty foods, delivered to the largest audiences in the specialty food purchasing and supply chain.

This year we are looking forward to visit these booths:

Urbani Truffles booth #2747, they always have the best San Francisco Bay Area chefs cooking up the storm with their fresh truffles and much more. You don’t want to miss this, trust us.
The Perfect Puree of Napa Valley at the Cantina Cocktails & Aguas Frescas at booth #4311, daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Visit chef Nancy Silverston for her latest gelato, she will be featuring her Nancy’s Fancy Gelato and Sorbetto Artigianale at the Winter Fancy Food Show (Booth 2509).  Come taste our incredible gelato, see our fantastic new packaging and meet the celebrated chef behind it all!

Polo Dolce #754 is collaborating with The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco to bring 3 new exemplary products, including a NEW! Milk Chocolate Bar, to their selection of award-winning artisan confections

Marquis #5505
Cobram Estate Kitchen #116
Chocolate by Torn Ranch #739

Jarlsberg Cheese #4719 Try new delicious Lotito Foods Cheese Folios™ — lightly baked sheets of cheese that are made from Parmesan, Cheddar or Jarlsberg® cheese that you can crisp, wrap, shape or bake! Folios are a first of its kind cheese made of all natural, part-skim cheese, that is carb and gluten free and high in protein.

Hniha Gourmet #5308
Wild Planet #1352
Formosa Hot Sauce #508
Three Jerks Jerky #481
Twang #1256

Just Tea Farmers #4842 you can find the most unique packaging – complete with hand-carved African tea spoons and triangle shaped packages.

Schaller & Weber #481 crafting the finest charcuterie, high-end deli meats, wurst, bacon and pâté that New York has to offer.

Bantam Bagel #1572
Ocean Halo #3000

Tiffany’s Torcher Hot Sauce #10 Now with three FDA approvals on specialty sauces made with fresh ingredients, no additives or preservatives and a secret blend of 5-7 Scoville rated peppers, Tiffany’s Torcher Hot Sauce is setting the standards for Gourmet Hot Sauces and Cooking Sauces.

 

pokéLOVE has landed in Palo Alto, California

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Manda Bear

Nineth annual pebble beach food & wine, MAR 31 – APR 3, 2016, Pebble Beach, CA

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Enjoy 4 days of the decadent in food and wine with an epic epicurean
event, Pebble Beach Food and Wine. One of the country’s premier destinations, bringing together the world’s Founders -217most revered culinary
talent for 3 nights and 4 days of epicurean excellence.  Attendees are invited to explore the three world-class resorts including The Inn at Spanish Bay, Lodge at Pebble Beach, and Casa Palmero, where more than 100 renowned chefs and 250 distinguished 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. Participants include
1nationally and internationally acclaimed chefs such as Daniel Boulud, Gavin Kaysen, Stephanie Prida, Bryce Shuman, Philip Tessier, Dave Beran, Jérôme Bocuse, Mathew Peters and Joshua Skenes, will showcase the skills that place them among the world’s very best.

 

Highlights from the ninth annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine:

Lunches & Dinners:

  • Christopher Kostow & Nathaniel Dorn – The New Napa Experience: Chef Christopher Kostow‘s three Michelin stars at the Restaurant at Meadowood require a discipline of technique and talent. This year at Pebble Beach, Kostow and business PBFW_chefs_toasting_fadepartner Nathaniel Dorn will relax a bit as they début the family-style cuisine that epitomizes the “New Napa Experience.” Kostow and Dorn’s event will offer guests a sneak peek taste of their upcoming new restaurant in St. Helena, offering guests another “only at Pebble Beach” dining experience

Date: Saturday, April 2, 2016 from 6:30p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

  • South Australia – The Epicurean Way: Welcome to South Australia: our sunburnt land of wide blue skies and ochre desert sands, of vineyard-laden hills and clear ocean waters. Take a culinary adventure where the produce is real and the wines are robust and unique. Join Tasting Australia Creative Director Chef Simon Bryant and Barossa Chef Lachlan Colwill on an epicurean journey through some of Australia’s most iconic food and wine regions. Travel through South Australia via Kangaroo Island’s pristine beauty, stunning coastline, and world-renowned vineyards. U.S. chefs Michel Nischan and Bruce Kalman will join Simon and Lachlan to guide you through the flavors of South Australia.

Date: Friday, April 1, 2016 from 6:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

  • Booze & Bites Lunch at Restaurant 1833: Pebble Beach Food & Wine is very proud to host San Francisco’s most amazing culinary Friday Dinner (25)couple for the annual lunch at Restaurant 1833. Chefs Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinsky of State Bird Provisions and The Progress have re-invigorated the Bay Area dining scene with what many consider to be the two of San Francisco’s best restaurant additions in decades. They’ll join Restaurant 1833 Executive Chef Jason Franey to create an extraordinary lunch, available “only at Pebble Beach.”

Date: Friday, April 1, 2016 from 12:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Wine Seminars:

  • Women and Wine: Master Class: In the words of acclaimed singer James Brown, “This is a man’s world, but it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl.” Historically Remix-74speaking, the wine industry has been heavily dominated by males, but at the end of the day, are women intuitively and biologically better tasters of wine? This unique seminar allows guests to explore the world of wine through a female’s perspective with moderator Christie Dufault, Culinary Institute of America’s Associate Professor and all female Master Sommeliers Gillian Balance, June Rodil and Emily Wines. Taste through a flight of wines together while discussing the intersection of physiology, psychology and gender.

Date: Saturday, April 2, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

  • Big Bottles Bubbles Seminar: Ever wonder why certain wines are bottled in larger formats than the traditional 750 mL? Did you Founders-313-103know that the average glassblower’s lung capacity was between 700 – 800 mL of air, such that the volume gradually standardized? Many winemakers and sommeliers nevertheless feel that the 1.5 L size bottle is preferable for ageing. Can you tell the difference in the glass? Join the fun exploration of comparative tasting while addressing the the age old question, “Does size matter?”

Date: Sunday, April 3, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

  • Champagne Bollinger: A Living Heritage: Drunk by James Bond and beloved by connoisseurs the world around, Champagne bollingerBollinger is synonymous with luxury.  It is also the only Champagne house to receive the prestigious “Enterprise du Patrimoine Vivant” award, the French government’s highest award given to businesses. Bollinger is France, a living heritage, and Pebble Beach Food & Wine is thrilled to host an unparalleled retrospective tasting of their top cuvée, “Grande Année.”

Date: Sunday, April 3, 2016 from 10:00 a.m – 11:15 a.m.

Cooking Demonstrations:

  • Cat Cora’s “World Tour”: It’s no surprise that Cat Cora has become a world renowned chef. In 2005, she made television 3history on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” as the first and only female Iron Chef, and in November 2006 Bon Appétit Magazine bestowed her with their “Teacher of the Year Award,” an honor she calls, “the greatest recognition she could achieve as a chef.” That same month, she was also bestowed with another great culinary distinction when she was named Executive Chef of Bon Appétit. Since then, Cora has continued to evolve her craft, becoming an accomplished author, restaurateur, contributing editor, philanthropist, and television host.

Date: Saturday, April 2, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

 

Opening Night Reception

opening-night
The 9th Annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine kicks off on Thursday MAR 31 at 6 PM at the famous Inn at Spanish Bay for a night of unbridled indulgence. The Opening Night Reception features delicious bites from from 23 top chefs and tasting of over 200 domestic and international wines
Get your ticket now!

Wine Seminars

With 22 dedicated wine seminars over the course of the weekend, wine2Pebble Beach Food and Wine is the perfect place for the true wine connoisseur. Whether you prefer to compare a broad spectrum of wines within a certain varietal, discover the diverse range of wines that one winery can produce, or taste how different the same wine from the same vineyard can be depending on the vintage, Pebble Beach Food and Wine offers the experience you’re looking for. Whatever tasting you visit, you’re assured to be trying the finest wines the world has to offer. A few events with tickets are still available: Get your ticket here!

After Hours v.1-01At Pebble Beach Food & Wine, the partying continues for our select group of celebrity chefs, winemakers, sommeliers and industry influencers who dance quite literally until dawn.

Tickets

Three total weekend packages are available. Tickets can be purchased at: Pebble Beach Food and Wine website.

I’m so looking forward to support this great cause epicurean event, as well as meeting these chefs, and industry influencers. There’s so much to learn, to explore, and to be inspired.

Don’t forget to harshtag us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook #PBFW @PBFW @DiningOutVegas @DepLifestyleMag and @1MandaBear.

Pebble Beach Food & Wine Hotels

Golf-41Many of the motels and hotels at Pebble Beach are within walking distance or just 10, 15 minutes drive to the Pebble Beach Food & Wine events. Nearby options, search in Carmel-by-the-Sea, Pacific Grove and Monterey also provide easy access to the event with shuttles daily by half an hour or an hour, please check www.PBFW.com website for details. To check for hotels availability here Travelocity.com/Hotels

Pebble Beach Food & Wine: 

WebsiteFacebook.com | Twitter.com | Instagram

by Manda Bear – TwitterInstagram

California’s Artisan Cheese Festival March 18-20, 2016 Petaluma, California

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Three days of cheese, cheese and MORE cheese awaits at the 10th Annual Artisan Cheese Festival. Take a farm tour, sign up for a class to learn from our experts how to taste, buy, serve and enjoy distinctive artisan cheeses with wine, beer, cider, and even sake.

Meet the cheesemongers and vote on their Best Bites! Sample cheese-inspired dishes from more than two dozen restaurants at California Cheesin’ – We Do it Our Whey! With wines, beers, and ciders to complement.

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Visit the Bubbles Brunch or go to the Artisan Cheese Tasting and Marketplace where you can taste and buy cheeses from over two dozen artisan cheesemakers and artisan food producers; sample artisan wines, craft brews, and much more. Celebrity chefs, world class cheese, wine, beer, cider and more all in one fun filled weekend!

Sheep bucket credit Derrick StoryThe 2016 schedule features the following events:

 Friday, March 18

Cheesemongers’ Duel – The Best Bite

Friday night under the Big Top is where cheesemongers will take center stage in a light-hearted yet energetic competition to see who can create the best bite using California artisan cheese. Guests are encouraged to vote for their favorite bite while enjoying plenty of artisan wine, cider and beer. A “Fantasy Cheese Table” will be center stage, so guests may taste the wide variety of local and rare cheeses at this not-to-be-missed party to kick off the weekend.  Tickets $50; The Big Top at the Sheraton Sonoma County, 6 – 9 p.m.

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 Saturday, March 19

 Farm Tours & Lunch

New this year, the popular and coveted Friday farm tours have been expanded to Saturday! Guests will be guided on walking tours of various local farms and creameries to meet the cheesemakers and farmers, learn how the cheeses are made and taste the fruits of their labor. Tours on Saturday will feature an educational component such as a discussion or tasting led by an industry expert on a variety of topics. Tours allow guests to observe behind-the-scenes aspects of cheesemaking and interact with the animals in their natural environment. Each tour includes round-trip transportation from the Sheraton Sonoma County, as well as cheese tastings and lunch. Cheese is available for purchase on most of the farm tours.  Tickets and specific details about the farm tours to be available January 1, 2016; $135; 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

 Seminars + Tasting and Pairing Demonstrations

In addition to the educational components that are included on the farm tours, there are also a handful of seminars offered a la carte on Saturday at the Sheraton Sonoma County and at Cowgirl Creamery in Petaluma. Led by industry experts on a variety of topics, the seminars will range from pairing cheese with sake to the similarities of making cheese and chocolate. Confirmed instructors include Peggy Smith and Sue Conley of Cowgirl Creamery; renowned cheese writer and author Janet Fletcher; author and cheese expert Laura Werlin; cheese expert and founding president of the California Artisan Cheese Guild Lynne Devereux; and cheese and wine author Kristin Jackson. During the lunch break and after the afternoon seminars authors will be available for book signings. Books will be available for purchase by Copperfield’s Books. Tickets $75; Sheraton Sonoma County and Cowgirl Creamery Warehouse. 10 – 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 – 3 p.m.

California Cheesin’ We Do It Our Whey!

In celebration of a decade of California’s Artisan Cheese Festival,

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guests are invited to taste their way around this evening celebration of California cheese, sampling dishes from some of the Bay Area’s best chefs and caterers. Each chef will incorporate their favorite locally made cheese into an impressive dish for attendees who will then cast their vote for their favorite dish. The winner will be announced on-site during this lively and festive competition and there will also be a special tribute to some of the icons of California’s artisan cheese industry. Artisan wines, beers and ciders will be on hand to complement each dish, and live music and a photo booth will add to the jovial atmosphere. Tickets $75; The Big Top at the Sheraton Sonoma County, 6 – 9 p.m.

 Sunday, March 20

Sunday Bubbles and Brunch with Visionary Chef John Ash

Considered the Father of Wine Country cuisine, chef John Ash will be dishing up a special Sunday brunch celebrating California cheese at every course. Chef Ash will provide a live cooking demonstration and sparkling wine will be provided by Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves. Tickets to brunch also include coveted early entry into the Artisan Cheese Tasting & Marketplace at 11 a.m., before it opens to the public at 12 p.m.  Tickets $115; Sheraton Sonoma County Ballroom,
9:30 – 11 a.m.

Artisan Cheese Tasting & Marketplace

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The grand finale of the Festival, the Marketplace brings together more than 90 artisan cheesemakers, winemakers, brewers, chefs and producers to sample and sell their products directly to attendees in this feast for the senses. Guests can discover the next wave of local, hand-crafted cheeses, boutique wines and artisan-brewed beers as well as interesting cheese products, books and recipes.  Each ticket includes entry to the Marketplace, an insulated cheese tote bag and a signature wine glass. Tickets $45 for adults; $20 for children 12 and under; The Big Top at the Sheraton Sonoma County, 12 – 4 p.m.

Complimentary Cooking and Entertaining Demonstrations

In between tasting and buying cheeses at the Marketplace, guests are invited to watch live cooking and entertaining demonstrations conducted by local chefs and cheese experts, including a demonstration of how to create the perfect party cheese platter.  Free with a Marketplace ticket; Sheraton Sonoma County Ballroom, 12 – 4 p.m.

You can purchase tickets at www.artisancheesefestival.com.

Follow them on Twitter for current update.

Sheraton Sonoma County
745 Baywood Drive
Petaluma, CA 94954
Friday, March 18, 2016 at 8:30 AM Sunday, March 20, 2016 at 4:00 PM

Generous sponsors of the Artisan Cheese Festival include All American Printing, American AgCredit, Beehive Cheese Company, Bellwether Farms, John Boos Boards, Central Coast Creamery, Cheese Connoisseur,  Chevoo, Cowgirl Creamery, Culture Magazine, Cypress Grove Chevre, Donald & Maureen Green Foundation, Fiscalini Farmstead Cheese Co., KWMR Community Radio, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Laura Chenel Chevre, Marin French Cheese Co., Mike Hudson Distributing, Nicasio Valley Cheese Company, Nugget Markets, Oakland Packaging, Oliver’s Markets, Pennyroyal Farm, Petaluma Market, Petaluma Post, Pisenti & Brinker LLP, Pt. Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co., Pure Luxury Transportation, Real California Milk, Redwood Hill Farms & Creamery, Rustic Bakery, Sheraton Sonoma County, Valley Fig Growers, Valley Ford Cheese Company, Willapa Hills Cheese and Yelp.

About California’s Artisan Cheese Festival
A 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, California’s Artisan Cheese Festival strives to increase cheese appreciation, educate consumers about artisan cheeses, support the cheesemaking community and its sustainability and celebrate the creations of California’s many farmers and cheesemakers. The festival began in March 2007 as the first-ever, weekend-long celebration and exploration of handcrafted cheeses, foods, wines and beers from California and beyond.  In keeping with its dedication to the community, the Artisan Cheese Festival donates 10% of all ticket proceeds to Sonoma Land Trust, Marin Agricultural Land Trust, Petaluma Future Farmers of America, California Artisan Cheese Guild and Redwood Empire Food Bank. To date the Artisan Cheese Festival has contributed more than $80,000 to these non-profit organizations that work to support the artisan cheesemaking community and its infrastructure in California.  For more information, visit www.artisancheesefestival.com.

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.

FlavorNapaValley-logo

 

 

 

Buy your tickets here: Flavor! Napa Valley
Website: FlavorNapaValley.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FlavorNapa
Instagram: https://instagram.com/FlavorNapa
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FlavorNapaValley

NAPA VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL CULINARY STAGE & WINE PAVILIONS NOV 11-15, 2015

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Napa Film Fest 2015The Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF) is the ultimate celebration of film, 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.

The Riverfront Promenade at the Napa River Inn is the major NVFF hub in downtown Napa. Along the river you’ll discover the Wine Pavilion, Stella Artois Airstream & Beer Garden, chef demonstrations on the Ferguson Culinary Stage presented by Traditional Home, interactive exhibits by festival sponsors, and more.

11088435264_d8ee66e9db_mCULINARY DEMONSTRATIONS
Join us at the Ferguson Culinary Stage, presented by Traditional Home, where Napa’s very own food and wine experts share their creativity and mouthwatering insights. And this year, you’ll meet some of the filmmakers who will share the stage with the Chefs.

Riverfront Promenade at the Napa River Inn is located at 500 Main Street, Napa.

There will be plenty of events for you to attend such as Variety’s Ten to Taste, presented by Food Network and Cooking ChannelSample dishes inspired by iconic food scenes in the movies brought to you by ten young chefs who will put their own fresh spin on some well-known dishes and present them to the audience and a distinguished panel of VIP guests.

15645531480_336de3fda9_mOther events such as Pair Like a Pro with Chef Rodney Worth (The Pear), Wine Spectator hosts a panel with Terlato Family Wines on how to “Pair Like a Pro.” Chris Kollar makes magic happen as he creates hand-rolled truffles. Discover Atlas Social Napa Chef/Owner Nick Ritchie’s creative and whimsical approach to cooking at his demo of one of his most popular specialties, Ricotta Gnocchi! Slow-food movement enthusiast Valentina Guolo-Migotto shows us how to make traditional Italian organic pasta fresca.  Clif Family Winery chef John McConnell and SPQR chef Matt Accarrino, both avid cyclists, produce dishes for energy recovery for athletes. Guest filmmaker: Tamara Christopherson, director of Personal Gold: An Underdog Story. Oenotri Chef Tyler Rodde prepares a selection of seafood in a recipe grounded in his restaurant’s rustic, Southern Italian approach with only the best local ingredients.

WINE EXPERIENCES

16510881398_43e2c6e355_zNo other festival offers the variety and quality of the wines curated for you each day at the Wine Experiences in our festival villages. The NVFF 2015 Wine Experiences include our Wine Pavilions in Napa and St. Helena, and Wine Strolls in Yountville and Calistoga. Wine Pavilions feature wines from several wineries all in one place at one time, while our Wine Strolls allow you to walk leisurely through the main streets of each town to visit a series of participating tasting rooms for a complimentary tasting experience.

Napa Wine Pavilion is located at the Riverfront Promenade, 500 Main Street, Napa.

Carneros Wine Alliance –  Featured Wineries: Bouchaine Vineyards, Clos Du Val, Domaine Carneros, Etude, Poseidon Vineyard, Schug Carneros Estate Winery, Truchard Vineyards

15645531480_336de3fda9_mNapa General Store Wine Club – Featured Wineries: Avatar Vintners, Inc., BOS Wine, Chase Cellars, Croze & Smith Wooten, Fortunati Vineyards, Kasten Family Wines, Lobo Wines, Maroon Wines, Noble Wines, Nichelini Family Winery, Three Clicks Wines, Tres Sabores, Wharton Wines

Mexican American Vintners Association (MAVA) – Featured Wineries: Ceja Vineyards, Encanto Vineyards, Herencia del Valle, Honrama Cellars, Justicia Wines, Llamas Family Wines, Maldonado Family Vineyards, Mario Bazan Cellars, Mi Sueno Winery, Renteria Wines, Scalon Cellars.

St. Helena Wine Pavilion is located at Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch, 739 Main Street, St. Helena.

NextGen –  Featured Wineries: Baldacci Family Vineyards, Bonded Winery #9, Ghost Block, Broman Cellars, Ceja Vineyards, Long Meadow Ranch Winery, Monticello Vineyards, Truchard Vineyards, V. Sattui Winery.

Appellation St. Helena – Featured Wineries: Ballentine Vineyards, Benessere Vineyards, Crocker & Starr Wines, Dancing Hares Vineyard, Ehlers Estate, Pellet Estate, Raymond Vineyards, Roberts + Rogers Vineyards, Rombauer Vineyards, Salvestrin Wine, Stanton Vineyards, Young Inglewood Vineyards.

Rutherford Dust Society – Featured Wineries: Alpha Omega, Altra Wines, Conn Creek Winery, Foley Johnson, Freemark Abbey, Honig Vineyards & Winery, Inglenook, Long Meadow Ranch Winery, Peju Winery, Provenance Vineyards, Rutherford Grove Winery & Vineyards, Rutherford Hill Winery, SR Tonella Cellars, Sullivan Vineyards, Tres Sabores.

15630479190_08fe91d7b3_zWine Stroll Yountville participating wineries: Cornerstone Cellars, Chiarello Family Vineyards, LLC, Hill Family Estate, Hope & Grace Winery, Jessup Cellars, Priest Ranch, Raymond Vineyards.

Wine Stroll Calistoga participating wineries: August Briggs, Huge Bear Wines, Mt. View Hotel & Spa with guest wineries such as Summers Estate Wines, Bennet Lane and Charles Krug, Romeo Vineyards & Cellars, Tamber Bey, Tank Garage Winery, T-Vine Winery.

Wine Strolls take place Friday, November 13 through Sunday, November 15 daily at 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

VINTNER CIRCLE DINNERS: Vintner Circle members pair their 10935167996_4e058f3443_mworld-class winemaking with the talents of top local chefs to present a series of unforgettable evenings of food, wine and lively conversation. Each dinner will celebrate one or more of our competition films. Guests will enjoy the company of – and conversation with – the filmmakers. Members of our Patron Circle and the invited guests enjoy one of the highlights of the festival: a showcase of what makes the Napa Valley one of the premier food and wine destinations in the world, with a special cinematic twist. The dinners will take place the evening of Saturday, November 14.

johntravParticipating wineries and vineyards include: Beaulieu Vineyard, Ca’ Momi Osteria, Caldwell Vineyard, Eleven Eleven Wines, Favia Erickson Winegrowers & Matthiasson Wines, Grgich Hills Estate, Hess Collection, Italics Winegrowers, Kelham Vineyards and Winery, Ma(i)sonry, Markham Vineyards, Merryvale Vineyards, Modus Operandi Cellars, Priest Ranch, Raymond Vineyards, Rombauer Vineyards, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Trinchero Napa Valley and Taken Wine Co. Present the NextGeneration of Napa, Wolf Family Vineyards, Meadowood Napa Valley, Solage Calistoga Resort and Spa.

Napa Valley Film Fest five-day passes are the best way to experience all of the films, food, wine and conversation. We offer three levels of experience to choose from: FESTIVAL PASS, PASS PLUS and our VIP program: the PATRON CIRCLE. Learn More here.
CateBlanchettCarolBuy 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

The Summer Fancy Food Show – An Infographic by Susan Fellows

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Susan Fellows is a Manager at Victoria Amory. She regularly writes about speciality food and she produced this info-graphic about the ‘Summer Fancy Food Show’ that recently took place in New York. She recently covered this event for us.

Fancy Food Show New York
Fancy Food Show New York

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 —————————————-
The Fancy Food Show began in 1955 and it is North America’s largest speciality food and beverage marketplace with over 40,000 attendees.  Every year, the event features over 260,000 speciality food and beverage products and is an amazing venue for anyone involved in the speciality food industry.

The growth in the speciality food sector has increased the popularity of this event in recent years. From 2010-2012 the speciality food sector saw growth of 22.1% and it continues to grow year on year.

At last year’s show gluten-free products topped new product innovations and dollars spent. Many food producers are now trying to appeal to the gluten-free market. Other popular trends include spirits in food and hand-held breakfast.

“There were some amazing products featured in the sofi awards last year and I selected some of my favorite 2014 & 2015 winners in the info-graphic. The awards honor outstanding speciality foods in the industry.” Susan Fellows

Visit her website:  http://www.victoriaamory.com

 

Wente Vineyards, The Country’s Oldest Family-Owned Winery, Livermore, California

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Wines & Winery Reviews

They have about 3,000 acres of sustainability farmed Estate wente vineyardsvineyards, and they are certified sustainable. Wente Vineyards is about 45 minutes drive from San Francisco and 40 minutes drive from San Jose, in the historic Livermore Valley. They offer wine tastings, a fine dining restaurant with the newly acclaimed chef Mike Ward (formerly at Tyler Florence’s El Paseo in Mill Valley), and championship golf.

wente garden3  I got lucky to check our the one acre garden in the back. It was amazing to see everything they grow here fresh and organic. Master Gardener Diane Dovholuk has been with Wente Vineyards for almost 20 years. You can see their garden tips on their website here: Wente Vineyards Garden

wente garden5  They offer Estate & Vineyards tasting; here you can try some of the wines that only offer at the vineyards.  Price range from $10-$25, very reasonable.

We got to try at about eight wines, and these are our favorites:

– 2012 Small Lot Serenity – Syrah, Grenache, Counoise, and Graciano blend

– 2013 Small Lot Eric’s Chardonnay

wente tasting 4– 2012 Small Lot GSM – The Syrah was harvested from the Hayes Ranch at our estate vineyard in the Livermore Valley. The Grenache was harvested from the Marina Ranch The Mourvedre was harvested from the Raboli Ranch.

– 2010 Small Lot Duetto – 50% of this blend comes from our Cabernet Sauvignon block in the Napa Valley, and 50% was grown in our Smith block in the Livermore Valley.

We also got lucky to meet the handsomely tall 5th generation
Karl Wente 4winemaker Karl Wente. He’s such a charming character. I personally 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.

They also planted just about every single varietal out there such as
wenteCabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Tempranillo, Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa, Zinfandel, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Counoise, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Viognier, Barbera, Sangiovese, Nebbiolo,  Riesling, Orange Muscat, Muscat Canelli, and a few more. I have not tried some of this varietal before. However, that gives them the ability to blend the wines and be creative of what they do.

Another interesting point is that the winemaker Karl Wente doesn’t use just one type of oak barrel. He used French, American, Hungarian, and sometimes Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, the Czech Republic and Poland too.

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.

Wente Vineyards
Wente Vineyards Tasting Room

5050 Arroyo Road
Livermore, CA 94550
1.925.456.2405

Estate Winery & Tasting Room
5565 Tesla Road
Livermore, CA 94550
1.925.456.2305

Wente Vineyards Twitter
Wente Vineyards Facebook
Wente Vineyards Instagram
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by Manda Bear 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The food:

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

– Cotton Candy Foie Gras Crispy amaranth – a MUST TRY

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

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

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

– Wagyu Beef Cheeks Mojo Rojo, oranges

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

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

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

– The sausage was delicious for days….

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

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

Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres at the SLS Hotel in Las Vegas
Restaurant Address: 2535 S Las Vegas Blvd,
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: (702) 761-7000
Website: http://slslasvegas.com/dining/bazaar-meat
Instagram: @BazaarByJose
Twitter: @BazaarMeat
Facebook: Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres at SLS LasVegas
Bazaar Meat 3
 Bazaar Meat 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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by Manda Bear 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Steak – was perfectly cooked to our liking.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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by Manda Bear