Tag Archives: Foodie

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

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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

 

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

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Wines & Winery Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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by Manda Bear

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

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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 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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by Manda Bear 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TASTING

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

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

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

WINES

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

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

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

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by Manda Bear 

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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