The fifth-annual Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival successfully wrapped up this weekend, with mostly sell-out events to the luxe four-day epicurean celebration. From a Tribute to a Legend Dinner honoring Chef Thomas Keller, to the familiar tented daytime Grand Tastings, wine and dining afficionados and fans came out to indulge.
I drove up for the day with Laiko from Epicuring, and the ride up was therapeutic and mesmerizing. We chose an ideal day, since it had just finished raining the night before. As much as I love the energy of the city, it’s always a welcome escape to get out and smell the fresh seawater, drive by artichoke farms and sand dunes, and gaze at the alpacas and grazing cows hanging out under a massive willow tree.
In addition to the pre-scheduled events of PBFW, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas threw a well-attended oceanfront happy hour at the Inn at Spanish Bay that brought the chefs, sommeliers and locals out to socialize, unwind and party. DJ beats, champagne, fresh-shucked oysters and heavily scented cigars were all in attendance. Spotted in the crowd were Chefs Charles Phan, Francois Payard, Paul Bartolotta, Rory Hermann, Luigi Fineo, Ricardo Zarate, Roy Choi, Sang Yoon and 40th birthday boy Chris Consentino in addition to many others.
Everyone I ran into at PBFW commented on how much they have been enjoying the tranquil, natural backdrop of the festival. Basically, Pebble Beach Food & Wine is more than just a stellar wine and food festival, it’s the chance to be surrounded by dreamy scenery that folks like Clint Eastwood and George Lopez soak in on a regular basis. Combined with a multitude of the most premier wine, liquor and cuisine names and brands, this was for many, a weekend they will soon not forget. Or perhaps with all the wine consumption, they already have. Not to worry, there’s always Los Angeles Food and Wine coming up in August and less than 365 days til’ the next Pebble Beach.
With the exception of this torrential storm, Spring time has arrived in the Bay Area. Cherry blossoms are in full bloom, and the annual Cherry Blossom Festival is right around the corner. In addition, one of my favorite sweets has come back to attack (the waistline). From now until Summer, Strawberry mochi is being prepared and offered daily at Benkyodo.
When many Americans hear the word “mochi”, they immediately identify it with the boxed ice cream dessert which has a ball of cold, dense mochi wrapped ice cream. Although I do ocassionally indulge in this frozen treat, even having consumed the green tea version the other day, when I think of mochi, I have visions of ultra soft, freshly pounded, steamed mochi rice like I used to gleefully enjoy as a child in Japan and here in San Francisco.
Fortunately for all of us, we all don’t have to jump on a plane to Tokyo to get the fresh stuff. We have Benkyodo. This Nihonmachi staple was one of the original shops to open in San Francisco’s Japantown back in 1906 and it’s still here over 100 years later. Thank God.
Just be warned: there is a cult following for this confectionary, and it does run out, so get there early, or go during the weekdays to get your fix. One Strawberry Mochi will cost you $1.25. Although, many are satisfied with one or two, I usually get 4 to eat throughout the day. Oink.
1747 Buchanan Street
San Francisco, CA 94115
Monday – Saturday
8:00am – 5:00pm
The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is the premier major exhibition dedicated to renowned French designer Jean Paul Gaultier. Blessed are San Franciscans, that it has arrived smack dab in the center of the city at the deYoung Museum. The exhibit is on view through August 19th of this year and on display are 130 iconic haute couture and prêt-a-porter ensembles created between the early 1970s and 2010.
On one recent evening, San Francisco fashionistas, socialites, models, gender benders, and art lovers came out to celebrate Jean Paul Gaultier, himself at the Gilt City pre-party and the extravagant opening soirée, La Grande Fête. Here are some photos:
Jean Paul Gaultier at the exhibit
Gaultier and Dita Von Teese
Chocolate with Gold Leaf were a crowd favorite
Jen & I taking in the sensory overload of festivities
Photo Credit: Drew Altizer Photography
Just in time for Spring, one of my favorite healthy spots in LA, M Café has a new seasonally-inspired menu. Their updated Spring Clean(s)ing menu is a simple decision when eating healthy looks and tastes this good. They are also offering a 3-day D.I.Y. juice cleanse program based on their popular seasonal juices with recipes, tips and a daily suggested calendar of juices for guests to follow at home. And just in case you don't need another reason on top of the 13 appetizing ones below, bathing suit season is just around the corner.
Expect to see the following on M Café's Spring Seasonal menu:
NEW! Barley & Green Garbanzo Bean Salad (photo 3)
NEW! Kale & Shiitake Ohitashi (photo 1)
NEW! Raw Almond Sushi (Photo 2)
Raw Cauliflower Tabbouleh
Spring Seaweed Salad
Chickpea & Dandelion Salad
Grilled Spring Vegetable Salad with Avocado-Lemon Dressing
Grilled Spring Vegetables
NEW! Chilled Edamame Vichysoisse
Creamy Broccoli Soup
Split Pea & Barley with Lemon & Dill
Brazilian Black Bean Soup
IT'S-IT has been a San Francisco tradition since 1928, where it was found at the refreshment stands of San Francisco's former historic amusement park, Playland at the Beach. It's "a delicious scoop of ice cream sandwiched between two oatmeal cookies and dipped into a dark chocolate coating." Although I wasn't around when Playland was around, I do remember consuming IT'S-ITS from the local grocery store. This tempting childhood dessert of mine comes in coffee, vanilla and mint flavors. As you can see from the photo above, I still can't resist.
For more info, visit It's It Ice Cream
Oysters and bubbles go hand in hand and at these prices (although it does add up quickly), Happy Hour couldn’t come sooner. With $1 featured oysters from 11:30 am – 6:00pm daily and $5 Prosecco and additional cocktails from 3- 6 pm on weekdays, a visit to Waterbar with its waterfront Bay Bridge views, is an ideal spot to gather with friends on the patio. Just pray for decent weather and bring a scarf – the must-have SF accessory. Oh, and a side of warm, crispy french fries pairs well with the above.
399 The Embarcadero South
San Francisco, California 94105