Category Archives: Events

Pebble Beach Food and Wine Weekend April 10-13

Pebble Beach Food Wine 2014

There are still some tickets left for this weekend’s Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival. PBFW is the premier epicurean lifestyle event on the West Coast, matching 250 acclaimed wineries and 75 celebrity chefs to create a hedonistic four-day destination on one of the most picturesque strips of coastline in the world. Throughout the weekend you’ll enjoy intimate access to the pinnacle of culinary and wine talent at wine tastings, cooking demos, and some of the most exclusive, unique dining opportunities available in the world.

Get tickets at: PBFW 2014

Half Moon Bay Brewing Company on the PCH

Half Moon Bay Brewing Company

Just a short jaunt from San Francisco is the picturesque coastal town of Half Moon Bay – the famed spot where surfers from around the globe gather to attend the annual Mavericks surf competition, and a relaxing spot along the Pacific Coast Highway where some lucky locals get to call home.

Half Moon Bay Brewing Co.- Food Fashionista

One thing residents and visitors have in common when they find themselves with a little free time in this coastal neck of the woods, is a visit to Half Moon Bay Brewing Company. Casual and inviting, this quintessential California surf shack was name one of America’s best beach bars by Travel + Leisure magazine. Beer lovers will appreciate the 1,200 square-foot Mavericks Beer Garden and on-site brewery, where hand-crafted, award-winning Mavericks® Beers & Ales are piped directly to the bar. The Mavericks Amber Ale won a bronze medal in the 2012 World Beer Cup, and the Ocho Barril Saison won Best in Show for session beers and the gold medal in the Wood/Smoke Ale category at the California State Fair in June 2013.

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At a recent Beer vs. Wine dinner event, guests were treated to a four-course meal prepared by Half Moon Bay Brewing Company Chef Gaston Alfaro with select pairings of beer and wine from in-house brewmaster James Costa and Hatcher Winery’s Sewell Hatcher respectively.

The evening’s dishes spotlighted local farms in every course and although ballots were taken at the end of the meal to determine a winner, it was no doubt a friendly competition where diners, and all those tinvolved were asking themselves…why isn’t beer and wine simultaneously paired with every meal.

Half Moon Bay Brewing Co.- Food Fashionista

Here are some more photos from the event, and a schedule of some upcoming beer and cheese (yup, you heard it right) dinners taking place at the brewery:

CHEESE & BEER MENU 2014

March 1-8
Chicken with Cilantro Lime Vodka Cream Sauce, Red Hawk Cheese and Sundried Tomatoes
Paired with Princeton-by-the-Sea IPA

March 9-15
Savory Spinach and Cheesy Artichoke Bread Pudding
Paired with Bootlegger Brown Ale

March 16-22
Gourmet Grilled Cheese Panini with Housemade Beer Bread
Paired with Big Break Ale 

March 23-31
Queso Blanco with Cochinita, topped with Housemade Beer Bread Crumbs
Served with Crispy Pita Chips
Paired with Mavericks Amber Ale

For more info, visit Half Moon Bay Brewing Company

 

MICHELIN Guides San Francisco 2014 Star Gala

Bibendum Michelin Guide - Food Fashionista

‘Tis the season for Michelin Guide releases! It’s the time of the year that the most highly-regarded chefs around the globe wait in anticipation for THAT phone call, and then breathe a sigh of relief (or not), for about a week until they warrior back in their kitchens until next year’s announcements.

Michelin Guide Gala 2014

With lovely ladies Martina Kostow, Dominique Crenn, Heidi Brown, Amanda Lam. Where’s #DaisyLainu?

MICHELIN Gala - San Francisco                                          It isn’t a party without never ending bubbly

On a recent, crisp, fall evening in San Francisco, I attended the San Francisco MICHELIN gala at the opulent Bently Reserve to celebrate the launch of the MICHELIN Guide San Francisco, Bay Area and Wine Country 2014 Guide. Gastronomy-loving guests mingled with their favorite local culinary stars  while enjoying a champagne reception, and a walk-around tasting featuring cuisine from select Michelin-starred chefs/restaurants including Mourad Lahlou (Aziza), Mark Sullivan (Spruce), Lissa Doumani and Hiro Sone (Ame’), Teague Moriarty and Matt McNamara (Sons and Daughters).

Michelin Chefs - Food Fashionista

Chefs Alexa Atala, David Kinch, Dominique Crenn, Corey Lee, Josh Skenes, Daniel Patterson

Spotted in the well-heeled crowd enjoying an extremely rare Tuesday night off were chefs Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood), David Breeden (French Laundry), Josh Skenes (Saison), Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn), Daniel Patterson (Coi), Corey Lee (Benu), David Kinch (Manresa), James Syhabout (Commis), and powerhouse Brazilian chef Alex Atala of restaurant D.O.M. in São Paulo who was in town for the release of his new cookbook.

Mourad Lahlou, Michael Ellis, Teague Moriary62427                  Michelin’s Michael Ellis with Chefs Mourad Lahlou and Teague Moriarty

Truffle                                 This truffle fit perfectly into my purse ;D

Michelin Guide Director Michael Ellis flew in from Paris for the special event, and was delighted to enjoy a reunion with Le Toque Executive Chef Ken Frank, who Ellis had worked with many years back. Isn’t it funny how food always brings people back together.

Quince Chef Michael Tusk MichelinBibendum flexing with Bay Area’s newest MICHELIN two-star chef, Michael Tusk (Quince)

Mika Takeuchi - Michelin Guide Sons and Daughters                            Plating with the chefs from Sons and Daughters

Michelin Guide Restaurants and Chefs San Francisco Bay Area                                                   Striking a well-deserved pose

Christopher Kostow, Joshua Skenes

Michelin Guide Gala 2014                                             Team French Laundry in the House!!!

Michelin Guide Gala Desserts

Michelin Guide San Francisco 2014           Saison SF Caneles Michelin Guide                    Concluding the night in style with Shawn Gawle’s Canelés at Saison

Along with stellar food recommendations, Michelin is the go-to guide for all things travel. Whether it’s road trippin’ in Arizona, or livin’ it up in the French Riviera, Michelin has you covered. As a MICHELIN Brand Ambassador, I’m excited to offer you a discount on the guides that accompany me on my travel journeys. Just click on the widget below. They make fab holiday gifts for food lovers, travel junkies, and future explorers as well!

This article is part of my Brand Ambassador features for MICHELIN.

Mendocino Mushroom Festival – Get your Fungi Foraging On

mushroom_hunter_0                                                                                                                                                                              

From the rolling hills of Yorkville Highlands to the Pygmy Forest of Van Damme State Park, the seasonal forage for local porcinis, chanterelles and candy caps hits a high note this fall in Mendocino County.  Straddling historic Highways 1 and 101 with nearly 2,500 sq. miles of coveted live oak and redwood forest, the region is a natural hotspot for some 3,000 mushroom varieties.  Add a cache of artisanal chefs, 85 wineries, an evolving craft beer and hard cider scene and the annual salute to Mr. Fungi sprouts into action November 1-10, 2013.                                                                                                                                                                                                         

The bounty of the county rolls out with wild mushroom foraging excursions, farm-to-table mushroom-infused menus, educational seminars, art exhibits and annual Skunk Train trek and cook-off deep in the depths of the Noyo River Canyon and forest.  To cap the adventure, regional restaurants and lodging properties from Boonville to Willits, Mendocino to Point Arena are offering special  menus and packages.

chanterelle-1

                                                                                                                     Credit: Paul Kozal

 

KEY EVENT:  MUSHROOM, WINE & BEER TRAIN (November 2, 2013)

For the ultimate outback experience only accessible via train, hop aboard the iconic Skunk

Train.  Departing from both Fort Bragg and Willits, the adventure includes fungi hikes, wine tasting and culinary capers making a move with mushrooms.  A Mighty Mushroom Weigh-Off, finale cook-off and judging as well as a presentation by local mushroom expert Eric Schramm wrap up the day.  (10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., $95.00/inclusive; www.skunktrain.com.)

ROOM AT THE INN

From “Shrooming” packages to “Fungi & Girl” spa getaways, visitors can tap into deals across the county.  Check in and check out with a stay at the new Heritage House Resort in Little River (opened 9/13/2013) ($189.00/dbl.), bunk down in an 1886 former water tower at the Abalone Tower & Weller House Inn ($300.00/2 nights, dbl.) or soak up the local culture with Little River Inn’s “Mushroom Mania” ocean-front cottage package ($139.00/dbl.).  Other top haunts include Baechtel Creek Inn & Spa’s “Fungi & Girl” package including two spa treatments, premium guestroom and passes to the annual Mushroom, Wine & Beer Train event ($499.00/dbl.) and Dennen’s Victorian Farmhouse just outside of the village of Mendocino offers a flat 25 percent discount ($135.00/dbl.). Restrictions and blackout periods apply, based on availability.  Deals: http://www.visitmendocino.com/mushroomfestival.

 

POWER TO THE PORCINI

From stuffed mushroom ravioli with Pennyroyal Farm Laychee goat cheese and truffle creamto Porcini pizza at the new Stone & Embers or full tasting menu at Stanford Inn’s award-winning Ravens’ Restaurant, the options for putting a fork into friendly fungi abound.  Throughout the county, 32 restaurants are offering special menus during the festival.  In addition, two passports are offered featuring 40 wineries and breweries showcasing special mushroom pairings, events and entertainment. 

 

FUNGI FORAGING

Rain means wild mushrooms, and nowhere are they more prevalent than along the coastal forest and dense redwoods of Mendocino County.  During the festival, guests can take to horseback, bike rides, kayaks and mycologist tours.  Top treks include:

 

 Ride with the Hunt… Mushroom Hunt, that is… at Ricochet Ridge Ranch  

“Mushroom Hunt” horseback rides every day during the festival.

Ricochet Ridge Ranch; 707.964.9669; www.horse-vacation.com

 

Liquid Fusion Kayak Mushroom Paddles Nov. 3 & 10 (3-hour guided adventure)

Tour the calm waters of the Noyo River in search of wild mushrooms while you enjoy the quiet solitude of the Noyo River, fall scenery, colorful migratory ducks, and mysterious mushrooms. Fort Bragg; 707.962.1623; www.liquidfusionkayak.com

Hunt for the Wild Mushroom Mountain Bike Ride

 Put the fun in “fungi” with daily bike tours with local experts.  Nov 2-3, 9-10.

 Mendo Bike Sprite, Fort Bragg; 707.962.4602; www.mendobikesprite.com

 

 Mushrooms at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

Join staff mycologist Mario Abreu for a series of weekly mushroom workshops and walks at the Botanical Gardens.  Fort Bragg; 707.964.4352×16; www.gardenbythesea.org

 

 Beginner’s Mushroom Identification Walk, Talk and Tasting with David Arora

Nov. 16 10:00 am–4:00 pm Become more knowledgeable about wild mushrooms with David Arora, author of Mushrooms Demystified and a leading authority on their uses worldwide. 

Gualala; 707.884.9065; www.studio391.net

  Photo Credit: Paul Kozal