Category Archives: Events

Michelin Guide 2017 North America Announcement Dates

Michelin Guide 2017 Dates North America

Fall is here and that means it’s time for the North American Michelin Guides to soon be announced and released. This year marks a very exciting time since there will be a new U.S. city added to the red guide map with a brand new guide being introduced for Washington D.C. Other current cities include San Francisco, Chicago and New York.

Here are the 2017 Michelin Guide North America announcement dates:

Washington D.C. – October 13, 2016

San Francisco – October 25, 2016

Chicago – November 2, 2016

New York – November 17, 2016 

VIMMIA Activewear – Wear Good and Do Good

Mika Takeuchi VIMMIA Lifestyle Blog

On a recent afternoon in cities across the U.S. – New York, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco, Boston and Washington, D.C., stylish activewear brand VIMMIA partnered with Maria Shriver’s A Woman’s Nation, a non-profit organization created by Shriver, on their initiative, The Women’s Alzheimer’s Challenge, which recognizes that women are the epicenter of the global Alzheimer’s epidemic and challenges organizations to do cutting-edge research on women’s brains to defeat this mind-blowing disease. On this health-focused afternoon, people of all shapes and sizes gathered at their local Equinox for a half day of yoga, cardio boxing and meditation along with seminars on nutrition, sleep, and Alzheimer’s education.

MariaShriver - VIMMIA - Food Fashionista

The Women’s Alzheimer’s Challenge partners with leading researchers, scientists and major non-profit organizations to create landmark Alzheimer’s research funds to finance gender-specific research on women’s brains and challenges women and men to get educated, engaged and empowered to defeat this mind-blowing disease. Through the partnership, one dollar from every legging sold through May 30, 2017 will go directly to The Women’s Alzheimer’s Challenge.

“At VIMMIA, we have been dedicated to health, fitness and philanthropy since our founding.” says Ardy Raminfar, VIMMIA Founder and Creative Director. “The physical and mental wellbeing of women is at the core of our business and philanthropy model, and we are proud to partner with Maria Shriver and A Woman’s Nation to help fund research for this devastating disease.”

Mika Takeuchi Food Fashionista VIMMIA

I love my luxe VIMMIA activewear including the VIMMIA Wind Jacket. It’s so versatile, that I could and do wear it in and out of the yoga studio. I wore it above on a recent summer day in Paris’ Le Marais district. It’s also lightweight enough to throw into a small purse and proved to be quite weatherproof on a recent afternoon when it shielded me from the sudden pouring rain on the Champs Élysées.

For more info on VIMMIA, visit vimmia.com

For more info on Maria Shriver’s Women’s Alzheimer’s Challenge, visit thewomensalzheimerschallenge.org

 

The Stags Leap District Vineyard to Vintner – Winery Back-Stage Open Houses

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Last year I attended the Stags Leap District Vineyard to Vintner Winery Back-Stage Open Houses  with a lovely designated driver and had a blast! We escaped city life and got to enjoy several of Napa Valley’s most prestigious wineries all in one day. Since some of these wineries are only open once a year, the exclusive tastings were held in their private homes. This event, happening again April 29 to May 1, is the perfect chance to visit the award-winning Stags Leap district wineries and take in the beautiful Napa Valley surroundings, creative food, live music and ideal weather. It’s definitely one of the Valley’s special events of the year and San Francisco folks can easily hop in their cars and be there in a quick 70 minutes.

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 The wineries inviting you into the 2016 Stag’s Leap District weekend include the following:

Baldacci Family Vineyards

Baldacci Family Vineyards invites all V2V guests to join us at our family’s Red Barn at our Stags Leap District property. We are celebrating the past, present and future of our family’s commitment to land stewardship with a three vintage (2010, 2012 and 2015 barrel sample) tasting of our 100% Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon from our Stags Leap estate vineyard. Private Chef, Pete Coleman, will be tempting you with specially paired bites of locally raised pork and lamb, all prepared to reflect culinary expressions from the past, present and future. Live music and incredible views will also be provided.

 

Chimney Rock Winery

Chimney Rock Winery invites you to join us for an enchanting “La Vie en Rock” Open House event. We’ll gather in the heart of our winemaking facility where Winemaker/General Manager Elizabeth Vianna and Assistant Winemaker Laura Orozco will be sharing specially selected wines from both bottles and barrels. Delight in the tastes of inspired hors d’oeuvres by CreativePalateWorks and the blended French Fusion sounds of “Duo Gadjo”.  (RE: Duo Gadjo: She was born in France. He was born in San Francisco. She listened to Piaf, Montant, and Trenet. He listened to Louis Armstrong and Muddy Waters. She is Isabelle Fontaine He is Jeff Magidson. Together they are known as Duo Gadjo. Their music celebrates the union of two cultures, largely inspired by the sounds of the 20’s and 30’s, when jazz was the thing and Paris was the place to be.)

 

Cliff Lede Vineyards

We look forward to welcoming you to Cliff Lede Vineyards as we pay tribute to the late David Bowie with our newest 2013 Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon, Stardust Heaven. This superstar of a Cabernet highlights vineyard blocks named after David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust,” and Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” V2V guests will visit the winery tank room to mingle with the winemaking team and delight in hors d’oeuvres paired with our refreshing Sauvignon Blanc and the 2013 Cliff Lede Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District. While soaking in the sounds of classic rock and decades of Bowie hits, take another trip back into the archives with a taste of 2003 Poetry Cabernet Sauvignon. This rare opportunity to taste our flagship estate Cabernet from the hillside Poetry Vineyard is being offered exclusively to our V2V Open House guests.

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Clos Du Val

Clos Du Val extends you a warm welcome with a French twist. Please join us for our “Bienvenue Brunch” on Saturday morning; the perfect way to start your day of winery-filled adventure. Located at the southern entrance of the renowned Stags Leap District, our beautiful, ivy-covered winery is ideally situated for making us your first visit. A favorite experience each year, our gourmet brunch will be served in our picturesque Olive Grove from 10am-12noon, featuring made-to-order savory crêpes, charcuterie, and other delicious brunch fare. It’s never too early in the day to enjoy wines from the Stags Leap District; we’ll be presenting our limited production single block Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and other winery exclusive wines, along with the opportunity to get to know our new winemaker, Ted Henry. The afternoon will welcome guests back for a relaxing seat on our Front Lawn with special featured wines and small bites. A wonderful way to start and end your day.

 

Lindstrom Wines

A unique tasting opportunity at Lindstrom Wines which is open to the public once a year for the V2V event. Vintners Greg and Carol Lindstrom and their family will all be there to welcome you to their stunning vineyard tasting venue overlooking the Stags Leap Palisade. Taste the critically acclaimed, limited production Lindstrom Estate Cabernets crafted by Celia Welch paired with gourmet paella by Gerard’s Paella.

 

Malk Family Vineyards

As the smallest producer of wine in the Stags Leap District, we at Malk Family Vineyards open our home only once a year. On hand to answer your questions is Robbie Meyer, our highly acclaimed winemaker. In addition, several Malk family members will be pouring one of our well-received 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014 Pinot Noir, and our 2014 Sauvignon Blanc. Savor our Cabernet Sauvignon with a traditional South African barbecue of Boerewors (farmer’s sausage), cave-aged cheeses with our Pinot Noir, and fresh berries in season to accompany our Sauvignon Blanc.

 

Odette Estate Winery

Odette Estate invites Vineyard to Vintner guests to the newest winery in the Stags Leap District. Join us for a leisurely afternoon of luxury as you taste the next great release of our critically acclaimed Estate Cabernet Sauvignon paired with bites from Meadowood Napa Valley. Take in the beauty and understated elegance of our private Estate Lounge where you will be introduced to both our Odette Estate and Adaptation wines, carefully crafted by winemaker Jeff Owens. Guided tours of our new state-of-the-art winery will be offered at 11:30am, 12:30pm and 1:30pm. See how our living roof and other green building practices reinforce our commitment to the environment and sustainability. Between 11am-2pm, meet and mingle with our winemaker, Jeff Owens, who will be conducting toursand answering questions on how he approaches his craft.

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Pine Ridge Vineyards

Mingle in our Estate Gardens with Winemaker Michael Beaulac and Assistant Winemaker Mike Conversano while listening to live music and enjoying breathtaking views of the Stags Leap District Palisades. Winery Chef Susan Lassalette will prepare delicious bites artfully paired with some of our most exclusive wines, including the highly-acclaimed 2012 Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon and our single-vineyard Stags Leap District Chardonnay, 2014 Le Petit Clos. Visitors will also enjoy a sneak peek of our 2014 Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon, pulled straight from the barrel.

 

Quixote Winery

For the first time ever, Quixote Winery is opening its doors to the true fans of the Stags Leap District. Our whimsical and mysteriously hidden winery will delight visitors for a unique blend of art, architecture, nature and beautifully crafted wines. We make our 2,000 cases exclusively from our 27 acre estate vineyard, tucked away just off the Silverado Trail in a serene valley shared with Shafer and Stags Leap Winery. Our 2015 Rosé of Petite Sirah will set the stage for a day of food, wine and fun. Our 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah will be perfectly paired with small bites from Napa’s Tarla Mediterranean Grill. Bay area guitarist Jonny Zywiciel will be playing a mix of upbeat and soulful songs for all to enjoy.

 

Regusci Winery

Regusci Winery is excited to welcome Vineyard to Vintner guests to the Ranch for the day to taste classic Stags Leap District wines, delicious appetizers and warm hospitality. The Regusci Ranch is one of the oldest properties in the Napa Valley and features a stunning, historical gravity flow winery building. Guests will enjoy small bites, taste current and library wines and sample future wines directly from the barrel. Savor a glass of wine while listening to live music performed by Sean Carscadden.

 

Robinson Family Vineyards 

Stop by for a rare and intimate moment at one of Stags Leap District’s smallest and most beautiful family-owned, estate wineries. Nestled at the base of the majestic Palisades, a visit to Robinson Family Vineyards promises a memorable encounter with proprietors Tom and Susie and the rest of the fun-loving Robinson-Jinks clan. Savor this frenetic yet extraordinarily loving environment while enjoying complimentary tastings featuring our current vintages of Estate and Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon paired with pizzas pulled directly from our outdoor, wood-burning oven. Finally, be among the first to sample our new, flagship Bordeaux blend: 2+3. Robinson Family is V2V — Family Style.

 

Shafer Vineyards

Shafer extends a warm welcome to this special celebration of Stags Leap District, our home since 1973. John Shafer, who led the effort with our neighbors to establish the District (a four-year process from 1985 through 1989) will be on hand throughout the day to greet you along with winery president Doug Shafer and winemaker Elias Fernandez. This year we’ll uncork two of our Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignons, the 2013 One Point Five, which is a newly released wine, and 2007 Hillside Select, which we will pull from our library especially for V2V guests. Our friend Chef Visconte will prepare delicious hors d’oeuvres to accompany the wines. Our wines available for sale will be 2014 Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay, 2013 Merlot, and 2013 One Point Five Cabernet Sauvignon. Our other wines are sold out; likewise because of the extremely limited amount of 2007 Hillside Select in our library, it will not be available for purchase.

 

Stags Leap Wine Cellars

We look forward to welcoming V2V guests to help us celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the historic “Judgment of Paris” tasting at which the Stags Leap Wine Cellars 1973 S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon took top honors among the red wines, triumphing over two first-growth and other renowned wines of Bordeaux. The surprise win was covered by TIME magazine and picked up by media around the world. The story of The Judgment of Paris brought international recognition to Stags Leap Wine Cellars and Chateau Montelena, the Napa Valley and the American wine industry as a whole. You will enjoy “blind tasting” a few wines — just as the judges did in Paris in 1976 — along with library selections of S.L.V. Estate Cabernet and delicious hors d’oeuvres.

Stags Leap Winery District - Food Fashionista

Stags’ Leap Winery

Stags’ Leap Winery invites you to celebrate Vineyard to Vintner at one of the oldest wine estates within the Stags Leap District.  After an extensive eighteen month restoration, the nineteenth century Manor House has been renewed to its former glory. Be among the first to visit and experience the rejuvenated secret speakeasy and see the new furnishings and art including original Andy Warhol prints. Winemaker Christophe Paubert will be on hand throughout the day pouring his newest releases as well as exclusive library and large format selections hand selected from the winery cellar. Rarely open to the public, the historic Manor House porch will be yours for the afternoon to enjoy delicious wood-fired pizzas and delectable hors d’oeuvres alongside these exceptional wines. Special V2V pricing will be extended to guests as well as custom bottle etching. Don’t miss this incredible opportunity!

 

Steltzner Vineyards

Steltzner Vineyards welcomes our V2V guests to join us poolside at our vineyard estate tucked below the Stags Leap District Palisades. Take in the views as you are surrounded by vineyards. Experience amazing seasonally inspired small bites prepared by Chef Gio from Foodshed Restaurant, an instant Napa Valley classic. Taste our two newest releases of 2013 Estate Cabernet Sauvignons, Pool Block and Martini Clone. Meet our founder Richard Steltzner, winemaker Bob Pepi and the rest of the crew while learning and immersing yourself in all things Stags Leap District.

 

Taylor Family Vineyards

Please join three generations of Vintners in a casual and inviting setting on our deck overlooking our hillside vineyard and the stunning Stags Leap Palisades. As a family-owned and family-operated winery, we are excited to share our passion with you by pouring our limited production wines — Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and several Cabernets. We have carefully paired our wines with various appetizers and “Grown-Up” Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, which are made with a variety of cheeses, Vella Mezzo Secco, Barely Buzzed and many more.

For more info and tickets, visit Stag’s Leap District

 

Celebrate Grower Champagne Every Monday at 1760 – San Francisco

1760 Inside-3

1760 Restaurant Wine Director Gianpaolo Paterlini and I share something special in common. We both have an intense passion for bubbles. So fortunately for myself, and everyone else who loves drinking the sparkly stuff, Gianpaolo and the restaurant host Grower Champagne Monday every week in San Francisco,– when all bottles of Champagne are 20% off.

For those of you curious what Grower Champagnes are, they are sparkling wines made in the Champagne region of France. They are produced by the same estate that owns the vineyards from which the grape comes, in contrast to using grapes sourced and blended from a variety of vineyards. Think of Grower Champagnes as the farm-to-table of sparkling wines – rich in terroir, unique and complex.

The evening I was at 1760, the neighborhood Polk Street restaurant’s bar and tables were full of locals and industry folks enjoying dinner with their bottles of bubbly.

Order some bites from Chef Carl Foronda’s menu, and relish in 1760’s eclectic and extensive Champagne list and you’re all set. Mondays in San Francisco just got a whole lot better. Cheers and à votre santé!

Here are a few of the bites and bottles we enjoyed on our 1760 Grower Champagne Monday visit…

imageCôte de Blancs – Veuve Fourny & Fils, Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut 2008

imageMushroom Tempura. celery root. meyer lemon oil. dill

imageVallée de la Marne – Moussé Fils, Champagne Blanc de Noirs Brut ‘Special Club’ 2009

imageRoasted Baby Carrots. tamarind-lime. crispy mung beans

imageMontagne de Reims – Jean Lallement, Champagne Brut ‘Tradition’ NV

imageCavatelli. mushroom-fennel. charred broccolini

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Vallée de la Marne – Laherte Frères, Champagne Rosé de Saignee Extra Brut Les Beaudiers NV

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“If I could only drink one type of wine for the rest of my life, it would definitely be Champagne. I love Nebbiolo and Riesling and the incredible complexity and diversity they both offer, but for me, Champagne trumps them both. Especially Grower Champagne…” – Gianpaolo Paterlini, 1760 Wine Director

 

For more info, visit Growers Champagne Mondays 

See 1760 Restaurant’s Champagne list HERE

 

(first and last photo credit: Wes Rowe)

Farmers Market Luncheon at Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest

Manresa Cooking Demo GourmetFest

Even after the last course was served, guests couldn’t stop talking about the Farmers Market Lunch at Relais & Châteaux’ GourmetFest in Carmel-by-the-Sea. With a four-course menu from a quartet of well-accomplished chefs from California, Vermont (United States) and Sapporo (Japan) it was a highly motivating reason to wake up that breezy, beachside morn

David Kinch Cooking Demo Relais Chateaux GourmetFestPrior to the luncheon, Chef David Kinch (Manresa) presented a cooking demo and book signing at La Playa Hotel’s well-manicured courtyard where he walked guests through the components and preparation of his signature “Into the Garden” course in the outdoor Gaggenau kitchen. During the session, he shared insightful thoughts on current matters in the restaurant industry including the growing concern of American diners requesting to make menu modifications, that are non-health related, but strictly out of personal tastes. He said that on a nightly basis, they’ll often have to create seven different menus in addition to the one he has in place for his restaurant because of these adjustments. For a chef of a restaurant with a staff/guest ratio of 35 to 50 mentioning that this is an apparent issue, it must indeed be a concern that many restaurants and chefs are now facing. In fact, later at the GourmetFest luncheon I witnessed a guest who had requested vegetarian for their courses, but then was eating the beef from the person’s plate next to them. Considering how much extra work, time and cost goes into making these changes in the kitchen, it’s an interesting subject that I’m sure will soon have to be confronted.

Chef David Kinch Relais Châteaux

During the demo Q&A, an audience member asked Chef Kinch how he felt about having recently attained three stars in the Michelin Guide. He emphasized the great honor, responsibility and importance of being in the guide and mentioned that the star recognition has led to an increase in nightly guests from Europe and Asia to his South Bay restaurant. He said that back in the day he was curious about having his restaurant in San Francisco, but now truly believes that there is nowhere else he’d rather be than in Los Gatos. And along with the thrill and excitement of having been awarded three stars, he shared how terrifying it can be since from here you either stay at three or go down. He shared a past conversation in which Chef Joel Robuchon told him, “Michelin has given us stars for the moment – they are on loan. We do not have them.”  That sentiment has resonated with him until this day and reminds and inspires him daily to know that just because you attain the Michelin stars, you must continually work hard and evolve with your team to maintain them and not ever take them for granted.

Manresa David Kinch Into the Garden Relais Châteaux GourmetFest

First Course: Chef David Kinch (Manresa)’s “Spring Vegetable ‘Royale,’ Into the Garden”

During the demo, we witnessed Chef Kinch misting nasturtium powder on the cool, warm, raw, vibrant, “green and bitter” dish that is served as the second course on Manresa’s tasting menu. At the restaurant, this dish is specifically paired alongside a beer within the optional beverage pairing.

Crocker & Starr Sauvignon Blanc, St. Helena 2014

At GourmetFest, the “Into the Garden” dish was paired with Crocker & Starr Sauvignon Blanc, St. Helena 2014

David Fink Relais Châteaux Gourmet Fest Carmel

Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest Founder David Fink at the Farmers Market Luncheon

Nathan Rich Twin Farms Relais Châteaux GourmetFest

Second Course: Chef Nathan Rich (Twin Farms)’ Hambsch Farm Head Cheese with Beetroot, Vermont Cheddar, Apple, Mustard Seed and Twin Farms Maple Syrup – I never thought I’d enjoy head cheese this much, but one can never say never.

Charles and Rose Ann Finkel, Franz and Angela Inselkammer

Charles and Rose Ann Finkel (The Pike Brewing Company, Seattle) and Franz and Angela Inselkammer (Brauereigasthof Hotel Aying & Ayinger Brewery, Bavaria )

Ayinger Celebrator Brewery

Chef Rich’s exqusitie Head Cheese course was paired with both the Ayinger Celebrator and the Pike Post Alley Porter beers. I appreciated that the festival showcased the featuring of high-quality beer pairings as a match with fine cuisine.

GourmetFest Carmel

Chefs from Aubergine (Carmel) and Molière (Sapporo) collaborating In the kitchen above. During the entire GourmetFest, all the local and visiting Relais & Châteaux chefs worked together to prepared and plate the courses out as a team. The family spirit was very high and present in the kitchen.

Restaurant Molière Wagyu Beef GourmetFest

Hokkaido Wagyu on a bed of pine presented and served tableside for the third course from the Restaurant Molière team from Sapporo, Japan. Chef Hiroshi Nakamichi’s son Hirokazu has been working at Noma for the last year and a half and mentioned to me that he was inspired to present the Wagyu with the pine due to his time spent at Noma.

Restaurant Molière Sapporo Wagyu Relais Châteaux GourmetFest

Chef Hiroshi Nakamichi (Restaurant Molière)’s Hokkaido Wagyu Fliet with Charred turnip, and Wasabi paired with the local Bay Area Mount Eden, Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains 2006.

Relais Châteaux GourmetFestThe desserts are coming…

Stephy Prida Dessert ManresaChef Stephanie Prida (Manresa)’s Satsuma Creamsicle with Fennel Fronds and Graham Cracker
Williams Selyem, Gewurztraminer GourmetFestDessert was paired with Williams Selyem, Late Harvest Gewürztraminer, “Vista Verde” Tres Pinos 2014 

Stephy Prida and Nathan Rich Relais Châteaux GourmetFest Carmel

Chef Stephy Prida (Manresa) and Nathan Rich (Twin Farms)

Angela Inselkammer Mika Takeuchi Food Fashionista GourmetFest Carmel

Clean plates and huge smiles are a true indicator of a successfully executed meal. A glass in each hand is also a good sign that you are thoroughly enjoying the beverage pairings. Earlier in the day at the demo, Chef David Kinch talked about how “dishes that are well balanced linger in people’s minds.” All four courses of the Farmers Market lunch delivered that goal with chefs exceeding expectations with each of their presented dishes and the winemakers and breweries harmonizing a well-matched pairing for each.

 

For more information, visit GourmetFest Carmel and Relais & Châteaux