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04.05.2012

Inaugural Austin Food and Wine Festival: April 27-29, Austin, TX

The quantity and quality of food and wine events in this country continues to improve with leaps and bounds. Once upon a time there were only one or two major (as in the kind of events that involve A-list celebrity chefs) food and wine festivals in the country. Now there seems to be a great event in most of the country's culinary capitals. This year we get to add Austin, Texas to that list, as Austin hosts its first annual Food and Wine Festival. In typical texas fashion, it's not only big, but better. Because what could make your usual... continue reading

02.06.2012

La Paulee 2012 Burgundy Tasting: February 22-25, San Francisco

Every budding wine lover faces what can often seem like a daunting mountain to climb. There are so many wines in the world to learn about and experience, it's not hard to feel overwhelmed. It's also quite common to feel a certain sense of frustration, the kind characterized by an ambition that far outstrips our own means to fulfill it. Many of the wines that passionate wine lovers wish they could taste are simply out of reach -- too rare, too popular, and too expensive. When I was first starting out in my journey down the roads of wine, the... continue reading

09.27.2011

2011 LA Food and Wine Festival: October 13-16, Los Angeles

Food and Wine Magazine knows when it's onto a good thing. Building on the success of the long running and incredibly popular Aspen Food and Wine Classic, the magazine (actually it's publisher, American Express) has branched out to bring a similar, if somewhat abbreviated version to South Beach in Florida, and has become a major sponsor of the Pebble Beach Food and Wine event in Carmel, California. Last year, American Express Publishing dipped its toe into the waters of Los Angeles, with the four-day extravaganza called Beverly Hills, which was apparently quite the scene. But if that was a toe... continue reading

09.15.2010

2010 FallFest Wine and Food Tasting: October 9, San Francisco

Once upon a time in this country, back when we didn't buy our food and instead we grew it, Autumn was a time for celebration. If we were lucky, or good at farming, we'd be able to celebrate a bountiful harvest of food that might sustain us through the winter. Other than our Thanksgiving holiday, which isn't so much a harvest celebration as much as it is a commemoration of not starving to death thanks to the charity of Native Americans, we don't have much of a national tradition in this country of celebrating the harvest. Elsewhere in the world... continue reading

08.21.2010

Taste of Beverly Hills: September 2-5, Beverly Hills, CA

Food and Wine Magazine knows when it's onto a good thing. Building on the success of the long running and incredibly popular Aspen Food and Wine Classic, the magazine (actually it's publisher, American Express) has branched out to bring a similar, if somewhat abbreviated version to South Beach in Florida, and has become a major sponsor of the Pebble Beach Food and Wine event in Carmel, California And now Food and Wine magazine has launched the Taste of Beverly Hills, a four-day extravaganza of food, wine, cocktails and music at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Attendees to the event will have... continue reading

03.27.2010

Pebble Beach Food and Wine 2010: April 8-11, Pebble Beach, CA

Once upon at time, there was but one major event for food and wine enthusiasts looking to experience some of the top chefs and wines of the United States. The Aspen Food and Wine Classic was the ultimate experience for epicures and wine lovers who could afford to attend the multi-day showcase of taste. Other events equally focused on bringing together fine food and wine and the people who love them have followed. Strangely, for many years none of these events took place in California. Eventually, though, some people realized the travesty represented by this fact, and started an event... continue reading

11.24.2009

Menu For Hope is Coming. Will You Donate a Wine Prize and Become Famous?

Think of this as the early warning system. Our annual Menu For Hope campaign is right around the corner. In its sixth year, this charity event brings together bloggers from all over the world to raise money for the United Nations World Food Programme. It's an awesome event that raises tens of thousands of dollars each year for hungry children around the world. For those who are not familiar with this initiative, it is essentially a raffle, with prizes donated by bloggers (or other kind folks who want to participate but don't have blogs). Participants post a description of their... continue reading

07.20.2009

SF Chefs. Food. Wine. Weekend: August 6-9, San Francisco

For a town as food and wine rich as San Francisco is, the city has few large public celebrations of its qualities as a world-class culinary destination. Most food and wine events in San Francisco tend to be single-event, large public tastings, where attendees can wander around, sampling food or wine from an array of purveyors and producers. Such events are great, but they're not the best showcase for the breadth and depth of the talent and resources that San Francisco has in either the food or wine department. Enter the "SF Chefs. Food. Wine" event coming up in about... continue reading

03.30.2009

Pebble Beach Food and Wine Experience: April 16-19, Carmel, CA

Once upon at time, there was but one major event for food and wine enthusiasts looking to experience some of the top chefs and wines of the United States. The Aspen Food and Wine Classic was the ultimate experience for epicures and wine lovers who could afford to attend the multi-day showcase of taste. Other events equally focused on bringing together fine food and wine and the people who love them have followed. Strangely, for many years none of these events took place in California. Eventually, though, some people realized the travesty represented by this fact, and started an event... continue reading

03.16.2009

Taste Washington Wine and Food Festival: April 4-5, Seattle

I may be a little bit like a broken record when it comes to large public tasting events. I can't underscore enough to my readers how valuable they are for their ability to help novice wine lovers turn into experienced ones. There is simply no better way to educate your palate (or even just find out what kind of wine you like and do not like) than to attend a large public tasting. Such tastings are all the more valuable when they are focused on a particular style of wine, or a particular region. When it comes to regional tastings,... continue reading

01.02.2009

Join Vinography at The Aspen Food & Wine Classic '09

Now that you're wrapping up your Winter holidays, it's the perfect time to plan your Summer ones. In my opinion Summer holidays should be filled with beautiful scenery, great wine, and delicious food. If you agree, then perhaps you'll consider joining me at the Aspen Food and Wine Classic 2009. I grew up in Aspen, and as a kid, I worked as a catering scamp at the Classic, hauling crates of dishes around, not really knowing what the whole thing was about, other than there was lots of free food. Last year I had the double pleasure of not only... continue reading

09.21.2008

San Francisco's FallFest 2008: October 11, San Francisco

It seems like every major city has dozens of food and wine festivals every year. San Francisco, compared to many urban centers, tends to be more selective in what it puts on, however. And that's a good thing, because I've certainly been to enough crappy food and wine events with lousy food and wine (and too little of either) to last my lifetime. Honestly, the first time I attended FallFest in San Francisco, I expected it to be yet another mediocre attempt at a gourmet food and wine festival. But I was more than pleasantly surprised that first year, and... continue reading

09.18.2008

Sake Day Tasting: October 1, San Francisco

Japan has given many things to the world that I cherish, but few of them have an unofficial holiday that gives me the excuse to celebrate them. But every October first, along with sake lovers all over Japan and around the world, I get to observe Nihonshu no Hi, also known as Sake Day. Like wine, no one knows exactly when sake first made an appearance. In a similar fashion to grape wine, the knowledge that fermented rice eventually yields an alcoholic beverage was probably discovered in accidental and then later deliberate stages, as innovative and curious folks explored ways... continue reading

09.16.2008

Notes from the Manresa Sake Dinner

Last week, I was joined by an adventurous group of diners and drinkers for a completely unique meal at Manresa Restaurant in Los Gatos, California. The result of months of discussions and planning between myself, Chef David Kinch, and Wine Director Jeff Bareilles, The Sake Dinner was an extraordinary experience. To my knowledge, no non-Japanese, U.S. restaurant of the caliber of Manresa has ever done a tasting menu exclusively to be paired with world-class sake as we did last Wednesday night. Chef Kinch created a special eight-course meal that drew on his deep love of Japanese cuisine and its influence... continue reading

08.27.2008

Still Seats Left for the Sake Dinner at Manresa

Some of the best meals of my life have been from the kitchen of chef David Kinch at Manresa Restaurant in Los Gatos. I'd take half a tasting menu from him over anything at the French Laundry, any day of the week. Which is why I'm humbled at his continued interest in collaborating with me to provide an unparalleled dining and drinking experience for a few adventurous diners every once in a while. David and I both have an enduring love for Japanese cuisine. If you've ever eaten at Manresa you may have noticed this influence in Chef Kinch's cooking.... continue reading

08.22.2008

Slow Food Nation Wine and Food Event: Aug 29 - Sept 1, San Francisco

It's a pretty good time to be alive. I don't find myself often wishing that I had lived in earlier times. However, there are events in the past that I would give my right arm to have been able to experience first hand. One of my top choices for time-travel destinations would certainly be the 1893 Worlds Fair in Chicago. I'd love a week to explore the wares of the world amidst Olmstead's gardens. There may not ever be another event so grand as that, but when it comes to American food and wine, Slow Food Nation may very well... continue reading

06.21.2008

Taste3 Conference: July 17-19, Napa

I know how you think. You're sitting there, scratching your head, wondering, "now what on earth am I going to do here in the middle of the summer to exercise both my brain and my taste buds in a sophisticated way?" It's a good thing I caught you early on in your musing, otherwise you might have frittered away the whole summer in frustration, trying to come up with something suitably intellectual and delicious to occupy your time. So instead of sitting there updating your cellar list in Excel, or converting that old rolodex of recipes into a new digital... continue reading

06.14.2008

Blogging From Paradise: Day 2 at the Aspen Food and Wine Classic

Day two of Aspen's Food and Wine Classic was blessed with the same weather as the first. Crystalline blue skies, 75 degrees and sunny. I gave my second Napa's Next Superstars seminar to a nearly full auditorium at the Given Institute, and after hanging around to chat with some of the attendees about the wines, I was free. With all my seminars behind me I had the opportunity to finally explore the Classic as a spectator instead of a speaker. The first thing I did was head down to the Grand Tasting tent to get a few bites of food... continue reading

06.13.2008

Wine Blogging From Paradise: Day One of the Aspen Food & Wine Classic

I just finished my first day at the Aspen Food and Wine Classic, and my second day back in my home town for the first time in 14 years. It's been quite an honor to be asked to speak at this year's classic, but so far it has been an incredible pleasure and a deeply nostalgic experience. Returning to the little town where I grew up (most people don't think of Aspen as so small, but in my day there were about 9,000 permanent residents -- my high school class had 72 people in it) is a very surreal experience.... continue reading

10.31.2007

26th Annual Beaujolais and Beyond Tasting: November 17, San Francisco

Every year on the third Thursday in November, the French have a tradition of celebrating the harvest by drinking Beaujolais Nouveau, the very young wine made from the first pressings of Gamay grapes picked only a month or two earlier. These "traditional" celebrations often tend to be drunk-fests of the first order, made all the worse by the fact that they involve wine that is quite close to undrinkable in my personal opinion. This year, there's may be more or less to celebrate depending on your point of view. The harvest in France seemed to only barely recover after a... continue reading

09.26.2007

FallFest 2007 Food and Wine Tasting: October 6th, San Francisco

It seems like every major city has a dozens food and wine festivals every year. San Francisco, compared to many urban centers, tends to be more selective in what it puts on, however. And that's a good thing, because I've certainly been to enough food and wine events with crappy food and lousy wine (and too little of either). Honestly, the first time I attended FallFest in San Francisco, that was what I expected. But I was pleasantly surprised, and have continued to be impressed each time the event has been put on. The organizers (San Francisco Magazine, among... continue reading

11.07.2006

The James Beard Chef Awards Go Democratic

Venerable institutions often suffer more than normal companies and organizations when things go wrong internally. The Red Cross took a lot of heat recently, for instance. The James Beard Foundation, too, was wracked by scandal two years ago as its director resigned in advance of his indictment for fraud, an investigation by the Attorney General's office, and the eventual resignation of its entire board of directors. This was a difficult blow for an organization that has a monolithic reputation as one of the primary authorities on food, food writing, cooking, and fine dining in the United States. The annual James... continue reading

11.04.2006

25th Annual Beaujolais and Beyond Event: November 18th, San Francisco

I go to a lot of wine tasting events in San Francisco. Certainly almost all the major public events of one sort or another. So it always surprises me when one pops up that I've never heard of, but seems to have been going on for years right underneath my nose, so to speak. Such is the case with this, the 25th Annual Beaujolais and Beyond festival, put on by the French Chamber of Commerce in San Francisco. Timed for the first Saturday after the release of Beaujolais Noveau, this is apparently an extravaganza of food, fashion shows, and wine... continue reading

10.12.2006

Inside The Kitchen, October 26-28, Half Moon Bay, CA

Fall and late Spring seem to be the times for major food and wine events on both coasts. Let's just say that if I didn't have to actually hold down a day job and was actually working for Vinography full time, I'd be eating and drinking pretty well the whole month of October. And one of the events that I would not miss under any circumstances would be a weekend of fun called Inside The Kitchen at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay, California. Why is this one of the must-attend (if you can afford it) food and wine... continue reading

10.09.2006

Spain's 10: Cocina Vanguardia, October 12-14, New York

The last time I was in Spain I didn't know squat about food and wine. I was a poor, backpacking college student who was content to eat empanadas for each meal and splurge once a week on a plate of paella. Ah, the mis-spent hours of youth. I think I had a few glasses of wine there, but I'm sure they were awful. Even back in the early Nineties, Spain was coming into its own excellence as a food and wine destination. These days, of course, it is quite possibly THE center of modern culinary technique, due largely to Ferran... continue reading

09.30.2006

FallFest 2006 Food and Wine Tasting, Oct. 7th, San Francisco

It seems like every major city has a dozens food and wine festivals every year. San Francisco, compared to many urban centers, tends to be more selective in what it puts on, however. And that's a good thing, because I've certainly been to enough food and wine events with crappy food and lousy wine (and too little of either). Honestly, the first time I attended FallFest in San Francisco, that was what I expected. But I was pleasantly surprised, and have continued to be impressed each time the event has been put on. The organizers (San Francisco Magazine, among others)... continue reading

07.01.2006

Special SF Meal Deals in July Courtesy of Visa

As a San Francisco food lover, I always look forward to January when Dine Around Town gives us all a chance to eat out at some great restaurants without breaking the bank. Recently, these sorts of deals, and the sponsored events that make them possible have started to spring up at other times of the year. Case in point: the Dine Out With Visa promotion that starts today in San Francisco. Roughly fifty restaurants are offering special four-course meals for $54.95 if you ask for the "special menu" and you pay with your Visa. Be aware that many of these... continue reading

06.04.2006

The Best 2004 Napa Cabernet: Tasting Notes From Auction Napa Valley 2006

I've just returned from a yearly fete that a fanciful movie director might call Napa's Big Weekend. Auction Napa Valley is THE event of the year as far as the valley is concerned -- four days of celebration and indulgence for those who have a passion (and corresponding pocketbook) for wine and like to support charity through revelry. One of the main events of the weekend was an all day festival and barrel auction on Friday on the grounds of Trinchero family estate in St. Helena. Outside on the lawn an armada of tents are set up populated with wineries... continue reading

06.02.2006

What To Drink With Dinner: The WBW21 and IMBB26 Roundup

Wine Blogging Wednesday (WBW for short) as regular readers know, is a virtual wine tasting party, where bloggers all over the world taste wine according to the theme and then blog about it. This event was inspired by the original cooperative blogging event known as Is My Blog Burning? (IMBB), where food bloggers create or execute recipes based on a theme and then blog about it. I suppose it was only a matter of time before these two worlds collided, and last month it happened for the first time, as the original founders of both events co-hosted something they called... continue reading

05.14.2006

Mouton Rothschild and Monkey Brains

This is so barely wine related I can hardly stand to post it. Except that this is such a horrifying, fascinating article that I can't help but share it. Advance warning to vegetarians, PETA members, and the generally squeamish: stop reading now. You know how when you approach a car accident, you really don't want to look? You want to drive on by and keep traffic moving and not be a rubbernecker, but when the time comes you stare just like everyone else? That's what reading this article is like. It starts off innocently enough, with the food writer attending... continue reading

05.04.2006

The Best Restaurants In The World for 2006

While I was on vacation recently someone pointed out that Restaurant Magazine had once again announced their yearly list of the best restaurants in the world. I tend to post this list every year it comes out, but grow more and more suspicious of it each year that passes. The magazine changed its methodology this year, dividing the world into 20 sections and having votes cast by restaurant professionals in each section. You would think that this might lead to more accuracy, whatever that means, or at the very least better representation for certain areas. But the results are a... continue reading

04.21.2006

Where To Go. According To Food & Wine

Despite the fact that the web is expanding, at this point faster than the universe itself is expanding, it seems, there aren't many really good resources for gourmet travelers. By good I mean resources with depth, breadth, and credibility. Blogs like Vinography (I hope) are starting to become trusted sources for advice in these areas, but many bloggers don't have the time or luxury to do comprehensive surveys of multiple regions with any consistency. That's why it's great to find resources like The Go List, a recent feature by Food and Wine that offers restaurant, bar and hotel recommendations for... continue reading

10.13.2005

Chicago Wine & Food Festival: October 21, 22, 2005

Before the wind starts to blow cold off the lake and your eyeballs want to crack and fall out of your head from cold, Chicago has a lovely fall with temperate days and exciting, dramatic thunderstorms. Perfect weather, if you ask me, for drinking wine and eating great food (if only to store up some fat for the winter that will soon fall like a cinderblock on the fragile and unprepared). Just in time, then, arrives the Chicago Wine and Food Festival, a three day extravaganza of top chefs, excellent wines, and a nice mix of celebration and education.... continue reading

09.28.2005

San Francisco's Gourmet Harvest: A Report From FallFest 2005

I go to a lot of big public food and wine events throughout the year. These events are different from the public and trade-only wine tastings, which are focused only on wines. They invariably involve not only wine producers pouring their stuff, but also restaurants offering tidbits to eat, food producers and manufacturers hawking their wares, and more. I attend to keep tabs on the restaurant scene, to learn about new gourmet products, to check out new wine producers and see what others I already know are up to. Not all of these big food and wine festivals are very... continue reading

09.15.2005

LAST CHANCE: Vinography Wine Dinner at Manresa

The last Vinography dinner sold out in a hurry, but there are still some seats available for this one! Join me next Thursday, September 22nd, for an evening of small production wines from Northern California and the fabulous food of Chef David Kinch at Manresa, featuring ingredients from small artisanal producers around the state. Manresa was just awarded Four Stars by the San Francisco Chronicle, putting it on a par with The French Laundry and five other of the top dining destinations in the San Francisco Bay Area. Not to mention that it's #38 on the list of the top... continue reading

09.12.2005

SF Fall Fest, September 24th, San Francisco

I know, I know. There are a lot more wine events getting posted here on Vinography than wine reviews this week. But can I help it if somehow September is the month that everyone does wine whatever? One of the events happening in San Francisco that I can wholeheartedly endorse and recommend attending is SF Fallfest. The first event last year was one of the better wine and food events of its type that I had ever been to, in particular because either through happenstance, or through deliberate action on the part of the organizers, most of the wineries represented... continue reading

09.12.2005

23rd Annual American Food & Wine Festival, September 24th, Los Angeles

Los Angeles does everything bigger, and the 23rd Annual American Food & Wine Festival is no exception. Held on the Universal Studios Back Lot, this event showcases the cooking of over forty of the nations top chefs, and roughly seventy-five wineries and importers from California and around the world. You might initially scoff at the fact that one of the primary sponsors is ConAgra Foods. There is certainly a bit of irony in the fact that a huge industrialized agriculture, processed foods manufacturer is sponsoring an event where 99% of the chefs attending would rather eat their own toque than... continue reading

09.02.2005

Wine South in Atlanta September 17th and 18th, 2005

September is the month of wine events for some reason. You would think that the promotion and marketing people would let the weary winemakers get through harvest and crush, but I guess there's no rest for the wicked. You'll see a lot of event postings here on Vinography in the next week or two, starting with this one for Atlanta's big wine and food expo, known as Wine South. I've never been to this event, but having looked through the web site, it looks like a real winner, especially considering that barring a few decent wine shops and a couple... continue reading

07.30.2005

A Photo Survey of Modern Food Artistry

This was too good not to pass along. Steve Plotnicki, of Opinionated About Dining, does more fine dining than just about anyone I know, and he's recently put up a photographic tour through what he considers to be the finest dishes being served on the planet today. And boy are they amazing. These photos of appetizers, entrees, and desserts from Europe's finest restaurants are a great overview of what some of the most creative chefs in the world are doing both in terms of ingredients and presentation. NOTE: there's something screwy about the slideshows where they don't actually show you... continue reading

07.08.2005

America's Best New Chefs for 2005

Thanks to a tip from The Daily Olive, I learned that Food and Wine Magazine has announced their list of Best New Chefs of 2005. Among them is San Francisco's own Daniel Humm, of Campton Place. Here's the list: Tyson Cole of Uchi, Austin Seth Bixby Daugherty of Cosmos, Minneapolis Christophe Eme of Ortolan Restaurant, Los Angeles Shea Gallante of Cru, New York City Colby Garrelts of Bluestem, Kansas City Maria Hines of Earth & Ocean, Seattle Daniel Humm of Campton Place, San Francisco Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson of Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder Tony Maws of Craigie Street Bistrot, Cambridge Eric... continue reading

06.30.2005

Extravaganza For The Senses: July 16th, Los Angeles

OK all you wine lovers in Los Angeles, listen up. July 16th marks the 8th annual Extravaganza For The Senses, which is basically LA's version of some of the big wine and food events that take place every few months up here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Like some of those events, this one benefits an extremely good cause: the LA Free Clinic, which has been providing free medical care, counseling, and legal and social services to needy folks in LA since 1967. Held on the main lot of 20th Century Fox, this 3 to 4 hour evening extravaganza... continue reading

04.19.2005

The Best Restaurants In The World for 2005

Well, it's out again: the list of the world's top fifty restaurants as judged by Restaurant Magazine in the U.K. Always a lightning rod for criticism from all sources, myself included, the list provides a point of view based largely on the editorial of the magazine and polling of chefs around the world. The biggest beef I have with the list is its (lack of) representation of Asian restaurants. I've not eaten at Tetsuya, but I have eaten at Nobu, and I guarantee you those aren't the best Japanese restaurants in the world. Nothing from Singapore? Nothing from Shanghai? And... continue reading

03.07.2005

Tickets on Sale For The Aspen Food & Wine Classic

I have to decide carefully what type of events to post here. As you might imagine, I get requests from everyone under the sun to help publicize their events, even if they are wine dinners in small towns in Alabama. I've eventually come to the conclusion that most of the events that I post will only be really large public affairs that have a national, if not international draw to them. The Aspen Food and Wine Classic is definitely one such event. It's been going on for a long time, and consistently brings some of the best and brightest stars... continue reading

02.22.2005

The 2005 Independent Food Award from Vinography Goes To....

David Kinch and Manresa Restaurant For: The Best Reinvention of A Culinary Cliché By now, everyone knows what Surf and Turf is. It has been spun, calqued, and re-imagined a thousand times. If someone tries to serve me lobster and a steak on the same plate ever again I swear I will get up and leave the restaurant. That stuff just doesn't belong together, thank-you-very-much. Yet just when I thought beef and seafood could never find a happy marriage, along comes Chef David Kinch, of Manresa Restaurant in Los Gatos, California with something so simple, so unexpected, it took my... continue reading

02.02.2005

A Menu For Hope: Rihaku Shuzo "Dreamy Clouds" Sake

Communities all over the world have come together in support of tsunami victims, their families, and their countries. I am happy to be taking part in a special effort by food and wine bloggers to contribute to these relief efforts. Several of the most respected and prominent food bloggers on the Internet have assembled the following menu of recipes (or in my case wine pairings) which we are providing to our readership to stimulate charitable donations (and good eating). I encourage you to take and use these recipes, drink the suggested wines, and more importantly, donate to a worthy cause.... continue reading

01.02.2005

Masters of Food and Wine, February 17-20, Carmel

I normally like to post info about events within most folks' attention spans -- that is about 2 to 3 weeks. However, there are some events worth mentioning that will sell out long before that time. The annual Masters of Food and Wine is one such event. I have never attended, but like the Aspen Food and Wine Classic, it has one of the largest draws of people from around the country, and the assembled culinary talent is frankly astonishing. Taking place February 17th through the 20th at the Park Hyatt Carmel, this event features meals, wine tastings, cooking demonstrations,... continue reading

01.01.2005

Dine About Town Season In San Francisco

Yes, the new year brings with it many things. I've always been a contrarian by nature, so while most are making their resolutions to lose weight and get in better shape, I usually make a resolution to indulge myself at 5 new restaurants in San Francisco in January. Why in January? Well, because it's Dine About Town season. Following (or perhaps forging? I'm not sure which was the original) the lead of other major metropolitan areas, San Francisco has a special dining season that is marked by significantly discounted meals at some of the top restaurants. Specifically, starting today (1/1/05)... continue reading

12.16.2004

Cooking Schools Around The World

If you're like me, this time of year tends to fill you with equal parts holiday cheer and soul wrenching dread. I spent 20 minutes today in a traffic jam inside a parking garage in downtown San Francisco when I decided to stop by a store to pick up a gift for Ruth. Big mistake. It's around now when I really start dreaming of a vacation that is a complete and utter departure from daily reality. Someplace I can just lounge, eat, and drink all day. Or better yet, cook. Yes, cooking school vacations are all the rage now, from... continue reading

10.20.2004

The Best New Restaurants of The Year (U.S.A)

Thanks to Alaina over at A Full Belly for pointing us to John Mariani's recently released annual list of the best new restaurants in the United States. Mariani writes for Esquire Magazine and this list appears in the November issue on newsstands now. Hopefully Mariani and Esquire will forgive me for reprinting the list here for easy access: BEST NEW RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR: Patina, Los Angeles CHEF OF THE YEAR: Masa Takayama, Masa, NYC BEST NEW RESTAURANTS (in alphabetical order of city): Atlanta:    Restaurant Eugene - Chef Linton Hopkins    Rathbun's - Chef Kevin Rathbun Boston: Restaurant L - Chef... continue reading

10.19.2004

Gourmet Releases Its 2004 Restaurant Guide

Epicurious (the thinly disguised online incarnation of Gourmet Magazine) has recently launched their 2004 restaurant guide, which covers 30 major metropolitan areas in the US. Its a handy little thing for those who might be visiting a new city on business or those who are looking for an easily digestible set of recommendations instead of an entire Zagat Guide. Gourmet's guide is simply organized by city and has two categories, "Big Deal" for fancy places and "Good Deal" for good values. No nonsense, easy to understand. Its not clear exactly what criteria went into the selection of their more expensive... continue reading

10.05.2004

Tickets On Sale for SF Fallfest 2004: Saturday, October 9th

In the category of swanky food and wine events, The Embarcadero Center and San Francisco Magazine are putting on the San Francisco Fallfest 2004, an exhibition of wine and food in a "European style marketplace with live jazz." Last time I looked, Justin Herman plaza looked nothing like a European marketplace, but I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. They've got an impressive list of caterers and wineries who are on tap to both ply the attending public with free samples as well as some interesting demonstrations of culinary acrobatics and potentially some informational talks. Most interesting... continue reading

09.11.2004

Ghiradelli Chocolate Festival Today and Tomorrow

Amy, of Cooking with Amy, tells us that Ghiradelli Square hosts their annual chocolate festival today, September 11th, and tomorrow, September 12th. See her blog entry for more details.... continue reading

08.18.2004

Free (Good) Food and Olive Oil This Saturday

Chez Pim just let us know that a friend of hers (ex pastry chef at Citizen Cake) will be cooking up goodies for free at the new Stonehouse Olive Oil shop on 24th Street in Noe Valley this Saturday, August 21st. The excuse is, of course, a new store, and they'll be showcasing olive oil (duh) as well as charcuterie from The Fatted Calf which Pim says is great. Stonehouse California Olive Oil 24th St. and Sanchez Saturday August 21st lunchtime to dinnertime food prepared by Shuna Lydon, in-house chef 415.695.0227... continue reading

06.17.2004

Tea Renaissance in the Bay Area

A good article in the New York Times today about teahouses springing up in the Bay Area. One of them is in the Ferry Plaza. I wrote about the Imperial Tea Court in my review of that gourmet paradise.... continue reading

06.11.2004

Looking for a Farmer's Market?: Try the US DoA

The US Department of Agriculture apparently keeps a list of farmer's markets around the States. Find one in your area.... continue reading

05.05.2004

The Best Restaurants in the World

Restaurant Magazine, the premiere journal of gastronomy in the UK, has released their annual list of the 50 best restaurants in the world, with Yountville's The French Laundry topping the list for the second year in a row. Sadly, I've only been to a couple of them (Nobu, Spago, Balthazar, and Felix). Everyone needs a good set of long term goals, though, and this looks like a great list to work from (UK restaurants in CAPS):French Laundry, Yountville, CA THE FAT DUCK, Bray, UK El Bulli, Spain L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Paris Pierre Gagnaire, Paris Guy Savoy, Paris NOBU, London... continue reading

05.04.2004

Food and Wine Festivals

Growing up in Aspen and working for a catering business I had more than one opportunity to partake of the Aspen Food and Wine Classic, which to a high schooler was one big party with great free food, and occasionally, people who didn't bother to check ID to get a drink. I'm sure they've gotten a little more tight on security these days, and the only way I could go now would be to pay, but if you don't mind a bit of a mob scene, food and wine festivals can be a lot of fun and a great way... continue reading

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Most Recent Entries

Inaugural Austin Food and Wine Festival: April 27-29, Austin, TX La Paulee 2012 Burgundy Tasting: February 22-25, San Francisco 2011 LA Food and Wine Festival: October 13-16, Los Angeles 2010 FallFest Wine and Food Tasting: October 9, San Francisco Taste of Beverly Hills: September 2-5, Beverly Hills, CA Pebble Beach Food and Wine 2010: April 8-11, Pebble Beach, CA Menu For Hope is Coming. Will You Donate a Wine Prize and Become Famous? SF Chefs. Food. Wine. Weekend: August 6-9, San Francisco Pebble Beach Food and Wine Experience: April 16-19, Carmel, CA Taste Washington Wine and Food Festival: April 4-5, Seattle

Favorite Posts From the Archives

Masuizumi Junmai Daiginjo, Toyama Prefecture Wine.Com Gives Retailers (and Consumers) the Finger 1961 Hospices de Beaune Emile Chandesais, Burgundy Wine Over Time The Better Half of My Palate 1999 Királyudvar "Lapis" Tokaji Furmint, Hungary What's Allowed in Your Wine and Winemaking Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Appreciating Wine in Context The Soul vs. The Market 1989 Fiorano Botte 48 Semillion,Italy

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.