Off the Menu Side Dish: Festivals Focused on Fine Wines and Fab Foods

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The inaugural Pacific Food & Wine Classic at Newport Dunes and the Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival were held on back to back weekends, and more food and wine events are on the way this month—sooner than you might think.

The Taste

This weekend is the Los Angeles Times’ “The Taste,” hosted by The Times’ editorial staff and acclaimed L.A. chefs and bartenders.

The Taste takes place at the Paramount Pictures Studios and features five events with unlimited tastings from the city’s best kitchens and a variety of wine, beer and seasonal cocktails.

The events range from $95 to $150 per person, but based on the restaurants and chefs involved, “The Taste” is well worth the price of admission.

For a full schedule and tickets info, visit

Big Canyon Sommelier Steven Poe pours wine at the Keep the Promise wine tasting

Keep the Promise

To be dazzled by extraordinary wine, look no further than the “Keep the Promise” Wine Tasting event on Sept. 14 that benefits The Wooden Floor, a nonprofit organization that offers year-round dance, academic, college and career readiness, and family service programs for low-income youth.

This event features a dozen highly-rated wines from France, Italy, Spain, Australia, Oregon, and California, along with an array of hearty appetizers and cheeses. This year’s collection features wines averaging 97 points, including one wine valued at $200 per bottle and rated 100 points.

The red wine lineup includes 2008 Antinori Guado al Tasso Bolgheri from Tuscany, Italy (98 points), 2005 Cellar Vall Llach, Vall Llach from Priorat, Spain (96 points), 2010 Clos du Caillou Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve from Rhone, France (100 points), 2010 Domaine Serene Pinot Noir Evenstad Reserve from Willamette Valley, Oregon (95 points), 2011 L’Aventure Winery Estate Cuvee from Paso Robles, California (98 points), 2010 Terlato & Chapoutier Syrah de Malakoff from Victoria, Australia (97 points).

White wines include 2012 Aubert Chardonnay Larry Hyde and Sons Vineyard from Carneros, California (96 points), 2009 Chapoutier Saint Joseph les Granits Blanc from Rhone, France (98 points), 2012 Cullen Wines Chardonnay Kevin John from Margaret River, Australia (96 points), 2010 Domaine Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru from Burgundy, France (96 points), 2011 Paul Lato Chardonnay Le Souvenir Sierra Madre Vineyard from Santa Barbara, California (97 points), 2010 Domaine William Fevre Chablis les Preuses from Burgundy, France (97 points).

Tickets to the “Keep the Promise” wine tasting are $350 per person, $250 of which is tax deductible. RSVP at

See the Charity Spotlight article in the Community section for more details.

Newport Beach Wine & Food Fest

And finally we have the Fourth Annual Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival, presented by Land Rover, Jaguar, Aston Martin of Newport Beach, returning to the Newport Beach Civic Center on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.

There are several kickoff dining experiences on Friday, Sept. 29 featuring noted local and celebrity chefs, while the weekend offers afternoons packed with tastings from 40 top Orange County restaurants and their executive chefs, 250 varieties of world-class wine, spirits, and brews, celebrity chef cooking demos, Master Sommelier tasting panels, and live music.

Participating restaurants include Whole Foods, Pizzeria Mozza, Mexikosher, AVEO Table + Bar, Roy’s, Red O, Asian Box, Herb & Wood, Broadway by Amar Santana, Vaca, Broadway by Amar Santana, Slapfish, Andrea, Pelican Grill, Oak Grill, Hendrix and Driftwood Kitchen, Filomenas Italian Kitchen & Market, The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar, Bristol Farms, Five Crowns, Nordstrom Cafe Bistro, Puesto, Marche Moderne Restaurant, Water Grill, Yard House, Chianina Steakhouse, Michael’s On Naples, The Ranch Restaurant, Watertable, The Dock,

True Food Kitchen, Selanne Steak Tavern, Hook & Spear, Sushi Roku, A&O Kitchen+Bar, Waterline Newport Beach, and Maggiano’s Little Italy.

For more information on the various events and to purchase tickets, visit



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