Off the Menu Special: Fall is Wine & Food Festival Time

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LA Food & Wine Festival
LA Food & Wine Festival

By Christopher Trela & Catherine Del Casale | NB Indy

This is Wine & Food festival season in Southern California, with three notable events occurring over the next several weeks. The fun begins this week with the Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival, held Aug. 27 – 30 in downtown L.A. and surrounding areas.

This is the fifth annual LA Food and Wine Festival, and it’s grown into a seriously fun event. We’ve attended the festival the past several years, and each time have come away impressed with the variety of cuisine offered by the many restaurants at the signature tasting events, and the quality of the wines being poured.

The list of participating chefs this year reads like a “Who’s Who” of the L.A.

Catherine at the LA Food & Wine Festival
Catherine at the LA Food & Wine Festival

culinary scene, plus some noted guest chefs including Thomas Keller (French Laundry) and Michael Chiarello (Bottega) from Napa Valley, Chef Tyler Florence (one of our fave Food Network chefs), and OC’s own Andrew Gruel from Slapfish.

Some of the special seminars and intimate culinary events are sold out, but a few tickets are available for others.

LA Food & Wine Festival
LA Food & Wine Festival

We’ll be attending two of the grand tasting events—the Thursday night Ultimate Bites of L.A. hosted by Chef Curtis Stone and featuring DJ Questlove, and the Saturday night Lexus LIVE on Grand featuring The Roots. For these events, Grand Avenue next to Disney Hall is closed to traffic so that several thousand food and wine fans can wander from booth to booth sampling sensational cuisine and tasting some truly great wines.

For tickets and more information, visit LAFW.com.

Closer to home, the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort is hosting its inaugural Food, Wine, & Jazz festival Aug. 27 – 30.

LA Food & Wine Festival
LA Food & Wine Festival

Headlined by celebrity chef Michael Mina (who has a restaurant at the resort), the event features 50 chefs from throughout California (including Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish—he certainly gets around!) as well as 30 wineries and boutique vintners.

Among the many highlights: Grand tastings Aug. 28 and 29, a Michael Mina six-course pairing dinner, and a champagne jazz brunch.

For more information, visit stregisfoodandwine.com.

And don’t forget the Second Annual Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival that takes place Oct. 2-4 at the Civic Center.

We had a great time at the event last year, but this year is shaping up to be even better.

The event starts with a Launch Party & Charity Event at Oak Grill & Aqua Lounge at Island Hotel on Oct. 2, with proceeds benefitting Project Hope Alliance.

Then it’s on to two days of fantastic foods, fine wines, seminars, cooking demos, and live music.

Among the highlights we’re looking forward to experiencing: the “Top Chef” Home Cook Challenge with four of Bravo’s Top Chefs coaching audience member who compete against each other for Top Chef honors, a wine seminar led by master sommeliers, tastings from 30 of OC’s finest restaurants (a different lineup on Sat. & Sun.), over 200 boutique and cult wines, mixology courses, and a Riedel master glass seminar and tasting.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit NewportWineandFood.com.

And for readers of our column, we have a special discount code to save $25 off of single day daytime festival tickets (original price $150). Use code NBWFF25 at checkout on the website. The code expires at the end of August so do it soon.

We’ll have more details on the 2015 Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival in the coming weeks.

 

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