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Set Sail at the Pirate’s Dinner Adventure in Buena Park

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Last week, I visited Anaheim, California (more specifically Garden Grove) to attend a conference hosted by the National Alopecia Areata Foundation.

Since the conference took place during the day, I planned a few places before my trip to check out during the evening. Though I am not a really active Yelper, I looked on their site (Yelp.com) and it was very helpful in listing activities/restaurants close to my hotel.

sign outside
During my search, I discovered The Pirate’s Adventure Dinner (in nearby Buena Park close to Knott’s Berry Farm). The Pirate’s Adventure Dinner is an interactive dinner theatre where guests begin the evening in a reception area and are served passed appetizers (the night I attended it was fried zucchini, fried macaroni and cheese, meatballs, and crudité).

reception area
Drinks are available for purchase from two different bars at opposite ends of the room while patrons enjoy the appetizers and wait to be seated for the show.

fried zucchini

bar area

veggie station
Before the show guests are encouraged to cheer for their pirate (assigned by color upon arrival during check-in). I was assigned orange. The assigned color also designates what section of the theatre (which surrounds an 18th Century Spanish galleon adrift in a 250, 000-gallon lagoon) you will be seated.

seating area

my section's pirate
Upon seating, guests are greeted by their server for the evening, and the serving of food begins with a choice of vegetable soup or a salad. (You can get dressing on the side if you wish, as I did).

salad
The show begins as the first course is being served. The performance is a highly entertaining combination of swordplay, aerial artistry and acrobatics. The actors/pirates are quite talented and sing, dance and encourage the audience to join in. The plot of the show focuses on the “Tale of the Legendary Sea Dragon,” and there are lots of funny references to pop culture in the dialogue as well as pirate games and stunts in the 90 minute performance (no intermission).

action1
cast in action
The night I attended the show, we were served a quarter chicken, vegetables, and a beef and vegetable kabob on a bed of mashed potatoes.

dinner

I was most impressed by the aerialist who performed a beautiful cirque-type number during the show.

aerialist
We were served a brownie with ice cream for dessert, but I happily gave my portion to my neighbor and purchased more wine for myself to bring the performance to a close.

brownie dessert
As you leave, there is a gift shop in the lobby/reception area with all the essential pirate gear and souvenirs from the show as well as face painting for the kids.

facepainting
The Pirate’s Adventure Dinner is a great venue to celebrate a birthday, get together with a group of friends, have a girls’ night out, or even enjoy by yourself (as I did). If you find yourself near Buena Park, check out the show.

Cost Breakdown per person:
ADULT
(Ages 12 and older): $59.95
CHILD (Ages 3-11): $36.95
INFANT (Ages 2 and under): Free of charge
(Prices shown are as of July 2015 and do not include tax.)
There are seating upgrades available if you would like to be close (within the first three rows) to the stage.

You can find The Pirate’s Adventure Dinner on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter here. They also have an Instagram account here. The Pirate’s Adventure dinner is currently offering a buy one, get one FREE promotion during the month of July 2015 with the code ON-715SOC. Call 866-439-2469 for details. Reservations are required. Call at least 3 hours in advance.

Thank you to the marketing department at The Pirate’s Adventure Dinner for arranging my visit! :)


Touring and Tasting with Matchbook Wine Company

in the vineyar
As a wine writer, I get invited to some of the most interesting events.

This time, it was a media/blogger tour and taste at Matchbook Wine Company in Dunnigan Hills. I was already a major fan of the Matchbook Wine label because of its quality vs. price ratio, so I was delighted to accept the invitation. Plus, I am an ex-employee of Toasted Head (special events sous chef and tasting room associate), so any excuse to head back to those Dunnigan Hills and I am in! :)

I actually managed to be somewhat outgoing (shocker) and met a few of the other writers, and after you read my blathering and reflections on my experience at the oasis just a few miles from the I-5 Zamora exit, you might want to read from their point of view here: Erin at Adventures in Nor Cal and Susan at Finding Our Way Now.

But first, a recap of my experience. It was a Friday night, and quite frankly one of the best happy hours (or two) I have ever spent. Just think of it: The moment Andy and I arrived at the new, beautiful tasting room, we were welcomed with a glass of 2013 Arsonist Chardonnay and introduced to some of the other writers (Lynn of Sacatomato was also there), tasting room associates, and the owners of Matchbook, John and Lane Giguiere.

I have followed the Giguieres for a while now, and have enjoyed their wines on several occasions, so it was nice to officially meet them and spend a bit of time with them instead of exchanging a few sentences here and there when I have met them at fundraisers/various wine tastings.

It was also great to finally see the tasting room (which has been open since October of last year). It’s an oblong shaped space with the tasting bar at one end and a large dining/board meeting table at the other. There is an impressively large chandelier that hangs above an island of items for sale. Out the back doors leads to a patio with a drop-dead stunning view of the vineyard. Nice digs.

TASTING SPACE

One of the most memorable and fun parts of the evening was speeding up and down the hilly vineyards in a golf cart with the winery’s owner John Giguiere at the helm. It was and his wife Lane who lead the tour, which included a tasting in the vineyard (the 2014 Matchbook Rosé of Tempranillo) and a look at some of the farming techniques being used on the grapevines, followed by a barrel tasting of several wines in the Matchbook/Arsonist portfolio.

the tour

Inside the barrel room, we tried 2 different wines that are used to make Matchbook’s “The Arsonist” Chardonnay. The first wine was big and buttery and would make even Rombauer and Falcor Chardonnay lovers fall to their knees. The second was a more fruit forward Chardonnay aged in neutral barrels. Together they make a stunning food-friendly wine that would best compliment a cheese plate, a chicken dish, or anything with an Alfredo sauce.

Wine barrel ine

After the barrel tasting, we returned to the tasting room (for more wine tasting, of course!) and enjoyed appetizers provided by Kitchen428 Restaurant and Mojo’s Lounge. We tasted the 2012 Arsonist Red Blend and the Matchbook 2011 Tinto Rey (a blend of Syrah and Tempranillo).
The two aforementioned wine along with most wines in the Matchbook Wine portfolio are so very conducive to enjoying with food—I am pretty sure that’s why I like them so much.

panoramic at matchbook

On a side note, you might remember my story on the Matchbook wine dinner held at Piatti late last year. You can find that here. If not, you can find Matchbook on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter here.

Thanks so much to Matchbook Wine Company for the invitation to explore their wines and their beautiful property. Both Andy and I feel truly blessed to have met with the group. Heaven on Earth, indeed.

There are five wines in the Matchbook portfolio including their Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Tinto Rey, Syrah, and Rosé of Tempranillo. You can find most of them in your local supermarket, but I’m going to encourage you to visit the winery and tasting room and figure out which one is your favorite there. Spend an afternoon on the patio with the beautiful view of the vineyards, and please tell John and Lane I said “Hello!!”.

vineyard one

 


Urban Wine Xperience Takes Over Oakland Waterfront on Saturday, August 1, 2015

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In honor of Wine Wednesday, I am excited tell you about another upcoming food and wine event—this time in Oakland!

East Bay Vintners Alliance presents the 10th Annual Urban Wine Xperience on Saturday, August 1, 2015, from 1:00-4:00pm.

The event will take place at Market Hall in Jack London Square. More than 20 urban wineries from the EBVA will pour a wide array of white, rose, red and dessert wines for you to taste and enjoy.

In addition, local eateries and food purveyors will team up with the various wineries, creating delicious bites that pair beautifully with the EBVA’s wine portfolio. No need to travel to wine country when you can experience the ultimate wine tasting in your own urban backyard!

Participating wineries include: Aubin Cellars, Carica Wines, Chouinard Vineyard and Winery, Dashe Cellars, Jeff Cohn Cellars, Mead Kitchen, R&B Cellars, Rock Wall Wine Company, Rosenblum Cellars, Stage Left Cellars, Paradox Wines, Urban Legend and Urbano Cellars with more wineries set to join.

Last year’s event was sold out and tickets are expected to go fast for the 10th anniversary event. Tickets are priced at $45 before June 1, and will be $70 at the door. Wine Club members’ tickets are $35 with promo code. Designated drivers receive discounted tickets at $15. You can purchase tickets by clicking here.

New this year for the first time, UWX ticket holders will receive a $5 coupon at the door, applicable to any wine purchase at the event. A portion of the proceeds from wine sales will be donated to the Alameda County Food Bank.

You can find the East Bay Vintners Alliance on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter here.
Make it a social experience by using the hashtag #UWX15! See you there :)


Kathryn Hall Cabernet Release Party Set for September 12th, 2015

Here’s a little press release from my friends at HALL! We can’t wait to attend the Kathryn Hall Cabernet release party in September! You can read about last year’s party here.

kathryn hall pic for party

HALL’s Annual Harvest Party Celebrates Release of 97 pt 2012 Kathryn Hall Cabernet

HALL St. Helena has announced the date for its annual Kathryn Hall Release Party releasing the 2012 vintage of its flagship Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. The event will take place on Saturday, September 12 and will include a unique Vertical Tasting prior to the event hosted by award winning winemaker, Steve Leveque.“2012 is one of the most exciting vintages this Valley has seen in a decade,” says vintner, Kathryn Walt Hall. “We are thrilled with how Steve and his winemaking team have consistently crafted this wine each year, maximizing each vintage to produce the best possible result. This is truly the best fruit Napa has to offer.”Bringing together winemakers, wine-lovers, fans and foodies alike, guests will be invited to enjoy a sun-filled afternoon outdoors to sip on the newly released 2012 Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine was recently rated 97+ pts by Robert Parker.

In addition to the main event, a rare Vertical Tasting hosted by Steve Leveque will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in the historic Bergfeld building. The experience will include a tasting flight of Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon (vintages 2007 – 2012).

Country music entertainment will be provided and guests will be served farm-to-table bites, western style. Additionally, Kathryn Walt Hall will be available during the event to sign bottles. The Kathryn Hall Release Party takes place on The Great Lawn in St. Helena located at the base of the Mayacamas Mountains facing HALL’s Bergfeld Estate vineyard.

Think daytime. Think Texas BBQ. Think Kathryn Hall, Y’ALL. It’s going to be the ultimate harvest showdown with 800 friends set on the Great Lawn at HALL.

Ultimate Harvest Party Shindig: It’s Kathryn Hall Y’ALL
2012 Kathryn Hall Release Party

WHEN:
Saturday, September 12, 2015
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m (Vertical Tasting hosted by Steve Leveque)
11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. PST (Main Event)

WHERE:
HALL St. Helena
401 St. Helena Hwy. South
St. Helena, CA 94574
(707) 967-2626

Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite at http://bit.ly/1LiII7v.
Prices for the Main Event are $75 for Early Bunny (purchased before Aug. 17) and $90 thereafter including at the door the day of the party. Ticket price for the Vertical Tasting is $200 and includes admission to the Main Event. For more information, please visit www.hallwines.com or follow their social channels on Twitter @hallwines and on Facebook here.


Wine Wednesday: A Simple Duo of Rosés

Recently, two of Italy’s leading wineries released their first rosé wines—Mezzacorona from Trento, and Sicily’s Stemmari—each reflecting native varietals and terroir, and Andy and I were fortunate enough to sample them.

mezzacorona

stemmari
Andy made this paleo dinner to pair with them:

Ground pork burgers with an aioli dressing in a red cabbage shell. The meat mixture was a pound of ground pork and 4 ounces ground chorizo.

burgers

On the side we had a medley of roasted vegetables roasted in coconut oil.

roasted vegetables
We also had a salad with the meal (as we almost always do), studded with mushrooms, blueberries and toasted pine nuts.

salad
Though both wines were solid choices, especially with the upcoming hot weather this weekend, I preferred the Mezzacorona Rosé. :)

About the wines:
MEZZACORONA ROSÉ 2014:
100% Lagrein; 12% ABV; $8.99 SRP
Mezzacorona’s Rosé is made from 100% Lagrein grapes, a local variety grown along the Adige Valley north of Trento, where Mezzacorona calls home.

STEMMARI ROSÉ 2014: 100% Nero d’Avola; 12% ABV; $9.99 SRP
The Stemmari Rosé is produced from 100% Nero d’Avola, Sicily’s most famous grape variety, which is cultivated on sandy soils in the Ragusa province.

For more information about Mezzacorona go to www.mezzacorona.it or visit Mezzacorona on Facebook here and follow the brand on Twitter at @MezzacoronaWine. To learn more about Stemmari, go to www.stemmari.it; visit Stemmari on Facebook here and follow the brand on Twitter at @StemmariWine.


The Santa Monica Grand Tasting featuring Chef Susan Feniger is June 13-14th!

santa monica Evian, BADOIT, and The St. Regis Monarch Beach present The Santa Monica Grand Tasting! 2 Chef Susan Feniger of Border Grill heads the festivities as a featured chef, along with 100 of LA’s top chefs participating in the kitchen presented by the Santa Monica Whole Foods Market. Participating Chefs include: Raj Dixit of Michael Mina’s Stonehill Tavern, Tacoteca (Adam Fleischman), Bouchon (David Hands), 9021pho (Kimmy Tang), Fattoria del Vicario (Matt Dhillon), Scratch Bar (Phillip Frankland Lee) , Fiamme Pizza Napoletana (Luke Smith), Q-Catering (Vazgen Ghahremanians), LA Sweet Tooth Confections (Paula Solis/Leslie Z), Chef DJ Seal (DJ Seals), Sugar & Spyked (Tamara Anderson), Chocolatier (Eve Stephens), Ace Culinary Academy School (Cecilia De Castro), My Sweet Beginnings (Tene Harris), Chef Bryan Hill, Hotel Erwin (Adam Steudle), My World On Plate (Keven Lee). IMG_9529 Other Participating Brands: Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Kerry Gold Cheese & Butter, Choctal, GG’s Toffee, Cutco, Fresh Brothers, Nature’s Bakery, Gourmet Blends, and many more. The event will take place on the Iconic Santa Monica Pier to sample the ultimate in pairing menus, where numerous well-known chefs and restaurants will be featured. This is the first time an event of this caliber will be held on the pier. 3 Guests can enjoy the iconic pier from 7-10 pm as they take a tour through an endless array of scents and tastes that highlight and celebrate the diverse culinary offerings LA has to offer. Free rides offered by Uber.com to event participants and after parties at the Hotel Erwin. For more information on the event, visit their website: http://santamonicagrandtasting.com What: Santa Monica Grand Tasting Why:   Supporting the Chill Foundation When: June 13-14 Time:   7PM-10PM Location: Santa Monica Pier


NakedWines.com Tour Makes a Stop at Sacramento’s Vizcaya on May 13th

Wine lovers, you won’t want to miss this!

Over 7,000 bottles of wine will be uncorked on NakedWines.com road trip across California, and this coming Wednesday, May 13th, the tour makes a stop right here in Sacramento at the Vizcaya!

More than 30 of your winemakers are hopping on the Naked Tour Bus and roaming around California to share their best wines with all the people (like you!) who funded them.

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So, how is this different than any other wine tasting?

Every wine you’ll taste was crowd-funded by regular wine drinkers, and the winemakers didn’t pay to attend and share their wines. We recommend going up to a table and asking one of the winemakers to explain it. (They’ll be wearing blue shirts).

Who is behind all of this? 300,000 wine drinkers realized they could get better wines at better prices if they supported winemakers to cut out all the costs you can’t taste, like marketing. They weren’t rich enough to do it alone, so they teamed up and invested people like Ken, Tom and Carmen below.

After winning fifty 90+ scores for his wines at Flora Springs, Heitz and Joseph Phelps in a 4 decade long career making Napa Cab, Ken is finally striking out on his own with a personal range of Napa wines at unbelievable prices. Even reserve barrel-­aged Napa Cabs for under $30.

ken

One of our first thousand Angels revealed a hidden talent for making world-­class wines in his garage at home. 75,000 Angels teamed up to invest in Tom’s first professional range of wines made with award-­winning fruit from Pickberry Vineyards.

tom

Carmen is an amazingly talented winemaker, but she had a hard time getting funding as South Africa’s first black woman to graduate in oenology since Apartheid. Angels saw her qualifications and immediately agreed to fund her personal project in exchange for exclusive access to these delicious treats.

carmen

To purchase tickets to the event, you can go here. The Vizcaya is located at 2019 21st Street, Sacramento, CA 95818. The event begins at 6:30pm and goes until 9pm.

You can find NakedWines.com on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter here.


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