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Cochon Heritage BBQ Sizzles into San Francisco’s Magnolia Brewery at Dogpatch 9/13/15!

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Cochon555’s Heritage BBQ announces the chef lineup and official venue for their second annual friendly competition promoting heritage breed pigs and global grilling cultures. The culinary competition challenges five chefs to cook one whole, family farm-raised, heritage pig for a group of 20 notable judges. Chefs have seven days to prepare one whole pig and present a “Judge’s Plate” consisting of 6 dishes scored on utilization, global influences, cooking techniques and overall flavor. The winner in San Francisco will be crowned the “BBQ King or Queen” and takes home over $3,000 in prizes. In addition to sampling the competitor’s dishes, the all-inclusive ticket includes “BBQ Traditions”, a tasting inside the event where 10 notable chefs prepare one dish from their favorite BBQ culture in non-competitive spirit. If you love global flavors and star-studded culinary events, this educational event is like a top chef classroom including grilling-styles like Hibachi, Korean BBQ, Asador, Braai from Africa, Char Siu, Caja China, Churrasco, Barbacoa, as well as regional American BBQ styles from Texas to Kansas City.

Magnolia Brewery at Dogpatch will be the Official Host and Exclusive Brewery of Heritage BBQ, this year’s competing chefs include Dennis Lee of Smokestack / Namu Gaji, Geoff Davis of The Dock, Michael Rafidi of RN74, Nicolai Lipscomb of The Battery, and John Madriaga of Spruce. Each chef will be given a 180-pound heritage breed pig to create six dishes for a crowd of pork-loving enthusiasts. A group of respected judges including Dave McLean of Magnolia Brewery, David Bazirgan of Dirty Habit, and Richie Nakano of Hapa Ramen will be led by Brady Lowe in selecting the winner. Non-competing chefs cooking BBQ Traditions include Jason Wittek of Stem, Jeffrey Weiss of jeninni kitchen and Joshua Schwartz of Del Dotto.

As North America’s only “World’s Fair of Global BBQ”, guests will have the chance to pair spectacular wines, brews, cider and spirits with globally inspired BBQ dishes. The tour motivates grilling communities worldwide to support responsibly raised animals from local farmers. Participation of chefs, partners, consumers and media help create motivation for the BBQ restaurants to support the hyper-local movement and give us something we can sink our teeth into, honest food from real farmers.

The all-inclusive stand up tasting event features 1,400+ pounds of heritage pig, “pop-up” culinary experiences, premium wines, artisan cheeses, sustainable seafood, hand-crafted spirits, fine cocktails, and a very impressive selection of whiskies, ryes and bourbon. The stunning lineup of sponsors behind this celebration of heritage species include Williams-Sonoma’s local butcher demo, WilsonArt’s “Perfect Manhattan Experience” featuring Eagle Rare, Buffalo Trace, Breckenridge Bourbon, Hirsch and Luxardo cherries, Magnolia Brewing Co, Common Cider, Creekstone Farms, Krave Jerky, Creminelli Fine Meats, California Olive Ranch and La Brea Bakery. A portion of the proceeds always benefit the local culinary school while building opportunities for local food producers. All tickets include endless drinks and tons of food and are limited to only 250 tickets per event.

“We’re incredibly excited to bring Heritage BBQ to San Francisco for the first time and pay tribute to global cultures by consuming local food the way BBQ was intended to be. Today’s BBQ restaurant doesn’t give us a choice to buy local, safe food with our hard-earned money and we’re on a mission to change that by hosting incredible events that honor the greatest social traditions on the planet, cooking over fire. This event returns the BBQ conversation to the original context of local meats, cooked with native spices, over fires and shared with a community. Therefore, the event will tilt the scales back towards creating long-term relationships for family farms and big protein buyers like BBQ restaurants. It’s only a matter of time until people demand better food choices when standing at the counter.” explains Brady Lowe. “We are standing right there with them, promoting honest food and a choice to buy safe food.”

Tickets for general admission start at $100, and VIP tickets for early admission are $200. To purchase tickets, visit the website here.

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Where: Magnolia Brewery – Official Host of Heritage BBQ: 2505 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94107
When: Sunday, Sept. 13, VIP doors at 4 PM; General Admission at 5 PM

About Heritage BBQ by COCHON 555
Started in 2012 in an effort to bridge the gap between family farms and all categories of BBQ restaurants, Heritage BBQ by Cochon 555, is the first national BBQ competition dedicated to supporting a new direction for heritage breed pigs by expanding the conversation to a global economy. Created by Cochon 555 Founder Brady Lowe, Heritage BBQ engages existing BBQ restaurants in the local and sustainable food conversation taking place nationwide while simultaneously breaking ground on a new hyper-local, globally-themed, farm-supporting BBQ.

About The Cochon US Tour
The Cochon US Tour executes a variety of unique, local food events that are focused on raising enthusiasm for supporting family farms with the world’s first environmentally conscious nose-to-tail pig competition. The flagship Cochon 555 event is celebrated as the world’s first nose-to-tail pig competition in the fine-dining community. Created in response to the lack of consumer education around “heritage breed pigs”, this epic pork feast visits 20 major cities in North America annually. The US Tour also includes other live-event festivals, these focused culinary expressions include Heritage BBQ (global cultures), Heritage Fire (live-fire event), EPIC Cochon (hyper-premium), and Cochon Island (agri-tourism). The events feature top chefs preparing locally raised heritage breed proteins. Together with winemakers, brewers, distillers and craft food champions, they create authentic culinary events celebrating the good food movement. Since its launch, the tour has supported responsible family farming by sharing heritage breed pig experience with over 50,000, by donating more than $450,000 to charities and culinary schools, and buying more than $1,000,000 in food raised by local farmers. For more details about the events, visit www.cochon555.com or follow @cochon555 on Twitter.


Flights By Night #1

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Hello food and wine lovers! Today is the start of a new series called “Flights by Night”. Each post is intended to be a short and sweet glimpse of some of the Paleo/Primal meals and wine pairings that Andy and I enjoy when we cook at home. Perfect to give you ideas for dinner and short enough to give a quick read.

First up was Tuesday night’s dinner: Beef sliders with blue cheese and mushrooms, on tomato and red onion stacks, and a side of Brussels sprouts.
We paired the burgers with Bella Winery Two Patch Zinfandel and Rombauer Merlot.

The Zinfandel was an obvious pairing with the burgers, but the Rombauer was a special choice for a Tuesday night. Andy says, “it’s (the Rombauer Merlot) a soft, round wine with a nice touch of oak and cocoa flavors. Very long finish.” I thought the fruit in the Merlot was a great match for the mushroom topping on the burgers.

Thanks so much to Andy for having dinner ready for me so many times when I get home, as well as meticulously choosing the wines we will share with the meal. :)

What will he come up with next? Stay tuned for the next Flights by Night. :)


Legends of Wine Returns September 17th, 2015

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It’s been Farm-to-Fork insanity here at cavegrrl.com headquarters! Andy and I are scheduled to attend so many events and dinners in celebration of this very special time of year in Sacramento. One of my favorite upcoming events is Farm-to-Fork’s Legends of Wine. I’m am thrilled that my mom will be coming out to visit during that week and will be going to Legends of Wine with us.

Legends of Wine provides the unique opportunity to sample and discover more about some of the region’s most celebrated varietals, as selected by two of Sacramento’s internationally recognized culinary powerhouses—Darrell Corti and David Berkley. Set against the backdrop of California’s majestic State Capitol, guests will sip a wide array of award-winning wines paired and presented with artisan cheeses and local delights.

If you’ve never attended Legends of Wine, here’s a brief look at last year’s event—some of my favorite wineries, along with some pictures of the impressive fruit and cheese arrangements we enjoyed.

First up is Bokisch Vineyards! They caught my attention at the first Legends of Wine in 2013 with their Tempranillo (one of my favorite varietals), and last year they served an Albariño.

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capay wines
I was very impressed with Capay Valley Vineyard’s line up—their sparkling viognier was my favorite. :)

 

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Another notable winery was Casey Flat Ranch—their Estate Red Wine is excellent.

 

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Aaand… always a favorite of mine… Matchbook. Their entire flock of wines are both affordable and delicious. Maybe this year they will bring their Arsonist Chardonnay?
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Here’s one of Andy’s picks from last year: Michael David’s Sauvignon Blanc. Looking forward to trying more from them this year, and perhaps they will bring their Inkblot Tannat! :)

Along with the wines, there were fabulous displays of fruits and cheeses for the pairing:

fruit cheese 1 fruit cheese 2 fruit cheese 3

 

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This year’s Legends of Wine is September 17th from 6:00-8:30 p.m. on the west steps of the State Capitol. Tickets are $59 each. To purchase tickets, head over to the Farm-to-Fork website here. See you there!

To keep up with all the delicious Farm-to-Fork events, click here, “like” Farm to Fork on Facebook here, or follow them on Twitter here.


Heritage Fire Napa Delights Guests with an Exceptional Display of Artisanal Cookery

It was a meat lover’s paradise at Cochon Heritage Napa, an event in the Cochon 555 series that took place on August 2nd, at Charles Krug Winery in St. Helena.

One highlight for me included Tyler Florence’s Fried Chicken (mainly because I don’t always eat fried chicken, but when I do, it’s made by Tyler Florence.) I smiled and giggled like a schoolgirl when I picked up my portion of juicy crispy poultry garnished with garlic and herbs and a lemon wedge and Tyler urged me to “squeeze that lemon all over it”. Pretty tasty for sure.

TylerFlorence_galdones(Photo: Huge Galdones/Cochon555)

Sorry to gush over celebrity chefs there for a moment. Anyway, it was also great to see Sacramento’s own Michael Thiemann, who is just about ready to open Empress Tavern on K Street. Here he is preparing meats that would go into a special Hawaiian-themed plate with turkey, rice and macaroni.

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Here’s a shot of Brad Cecchi, formerly of Sacramento restaurant, Grange. Good to see him out there as well.

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It was fun to visit the “Tartare Bar”, where I got to participate in the “Tartare Hand Job”, um…their title, not mine ;)—raw meat was placed on the back of my hand, seasoned with a “chive bomb!” and I was supposed to eat the portion all at once. Let’s just say I’m not that good at shooting food in one big bite, but the tartare was excellent. :)

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I can’t fail to mention some of the fabulous wineries present: Cameron Hughes, Inglenook, Lombardi, Del Dotto Wine, Wines of Germany, Faust Wine, Prager Port Works, Clif Family, Leaf and Vine, Antica Wine, Cornerstone, and of course Charles Krug.

Some other favorite bites of mine came from the charcuterie station… plenty of prosciutto and sausages to be had, as well as several fresh figs and smoked almonds. I also enjoyed some artisan cheeses and an assortment of heirloom vegetables. By the time Andy and I left the event, we were stuffed!

All pictures except for the one of Tyler Florence were taken by Catherine Enfield of the Munchie Musings website. Thanks for allowing me to use your photos, Catherine! :)

Next up for me in the Cochon 555 series is Sunday, September 13, 2015 at 05:00pm at Magnolia Brewing @ Dogpatch in San Francisco. You can purchase tickets for Cochon’s other upcoming national events here. More information on the San Francisco’s Heritage BBQ event to come soon.

You can follow Cochon 555 and all of their events on Facebook here or on Twitter here.


Matteo’s Wows a Sold Out Crowd with Rombauer Wine Pairing Dinner

Last Wednesday evening, Matteo’s Pizza and Bistro hosted a sold out Rombauer Wine Dinner, that was one of the most fun and memorable events I have attended since I have been writing this blog. It was very special because it was Andy’s birthday and we shared a table with some close friends of ours (who are also Matt Woolston fanatics) to celebrate.

chardonnays
The evening began on the patio with a vertical tasting of the 2013 and the 2014 Rombauer Chardonnay. I enjoyed both vintages (the year age difference of the wine alone made the two unique), the 2013 a softer mellowed wine and the 2014 a more vibrant, food-friendly wine.

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While we were tasting the two Chardonnays, there were a trio of appetizers being served to the guests. They included:
Bruschetta with grilled fig, whipped brie and balsamic local honey glaze

fig and brie crostini
It’s the perfect time of year for figs, and the pairing of the cheese and balsamic glaze is always a fun combination. I love August because figs are in full swing. It’s just another example of how Matteo’s and Supper Club Catering really adopt the Farm-to-Fork concept by choosing to use in season ingredients and elevating their flavor.

Another passed appetizer was Torched Wild Salmon with white miso marinade on sesame wonton crisp

salmon
This Asian-inspired appetizer was another example of an ingredient that is currently at it’s best: wild salmon. Salmon is one of Andy’s favorite foods, so I was happy to see it on the menu. It was a perfect bite with the miso marinade and the crisp of the wonton chip. The kitchen also prepared a version of this appetizer on a spoon without the wonton chip. It was a great variation and a beautiful plating arrangement as you can see.

Foie gras BLT with pan-seared foie gras, basil lemon aioli, heirloom tomato and micro arugula on whole wheat walnut sourdough toast

BLT
I am always pleased with the food creativity at Matteo’s and Supper Club Catering, and with this appetizer, you can understand why. The bits of foie gras were crisped up to act as bacon in this mini play on a BLT. This was a very popular appetizer with the entire crowd.

Appetizer Wine Pairing:
Rombauer Chardonnay 2013, Carneros
Rombauer Chardonnay 2014, Carneros


First Course:
Blistered sweet corn soup in demitasse with Applewood smoked bacon shingle and harissa chili oil

corn soup
This was one of my favorite courses. The chef explained to us that the soup is actually vegan and then he “went and messed it up with bacon.” No mistake there—the crispy bacon was a lovely highlight to the dish both visually and in taste. The soup was sweet and spicy and rich even without the addition of cream.

First Course Wine Pairing:
Rombauer Sauvignon blanc 2014, Napa Valley, the first new varietal introduced in more than 20 years and only the second white wine in Rombauer’s 35-year history. I recall it being more round in flavor, and by that I mean not so astringent. Instead of the grapefruit one would typically pick up in a New Zealand-style Sauv Blanc, there was more stone fruit (peach, apricot) essence that matched up quite well with the sweetness of the corn in the soup.


Second Course:
Pizza with shredded rabbit leg confit, braised fennel, olive oil poached tomato, Italian fontina and Dijon garlic white sauce

rabbit pizza
OK, I realize this website focuses on gluten free, but Andy and I are not actually celiac or gluten intolerant, so we occasionally enjoy foods that happen to have gluten. It’s just part of a wine dinner more often than not, and because we don’t attend wine dinners every night, it’s fun to splurge when we do. That being said, when you don’t have a real slice of pizza for a few years and then have a slice at Matteo’s it makes the slice all the more delightful! :)  I truly enjoyed this crusty, cheesy bread topped tomato, one of my favorite cheeses, fontina, and rabbit leg confit. By the way, they nailed it on the pairing—a juicy, but not overly fruit forward Merlot.

Second Course Wine Pairing:
Rombauer Merlot 2012, Napa Valley


Third Course:
Grilled leg of lamb and lamb crisps on baby field greens with goat cheese Parmesan, macerated stone fruit, toasted pistachio and plum mint vinaigrette

lamb
I have to say this course was one of my favorites. I loved the bed of greens the lamb was sitting on. I am a pistachio addict and the chards of the parmesan made me so happy. Then there was the lamb. Lamb two ways, actually. And lamb leg happens to be my favorite. Thanks, Matteo’s. I loved this plate (I didn’t eat it by myself, FYI) ;) because there  were so many textures going on. Lamb crisps should be put in a bag and sold!

Third Course Wine Pairing:
Rombauer Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Napa Valley. Cabernet is a phenomenal choice to pair with lamb.


Fourth Course:
Grass fed Wagyu beef sliders with fried green tomato, house made portabello bacon, garlic aioli and cave aged blue cheese on Brioche bun served with truffle asiago shoestring fries

burgers fries
I can officially be quoted as saying that this burger is the best one I have ever had from a restaurant. (Though I have heard Formoli’s is also quite good). If you never go to Matteo’s to try anything else, go there for the burger. The meat is sourced from Lucky Dog Ranch, another high quality ingredient. The fried green tomato was a decadent garnish, as well as the blue cheese. Everyone at our table went crazy for the fries, doused in truffle and asiago. It was so delightful to see a burger paired with a high end wine like the Rombauer Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Selection. Such great ingredients deserve such a stunning wine.

Fourth Course Wine Pairing:

Rombauer Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Selection 2011, Napa Valley. A softer cab than the previous one, velvety and rich, just like the burger and fries. Heavenly.


I didn’t get an acceptable picture of dessert, but my favorite part of it was the peanut brittle cookie on the plate with the terrine. It was a bit like tasting peanut butter and jelly– the jelly part being the Rombauer Zinfandel pairing.

Dessert:
Broken Banana Split: Bittersweet chocolate peanut butter terrine on berry coulis with banana foster ice cream, peanut brittle and bourbon vanilla bean whipped cream

Dessert Course Wine Pairing:
Rombauer Zinfandel 2013, Sierra Foothills/Northern California

If you haven’t visited Matteo’s just yet, here’s a good excuse: They’ll be hosting a wine tasting event on Wednesday, August 12th 6-7:30 PM featuring the ollowing wineries:  Alfaro, Lexington Winery, Mount Eden Estate, Sonnet, and Windy Oaks. It’s $15 per person to participate. If you would like to attend, contact Wine Shop Dave at wineshop at pizzamatteo.com or call (916)779-0727.

You can like Matteo’s Pizza and Bistro on Facebook here or follow them on Twitter here.


Have an Offal Day Returns Sunday, August 16th 2-5pm!

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Last Sunday, I ran into Catherine (of Munchie Musings) at Cochon Heritage Fire Napa (held at Charles Krug Winery). She was happily grazing the wonderful offerings at the annual festival of all things grilled meat, just as Andy and I were. Over full bellies, we discussed some of the upcoming food events in Sacramento. While chatting she mentioned her festival Have an Offal Day 3, and I agreed I would pass the information about the event to you! :)

Have an Offal Day #3 takes place on Sunday, August 16th from 2 to 5 p.m. at Mulvaney’s Next Door (1215 19th Street, Sacramento, CA 95811).

What is Have an Offal Day? Well, it’s a day that honors offal. You know, the nasty bits. The parts of animals that are left when all the pretty and prime parts are butchered and sold. It’s things like hearts, kidneys, blood, intestines, from animals such as lambs, ducks, chickens, beef, and pigs, well, you get the idea.

The lineup of chefs this year includes:
Carina Lampkin (Blackbird Kitchen & Beer Gallery)
Danny Origel (Roxy)
Tyler Bond (Dirty Feet Dining, Kru)
Keith Breedlove (Culinerdy Cruzer)
Patrick Mulvaney (Mulvaney’s B&L)
Brian Mizner (Hook & Ladder)
Brenda Ruiz (Biba’s)
Brock MacDonald (Block Butcher Bar)
Wes Nilssen (de Vere’s Pubs)
Don Dickonson (Yang’s Noodles and instructor at IOT Culinary School)
Andrea Reiter (Capital Dime, soon The Patriot)
Hank Shaw (James Beard winning author)

TICKETS are $68 (no additional fees)

Your ticket price covers the venue and other event expenses, as well as benefitting the Food Literacy Center. Thank you to the chefs that jump at the chance to play with offal for a day and to the audience willing to try it! :) That’s so Paleo! Thanks, Catherine for all the meaty details.


Save the Date! Rombauer Wine Dinner at Matteo’s Wednesday, August 5th at 6:30pm!

Matteo's Logo
Do you love Rombauer Wines as much as I do? If so, I have the event for you!

Matteo’s Pizza and Bistro’s Rombauer Wine Dinner featuring the New Release of the 2014 Chardonnay will be held on the patio at Matteo’s, Wednesday, August 5th, 2015, at 6:30 PM.

Their menu (to be served family style) was finalized just this morning and it is as follows:

Appetizers:
Bruschetta with grilled fig, whipped brie and balsamic local honey glaze

Torched Wild Salmon with white miso marinade on sesame wonton crisp

Foie gras BLT with pan-seared foie gras, basil lemon aioli, heirloom tomato and micro arugula on whole wheat walnut sourdough toast

Appetizer Wine Pairing:
Rombauer Chardonnay 2013, Carneros
Rombauer Chardonnay 2014, Carneros


First Course:
Blistered sweet corn soup in demitasse with Applewood smoked bacon shingle and harissa chili oil

First Course Wine Pairing:
Rombauer Sauvignon blanc 2014, Napa Valley


Second Course:
Pizza with shredded rabbit leg confit, braised fennel, olive oil poached tomato, Italian fontina and Dijon garlic white sauce

Second Course Wine Pairing:
Rombauer Merlot 2012, Napa Valley


Third Course:
Grilled leg of lamb and lamb crisps on baby field greens with goat cheese Parmesan, macerated stone fruit, toasted pistachio and plum mint vinaigrette

Third Course Wine Pairing:
Rombauer Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Napa Valley


Fourth Course:
Grass fed Wagyu beef sliders with fried green tomato, house made portabello bacon, garlic aioli and cave aged blue cheese on Brioche bun served with truffle asiago shoestring fries

Fourth Course Wine Pairing:

Rombauer Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Selection 2011, Napa Valley


Dessert:
Broken Banana Split: Bittersweet chocolate peanut butter terrine on berry coulis with banana foster ice cream, peanut brittle and bourbon vanilla bean whipped cream

Dessert Course Wine Pairing:
Rombauer Zinfandel 2013, Sierra Foothills/Northern California


The Rombauer Wine Dinner at Matteo’s Pizza and Bistro is $75 per person plus service charge and tax.

I had the great fortune of attending one of Matt Woolston’s multiple course dinners last year (The same creative force behind the wheel at The Supper Club Cateringwho Andy and I will be using as caterer for our reception!) and I can tell you it was incredible! (You can read about the dinner here). I’ll also be writing about the Rombauer Wine Dinner in a future blog post! :)

Reservations are required and the dinner is expected to SELL OUT, so please call 916 779-0727 or email margo at pizzamatteo.com to save your space at the table!

You can like Matteo’s on Facebook here or follow them on Twitter here.


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