Paleo & Primal Food, Wine, Travel & Living

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A Look Inside the Farm-to Fork Pear Bridge Dinner on the Delta

Photo by Skyler Stanley

Photo by Skyler Stanley

Last Sunday, not one but two dinners took place on a bridge to celebrate Farm-to-Fork and the amazing bounty we are lucky to enjoy living in the greater Sacramento region.

One of those dinners took place on the Deadhorse Island Bridge and was hosted by the California Pear Advisory Board. The menu featured locally grown produce, namely pears, in almost every course, and the signature beverage of the evening was a pear martini crafted by Jay Yoon of Dawson’s Steakhouse.

From the moment I heard this dinner was going to take place for people who were unable to attend the Tower Bridge Gala dinner, I was very excited for the organizers, and very interested in attending. Especially when I heard my friend and fellow blogger (Munchie Musings), Catherine Enfield would be attending.

It’s really something when you anticipate something so much and it turns out to be everything you expected, but so much more. On the evening of September 27th, we arrived in Walnut Grove and the Dead Horse Bridge (given its name from retired work horses who spent their last days on the island), located across the water from Giusti’s (a local restaurant responsible for the main course to be served that evening). The table and the bridge were beautifully decorated for the guests slated to dine there.

Soon Andy and I were mingling amongst the other guests, as well as Catherine and her guest. The starter was a pizza from Hot Italian in Sacramento, featuring pears and gorgonzola cheese, their Murino pizza.

pear pizza
Being gluten free 95% of the time did not stop me from tasting the appetizer and I enjoyed it with a pear martini, crafted by the aformentioned Jay Yoon of Dawson’s Steakhouse. If you haven’t been to Dawson’s, you’re missing out. Dawson’s is one of the most underrated restaurants in Sacramento. If you’re a wine lover, check out the wine dinners they have every few months. Here’s Jay making my martini!

I loved the addition of the pizza and the pear martini. It was such a touch of class, and made the Dead Horse Bridge Dinner seem so much like a private cocktail party. Then there was the wine, all provided by Bogle Wines and the beer, provided by Sudwerk Beer. The sodas were provided by River City Sodas, and the drinking water was even infused with pear. I could tell the organizers were beaming with pride and showcasing their product (pears) in the best way possible.

On display were several works of art (photography) by Skyler Stanley, including the piece below. Skyler was also the event photographer and took all the photos that were made into a video slideshow of the event that can be viewed by clicking here.

Soon it was time for the main event, and we were seated at our assigned places, at an enormous table that spanned the length of the bridge. I’m guessing that it sat about 200 people.

Then the courses began. First, a Delta Islands organic tomato and basil with fresh mozzarella salad. The Bogle Chenin Blanc was a perfect pairing with this salad and the next salad to come.

The next salad we enjoyed was an endive salad with pears, Point Reyes Blue Cheese, and candied walnuts.

The first salad was a traditional mozzarella salad, but the endive salad really showcased the pears. Blue cheese and walnuts are a classic sidekick for pear. and the platter of salad didn’t last long amongst my table mates.

Then following the salads was the main course: A barrel-roasted pork rib roast with caramelized pears. Some meals just go down in history as the best you have ever had, no matter how simple the preparation. This meal was headed that way, and the pork we had next only added to my enthusiasm.

It’s really the atmosphere and the company with which you share your meal that makes it great, but it doesn’t hurt to have one of the best pieces of pork you have ever had in your life in front of you as well. The pears in the dish gave a sweet element that danced with the well-seasoned pork. Guests were also served sweet corn-on-the-cob from Dixon with the main course. Bogle’s Petite Sirah and Phantom Red Blend rounded out the wine selections.

OK, so I was all ready for seconds. I really was. But next came dessert, a delightful array of items from Golden State Fruit including dark chocolate crumbs, dried and fresh pears, almonds and Fiscalini cheddar cheese. It was like I was in charge of the dessert plate because it was a stunning combination of all of my favorite things on a plate!

golden state fruit dessert
With the dessert items, Bogle’s Petite Sirah Port was also served.

bogle port

The words amazing and incredible can’t even describe my experience. The Pear Bridge Dinner was such a great success, but could not have been without the help and donations of time and goods by the following people… I want to give a round of applause to the chefs who put the meal together: Mark Morais of Guisti’s and his team –Sam Rainwater, John Baranek and Katie Morais. More thanks goes out to J.B. & Jeannie Morais of Delta Islands; Sudwerk Brewing Co.; Rich Collins, California Endive; Jim Boyce, Produce Express; Dixon Ridge Farms; Bogle Vineyards; Rivermaid Trading Company and all of the local Delta pear farmers, as well as Golden State Fruit.

More kudos goes to Chiles Wilson, Daniel Wilson, Chiles Wilson Jr., CJ Jensen, and Dixie Wilson for the use of her bridge. Rivermaid Trading Company was responsible for set-up, serving and clean up before, during and after the event. Big love to Jay Yoon and his assistant, Susan, from Dawson’s Steakhouse in the Downtown Hyatt for the delicious pear martinis. More thanks to Jody Bogle, Janice Lucas, Steve Lucas, Tim Lucas and Judy Rhea for pouring wines and beverages. Emily Allen of EJA Designs created the beautiful flower arrangements for the event.

The proceeds of the dinner were generously donated to the victims of the Lake County fire.

To say the Pear Bridge Dinner was memorable evening is simply an understatement, and if you’re reading, one I hope you’ll take part next year. To keep up with future events, you can find the California Pear Advisory board on Facebook here, follow them on Twitter here, on Instagram here and on Pinterest here.

Curtis Park Wine Tasting, Silent Auction and Beer Garden Event 25th Anniversary, October 10th, 2015

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I can’t believe it’s been four years since I met Andy at the Curtis Park Wine Tasting and now we live here in Curtis Park together. We are really looking forward to taking our annual walk over to the Sierra 2 Center in a few weeks to enjoy food, wine and friends. :)

I am happy to share information on this event (which happens to be one of the best food and wine tastings of the year in Sacramento) put together by the Sierra 2 Center, and I hope you will join us for the 25th Annual Curtis Park Wine Tasting!  -cg

The tradition continues at the 2015 Curtis Park Wine Tasting, Silent Auction & Beer Garden Event on Sacramento, October 10th, 2015 4-7pm.

Building on the success of 24 previous years, this event showcases more than 50 wineries, 20 restaurants and handpicked craft brews by owner & operator of Curtis Park’s own Pangaea Bier Cafe.

The Wine Tasting, Silent Auction & Beer Garden Event is the biggest event of its kind in Curtis Park. Event proceeds benefit SCNA, Bret Harte Elementary School and McClatchy High School. The event takes place at the Sierra 2 Center, 2791 24th Street, Sacramento, California 95818

Bring your friends with you, or come meet some new ones. This year we’re turning 25 and we’re celebrating in a VERY big way.

Event Highlights:
• Raw Oysters on the Half Shell (Scott’s Seafood on the River)
• Dad’s Kitchen
• Freeport Bakery
• Lucca Restaurant & Bar
• Localis (apart of the Broderick Restaurant family)
• Sugar Plum Vegan Bakery
• Tower Café
• Tapa the World
• Taylor’s Kitchen

Event Sponsors: Cook Realty, McDonald Plumbing, Joseph F. Eschleman, Black Pine Communities, Melissa Heede (Remax)

Advance until 11:59pm, Oct. 7: $40 (SCNA Members)/$45 (Non-members) Membership can be purchased or renewed during your registration process. Online ticket sales will close at 11:59pm on Oct. 7. After Oct. 7: $50 all online tickets available until 11:59pm, Oct. 7. After Oct. 7, tickets available at Sierra 2 Center office and at the door the day of the event. Tickets are also available for purchase by visiting the Sierra 2 Center office at 2791 24th Street or by calling 916-452-3005 prior to 5:00 p.m. Friday, October 9, 2015. Tickets will also be available for purchase at the door prior to the event.

You can follow the Sierra 2 Center on twitter here and find them on Facebook here.

Farm-to-Fork Pear Bridge Dinner on the Delta September 27th at 4pm

If you didn’t get tickets to the Tower Bridge Farm-to-Fork Gala dinner, I have an alternate dinner (also on a bridge!) for you to attend at the same date and time!

On September 27 at 4 pm, a dinner coordinated by the California Pear Advisory Board will take place on the historically-named Dead Horse Island Bridge on the Delta near the community of Walnut Grove. Attendees will mingle with other guests and local California pear farmers while enjoying a scenic view in the heart of one of the largest pear-growing regions in California.

The event will include locally-raised meats, Delta-grown crops such as corn, tomatoes, endive, and, of course pears. The dinner will be catered by Giusti’s Place, a great local restaurant located next to the bridge. An appetizer and cocktail from the Farm-to-Fork Pear Recipe Contest that was held in August will be featured: Grilled Pear Bruschetta from Taste Restaurant and Jay Yoon with Dawson’s Steakhouse at the Hyatt will be serving his House Pressed Bosc Pear Martini (shown below). Delta area wines and local beers will also be served.


Each person will be allowed to reserve no more than four tickets at a price of $125 each. To reserve tickets, please send an e-mail to the California Pear Advisory Board at Please note the event is for people over the age of 21.

The California Pear Advisory Board is a non-profit organization made up of farmers who grow pears in California. The cost of Pear Bridge Dinner tickets is meant to cover expenses only. Any money remaining after costs are covered will be donated to a local charity.

If you’d like to try some special pear dishes at local restaurants you can CLICK HERE to find out what’s being served and where.

You can find the California Pear Advisory board on Facebook here, follow them on Twitter here, on Instagram here and on Pinterest here. See you on the bridge on September 27th!

Nevada City Uncorked, a Historical Food and Wine Walk, is August 29th, 1-4pm

chocolate and glass
Can you walk and drink wine and the same time? ;)

Next weekend, get uncorked in downtown Nevada City on August 29th! And thanks to my friend Rod Byers (wine educator and the event’s organizer) I have a press release to pass all the details along to you! -cg

Nevada City Uncorked is a unique wine and food tasting event, taking place on August 29 in downtown Nevada City. The town’s Victorian charm and historical architecture is the perfect backdrop to showcase Uncorked, a walk-about-town style format that includes 21 different venues throughout the downtown area.

Each location, whether it is a retail shop, restaurant, B&B, winery tasting room, or historic spot, includes wine or beer tasting, and food sampling.

Nevada City Uncorked features 18 members of the Sierra Vintners Association, and two local breweries, Ol’ Republic and Three Forks. All of the wineries will be offering samples of their favorite wines as well as showcasing their newest release in celebration of the upcoming 2015 harvest.

This year’s event also encourages a connection between the local farmers and participating restaurants and caterers. Whether it is wood-fired pizza produced with locally sourced toppings, slow-roasted locally raised pork, artichoke pesto quiche with locally grown basil, house-made ricotta topped with a tomato-pasilla chili jam, or grapes from vineyards dotting the local landscape, Uncorked is a celebration of the agricultural bounty of the northern Sierra Foothills.

Uncorked offers the opportunity to stroll through time in historic Nevada City. The National Hotel, California’s oldest continually operating hotel, was the base for the creation of the Pacific Gas & Electric Company in 1898. The National Hotel’s bar and upstairs hotel lobby remain must-see windows into Nevada City’s past. The view from their second-story balcony, an Uncorked venue, endures as one of the best in town.

In one of history’s more tidy circles, Emma Nevada, considered one of the finest sopranos of the late 19th century, lived in the Emma Nevada House, sang her first solo concert in the Powell House, and later performed in the Nevada Theatre. All three historic buildings are venues this year during Uncorked.

Check-in for Uncorked will be at the lower level of the Nevada City Veteran’s Building at 415 N. Pine Street where people will pick up their wine glass, event map, and food tasting tickets.

There is also the opportunity to purchase wine through the Uncorked Wine Store, open that afternoon only, featuring many of the wines poured around town that day.

Nevada City Uncorked is collaboration between the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce and the Sierra Vintners Association. Tickets are $35 in advance, $45 on the day of the event, and $30 for Wine Club Members of participating wineries (contact your winery directly). Each ticket includes a wine glass, unlimited wine/beer tasting, and five food tickets.

Click on for information or call 530.265-2692 to purchase tickets directly. To purchase tickets online click on

 Nevada City Uncorked
Where: 21 venues throughout downtown Nevada City.
Check in at the Vet’s Building, Lower Level, 415 North Pine Street, Nevada City
When: Saturday, August 29, 1-4 pm
Cost: $35 in advance. $45 on the day of and $30 for Wine Club Members of participating wineries
Information & Tickets: Nevada City Chamber of Commerce, (530) 265-2692
Online Tickets:

P.S: For a look at last year’s event, you can refer to my experience at Nevada City Uncorked here!

Legends of Wine Returns September 17th, 2015


It’s been Farm-to-Fork insanity here at 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.

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


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


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?
michael david
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


random crowd shot 3
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.



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

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. :)

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.

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.


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

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

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

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.

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 or call (916)779-0727.

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


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