This Weekend: Wine Tastings, Pub Openings, Food Photography & Ultimate Frisbee

LeiOut Beach Ultimate  Come out to Santa Monica for the largest co-ed Ultimate Frisbee Event in the world, 100+ teams show up with crushing thoughts of blood, sweat & tears!  LeiOut organization has been bringing together the frisbee obsessed since 1999!

  • When: Jan 14-15
  • Where: N of Pier, Santa Monica
  • When: 10am-4pm
  • Cost: Free to Watch

Around Australia in 80 Sips  Enjoy 80+ great wines plus artisanal cheese, charcuterie and more at the Pacific Design Center this Saturday night!

  • When: Jan 12
  • Where: Pacific Design Center
  • When: 8pm – 10pm
  • Cost: $75.00

Picture Perfect  Food photographer Christina Peters and prop stylist Amy Paliwoda will teach a natural-light food-photography class this Sunday.

  • When: Jan 14
  • Where:MDR Photography Classes, 4051 Glencoe Ave., Marina del Rey
  • When: 9:30am – 4pm
  • Cost: $249.00

The Pub @ Golden Road  Get a beer and a burger for 10 bucks cash on our patio BBQ. Chef Adam has prepared vegan and non vegan burgs and our cans of Point the Way IPA and Golden Road Hefeweizen are ready for you to enjoy.

  • When: Jan 15
  • Where:5430 San Fernando Rd West, Los Angeles, CA
  • When: 11am – 11pm
  • Cost: of food

Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show The largest travel show in the western United States features rock climbing, ziplining, a scuba pool, Fiery Food Stage, live music and travel tips from speakers.


This Weekend: Blogger Bake Sale, Artisanal LA, Canal Parade & Handmade Gift Fair!

Eat My Blog Charity Bake Sale  An annual event where local foodie bloggers will bake homemade goodies for all to eat.

When: Dec 10  Where: Pita Jungle, Pasadena  When: 10am-4pm  Cost: Free Entry

Artisanal LA Holiday Pop Up Shop  Explore LA’s finest local, sustainable, and handmade edibles.

When: Dec 11  Where: Armory Center, Pasadena  When: 10am-6pm  Cost: $5

Renegade Craft Fair – 2nd Annual Holiday Market  A craft, art, design and DIY spectacular.

When: Dec 10 & 11  Where: LA State Historic Park  When: 10am – 5pm  Cost: $0

30th Annual Venice Canal Boat Parade  See a parade that doesn’t quite fit into LA lifestyle and check out the hidden Venice canals.

When: Dec 11  Where: Eastern/Sherman Venice Canals  When: 4:30pm  Cost: $0

This Weekend December 3 – 4: Holiday Cheer Events, Olive Oil Tastings & Trunk Show


Downtown on Ice  Our 70 degree weather doesn’t lend itself kindly to those looking for the feelings of Christmas, but Pershing Square has the remedy.  Each year they transform the park into a holiday-themed hangout, complete with ice-skating rink and twinkling skyscrapers.

When:  Nov 17 – Jan 16  Where:  Pershing Square  Cost: $6, Rentals $2

Holiday Afloat Parade  The 49th annual blinged out boat parade in the Main Channel of the Port of Los Angeles.

When:  Dec 3, 6pm  Where:  Port of Los Angeles  Cost: FREE

LA Conservancy: Miracle on 34th Street in Los Angeles  Head downtown for a matinée screening of Miracle on 34th Street, (1947), starring Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, and a very precocious and skeptical nine-year-old Natalie Wood.

When:  Dec 4, 2pm  Where:  Million Dollar Theatre  Cost: $15

Hollywood Paws for Santa  You and your pup are can walk the red carpet, get a photo with Santa, then sip champagne and shop for holiday gifts for your furry friends at D.O.G. Boutique.

When:  Dec 4, 2pm-7pm  Where:  D.O.G., West Hollywood  Cost: $10 donation


Olive Oil Tasting & Book Signing  Have you ever been to party where you toast with olive oil?  Tom Mueller the infamous New Yorker contributor will host a book signing and complimentary olive oil tasting that a foodie would not bare to pass up.

When:  Dec 5, 6pm – 7pm  Where:  Fig&Olive, West Hollywood  Cost:  FREE


Create Party & Trunk Show  Ron Robinson/Fred Segal is hosting a holiday trunk show and CREATE party with fashion iconic brand Dogeared.  Dogeared Gift Bags as Gift with Purchase (while supplies last) and one lucky customer will get a free DOGEARED Create necklace.

When:  Dec 2, 2pm – 6pm  Where:  Ron Robinson/Fred Segal on Melrose

Weekend Getaway: To Wine Country

wine, california, vineyards

Paso Robles, The Undiscovered Wine County of California

Vineyards. Vino. California. Sonoma, Napa Valley, perhaps?  Not this time.  I am biased toward a smaller, less renown (for now) vino destination.  One where the vines grow strong, the grapes plentiful and the vino bottled with just as much expertise as passion.  A seemingly forgotten or unknown destination for both NorCo and SoCo dwellers.  One with foodie love, cowboy disposition and small town charm.  Paso Robles, an unseen destination — yet a favorite for those fortunate enough to have discovered.  Nestled behind the San Lucia Coastal Range mountains this town is the fastest growing city in San Luis Obispo county.

A mere 3.5 hours from Los Angeles, Paso Robles screams weekend with the girls, romantic retreat, or family reunion.  With 147 vineyards, a robust town square and plenty of gorgeous views it is one not to be missed.

For the last two year’s I have celebrated the holiday of food and wine in Paso Robles, with loved ones and family.  What I love most is the chill of fall in the air, the changing of the leaves and the small town feel that you just can’t find in Southern California.  A great big thanks to the Lyle’s for introducing me to Paso and a cheers to a successful and memorable Thanksgiving, with both families!

So next time your headed north, make Paso Robles your destination.  Eat, drink and play through a town like no other.

Downtown Paso Robles Square

Wineries to Discover…

Eberle Winery

A 1979 aged-well winery, known for their Cabernets, Eberle Winery holds their ground in a town of vinos.  Mostly recognized for their 16,000 square feet aging wine caves located beneath the tasting room.  Tours and tastings are complimentary, it’s one to definitely add to the list.

eberle, vineyard

Eberle Patio with the Family

wine caves

Eberle Wine Caves

Opolo Winery

A Lyle (Chris’ family) and now Jones family favorite, Opolo Vineyards produces fabulous well-rounded wines of all kinds and serves up some house made sausages and brick oven pizza for our enjoyment.  Voted best of class by both families:

  • 2009 Sangiovese
  • 2009 Montagna Mare
  • 2009 Malbec
  • 2008 Tampranillo

Tastings run you a mere $5 and are waived with purchase and you should defiantly purchase!

winery tasting

Opolo Tasting, $5 - Complimentary with Purchase

winery, pizza

Opolo Winery, Tasting Rooms & Outdoor Pizza Kitchen

Tablas Creek Winery

Tablas Creek Winery founded in 1987, by native French Perrin family from Château de Beaucastel and Robert Haas, longtime importer and founder of Vineyard Brands, had a dream to recreate the wines of France in California. In 1987, they began what turned out to be a very lengthy process, the creation of a Châteauneuf-du-Pape style vineyard from scratch in California. Today Tablas Creek is dedicated to organically farmed Rhone varietals and Châteauneuf style blends.

Tastings run you $10, waived with purchase.

tablas creek winery

Tablas Creek Winery - $10 tasting fee - free with purchase

picnic, winery

Wine & Dine at Tablas Creek Winery Picnic Area

Firestone Walker Brewing Co. 

Okay, I’ll admit it I am not a vino, I love and would never trade beer for wine.  I do and probably always will prefer one over the other and it just so happens Paso Robles is home to Firestone Walker Brewing Co.  If you are a beer fan and haven’t had a Firestone brew it’s a must try.

My favorites:

  • Firestone DBA
  • Double Jack IPA
  • Walker’s Reserve Porter
brewery, california, beer

Firestone Walker Brewery, Paso Robles

firestone, beer

Firestone 4 oz tasters - Any combination for $6

Eats in Paso Worth a Taste Test

Thomas Hill Organic

A bistro with a promise to serve organic dishes from their own garden and vino’s from the Central California Coast.  Thomas Hill Organics, homegrown flavor and the careful precision in which they pull together unique dishes is not to be missed.  (It’s so good I have stopped on a road trip from SF to LA, seriously check it out!)

Outdoor Enclosed Patio

Thomas Hill Organic

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Now on the east coast small town Christmas tree lightings are plentiful, but I can’t say that I have been able to re-live that experience in California, with the exception of the a lighting in Paso Robles.  The Day-After Thanksgiving Tree Lighting is not Rockafella Center spectacular, but the town meets up in the center square to bring in the holiday season with carols and laughter.  If you’re in town is worth a stop.

Tree Lighting Complete with Carols & Candles

First 12 by 2012 Complete!

I am proud and excited to say that I have crossed off my first of twelve desire to-do’s before 2012 and boy does it feel good.  Yesterday I completed the Universal Studios Backlot‘s WeSPARK 3rd Annual 5k Run!  With little training and a ridiculously early start for this non-morning person, I finished strong.

Over the hills and through the sets we ran — past The Great Outdoors, The Jaws lake, Indian Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, Austin Powers, Home Alone 2, Back to the Future, Creatures from the Black Lagoon, Wisteria Lane, Leave it to Beaver, the Psycho House, Doctor Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat and War of the World.

Creatures of the Black Lagoon

Home Alone 2

Back to the Future Town Square

Wisteria Lane

Psycho House

As my legs are growing tired I came up on the War of the World’s set, which looks like a town in total disaster.  A 747 is cut in half and cars, playgrounds, debris are everywhere.  I am no longer thinking about the 2.8 miles I have come or the distance I still have left to conquer, but rather the fact that I am running through this bizarre place!

War of the Worlds

Finally after traveling from set to set — mostly reliving my favorite childhood movies the 5k was over just like that.  I had knocked one 12 before 2012 off the list!

Finish Line

Race Completed!

Updated 12 before 2012!

Los Angeles Food & Wine Highlights

Since I literally ate and drank my way through the 1st Annual Los Angeles Food & Wine and then hopped directly on a flight to London, I never got a chance to share with you the remarkable eye-opening experience!  Check out my favorite moments & highlights below.

The Magic & Seduction of Cheese & Wine Pairing

This cheese and wine “seminar”, I use that word loosely, was more like an eye-opening journey through the talents and palates of two masters at their trade.  Cheese expert Laura Werlin and winemaker Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyards showed the eager onlookers what it’s like to have a palate so in tune that taste unique flavors, ingredients, and even creation techniques with your tongue.

Pairings I fell in love with…

  • 2007 Le Cigare Volant – Bonny Doon Vineyard
    • Blend: 60% Grenache, 32% Syrah, 4% Mourvèdre, 4% Cinsault
    • Description:  “On the palate, fresh cherry, currant, and red bramble fruit. Peppery and lively with good acidity around an earthy, savory core.” – Bonny Doon Vineyard
    • Where to Buy: Bonny Doon Vineyard – $35.00 a bottle
  • Dunbarton Blue – Roelli – Shullsburg, Wisconsin
    • Milk: Cow
    • Cheese Family: Cheddar Blue
    • Description: “A hand crafted cellar cured cheese with the earthy character of a fine cheddar coupled with a subtle hint of bleu flavor.”
    • Where to Buy: Whole Foods
My favorite (mostly because of the cheese)!!
  • 2009 Le Cigare Blanc Reserve – Bonny Doon Vineyard
    • Blend: Roussanne & Grenache
    • Description: “Farmed biodynamically , surrounded by wilderness, and sheilded from the cool Pacific coast winds by the Santa Lucia Mountains, these vines grow complex, concentrated and mineral intensive grapes.” – Bonny Doon Vineyard
    • Where to Buy: Not available
  • Mt. Tam – Cowgirl Creamery – Petaluma, California 
    • Milk: Cow
    • Description: “It’s a smooth, creamy, elegant, 10-oz, triple-cream – made with tasty organic milk from the Straus Family Dairy. MT TAM is firm, yet buttery with a mellow, earthy flavor reminiscent of white mushrooms” – Cowgirl Creamery
    • Where to Buy: Mail Order from Cowgirl Creamery or San Francisco

Other Extremely noteworthy cheese & wines:

Guy Fieri’s Brew B’Que

Celebrity chef and Food Network rock star, Guy Fieri hosted an afternoon on the pier filled with decadent food innovations and 100+ brews from around the world.  There was no shortage of satisfying grub at this event.  Celebrity chef’s like Roy Choi (of Beachside Kitchen & Kogi), Ray Garcia (of FIG), Roy Yamaguchi (of Roy’s), and Charles Phan (of Slanted Door) served up dishes that caused us to “ooh” and “ahh”.  Meanwhile Uncle Cracker made a come back with the Santa Monica ferris wheel and the Pacific Ocean glistened in the background.

Brew BBQ on the Santa Monica Pier

Celebrity Chef, Guy Fieri, hosts Brew BBQ

Having a blast at the Brew BBQ

Lexus Grand Tasting

An opportunity to taste and explore over 300 wines from 200 wineries and devour delicious tastings from over 30 celebrity chefs.  The Lexus Grand Tasting was a remarkable experience to be a part of, an up-close and personal experience that was every foodies dream come true.  Guest Chefs: Rick Bayless (of Red O), Eric Greenspan (of The Foundry on Melrose), and Masaharu Morimoto (of Morimoto Napa)

The Grand Tasting

Me & Iron Chef Morimoto

Los Angeles Food & Wine

All in all the Los Angeles first ever Food & Wine was a grand success.  I owe a massive thank you to my parents for the best birthday gift a foodie could ever ask for!

LA Finally Deemed Worthy of Some Serious Foodie Love

Food festivals or festivals of any kind for that matter love to love the city of Los Angeles and its enthusiastic cultured inhabitants.  Independent event producers such as Drink-Eat-Play, Artisanal LA, and the City of Santa Monica are constantly brainstorming new ways to grasp this communities attention.  However what has the city of Los Angeles buzzing this month and into next is the induction of the first ever Los Angeles Food & Wine festival!

Entrepreneurs Robert Weakley & David Alan Bernahl have teamed up with Dick Clark Productions & AEG to debut the festival at L.A. Live.  The three-day festival will take place on the weekend of October 14th at venues throughout Los Angeles county. It will be a blend of all-star talent from the culinary world with that of the entertainment industry to bring out the very best of food and wine culture in Los Angeles.

100 plus celebrity chefs will be leading demonstrations, lunches, dinners, after-hour events, and grand tastings accompanied by tasting from over 300 premier international wines. Celebrity chefs that will be participating in the event include but are not limited to Wolfgang Puck, Daniel Boulud, Rick Bayless, Nobu Matsuhisa, Tom Colicchio, Nancy Silverton, Masaharu Morimoto, Tyler Florence, Michael Chiarello, Michael Mina, Sang Yoon, David Myers, Rory Herrmann, Walter Manzke, Sherry Yard, Josiah Citrin, David Myers, and Joachim Splichal.

LA Food & Wine Festival Trailer

Launch Party Trailer

As exciting as this news is, what is more exciting is that my extremely generous parents have decided to give Chris & I tickets to a few events for my birthday — and they too will be joining in on the excitement!

We will be attending the following…

The Magic & Seduction of Cheese & Wine with Laura Werlin

Laura Werlin one of the country’s top experts on cheese will teach us how to pair the delicate and bold flavors of cheese and wine.  This is not a lecture but rather a extremely rare opportunity to taste and be shown why some combinations work better than others.

Guy Fieri’s Brew B’Que On Santa Monica Pier

Food Network chef and personality Guy Fieri will host a Brew B’Que on the Santa Monica Pier backed up by some Rockstar bands and dynamite celebrity tastings accompanied by a combination of 100 different brews.

Lexus Grand Tasting 

The Grand Tasting allows an opportunity to sample over 300 wines from 200 of the world’s most prestigious wineries. 30 celebrity chefs will showcase their culinary creativity providing tasting samples to blow your mind.  In the midst their will be cooking demos, book signings and photo sessions with some the weekends biggest names.

Interested in attending some of the weekends festivities?  Many events have sold out, but tickets are still available. Tickets Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival.