Tag Archives: Wine

Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival

Sometimes I feel like Orange County gets a bad rap for not having the hot new restaurants like LA, or the abundance of wine-related events like Napa. But the truth is, Orange County is home to some pretty amazing chefs and restaurants, which is why I’m super excited for the Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival next week.

Newport Beach Wine and Food FestivalThe Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival is a 3 day event taking place on October 2-4 at the Newport Beach Civic Center. Expect celebrity chef cooking demos, a cooking competition, and endless food and wine tasting from some of OC’s hottest restaurants.

Newport Beach Wine and Food FestivalIf you’re a fan of Top Chef and Top Chef Masters like me, then you’ll definitely want to check out the cooking demonstrations from Rick Bayless and Hubert Keller Saturday afternoon and then be sure to check out the first ever at-home cooking challenge with Chef Shirley Chung!

Chef Shirley ChungAnd if that isn’t enough to get you excited, check out some of the awesome restaurants participating on Saturday and Sunday:

    • Red O
    • Twenty Eight
    • The Winery
    • Oak Grill
    • Mastro’s Steakhouse
    • Canaletto
    • True Food Kitchen

Tommy Bahama Island GrilleB.CandySleanne Steak TavernFig & OliveBoathouse CollectiveSlapfishStonehill Tavern

There will also be wine tasting, beer, specialty cocktails and live music. Basically a food lover’s dream.

Newport Beach Wine and Food FestivalInterested in joining me in all the fun next weekend? The Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival is offering $25 off general admission with code NBWFF25.

Come spend a day tasting great food, drinking great wine, and seeing all the best that OC has to offer.

Sunstone Winery Wedding: The Food

When I started planning my wedding last year, one of my biggest priorities was to have delicious food.  I wanted a meal that would be memorable and one that our guests would remember.  Thanks to my amazing wedding planner and the culinary talents of Trattoria Grappolo, Sunstone Winery and Solvang Bakery, we got that meal and then some.

All of these pictures in this post are from my amazingly talented wedding photographer Dana Grant, and pretty much make me hungry every time I look at them.  The Englishman and I tasted everything that was served before our big day, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the end result.

For our cocktail hour, we had three different Sunstone Wines: Rose, Grenache Blanc and Merlot along with an assortment of beers for guests to sip while they enjoyed some passed appetizers.

Sunstone Winery Wedding WinesFor our passed appetizers, we decided on some bacon wrapped shrimp, bruschetta toasts, melon wrapped in prosciutto and house made potato chips with burrata and guava.

Sunstone Winery Wedding AppetizersIn short, it was AMAZING.  All of it.

Sunstone Winery BruschettaI couldn’t get enough of the house made potato chips either as evidenced when the Englishman and I paid a visit to chef Leonardo for a snack.

Sunstone Winery Food WeddingPretty soon it was time for the champagne toasts and to dig into dinner.

Sunstone Winery ChampagneFor dinner, we started our meal with freshly baked bread and olive oil (one of the best combos ever in my opinion).

Sunstone Winery Wedding BreadThe salad course included a classic Caprese and a Caesar salad.

Sunstone Winery Caprese SaladFor our entrée, we decided on a rustic roast chicken with vegetables and a penne amatriciana.

Sunstone Winery PenneEverything was served family style so guests could enjoy as much as they wanted (I loved having dinner this way!)

Roast ChickenThen it was time for our delicious cake!  If you read my post on Solvang Bakery, then you’ll know that they made sure the cake was free of any allergens and made from scratch.

Solvang Bakery Wedding CakeNot only was our cake gorgeous, but it was GOOD.  Best cake I’ve ever had hands down.

Wedding Cake EatingWe ended up going with two different flavors – chocolate with lemon buttercream and carrot with lemon buttercream.  We have the top tier in our freezer but somehow I don’t think it will last until next year.

Sunstone Winery GelatoIn addition to cake there was gelato, which I never got to try (still broken up about it), but it was a big hit among our guests, especially since it came with little sugar cones.

Wedding Sunstone GelatoAnd that was our wedding food.  Huge thanks again to Dana Grant Photography and her amazing pictures!  If you are ever in the Santa Ynez area be sure to pop into Sunstone Winery for a glass of rose, Solvang Bakery for some baked goodies, and Trattoria Grappolo for an amazing meal.  I’m already planning my return trip up there to eat all of it again.

Sunday Wine Day

Lately, life has been busy.  The Englishman and I are house hunting, and while it can be an exciting process at time, boy is it exhausting.  And after looking at one too many short sales where the previous tenants all but destroyed it (true story), all you want to do is kick back with a nice drink and relax and try to forget about the obscene price the bank is charging for a house that will cost more to repair than what it’s worth.

While I prefer a martini as my relaxing drink of choice, a good glass of wine doesn’t hurt either.  Or if you are the Englishman, a nice beer.

We may not have our perfect house yet, but somehow a nice glass of Riesling on a sunny afternoon makes the house hunting process a bit more bearable.  And I’ll definitely raise a glass to that.

Quick and Easy Italian Eats

Sometimes when I want to go out to eat I just want it to be simple.  Not much fuss, no long wait and no fancy-schmansy menu items I can’t pronounce.  Oftentimes when I’m in the mood for a quick and easy bite I tend to gravitate towards Italian since it’s relatively simple.  While I’m not a fan of chain Italian restaurants *cough* Olive Garden *cough*, Pomodoro seems to be the best of both worlds: quick and easy without the mass-produced feel.

Pomodoro has both a lunch and dinner menu and serves everything from homemade pastas, salads, paninis and specialties such as grilled salmon and butternut squash ravioli.  The restaurant also offers daily specials and includes all nutritional information on its menu.

My friend and I decided to take a stroll down to Pomodoro one evening to have a nice dinner and catch up.  When we got to the restaurant around 6:30 it was full but not too full so we were able to sit out on the patio (which is highly recommended if you want to dine al fresco on a warm evening).  The night started with an obligatory glass of Pino Grigio.

The wine was good, but not mind-blowing.  But I quickly reminded myself that I was at a quick and easy type of place so chances were they weren’t going to have my favorite Pinot Grigio in-house.

We were soon presented with light, fluffy bread fresh out of the oven.

The bread was warm and gooey on the inside and had a nice crust.  But the pesto dipping sauce that accompanied the bread really put it over the top.

The pesto sauce may not look all that appetizing but it tastes pretty damn good.  Just trust me on this one.

After nearly devouring all our bread and drinking our wine, it was time for our entrees.  I initially had my eye on the Butternut Squash Ravioli but a.) I knew it would not be nearly as good as the ravioli at Cucina Alessa, and b.) I figured throwing some protein into my meal would probably be a good idea.  So Tagliata de Manzo it was! (aka skirt steak, arugula and white beans).

Yes, my steak is cooked well done and yes I’m aware that I’m “putting the meat to shame” by having it prepared that way.  But I like well done so that’s what we are rolling with.

Overall this was a good dish although the steak could have done with a bit more seasoning.

My friend decided to go with the Grilled Salmon Salad.

She said overall the flavor was good, just a bit too much dressing.  Neither of us could finish our entrees since we were stuffed from the yummy bread and pesto.  We decided to pass on dessert this time even though some of the dessert dishes did look pretty tasty.

And tha’s Pomodoro in a nutshell.  Quick and easy Italian food.  Best Italian food in town?  Nah.  Good Italian food that is reasonably priced?  Absolutely.  I’ll come back to Pomodoro even if it’s only for the delicious bread and pesto.  And maybe I’ll try a dessert next time too.


5789 Alton Parkway

Irvine, CA 92618