Category Archives: Food and Wine

Gourmet Italian Food in Osaka

HOLLYWOOD PRESS CORPS – OSAKA, JAPAN – There’s an Italian restaurant in Osaka known as Osteria Leb that is getting a lot of buzz in Hollywood, California. Osteria Leb is the perfect place for an authentic Italian business lunch or a relaxed dinner with wine recommendations from the staff. There are dishes from Sicily and flavors from Firenze. It’s all in beautiful Osaka amongst the tall buildings and near the Dojima river.

Dustin Brown from the Hollywood Press Corps (L) with Mr. Yamada (C) and Yuriko (R) at Osteria Leb in Osaka, Japan

Created in 2014 by Mr. Yamada and his wife Yuriko, Osteria Leb never disappoints when it comes to fresh and delicious dining. The restaurant is located in the upscale neighborhood of Nakanoshima, Japan. Its a cozy, welcoming atmosphere and can accommodate individual diners or they take reservations for groups. Osteria Leb is perfect for the locals who stop by and also ideal for visitors from other countries.

The antipasti course for our recent lunch

We began our foodies dream meal with a fresh salad. Known in Italy as antipasti or appetizer, this antipasti delivers in spades. I know it’s hard to make a salad sound like a tasty experience, but in a city like Osaka, where fried food is a local tradition, the salad that Mr. Yamada prepared was real fresh and full of flavor. There are different textures in the salad, a tiny fish to add a salty flavor, and just a little piece of bread.

The pasta at Osteria Leb features authentic Italian flavors

The pasta dish that we had for lunch featured the authentic flavors of Italy. Known as a primi in Italy, its recommended to start your meal in Italy with a small “primi” pasta course. Mr. Yamada prepares the pasta himself while you munch on the salad. The portions at Osteria Leb are generous and I ate every morsel. The textures of the pasta and the subtle Italian spices combine to make an enjoyable dining experience. The smells that fill that cozy eatery are just so pure and familiar.
An osteria in Italy is a place where people gather to enjoy wine and eat simple food. The meat course at an Italian osteria is called a secondi. We chose the pork secondi and we weren’t disappointed. The smell of olive oil being warmed as Mr Yamada prepared our secondi was just so appealing. It made me so hungry. Mr Yamada purchases the freshest meat and fish for his restaurant.

Our secondi course, or second course, was expertly prepared

For desert, we had the tiramisu. The desert course was presented with such a flourish. It looked like a work of art. The scoop of gelato was perfect on this hot sunny summer’s day.

The dessert at Osteria Leb looked like a work of art

Between preparing luxe fare for anyone who stopped by, I had a chance to speak with Mr Yamada. He told me about his recent trip to Italy to sample food and grappa in Verona, Firenze and Rome. He’s been preparing luxe offerings at Osteria Leb for about seven years. His goal is to see everyone smiling when they come in to dine at Osteria Leb.
The Experience Magazine highly recommends Osteria Leb to anyone living in Japan or visiting Osaka. This is a unique dining experience in the heart of Osaka.

Check out the website in Japanese here;

http://osterialeb.jp

Dustin Brown

Dustin Brown

I am the Senior Editor at HollywoodPressCorps.com.

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Authentic Greek Food at Delphi Greek in Westwood

Los Angeles, Ca – May 31st, 2017 – The Hollywood Press Corps stopped by The Delphi Greek restaurant in Westwood for a delicious press dinner. Roozbeh Farahanipour and his wife, Rana, are well known in the West Los Angeles restaurant scene. The Delphi Greek has been providing quality food in Los Angeles for over 30 years. Roozbeh became the owner of this West Los Angeles eatery in 2009.

Roozbeh Farahanipour

Roozbeh Faranipour is the nicest guy I know in West Los Angeles. Roozbeh loves his restaurant and the food he serves. As soon as we arrived for the press dinner, Roozbeh poured me a big glass of Retsina wine. The word retsina comes from the word resinated. Retsina is a famous wine in the Mediteranean region for its pine flavor that originally came from the pine resin that was used to seal the cask. It has a strong taste and its flavor is used in Greek food.
I have to say, my favorite thing about Delphi Greek are the cold appetizers. I don’t know a place that does Hummus and Tabouli better. I could eat just pita with hummus and tabouli at Delphi Greek it’s so good. Hummus, of course, is just Garbanzo beans whipped up with some lemon juice. The hummus is super fresh at Dephi Greek.

The appetizers were so delicious and freshly made

The Tabouli has wheat, tomatoes, onions, parsley, lemon juice and olive. So tasty. We ordered another pile of warm pita bread so we could eat all of the appetizer plate. We were also treated to Tzatziki, which is one of my favorites. Tzatziki is yogurt, cucumber and olives. Again, no one does Tzatziki as good as Roozbeh and his culinary team. Also on the cold appetizer plate, you simply must try the Melitazanosalata. This is a Greek style babghanoosh. It’s eggplant whipped with yogurt and tahini. All the appetizers were so good. We were drinking our wine and saying, “Opa!” which is the Greek way to celebrate life.

The lamb at Delphi Greek was high quality meat grilled perfectly

As the press dinner proceeded, we were treated to the flaming cheese dish that is a popular Greek appetizer. The dish is called Saganaki. It’s quite a spectacle to see the server light a pan of cheese on fire and sear the cheese at your table. It has a European flavor that’s not common in the states.The Delphi Greek delivers this dish with a flourish and its fun to see everyone’s reaction to the flaming cheese.

Dustin Brown (L) from the Hollywood Press Corps and Roozbeh Farahanipour (R) proprietor of the Delphi Greek restaurant in Westwood, Ca

Being a soup lover, I had to try the Avgolemono. This is a traditional Hellenistic, or Greek, lemon chicken soup. The Delphi Greek does a great Avgolemono. So fresh and just the right amounts of key ingredients. The Avgolemono paired well with the Retsina wine.

For a main course, I tried the lamb. This featured four pieces of lamb marinated in olive oil. This was so delicious. The meat at Delphi Greek is so fresh. I don’t know how Roozbeh does it, but he buys the highest quality meat. The pork chop is also expertly made, and a bit of a top dish at Delphi Greek.
The one thing that would surprise people to know about Delphi Greek is its connection to the local political scene. Assemblymen, diplomats and the West Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce often eat at Delphi Greek.

The desserts at Delphi Greek are tasty traditional recipes

Thanks to Roozbeh and his entire staff for putting on a Press Dinner. The food, the company and the journalists were so much fun. Stop by to Delphi Greek in Westwood soon!
Check out the website here;

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Dustin Brown

Dustin Brown

I am the Senior Editor at HollywoodPressCorps.com.

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The Cookie Kahuna is Back and Baking Up a Storm


The Cookie Kahuna and his new bride Carol are an inspiration to romantics everywhere. The Hollywood Press Corps was invited into their home to talk about love, life, and the resurgence of the perfect cookie.

Wally Amos and His Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies
Wally Amos and His Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies

You may remember Wally Amos from the 70’s when he became the “Famous Amos” cookie mogul. He was a warm, young, caring entrepreneur who conquered the world with his amazing little chocolate chip cookies. After taking a break from the world of baking, Wally Amos has decided to jump back into the kitchen with both feet and his original crunchy cookie recipe.

Wally Amos taking pride in his famous cookies
Wally Amos taking pride in his famous cookies

Amos prides himself with his all natural ingredients, including his high quality chocolate chips from Guittard Chocolates, and his vanilla bean extract. He proudly tells us that the very first ingredient in his chocolate chip cookies is “chocolate,” a statement very few cookie companies can make.

As we sat in his kitchen and got a first-hand lesson in “how to roll the perfect cookie”, we were entertained with the story of how the two love birds met and married. Carol recounted every detail down to a loving message left on her voicemail by Wally. He jokingly denied it ever happened so she grabbed her phone and played the message on speaker for all of us to hear. Wally’s eyes lit up and a giant smile grew on his face as he admitted he did, in fact, say those wonderful things.

Wally and Carol Amos rolling cookies together
Wally and Carol Amos rolling cookies together

They met in late January and were married by the end of February. When asked why they moved so quickly, their response was, “Why wait? We’re not getting any younger!” Wally will be 80 soon and Carol turned 70 this year. But when the two look into each other’s eyes, eternal youth seems from them.

As the cookies came out of the oven, Carol enticed us to enjoy at least 18, since she had already had that many before we arrived. She continued to eat them, and continued to up our target number as the meeting continued. Batch after batch came out of the oven and we each continued to toss dozens of the Cookie Kahuna’s masterpiece into our mouths.

A special batch of cookies made with love
A special batch of cookies made with love

We learned that Amos had been invited to go on “Shark Tank” to pitch his new cookie business to the team. He was going to pass on the idea but Carol convinced him that it was part of his destiny, so he decided to move forward.

After eating at least two or three dozen cookies a piece, and enjoying numerous stories of wedding bliss from our newlywed couple, it was time to go. The warmth of the Amos house didn’t come from the cookie oven, but from the cookie Kahuna and his new wife themselves. It was a true pleasure to meet them both and we can’t wait for the new brand of cookies to make their way to our grocery store shelves soon!

Check out the Cookie Kahuna website here;

http://www.cookiekahuna.com

Judy Hansen Pullos

Judy Hansen Pullos

Judy is a journalist and photographer. She lives in Southern California.

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Magical Evening at the 11th Annual East Honolulu Food Festival

The Hollywood Press Corps had the pleasure of attending the 11th annual East Honolulu Food Festival was held at the Star of the Sea Church and School on April 30th from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. They were host to nearly 2000 islanders and their guests who were invited to taste dishes from More than 20 chefs and restaurants are participating including:  A Cup of Tea, Bellini Bistro & Bar, Big City Diner, Café Julia, Da Spot Health Foods and Juices, Dave & Busters, Gourmet Goods & Sekiyas, Great Harvest Bread Company, Il Gelato, JJ’s Bistro   and French Pastry, Kahala Nui, Kahi’s Kitchen, Kakaako Kitchen, Kona Brewing Company, Maile’s Thai Bistro, NOSH Hawaii, Organic Surfer Chef, Panda Express, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, and more.  Even wine enthusiasts were taken care of by Young’s Market Company and Kona Brewing Company who provided bottomless wine and spirits.

Hollywoodpresscorps Editor Dustin Brown with the chef from Kahala Nui
Hollywoodpresscorps Editor Dustin Brown with the chef from Kahala Nui

Each Chef prepared delicious signature dishes such as Mongolian rack of lamb (Kahala Nui), Chef Russell Siu’s (Kakaako Kitchen) cowboy chili and nachos, Big City Diner’s kalua sliders with their famous BBQ sauce and pineapple cole slaw, and more.

Kai's Kitchen Kalua Pig with Lomi Salmon Kabobs
Kai’s Kitchen Kalua Pig with Lomi Salmon Kabobs

The school grounds were beautifully decorated with white tents and checkered table clothes. Each patron wore their best “cowboy” outfits and those who didn’t come prepared were offered a bandana to wrap around their neck in old western fashion. This year’s theme, “Paniolo Night,” featured fun and energetic entertainment by Dita Holifield’s Hillbilly House Band and Kona Winds. The dance floor was packed with dancers of all ages and sizes.

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People from all around the island gathered to enjoy great food and entertainment

In addition to the amazing food, drinks, live music and dancing, there were free games and rides for keikis, and a silent auction that included travel/hotel packages. Proceeds from the Food Festival will go to the Star of the Sea Youth and Homeless Ministries and provide students with classroom smart boards, playground equipment, and new computers.

Nosh Brazilian Hot Cheese Bites
Nosh Brazilian Hot Cheese Bites

It was a magical evening with fabulous food, lots of wine and spirits, and wonderful people gathering together from around the island and a great way to taste a few of the local favorites while supporting a worthy cause.

 

 

Judy Hansen Pullos

Judy Hansen Pullos

Judy is a journalist and photographer. She lives in Southern California.

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Bacaro LA Wine and Cicchetti Bar in Downtown

The Hollywoodpresscorps.com was delighted to find Bacaro LA Wine and Cicchetti bar, a gem of a restaurant in the downtown district of Los Angeles. Surrounded by college students and culture, this small, rustic hideaway offers an impressive assortment of wine, beer and delectable cicchetti.

BacaroLA in Downtown Los Angeles
BacaroLA in Downtown Los Angeles

The Italian word Cicchetti is another way of saying small snacks or side dishes, typically served in traditional “bàcari” (cicchetti bars or osterie) in Venice, Italy. More commonly known in the United States  as “tapas” which is the Spanish version of the same craft of small plates.

Comfortable ambiance for students and business people Photo courtesy of Judy Hansen Pullos
Comfortable ambiance for students and business people
Photo courtesy of Judy Hansen Pullos

The clientele was a mix of college students, business people and romantic diners. The fun decor and ambiance gives this restaurant a comfortable and thoughtful vibe. Wine and beer menus are chalked onto the black board walls, along with evening specials and featured menus. The ceiling is lighted by an eclectic wine bottle fixture that truly sets the tone for the dining experience.

The Kronfli brothers along with their amazing chef Lior Hillel have mastered unique flavors, colors and combinations for each of their small plate creations. The Hollywoodpresscorps.com tasted their complete seasonal special menu as well as a few additional other favorites recommended by General Manager Alex Kefalos.

Seared Scallops were unbelievably delicious Photo courtesy of Judy Hansen Pullos
Seared Scallops were unbelievably delicious
Photo courtesy of Judy Hansen Pullos

The seasonal menu is highly recommended and consists of SEARED SCALLOPS carrot puree, crispy capers, white truffle olive oil $12; CRISPY SKIN SALMON calabrese pepper ragu, fennel salad, grilled sourdough $12; CHIPOTLE CHICKEN WINGS buttermilk batter, smoked pepper sauce, blue cheese dressing $9; and GOAT CHEESE SEMIFREDDO elderflower syrup, oatmeal crumble, macerated mixed berries $6.

Goat cheese with berries Photo by J Hansen Pullos
Goat cheese with berries
Photo by J Hansen Pullos

In addition to these treats, we also had a sampling of the recommended white and red wine, as well as their famous baked chicken breast, mushroom pizza, and the unforgettable Noa’s buffalo cauliflower. But, it was all so delicious, we continued to order more! After a table-side visit from Chef de Cuisine, Matt Albright, we were convinced to try Tal’s Tower – skewered shrimp-stuffed mushrooms with green garlic oil on a baked baguette that was a visual delight as well as a culinary pleasure. And he sent us the Bacaro fries which were a fantastic twist on traditional garlic fries with a fried egg perfectly cooked and placed on top.

Tai's Tower, Shrimp stuffed mushroom skewers Photo courtesy of Judy Hansen Pullos
Tai’s Tower, Shrimp stuffed mushroom skewers
Photo courtesy of Judy Hansen Pullos

To top off out incredible evening we sampled two delicious desserts, HOMEMADE BREAD PUDDING with vanilla ice cream $5 and MALABI rosewater custard with shaved coconut, hibiscus flower, and ground pistachio $5.

They even feature a fun happy hour and other great deals throughout the week including wine down Wednesdays were each round of wine is $1 cheaper than the last, until the round is free!

This unique and sophisticated wine and cicchetti bar is a definite favorite of The Hollywoodpresscorps.com and we highly recommend it to anyone near the downtown Los Angeles area. We are looking forward to our next visit when we will taste the meatier selections from the menu, stay tuned!


Judy Hansen Pullos

Judy Hansen Pullos

Judy is a journalist and photographer. She lives in Southern California.

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Natural Products Expo West Hits Anaheim

The Natural Products Expo West/Engredea, produced by New Hope Natural Media, will be held March 9th-13th at the Anaheim Convention Center. Projected to be the largest in its 36-year history, the sold out trade-only event will play host to more than 3,000 companies and 70,000 attendees. The natural products industry is experiencing growth of 9% per year, driven in part by new and emerging brands. This year, the number of entrepreneurial exhibitors will hit 600, including a full 400 brands that will be featured at the Anaheim Hilton, a must visit area to see the newest products. Get Social & Mobile App: Exhibitors and attendees can follow @NatProductExpo on Instagram and Twitter or Facebook.com/NaturalProductsExpo for all the latest #ExpoWest buzz.

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 4.42.25 AM

The updated Natural Products Expo mobile app now features ActivLocator, a personal indoor GPS to help attendees quickly find their way, discover what’s around them and get more done. Also access schedule-planning tools, find new exhibits and surf digital product showcases. Education Highlights: The 2016 Education Conference will focus on: Making the Impossible Possible, Trust, Vitality, Fixing Food, The Changing Distribution Landscape, Stewardship, Better Business, Cultivating Organic, and The Changing Supplements Market. Featured keynote speakers will bring conference themes to life with the inspirational story of Erik Weihenmayer, adventurer and activist celebrated as the only blind person to climb Mount Everest; Sam Kass, former senior policy advisor for nutrition policy & executive director of Let’s Move!; and Dr. Martha Rogers, one of the leading authorities on building trust. New Product Trends: “Natural Products Expo West and Engredea continue to break records and are completely sold out for 2016, highlighting the rapid growth in organic and natural products. From the Fresh Ideas Organic Marketplace to the Hilton to the Anaheim Convention Center exhibit floor, this annual event maintains its status as the single most important opportunity for launching new products, spotting leading trends from all over the world, and as a gathering place for the entire industry” said Adam Andersen, managing director, New Hope Natural Media. More info at http://www.expowest.com/ew16/public/enter.aspx

Vida G.

Vida G.

Vida is an actress and journalist who lives in Los Angeles, California. She is the co-founder of the Hollywood Press Corps.

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Locanda Del Lago is among the Best of the Best in Los Angeles

After dining at many of the premier restaurants in the Los Angels area, Hollywood Press Corps had the pleasure of experiencing Locanda Del Lago in the 3rd Street Promenade of Santa Monica and it is among the best of the best. Specializing in dishes from the northern region of Italy, Michelin star rated chef, Gianfranco Minuz has definitely perfected his farm to table menu and sommelier, Joseph Matlock, knows exactly how to pair wines with each course.

jd
Lago’s Great Bar with Maitre’d JD

The restaurant is tastefully decorated in Italian decor with warm lighting, rich colors, gorgeous chandeliers and beautiful wood tables. Located conveniently on the 3rd Street Promenade, steps away from the Santa Monica Pier, this wonderful restaurant attracts tourists and locals alike.

We decided to keep it simple so we chose the Celebration of Winter tasting menu. Each item has been created with the freshest organic produce obtained from the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market and sustainable proteins, and always follow the suggestions of the Seafood Watch by Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Prior to our first course, we were brought a treat of parmesan lace and refreshing cocktails prepared personally by mixmaster Joseph Matlock. The thin, crunchy cheese strips are a welcome alternative to the traditional bread sticks and slices that most restaurants provide and paired perfectly with a delicious raspberry lemon drop martini. This was such an incredible start, I would come back just for this pairing!

Baby artichoke salad Fresh produce from Santa Monica Farmers' Market
Baby artichoke salad
Fresh produce from Santa Monica Farmers’ Market

The most amazing salad was our first course. Insalata dI Carciofi al parmigiano or Raw Market Baby Artichoke Salad, was hand crafted using  baby artichokes, celery, arugula, parmesan cheese, and was seasoned with a delicious lemon dressing The wine pairing was the perfect choice of sparkling wine from Italy, Prosecco, Valdo. A perfect start to a grand meal.

RIsotto con Cime dI piselli E Cappesante was delivered as our next course. It was made with Carnaroli Risotto, Market Pea Shoot, Peruvian Bay Scallop, and ParmesanCheese. A Pinot Grigio, Borgo Conventi, ’14 was chosen as the pairing and it was quite a treat. Of all of the risottos that The Hollywood Press Corps has had the pleasure of tasting, Locanda Del Lago has proven to be one of the top creators of this crowd-pleasing dish. Perfectly seasoned, delightfully creamy, and precisely rich, I would recommend this item to the pickiest of diners.

For our first main course, we chose the pesce spada alla grIglia, cavolflori e salmorIglio, which was a perfectly Grilled Pacific Swordfish, Sautéed Market Cauliflower with Paprika in a Sicilian Salmoriglio Sauce. It was paired with a Chardonnay, Chateau St. Jean, ’12. The wine was buttery and smooth and enhanced the healthy, fresh flavors of the fish and vegetables. A great choice for those of us who are health conscious but still want grand flavors.

Roasted Lamb chops photo by Judy Hansen Pullos
Roasted Lamb chops photo by Judy Hansen Pullos

Our second main course was Costolette dI Agnello Arrostite, Primizie del Mercato dI Stagione, which is a roasted, all natural Niman Ranch Lamb Rack Chop with Farmers’ Market seasonal baby veggie mix, in a tomato-thyme Sauce. Deeply Italian in flavors and aromas, this dish paired ideally with a chewy Cabernet Sauvignon, Buehler, ’13. This was a satisfyingly delectable meal.

Amazing Frozen Coffee Marangue
Amazing Frozen Coffee Meringue

And the grand finale was a winter dessert specialty that tasted so much like an Italian decadent delight. Semifreddo Al Caffe’ E Amaretti is an Italian frozen coffee meringue with Amaretti cookies and was paired with a Moscato d’Asti, Michele Chiarlo. A fabulous departure from teramisu, this dessert did not disappoint. It capped off the perfect meal and was light and spectacular.

The Hollywood Press Corps was thankful to have been invited to this incredible restaurant. It truly was one of the most delicious evenings we have experienced to date. A definite “must-try” dining establishment for anyone traveling to or even through the Santa Monica area. You will be pleasantly rewarded with amazing flavors, incredible service, and a romantic, slightly rustic, environment.

Judy Hansen Pullos

Judy Hansen Pullos

Judy is a journalist and photographer. She lives in Southern California.

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UPSCALE DINING AT BARRIQUE VENICE

Enjoying fine wine and a romantic atmosphere at Barrique Venice
Enjoying fine wine and a romantic atmosphere at Barrique Venice

Venice, California is known for its eclectic culture and artistic vibe. Among the many shops and stands are hidden some of the best dining destinations in Los Angeles. Barrique easily scores at the top of the list for fine Italian faire.

Barrique is located on Main Street in a lovely, yellow, bungalow-style home with indoor and outdoor seating. It is clean, modern and very romantic. Soft lighting intentionally keeps the room dark and reliant upon the ambient candle light from each individual table. The atmosphere is very intimate and perfect for a memorable dining experience.

The idyllic and picturesque dinning room at Barrique Venice
The idyllic and picturesque dinning room at Barrique Venice

The Hollywood Press Corps Magazine was greeted by Tony Black, owner of Barrique Venice. He seated us upstairs at a cozy table for two by a window. The tables are made from wine barrels giving the modern theme a rustic twist. Tony presented us with a wonderful, light, crisp white wine Molise from Italy to be paired with our first course, a delicious Branzino and Sea Urchin Carpaccio with Sea Weed and Orange Wedges. This was an amazing choice to begin our meal. Light and full of flavors, perfectly balanced and just enough to entice us before our next antipasto treat.

The delightful foie gras as prepared perfectly
The delightful foie gras was prepared masterfully

Chef Antonio Mure joined us at our table to inquire about our experience so far and to present our next tasting, Grilled Foie-Grass served with Pan Brioche and poached  pears. The understated elegance of this dish was a pleasant surprise. Not too rich or heavy, this also paired beautifully with the wine. The portions at Barrique are exactly right. Just enough to enjoy the flavors and move on to the next delicacy.

Chef Mure shaving mouth watering truffles on to a plate of handcrafted mushroom ravioli
Chef Mure shaving mouth watering truffles on to a plate of handcrafted mushroom ravioli

Chef Mure and Tony Black were both very attentive and a real delight to spend the evening with. Chef Mure would arrive with each of his courses to give us a little history of the dish and a back story on his process and presentation. The next course was home-made Red Beet Tagliolini Pasta, Marsala Quail Ragù on a Bed of Taleggio Cheese Fondue. Tony paired a fruit forward Sicilian Red wine with this dish and the two flavors played in perfect harmony. Chef Mura was so proud of his dish and referred to his pasta as “orgasmic” and “better than sex”. And with that statement came the next pasta dish, a traditionally hand-pinched, home made ravioli filled with fontina cheese from the Piedmont region of italy. The ravioli were delicately dressed in a white truffle butter sauce and Chef Mure personally shaved truffles over the top of the dish for an extra bump of exquisite flavor.

The Mediterranean Sea Bass was prepared with braised Maui Onions and fresh Zucchini
The Mediterranean Sea Bass was prepared with braised Maui Onions and fresh Zucchini

For our main course, we were presented with a Grilled Mediterranean Sea Bass with Braised Maui Onions and Zucchini in a Blood Orange Sauce. We also reverted back to a white wine, a lovely citrus toned chardonnay that enhanced the slightly tart fruit flavors of the seafood dish. Once again, it was the perfect pairing. The sea bass was tender and flaky with a delicate hint of Italian seasoning and earthy flare.

To finish our evening we enjoyed a traditional Italian Easter cake from the Naples region. It was a light version of a cheesecake, sprinkled with powered sugar and lined with a creme fraise sauce and berries. Buttery, flakey and simply delicious.

The entire meal was satisfying yet light and healthy, allowing us to have enjoyed many wonderful flavors without feeling over stuffed at the end of the evening. Great food, incredible ambiance, and delightful character from both restauranteur Tony Black, and Michelin Star rated chef Antonio Mure left us feeling happy and satisfied and ready to make reservations to come back very soon! HollywoodPressCorp definitely recommends Barrique for an incredible dining experience and an intimate retreat for close family and friends.

http://www.barriquevenice.com/#tonyblack78gmailcom

 

The dessert at Barrique is the perfect ending to the meal. All photos courtesy Judy Hansen Pullos
The Italian Easter Cake dessert at Barrique is the perfect ending to the meal. All photos courtesy Judy Hansen Pullos

 

Judy Hansen Pullos

Judy Hansen Pullos

Judy is a journalist and photographer. She lives in Southern California.

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Latin Food Fest!

The fourth annual Latin food, wine and spirits fete, hits in 2016, Los Angeles March 18 to 21, and San Diego August 12 to 15. Last year’s festival drew over 20,000 attendees and the signature event, Grande Tasting, features an impressive lineup of culinary talent, restaurants, wineries, distillers, along with tastings, cooking demos, live music and exclusive chef-collaboration meals.

Here are highlights of Latin Food Fest! Los Angeles 2016

Spirits of the Americas Party (Friday March 18). Los Angeles Latin distilled spirits enthusiasts will kick off the 2016 Latin Food Fest by tasting tapas from the hottest restaurants and cocktails prepared by top mixologists from an exhilarating collection of international distilleries representing Bacanora, Cachaça, Mezcal, Pisco, Raicilla, Rum, Sotol and Tequila.

Grand Tasting Los Angeles (Saturday March 19)
The 4th annual ¡Latin Food Fest Grande Tasting is an all-inclusive Latin food, wine and spirits-tasting journey to the Caribbean, Central and South America, Mexico, Portugal and Spain. Wines from Argentina, California, Mexico, Spain and spirits such as Bacanora, Cachaça, Mezcal, Raicilla, Rum, Sotol and Tequila pair deliciously with the cuisine. VIP pass holders get in at 11am and into the VIP Lounge for Spanish tapas, cooking demos, oysters, a gift bag, organic tequila, sparkling wine, massages and music.

Grande Tasting Los Angeles (Sunday March 20)
Grande Tasting Sunday is an all-inclusive Latin culinary adventure for all ages. Guests will sample Latin food and beverages, the wine and beer garden, dance to live music, learn to make fun foods at the cooking demo tent from celeb chefs and bid on memorabilia at the silent auction. Kids could get a picture with a friendly Luchador by Jarritos and get their hands messy in the interactive Kids Kitchen to earn a “Kid Chef Diploma” and picture with the chefs.

Havana Supperclub (Monday March 21)
This spectacular six-course private chef’s dinner will feature a Cuban tasting trip. Rioja wine paired with the dinner courses and a dessert rum cocktail with the final course. Guests will learn the stories behind the food as chefs share the dishes, flavors and ingredients that inspire them, and share a cigar. Live music and dancing.

Latin Food Fest!’s brand partners includes The Lincoln Motor Company, Delta Air Lines, Jarritos, Northgate Markets, Anheuser-Busch, Grand Marnier, Bush Brothers & Company, KORBEL, Ibarra Chocolate, Mexico Lindo Hot Sauce, Camaronazo, Steuben Foods, Tepachito, Cupcake Vineyards, Las Palmas, Moët Hennessy USA, Hard Frescos, Mexico Tourism Board, Aveníu Wines, La Brea Bakery, Tito’s Vodka, and E.J. Gallo Wines.

See website for a full schedule and pricing. 858.461.1970. www.latinfoodfest.com

SECOND ANNUAL NEWPORT BEACH WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL

SECOND ANNUAL NEWPORT BEACH WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL DEBUTS FINAL SCHEDULE

The Second Annual Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival with Title Sponsor American & Southern Wine & Spirits releases the final schedule of events, boasting a savory lineup of culinary delights and tasting opportunities. From Friday, October 2, through Sunday, October 4, food and wine lovers will experience a weekend celebrating Orange County’s best cuisine and chefs, while showcasing world-renowned culinary masters, award-winning wines, acclaimed wine experts and more. Starting with the Launch Party on Friday night, journey through a weekend full of tasting, sipping and learning at the weekend’s main event, the Daytime Festival on Saturday and Sunday, and an interactive Riedel wine glass tasting event on Sunday morning.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 2 LAUNCH PARTY – CELEBRATE FOR A GREAT CAUSE (6:30 – 9:30 PM)
The weekend kicks off with the Launch Party benefitting Festival charity partner Project Hope Alliance on Friday, October 2, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Island Hotel’s Oak Grill & Aqua Lounge. Celebrity chefs, Festival participants, gourmands and VIP’s will enjoy fine wines, cocktails and live music. Hand-passed hors d’oeuvres will be prepared by Oak Grill Executive Chef Marc Johnson, who is creating a seasonal menu unique to this event. The event will offer once-in-a-lifetime food, wine and travel experiences to bid on during the evening’s silent auction. Net proceeds from the auction items and donations will benefit Project Hope Alliance. Tickets to the Launch Party are priced at $125 and sold separately from Daytime Festival tickets.

DAYTIME FESTIVAL AT THE NEWPORT BEACH CIVIC CENTER – THE WEEKEND’S MAIN EVENT
On Saturday, October 3, and Sunday, October 4, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. each day, the Daytime Festival will be held on the outdoor grounds of the stunning, mod-chic Newport Beach Civic Center. One ticket to the Daytime Festival grants guests unlimited access to all event programming and tastings including live cooking demos with Bravo TV “Top Chef Masters” and “Top Chef” stars, tastings from 32 Orange County restaurants, wineries pouring over 200 fine wines, wine tasting panels led by master sommeliers, mixology courses, handcrafted cocktails, imported beers and live jazz. General Admission Daytime Festival Tickets are $150 per day; Weekend Passes for Saturday and Sunday are $250; VIP Daytime Tickets are $225 per day; All-Inclusive VIP Weekend Pass includes Launch Party and priced at $425.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3 – DAYTIME WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL (1:00 – 5:00 PM)
Saturday’s Daytime Festival begins with critically acclaimed wine tasting panels led by some of the country’s most notable master sommeliers. These panels are informative and interactive for both connoisseur and novice wine drinkers as they’re guided through educational tastings. There are only 142 master sommeliers in the country; the Festival is proud to have five of them including, Fred Dame and Michael Jordan (as seen in the hit movie Somm), as well as California Masters Steven Poe, Thomas Price and Sur Lucero. Learn “How to Taste like a Master Sommelier with the Secrets of Blind Tasting” from 1:15 to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday.
During Saturday’s live cooking demonstrations, Bravo TV’s “Top Chef Masters” will once again be duking it out as world-famous chefs Rick Bayless and Hubert Keller showcase their culinary mastery on the grand Sub-Zero Wolf outdoor kitchen stage. Both of these chefs went head-to-head on “Top Chef Masters” Season 1. Rick Bayless ultimately won the season and at this year’s Festival, guests will have the opportunity to see them live on stage. From 2:45 to 3:30 p.m. Hubert Keller will be preparing French cuisine live with local chef Pascal Olhats; from 3:45 to 4:30 p.m. Rick Bayless will show guests how to create upscale Mexican cuisine.
Two Grand Tasting Pavilions will delight all senses as they bring together some of the best restaurants in Orange County with world-renowned, boutique and “cult” wineries pouring unlimited tastings. These white peaked tents adorned with crystal chandeliers, include savory bites prepared and served by 16 restaurants and each of their executive chefs. Saturday’s restaurants include: RED O, Twenty Eight, The Winery, The Loft, Oak Grill, Pelican Grill, Mastro’s Steakhouse, Mastro’s Ocean Club, Canaletto Ristorante Veneto, Driftwood Kitchen, Tamarind of London, Tommy Bahama Island Grille, True Food Kitchen, Filomena’s Italian Kitchen, Honda Center, Waterline and B Candy. Grand Tasting Pavilions are open from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
The Festival also entices spirits, beer and jazz aficionados, in addition to food and wine. Guests will enjoy mixology courses led by Southern California Southern Wine & Spirits Director of Mixology, Tricia Carr, as she takes the mixology stage to educate the crowd on how to become the ultimate at-home bartenders. Handcrafted cocktails from Absolut Elyx, Cruzan Rum, Duke Spirits, Laphroaig and Roca Patrón will be served throughout the Festival grounds. Stella Artois is back for year two, offering tastings of a variety of their most popular imported brews. Everything will be enjoyed over sounds of Lauren & The Mike Frost Band playing at the jazz lounge, designed by Z Gallerie. Mixology courses are from 1:30-1:40 p.m., 2:30-2:40 p.m. and 3:45-3:55 p.m.; Stella Artois and cocktails offered all day; jazz music live all day.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 4 – DAYTIME WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL (1:00 – 5:00 PM)
Sunday begins with another tasting panel led by Master Sommeliers Michael Jordan, Steven Poe, Thomas Price and Sur Lucero, which takes place on the outdoor Sub-Zero Wolf stage. An all-new panel will guide guests through an educational tasting journey with premier Pinot Noir wines. The “Pinot Noir 101” seminar will teach guests the in’s and out’s of enjoying the most seductive of all red wines, exploring four famous wine regions on the California Coast. Sunday’s tasting panel is from 1:15 to 2:00 p.m.
Sunday’s first cooking demo will feature “Top Chef Masters” Season 1 Alum Chef Rick Moonen joined by long-time friend and local OC chef, Chef Alan Greeley of The Golden Truffle. “Top Chef” Season 11 Finalist Shirley Chung will lead the Festival’s first Top Chef Home Cook Challenge with “Top Chef” star coaches and judges, Brian Huskey, Brooke Williamson and Louis Maldonado. Four guests from the audience will be chosen to be coached by each celebrity chef and then compete on stage. One winner will be crowned as the Festival’s very first “Home Cook Top Chef” while winning up to $1,000 in high-end culinary prizes. Demo with Rick Moonen and Alan Greeley is from 2:45 to 3:30 p.m.; Top Chef Home Cook Challenge is from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.
The Grand Tasting Pavilions will present an entirely new lineup of 16 restaurants with executive chefs serving gourmet tastings of their signature cuisine. Wineries from Saturday will be returning Sunday, giving weekend guests the chance to taste as many wines as possible. Sunday’s restaurants include: Selanne Steak Tavern, Studio, Fig & Olive, Montage Laguna Beach, Oak Grill, Aqua Lounge, Slapfish, Boathouse Collective, Del Frisco’s Grille, AnQi, Andrea Pelican Hill, Roy’s, Stonehill Tavern, Honda Center, A&O Kitchen + Bar and B Candy. Grand Tasting Pavilions are open from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.; for VIP ticket holders, they open at 12:00 p.m.
Mixologist Tricia Carr returns on Sunday to showcase her cocktail concocting skills with new mixology courses. Guests will also enjoy handcrafted cocktails from Absolut Elyx, Cruzan Rum, Duke Spirits, Laphroaig and Roca Patrón, as well as Stella’s selection of imported brews. On Sunday, Cooper Phillip will take the jazz lounge stage to delight guests with her smooth, sensual vocals and band. Mixology courses are from 1:30-1:40 p.m., 2:30-2:40 p.m. and 3:45-3:55 p.m.; Stella Artois and cocktails offered all day; jazz music live all day.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 4 – RIEDEL WINE GLASS TASTING EVENT (11:00 AM – 12:30 PM)
Learn how to taste wine the “right” way out of the “right” type of wine glass with Riedel’s very own Chris Dillon. This highly interactive and entertaining course will guide guests through tastings of three different wine varietals including Pinot Noir, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, while tasting them out of three different Riedel glasses. Guests will not only come away with a whole new outlook on tasting and drinking wine, but will also take home a three-piece Riedel wine glass set, a $125 value. This event takes place on Sunday morning, October 4, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Newport Beach Civic Center. Tickets are priced at $75 and sold separately from Daytime Festival tickets.
CHARITY PARTNER AND SPONSORS
Proceeds from the weekend of events benefit charity partner, Project Hope Alliance, ending the cycle of homelessness one child at a time. The Orange County nonprofit provides children with the tools and opportunities that they need to learn their way to a better tomorrow. Currently, Project Hope Alliance supports over 300 children attending 39 different schools in 21 cities, throughout Orange County. The Festival has the sponsorship support of local and national corporations, many of which will be having luxurious lounges and special activations during the Daytime Festival.
More information on the Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival is at www.newportwineandfood.com or call (888) 511-FEST. For ongoing updates, follow the Festival on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.