Show 318, April 6, 2019: Pechanga Sake and Beer Festival Preview with Pechanga’s Sommelier, Mark Amodeo

Mark AmodeoFor enthusiasts of Japanese beer, sake and sushi, a new festival comes to the calendar in April at Pechanga Resort Casino. The inaugural Pechanga Sake & Beer Festival takes over the Pechanga Summit Events Center on Saturday, April 20 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. with VIP entry at 12 p.m. Proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley.

More than 40 premium sakes (daiginjo, ginjo, junmai and sparkling) including many award-winning brands and styles from all over Japan will be poured alongside Japanese beers. Brews include premium beers, reserve, super dry (European style) and black beers from the island nation. Guests can learn about sakes’ flavors and production styles from experts – the brewers themselves and those close to the brewing process. Pechanga chefs get rolled up in the festival as they prepare fresh sushi to pair with the sake and beer selections.

Chefs Kiyo Ikeda, head chef of Umi Sushi & Oyster Bar, Kok Che, executive sous chef of Pechanga’s Asian restaurants, and Duane Owen, Pechanga Executive Chef, will be on hand to meet with guests, present them fresh, made-on-site sushi, and allow visitors to find out their expert suggestions for matching sushi with sake.

Tickets are now on sale and available at Pechanga’s website, by calling (877) 711-2946 or at the Pechanga Box Office. General admission tickets are $75 and include a keepsake sake sampling cup. VIP tickets are $150 and include early entry at 12 p.m. and a wooden sake holder and cup. Tickets include unlimited samples of sake, beer and sushi. Guests must be 21 or older to attend.

The festival’s idea sprang from the popularity of beer and sake within Southern California, as well as the continued rise of sushi as a mainstay of sought-after fare in America. The 2nd place win for Pechanga’s Umi Sushi & Oyster Bar in USA Today’s Best Casino Restaurant readers’ poll also helped cement the festival’s possibility at the Temecula resort/casino.

Pechanga Resort Casino’s newly arrived Sommelier, Mark Amodeo, is our spirited guide.

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Show 317, March 30, 2019: Sommelier Ian Blackburn – Chinese Food & Wine Challenge – Which Pairs Best?

Ian BlackburnIan Blackburn’s LearnAboutWine is doing it again. His first Chinese Food & Wine Challenge – Which Pairs Best? event sold out way ahead of the date so he’s encoring it on Sunday April 14th from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Arcadia’s Chengdu Impression. Capacity is limited to 24 inquisitive guests.

Wine and Chinese food pairing. A multi-course Chinese meal prepared by vetted Chinese experts in the San Gabriel Valley.

“Wine will be the focus. Which wines work best? The audience, the energy will be amazing. Come and fight for your favorite wines. This is a competitive flight tasting of approximately 20 different wines.” Everything from Chateau Miraval Cotes de Provence Rose, France 2017 to Bodega de Edgar Tempranillo, Paso Robles, USA 2014.

Chengdu Impression was established in September of 2004. The founder and chairman of the company, Mr. Bing Du, is the Vice President of Sichuan Gourmet Association and Deputy Director of China Zhigong Party Sichuan Overseas Communication Association. The company insists on following Chengdu’s deep-rooted gastronomic culture and the long-lasting culinary tradition to produce, provide and promote the tradition and high-quality Szechuan cuisine worldwide.

Curious about what wines pair best with inspired Indian fare? On May 25th, Ian is coordinating Riesling vs. Indian with the always entertaining father & sons proprietors of Badmaash.

Wine Professional and Sommelier Ian Blackburn pulls the cork for us. (What wine pairs with a fortune cookie, anyway?)

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Show 311, February 16, 2019: Sommelier Matthew Kaner, Cavas Codorniu, “Creating Cava” Masterclass

Matthew KanerSommelier Matthew Kaner is a partner in some of the best wine bars (Good Measure) in Southern California. He also represents Codorniu-Raventos, the producer of some of Spain’s most respected sparkling wines including the Ars Collecta Cavas. Matthew recently conducted a masterclass on Cavas Codorniu for somms and wine retailers in West Hollywood.

Three of the Ars Collecta wines were among the first 12 single-estate Cavas designated by the Spanish Minister for Agriculture for the Cava de Paraje Calificado designation. The Cava de Paraje Calificado designation is, as of July 2017, a new distinction which sets requirements, characteristics and quality control standards that certify the excellence of Spain’s best premium Cavas.

The ambitious Ars Collecta project also created the 457 – the world’s most expensive Cava. 457, the masterpiece of the Ars Collecta collection is a cava that pays homage to the 457 harvests completed by the Codorníu Estate.

“The Codorníu Raventós Group is the oldest family business in Spain and one of the oldest of the world, in addition to being the business group which created cava. With vineyards in our property since 1551, we are proud to say that we have more than 450 years of experience in the manufacture of quality wines and cavas. We currently have ten wineries, eight of which are in Spain (Bilbaínas, Legaris, Scala Dei, Raimat, Bach, Nuviana, Abadía de Poblet, and Codorníu Wineries), one in Napa Valley in California (Artesa) and another in Mendoza, Argentina (Séptima).”

We’ll artfully pop the bubbly cork with him.

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Show 304, December 29, 2018: Sommelier Jim Clarke, Marketing Manager, Wines of South Africa USA

Jim ClarkeFortunately the wines of South Africa have come a long way on the world stage since the demise of apartheid. They are now known for world-class Chenin Blanc and Pinotage but are also generating acclaim for their Bordeaux-style varieties.

Wines of South Africa is an industry owned, not-for-profit organization. Its mission is to contribute to the global success of the South African wine industry by building Brand South Africa.

Sommelier Jim Clarke, Marketing Manager for Wines of South Africa, uncorks the 411 on these wines for us.

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Show 263, March 3, 2018: The Sky Room’s Coquelicot Wines Benefit for Food Finders

Jonathan RosensonThe Sky Room, an iconic restaurant in downtown Long Beach, will be hosting an afternoon wine tasting fundraising event featuring their signature Coquelicot wines, on Saturday, March 10th from 1-3pm. Organized by Dine LBC, funds raised will benefit Food Finders food rescue program.

For this unique social event, guests will be invited to sample up to twenty Coquelicot wines while enjoying light appetizers provided by The Sky Room. The Sky Room is located at 40 S.Locust Avenue in downtown Long Beach.

Tickets are $35 per guest and are available for purchase right here. All proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Food Finders to support their ongoing food rescue program.

“The team at The Sky Room has always been supportive of the important work that Food Finders does in working to eliminate food insecurity in Long Beach and beyond,” said Jonathan Rosenson, proprietor and sommelier of The Sky Room, “We’re excited to have this chance to invite guests to spend a fun afternoon tasting our Coquelicot wines and support Food Finders at the same time.”

Wines by the bottle will also be available for sale for guests to take home during the event, with all proceeds also going to Food Finders.

Jonathan uncorks the needed 411 for us.

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Show 242, September 30, 2017: Laura Donadoni, Certified Sommelier, Lugana D.O.C.

Laura DonadoniLaura Donadoni is our expert wine ambassador when it comes to selections from her native Italy. This time we’re talking about the wines of Lugana D.O.C. from the Lombardy region of Italy.

“Lugana is the name of the magical land nestled within the ancient Quadrilateral defense system of the Lake Garda region. The Lugana wine region encompasses two provinces (Brescia and Verona) and two regions (Lombardy and Veneto) in the morainic plain south of Lake Garda. Its unique qualities originate from the beneficial microclimate of the lake, the local clay soil, and a particular variety of grapes named “turbiana” that make it full-bodied, age worthy, and grant it a floral and citrus bouquet.”

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Show 173, May 28, 2016: Charlie Plummer, Paul Hobbs Wines & Paul Hobbs Selections

Charlie PlummerPaul Hobbs is a very prominent figure in California winemaking and beyond. We’ll find out why Forbes has described him as “the Steve Jobs of Wine.” Joining us is Paul Hobbs Wines’ National Sales Director, Charlie Plummer, who is also a Certified Sommelier.

Paul Hobbs was part of the opening team at California’s renown Opus One and has consulted for many of the great wineries in California and beyond. His pioneering boutique winery has an intimate tasting room in Sebastopol in rural Sonoma County. It’s a connoisseurs’ experience. The tasting room is open to discriminating guests by advance appointment.

Paul Hobbs Selections is an importer featuring premium wines from Argentina, Chile, Canada and France.

The Golden Chef Series, co-hosted by Charlie Plummer, is in its fifth year showcasing great chefs in Orange County. This year’s Golden Chef Series, presented by Fisher & Paykel and DCS, takes place at the Irvine Spectrum in Big Wheel Court. Chefs will demonstrate how to prepare their signature dishes. This event is free.

The next dates are June 4th and 18th.

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Show 141, October 10, 2015: Bracero Cocina de Raiz and General Manager JM Woody van Horn Continues…

Chef Javier Plasencia’s General Manager and Sommelier at the new Bracero Cocina de Raiz in San Diego’s Little Italy, JM Woody van Horn continues…

The restaurant is on two levels. Reservations are taken, and the lower level is left for walk-ins. Also check Open Table. A few reservations typically become available “day of.

Of his new restaurant, Chef Javier says, “The traditional Mexican kitchen is a central gathering place, where lively talk resonates and generations of home-crafted meals are envisioned, created and enjoyed. So it is at Bracero Cocina de Raiz. We celebrate memorable dishes and specialty cocktails, and raise a toast to the heart and soul of those who have nurtured each and every plant that has produced what goes into recipes that are both reminiscent, and perfected in a way that has never tasted quite so good.”

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Show 139, September 26, 2015: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

Greetings, and now a mouthwatering preview of Saturday’s high octane show and not, with apologies, for dieters. With any luck we will always leave you hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s probably a good thing…

We move aside this morning a bit early for Notre Dame football at 11:30 a.m.

Cooking authority Amelia Saltsman wrote the highly regarded Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook and is a fixture at The Market. Her newest tile is The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen – A Fresh Take On Tradition. Amelia joins us with all the tasty facts on her new book.

Executive Chef Eric Klein of Spago Las Vegas is no stranger to the “SoCal Restaurant Show.” In the last couple of weeks he has cooked a private dinner for The President, been the celebrity guest chef aboard Holland America Line’s ms Maasdam, and cooked at one of the most prestigious charity funds-raisers in Las Vegas. We’ll catch-up with the always on the move Chef Eric.

DANCIN Vineyards (Medford, Oregon) is a lush, Italian-esque vineyard estate where tasting is an experience of enjoyment and relaxation, where wines are served alongside harmonious food pairings. The hospitable proprietors are the gracious husband & wife team of Dan and Cindy Marca. Dan Marca is our guest.

In three years. Seoul Sausage Company has become the premier force behind cutting edge Korean BBQ in Los Angeles.  What began as a tiny catering company run out of their apartment kitchen, Seoul Sausage is now a multi-faceted culinary enterprise comprised of an acclaimed restaurant in West LA’s “Little Osaka” neighborhood, two food trucks, a customized grilling Scion and an in-demand catering company. Newly opened is a Downtown L.A. location in Little Tokyo with an expanded menu and a full bar. Co-founder Ted Kim joins us with a fiery update.

What is the role of a sommelier in a restaurant ? It’s certainly changing…Is the person a friend or a foe ? How do you really know? Our resident wine expert, Kyle Meyer of Wine Exchange in Santa Ana, shares his informed thoughts.

All of this and lots more absolutely incredible deliciousness on Saturday’s show!

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Show 139, September 26, 2015: Kyle Meyer, Co-proprietor, The Wine Exchange

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeWhat is the role of a sommelier in a restaurant? It’s certainly changing…Is the person a friend or a foe to the guest? How do you really know?

Can a sommelier work his way up with experience or is it a requirement to be certified by one of the Wine World’s governing bodies? Which approach is best? Who creates the wine lists that you see at restaurants?

How do you handle a haughty sommelier?

We also discuss wine pricing in restaurants. Value is the new mantra!

Our resident wine expert, Kyle Meyer of Wine Exchange in Santa Ana, shares his informed thoughts.

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