Orange County Wine Festival Showcases Beautiful Atmosphere

The Orange County Wine Festival, which took place April 22, saw a festive crowd and a plethora of sips amidst a gorgeous setting in Dana Point’s Lantern Bay Park. Nearly 40 wineries, as well as a collection of breweries and restaurants, provided guests the opportunity to sample a generous number of varietals and tastes.

Featured labels included Russian River Vineyards, Sculpterra and Broken Earth Winery. Joya Sangria was also a clear crowd favorite, providing cold refreshment on a hot day.

On the food side, Waterman’s Harbor put on a show with its paella, cooked in a traditional massive pan. CocoTutti’s chocolates made for a sweet complement as well, with flavors from liquid vanilla caramel to ginger Thai chili peanut. For more information, visit CaliforniaWineFestival.com

Taste of Downtown Glendale Defines the Walking Food Festival

Taste of Downtown Glendale may be one of the most interesting and best-value food festivals that most of Los Angeles hasn’t yet heard of. This annual event truly integrates food festival and food tour—instead of myriads of restaurants hosting booths in one central area, they host booths outside [or in some cases inside] their physical establishments.

The event’s incorporation of The Americana at Brand, The Galleria, the Alex Theater and other venues showcases beautiful destinations that a non-Glendale local wouldn’t otherwise stumble upon, in addition to the area’s spectacular eateries.

The iconic Porto’s Bakery was doling out some of its classic dishes. Tumanyan Khinkali Factory served up its namesake dish, a spectacular Middle Eastern dumpling, among other novelties that most guests likely tried for the very first time. Trattoria Amici’s prosciutto ravioli was perhaps one of the richest, most decadent pasta dishes out there, and Lao Sze Chuan’s lineup of Far East classics were yet another highlight.

Thankfully the event’s quarter-mile stretch and beautiful weather allowed guests to walk off the food coma and ready themselves for the next great stop. Wine and beer stations popped up along various areas, as did music venues that included performances from local choirs and jazz clubs. For more information, visit TasteofDowntownGlendale.com

Masters of Taste Wows theRose Bowl

Masters of Taste just celebrated its second year, but it has already become a staple event for L.A.’s foodie community. Nearly 50 restaurants covered an artistic palette of flavors from across the globe. Venice Whaler’s crab and shrimp rolls and Miro’s paté and fusion empanadas were absolute highlights. SpireWorks Döner American Style, Prince of Venice and Bone Kettle joined the savory favorites as well. On the sweet side, Dulce’s maple bacon and fruity pebble donuts paired amazingly with their blueberry green tea milk tea while Mignon Chocolate’s chocolate fountain and sea salt cups saw lines of smiles.

Asian flavors were particularly prominent. Ramen Tatsunoya was an overwhelming crowd favorite with its namesake dish. Mama Lion, Michael Hung’s new Koreatown spot, spared no expense with its use of uni. Hamasaku, Kato and Hoke Poke [gotta love that name] were among the long list of Far East establishments cooking up a storm.

Wineries such as Navarro Vineyards and San Antonio Winery, as well as breweries including Bootlegger’s Brewery and Three Weavers Brewing Company, were joined by novel additions such as Kombucha Dog and Philz Coffee. For more information, visit MastersofTasteLA.com

Santa Clarita BBQ & Beer Festival Sees Great Success in Second Year

If there was a most-improved award to give for a food festival, The Santa Clarita BBQ & Beer Festival would win hands-down, and walk up to the podium with a standing ovation. The event pulled off a remarkable transformation that brought together a fun, festive crowd with excellent food and drink.

Big names and craft breweries alike gathered for endless pours. Stella, Lagunitas, Goose Island, Shock Top, Fireman’s Brew, Coronado Brewing Company, Wolf Creek Brewery and Angel City Brewery were just a few of the many labels present. BBQ vendors included Black Sugar Rib Company, Our Place BBQ and Taste of Soul on Wheels smoking up all kinds of ribs, tri-tip plates and pulled pork nachos.

Returning guests were extremely thankful to be rid of painfully long lines [really, though, it took more than an hour to get food at the inaugural 2016 event]. A significant increase in vendors was a big help, as was the festival’s extended hours [5:30 - 9:30 p.m. as opposed to closing at ~8 p.m. in 2016]. People are hoping for the Santa Clarita BBQ & Beer Festival to continue its momentum going into next year. For more information, visit BBQandBeerFestival.com