Food Fest Frenzy! – Control yourself please!

Keeping track of SF Bay Area Food Happenings!

Mountain View Art and Wine Festival Sep 10 & 11

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The 40th Annual Mountain View Art and Wine Festival is coming this weekend.  Usually a very well attended event in the Castro Street downtown area.

The will have a nice selection of beer and wine  and plenty of food.

I can be a little fussy about the quality of food and wine at such events, but I will certainly be there and it’s a great experience overall.  Definitely one of the better Art and Wine Festivals each year.

 

 

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September 9th, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Gilroy Garlic Festival 2011

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I arrived at Masten avenue just about 10 am for the Gilroy Garlic Festival.  Another 20 minutes or so of street traffic before arriving in the parking lot.  Another 15 minutes to get a shuttle bus and arrive at the admission gate.

I skipped breakfast so I was a little hungry. After getting the lay of the land I headed to gourmet alley for an appetizer.  I decided on the calamari. It was nicely tenderized calamari in an Italian tomato based sauce with loads of garlic and just a bit of extra spice. I found it absolutely delicious and was just what the doctor ordered.

I then headed to the wine pavilion where 23 wineries from Santa Clara Valley were pouring a few wines each.  Tickets were $7 each for three 2 oz tastes. They had a nice handout of all the wines being poured. I finally settled on a glass of Lightheart Cellars 2010 Caneros Chardonnay to start. Very crisp with citrus and tart lemon on the finish. Plenty of nice white and Rose’ wines to chose from. I particularly liked Sycamore Creek Vineyards 2010 Uvas Rose’. A little scary looking at first because it’s so dark. It’s made from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Malbec. It has a nice off dry style with some rich fruit, but not overwhelming.

After a few tastes I headed to the Garlic Cookoff competition.  Four teams competing for $5000 in the secret ingredient, one hour format made so famous by Iron Chef.  I, however, was getting a little hot and was not interested in sitting out the entire hour.

Eventually I ended up back at Gourmet Alley and went for the $12 combo plate with Scampi, Garlic Sausage, Chicken Stir fry, and Garlic Mushrooms. I brought my plate back to the wine pavilion where I started with an interesting white wine that reminded me a bit of a floral Sauvignon Blanc with not as much acid. It was from Kirigin Cellars, their 2009 Malvasia Bianca. The Sarah’s Vineyard 2009 Central Coast Grenache was another wine I particularly liked. A red fruit style Grenache that is low acid, very easy drinking and balanced.

This was the 33rd Annual Gilroy Garlic festival and they have raised almost $9 Million dollars for local charities during that time.  They have plenty of music, food, beer, wine, entertainment, and a large kids area; pretty much what you need to keep everyone happy.

You do need to consider the heat and traffic congestion. To be honest it’s kept me away more than once. But this time I got in early and enjoyed a great lunch and early afternoon of browsing around before the worst of the traffic, crowds, and heat. So give yourself plenty of time to arrive and depart, and drink plenty of water.

 

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August 1st, 2011 at 3:22 am

Los Altos Art and Wine Festival 2011

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The Los Altos Art and Wine Festival has always been a good one considering the size of down town Los Altos. They pack the streets pretty well there. There is a lot very nice art to look at, but I don’t usually buy art.  I do however usually find some food/cooking related item that strikes my fancy at these events, but I didn’t find many vendors that interested me.

I was hopeful when seeing Chef Chu’s booth of getting some nice quality street food, but only the Chinese Chicken Salad was available.  I did get a couple nice tacos from the Tamale Factory that has been to every street event the past ten years I’ve been to.  I shouldn’t complain because at least I can always get something I like.

The good news is there were several very nice wineries there and I gladly spent my food festival budget on wine. First was a 2008 Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir from Skov Winery out of Scott’s Valley. Very classic light bodied Pinot Noir, elegant but showing a lot of nice red fruit already but oak could use a little mellowing.

Thomas Fogarty Wines was there and Naumann Vineyards had some tempting selections but I went with Martin Ranch Vineyards 2007 Therese Vineyards Syrah. Another elegant wine more on the red fruit side. Got some weight and some oak flavors as it opened up, but not a big purple fruit bomb that is so common.

There were six local Santa Cruz Mountain and Santa Clara Valley wineries present and a couple nice glasses of high quality local wine was perfect for this event. If we could get more street food and local restaurants to team up with local wineries at these events the quality of food and wine would be wonderful.

It’s my 50th Birthday Today! Let’s grill some meat and drink some wine!

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It’s my birthday, so being dubbed the grillgod oh so many years ago I’m grilling some meat and drinking some fine wine after work today.

I have some USDA Prime Top Sirloin cut in to large shish kabob chunks that I’ve marinated as follows:

Salt & Spices:

Chardonnay Oak Salt, Smoked Paprika, & Herbs de Provence

Add to Lime Juice, Garlic, Pomegranate Vinegar, & Olive Oil

Next up is some Carne Asada.  Start with nice skirt/flap meat.

Salt & Spices:

Chardonnay Oak Salt, Spicehound Mexican Adobo mix, & Smoked Paprika

Lime juice, garlic, & olive oil, then marinate over night

 

Finally, we have our beautiful Baby Back Ribs.

Salt & Spices:

Citrus Rosemary Gray Salt, Spice Hound Adobo Mix, & Smoked Paprika.

Rub in the dry spices then rub in lime juice.

Let them all marinade overnight then the rest is up to you.

The key to good grilling marinade is high quality salt and just the right amount of spices with a citrus juice and olive oil to provide some liquid and flavor.  I like Napa Style for my salts. They have a nice variety at decent prices. High quality smoked paprika adds smokiness and complexity and herbs de provence provides nice savory flavors.

I believe this style really brings out the flavor of the meat while still adding some great flavors of their own.  Don’t focus too much on seasoning.  Some quality salt and a few mild spices are all you need.

 

 

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July 15th, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Posted in @grillgod,Bay Area,Events

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Palo Alto Dishcrawl with Yelp!

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Better hurry on this one.  Just got my ticket for the Palo Alto Dishcrawl on Tuesday July 19th with the South Bay Community Manager of Yelp!

There were 11 tickets when I bought mine brining it down to 10, but I just checked and only 8 left!

I’ve been to several of these events and they are a lot of fun and very well run.  If you love food like I do and want to try everything on the menu than these events are for you.  Walk one of your local communities and try a dish at several restaurants.

Hope to see you there or at a future Dishcrawl event!

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July 8th, 2011 at 12:40 am