Monday, February 25, 2013

Dark & Delicious 2013 Tidbits.

The hubbs and I recently attended P.S. I Love You's Dark & Delicious wine event at Rock Wall Wine Company in Alameda.  As always, the folks at PSILY put on a jam-packed, successful Petite Sirah lovin' party, full of fabulous wines, food and friendly faces.  We enjoyed our time spent at the event, if only for an hour or so due to the bustling crowd-- I am always astonished at the amount of food and wine guests are served, for a mere $60 or so a person, it's a steal.  A generous dose of delicious indeed, if you can manage to get your hands on tickets next year.  It's well worth arriving early to take advantage of the hard-to-find Petite Sirah being poured and equally interesting having the opportunity to sample new, exciting local bites.

"With 55 preeminent Petite Sirah wine companies and 30 fabulous Napa and Bay Area restaurants and/or food caterers, there's nowhere else that you can have this much fun, food, and wine..."

Here are a few personal standouts when it comes to the grub that evening:

Mama Tina's  Ravioli and more
Fresh, handcrafted artisan ravioli, pasta, sauces and meatballs made with love by Owner Tina Eliason.  Rooted in Sonoma County, near the heart of Healdsburg, Mama Tina's can be found in local shops such as  Andy's Produce- Sebastopol, Big John's Market- Healdsburg, Speers Market- Forestville and restaurants such as Bear Republic Brewing Co- Healdsburg, Sky Lounge Restaurant- Windsor, and several farmers markets.  The hubbs and I sampled her ground turkey & beef meatball in homemade marinara-- savory and smooth, with just the right seasoning.  I'm picky when it comes to meatballs, but I would definitely love to have these in my kitchen.  Mangia!
Lungomare  A blend of Tuscan and Ligurian specialties
Another fresh-faced restaurant in Oakland's Jack London Square, Lungomare "is the latest project from the owners of Chop Bar and Grand Tavern, and while the setting is new, the mission remains the same: quality ingredients, perfectly executed."  You will find a selection of northern Italian seafood dishes, a raw bar, house-cured meats, rustic pizza, fresh pasta and plenty of outdoor seating year-round at this waterfront destination.  I managed to squeeze myself in for a visit at this table early on in the night and snagged a beautiful smoked salmon, chive, creme fraiche on a finely seasoned house-made wafer.  The combo was classic, refreshing and made for a great palate cleanser as I moved on to the next Petite Sirah.  One of the best parts of Lungomare is their commitment to locally sourced ingredients, with a whopping list of over 29 local food, wine and spirit artisans being used on the menu.   We can't wait to visit the restaurant itself soon, especially with the approach of fantastic springtime weather.

Tribune Tavern  Authentic, nourishing comfort food  
Opening in March, 2013, the Tribune Tavern is the latest venture from Chris Pastena of Chop Bar and Temoor Noor of Grand Tavern.  Utilizing the ground floor of the tower, also once known as the "local room"- a shared space where reporters could gather and exchange ideas and tips on the news of the day ("where headlines were made") the Tavern will focus on comfort food that is affordable for everyone, along with a well-stocked bar of the best locally made beer and wine.  I don't have much more information on the Tribune Tavern, but I know that the hubbs and I will be some of the first in line to check out this landmark of a spot for a bite to eat.  What I *can* tell you is that the pork belly rillete samples they were handing out were crowd favorites by a long shot.  Shredded, salted pork with rendered fat so smooth you can basically call it pig butter.  Watch out Oakland, the Tribune Tavern will be hitting newsstands soon!

C'era Una Volta  Authentic Italian
"From his early lessons in his nonna’s Elba Island kitchen, to the recipes perfected as he studied the culinary arts in Italy, Chef Rudy prepares the historic flavors of Tuscany for your enjoyment today.  C’era Una Volta opened in 2004, and each year since, we have been honored to be recognized by the Accademia Italiana della Cucina, an official organization of the Italian government, as an authentic Italian restaurant."  I was most impressed to learn that as well as being recognized by the AIDC, Chef Rudy has also been a member of the original Italian division of Slow Food since 1990.  Those are some seriously respectable culinary achievements-- I'm beyond ecstatic to learn that the opportunity to "experience the magic of Tuscany" is just a short drive away in Alameda.  As soon as I walked into D&D, a massive hangar swollen with wine barrels, I noticed a young woman holding a small dish of polenta smothered in a savory tomato sauce with sliced mushrooms and immediately b-lined for it.  My favorite small bite of the night.

And there you have it friends-- a sampling of tasty tidbits that I enjoyed during my time at the enlivening P.S. I Love You's Dark & Delicious event.  There were dozens of other vendors and an excess of beautiful wines as well, but alas, I chose to highlight just a handful this time around.  We'll see you all next year, Petite Sirah in hand.  

Many thanks go out Jo Diaz, of Diaz Communications for providing us with complimentary media passes to this fabulous evening spent meandering the lanes within Rock Wall Wine Company.



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