Showing posts with label event. Show all posts
Showing posts with label event. Show all posts

Friday, June 9, 2017

Thompson Island, a Private Event Venue that Educates Public School Students

Summer is eventually coming to Boston, and when it does, it's time for harbor cruises and visits to the Boston Harbor Islands. Thompson Island is also gearing up for the season. Thompson Island is open for one of two purposes: 1) a private event on the island, or 2) Outward Bound, an experiential education program for students.

The two are connected, and I recently visited the island on their Open House to learn more about both and the great cause the island is supporting! While the education center provides educational programs for students of all ages (corporate team building included), the private events that are booked on the island provide the funds needed for Outward Bound to offer FREE summer programs to Boston public school students!
Thompson Island
The wonderful cause isn't the only draw for having your event on this island, though. Let's take a look at what they offer. The island is a mile off of downtown Boston and takes about 30 minutes with the Boston Harbor Cruises ship.
It was nice to get off the boat and head to our own private island - at least for the evening.
Thompson Island

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Ticket Giveaway: LA Weekly Sips & Sweets

Are you the type to dread holiday shopping? Well, even if you're not, holiday shopping while eating desserts and drinking cocktails sounds way better, doesn't it?
That's where LA Weekly's Sips & Sweets event comes in.

On December 12, Sips & Sweets brings together over 20 bakeries and pastry chefs, over 20 mixologists, and 20 craft and artisan vendors for an evening of drinking, shopping, and eating.
Grab a light dinner and head over for some desserts from Craft, Cake Monkey Bakery, Choctal, Salt & Straw and many more. There will be cocktails prepared by bartenders from Terrine, Corazon y Miel, The Varnish, Sassafras, Faith & Flower, among others. The Vendor Village will have all kinds of gift options from the edible ones to jewelries and even dog beds.

The event starts at 8pm, and the advance pricing (before November 29) is $40 for general admission, or you can buy the VIP ticket for $60 and get early admission plus a special gift bag. You can buy the tickets here, or try your luck with the giveaway below!

I'm partnering up with LA Weekly to give away 2 general admission tickets. Just follow the directions below, and good luck! :)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Ticket Giveaway! LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets on December 7

Think holiday shopping is stressful? Then you should go to LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets presented by Keurig, where you can shop through LA's artisanal vendors while eating sweets and cocktails prepared by LA's finest.

Oh, and you can even go for free if you win the ticket giveaway below. Lucky you.

But first, the event details. Sips and Sweets will be held on December 7th, from 2-5pm at The Majestic Downtown and The Reserve.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Oktoberfest at Pomona Fairplex

by: guest blogger @iam_robot

As Oktoberfest beckons, guys and gals rock their lederhosen or dirndl and beeline to Pomona for some brats, beers, and chicken dance. There we will see a traditional Oompah Band playing a selection of foot stomping, thigh slapping German folk tunes to give the festivity a true Hofbrauhaus (Munich historical beer hall) ambiance. Not your cup of tea? Fret not! There are tons of tribute bands playing the tunes of Led Zeppelin, Queen, Black Eyed Peas, and Journey (or Foreigner….aren’t they the same band?).
Inside the pavilion is the buffet featuring traditional German fare:

Thursday, March 27, 2014

April 6: Ninth Ultimate Wine Festival in Manhattan Beach (and 2013 Recap)

If you're looking for a wine event filled with big names like Opus One and Silver Oak, then you should consider the Ultimate Wine Festival, coming up on April 6, 2014 at The Shade Hotel in Manhattan Beach. 

The event costs $125 pp with tastings from 3-6pm, or $200 to get into the Reserve Magnum Tasting from 2-6pm. Considering the ticket price of some of these wines, it's a pretty good value if you enjoy your wines!

There are around 50 wineries participating in all. Last year, I found old favorites like The Prisoner and Faust ...
... and ome new ones including Villa Creek from Paso Robles, who makes Rhone varietals, and Chappellet from Napa.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Giveaway! Tickets to PPLA Food Fare on March 6

The annual Food Fare raises fund for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles. 97% of PPLA's services include screenings for cancer, STDs, and the like. I personally support it and am therefore happy to tell you that this year's PPLA Food Fare is coming up on Thursday, March 6!
This year's events will take place at The Barker Hangar in Santa Monica and as usual there will be a day session (starting at 10:30 am) which costs $150 and an evening session (starting at 6:30 pm) which costs $250. Of course, all the proceeds benefit PPLA. You can purchase the tickets here and might want to hurry, looks like tickets are running low!

This year's notable participating restaurants include Chi Spacca, Star King Korean BBQ, Mexikosher, Lucques, Superba, Salt's Cure, Hamasaku, and many more. On the liquid side, there will be Kreation Juicery, Caffe Luxxe, Golden Road Brewery, and many wineries. There will be vendors so you can go shopping, along with fun silent auction items.

Let me get to the best part: PPLA is generously giving away a pair of tickets to the Food Fare!

The tickets will be for the evening session ($500 value) although if you prefer to attend the day session, you just have to say the word.

You can enter using the form below by midnight on Thursday, Feb 27th.
Just a note: some people click that they've tweeted but actually did not. I will randomly check entries and if you actually did not perform the action, I will remove that entry.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Lesson in Rum And Cocktails With Shellback Rum

A Shellbacker is someone who's crossed the equator. Shellback is also the name of a rum made in Barbados, claimed to be the birth place of rum according to the oldest document found thus far documenting rum being made (from 1651). They're one of the affordable rums (about $15 a bottle) and come in both silver and spiced rum. 
They had sent me a box containing both of them and while the rum is affordable, they sure sent them in a fancy box with my name engraved on it!

The silver rum was pretty smooth and they both make good mixing rums. I didn't know what to make with them though (other than the classic rum cocktails that I usually drink), so when I was invited to a tasting and mixology workshop with Tony Abou-Ganim, the Modern Mixologist, I figured it's a great chance to get some creative recipes. 
Before making cocktails, we had to learn how to properly taste rum. Tony told us to put our nose in the glass but breathe through the mouth. Then we rinse the mouth with the rum itself. We get a saliva drip in the back of the mouth which is a good indication of acidity. As I said when I tasted it at home, the rum is pretty smooth.

Barbados style rum is unique in Caribbean because it is a blend of pot stilled and column still. The silver rum tasted of burnt sugar, honey, banana, vanilla, and caramel.
The spiced rum had seven natural spices added: Vanilla, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, cassia, ginger. It has the aroma of caramel butterscotch and is rich with a luscious mouthfeel. It's hot as it runs down your throat. There's a bit of acidity and a lingering finish but it's a clean finish.

Now, on to cocktails! He gave us three recipes.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Calling Peat and Whisky Lovers: Peatin' Meetin' V on June 29

If you're not a member of the LA Scotch Club, you may not know about their annual Peatin' Meetin', open to anyone who enjoys peaty whisky. They will all convene next Saturday, June 29 at the Upper Picnic Area at UCLA's Sunset Canyon for over 100 peated whiskies including Laphroaig, Ardbeg, Bowmore, Smokehead, Lagavulin, and many more.
The great thing about this event is that the whiskies you will taste there are not just from sponsors, but they use their own club funds to source some rare whiskies. It's all about sharing a great whisky with fellow lovers.

Other than over 100 peated whiskies, 7Grand will also be on site making peated cocktails! You won't be drinking on an empty stomach, fret not. They will be peat smoking 175 lbs of New York strip sirloin this year. There will also be peated beer!

Tickets are $100 all-inclusive (or $40 for non-drinkers). You will also get a free t-shirt if you register early. Tickets and more information are available on

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Art Meets Cocktails: Art Beyond The Glass II on June 30

Last year, many of LA's best bartenders showcased their multiple talents in mixology and art/photography/music at the first Art Beyond the Glass, held at Sadie Kitchen and Lounge in Hollywood. The 2nd Art Beyond the Glass is coming up real soon, next week at the beautiful Invention inside the members-only Los Angeles Athletic Club! This is also your chance to check out the bar without splurging on that membership fee.


Here are the deets:
Sunday, June 30, 2013. 3:30pm – 7:30pm
Los Angeles Athletic Club
431 W 7th St Los Angeles, CA 90014
Tickets are $50 and available on Eventbrite (with part of the proceeds benefiting Art Share LA). You can see next week's bartender lineup here, and you should get excited..

I definitely drank more than $50 worth of cocktails last year. Great cocktails were overflowing, of course, with so many bartenders rotating shifts. New bartenders and new drinks every hour! Plan to stay for most of the event.
Jaymee Mandeville and Cari Hah serving up their sangritas.
Cari will be at next week's event.
But they weren't just there to mix drinks. Eugene Lee from Big Bar exhibited some of his photographs. Some, like Cana Rum Bar's Allan Katz were DJing for the afternoon.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

LA Turns Into Tacolandia on June 23

If there's one guy who knows his tacos in LA that would be Bill Esparza, also known as Street Gourmet LA. While you and I whine about how hard it is to get from the east to westside, he's been known to scour the county for new gems, trying out places in Sun Valley and beyond.

Lucky for you, though, he's bringing them to Hollywood in June. That's 30 restaurants from all over LA, OC, and even Baja. And thanks to tacos being cheap, this all you can eat dealio is only $20! It's not just cheap taco stands participating though, even famed Chef Laurent Quenioux is set to participate. And if you want all you can drink tequila on top of that, then it's $40.

A much better deal than a $60 dim sum crawl ...

Tacolandia will be on June 23 from 12-5pm at the Hollywood Palladium. Mark your calendars and buy your tickets here.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Celebrate Summer Italian-Style: Sorprendente at Oliverio on April 25

Cooking station, a truffle tasting station (the awesome, aromatic kind), an al fresco bar, wine tasting, learn to make pasta from scratch, sample Italian spirits and dishes from their new Osteria. All this for $55 when you buy pre-sale tickets to Sorprendente at Oliverio, the Italian restaurant inside Avalon Hotel.

The event takes place on Thursday, April 25 from 6-10pm. For the $105 VIP ticket, you get VIP access to the lounge, a seafood bar hosted by Santa Monica Seafood Company, more/better wines, and a VIP open bar. For more info:

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

June 29: LA Street Food Fest Summer Tasting Event

The 4th Annual LA Street Food Fest is back on June 29 at the Rose Bowl! As usual, your ticket will be all inclusive. Inclusive of what? Well, all of these awesome things:

1. Food from 100 food vendors ...
Since the vendors from Baja were so popular 2 years ago, they brought even more last year! La Guerrerense, kraken tacos from Kokopelli, tacos de Camaron enchilado from El Mazateno are but a few.


Simpang Asia had these mini versions of nasi bungkus, how adorable!
The higher end LA restaurants could also be found here. Some of the highlights were the fried pig's feet from Chef Neal Fraser, cannolis from Sotto

Monday, July 16, 2012

July 22: Angeleno Magazine's Live and Dine LA (+ 2011 recap)

Live & Dine LA, the event celebrating Angeleno Magazine's Annual Restaurant Awards, is coming  back on July 22 to the Fairmont Miramar. It's not just an award show, which happens during the VIP reception, but the main event features tastings from various restaurants and liquor brands. Keep in mind that the many of the award winners will naturally be participating (plus other restaurants), and this is after all, the annual restaurant awards, so this will be a tasting of the best among the best.

The 2010 event was already great, but 2011 was probably twice the size, with the same kind of quality.

Last year's winner included Red Medicne, Sotto, Robata Jinya, mixologist Julian Cox, Roy Choi, and others.

FIG at the Fairmont Miramar is of course always participating. They brought out a whole roasted pig for some pork tacos. Hang around a bit and see if you can get some of the crispy skin!

The crab salad wrap from A-Frame (Best New Restaurant) was a crowd favorite, and I had to go back for seconds.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

March 8: Planned Parenthood Food Fare (and 2011 recap)

Planned Parenthood has been in some controversial news lately and it seems like more than ever they really need our support! Well, the annual PPLA Food Fare is returning for the 33rd year on March 8th - an easy way for you to give support while enjoying yourself!

The event is divided into a Day Session (10:30 AM - 2:00 PM, $150) and an Evening Session (6:30 PM - 9:30 PM, $225). The proceeds, of course, go towards supporting their various programs including health care services - half of which are screenings and prevention for cancer and STDs.

This year's Chef of the Year is Suzanne Goin so naturally you can expect AOC, Lucques, and Tavern to be at the Food Fare, along with 150 others including Craft, Clementine, and Border Grill.

At last year's event I discovered some great desserts including a lovely spread from La Provence Patisserie and Cafe...


this amazing chocolate bourbon cake from Immaculate Confections (weird name, but they make all liquor cakes, which I can definitely stand behind)
Bourbon Cake

Joe Miller from Bar Pintxo and Joe's of course had his big pan of paella, and Momed brought out my favorite duck shawarma.
PaellaMomed Duck Shwarma

I also liked this event because they had a number of vendors selling things like vintage bow ties, and their silent auction had probably the best item I had ever seen in a silent auction: a complete set of Mad Men Barbie Dolls!

Cafecito Organico
I was just on my way out when I ran into some bloggers who told me that Cafecito Organico was hiding in the back! We had some great cappuccino (spiked with some great tequila from a vendor nearby ...)

This year's PPLA Food Fare will be at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on March 8. You can buy your tickets (or if you can't make the event you can make a donation) here.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Join Me for Happy Hour at The Capital Grille!

The Capital Grille in Beverly Hills has offered to host a happy hour for my readers, in promotion of their new happy hour bar menu. For those who join me during this event, The Capital Grille will provide free passed bar food including their lobster and crab burgers, mini tenderloin sandwiches, and lobster salad sandwiches (usually $6 during happy hour). The drinks (wine, beer, signature cocktails including Hemingway Daiquiri) will be $6.

The event will be on Tuesday June 14, from 5-7 pm. We will be partying it upstairs on their Terrace. Additionally, you can drop in your business card to win a $100 gift certificate!

The Capital Grille
8614 W. Beverly Blvd.
 Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 358-0650

Bring your friends, but remember to RSVP to me at gourmetpigs @ gmail by Monday 6/13, so they can prepare for the right number of people. You can also RSVP on this Facebook event page, but please only do one or the other so I don't double count!
Looking forward to seeing you guys there and sharing some food and drinks!

PS. There is complimentary valet (separate from the Beverly Center), enter off of Beverly just past San Vicente.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Fun Finds at Artisanal LA Spring Show

Going to Artisanal LA with their close-to-100 local vendors can be dangerous indeed. Going in you think you don't need anything, but you inevitable leave with a bag anyway, because there are just so many amazing goodies in there!

Here are some of my favorite discoveries from the last Spring Show at the Santa Monica Place:

Bacon chutney from Cast Iron Gourmet. It's spreadable bacon!!

Bacon Chutney

Shortbreads from Shortnin Bread Bakery. They had some cute shapes like these mustache ones. I ended up buying the chocolate with sea salt shortbreads.
Mustache Shortbread

The vegetarian sandwich from Daily Dose Cafe (opening soon in downtown LA). The vegetable sandwich was my favorite? Yep, I was surprised, too.
Daily Dose Sandwiches

And last but not least, a tea with my name on it from Sugarbird Sweets and Teas! (It's a blend of rooibos and raspberry)
Fiona tea

Did you guys get to go to the Spring Show? If you didn't, be sure to check out the next one. The pre-sale tickets were only $10 and included drinks from VeeV, Greenbar Collective, and some interesting demos and panels. Oh, and a portion of that $10 went to benefit St Vincent Meals On Wheels.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Blogger Prom 2010: If High School Was ...

Blogger Prom is what your prom might've been like in high school ...
If you were of legal age of drinking during high school and the organizers of your prom secured alcohol sponsors and a signature cocktail.

If said organizers had access to Yamashiro, the restaurant with the best view in the city.

(and when there's a giant screen showing our tweets all night long because we're okay being geeky like that)

If everyone dressed their best and ended up on the LA Times blog!
Nastassia from Let Me Eat Cake and one half of the Manila Machine

If prom came with duck or black cod tacos for dinner!

If no one judged you for stuffing yourselves with truffles from Chocobox and two Coolhaus ice cream sandwiches.

... plus a selection of cheese and dried fruits from Barrie Lynn, The Cheese Impresario, including her infamous "cheese sex" (a 10 year old cheddar from Hook's Creamery).

If prom kept feeding you for the next two weeks with coupons from Manila Machine, Border Grill, Sprinkles, and 7-11 (and kept you smelling good too with all the shampoos and deodorants).

The best part? We all raised $2,400 for Operation Frontline!

Many thanks to the Blogger Prom committee members LA & OC Foodie, Caroline on Crack, e*starLA, Happy Go Marni, Liquid Muse, LAist, ShopEatSleep, and When Tara Met Blog for putting on a great party.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Celebrity Chef-Studded Dinner at Sashi!

Chef Makoto Okuwa at Sashi is no stranger to the ever popular Iron Chef show, but although he's had years in the show under Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, Thursday July 8 marks his first appearance as the lead chef and challenger.

He's pulling all the stops to celebrate, too, and that's where you can come in.
That night, he will bring in Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and Top Chef champion Michael Voltaggio, plus chef Noriyuki Sugie (Ironnori/Breadbar), chef Sonny Sweetman (Exec chef of Wolfgang Puck), and chef Waylynn Lucas (Exec pastry chef of Patina). The six of them will prepare 1 hors d'oeuvres and 1 dish each.
Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres will be served at 5 pm, and the six course dinner + Iron Chef America viewing will start at 7 pm. Of course, all the rockstar chefs will be mingling with guests in the dining room.
And that's why you'll pay the $120 price tag.

Call (310) 545-0400 to RSVP.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Giveaway: Wine Competition Swag Bag + Tickets to LA County Fair

I was recently invited to preview/taste the winning wines of the 71st Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition, selected from 3,165 wines by 75 judges. Alas, I can't attend the preview because I'm out of town, but they generously offered a gift bag for me to give away to one lucky reader!

The gift bag, valued at $75, will include:

  • A variety of spirits and olive oil samples from this year's competition.
  • A pair of tickets to the L.A. County Fair
  • Vouchers to the wine-tasting seminars at this year's Fair.

Before you enter, make sure you can attend the L.A. County Fair!

You can get up to 2 entries. Here's how to enter:
1. Leave a comment with your contact information below.
2. Tweet: "Win a gift bag($75 value) from LA Int'l Wine Competition via @gourmetpigs! Enter here: "
Once you tweet, leave me a separate comment telling me you did so (easier for me to count the entries this way).

Once you win, I will contact you for your mailing address and they will mail you your gift bag.

You have until midnight on Thursday, June 17 to enter. Good luck!


Also, the LA International Wine & Spirits Competition is also holding a fundraiser, Wine & Cars Under the Stars, where for the first time the public can taste the winning wines. Taking place on June 19, tickets for this event are $100 each and benefit The Learning Centers at Fairplex, which offers educational programming for the community.

Monday, May 24, 2010

How Merlot Takes Revenge

After going wine tasting in the Santa Ynez Valley, I finally sat down and watched Sideways, the movie that propelled central valley Pinot Noir to fame and unjustly gave a bad rap to Merlot. Do you like Bordeaux? Do you know that Merlot is one of the primary grapes that go into Bordeaux?

Finally, Merlot producers and other wine professionals decided things have to turn around. Well, there's only one way to do that, I suppose: let consumers try high quality Merlot.
Ian Blackburn of Learn About Wine organized a Merlot-centric wine event humorously called Revenge of the Merlot.

The event was held at the Elevate Lounge. While the main event was at night, I was invited to attend the "trade tasting" during the afternoon. Twenty nine wineries/importers were in attendance showcasing their wines, totaling more than fifty wines.

Despite its bad reputation in the movie, Merlot is the third most planted grape variety in the world with 640,000 acres to its name. The name Merlot came from the Occitan word meaning "young blackbird."

I was fortunate enough to attend the panel tasting, thanks to LAW & SauceLA's press invitation.
The seven wines we tasted were from:
1. 2006 Merlot, Gundlach Bundschu, Sonoma (~$30). Presented by Jeff Bundschu.
This wine had a sharp smell, but a fruity taste, medium body, and actually goes down pretty smoothly.
2. 2005 (Merlot w/ 15% Cab-Franc), Newton, Napa Valley. Presented by their winemaker, Chris Millard.
Mellower and earthier aroma than #1 but was actually more tannic. Richer and fruity, and the sharp tannins don't really linger.
3. 2006 Merlot from Carneros Valley, Silverado, Napa Valley (~$30). Presented by Russ Weiss.
Bold and darker flavors with a little herbal notes.
4. 2005 Oakville Merlot, Swanson, Napa Valley ($36). Presented by their winemaker, Chris Phelps.
5. 2007 Montes Alpha, Chile ($24). Presented by Alex Guarachi, President of TGIC Imports.
6. Cakebread Cellars, Napa Valley. Presented by Christopher Huber, VP of the Sales dept.
7. 2006 Jackson Park Merlot, Matanzas Creek, Sonoma ($49). Presented by their PR person, Joe Cicero.
Fruity, distinct spice, bright, with nice and light tannin. I enjoyed this.
Winemakers, owners, and other experts from each winery served as a panel and introduced their respective wines as discussion was led by Ian.

Oh, the panel also mentioned a new documentary about Merlot coming up, called Merlove.
(OK, cheeky title, but I'll watch it anyway).

One of the highlights for me was trying Twomey, a sister winery of Silver Oak. The main reason for my excitement was because I've tried to go to their tasting locations both in Calistoga and Healdsburg - both times on a Sunday, when they are both closed.
Twomey's Merlot is made using an old (19th century) and now rare technique called soutirage traditionnel, where the wine is never pumped.

I didn't taste all the wines available that day (I hadn't been spitting consistently) ...
Organic Cellar spotlighted a Prosecco Merlot, a refreshingly crisp sparkly. This was a nice change from all the red wines abound.

Another interesting booth is the TGIC Importers.
They had a variety of Merlots from Argentina, Chile, and more. He told me to first try the Pascual Toso 2007 Merlot from Argentina as it was to be the "most surprising," he said.
The Pascual Toso was surprisingly rich: fruity and had bright flavors. An easy wine to drink. Not a complex wine, to be sure, but if I'm looking for something in this price range (~$10) it's definitely a bottle I would consider getting. The Santa Ema Reserve Merlot from Maipo Valley, Chile was mellower, deep, and smooth.

There are certainly a lot of great Merlots around the world. Miles from Sideways may not drink any "f***ing Merlot" but he was so whiny throughout the movie anyway ... are you really going to listen to him?

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