The tarmac is waiting. Bags are packed. Packages of Lockeford Sausages are stuffed into carry- on luggage and dozens of Lodi wines will fly the friendly skies for eager oenophiles. That’s right, Lodi wine is taking flight to one of Food and Wine’s premier events, […]
Tag: food and wine
Towne House Restaurant Kicks off the New Year with McCay Cellars Dinner If you have read my blog, you know I’m a big fan of Towne House Restaurant in Lodi and their running series of wine dinners. Or, if this is your first time here, […]
With harvest in Lodi Wine Country winding down, I finally have a some time to share some of my most recent food and wine adventures with all of you! A few weeks back I joined a few dozen foodies for an over-the-top Harvest Winemaker Dinner at Fē•nix featuring Lodi’s premier Spanish varietal producer Bokisch Vineyards.
A brisk breeze made for the perfect evening for a stroll through downtown Lodi’s brick-lined streets to my dinner destination. Upon arrival, Liz Bokisch greeted me and showed me to my seat at their table. I immediately grabbed my camera from its bag and proceeded to the hors d’oeuvres. Chef Richard Hyman had prepared Hamachi Crudo with a Yuzu Kosho and delectable Duck Confít Spring Rolls with a Thai Chili dipping sauce. The bites were matched with the 2015 Bokisch Albariño from the Terra Alta Vineyard.I eagerly grabbed one of each to taste. I tried both dishes independently with the Albariño and rolled my eyes in satisfaction. I’m a sucker for Duck Confít, so I helped myself to one more spring roll. I knew I was in for a treat and snapped a few more pictures of guests mingling!As we headed to our seats, the staff began to deliver the first course, a Suzuki Sashimi with watermelon, herb emulsion and Spanish olive oil powder. This dish was almost too pretty to eat. ALMOST. Seriously, the brininess of the fish partnered with watermelon made for the perfect bite. My favorite element of this dish was the herb emulsion. It was bright, well balanced and grassy. Chef paired the sashimi with Bokisch Vineyards 2015 Garnacha Blanca. Chef Hyman clearly knows how to marry flavors.The second plate to come out of the kitchen was life changing. Chef Hyman prepared seared Foíe Gras with a caramelized pineapple and spiced orange gel. Hyman partnered this course with the 2014 Bokisch Garnacha. I can tell you definitively…this was my favorite dish of the evening, and my favorite pairing too! The clove and spice brought out flavors I had never tasted before in Bokisch’s Garnacha.The wine was flowing when the third course came out of the kitchen. We were presented with a coffee rubbed prime filet of beef with a porcini cauliflower risotto. The tender beef was cooked to perfection, but what I really loved about this dish was the cauliflower risotto. There is something to be appreciated about a chef who can think outside of the proverbial steak and potatoes box, while delivering a delicious dish sans starch! Hyman teamed the beef with the 2014 Bokisch Tempranillo. Inky and ripe with dark berries, the Tempranillo stood up to the filet with fortitude.At this point, I’m pretty much stuffed, but I had to try the house-made pappardelle pasta with Superior Farms Lamb Sugo and finished with shaved Pecorino. The pasta was executed al denté and the lamb sugo paired well with the 2014 Bokisch Graciano. I’ve discovered that this is one of my favorite Lodi wines. Apparently I’m in good company, because rumor has it the graciano is Markus Bokisch’s favorite wine, as well. I will admit up front that I am a chocolate lover, so I was hesitant to give the dessert course a chance at fulfilling my sweet tooth. But I was so wrong! Chef turned out a perfect blueberry and strawberry shortcake with spiced Chantilly crème. I loved the generous sprinkling of sea salt on the crust of the shortcake and the crème was the perfect accompaniment to the 2015 Bokisch Tizona Late Harvest Graciano.The evening was so much fun, gathering with friends for an evening of fine food and wine! Chef Richard Hyman’s skills were on full display for this wine dinner, and I was so impressed! The food did NOT disappoint and I can’t wait to get back for another visit. I would also be remiss if I didn’t talk about Markus and Liz Bokisch! They are the most hospitable folks and they make such incredible Spanish wines in the Lodi region. Their award-winning wines have played a huge role in putting Lodi Wine on the map. If you live in Lodi or are planning a visit to Lodi Wine Country, make sure you stop into Fē•nix for fine dining with a flair in downtown Lodi.
Fine Foodie Philanthropist
Watch out…two new trendsetters are making waves in Lodi Wine Country: Riaza Wines and Lodi native Chef Nick Guantone are both scoring high marks for elevating the food and wine scene in a MAJOR way! A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of […]
Two weeks ago I had an opportunity to spend a few hours in the kitchen with a world renowned chef right here in Lodi, CA. Over these past couple of weeks I have reflected on what it meant to me and my future with this […]
Each year 700 guests consisting of vintners, growers, sponsors and visitors converge upon Lodi Lake for an evening showcasing Lodi’s most celebrated winegrape–Zinfandel! The evening is dubbed Vintner’s Grille and features wine tasting, a family-style dinner crafted by Angelina’s, live music by The Ben Kolber Project and dessert by Tony Lawrence, Wine Chef for You. This event is the official kickoff to Lodi Wine’s Zinfest and sells out every single year!
Upon arrival, we were treated to hand-passed appetizers and a LOCA branded wineglass. Our group bellied up to one of the wine stations for a sampling of Lodi’s stunning rosés.
After mingling with industry insiders, guests head to their assigned tables for a farm to fork meal. The dinner started with a harvest salad showcasing local walnuts, chopped apple, crumbled blue cheese and dark leafy greens.
Next up the staff came out with HUGE platters of New York Prime Rib, Pesto Grilled Chicken with Pepper Jack Cheese, Creamy Pesto Rotini and Grilled Brussel Sprouts. Feeding 700 dinner guests in a timely manner is a logistical nightmare, but Angelina’s always delivers. I can promise you one thing…you will never go hungry at Vintner’s Grille!
The best part of the evening is as the sun starts to set on Lodi Lake and the band fires up their instruments! I am always amazed watching a crowd of several hundred people rocking out on the dance floor to the tunes of The Ben Kolber Project. Kolber is a friend, farmer and owner of KG Management, who also happens to be a classically trained musician from the Berklee College of Music. He and his band nail it every year!
Out of all of the events that I attend in Lodi, the Vintner’s Grille is by far my favorite. The staff at the Lodi Winegrape Commission does a fabulous job of putting on a memorable night. Thank you doesn’t seem adequate enough to the crew who pulls it all together.
This event is attended by all of the folks behind Lodi Wine. From the farmers who cultivate the grapes to the vintners that make the wine, to the farm equipment companies, insurers, sponsors, wine industry media and marketers…they all gather under a huge white tent to celebrate Lodi Zinfandel.
The Lodi AVA is home to over 100,000 acres of wine grapes. Located just 100 miles east of the San Francisco Bay the region, historically known for Zinfandel, is producing beautiful wines made from a multitude of varietals. Winegrape growers have diversified their plantings to include varietals of the Southern Rhone, Portuguese, Spanish, German and Italian regions. In fact, in 2015, Lodi was honored as the Wine Enthusiast Region of the year! For more information, please head over to Lodi Wine.
Cheers to Lodi for another fantastic showcase of all that our region has to offer.
Fine Foodie Philanthropist
Anyone else ever wonder when life is going to slow down a bit? Well, I can assure you, in Lodi, it isn’t going to be in May. It’s so crazy I’m terming it May Madness! There are just SO many exciting things happening in Lodi […]