A Farmer's Wife, who loves fine food, wine and giving back

Tag: Lodi

Markus Wine Co. Makes his Mark on Lodi Wine’s Legacy

Markus Wine Co. Makes his Mark on Lodi Wine’s Legacy

Niggli Releases Red Wine Line-Up, Adds to Already Stellar White Wine Collection I need you to read this carefully…Markus Niggli is a visionary. Read it again. Markus Niggli is a visionary. He is changing the landscape of Lodi Wine with his unique perspective to wine […]

The Ultimate Food and Wine Experience in Lodi Wine Country

The Ultimate Food and Wine Experience in Lodi Wine Country

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, […]

Shakin’ it Up: a Cocktail Class with Master Mixologist Teresa Perry

Shakin’ it Up: a Cocktail Class with Master Mixologist Teresa Perry

Girl’s Night Out: Cocktails 101 at Wine and Roses

It’s time to shake things up! Seriously. You know I always love a beautiful glass of wine, but sometimes the Fine Foodie Philanthropist needs a good cocktail! And when I do, I normally end up at Towne House Restaurant, where I cozy up to the bar with master mixologist, Teresa Perry.

As the lead bartender, Perry is responsible for crafting refined, seasonal cocktails to tantalize your taste buds. She also has a vast array of local, farm-fresh produce to enhance your drinking experience!

Over the past year, Wine and Roses hosted a variety of cooking classes catered to both locals and tourists in Lodi Wine Country. When I heard they scheduled a Mixology Class led by Perry, I made my reservation and invited a friend to come along for her birthday!I wasn’t sure what to expect, but Wine and Roses definitely delivered with gourmet bites, tasty libations and fun. At each seating was a decorative box of recipes with the 8 cocktails we would learn to make. We also were set up with the fresh ingredients, bottles of booze and glassware needed to craft each drink.Perry guided us through each step in the process from a demonstration table outfitted with a large mirror. We were lucky she had a microphone to help us hear the instructions, especially once everyone loosened up a bit! We started out with the Yellin’ Melon, a concoction of vodka, simple syrup, hand squeezed lemon juice and fresh Crenshaw melon. My favorite cocktail of the evening was the Berry Basil Bliss. I mean…it WAS my go-to summertime cocktail and I was finally going to get the recipe!!! Here is what I can tell you. It involves vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup, basil leaves and strawberries from the farm stand. It is the quintessential summer sipper. I also really enjoyed the Pineapple Express. Nothing screams summer like a succulent and sweet pineapple. Mix it up with some rum and you have some seriously happy guests. The cocktail magically transported me to the Hawaiian Islands, sipping the Pineapple Express poolside. The food, as usual, was both comforting and inventive. They started things off with a prosciutto wrapped melon. The sweet melon comes from local farmer Drew Rotner of R and G Farms. Food doesn’t get much fresher than that. By the 7th or 8th cocktail (I should disclose we only consumed two of the cocktails, but tasted each of the other 6) who doesn’t love a great slider, fries or street tacos?The Summertime Sangria was also a showstopper. A tumbler filled with rose, rum, pineapple juice, guava puree and club soda pleased this palate. Easy to drink and fruity, my friends would totally enjoy this on a hot summer day paired with some BBQ chicken or a spinach salad of strawberries with goat cheese. Next up was a Jalapeno Margarita. Perry demonstrated how to make the cocktail, but apparently, I wasn’t paying close enough attention. My table learned the hard way that you should gently muddle the jalapenos, not pulverize them. So my insider tip is to pay attention to experts when attending a culinary class. I was also excited to learn how to make a Manhattan. While I have enjoyed my share of this classic cocktail, I had never attempted to make one before. The orange peel and in-house brandied cherries rounded out the rye whisky for a perfect finish. The night was crazy fun! It also gave us each a great appreciation for the attention to to detail bartenders execute to make a specialty cocktail. A few of us posed for pictures after the class was over!

Gin Blossom with Blueberries and Micro-Mint/Lavender

One of the other highlights of the night was hanging out with Towne House Sous Chef Bennyjan Peneyra, who attended the class. I had to stop and strike a pose with him…this guy is a beast in the kitchen and the nicest guy you will ever meet. So if you ever get the chance to stay at Wine and Roses, or are a Lodi local looking for hand-crafted cocktails, stop by Towne House. Teresa and the rest of the staff will take care of you!

Cheers,

Fine Foodie Philanthropist

Suzanne Ledbetter

Fē•nix Rises for Bokisch Harvest Wine Dinner

Fē•nix Rises for Bokisch Harvest Wine Dinner

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 […]

Homegrown Chef Delivers: Riaza Winemaker Dinner

Homegrown Chef Delivers: Riaza Winemaker Dinner

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 […]

Vintner’s Grille, an Industry Insider Dinner- ZinFest Part One

Vintner’s Grille, an Industry Insider Dinner- ZinFest Part One

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!

Guests Tiffany Book, The One Cool Thing and Emily Hetzner, Wine and Roses

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.

Matt Manna, of Manna Ranch and Matt Focacci, Lodi grapegrower, pour wine for guests as board members of the Lodi District Grape Growers.
Attendees mingle before dinner at Lodi Lake

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.

First Course paired with Lodi wine!

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!

Guests Jason and Amelia Blote pose for the camera

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!

Ben Kolber, of the Ben Kolber Project, putting on a show on the main stage

 

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.

Bob Colarossi, Estate Crush, Craig Ledbetter, Vino Farms and Aaron Lange of LangeTwins Family Winery and Vineyard raise a glass of Lodi Zinfandel

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

Suzanne Ledbetter

Photos by F3 Studio Photographers

 

 

Big Hats, Big Hearts, Big Money

Big Hats, Big Hearts, Big Money

Over 400 guests donned big hats, big hearts and big pocketbooks for the Hospice of San Joaquin’s Fourth Annual Kentucky Derby Fundraiser. The event, or shall I say spectacle, was held at the Sargent Equestrian Center on Saturday, May 6, 2017. The Kentucky Derby is […]

LangeTwins Launches ZinFest Weekend with Winning Wine Maker Dinner

LangeTwins Launches ZinFest Weekend with Winning Wine Maker Dinner

There are winemaker dinners and there are LangeTwins Winemaker Dinners. To launch Lodi’s most popular wine festival weekend, LangeTwins Winery stepped up their game in a BIG way! They flew out James Beard nominated Chef Molly McCook of Ellerbe Fine Foods and her partner, Richard […]

May Madness: Kentucky Derby, Babes & Bouquets, James Beard Chefs Dinner and ZinFest

May Madness: Kentucky Derby, Babes & Bouquets, James Beard Chefs Dinner and ZinFest

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 this month, which is exactly why I started this blog. In the coming weeks I will be showcasing farm to fork dinners, multiple wine events and two premier non-profit fundraisers right here in Lodi, California! In fact, if I were you, I would consider getting Stuck in Lodi for the entire month so you don’t miss out on all of the fun things in store for our region.

Sips Ahoy, Omega Nu’s Spring Fundraiser

Sips Ahoy 2016

Okay, so technically, this event is the last weekend in April, but it’s all running together now, so bear with me! 400 attendees will pack into Van Ruiten Family Winery for a fun-filled evening of local wine, killer food trucks, unique shopping vendors and live music from The Summit Band. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to grub on A Moveable Feast, our local green food truck. Their food is too die for and they even have a secret menu. Tickets are only $25 and all proceeds benefit Lodi area non-profits. Omega Nu recently handed out over $25,000 to local charities this past month!

Hospice of SJ Kentucky Derby: Saturday, May 6, 2017
One of Lodi’s most popular fundraisers is the Hospice of SJ Kentucky Derby. Guests will don their most extravagant Derby hats, dine in Lodi style, bid on auction items to benefit the not-for-profit SJ Hospice, and catch the Kentucky Derby live from the big screen. Oh, and did I mention the event is held in the Sargent Equestrian Barn?

 

Babes and Bouquets 

Little City Naomi & Huckleberry Blooms collaborate on Babes and Bouquets

Fellow blogger and dear friend Madison Shinn of Little City Naomi has partnered with Anna Sinclair of Huckleberry Blooms to launch an intimate fundraiser benefiting the Pregnancy Resource Center.

Guests will have the opportunity to build a bouquet (floral workshop) and donate them to local moms from the Pregnancy Resource Center. There will be good bubbles and small bites to snack on while building the arrangement. I love the uniqueness of this event and I think it is a perfect example of how easy it is to give back to your community.

 

LangeTwins Pre-ZinFest Dinner featuring Texas James Beard Chef Molly McCook Thursday, May 18, 2017  

9/13/2010. Ellerbe fine foods party celebrating Bon Appetite’s listing of 10 best new restaurants.

​This Winemaker Dinner, unofficially kicking off the festivities for ZinFest, will include a four-year library tasting of the winery’s domestic Bordeaux, Midnight Reserve. Chef Molly McCook, of Ellerbe Fine Foods in Ft. Worth, has created an exquisite menu that will feature a pairing and tasting of ten different LangeTwins wines, including an introduction of a newly released 2016 Chenin Blanc. Do NOT miss out on this unique evening. For more information contact LangeTwins by email at events@langetwins.com or by calling (209) 334-9780. I applaud the winery’s efforts to bring in big talent for one of Lodi’s most popular weekends for tourists and locals alike.

 

 

Vintner’s Grille: Lodi’s Exclusive Dinner to Kick off ZinFest

The scene for Vintner’s Grille at ZinFest 2016

If you haven’t scored tickets for this event, you might be too late. Guests roam Lodi Lake in an idyllic setting sipping on award-winning Lodi wine and hobnobbing with Lodi’s winemakers, grape growers and industry insiders.

Megan Manna, of Manna Ranch pours wines for guests

The evening features an elegant, family style dinner crafted by Angelina’s and live music from The Ben Kolber Project (Ben happens to be an awesome Grape Grower and owner of KG Management). I attend a LOT of events in Lodi, and this is hands down my fave! Cheers!

Lodi goes LOCA!
Duck Confit by Jennifer Kupka of Lodi Airport Cafe
Jennifer Kupka, Lodi Airport Cafe

Zinfest & Post Event Dinner with Private Chef Jennifer Kupka, Airport Cafe
Each year, my husband and I host a group of friends for Zinfest weekend. This year is aiming to be our best yet with stops at Bokisch and Klinker Brick before heading to Zinfest to check out the 45 wineries, food offerings, live performances and Cooking School. But the part I am most looking forward to is a dinner in our backyard, under the market lighting. Our meal will be catered by private chef (and local Yoga Studio owner) Jennifer Kupka! We are hammering out the details as we speak and I can’t wait to share with you what she has come up with to tantalize our taste buds! If you haven’t visited the Lodi Wine region by now…I highly suggest a trip!

I hope you will check back into the Fine Foodie Philanthropist for updates on these fun events and more!

Cheers,

Fine Foodie Philanthropist

Suzanne Ledbetter