Pasadena Greek Festival returns to Santa Anita Park

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Leave your bags behind and take a quick trip to Arcadia from Sept. 16 to 18 for a taste of Grecian culture with the return of the Pasadena Greek Festival. 

The weekend will include entertainment from the “Olympians,” visual art, authentic Greek cuisine and pastries, live cooking demonstrations, a live wine chat, Greek folk dancing and lectures about the country’s history and religion, as well as a kid’s fun zone with carnival games, rides and prizes. 
Festival hours are from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Sept. 16; noon to 1 a.m. on Sept. 17; and noon to 10 p.m. on Sept. 18. Admission is $5 and children under 12 years old are free. Parking is $4 per car at the main entrance of Holly and Huntington Drive at Santa Anita Park. 
For more details, call 626-600-1672 or visit www.pasadenagreekfest.org. 

(Photo courtesy by pasadenagreekfest.org)

Carmela expands its ‘adult’ flavors with splashes of wine

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Carmela Ice Cream has paired up with wine retailer Domaine547 to create summer sorbets sure to please wine drinkers. 

In its collaboration, the frozen dessert shop created two new flavors using Raventos i Blanc Sparkling Cava (Spain) and Caluna Malbec Blend (Argentina). 
And to celebration this union, both companies will participate in a wine and sorbet social from 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, July 24, at Domaine547, 6801 Melrose Ave. in Los Angeles. 
Tickets purchased from Domaine’s website are $6 or tickets are $8 at the door. For more information, call the company at 323-932-0280.
(Photo by Watchara Phomicinda / Staff)

Your guide to Bring Your Own Wine Wednesdays in Pasadena

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Through August 31, participating restaurants in Pasadena are offering corkage-free Wednesdays. The Bring Your Own Wine (BYOW) Wednesdays program is sponsored by the Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau, and it aims to drum up dine-in business for local eateries on what is a traditionally slow night.
On the way to a mid-week dinner, pick up a bottle or two, and start with these general pairing suggestions from Monopole Wine boutique owner Peter Nelson. (Prices are approximate and subject to change and availability.) Plus, read more about Monopole after the jump.
  • English cuisine
2004 Chateau Larruau Margaux, $32.99
2008 Domaine Fouassier Quincy, $17.99
Bring to: Beckham Grill, 77 W. Walnut St., Pasadena, 626-796-3399, beckhamgrill.com
  • Mexican/Spanish/tapas
2008 Tres Ojos Calatayud Old Vines Garnacha, $7.95
2006 Colina Verde Rioja, $14.99
2009 Trajarinho Vinho Verde, $9.99
2009 Vionta Albario Ras Baixas, $13.99
Bring to: Bar Celona, 46 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, 626-405-1000, barcelonapasadena.com

El Cholo, 958 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, 626-441-4353, elcholopasadena.com

IX Tapa Cantina, 119 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, 626-304-1000, cantinaixtapa.com
  • French/California bistro
2008 Domaine Anne Gros Bourgogne Rouge, $29.99
2009 Domaine les Gryphees (Pierre Durdilly) Moulin–Vent, $19.99
2009 Francis Blanchet Pouilly-Fume, $21.99
Bring to: Cafe Bizou, 91 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, 626-792-9923, cafebizou.com

Green Street Tavern, 69 W. Green St., Pasadena, 626-229-9961, greenstreettavern.net

The Terrace at The Langham Huntington, 1401 S. Oak Knoll Ave., Pasadena, 626-585-6218, pasadena.langhamhotels.com
  • Italian cuisine
2004 Prunotto Barolo, $53.99
2007 Castello di Querceto Chianti Classico, $12.99
2008 Cascina Degli Ulivi Gavi, $16.99
Bring to: Celestino Ristorante, 141 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena, 626-795-4006, calogerodrago.com

Villa Sorriso, 168 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, 626-793-8008, sorrisopasadena.com
  • Eclectic
2007 Au Bon Climat Knox Alexander Pinot Noir, $41.99
2007 Dierberg Syrah Santa Ynez Valley, $31.99
2006 Ici/La-Bas Chardonnay Victoria Elke Vineyard, $27.99
Bring to: Elements Kitchen, 37 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena, 626-440-0044, elementskitchen.com

Technique at Le Cordon Bleu, 525 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, 626-229-1377, techniquerestaurant.com
  • Japanese
Tozai Snow Maiden Junmai Nigori Sake, $13.99
Watari Bune Junmai Ginjo 55, $36.99
Bring to: Japon Bistro, 927 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, 626-744-1751, japonbistro-pasadena.com
  • French/Japanese fusion
2009 Domaine Huet Vouvray Clos du Bourg, $32.99
2005 Domaine de Vieux Lazaret Chteauneuf-du-Pape, $42.99
Bring to: Maison Akira, 713 E. Green St., Pasadena, 626-796-9501, maisonakira.com
  • Steak
2007 Carter Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Revilo, $84.99
Bring to: Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, 369 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, 626-583-8122, ruthschris.com

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Pasadena wine tasting to feature hundreds of pinot noirs

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The Pasadena PinotFest is getting better with age.
Wine-guy-about-town Mike Farwell and his partners from Noir Food & Wine are taking their third annual wine festival to new heights this year, with a capstone Grand Public Tasting to be held up at the Altadena Town and Country Club on Feb. 12.
Taking center stage for the occasion is, of course, that moody elixir, the pinot noir. And, for Farwell, there could be no more perfect a pairing.
He’s spent the better part of the past two decades getting acquainted with the red-grape variety, and still today he’s continually discovering new and notable pinot noir winemakers.
With the headlining event of the 2011 Pasadena PinotFest, guests can expect the opportunity to taste hundreds of pinot noirs from California winemakers, especially from the inestimable Santa Rita Hills and Russian River Valley.

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The Royce restaurant at The Langham debuts tonight




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After an extensive renovation, The Langham Huntington’s former Dining Room opens tonight as The Royce, with celebrated chef David Fau heading up the kitchen.


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True to his roots, Fau’s inaugural menu (click to view, at left) is full of classically inspired dishes prepared in refined French technique and built using fresh, locally grown produce and sustainable products. He even includes on the printed menu a thoughtful dedication to the farmers and fishermen who cultivate his ingredients.

Fau’s rise to culinary prominence began after he worked under the guidance of famed chef Guy Savoy in Paris. He served as executive chef at several Parisian restaurants, before making his way to Manhattan to run the kitchen at Lutce. Fau joined the Patina Group in 2006, stepping first into the role of executive chef for Caf Pinot in downtown L.A. and then moving up as head of Patina Restaurant Group’s West Coast culinary operation.

The new look of the Langham restaurant space is the work of Atlanta-based architecture and design firm, The Johnson Studio. The firm’s principal Bill Johnson told Rose Magazine in June that he wanted to bring the design of the restaurant forward, while respecting the tradition of the historic building.

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2 Foothill cities, 2 wine and jazz benefits, this Saturday only

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And there’s no reason to miss either free-flowing, beat-filled soiree.
Organizers of the Pasadena Wine Festival will offer free admission to anyone who shows a ticket for the nearby Sierra Madre Wine and Jazz Walk benefiting City of Hope.
“As far as we’re concerned, the big wine event (this weekend) is in Sierra Madre, because it goes to a great cause,” said Russ Meek, sommelier and managing partner of redwhite+bluezz, which, along with Pasadena Entertainment, produces the Pasadena Wine Festival. “Anyone who goes to that (one) gets into ours for free.”
Meek said he hopes the offer will encourage festival-goers to “cruise around” to both events benefiting deserving causes.

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Nose Diving: French ros winemakers seeking foothold in U.S. market

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To find a local constituency fluent in the language of ros wines, one need look no further than a gathering of French food professionals.
And Club Culinaire, which earlier this summer put on its Picnic des Chefs to raise money for the Concern Foundation and the Hope Program at Childrens Hospital, is just such a flock.
At the fundraising soiree in Elysian Park, I met up with Lauren Sanne and Ricardo Chapa, project managers with the D.C.-based American World Services Corporation, a firm that helps international businesses — in this case, a council of Provence wineries — break into and navigate the U.S. imports market.

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Nose Diving: TastingRoom’s tiny wine bottles have big tech behind them

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In an operations center near the Sonoma County Airport, highly sensitive liquids are handled in a meticulous process that prevents their contamination.
Exacting scientific standards require the most unpolluted environment possible: a semiconductor clean room, devoid of oxygen, into which no human can enter. Materials arriving in and exiting the clean room do so through airlocks that preserve the zero-oxygen environment. The liquid is automatically measured and dispersed — gently and accurately, over and over — by some of the world’s smallest peristaltic pumps.
And all of this is done, essentially, to decant a bottle of wine. Or, rather, hundreds of thousands of them.
Welcome to the manufacturing pipeline of TastingRoom Inc., the innovators behind TastingRoom.com, which recently began shipping out to California consumers its taste-sized sample kits of wine from vineyards like Trefethen, Patz & Hall, Gundlach Bundschu, Talley, DeLoach and Grgich Hills.

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Nose Diving: It’s a wine world (after all) at Disney’s California Food & Wine Festival

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Nose Diving is a feature column, in which a novice wine writer fumbles toward grace.
My feet are dangling freely as we coast, hang-glider style, over the vast expanse of California below us. It’s a gloriously sunny day as we float by the majestic Golden Gate Bridge; seconds later, we’re looking down on the winding Redwood Creek watershed.
Then, it’s on to Napa. I think, “Mmm, let’s stop for a drink.”
And how fortuitous: Outside this popular simulator ride at Disney’s California Adventure — Soarin’ Over California, it’s called — the theme park’s fifth annual California Food & Wine Festival is just kicking off.

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