Last July, I went on a pretty fantastic wine tasting tour of Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma — the first installment of which I’ve recounted in an earlier post. Here, I’ll be covering my morning at Trattore Farms, a property that not only contains vineyards but also orchards, which are being coaxed back into olive production as a revival of the area’s history and tradition.
It’s December! I’m super excited about this month every year because it means snow in the Sierras — and that means snowboarding — but for the 2016-17 season, it’s extra special. I’ve been designated an official ambassador for Northstar California, a Vail resort in North Lake Tahoe.
This means that you’ll see me at Northstar quite often this season. I’ll be getting to know the resort as well as nearby Truckee. Whether it’s tearing up the slopes, aprés ski, on-mountain dinners with a winery, off-mountain hot spots, festivals like the Burton Mountain Festival, or night time entertainment, I’ll be sure to get a taste of it all.
Along with a handful of other influencers, I’ll be blogging twice or so per month at a dedicated content blog on the Northstar site, which will launch sometime soon — so keep up to date with my social media channels to learn what that is. I’ll also be doing two instagram take-overs on the @northstar_california handle sometime this season, so you can bet I’ll be trying to catch all the best angles while I’m out there.
I am so excited! See you on the slopes!
*My partnership with Northstar California includes a season pass, stays and compensation. All opinions are still my own.
Video shot and produced by John Beck.
Last July, I was invited to the incredible Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County for a multi-day excursion in tasting and learning about the region’s wines and the combined food experiences that can be had throughout the area. The wines the region is known for are primarily Zinfandel are Sauvignon Blanc but also some distinct, under-the-radar Rhône style wines.
The experience really changed how I viewed Zinfandel; I now consider it one of my dinner wine candidates — reframing its peppery-ness as an asset. It was so great to hear about the county’s aim to be an entirely sustainable and how the wine-growing region is already 70% there. In the video, I visit 3 vineyards in a day — however, I basically visited 7 overall. It’s hard work, really. Tasting wine.
Hello, Little Blog;
How are you? I’m so sorry to have neglected you all these months, but the truth is that I’ve been writing elsewhere. It’s been a great experience, so let’s put together some linkage on pieces I’ve written that are floating on the internet.
By the way, I actually have more interesting content to come through on this blog in the very near future. Promise. The blog revival: It will happen. In fact, check back in two days for some wine content from up in Sonoma County.
In the meantime, if you’re curious where else you can find my words, I’m excited to share articles I’ve written for LA Weekly, L.A. Times Food, Eater, and Thrillist:
- Cool down with some nitro-infused teas made at Rubies + Diamonds — learn about it at LA Weekly:
- As it hopefully gets cooler (please pray for rain with me — thanks), you might be able to use this updated list (adding upon Jeff Miller & Zach Brooks’ list) for Thrillist:
- For Eater LA, I waxed on how newcomer Daw Yee Myanmar Corner in Silver Lake could bring Burmese food mainstream:
- For the L.A. Times food section, I’ve been reporting on spotted trends, such as matcha-in-everything, unique sausages, and weed cocktails. My latest is on how you can put together your own Little Saigon food crawl:
- And in non-food-related writing, I had the pleasure of writing for GOOD Magazine‘s sports section on Infinite Flow, a wheelchair dancing group in Sherman Oaks. It’s definitely worth a read, if I may say so myself:
8905 Melrose Ave
West Hollywood, CA 90069
9201 Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
8850 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
Rubies + Diamonds
6115 Sunset Blvd #150
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Connie & Ted’s
8171 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046
16 N Fair Oaks Ave
Pasadena, CA 91103
Daw Yee Myanmar Corner
2837 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
2012 Sawtelle Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
When you get approached to reminisce about a certain time and place, nay, a certain chef and his concept – on-camera – you know you’ve been hit with something very special. In the present age of reality TV, of course, you might have suspicions it could be exploitive, but then you know the show. And multi-Emmy-award-winning Mind of a Chef just so happens to be one of your favorite shows on cooking and the culture of food.
Furthermore, when you hear that the particular episode you’re asked to be a part is about LudoBites, and you’ll get to experience Ludo recreating a few dishes right in his own brand new kitchen. you know that it’s going to be good. There’s just so much to unpack, there.
Now in its 27th year, the Passport to Dry Creek Valley event this weekend promises to be a great time to visit and taste Pinots, Zinfandels and other Sonoma wines. If you fly to Sonoma (via Alaska Air), you’ll get to take home a case of wine free of charge. And if you wisely decide to take a bottle from a Dry Creek vineyard to dine at one of the participating charter restaurants, you’ll also get free corkage as a part of their culinary cooperative.
While I love wine, food and wine always taste better when together, so I’ve highlighted some culinary-focused opportunities at certain wineries to turn your attention to this weekend:
With this year being a leap year, I feel it calls for a special outing of sorts on February 29th. After all, it comes but once every four years, so you might as well make the most of it.
Los Angeles has been a phenomenal place to eat for the duration of 2015. In fact, it’s been really hard to keep up with everything going on in all parts of the city, but what a great problem to have. Better food is available in more neighborhoods, helping raise the standard of dining out in all parts. Hopefully all parts, anyway. We do have our native Roy Choi, doing what he can to make sure such positive change reaches otherwise forgotten neighborhoods, with his and Daniel Patterson’s project, LocaL.
But for all the Fig & Olives of the see-and-be-seen L.A. dining scene, there have been some indisputable favorites of mine to rise to the top. I see 2015 as the year we’ve surpassed the huffing and puffing about authenticity and what that even means for all the history and diversity we have in this city. It’s been exciting to taste how we’ve moved beyond all that to a place and time where chefs can confidently make their mark using flavors from all over the world as their paintbrushes.
So read on, and get to it. 2016 is just around the corner:
Apologies for not updating the blog, but here’s a post to push its revival into the New Year. Here I come, 2016! This week, I’ll be posting a round-up of sorts on 2015 and noteworthy dishes at noteworthy restaurants.
In any case, feel free to catch up with a few of my freelance articles, and my comments forthwith, that I wrote for other online publications the latter half of 2015 here. Also, a plug to follow me on other social media channels, which I’ve been updating pretty regularly: Instagram, Twitter, and eventually Snapchat (@estar_la)!
- A personal essay I wrote for Eater National. It’s crazy how ever since Fresh Off the Boat aired, we’ve gotten Dr. Ken and Netflix’s Master of None as far as Asian American representation on TV. After a lifetime of not seeing hardly anyone who was even the same shade I am on TV, 2015 felt like jackpot:
- During Eater LA’s Cheap Eats week, I culled a memory from my college days, commuting from Westwood to Alhambra just for boba milk tea and fried pork chop. For Cocktail Week, I rounded up some sherry-based cocktails as well as cocktai
- I did a few round-ups for Time Out Los Angeles, a couple of which were on the sandwich beat. We’re talking extensive, exhaustive research, here. Let’s put it this way: I haven’t had a pastrami or banh mi for quite awhile. Dim Sum? Plenty.
- I did a couple stories for Thrillist Los Angeles on the illustrious L.A. Armenian chicken institution that is Zankou Chicken and a story about a whole bunch of Bloody Marys around the city:
The Fried Pork Chop at Old Country Cafe Taught Me to Embrace My Taiwanese Heritage
How L.A.’s Top Bars Are Using the Spice Trade to Their Cocktail Advantage
13 Fine Sherry-Based Cocktails in Los Angeles
Happy reading. I’ll catch you guys with another 2015 update tomorrow.
Bánh Mì My-Tho
304 W Valley Blvd
Alhambra, CA 91801
3300 Overland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90034
Catch & Release
13488 Maxella Ave
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
704 S Alvarado St
Los Angeles, CA 90057
Wexler’s Deli, GCM
317 S Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Old Country Cafe
2 E Valley Blvd #1e
Alhambra, CA 91801
Shanghai No. 1 Seafood Village
250 W Valley Blvd
San Gabriel, CA 91776
5065 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
A couple months back, I was able to spend a weekend in Sausalito at the phenomenal Cavallo Point while attending the inaugural Lexus Culinary Classic. To say there was some of the best food prepared by some of the best chefs in the country being served in view of the Golden Gate Bridge would be mostly accurate – and I’m so honored I got to be a part.