Festival

Big Bite Bacon Festival 2015

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Food

Big Bite Bacon Festival 2015
Bacon Fest porky

Bacon Lovers Reunite for the 2nd Annual Big Bite Bacon Fest at
The Queen Mary August 1-2

Two Days of More Porkalicious Goodness Than You Can Swing a Pig At

Tickets Available Online, here: Big Bite Bacon Fest… Nobody Puts Bacon In the Corner

Glorious Bacon at Bacon Fest

The Queen Mary is pleased to welcome back the annual Big Bite Bacon Fest for two pork-filled days of bacon, beer and pork-inspired entertainment. An abundance of local restaurants, chefs and breweries will offer sweet and savory samples of pork infused delicacies and beer tastings across two full days of festivities in honor of the star ingredient – bacon.

The 2014 Big Bite Bacon Festival at the Queen Mary sold out in record time with incredible demand for more… BACON! In order to accommodate the demand, the festival producers have extended the event to two days in its second year, offering more bacon and more porkalicious fun for all bacon enthusiasts to enjoy.

Bacon at Bacon Fest

“We are committed to growing the Big Bite Bacon Fest in order to welcome all passionate bacon lovers,” commented Big Bite Event’s Chief Bacon Officer, Mark Entner. “We have expanded the festival into two-days and secured double the number of bacon purveyors to participate to create a sensory overloaded environment where bacon enthusiasts can truly enjoy all things bacon.”

Southern California chefs will be testing culinary boundaries as they show off their deep fried skill sets. Bigmista’s BBQ, winner of the 2014 People’s Choice for Best Bacon Award, will return to the 2015 festival aside chefs from favorite local hotspots including Red Leprechaun and Rajin Cajun Café. Star chefs, Ricardo Heredia, Winner of the World Bacon Title and World Food Championships, and Jodi Taffel, deemed “The Bacon Babe,” will go head to head with the best bacon treats their kitchens can pork out. Bacon favorites Slater’s 50/50, Stuffin’it Burger Truck, Sweet Lou’s BBQ Truck, OC Donut Bar, Chunk N’ Chip, Twisted Sweets, Hula’s Hawaiian, and Whole Foods are only a few of the vendors presenting samples of their own spins on the salty star, with endless more pork purveyors still to be unveiled. Festivalgoers can wash down their favorite pork cuisine with craft beer samples from multiple local brew houses.

Chef of Bacon at Bacon Fest

The 2nd annual Big Bite Bacon Fest will offer a choice of a daytime or evening tasting session on Saturday, August 1 and one daytime tasting session on Sunday, August 2. VIP bacon lovers will gain entry to the event one hour prior to all other guests, have access to the exclusive VIP bacon lounge, and receive a souvenir cup, beer caddy and opportunity to take a self-guided tour of the majestic Queen Mary ship. Special Bacon Lovers packages are also available.

Tickets for the Big Bite Bacon Fest are on-sale NOW and start at just $35 online for general admission. For more information about this one-of-a-kind “Foodtainment” event and to purchase tickets visit www.bigbiteevents.com.

About the Queen Mary

Located in the Port of Long Beach, the Queen Mary features a rich maritime history, authentic Art Deco décor, and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and Long Beach city skyline. At the time of her maiden voyage in May of 1936, she was considered the grandest ocean liner ever built. The Queen Mary’s signature restaurants include the award-winning Sir Winston’s and Chelsea Chowder House & Bar as well as a weekly Champagne Sunday Brunch served in the ship’s Grand Salon. History buffs enjoy the ship’s museum and Glory Days tour, guests of all ages love the Ghosts and Legends show, and the ship is currently featuring the renowned Diana: Legacy of a Princess exhibit and Tea Room. The Queen Mary features 80,000 square feet of event space in 14 remarkable Art Deco salons as well as a tri-level, 45,000-square-foot Exhibit Hall. The Queen Mary boasts 346 staterooms including nine full suites. For more information or for reservations, see www.queenmary.com or call (800) 437-2934. The Queen Mary is located at 1126 Queens Highway in Long Beach.


Festival Gourmet International Puerto Vallarta… World Class Cuisine

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Travel

Festival Gourmet International Puerto Vallarta… World Class Cuisine

Puerto Vallarta sunset
Puerto Vallarta sunset

Festival Gourmet International
20 Aniversario
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Villa Premier Resort and Spa Puerto Vallarta
Recently, I was recommended by The TASTE Awards to represent the USA as a Celebrity Chef Ambassador to the Festival Gourmet International in beautiful Puerto Vallarta. Although I knew Mexican cuisine was more than just guacamole, chips and salsa with a little shrimp, rice and beans thrown in, I had no idea the gastronomic experience I was about to embark on. Here, in beautiful Puerto Vallarta, renowned Chefs converge for 10 days of gastronomic excellence in one of the most beautiful regions of Mexico to enlighten gourmet enthusiasts with real gourmet cuisine from Mexico’s top chefs and their invited chefs from around the world.
Festival Gourmet International Grand Opening Gala
Each year, Puerto Vallarta is home to the Festival Gourmet International which was founded 20 years ago by three esteemed Chefs, Thierry Blouet, Heinz Reize, and Roland Menetrey who have now become the culinary “Tres Mosqueteras” (Three Musketeers) sharing “una ideologia” (one message)… “love and passion – the salt and pepper for good taste!”

Founding Chef Heinz Reize with guest chefs
Founding Chef Heinz Reize with guest chefs

Setting out to present the best cuisine in Mexico, this 10-day gastronomic celebration is a culinary immersion into top local restaurant and resort chefs who then invite noted chefs from around the world to join them in hosting Chef and Winemaker dinners which has grown beyond Puerto Vallarta to include Riviera Nayarit and Tepic resort destinations.
Festival Gourmet International party guests
For 20 years, food lovers and gourmands have flown in from all over the globe to experience some of the finest cuisines imaginable. Kicking off this year’s Festival was the Gourmet Village Grand Opening event in the expansive courtyard of The Westin Resort and Spa Puerto Vallarta. Patron Tequila tastings, Moet & Chandon, specialty cocktails, gourmet cheeses, and dishes from the chefs including foie gras from Rougie, grilled oysters on the half shell, duck confit, salt cured bass, and braised pork belly.
Natural Mexican Cheese
Salmon from Boca
Oysters on the half shell
Each day was followed by magical nights of food, wine, tequila, cocktails, live music and jazz at participating restaurants such as Café des Artistes, La Palapa, Cafe Trio,The River Cafe and more.
Live Music during Festival Gourmet International

Local resorts also hosted cooking shows, jazz, wine and cheese, and private receptions featured at Villa Premiere Hotel and Spa, Garza Blanca Preserve Resort and Spa, Hilton Puerto Vallarta, CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta, The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort among other noted resorts and spas.

Chef Ryan at La Palapa

La Palapa’s “Chef Invitado” (Guest Chef) Ryan Steyn graduated from the Swiss Institute of Hospitality and currently opened El Jardin de Adobe in Baja, California. Of his selections for Festival Gourmet International were Ceviche Negro (Black Ceviche) with squid ink, sea urchin and avocado meringue, Pulpo Asado (Grilled Octopus) with ginger avocado dressing, Atun A La Parrilla (Tuna Steak) which is seared tuna with salicornia and smoked heirloom tomatoes. For dessert, selections include Profiteroles with cream of tequila sauce, Pay De Coco Y Canela (Coconut and Cinnamon Pie) and Tropical Cheesecake with passion fruit sauce.

Black Ceviche from La Palapa
Black Ceviche from La Palapa

Tuna Steak from La Palapa
Dessert selections from La Palapa

Chef Jesus Gibaja is owner of Gibaja Gastronomia and is host of the television show, Gibaja Cuisine. As guest Chef at Villa Premiere Hotel and Spa Puerto Vallarta, Chef Jesus said, “it is a mistake that people think Mexican food has to be hot but no, this is not true.” Chef shared that everything in Mexican food is a trilogy of corn, chili, and beans… all kinds, all varieties. When asked about his cooking style, Chef Jesus remembered his father’s cantina in Mexico City. “I never knew,” he said, “my time spent in the cantina with my father would lead to a culinary career. My father was from Spain, so that has influenced my style as well.” On the menu during the Festival, Chef Jesus served a soup that featured banana and cumin, duck crepes, trio of tuna, and lobster cooked with pork fat.
Chocolate Torte

One evening’s festivities featured a Progressive Avant-Garde Dinner in which you dine your way from appetizer to dessert at different restaurants. One stop took us to meet Chefs Bernhard Guth and Ulf Henriksson of Café Trio welcomed Chef Kristoffer Andersson as their guest chef. Chef Kristoffer, from Sweden, pleased diners with a salmon dish featuring roasted pumpkin, pumpkin seeds and fennel. Curious as to how the chef owners, Bernhard and Ulf, came to open a restaurant in Puerto Vallarta all the way from Germany and Sweden, Chef Bernhard replied, “I came here to visit and never left!” Of course, there may be a woman behind that story.
Cafe Trio

Chef Bernhard from Trio
Chef Bernhard from Trio

Salmon with Roasted Pumpkin at Trio

At The River Café, Argentina native and guest chef, Chef Marco Gabriel Fulcheri prepared a Lamb Confit that was most probably the most decadent entrée I have ever eaten. I can’t say “tasted” because there was not a morsel left on my plate. If ever there was a culinary immersion, this was it.
Lamb Confit at The River Cafe

Our grande finale for the evening was certainly grande. Café des Artistes may very well be known as the number one restaurant in Puerto Vallarta and possibly all of Mexico. Owner, Chef Thierry Blouet admires “the inner and outer beauty of every detail” and “cooks for the senses” creating compilations of color, attractive aromas and provocative textures. Chef Thierry invited Chef Carlos Gaytan to join him for this year’s Festival. Chef Carlos is the first Mexican chef to get a Michelin Star and now is Chef-Owner of Du Mexique in Chicago. For dessert, the duo presented a burst of flavors in an array of dishes including a sweet Guacamole con Queso Cotija from El Tuito. Served in a mortar and pestle, this dessert guacamole featured fresh pomegranate and cinnamon sugar wafer crisps.
Guacamole con queso at Cafe des Artistes
Dessert bar at Cafe des Artistes

It is no surprise the Festival Gourmet International just celebrated its 20th Anniversary. What Chefs Thierry, Heinz and Roland created out of “love and passion” for good taste has become the premier event for good friends new and old to celebrate the love of food, exchange ideas and share talents in a gorgeous, relaxing “avant-garde touristic destination presenting the best cuisine in Mexico” and beyond.

Chef Thierry Blouet
One of the founding chefs, Chef Thierry Blouet

Make your reservations now to attend the Festival Gourmet International 21, November 13 – 23, 2015… festivalgourmet.com

visitpuertovallarta.com

Chefs Carlos Ulloa Velazquez and Jose Ivan Loera Gonzalez of Hilton PV
Chefs Carlos Ulloa Velazquez and Jose Ivan Loera Gonzalez of Hilton PV


Dana Point IlluminOcean

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in News

Dana Point IlluminOcean

Dana Point IlluminOcean
This stunning holiday festival of lights makes its debut in Dana Point Wednesday night, November 26, 2014 and runs through January 4, 2015. Great news… it’s FREE to the public. Dana Point IlluminOcean Holiday imagination shines bright with larger-than-life sea sculptures and moving light tunnels dotting the Southern California coastline.

Dana Point IlluminOcean will electrify the Southern California shoreline with 40 nights of holiday lights. This wonderland by the sand — created and funded by The Resorts of Dana Point to become an annual winter tradition — features a brilliant spectacle of 18 oversized lighting sculptures with over 225,000 LED lights, and is free to the public for viewing nightly at sundown through January 4, 2015.
Dana Point IlluminOcean lights

As thousands gather to celebrate the season at New York’s Rockefeller Center or Chicago’s Millennium Park, Dana Point Harbor enchants and excites visitors of all ages with a vibrant exhibition for the whole family to enjoy.

As the whale watching capital of the world, and proud stewards of the coastal ecosystems which drives most of the destination’s tourism traffic, the sea-themed holiday lighting sculptures showcase the city’s devotion to ocean preservation.

From octopus and sharks, to starfish and surfers, the dazzling displays are highlighted by a towering glow-motion tree, light tunnels stretching longer than a football field and over a dozen gigantic lighting sculptures — so big visitors can walk through and inside the belly of a glowing 40-foot Blue whale!

As visitors stroll through the colorful collection of immersive attractions, every step is filled with vibrant sights and sounds while roaming street performers entertain crowds, glow merchandise shines and “Whale Eyes” 3D glasses give a must-see holographic look at this holiday spectacle.

See the lights. Explore the sights. This year and every year, only at Dana Point IlluminOcean. For additional information, visit myDanaPoint.com.

ABOUT DANA POINT, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Conveniently located in Orange County — halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles — Dana Point showcases a breathtaking collection of resort properties with an approachable elegance unique to the Southern California shoreline. Dana Point’s dramatic beauty is complemented by a distinct variety of year-round signature events, as well as boundless ocean experiences along its golden coast. Renowned as the whale watching capital of the world, Dana Point features an abundant marine life and legendary OC Dana Point Harbor that opens to an ocean of possibilities.

ABOUT DANA POINT ILLUMINOCEAN:
From November 26, 2014 through January 4, 2015, the lights come to life every night at Dana Point IlluminOcean and it is free to the public. This large-scale family holiday lighting attraction, backed by The Resorts of Dana Point with support from multiple community stakeholders, features 18 ocean-themed lighting attractions with over 225,000 LED bulbs situated along the one-mile harbor of the quintessential Southern California town of Dana Point. The oceanic holiday walking tour experience will be lit nightly at sundown, creating a festive tradition for all to enjoy for years to come.

ABOUT THE RESORTS OF DANA POINT
A collection of four luxury coastal properties—including the St. Regis Monarch Beach; The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel; Doubletree Suites by Hilton Doheny Beach – Dana Point; and Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa—joined together in 2010 to form a Tourism Business Improvement District. Collectively, their objectives include the development and execution of promotional activity to increase leisure and meetings travel to the destination.


Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Food

Fourth Annual LA Food & Wine

4th Annual Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival

LAFW 2014 downtown
Over a balmy August weekend, celebrity chefs from all around the world converged in Los Angeles for the fourth annual Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival. Produced by Coastal Luxury Management, LLC which also produces the star-studded Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival now in its 8th year, this year’s festival highlights included the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Celebrity Chef Challenge, Asian Night Market with Iron Chef Morimoto, tribute dinner to culinary icon, Nancy Silverton, and Grand Tasting events both Saturday and Sunday with participation from over 100 restaurants and 150 wineries representing some of the top culinary talent in the Nation.

Iron Chef Morimoto Iron Chef Morimoto

This unforgettable gastronomic culinary immersion took place over 4 days in the heart of downtown Los Angeles with smaller culinary events transpiring in nearly every part of the city. Festivities kicked off on Thursday night with the Ultimate Bites of LA presented by Chase Sapphire Preferred®.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Chef Challenge winners board

The red carpet event was attended by celebrities and culinary stars such as Ben Ford, Lorena Garcia, Michael Chiarello, and festival CEO and co-founder, David Bernahl. Amid the fanfare, the first-ever chef challenge presented by Chase Sapphire Preferred® revealed the winning champion chef team of Fabio Viviani and Ray Garcia.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Chef Challenge winners 2014
Viviani and Garcia won the best street taco and cocktail challenge by impressing judges, including Food & Wine magazine’s Justin Chapple, with their Mango Chicharron Chile Relleno Taco. The grand prize of $20,000 was presented by Chase Sapphire Preferred® and benefitted the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.
Chefs Viviani and Garcia preparing their tacos
Friday’s Power Lunch series stretched from Santa Monica’s One Pico with Elizabeth Falkner to Sven Mede, to Downtown LA’s Faith & Flower where Ferguson Crest wines, owned by Fergie Duhamel of the Black Eyed Peas, paired wines with Dominique Crenn and Executive Chef Michael Hung’s inspiring menu.
Elizabeth Falkner
Food and wine never tasted more inviting into the night than at the Asian Night Market where hundreds of food lovers enjoyed sashimi, 5-spice pork belly taco from Jet Tila, Chris Oh’s “Flaming Ball” from Seoul Sausage, and Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s Chicken Dumpling who gracefully pleased legions of fans by participating in selfies and fan photos. Other highlights included a Lamb Ramen from EggSlut’s Alvin Cailan.
Asian Night Market
Saturday and Sunday’s afternoon Grand Tasting events certainly held up to their name with seminars, cooking demonstrations, book signings and the Lexus Grand Tastings held at LA Center Studios where chefs dished out signature fare and top wines poured all day and into the night.

Chef John Cox sharing sea urchin Chef John Cox sharing sea urchin

Kicking off the Saturday evening grand event was a live performance by Common for the Lexus LIVE on Grand event hosted by Michael Chiarello. Then, sounds Afro-Caribbean style music from the children’s ensemble amaWolseley Marimbas flowed through the air while guests enjoyed a putting green and patio lounge and cocktails in the Airstream 2Go from The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Hitching Post wines
Just a few steps away at the beautiful Cathedral of St. Vibiana in downtown, Dinner with the Michelin Stars served up culinary decadence with chefs such as Michael Cimarusti, Dominique Crenn, David Kinch, and Pierre Gagnaire whom I had the pleasure to meet at a private Mandarin Oriental event in West Hollywood.

with Chef Pierre Gagnaire of Mandarin Oriental with Chef Pierre Gagnaire of Mandarin Oriental

As mentioned above, the Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival is now in its fourth year. Generously supported by Food & Wine magazine, Lexus, The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, JENN-AIR, Delta Airlines and Chase Sapphire Preferred®, the four-day epicurean event showcases the finest in food and drink throughout Los Angeles.
Graham Elliott Graham Elliott
The star-studded lineup has included celebrated chefs such as Giada DeLaurentiis, Graham Elliott, Curtis Stone, Michael Chiarello, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and Thomas Keller along with LA favorites Michael Voltaggio, Rory Herrmann, and Matsuhisa Nobu.

Chef Luigi Fineo at LAFW 2014 Chef Luigi Fineo at LAFW 2014

A Coastal Luxury Management, LLC (CLM) production, co-founder and manager David Alan Bernahl II creates unique experiential opportunities in the hospitality, entertainment, restaurant, and event sectors. Named 2012 and 2013 by Inc Magazine as one of the “Top Food & Beverage Companies”, CLM has also been included int he annual Inc 500/5000 ranking of the fastest-growing privately owned companies in the United States.

Challengers, Chefs Elliott and Ford Challengers, Chefs Elliott and Ford

For more information about Coastal Luxury Management, contact media@clm-ca.com
Susan with Iron Chef Morimoto
Goose Island Pale Ale
Miraval Provence
Chefs Viviani and Garcia before the win


Fourth Annual Los Angeles Food & Wine

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Food

Fourth Annual LA Food & Wine

Fourth Annual Los Angeles Food & Wine

This weekend, a host of culinary celebrities arrive in Los Angeles for the Fourth Annual Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival. Delighting foodies, wine lovers, and culinary aficionados, the star-studded festival begins Thursday, August 21 through Sunday, August 24. Further event details and tickets here: LAFW.com

Interviewing Michael Chiarello at LAFW 2013 Interviewing Michael Chiarello at LAFW 2013

Leading chefs preparing signature dishes and doing live culinary demonstrations include Scott Conant, Michael Chiarello, Michael Mina, Ben Ford, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, Nancy Silverton, Graham Elliott, Ricardo Zarate, Fabio Viviani and more. Presented by Food & Wine magazine, the Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival is hosted in Downtown Los Angeles with special events in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Hollywood and will also feature mixology seminars, book signings, and tastings from world-class wineries. One expert highlighting fine wines is Sommelier, Ryan Arnold. I had the pleasure of speaking with Ryan about his participation in this weekend’s festivities and his love of wine.

Ryan Arnold Ryan Arnold, Divisional Wine Director for Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises

“I fell in love with wine when selling it to restaurants,” shares Arnold. “Now, on the buying side, I enjoy being more creative in selecting the wines, working with the chefs, talking to guests, and helping to educate young people and servers about the wines.” As Divisional Wine Director for Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Arnold starts with the chefs when getting inspiration for the restaurant wine list. Together, they discuss the chef’s vision for the menu taking into consideration seasonal changes, the audience, and the price point of the menu. From there, Arnold creates an esoteric yet balanced wine list which once set, he begins right away training the staff on the wine selections. “Server confidence about the wines,” explains Arnold, “is one of the most important elements to the dining experience.” Arnold puts staff through a rigorous wine training and holds mandatory wine classes for staff every two weeks in which they have to present featured wines to him and the rest of the staff. “Wow,” I exclaimed, “no pressure!” To which Arnold laughed and replied, “the staff is the gateway to the dining experience. Knowledge is key but must also be well presented.”
LAFW 2013
Having been in the wine industry for more than 20 years, Arnold shared his thoughts on current wine trends. “The Western region of the country tends to go with the California wines while the East coast still prefers old world wines,” states Arnold. “In the Midwest, you’ll see a balance between both domestic and old world wines.” What is he seeing now? “There is a new movement toward lower alcohol wines,” says Arnold, “with balanced, crisper, fresher styles.” I’ll drink to that!

Susan, Scott Conant and Albert Evangelista Susan Irby, Scott Conant, and Albert Evangelista

You can meet Ryan Arnold, Chef Scott Conant (shown above), and many other celebrity chefs during this weekend’s Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival. For event details and tickets, go to: LAFW.com