Monday, September 30, 2013

We recently attended the 'Taste of Czech Culinary Roadshow' held in West Los Angeles as part of a nation wide tour promoting Czech Republic tourism.  There we met Vojtech Kacerovsky, director of Czech Tourism in Los Angeles, as well as Chefs Jakub Cerny and Antonin Rys and Sommelieru Radim Petratur who introduced us to some Czech wines.
Following a theater showing of scenic tourists attractions we  had the opportunity to taste some classic Czech entrees.  Small plates of tongue with lentils were followed by sliced duck breast with a dumpling.
Dumplings in many forms are traditional in Czech cuisine.  Our dessert was a sweet dumpling with a whole strawberry inside smoothed in sweet berry sauce.
Our wines included Vino z Czech 2011 Rivaner and a 2011 Zweigeltrebe.  The Republic has two major wine growing regions producing  white and red varietals.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Visitors are welcome at the Mount Palomar Observatory which has been operated by the California Institute of Technology since its inception in 1934.  Getting to the Observatory, situated atop 5,500 foot Mount Palomar is a pleasure in itself as one travels through the countryside described above.  The route is on Highway 76, then to County Road S6 which climbs a winding way to the huge dome of the Observatory.
The Hale telescope has been a wonder since it was first dedicated and put into service in 1948.  The finished mirror alone weighs fourteen and one half tons.  Then there is the 1,000 ton rotating dome and other moving parts weigh another 530 tons.
Visitors view the telescope from a special galley inside the Dome.  But first stop should be the small museum which offers color photographs of the outer reaches of space.  The exhibits also list some of the discoveries, many the first of their kind, that have been made at the Observatory.  It was here that Andromeda was first discovered as a sister galaxy to our Milky Way.  A 1956 discovery doubled the age of the universe and in the 1960s Quasars were revealed for the first time.  In 1994 the first dwarf star was revealed by Cal Tech astronomers.
There is also the Gus Weber delightful picnic area equipped with tables placed under huge California oaks.  We spent some time here munching cheese and crackers.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

We discovered a whole new way to look and enjoy Sake after attending an event called 'Discover Sake' recently. 
There are several different types of Sake designed to be enjoyed alone or more typically with food.  Food pairings with Sake are just a standard part of dining in Japan.  Most Sake is produced at about 15 per cent alcohol although we tasted one that was only seven per cent alcohol.  There is even a sparkling Sake which we especially enjoyed with some appetizers.   Some Sake is clear, others cloudy as was the sparkling one which offered citrus flavors.
Greeting us as we arrived for the seminar and tasting was lovely Kali Chung.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Doffo Winery is located at the far end of the Rancho California Wine Road in Temecula Valley.  We visited it recently and was impressed with the wines we tasted and the Doffo Family.  We met with Marcelo Duffo who is carrying on a wine making tradition that extends back several generations in Italy.  Now Marcelo and his son, Damien, are continuing the tradition by making wines in an old World style.
We gave high points to the Doffo 2011 Zinfandel and the 2011 Mistura which is a blend of 90 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon and 10 per cent Petite Syrah.  We also were impressed with the 2010 Malbec as well as the Argentinian Chimichurri which is served as an appetizer in the Duffo tasting room.
If you are interested in motorcycles you will enjoy a visit to Doffo Winery since the family has a large selection of bikes, many dating from the 1960s and 1970s.
Duffo Winery is located at 36083 Summitville Street where it meets Rancho California Road with the tasting room open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Telephone 866 469-8486, web

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

We visited the Marina Del Rey event that displayed the winners of the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, held at Paiche Restaurant.
Winners included:
Importer of the Year - Pernod Ricard USA, New York
The Tasting Panel Magazine Distillery of the Year - Suntory Ltd. Japan
Director's Award - William Grant and Sons, New York
Some brands have enjoyed truly long longevity.  As a wee lad we recall seeing bottles of James E. Pepper around our house on a fairly regular basis.  Evidently it was one of my Dad's favorite bourbons.  Anyway it won a Double Gold award in this year's S.F. competition for Pepper's 100 proof Straight Bourbon.
Another long established brand, Bushmills, won awards for two of its Malt Irish Whiskeys.
 A scotch we favored for many years, Dewar's, also won a Double Gold award.
The list of winners was long and we marveled on how the judges could have tasted their way through so many spirits of all kinds.  Our hat is off to them in admiration.
The Old Town Temecula Community Theater has released its late 2013 to Spring 2014 schedule of events.
These range from Jazz, Classics, Country and Cabaret.  In October it will be Pippin.  November schedule shows Flamenco and Sherry Williams in Concert.  For the holidays it will be A Christmas Carol and The Nutcracker.
January 2014 will feature Annie and The Greatness of Chopin.  February Jazz Classics and A Few Good Men.  March, The Little Shop of Horrors and April, Tom Sawyer.
For a complete schedule call 1 866 653-8696. on the Web at www.  The Theater is located at 42051 Main Street, Temecula.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Six hundred people took part in Jim Woodin's and Joe Hilbers birthday bash at Thornton Winery on Sunday Sept. 22nd.  Well actually they were there to hear George Benson and Jessy J in another of Thornton's Champagne Jazz series.  However it was very nice indeed for Sally, John and Steve Thornton to wish us happy birthday on the printed program.
Jessy J wowed the throng as she performed on the stage and then moved through the audience.  George Benson, as he had done in a four decade career, showed again his talents as both a jazz guitarist and vocalist.
We had the opportunity to meet with Jeff Massey, executive chef of five star Cafe Champagne, and  enjoy his gourmet supper menu of sweet white corn bisque, wild Alaskan King Salmon and Belgian White and Dark Chocolate Mousse.
Our wines opened with Thornton Blanc de Noirs bubbly, then an outstanding Thornton 2012 Chardonnay and with dessert Thornton Milk Chocolate Kiss.  We gave high marks to the Chardonnay which was remarkable for its fruit aroma and smooth flavors so true to this varietal.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Owner and Chef Lance Wang shows a most innovated and interesting Chinese cuisine at his  Wang Tcheng Restaurant at 1199 N Euclid Street in Anaheim.  We enjoyed the three seafood delight as well as  the sauteed snowpea leaves.  The egg rolls are large, authentic and practically a meal in themselves.  This restaurant also includes a most attractive bar and lounge. Telephone 714 778-9988.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Some  interesting restaurants came our way recently.  The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar in Tustin has won many awards since its opening four years ago. Flat Iron Steak with asparagus risotto was our fare with an excellent 2011 La Merika Pinot Noir. Address  Address 2647 Park Avenue.
In San Diego we discovered great Chinese Dim Sum at the Emerald Chinese Seafood Restaurant located at 3709 Convoy Street.
You will never find a better view of the beach than when dining at the Boathouse in Santa Barbara located at Hendry's Beach.  We dined on the patio just steps from sand and water.  805 898-BOAT
In Long Beach El Lobo is a restaurant that brings Mexico's past to the present both in decor and ambiance as well as the food which offers recipes and cooking styles not found in many restaurants.  Located at 2941 E. Broadway.
 Think meat on a visit to M Grill, a Brazilian Steakhouse, located at 3832 Wilshire Blvd. near Wilshire and Western.  Ribeyes, filet mignon, beef short ribs and rack of lamb are sliced for you tableside.  Also a house special Picanha and Brazilian sausage,  all with a great buffet table as well.
On Pine Avenue in Long Beach The Federal Bar is now bringing in large crowds for its craft beers and contemporary menu of popular sliders and burgers.  Also live entertainment on weekends.  Address is 102 Pine Avenue and check out the happy hour.
The Red Thai Room in Yorba Linda is a newcomer but its Asian styled menu of Burmese-Thai cooking and Japanese Sushi has already achieved a faithful clientele.  Located at 4905 Yorba Ranch Road.  Tele. 714 701-0107.
On driving highway 79 in San Diego County's interior, I discovered Santa Ysabel Casino.
Atop a mountain, it offers wonderful views of the surrounding country.