Monday, March 24, 2014

Nothing is harder to find in Southern California that a true underground cellar, and this is especially true if it involves a restaurant.  So when The Federal in Long Beach unveiled its new underground entertainment venue earlier this year it was really news.
We got our first view of it yesterday when we attended the "Let's Do Launch" event which celebrated Long Beach's first restaurant week.
This took place at The Federal's new Underground located at First and Pine Street.  Taking part was a live broadcast of the SoCal Restaurant Show on Angels Radio AM 830.
Then there were the culinary tasties provided by The Federal, La Strada Italiano, US Foods, and Choctal.
And of course we spent some time talking with Kara P:otthast, sales exec of Kiwi Distributing Co., importers of some very exciting wines.  We particularly liked the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010 from New Zealand.  The grapes were from Wairau Valley known for producing excellent white wines.
We also were impressed with Robertson Winery 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon.  We already knew that South Africa makes outstanding wines and this vintage proved that once again.
The International Food, Wine & Travel Writers were well represented at this event with Linda Kissam, IFW vice president, Roger Paige, IFW Executive Secretary.  and members Andrew Harris, who was one of the trio broadcasting live on Angels Radio AM 830, and this Writer 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Private country clubs are just that.  But if you want to enjoy all the facilities and amenities of a private country club you can do just that at the Tustin Ranch Golf Club which is open to the public.
We were there one day last week to meet with Executive Chef Bert Agor who has been responsible for creating a new culinary scene at the Club.  Since taking over as Executive Chef Agor, besides fine dining in a casual style, there are now winemaker and craft brew dinners, cooking classes and in summer 'music under the stars', outdoor dining with live music.
The Sunday Brunch has received immediate fame for its lavish variety.  In the restaurant there is the Featured Specials menu which changes weekly.  Also there is the Pine Creek BBQ Patio for special events and The Players Lounge with its own bar and open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. with a full menu.
The Tustin Ranch Golf Club is located at 12442 Tustin Ranch Road in Tustin,   For more information call 714 734-2106.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Cafe Camellia in Bellflower has long been a leader in the quality of the wine list and the skill Owner-Executive Chef Richard Alm shows in blending his Asian fusion cuisine with French fare.  It had been much too long since our last visit but Richard was on hand to greet us.
We were there with Jim Woodin's Academy of Culinary Professionals and were served a seven course, Tapas styled dinner which can only be described as memorable.
This restaurant, rates four stars each year, has long been a leader in the quality of the wine list and the skill Richard Alm always displays in matching the food with the wines. And once again we were not disappointed.
Five wines were served with the tapas starting with a Sonoma Brut sparkling wine and finishing with a 1999 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. 
Cafe Camellia, with full bar and lounge, is located at 16916 Bellflower Blvd. in Bellflower.  Off street free parking is available.Telephone 562 866-2824.  It is open for lunch Monday thru Friday and for dinner six nights, closed Sundays.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Our visit to Verace Pizza Napoletana Americas was most instructive as it gave us the opportunity to experience true Neapolitan Pizza.  Naples, Italy is the home of pizza which is about 300 years old.
In 1984 makers of pizza in Naples decided to form an organization that would safeguard the making of true Naples pizza. 
Officially approved Vera Pizza Napoletana is now being made almost world wide.
The official base for this product, in the USA and Canada,  is located at 4040 Del Rey Avenue in Marina Del Rey where classes are conducted on how to prepare authentic Pizza.
We were given a quick seminar on how true Napoletana is prepared and best of all were allowed to consume some of the delicious pizzas.  The basic ingredients are flour, tomato and buffalo Mozzarella.
What impressed us the most was the wonderful crust, the best we have ever tasted in a pizza.
To learn more about VPA and the classes at Marina Del Rey call 323 653-5792.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

It has been some time since we had visited the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.  The time for this visit was most appropriate as the Aquarium is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year.
We were amazed at how many changes had taken place since we were last there.  The exhibits have been created to match the geography and life of separate parts of the Pacific Ocean.
First is the Southern California and Baja Coast, then the North Pacific coast Gallery and the Tropical Pacific Gallery which, with its beautiful corals, was new to us.
We started with the Ocean Exploration gallery which provides a history how man's exploration of our water planet has progressed through the centuries.
It was a busy day at the Aquarium with hosts of small children, others in large groups being chaperoned by harried adults.  It was most interesting to watch the children, enjoy their wonder and excitement as they  studied each exhibit.  There was much for them to see with the live seal, penguin and sea otter exhibitions.
One thing we did learn that it is impossible to truly experience the Aquarium in just one visit.
We will have much to add to this visit with our story in the Summer issue of Vittles.