Highlights from the Dana Point Wine Festival!

At the Festival!

At the Festival!

From the pooches to the pinots to the pale ales, this was a great dog friendly festival and quintessential carefree day of summertime leisure! As you can see, my friend Sarah and I had a great time! Next year, I’ll have to make sure to bring my dog, Frankie – she’s a huge a wine fan.

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If learning about wine region by region is your thing, this was the place for you! Wines were organized by country, with knowledgeable attendants who could fill you in on the characteristics of each nation’s flagship variety.

My favorite wine for a warm June day like the one we had at the festival was the Bluefeld Riesling, from Mosel. Medium sweet, with a gentle effervescence to refresh you from the heat, it really hit the spot. That and the free Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. I didn’t get a chance to have some, but my friends told me that the samples were basically full on scoops!



On the beer front, there were a bunch of small and rising micro-breweries, like Beach City Brewery, based out of Huntington Beach and only three months old . . . just a baby.


Another highlight was Bootleggers Brewery, based out of Fullerton. Not quite a baby brewery anymore, but well on its way into the elementary school arena of brewskis as it enters its sixth year of operation. The Palomino Pale Ale was on tap and delicious, maltier than your typical pale ale, with a crisp citrusy aroma and flavor. Just the ticket for a hot summer day. It’d be worth the drive into Fullerton to check this place out, not only for the Palomino, but also for some of their more creative flavors — like a Mint Chocolate Porter, the “Black Phoenix” blend of smoky chipotle and savory coffee, and even a plum infused brew.


On top of everything else, there were beautiful handicrafts, artwork, and music playing. Local vendors were selling mouth watering food at discount prices to get patrons to give their stuff a try. I got a taste of Good Choice Sushi, which was doling out roll after roll to hungry patron after hungry patron. Having a sample of how good they were, I’d definitely check out their main establishment! Especially after scoping out their website and seeing this tasty looking poke bowl . . .


All in all, this was a fantastic festival, and one worth going back to next year! I can’t wait to see who will be showing off their art, beer, and wine!

Dana Point Wine, Food, and Music Festival! Sat 6/21, by the Beach!

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Is there anything else you need to know to pack up your bags and head down to Dana Point this Saturday, June 21st?  Incredible wine, world class food, live music, the beach, and even beer!! Oh . . . and entry is FREE!


I can’t tell you how excited I am to check it out, especially because a lot of the artists, food, crus, and brews are homegrown or smaller scale. Big Sky Brewing Co. will be there, hopefully pouring my favorite, “Moose Drool.” Ballast Point, just a few miles down the road in San Diego will also be setting up shop, along with the usual suspects — Stella, Blue Moon, Shock Top, etc. It’ll be a good blend of the familiar with the new and exotic — very curious to try the Kona Brewing Company, straight from the Big Island!


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As for wine, there’s a great international showing, with every represented country sporting its flagship grape . . .

  • Argentinian Malbec
  • German Riesling
  • Spanish Tempranillo & Albarino
  • New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
  • Australian Shiraz

And of course there’s a bunch of California wines to be enjoyed as well — highlights to look forward to are:

  • Parducci, Chardonnay, “Small Lot Blend”, Mendocino County
  • Mark West, Pinot Noir, California
  • Bell Town, Cabernet Sauvignon, Central Coast
  • Concannon, Cabernet Sauvignon, “Conservancy”, Livermore Valley

Obviously I’m completely jazzed for the libatious leg of this festival, but what I’m most looking forward to are the cooking demos by the celebrity chefs! As an amateur chef myself, I’m always curious to learn new techniques!

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On top of chef demos, there will also be tons of delicious food brought in from local vendors. I love eating local because it literally gives you a flavor of the surrounding town, and ideas for which restaurants to hit the next time you’re in the area. In particular, I’ve heard that Shwack Beach Grill has killer sliders (they sold over 1,000 last year!) and that el Adobe Capistrano has the best tacos. Assuming that I don’t fill up on food from the demos, I’m looking forward to trying both these places!

Now as great as this sounds, I know what you’re waiting for.

The big “but.”

But . . . what about PARKING??

Good news!

The parking situation is seriously a dream.

First, you might not even have to park, because if you go to this link on the Festival website: http://www.foodwineandmusicfestival.com/#!directions-and-parking/c1tms you’ll find that there is  a discount code for first-time Uber users, shaving off $50 from your ride!

IF you do drive though, there’s a big free lot with a shuttle that then takes you straight to the festival. Easy and breezy. Yay!

This is a quality festival, free entry, great pricing options, and easy to get to. I’ll see you there!



Why www.TheBesty.com really is the Best for Food Lovers and travelers!

Recently I discovered a great new site, www.TheBesty.com. The site is a way for people to share the best restaurants with each other and discover new restaurants and food they don’t know about. What’s great is that, unlike Yelp, you get to avoid all those negative posts! Too many times have I read a Yelp review that is obviously a reflection of the writer having a bad day, as opposed to the actual quality of the restaurant.
The idea behind TheBesty is for it to be only about the best. The goal is to share, not to
 critique. The platform is sort of like Twitter, in which you can follow other friends and foodies, who share the restaurants that they’re into! The site has users from all over the world adding their favorite restaurants and dishes daily, so I can see how in the future people would just start using TheBesty because it really is the easiest way to find the best, and who has time for anything else? :)
In the end, life is short, time is short, and a tool that helps me find only the best, is something I”m into, and know I will use. I also see travelers using this to find the best restaurants wherever they are in the world.
Create your own list of favorite restaurants and dishes to share with me and other friends HERE.
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