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Yountville Live 2019 – Our Favorite Luxury Food, Wine And Music Weekend Returns

Duck Confit by Bottega from Yountville Live 2017

Julianne here- I am so excited for the 5th annual Yountville Live, featuring world class food, wine and live music, that I will be driving up from LA to bring you coverage. This year, the ultimate getaway takes place March 14th – 17th, 2019 with events all over Napa Valley.

Image provided by Yountville Live

Many beloved Napa Valley wineries including Handwritten Wines, Jessup Cellars, Regusci Winery, AXR Napa Valley, Vineyard 29, Mersenne Wines, Whetstone Wine Cellars, Stewart Cellars, Robert Mondavi Winery, Y. Rousseau Wines, Azimuth Estate Wines, Anthem Winery, Peju Province, Trefethen, Harumph Wines, Hewitt/Provenance, Beringer and more will be providing wine tastings for attendees. The four day exclusive event will feature food by favorite Napa Valley restaurants including La Toque, Las Alcobas, Bounty Hunter, Angele, Tarla, Mustards, Zuzu, Basalt, Bistro Jeanty, Ottimo, Kollar Chocolates, Bottega and more. Confirmed culinary talent participating this year are author, chef, cyclist and philanthropist, Chris Cosentino, award-winning chef and restaurateur Timothy Hollingsworth and host of NBC’s Health + Happiness, Joy Bauer.

Chef Timothy Hollingsworth

Having attended the 2017 event myself, and scoping out GOF blogger Brianna‘s coverage of last year, I know how incredible this experience is, and every year keeps getting bigger and better. Also, very happy to see one of my favorite LA chefs, Timothy Hollingsworth, getting in on the fun, I’ve been to Otium more than a handful of times now.

From 2017 Yountville lIve at Brix Restaurant and Garden

Yountville Live is a 4-day event celebrating everything that shapes Napa Valley into the culture we know and love: wineries, exceptional cuisine, music, and art. I’ll be attending several of the tastings, concerts and cooking workshops and providing the live coverage on our Instagram, @girlsonfoodblog, so make you’re keeping up with our stories.

Ahi Tuna Poke from Celadon at Yountville Live 2018

Although the foodie in me is salivating over the chefs involved, the soft rock enthusiast is also thrilled for music and food pairings. Here are some of the key events for the Yountville Live VIP:

The Eight at Eight Dinners on Thursday, 3/14 are private dinners held at a select Napa Valley winery. Each dinner will be coursed out, feature a wine pairing and live music. I cannot wait to reveal which dinner I will be attending!

Master Class Experiences on Friday, 3/15 are one of my favorite parts of this event. Local chefs and restaurateurs teach attendees the tricks of trade with cooking classes at some of Yountville’s favorite spots.

Chef Graham Elliot at the 2017 Red Carpet Gala

The Red Carpet Gala also on Friday, 3/15 is gourmet food lovers paradise. The 4 course, star-studded gala in 2017 was such an extravagant event, I cannot wait for this year.

The Taste of Yountville and Grand Cru Wine Tastings, Saturday, 3/17 at the Pavillion and the Social at The Estate Yountville will be featuring tastings of some of Napa Valley’s most beloved bites and awarded wines.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken by Smoke Catering, 2017

This event concludes Sunday, 3/18 with a Bubbles Brunch.The live music will be presented by CMT Next Women of Country, featuring performances by Kelleigh Bannen, Ingrid Andress, Natalie Stovall and Lauren Duski as we enjoy a brunch of open-fire cooked foods.

There’s still time to get tickets! Check out the schedule here to purchase, earlybird tickets are sold out but individual tickets are on sale now for $195 per person. If you’re there, please be sure to say hello, and we can sip some wine together!

Bubbles Brunch, 2017

To keep up with this me at the event, be sure to follow @girlsonfoodblog for live stories and pictures. A full post is coming next week! CHEERS!

Powerhouse Chefs Demonstrate Their Best Bites at Taste of Yountville

It might have rained a bit in Yountville last weekend, but that didn’t put a damper on the 25th annual Taste of Yountville festivities! Our weekend of food and wine kicked off with a demo by Chef Stephanie Izard (Girl and the Goat, Chicago), who shared her recipes for shrimp toast (paired with a beer cocktail) and chocolate peanut butter Cheez-It® s’mores.

Chef Stephanie Izard

Cheez-It S’more

Fun fact – did you know she actually had a Cheez-It® wedding cake? Yes, she’s THAT into them… and after tasting those s’mores, I think I am too! Chef Izard melts together butter, chocolate and peanut butter and pours that over Cheez-Its® before adding a mix of cocoa powder and powdered sugar, tossing to ensure each cracker is evenly coated. All that’s left to do is toast your marshmallow and get to sandwiching! The salty-sweet combo is to die for, and tastes almost like a Butterfinger bar. Chef Izard’s shrimp toast, topped with pickled Fresno chiles, was delicious – especially paired with a cocktail that incorporated the chile pickling liquid.

Shrimp Toast with Pickled Fresno Chiles, Pickled Red Onion, Preserved Lemon Aioli

We braved a quick run in the rain to make our way over to the V Marketplace Pavilion, where dozens of restaurants and wineries were showcasing their wares. After sampling some small bites, including ahi tuna poke from Celadon and black cod with pickled kumquat and meyer lemon aioli from Robert Mondavi Winery, we headed over to the Lynx-sponsored stage to watch Frank Bonanno teach us how to make ricotta.

Ahi Tuna Poke – Celadon

Black Cod with Meyer Lemon Kosho Aioli, Pickled Kumquat, Radish & Cress Salad – Robert Mondavi Winery

Frank Bonanno making ricotta

He started by combining a half-gallon of whole milk, 1 cup cream, and 1 cup buttermilk in a saucepan. After bringing it up to about 180 degrees, he added cider vinegar. As soon as he added the acid the mixture began to curdle, and after a few minutes of sitting in a fine-mesh strainer, the ricotta was ready! Spread on crostini, the ricotta was perfectly creamy with a delightful tang from the buttermilk. It might be a simple hors d’oeuvre, but it’s a showstopper!

Next up was the last event of the day: Michelin-starred Chef Ken Frank on how to make the perfect steak. You better believe I was taking notes! His tips started with buying the thickest cut of steak you can, emphasizing one big steak for sharing rather than a few smaller, thinner steaks. The benefit to a thicker steak is that there’s more room to nail the internal temperature, more time to get a great sear on the outside before the inside overcooks, and more room to get that delicious crust on every side of the steak. He got his pan ripping hot and seared the steak all over before letting it rest for a few minutes. As a general rule, he lets meat rest half as long as he cooked it. Then, the steak went into the oven to finish cooking. When it hit the perfect medium-rare he was looking for, he rested it again and, right before serving, tossed it in the pan one more time to get the outside super crisp. But the most important trick of all? Rest your meat on its side, not on the top or bottom, to get the most even distribution of juices.

The perfect steak – and no, that’s not hyperbole.

One bite of this steak, which was served alongside cheesy tapioca pearls, and I was in heaven. The steak was paired with a delicious Cabernet Sauvignon from Eleven Eleven wines. Chef Frank noted that he drinks cab every day – and we should too! That’s some advice I can definitely get behind.

Day two started off beautiful, without a single cloud in the sky. We started off the day learning the secrets behind Lisa Dahl’s incredible “Hipster Burger” (spoiler alert: lentils and quinoa provide heft, toasted walnuts add texture, and serrano chili oil is the ticket to great flavor). She also shared her tips for making the perfect kale salad: thinly shredding kale, then tossing it with a Greek-influenced vinaigrette before adding Caesar dressing. Thanks to the acid in the vinaigrette, the fibers in the kale soften and break down – the days of massaging kale are over!

Lisa Dahl’s gorgeous “Hipster Burger”

One of the most interesting presentations was an unlikely pairing – raw seafood and Pinot Noir. Featuring a flight of Twomey Pinot Noir, the dishes included Hamachi crudo with kumquat and avocado, tuna sashimi with cherry and red wine-steeped hibiscus, and a raw oyster topped with smoked soy sauce and toasted hazelnut. The takeaways from this presentation? Step outside of the box when it comes to pairings. Note how different ingredients change your perception of wine. Save money on garnishes by buying better main ingredients. Most importantly, take the time to learn about what you’re drinking and eating. Much like wine, food is heavily influenced by where it comes from.

From left to right: Chris Nishiwaki, contributor, Wine & Spirits Magazine; David Varley, Michael Mina Restaurant Group; Brady Lowe, founder, Cochon 555; Ian Leggat, director of marketing and public relations, Silver Oak Cellars and Twomey Cellars

Clockwise from top left: tuna sashimi, hamachi crudo, oyster

After a long weekend of food and wine – tough life, I know – it was time to head home. I’m already counting down the days until next year, but until then you can find me perfecting steak, drinking red wine with sashimi, and coming up with more Cheez It®-inspired desserts. Cheers!


A portion of the proceeds from this event benefited the families of those lost in the tragic shooting at The Pathway Home earlier this month. For more information and details on contributing to the fund, click here

Follow Girls on Food at the 25th Annual Taste of Yountville

Hey GOFoodies! I’m super excited to share that March 17-18, I’ll be heading to the legendary Taste of Yountville festival (a part of Yountville Live). This two-day food, wine and music festival features world-class chefs, wineries and recording artists. I’ll be experiencing it all and sharing it with you on the Girls on Food Instagram stories! Be sure to follow along so you can see how the weekend unfolds.

I’m really excited for Stephanie Izard’s demo, which will share the globe-trotting inspirations behind her delicious recipes. A James Beard nominee and the first woman to win Top Chef, Izard is the culinary mind behind the acclaimed restaurants Girl & the Goat and Little Goat Diner.

I’ll be sure not to miss Frank Bonanno’s cheese making demo. The force behind the Mizuna cookbook and host of PBS series Chef Driven, Bonanno will share his tips and tricks for making burrata and mozzarella from scratch. I’m already hungry!

Next up is a lesson on cooking the perfect steak, featuring wines from Eleven Eleven and Michelin-starred chef Ken Frank of La Toque. After experiencing perhaps the best meal of my life at his restaurant, I can’t wait to see what Chef has in store for us.

All that excitement, and that’s only the lineup for day one! Day two includes a deep dive into how environment impacts flavor, featuring experts from Cochon555 and Silver Oak/Twomey Cellars; a demo by James Beard featured chef Lisa Dahl of Dahl & Di Luca Ristorante Italiano; and a session by Claudia Sansone, whose three decades of culinary experience includes writing cookbooks, producing television shows and running her own cooking school—not to mention various humanitarian projects. Follow @girlsonfoodblog so you can keep up with my adventure in real time. If you’re in the area, tickets are still available. Buy yours today, and don’t forget to say hello!

Renzell: The Perfect App For Fine Dining Lovers

The world of foodie apps is like the wild west right now. Developers are striving to become the next big thing, but few apps offer anything unique to stand out from just being a local restaurant directory. I thought I had seen it all with these apps, until GOF blogger Marcie told me to check out an app called Renzell and it has since become my go-to restaurant directory app.

Cocktail from Redbird in LA, a restaurant you can survey on Renzell

Why Renzell?

It’s for those with impeccable taste –  What separates Renzell out from the other apps is a restaurant directory that is specifically hand-picked by Renzell staff of fine dining establishments in major metropolitan cities. This app isn’t here to help you find a new coffee shop, it’s to help you find the perfect special occasion spot. Think Marea in NYC, Redbird in LA and Alinea in Chicago.

Be undercover –  Members can rate restaurants anonymously through their surveys, which are scored based off overall numbers, no long write-ups required. Their surveys are broken down into categories like ambiance, service, food and cocktails. What I love about this so much is that it’s not public what scores users gave, so I can quietly and candidly score spots. See full list of restaurants here.

Prove it – There is also more accountability in the scores than other review apps. Members are encouraged to show proof of dining by providing a receipt from their visit. This makes me feel better when I read the scores, cause it’s lessening the likelihood of fake reviews.

Get rewarded! – The more you survey and/or provide proof of receipt, the more goodies you can get! Recent rewards include Starbucks gift cards, SoulCycle classes, a month of free Spotify premium and so much more.

With membership benefits, secure anonymity and consistent app functionality, I will consider myself a “lifer” Renzell member.

  • Featured image – Strozzapreti from Marea in New York, a restaurant you can survey on Renzell

AltaMed East LA Meets Napa & La Rioja + OC Meets Napa & Mexico

After much debate and consideration I was able to narrow down the awesome (pescatarian friendly) bites and beverages from AltaMed’s East LA Meets Napa & La Rioja as well as OC Meets Napa & Mexico. The events were incredible fundraisers with proceeds supporting health care for uninsured patients (from AltaMed). I couldn’t believe how huge the event was and was happily jumping from one table to the next in my attempts to try everything.

My Favorite Food Picks!

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