By Andy J. Gordon
The magnificent Saddlerock Ranch was the site of Los Angeles Magazine’s fifth annual culinary extravaganza on Sunday October 24, 2010. The ranch, located in the Malibu Hills, is the vineyard home of Malibu Family Wines, the producers of Saddlerock and Semler wines. The event featured celebrity chefs, several California wineries, cooking demonstrations, and educational discussions about wine pairings. Proceeds benefited the Kids Courage Foundation (www.kidscourage.org).
The vendors had booths spread among three beautiful lawn areas. Wineries and restaurants lined the perimeter, making it easy to sample as you walked along. There was more to eat than any one person could attempt, but I gave it my best shot. Several food selections stood out. Palate Food + Wine (www.palatefoodwine.com) served a tasty squash custard with a pomegranate relish and bacon apple strudel. Westside Tavern (www.westsidetavernla.com) had a delicious short rib crostini with caramelized onions and horse radish sauce. The Capital Grille (www.capitalgrille.com) offered a mouth watering wagyu beef carpaccio with Indian spices, arugula and mustard oil. Loteria Grill (www.loteriagrill.com) served yummy beef and pork soft tacos. The Lobster (www.thelobster.com) drew long lines for their deep fried lobster on a stick.
There were tasty selections from several wineries to help wash down the culinary treats. The chardonnay from Alma Rosa Winery (www.almarosawinery.com) and Sweeney Canyon Vineyard (www.sweeneycanyon.com) were very refreshing. The organizers cleverly positioned a beer garden in the second grassy area. The featured beers were Stella Artois, Hoegaarden, and Leffe. Each came with a signature glass that was a gift to keep. The citrusy, wheat beer from Hoegaarden really paired well with some of the tasting portions. There was also a large cooking demonstration tent in the second area. Acclaimed area mixologist Julian Cox from Rivera restaurant (www.riverarestaurant.com) made a spicy and delicious cocktail with Karma tequila called the “Poblano Escobar.”
Karma tequila (www.karmatequila.com) was founded by Devin Semler from the wine making family, and host of the afternoon’s event. Karma’s silver tequila was available both straight up, and with mixed drinks. Devin launched the company after many successful years in the wine business, and with a side interest in premium tequilas. As the founder of Kids Courage Foundation, the event’s charity beneficiary, Devin places a high degree of importance on giving back. After an amazing afternoon of wine, beer, food and good vibes, it was time to leave this enchanted place. Enjoying an indulgent day for a good cause should have brought good karma…at least I hope it did.
Photos courtesy of Andy J. Gordon and Erin Wesley for Guest of a Guest L.A. http://la.guestofaguest.com