If there's one thing people in Northern California hate to do, it's travel to Southern California, especially Los Angeles, and the parts surrounding it. Over the years, I've learned that putting such pettiness is aside is worth it to gain access to the booming culinary and cocktail scene found in the lower section of California. Of course, for those still reluctant to travel all that way, this weekend offers you a chance to travel a tenth of the distance to experience some of Los Angeles' culinary offerings.
Every year, for one weekend in June, Sunset Magazine opens up the doors of their Menlo Park grounds to the public for cooking demonstrations, wine and beer tastings, and other exhibits tied in with homes and gardens. It's a fun, easygoing event that I've enjoyed attending off-and-on over the years, and at about $20 a ticket, a bargain.
This year, on the food side, Sunset has decided to bring up chefs from Southern California to tent-pole their "Why We Love The West" celebration. Included in the line up for this Saturday and Sunday are chefs Susan Feniger of Border Grill and STREET; Fabio Viviani of Top Chef fame and Firenze Osteria and Café Firenze; Steve Samson and Zach Pollack of Sotto; and Ludo Lefebvre of Trois Mec and numerous LudoBites pop-up restaurants. Also making an appearance is Seattle chef Maria Hines of Tilth and Golden Beetle, as well as San Francisco Bay Area chefs Ryan Scott, Brown Sugar Kitchen's Tanya Holland, Sean Eastwood from Navio at the Ritz-Carlton, and Yigit Pura, winner of "Top Chef: Just Desserts" and owner of Tout Sweet Patisserie.
Additionally, this year Sunset is hosting their own mini Off the Grid event with food trucks from The Chairman, Kasa, Sanguchon, Bacon Bacon, Ebbetts Good to Go, El Sur, Little Green Cyclo, The Taco Guys, and The Crème Brulee Cart showing up. Posting up in tents will be familiar restaurants Nopalito, Delfina Pizzaria, Hapa SF, Rosamunde Sausages, Chotto, and Peter's Kettle Corn.
To wash all that food down your gullet, there will be vendors from various breweries, like 21st Amendment, Speakeasy, and Sierra Nevada, and winegrowers and wineries from Russian River Valley, Calaveras, and Santa Clara Valley selling beer and wine. There will also be much more boozy drinks from Rye on the Road, and not at all boozy drinks from Soda Craft. However, do be aware of the event's code of conduct which states, "no public intoxication, fighting, or rowdiness," so it is probably a good idea not to sample too many alcoholic beverages and then tell Yigit Pura to put some pastry cream where the sunset don't shine.
Sunset Celebration Weekend
Where: Sunset Magazine Headquarters and Gardens, 80 Willow Rd., Menlo Park
When: Sat-Sun, June 1-2, 10 a.m-5 p.m.
Cost: $18, buy tickets in advance at Eventbrite.