Weekend Departure L.A.

Weekend Departure L.A.

Weekend Departure is back!  Pause Diablo III and enjoy a sun-filled day this weekend by attending one of these awesome events!!
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2012 James Beard Foundation Awards nominees announced

Winners to be announced on May 4 and 7

The nominations for the 2012 James Beard Foundation Awards was announced this afternoon from The Venetian Las Vegas Casino, Hotel & Resort. The award is to honor the best in food, restaurant, spirits, bar, and food related media. Outstanding Chef award nominations include: David Chang of Momofuku Ssam Bar in NYC, Gary Danko of Restaurant Gary Danko in San Francisco, Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park in NYC, Paul Kahan of Blackbird in Chicago, Donald Link of Herbsaint in New Orleans, Nancy Silverton of Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles.

Outstanding Restaurant award nominations include: Balthazar in NYC, Blue Hill in NYC, Boulevard in San Francisco, Highlands Bar and Grill in Birmingham, AL, Vetri in Philadelphia.

Outstanding Bar Program award nominations include: The Aviary in Chicago, Bar Agricole in San Francisco, Pegu Club in NYC, PDT in NYC, The Violet Hour in Chicago.

Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional nominations include: Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton, DE; Merry Edwards of Merry Edwards Winery in Sebastopol, CA; Paul Grieco of Terroir in NYC; Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery in NYC; Neal Rosenthal of Mad Rose Group in Pine Plains, NY. Winners will be announced on May 4 and 7. Download the entire 12-page nominees list here.


Beard Foundation announces 2012 semifinalists

For restaurants and chefs

The James Beard Foundation released a nine page PDF of the semifinalists for the 2012 James Beard Foundation Awards for restaurants and chefs. This award is also known as the Oscars for the food industry honoring and highlighting the best in North America. Best New Restaurant includes: AQ from S.F.; Bistronomic from Chicago; MB Post from Manhattan Beach, CA; Picca from L.A.; Yardbird Southern Table & Bar from Miami Beach, FL. Outstanding Bar Program includes: Bar Agricole from S.F., and The Esquire Tavern (pictured above) from San Antonio. Outstanding Wine & Spirits Professional includes: Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.; and Abe Schoener of The Scholium Project. Finalists will be announced on March 19. See below for the complete list. Read More

Retail beer sales rise in 2011 to reach $98 billion

Sales rose more than 2%

The Beer Institute reports that retail beer sales rose more than 2% in 2011 to reach a sum of more than $98 billion (that’s nine zeros). Beer sales, which contribute to approximately 1.8 million American jobs throughout over 500,000 beer distributing establishments, exceeded wine and liquor sales in both revenue and volume, with high-end beer leading the surge. Craft and import beers sold for off-premise consumption claimed a 3% total increase, while the overall off-premise consumption category only rose 1%. Total sales for alcohol consumed on-site at a bar or restaurant rose by 3% to exceed $55 billion in revenue. In other words, Americans spend a lot of money on beer.


Brewers Association reveals 2012 Beer Style Guidelines

Knowledge is power

So your friend leans over a cold beer and says, “It’s got subtle yet harmonious fruit flavor, not hoppy in character, slightly hazy in appearance, and has an acidic taste to it,” this is most likely because they’ve been reading the 2012 Beer Style Guidelines, recently released by the Brewers Association. This guide, which is updated annually, describes 140 styles of beer and uses comments and suggestions from Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup judges, as well as other beer industry members, to make pertinent revisions to the guidelines. Read More

U.S. Travel Association’s 2012 Campaign: ‘Vote Travel’

Piggy-backing off Obama’s tourism initiative last week, the US Travel Association is pushing their own campaign to promote tourism.

Of course, these things always come with a big number and a quote, “the impact of the $1.8 trillion U.S. travel industry is significant and growing, which is why we are galvanizing support and asking all Americans to ‘Vote Travel’ this election season,” says Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. Here’s there game plan and goals to make tourism a major political topic this election. Read More

U.S. wineries continue to grow, up 6% from a year ago

According to Wines & Vines magazine

Wines & Vines magazine revealed at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, the largest wine and grape trade-show in the nation held in Sacramento, on Tuesday, that there are 7,345 wineries currently operating in the U.S. as of 2012. A 6% increase from a year ago. The top six states for wineries are California, Washington, Oregon, New York, Virginia, and Texas. The Golden State currently accounts for more than 90% of the nation’s wine production, as well as the count for most wineries in North America.

Culver City’s The Counter heading to the Middle East and U.K.

Culver City, CA based custom burger joint, The Counter founded in 2003 by Jeff Weinstein is heading to 33 new locations. In the next eight years, find them in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and England. The first few locations are set to open late 2012 in London, Dubai and Kuwait with regional flavors such as lamb and local fish found in the Arabian Gulf area. The new venture is a collaboration between The Counter and the Americana Group. The Counter currently operates in 32 U.S. locations and two international restaurants in Ireland.


Obama announces national strategy to boost travel and tourism in the US

Tourists, we need...

Fresh from the White House, a press release notes an initiative to promote tourism in America. Of course, there is a hefty figure to back up this initiative. “The number of travelers from emerging economies with growing middle classes such as China, Brazil, and India – is projected to grow by 135%, 274%, and 50% respectively by 2016 when compared to 2010. Nationals from these three countries contributed approximately $15 billion dollars and thousands of jobs to the U.S. economy in 2010.”

That’s a big number. I can’t think of a country that doesn’t value tourism. Even in North Korea, you can see Chinese tourists rollin’ around PyongYang in their Audis. But how exactly is the Obama administration going to pull this off? Read More


Orange County Restaurant Week 2012 restaurants announced

Features 100 OC restaurants


dineLA is just around the corner, but don’t you feel left out, Orange County residents, your restaurant week kicks off on February 26 through March 3 featuring multiple course menus starting at $10 to $40. Pamela Waitt, president of the OC Restaurant Association describes Orange County Restaurant Week as the showcasing of “top chefs at the county’s best restaurants.” See the list. Read More

Virgin America serving food you'd actually want to eat

'New Year's Resolution' menu is available through March 2012

Airplane food is notorious for having that disgusting reputation, but that’s all going to change with Virgin America‘s new approach. A new focus with menu options including local fruits and vegetables, premium meats and artisan breads reflects on “I’d rather not eat crappy food” movement. With a seasonal menu offering more locally sourced options, Virgin America is listening to your palates. Their inflight menu offers cage-free eggs and lighter options like Asian Vegetable Salad and a Chickpea Salad Wrap. Read More

Taste Terminal launches in San Francisco!

Point your web browsers to sf.tasteterminal.com

Now that we’re settled into L.A. We’re bringing our content to the Bay. Expect the same level of coverage as we bring out the stories behind the industries that we so love. Read More


Los Angeles beer drinkers becoming savvier

It wasn't always like this


California might be the state with the most breweries totaling 245 in 2010, but Los Angeles County, with a population over nine million, is still behind with their number of craft breweries. With the recent movement of Alchemy & Science, the newly formed craft beer consortium of Ace Beverage and Mission Beverage, and four more L.A. breweries in development (according to the Brewers Association), L.A. is rapidly catching up to the rest of the craft drinking region of the United States. Read More


Founder of Magic Hat Brewing, Alan Newman and Boston Beer Co. acquire L.A. microbrewery

Alchemy & Science coming to L.A.


After yesterday’s unconfirmed report on Reddit.com by Redditor djolliebaba about Magic Hat Brewing to open up a brewery in L.A. Today the Boston Herald reports that Alchemy & Science, a company launched by Boston Beer Co. and Alan Newman, founder of Magic Hat Brewing Co. is taking over Angel City Brewing‘s facility in downtown L.A. The report also states that it’s the first brewery for the portfolio in the newly formed company Alchemy & Science and the current owner of Angel City, Michael Bowe, will remain with Angel City for two years as an adviser. 216 South Alameda St., Los Angeles, CA 90012.

See the full story Boston Beer Co. subsidiary buys L.A. microbrewer.

Free pancakes at IHOP on National Pancake Day, Daily Grill offers 600 calorie or less menu

On Tuesday, February 28, over 1,500 IHOP restaurants in the U.S. will serve free pancakes from 7 AM to 10 PM. Guests are encouraged to make donations to the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital or other local charities. Offer valid at participating restaurants for dine-in only, limited to one free serving per guest.

Starting today, Daily Grill is offering their “Simply 600 Menu” during lunch and dinner at all their locations (except LAX). The menu features: Turkey Club, Simply Grilled Salmon, Petite Filet Mignon, Pan-Seared Salmon Burger, Fish Tacos, Thai Noodle Chicken Salad, Blackened Ahi Tuna Salad, Chicken Meatballs and Angel Hair Pasta.

Photo: Daily Grill’s Thai Noodle Chicken Salad
Photography provided by Daily Grill


California Restaurant Month returns with special promotions and offerings

With nearly 30 destinations across California

Participating restaurants in four regions: Northern California, San Francisco Bay Area, Central Coast and Southern California will be offering prix fixe menus, wine pairings, celebrity chef events and deals for patrons during “California Restaurant Month.” Caroline Beteta, Visit California president and CEO described restaurant week as “a great opportunity for foodies and aspiring foodies alike to experience the best of California’s abundant and diverse wine and food product.” See a list of the participants. Read More


Most popular North American ski resorts of 2011

Yeah 2011 is over, but we’re sure you still want to know what the best ski resorts were last year. SkiReports.com ranked the ski resorts through Facebook fans with Mammoth coming in at number one. Take a look at the full report. Read More

100 million Americans ‘going out’ on New Year’s Eve

The National Restaurant Association (NRA?) published their survey findings estimating that 100 millions Americans plan to celebrate New Years by going out or buying take-out. One of 5 surveyed are planning a night at a restaurant or bar on New Year’s Eve and 22 percent plan on bringing it home. Read More