April 13 2009

The 5th Annual San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival

journeyPod headed to sunny Southern California for the 5th Annual San Diego Wine and Food Festival. journeyPod was there for lip smacking, glass clinking, celebrity watching, swishing, swirling, mouth watering kinds of fun! Held at venues along the stunning San Diego waterfront, the Festival was a sizzling five-day festa that offered attendees everything from cooking classes with celebrity chefs, to wine tastings with Master Sommeliers, to a Reserve Tasting aboard the Hornblower’s Inspiration, and the Final Grand Event --where over 800 wines were poured.

journeyPod caught up with some of the movers and shakers at the festival. We spoke with the Chef of the Fest from 2007, Chef GT, for some real inside scoop on what it is like to be “Chef of the Fest.” We also chatted with the Dan from Redwood Creek Wines, and with Rita from Designo Plus who told us all about sea salts from around the world!

Let's take a listen straight from this year’s San Diego Wine and Food Festival.  And if you’re interested in attending the festival next November, journeyPod highly suggest you make your hotel reservations now—at the Grand Del Mar. That’s where we stayed this year and we couldn’t have been more impressed! Tune in for our podcast on The Grand Del Mar in an upcoming show. You’re gonna love this kitchy piece called “Glass of Wine” by The New Autonomous Folksingers.


The GRAND Daddy of Them All: The Grand Del Mar

San Diego, California. The name conjures up complete bliss: pristine beaches, sunny year round weather, the Zoo, shopping, and of course fine dining and luxurious hotels and resorts. journeyPod has had the opportunity over the past few yeas to cover a few select San Diego area properties such as the Ivy, The Rancho Bernardo Inn, La Costa, Estancia, L’Auberge, and a few select others. (Be sure to check out our archives for these great podcast shows!)

Well, my fellow jet-setters, it’s time to add a new favorite to the list: The Grand Del Mar. As the name suggests, it’s grand. Located in Northern San Diego, this property will make you think you’ve been magically transported to the Tuscan countryside. Really.

Add to the opulent atmosphere of this new destination resort the fact that it’s signature fine dining restaurant, Addison, has earned one of the most coveted awards of all: a Five Diamond rating from the Automobile Association of America (AAA).  journeyPod definitely agrees. We had a private tasting with Chef William Bradley and Jesse Rodriguez, Sommelier, gave us the pleasure of a fabulous wine pairing.

Let’s take a listen as Tom Voss, president of Manchester Grand Resorts, chats with journeyPod.

And I will leave you with the electronic sounds of amb26 and their song, “The Grand Prize.”


January 29 2008

Bin8945: Pour it on at this hip modern European bistro

journeyPod is your guide to luxury travel around the world. We give you VIP access to the hippest hotels, hottest nighlife and coolest restaurants.

As sip becomes hip, more and more wine bars are pouring onto the LA scene. This boom in intimate, dark places to sip Brunello di Montalcino and chat over Petite Syrah, is driven in particular by young people's enthusiasm for wine, and by a rise in wine popularity across all age groups because of greater availability and affordability.

Wine is undergoing a popularization in Los Angeles that's making it appeal to a wider range of ages and income levels. Wine bars are becoming a nightlife trend, following the martini and cigar-bar crazes of the last decade.

Many bars and restaurants in the area are making wine a priority.  BottleRock in Culver City is a wine bar and shop, offering many interesting, eclectic selections from around the globe.  At Lou they have a fun list that changes about every six weeks to reflect the changing seasons. The food is secondary, almost an afterthought.

The journeyPod pick for best wine bar in Los Angeles is Bin 8945. Bin8945 is so much more than a wine bar ---  it can be described as a hip, modern European bistro designed around the pairing of wine and food.  journeyPod sat down with owner, David Haskell, to discuss his new one-of-a-kind experience called Bin8945. 

Drink more wine: It's not just for special occasions; it can be a part of everyday life!  And as your sipping, enjoy the smooth sounds of My Virtual Band and their song, Red Wine.


January 28 2008

As Good as it Gets in West Hollywood

journeyPod is your guide to luxury travel around the world.
Just a short 20 minute drive from LAX airport and another 30 minutes from downtown Los Angeles, West Hollywood is very accessible.  And with so many fun and crazy things to do in West Hollywood, you could spend days here! 

Shopping, dining, celeb watching….West Hollywood has it all. Did you know thatWest Hollywood is one of the top 10 most filmed sites in the world! With over 150 restaurants, 14 hotels, and unique features like the Sunset Strip and Pacific Design Center, West Hollywood shines in front of a camera.

West Hollywood’s 1.9 square miles are home to unparalleled historic venues, incredible views, and access to the most desirable locations in Los Angeles. When in West Hollywood, there are plenty of opportunities to whet your appetite.  A few journeyPod picks include: Asia de Cuba at Mondrian, Mels Drive-In, and Sushiya. But the journeyPod pick is The Palm. journeyPod had a lovely dinner with George Gilio, the General Manager of The Palm, West Hollywood, and got the inside scoop!

Enjoy the cool sounds of Caruseo and their song, "Palma Summer Nights."


Iconic Hotel on Sunset Strip

Iconic Hotel on Sunset Strip

When you think of Rock-n-roll music - The Doors, Led Zepelin, Guns-n-Roses may come to mind. One of the unique things about these bands is that they all started off in West Hollywood, playing at many clubs on Sunset Strip.  If you are visiting Los Angeles, you owe yourself a trip to this iconic street. So much history and so many stories...if only the sidewalks could talk.


Some of these "glamorous" nightclubs from the 60's,70's and 80's are still around- The Whisky, for example, is where The Doors started as a house band in the late 60's.

And speaking of stories, The Hyatt on Sunset, better known as "The Riot House" has many stories to tell. If you want to stay at one hotel with history - you gotta stay here!

The notorious hotel is currently going through a major renovation- which includes replacing the notorious balconies - that's right no more balconies for Axl Rose to BBQ from and then throw steaks at the people walking below (true story from 1986).

journeyPod had the opportunity to tour this iconic property as is - before the renovation. We were also fortunate to stay in the famed Suite 905 - also known as the "Robert Plant Suite" - one of the most photographed suites in Hollywood. Photographers are happy just to get a picture of the outside of the door. Apparently in 1975 Robert Plant was quoted saying, "I am a golden god!" from the balcony during an interview. One evening Keith Moon, drummer of the Who, climbed from his suite to serve him a cocktail.

Enjoy the appropriate sounds of Indigo Shadow and their song, "Window Riot".


Paso Robles - The New Hip Wine Country!

Centrally located between San Francisco and Los Angles along California’s central coast, Paso Robles is a four hour drive from Los Angeles. No need to drive 8 hours to Napa or Sonoma and fight the crowds of peoples...no sir!


Diverse soils combined with warm days and cool nights make Paso Robles the optimal area for producing more than 40 wine varieties from Cab Sav, Merlot, and Cab Franc to Zinfandel.

journeyPod recently experienced the perfect weekend getaway to Paso Robles... so all you jetSetters out there, take note!

Hotels to check out include: The Carlton, La Bella Sera, and Hotel Cheval. And for the restaurants get ready to feast at: Artisan, Villa Creek, Enoteca (at La Bella Sera) and Deborah's Room (at Justin Winery).

Take an educational tour at Steinbeck Vineyards and then head over to Eberle Winery to indulge in the juice...

Read more about about Paso Robles in our Luxury Lifestyle Blog!

In the meantime, sit back and relax while enjoying and the smooth sounds of Peachy Jane and their song "Water on Wine".