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Wine dinners take place in many restaurants. They are events that bring people together for a meal and introduce people to new wines or present sought-after wines. In many instances, attendees are supporters of the restaurant yet unfamiliar with the winery. And a key element of the dinner is that the winemaker, winery owner or a key representative from the winery will attend to be on hand to share the story of the winery and discuss the wines. This person, along with the wines, becomes the focal point of the night. But another significant element is the menu that is created to pair with the wines. Since they opened three and a half years ago, Crossings Restaurant in South Pasadena has been hosting four to six wine dinners a year. Owner Patrick Kirchen, who has been cultivating relationships with wineries since working as General Manager at Arroyo Steakhouse and Nick and Stefs, looks to share these relationships with the community. One of these relationships is with The Terraces, a winery based in Napa Valley and I was invited to attend the recent wine dinner they did at Crossings.
As the saying goes, "April showers bring May flowers", but in Los Angeles that saying rarely applies. Here we are in the beginning of May, ready to enjoy the spring weather. But, last weekend, while the sun was shining, the clouds were grey and the rain was looming as the 2nd Annual Masters of Taste LA was getting ready to start. As we entered the iconic Rose Bowl in Pasadena, we were ready, just in case, and we had our rain jackets and umbrella. Masters of Taste brought together more than fifty chefs and restaurants, as well as wine, beer, spirits, cider and non-alcoholic purveyors. More than 2000 people bought tickets to attend the event. A football field filled with food and drink is reason enough to attend the Masters of Taste but all the more so because 100 percent of the proceeds go to Union Station Homeless Services which assists the city's homeless.