Happy new year. Hope everyone partied like it’s 2013, or at least like it’s Dine Downtown Week, which starts on Weds and lasts the standard 10-day week. That’s the chance to go to 30 of the best restaurants in the city’s core and get a 3-course meal for $30. They range from Biba and Blackbird to Cafeteria 15L, the Firehouse and River City Brewing Co. Goes till Jan 18.
Then, on Jan. 20 we start BaconFest. Is this town great or what? That’s another 30 restaurants in the region doing bacon-related specials, meals, events and such. There’s an opening night party at Hook & Ladder, and a finishing Chefs Challenge at Mulvaney's on the last night, Jan. 27.
For people looking for an out-of-town escape, I just got back from Carmel, which has turned into a wine town. They have a village wine walk with 8 tasting rooms, and another half-dozen wine shops and wine bars. Yet another reason to go to the town that was, I’m convinced, built by elves.
And in our Where is Rick category, I’m starting guided tastings on the third Thursday every month – including Jan 17 – at Bistro 33 in El Dorado Hills, and the first Thursday at 33rd Street Bistro in East Sacto. Plus Prof. Rick has another food-and-wine class at Lava Cap on Jan 26.
Finally, speaking of foothill wineries, I was up there last week for work and, man, is this the time to visit. Everything is green and quiet and beautiful, and the tasting rooms are just sitting there, waiting for someone to walk in. Winter is a great time to go wine tasting.