With a few wine, food, and brew events scheduled last weekend, including California Brewers Festival at Discovery Park on Saturday, early September is a time to keep a watchful eye out for opportunities to indulge yourself after months of fictitious calorie-counting and “sucking it in” for those summer vacation photos. If you’re a regular reader of Capitol Weekly, you may be familiar with the advertisements for Christian Brothers High School’s “Wine, Beer, and Food Extravaganza.” If you saw the ad and ignored it, allow me to convince you to not make the same mistake next year.
Christian Brothers is a private high school that exists with the goal of giving opportunities to underprivileged students – a minimum of 5 percent of students are from below the national poverty line, says Christian Brothers President Lorcan Barns. Of the 1,022 students, 251 are on some sort of tuition assistance. The wine and food event has been around for almost 20 years in order to raise money for tuition. According to President Barnes, the event had over 2,000 in attendance and raised more than $50,000 last year. This year was expected to be even more successful.
My friend, Shannon, and I started our evening with the 6 p.m. Private Reserve Tasting pre-event. With good attendance, an ambient harp musician, Aura catering, and incredible wines, this was a nice chance to sip the tastier wines of the night before our senses became dulled and memories clouded. We sampled, among several others, an extra-dry champagne from Mumm, a well-balanced ZD pinot noir, a dreamy Duckhorn cabernet sauvignon, and a peppery pinot noir by Emeritus.
We continued into the courtyard, where the main event was underway. There were endless tables, countless people, and a large stage in the back corner where a live band was performing. You could spend all night at the event and never make it to each vendor. We visited Terra d’Oro wines, which had the sweetest elderly man who poured a glass of white zinfandel that made my mouth water. Our next stop was Giovanni’s Pizzeria, which managed to offer fresh, crispy pizza despite the street-vendor set-up. From there, we had delectable desserts from Henry’s Steakhouse, tasted a few more wines (this is where things get fuzzy), and eventually saw the sign that, as a midtown dweller, had a strong gravitational pull on me: Zocalo’s. I cannot get enough of their black bean dip and, lucky for me, they had plenty in stock. The friendly staff at the Silva’s Sheldon Inn table were gracious and offered the best cheese I had that evening.
The show-stopper, however, was the Matteo’s Pizza & Bistro and Supper Club’s joint table. If a Tree Hugger BLT with house-smoked and cured Portobello bacon, white truffle infused aioli, cherry tomatoes, and micro arugula on whole wheat walnut sourdough toast sounds too healthy to be good, you are sorely mistaken. Supper Club dished up food with amazing ingredients and even more amazing flavors. You’d have to taste it to believe it.
The yearly increase in attendance to Christian Brothers’ Wine, Beer, and Food Extravaganza is likely due to the fact that if you go once, you’ll probably go every year after. I know I will. And with general admission starting at $50 per ticket, it will cost you about the same as dinner with a couple glasses of wine at many restaurants, while supporting a great cause.
By Brigette Black