WBC14: Bridlewood Estate Excursion

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View from Bridlewood’s mission bells.

As I wrote in my thoughts on the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference (WBC14), the overall value of the conference is one of the biggest reasons I’d consider going again in the future. And nothing can illustrate that better than the one additional excursion I attended the afternoon after WBC14 closed: the Bridlewood Estate Excursion.

For about the cost of a burger in most San Francisco eateries ($15), I added on this bonus trip into the Santa Ynez Valley AVA, which I knew included a tour, tasting wines, and a picnic lunch.

The lunch, all bundled up.

The lunch, all bundled up.

I didn’t know it included a panel discussion called “Meet Your Makers”, which would stuff us even more with an amazing array of appetizers prepared by Industrial Eat’s Jeff Olsson, a chef that every blogger who made it away from the hotel for dinner raved about.

Olsson with Valley Piggery’s Jake O’Francis.

Olsson with Valley Piggery’s Jake O’Francis.

More on that later, but even without that bonus session, I would have felt I got my money’s worth from the event. Heck, I probably would have felt it the moment I stepped out of the bus.

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The General Hospital Fan Club Weekend – 2014, Available now!

Another photography credit for me, another chance for the unabashed soap opera lovers among us to pick up a nifty photobook! Once again, Katrina Rasbold, my fearless leader at All My Writers for the last, oh, almost decade, has released a Yearbook of this year’s General Hospital Fan Club Weekend. She writes the reports; I take the photos.

This 180-page book is jam-packed with full-color photos of General Hospital‘s past and present-day stars from 4 days of events. There’s plenty of behind-the-scenes gossip to boot. What’ll you learn about in the Yearbook? As Katrina writes,

New couples, new babies, famous spouses, Hollywood royalty, a bit of a smack-down from Executive Producer, Frank Valentini, a “Blast From the Past” actor with some very unconventional claims and advice to fans, two Rabbis, plenty of selfies, a double-helping of Michael Corinthos, a male heart-throb who broke all of our hearts on screen, a current GH couple who ditched us, graphic novels straight from ComiCon, impossible schedules, careers made and broken, dogs and cats living together… this year had it all! 

Our print copies of last year’s yearbook sold out as soon as the doors to the main cast event opened, so you know these are beautiful keepsakes for the GH fans among us. Both full-color and black and white paperback versions are available from Amazon.

Color:                      Black and White:
         

I couldn’t leave you without sharing my favorite photos from the event, could I? I was so delighted to see Scott Clifton at the Past Cast Event. Him and Michael Sutton appearing made my weekend.

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I hope you enjoy the 2014 Yearbook!

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Mac & Cheese Night #3: The Tipsy Pig

It’s only a few days until Mac & Cheese Night #4, and I’m just now getting the write-up done for Night #3—it’s been that sort of month, y’all. You’d think I’d be tiring of all that pasta, cheese, and sauce by now, but frankly, I want more comfort food bliss.

Night #3 was our biggest group yet, and it took place at the Inner Marina’s local gastropub, the Tipsy Pig.

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This is definitely an in-demand spot, but unlike so many others of its ilk, the Tipsy Pig actually takes reservations and has thus earned my gratitude. I’m so much happier when I can be assured I’ll get a table before I go to a restaurant, especially when that involves trekking across the Bay, as it often does.

The overall feel of the place is kitschy English pub…with a backyard full of frat boys.

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The crowd around the bar.

The crowd around the bar.

Front of the house.

Front of the house.

I found it cozy, and of course, the company was good. Menu focus is subtly playful takes on standard menu items at most American pubs these days: tartare, ribs, sliders, risotto, burgers, and of course, mac & cheese. Some of my companions found those takes too subtle, but that does not apply to the mac & cheese.

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Let’s start there, shall we? The Tipsy Pig’s mac & cheese revels in the complement of bacon, from the crumbles mixed in to the cheese sauce cooked in bacon fat.

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