Get Ready for Burgers, Chocolate, Celeb Chefs, and More

Fleming's Prime Burger is a mouth-full and then some. (Photo courtesy of Fleming's)

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar is rolling out a bevy of burgers on its bar menu.

Sit down in the bar area at either of the two Bay Area locations, Palo Alto and Walnut Creek, to take your pick of Fleming’s Prime Burger (with cheddar cheese and peppered bacon, $12), Sliced Filet Mignon Burger (with sauteed mushrooms and Bernaise sauce, $18), Jumbo Lump Crab Cake Burger (with creamy mustard sauce, $16), Ahi Tuna Burger (with soy ginger sauce, $12), or Portobello Mushroom Burger (with sauteed spinach and creamy goat cheese, $10).

All are accompanied by a mini wedge salad and onion rings.

Every Wednesday through September from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., the restaurant will offer complimentary samplings of its burger menu to entice you even more.

Chocolate and more chocolate star at the Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival. (Photo courtesy of Ghirardelli)

If chocolate is more your thing, you’ll be in heaven at the 14th annual Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival, noon to 5 p.m. Sept. 12-13.

More than 40 vendors will be showcasing their chocolate creations, including Kika’s Treats, Mary Louise Butters Brownies, and Ciao Bella Gelato.

There will be live music, as well as a “Hands Free” Earthquake Ice Cream Sundae Eating Contest. Yes, it’s just what you think it is, and just as messy. The winner takes home a ginormous basket of Ghirardelli chocolate.

Top Chef's Casey Thompson. (Photo courtesy of the Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival)

If that weren’t enough, “Top Chef” finalist, Casey Thompson, will lead the cooking demonstrations at 2 p.m. both days.  Bravo TV fans may remember that Thompson was not only voted “America’s Favorite” on the show, but nicknamed “the Jennifer Aniston of cooking” by the one and only Anthony Bourdain.

The festival is free. Chocolate tasting tickets are $20 for 15 tastings. The event benefits Project Open Hand, a San Francisco non-profit that provides meals to seniors and seriously ill individuals.

Summer heirloom tomatoes go swank at Masa’s in San Francisco.

The restaurant is featuring a “Celebration of Tomatoes’‘ eight-course menu for $105 per person, Tuesday through Saturday nights through September. Wine pairing is an additional $79.

Dishes are expected to include ones such as Green Zebra tomato gazpacho with ricotta cheese flan and Gravenstein apple salad; and pan-seared medallion of prime New York beef with roasted tomato tartlette. The tomatoes are from Verdure Farm in Healdsburg.

Seafood goes Italian-style at Poggio Trattoria in Sausalito.

Sept. 15-19, the restaurant will host “Festa di Pesce” to showcase local seafood such as sardines, calamari, anchovies, mackerel, and swordfish.

Chef Peter McNee will debut a special menu of crudo (raw, marinated, cured), and cotto (cooked) seafood antipasti. They will be priced from $7 to $9, or three for $21. A pairing of three tastes of Italian wine is an additional $12 per person.

Duck leg confit with plum glaze, which I got to sample last week at LarkCreekSteak.

The Lark Creek Restaurant Group spotlights South Australia through September.

The “South Australia Comes to America” promotion will feature menus, wines, and special events showcasing the fourth largest of Australia’s six states. South Australia is one and a half times larger than Texas, and accounts for about 60 percent of all wine made in Australia.

Each of the participating restaurants will offer an Aussie-inspired, four-course tasting menu ($39 per person, with wine at an additional cost) Dishes include Wattleseed-Marinated and Grilled Pork Chop with spiced rice and tomato jam; and Duck Leg Confit with Davidson’s Plum Glaze.

Each restaurant also will be selling Aussie wines, chutney, and spices to take home, if you so desire. For a list of participating restaurants, go here.

Meet Ming Tsai at Macy's. (Photo courtesy of Macy's)

Want to meet celeb Chef Ming Tsai? You can at Macy’s in San Francisco’s Union Square, 6 p.m. Sept. 16.

Tsai — owner of Blue Ginger in Massachusetts, host of PBS’ “Simply Ming,” and a Macy’s Culinary Council chef — will do a cooking demo, where you’ll enjoy tastes of his pork and shrimp pot stickers, Asian-style sliders, and more, while sipping fine wines.

Tickets are $25. Proceeds benefit the San Francisco Food Bank.

Left Bank Brasserie in Menlo Park has a wine deal for you.

Purchase any bottle of wine at K&L Wines in Redwood City (a most awesome wine shop, by the way), then present your receipt to your server at Left Bank in Menlo Park to enjoy your wine with no corkage fee (normally $15).

The offer is good at lunch or dinner through the end of October.

Weekend brunch has been added to the offerings at LB Steak in San Jose’s Santana Row.

Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sundays, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., enjoy the likes of brioche French toast, and prime skirt steak & eggs.

Enjoy fine wine and food for a good cause at “Korks for Kids,” 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 13 at Thomas Fogarty Winery in Woodside.

San Jose’s Le Papillon will provide the gourmet eats; the wine will come from Santa Cruz Mountains wineries. Auction items up for bids include wine tours, jewelry, and travel adventures.

The event benefits the Healthy Kids Program of Santa Clara Valley. Tickets are $150 and can be purchased by calling (408) 874-1912.

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  • I wish I could attend ANY of these events!

  • Oh my goodness, too many goodies to try, too many fun events to take in and just too little time. These all look great!

  • I want to move to your neck of the woods!

  • Wow, I heard about the Celebrations of Tomatoes. It’s going on here, too. Unfortunately, I have no $$ and no car. Boo hoo hoo.
    Ming Tsai is AWESOME. He’s one of my idols. Go Asian pride! (omg, I can’t believe I just said that…)

  • this place is dreamy. complimentary burger samplings?!?!? i’m there. that burger is totally a diva burger. none of that flat, soggy patty burger business. beautiful! x

  • Carolyn, have you ever been to the Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival? Is it usually out-of-control crowded? I’ve become leery of the crowds at S.F. food events, but I’m a chocoholic so I’m considering going.

  • Levi: I have not been to this chocolate fest. My bad! So I’m not sure how crowded it may get, especially with Top Chef’s Casey making appearances this year. But even if it does get congested, there’s a lot of other things to do in that area. Anyone else out there been to the Ghirardelli Chocolate Fest in past years? Did you find it too crowded to really enjoy?

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