Get Ready for GourmetFest in Carmel, A New Sushi Menu at Ame, and More

A spectacular morsel from last year's "Rarities Dinner'' at GourmetFest. (Photo by Gina Taro)

A spectacular morsel from last year’s “Rarities Dinner” at GourmetFest. (Photo by Gina Taro)

GourmetFest Comes to Carmel in March

Don’t miss the second year of GourmetFest, March 5-8, packed with cooking demos, exclusive wine tastings and even a wild mushroom hunt.

More than 20 Relais & Chateaux chefs, including an all-female team, will be participating this year. Among the chefs are: Gary Danko of Gary Danko in San Francisco, Michel Bras of Bras-Sebastien et Michel in France, and Justin Cogley of Aubergine at L’Auberge Carmel. Prominent winemakers taking part include: Dom Perignon, Dr. Loosen, Gaja and Ridge.

Events include the luxe “Rarities Dinner” on March 6, a 10-course extravaganza paired with rare wines, and “A Taste of France Lunch and Cooking Demo” on March 7.

Ticket prices range from $175 to $5,500 per person.

Ame Introduces Nigiri Zushi Menu

Michelin-starred Ame in the St. Regis in San Francisco has always incorporated Japanese influences and flavors in its menu.

Now, it’s going full bore with the debut of a nigiri zushi menu, which offers six different types of fish for a total of $30.

Ame's new nigiri selection. (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)

Ame’s new nigiri selection. (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)

The hand-pressed sushi includes Kanpachi with Tororo Konbu (fresh amberjack topped with pickled shredded seaweed), Madai Kobujime with Ponzu Gelee (true snapper cured between sheets of dried konbu seaweed to impart added umami flavor, before being garnished with citrus-soy sauce gelee), and Uni with Hijiki Seaweed Sauce Wrapped in Edible Paper (seaweeds cooked in soy, mirin, sake, ginger and garlic , then chopped and placed on sea urchin roe that’s wrapped with edible potato starch paper).

Peet’s First Light Roast Blend Coffee

I admit I am a fan of dark roast coffees, what with their in-your-face robustness that definitely does the trick in waking you up.

So, I approached Peet’s first-ever light roast blend with trepidation. Was my favorite dark roaster going to the, er, evil light side? After all, Peet’s makes some of the darkest roasts around.

I’ve had other light roasts before. And though, they’ve been delicious, they left me somehow wanting.

Meet Peet's first light roast. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

Meet Peet’s first light roast. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

Not so with Peet’s Colombia Luminosa. It’s a blend of smooth Columbian beans cultivated at more than 4,500 feet above sea level and Ethiopian beans that possess floral and sweet notes.

It’s quite smooth with a surprising amount of body, a rounded flavor with just a smidge of acidity at the end. Since this is Peet’s, it may be a light roast, but it has heft to it.

I may prefer Major Dickanson’s Blend bright and early on a Monday. But I can see how pleasant it would be to sip the Colombia Luminosa on a lazy Sunday morning.

Find it for $14.95 a pound at all Peet’s locations.

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