The tasty Queso Flameado at CASA (too bad the fire went out by the time I could take a photo)
Now that the rain and the cold's winding down and it's "going out" weather again (is it March already?! Those first two months zoomed by fast!) the events (one-time and recurring) are picking up too. Here's a few that came to my mind by way of other bloggers, PR folks, and my own sleuthing for fun and yummy to dos.
For those who can't get enough of multi-restaurant tasting events after the Gold Standard -- and have the dollars to splurge -- Planned Parenthood is holding its 29th Annual Food Fare event at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on March 12. Some of the more noteworthy restaurant participants include A.O.C., Il Grano, the Mozzas, Animal, Lucques and XIV along with drinks provided by Wally's, Quady Winery, Bonny Doon Vineyards and Angel City Brewing. Prices range from $125 to $200 (depending on if you're doing the day or evening session and if you pre-ordered or buying at the door). More info at their webbie here.
Famed wineglass-making company Riedel, known for their finely-crafted glasses specially made to accentuate the characters of different varietals, is pairing with LearnAboutWine for a Riedel Tasting Seminar on March 11 - with Max Riedel himself guiding the tasting. In addition, participants will also get to take home the complete Riedel "Vinum" four-wineglass set (valued at $129) -- all for $59/person (additional sets will be available for a special price at the event.) Sounds very worthwhile for both the budding and the seasoned oenophiles. More info here.
Another fun downtown wine event will take place at Ciudad on March 15, when they pair with Jake-Ryan Cellars to do a tapas-paired roundtable tasting. In addition to four wines from Jake-Ryan and five courses from Ciudad (including Spanish-style duck rillettes and drunken grapes withh blue cheese toast, rosemary and crispy serrano ham) you'll also taste Brazilian Palma Louca beer and Ciudad's hand-muddled pomegranate mojito made with Starr African rum. A delightful way to spend an afternoon for $45/person.
There are a few ongoing events of worthy note as well. First is Craft's new Craftbar menu, featuring a variety of not-your-everyday bar bites for $9 or under (think spaghetti with local abalone and maine lobster & smoked bacon roll) and $8 cocktails. For more info, check out the intel from Zagat and Tasting Table.
Another debuting ongoing event is downtown CASA's happy and late-night hours, with specials from $3 Modelo cervezas to pitchers of house-blended sangrias for $12. The under $7 happy hour menu includes their gooey, tequila-fired queso flameado and albondigas (Mexican meatballs) with a roasted salsa roja. And I can definitely testify to the deliciousness of the queso (I presumed the albondigas to be mighty tasty too, at a preview event the whole tray got emptied by the time it got to my table... twice!) Hours and menu posted here.