Weekend Fun: Special Olympics Pier Del Sol Event + Tanaya’s Table on KTLA 5

Pier del Sol KTLA 5It’s a widely known fact that the weekend is an insanely short amount of time. Much too short. Two days, to be exact, and on Sunday you can either laze around like any other Sunday and run mundane errands while dreading Monday, or you can seize the second half of that glorious time away from the office to go do something memorable to make the most of it. So, what do to?

Well, there are a few things I can suggest. Perhaps going to brunch? Or maybe the Santa Monica Pier for a beach view on a sunny day? Or maybe an amusement park with rides and games… Or perhaps just tasting a bunch of top notch food around L.A. and meeting your favorite chefs? OR maybe doing something meaningful for a good cause? Good news is, the Special Olympics’ premier annual Pier del Sol event allows you the opportunity to do all that and more!

You can meet top chefs from around Los Angeles and taste their finest bites, enjoy all-access status to the rides at Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier, and the best part would be that you’re helping a great cause, which is the Special Olympics of Southern California. I got a chance to meet some of the athletes this past week at a live KTLA morning news segment (or 5 segments, to be accurate) with Gayle Anderson, and it was a great time getting to know them. More on that below!

The VIP brunch features the aforementioned top quality cuisine from 38 of LA’s top restaurants, including Chef Michael Cimarusti of Providence, Chef Olivier Rousselle of On Sunset, Chef Tanino Drago of Tanino Ristorante, and Chef Ermando Robles of Porto Via.

VIP Tickets are $150 each, and include the VIP Brunch, unlimited rides, plus 12 game tickets. General Admission is $45 and include unlimited rides, eight game tickets and a meal coupon for Pacific Park’s food plaza… but come on now, you know you want to try all the top food from all over L.A!

While generatl admission tickets are available on the day of the event, there area only a limited number of VIP tickets still available, so it’s best to get your tickets now. Another great thing about this one-of-a-kind special event is that proceeds go straight to the non-profit, so it is tax-deductible. Can’t complain about that!

Here we are on the KTLA 5 morning news with Gayle Anderson, right onsite of where Pier del Sol will take place! Totally worth waking up extra early for, as I got to meet wonderful Special Olympics athletes, staff, plus fellow blogger e*star LA, Pacific Park executives and great chefs. We also got to eat on camera… the first step in my dream of eating on camera as a career! 😉

Thanks to my friend Dani for snapping & sending me this!

Thanks to my wonderful friend (since preschool!) Dani for snapping & sending me this in realtime! Click above for all the segments.

On camera, we tasted the 62-degree egg on a beef cheek hash with housemade sriracha aioli prepared by Chef Joisah Citrin, and boy was it good! I hadn’t seen Josiah Citrin since his cooking demo last year, which I had also covered. He’s still just as friendly and witty! Chef Erik of the Daily Grill was also onsite, preparing his seared ahi tuna salad. These were just two of the bites, but you can get all 38 bites this Sunday, October 12 starting at 10 a.m. right on the Santa Monica Pier, complete with sun and surf.

What better way to spend a Sunday than with good food for a great cause, in sunny SoCal? Whether with family or friends, it’s the perfect way to spend a Sunday, and hopefully I see you there!

Since 1997, Pier del Sol has raised nearly $8 million, benefiting and changing the lives of more than 17,000 Special Olympic Southern California athletes. For more information and to get your tickets, visit the Special Olympics of Southern California’s Pier del Sol event website.

Happy weekend, all! 🙂

Weekend Fun: Taste of Italy Coming to L.A.

Taste of Italy Los Angeles

Looking for something fun to do with family or friends this Saturday? The 6th annual Taste of Italy is coming to downtown L.A. and it looks like it’s going to be another fantastic night.

I covered the event back in 2012 for Neon Tommy, and it was a wonderful time! It almost felt like I was back in the streets of Florence at night, under the lights.

This year, participating restaurants will include Valentino, Drago Centro, Locanda Del Lago, Il Fornaio, GROM and Celestino. I’ve tried a few of these restaurants, such as Celestino, located in Pasadena. It had the most authentic Italian food I’ve had outside of Italy, and the service made me feel like I was dining at a warm and inviting Italian home.

In fact, I tried Chef Calogero Drago’s food at the L.A. Zoo’s Beastly Ball media preview first, then again at a special dinner with my good friend and fellow blogger Rachael. They had the most sumptuous, delicate pappardelle pasta (with pheasant and morels) I’ve ever had! I’ve also been to the other talented Drago brother’s restaurant, Drago Centro, for DineLA Week and even did a Tastemade video there:

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh 2014

Here’s a video throwback to Drago Centro’s DineLA week menu!

Bottom line: these are some quality Italian places serving up some of their best bites. Wineries that will be pouring include Casa Torelli, Le Vigne, Mazzocco, Ventura Limoncello and more. Proceeds from the event will support the Italian American Museum’s exhibitions and the preservation of the Italian Hall (the building in which the Museum is located).

The event, filled with authentic Italian food, drink and entertainment will be held at the Italian American Museum of Los Angeles (424 N Main St. Los Angeles, CA 90012) this Saturday, October 11 from 5 to 10 p.m.

Tickets start at $55 and include tastings from more than 50 of L.A.’s top Italian restaurants, over 100 wines, plus live entertainment and cooking demos in the heart of downtown L.A. If I can’t make it back to Italy anytime soon, I can at least get my Italian staycation fix at this great event right here in the City of Angels! (More on my trip to Italy and other travel adventures to come soon, by the way…)

For event information and tickets, check out the Taste of Italy website. See you there… because after all, as the Italian saying goes, ‘Chi mangia bene, vive bene‘ (one who eats well, lives well)!