Food & Drink: Eat, drink, be merry
Forget looking decent in a swimsuit. Stuff your face this summer with pears, microbrews, baklava.
2009 Celebrity Chef Challenge
When: Friday, June 5, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Where: California Automobile Museum (formerly Towe Auto Museum), 2200 Front Street; www.chefevent.com
Cost: $50 in advance, $60 at the door
Why: Instead of drooling over food on Iron Chef America, taste masterpieces created by local chefs using secret ingredients. Plus, there will be oodles more food, beer and wine vendors from which to gorge.
Seventh annual Raley’s Grape Escape
When: Saturday, June 6, 4 to 7 p.m.
Where: Cesar Chavez Plaza, 10th and J streets; www.raleysgrapeescape.com
Cost: $40 in advance, $50 at the door
Why: More than 100 local wineries and restaurants converge to give you tastings, with a garnish of live music and art.
Sacramento Natural Food Co-op cooking classes
When: various dates all summer
Where: Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, 1900 Alhambra Boulevard; www.sacfoodcoop.com
Why: Summer is the best time to host a party. So learn how to grill, concoct Indian specialties or turn your dinning room into a French bistro.
Chocolate & Dessert Festival
When: Friday, June 12, 5 to 8 p.m.
Where: Whole Foods Market, 4315 Arden Way; www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/sacramento
Cost: free for the festival; class prices vary
Why: It’s free chocolate.
California’s Grape & Gourmet
When: Thursday, July 9, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Sacramento Convention Center, 1400 J Street; www.thebestcaliforniawine.com
Cost: $50 in advance, $70 at the door
Why: Featuring more than 800 California wines and 90 regional restaurants. ’Nuf said.
20th annual Sierra Brewfest
When: Saturday, July 25, 3 to 6:30 p.m.
Where: Nevada County Fairgrounds, 11228 McCourtney Road in Grass Valley; www.musicinthemountains.org/brewfest.php
Cost: $25, free for designated drivers and nontasters
Why: Sipping microbrew and eating chow from vendors under the shade of ponderosa pine trees is the ultimate summer escape.
37th annual Pear Fair
When: Sunday, July 26, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: town of Courtland, off Highway 160; www.pearfair.com
Cost: free admission, $10 parking
Why: Pears are often the forgotten fruit variety. Seriously, when was the last time you ate a pear? Get your fill with pear pie, pear smoothies and even pear beer.
The Wine School
When: Wednesdays, September 2-23, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Delta King, 1001 Front Street in Old Sacramento; (916) 444-8052; www.deltaking.com
Cost: $50 for one class, $99 for series; reservations required
Why: Because deep down you long to be that wine snob who lectures friends when they pair the wrong wine with food.
46th annual Greek Festival
When: Labor Day weekend
Where: to be determined, www.annunciation.ca.goarch.org/festival
Cost: see Web site for info
Why: Because Greeks know how to eat—and they know how to eat well.
15th annual California Brewers Festival
When: Saturday, September 19, 1 to 5 p.m.
Where: Discovery Park, Garden Highway; www.calbrewfest.org
Cost: $25 in advance, $30 day of event, $5 for designated drivers and those 12-20, free for children younger than 12
Why: Sacramento loves brewfests, and this is the last one of the summer—before Oktoberfest season begins.