above the clouds

International Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Pebble Beach Food & Wine Weekend

Posing for photos with appetizers

The Pebble Beach Food and Wine Weekend is only in its seventh year yet remarkably it seems like it should be much older than that. In such a short time it has become the West Coast's premier food and wine event. It is an intriguing pairing - matching some of the world's best wine with top chefs in a location that is visually stunning. The inspirational rugged coastline and natural beauty is the backdrop for a long weekend of decadence and at … [Read more...]

The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, Hottest Chili in the World

A  custom warning sign for friends and neighbors!

The Trinidad Scorpion is currently the hottest known Chili pepper on the planet. It is native to the Moruga district on the tiny island nation of Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. I acquired a few seeds earlier this year. I saw references online from those cutting up a number of these particular peppers indicating they wore latex gloves. The potency of these peppers was such that they wore through these gloves! I finally picked my first … [Read more...]

What a night, “Appellation Tasting” – Flavor Napa Valley

Dave with the "Iron Chef"

The Napa Valley is the only region in the world where I can go to an event and feel right at home because I know so many people and instantly recognize so many faces - and that feels good. Flavor Napa valley is the latest in a number of world-class food and wine events to come to Napa. This is only its 2nd year; the event features five days of incredible food, wine, and education. Tonight was the "Appellation" tasting at the CIA (Culinary … [Read more...]

Enjoying downtown Napa

Fellippe, GM of Eikos mixing a drink using liquid nitrogen

Spent the evening enjoying two fine Napa restaurants. Usually I'm perfectly satisfied with one meal but on this one evening we opted for two full course dinners at two different restaurants! First we started out at Eiko's on 1st Street, downtown Napa. This is a restaurant that specializes in authentic Japanese cuisine including seasonal dishes and fresh fish. There's a nice vibe here that feels more like a big city - somewhere in Los Angeles or … [Read more...]

Napa Valley Mexican-American Vintners Association Tasting


The first ever tasting of the Napa Valley Mexican-American Vintners Association was held Saturday July 30, 2011 at Maldonado Vineyards in the far northern reaches of the Napa Valley. This was the best tasting we've attended so far this year in Napa. Very personalized, great wine - dignitaries came up from Los Angeles, a historic tasting. The association is fairly new (2010). It was formed after a number of vintners poured their wines in Mexico … [Read more...]

Sense Yountville, 2011

Bob Hurley (Owner, Hurley's Restaurant) & friend hard at work

Another successful Sense Yountville was held on a beautifully sunny warm Saturday May 7th under the "big white tent" at V Marketplace 1870 in downtown Yountville. This, only the third annual "Sense Yountville" has already become the appellation's premiere wine & food event. Thirty wineries were represented offering their pre-release wines and large format bottles, and culinary pairings were provided by local restaurants. Highlights included … [Read more...]