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'A Taste of the Americas' at San Antonio Winery

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Sunday San Antonio Winery threw another raging bash -- this time its " “Taste of the Americas ” Food and Wine Festival. It is the second of three festivals held at the San Antonio Winery this summer.

Attending events at San Antonio is a lot like going to a party at a friend's house. It sometimes feels like you are crashing the most fun wedding in Los Angeles. It is much more of a fiesta than a stodgy wine tasting. The employees are so welcoming, the food is plentiful, and the guests are relaxed, and progressively friendlier as the wine flows.

Standout wines were the fruity 2007 Maddalena Chardonnay, the lively L.A. Cetto Zinfandel 2003 from Mexico, the crisp refreshing Tierra del Fuego 2008 Sauvignon Blanc from chile and the intense Argentinian Luigi Bosca 2006 Malbec Reserva.whose spice and black pepper were balanced by the soft tannins. Stay tuned for more on the wine.

The buffet included food from North, South and Central Americas. It was a nice mix of familiar favorites and exciting new flavors. Unbelievably, the diverse menu was planned by their regular chef; the food was so authentic it almost seemed as if they had gotten specialty chefs from each region .

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The tamales were nearly as good as my mother makes. Other impressive dishes were the familiar meaty Brazilian stew, feijoada, and the Empanadas Criollas from Argentina. Really, there was not a bad dish among them, although the Sagu Verdadeiro (tapioca pearls in sweet red wine) from El Salvador was an unusual surprise. The Roulade, a fall off the fork tender flank steak rolled around spinach, carrots, potatoes and braised in a rich wine stock went well with the Argentinian wines. The best dessert was my favorite cookie -- the Peruvian Alfajores, rich butter cookies sandwiching a homemade dulce de leche-style caramel.

Of course, this being the San Antonio Winery, entertainment was a big part of the evening. Just as you settled in, sated by the food and sangria, the room was filled with twirling Peruvian folk dancers in brightly colored costumes. The most stunning entertainment was the group, Trio Ellas, who refer to themselves as "modern mariachi". You are really just expecting the same old thing and suddenly a strong, rich voice fills the room, with a harmony of angels in the background. Truly music to remember. Check out video of Trio Ellas and the folk dancing at the end of the post.

The next (and final) summer festival will be the "Taste of Italy" on October 25. For more information or reservations, please call (323) 330- 8771. San Antonio Winery, 737 Lamar Street in downtown Los Angeles

Peruvian Folk Dancing

La Barca del Oro - Trio Ellas (my request. It makes everyone cry)

Folk Dancing

Even the guests audience got in on the act