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Food & Drink: ilani event to celebrate fine food, drink

Wine & Food Fest will run Oct. 25-27 at casino resort

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You may have noticed the billboards and ads for the ilani Wine & Food Fest that runs from Oct. 25-27. This weekend-long celebration of food and drink was inspired by the enormous festival held every year by ilani’s partner, the Mohegan Sun.

The Fest includes a variety of events. The Grand Tasting runs all weekend. Attendees can sample from 1,000 featured wines, beers and spirits. Celebrity chefs will demonstrate their signature dishes and provide samples. Admission comes with a card that gives guests tastes of beer, wine or spirits. Food tokens are available for $2 to $6.

Wine lovers will find a variety of pours at the Grand Tasting, including wine from Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, chardonnay from Bridgefield Vineyards, merlot from Eola Hills Winery, petite syrah from Gouger Cellars, wine ranging from malbec to pinot grigio by Maryhill Winery and a sparkling brut from Fetzer Vineyards.

On Friday night, Michael Jordan’s Steak House hosts a wine tasting and food pairing featuring a three-course dinner ($125 per person) with a 21-day dry-aged American wagyu tenderloin. All courses will be paired with wines from Quilceda Creek Winery. Rose & Thorn is offering a bourbon tasting along with cigars and hors d’oeuvres ($65 per person).

Wait, there’s more

On Saturday afternoon, there’s a grand cru tasting ($95 per person) in the Muze Lounge. Wine aficionados can sip exceptional vintages while chatting with the winemakers. The Celebrity Chef Dine Around ($85 per person) happens on Saturday night in the Cowlitz Ballroom. Celebrity chefs including B.J. Smith and Mutsuko Soma (named best new chef by Food & Wine) will demonstrate their favorite dishes and serve them to guests. Each dish is paired with wine or beer.

For those who prefer morning festivities, bloody marys and mimosas will be flowing at the Rose & Thorn at their Bloody Mary & Bubbles Brunch ($55 per person) sponsored by Absolut and G.H. Mumm on Oct. 26 and 27 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cooked-to-order frittatas, cured salmon, seasonal grilled crudite, antipasto and dessert will accompany the morning libations.

From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 27, Michael Jordan’s Steak House is throwing a VIP Chef and Champagne brunch ($65 per person). Decadent brunch items will be paired with bubbly from Soter Vineyards.

The Ridgefield Art Association will lead a Paint & Sip ($75 per person) from noon to 3 p.m. Oct. 27 at the Muze Lounge. Abigail Rockwell, Norman Rockwell’s granddaughter, will answer questions about her famous grandfather based on personal experience and extensive research. She will also sing jazz tunes, including songs from her latest album, “Autumn Noir.”

Combo passes are available for those planning on spending more than one day at the Grand Tasting. A Grand Tasting pass for the entire weekend for $137 is the best value for those who plan on spending the weekend at the casino.


Rachel Pinsky can be emailed at couveeats@gmail.com. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @couveeats.

If You Go

What: ilani Wine & Food Fest.

When: 7 to 11 p.m. Oct. 25; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Oct. 26; 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Oct. 27.

Where: 1 Cowlitz Way, Ridgefield.

Cost: Tickets for individual events range from $35 to $95.

Information: 1-877-GO-ILANI; https://ilaniresort.com/ilani-wine-and-food-fest.html

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