JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION: WEST COAST EPICUREAN EXTRAVAGANZA

From $ 2,799 pp
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James Beard Foundation: West Coast Epicurean Extravaganza

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From $ 2,799* pp

Vancouver to San Diego

James Beard Foundation: West Coast Epicurean Extravaganza
Ten days fly by as you take inventory of the west coast’s most intriguing ports of call and cuisines. Small ship-only moorages in places like Portland and Sausalito alternate with grand dames like Seattle, San Francisco and San Diego. Go wine tasting in Sonoma and Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Take a cable car to lunch in San Francisco’s Chinatown and taste wild California sardines at Monterey’s famous Cannery Row. From food trucks to fine dining, farmers’ markets to cooking classes that put you at the heart of the action, this is a cruise for people who have a taste for life and a thirst for adventure.
“Perhaps my fondest memory of Napa Valley,” says Peter Tobler, “is a hot-air balloon ride I took before meeting with some distinguished winemakers. Floating above the rolling vines at sunrise, I found the landscape as intoxicating as the wines.”
Our Storyteller: Peter Tobler
Director of Marine Hotel Operations
Peter Tobler can easily extol the qualities of a fine Bordeaux blend or Petite Sirah, yet he’s much too humble to tout his own many accomplishments. Like the fact that he’s one of the most highly regarded professionals in the cruising world, having overseen food and beverage operations for such major lines as Norwegian, Seabourn, Princess, and Cunard. Or that he’s a graduate of the esteemed Culinary Academy in Zurich and has won numerous awards, including the Best Cruises for Food Lovers distinction from Food & Wine magazine. Peter took the helm of hotel operations for the Windstar fleet in 2017, and suffice to say that we’re pleased as a wine-based punch to have him onboard.

“Perhaps my fondest memory of Napa Valley,” says Peter Tobler, “is a hot-air balloon ride I took before meeting with some distinguished winemakers. Floating above the rolling vines at sunrise, I found the landscape as intoxicating as the wines.” The self-professed fanatic rattles off a dozen or so favorite labels from celebrated vineyards in Napa and Sonoma, including Caymus Mer Soleil Chardonnay, Isabel Mondavi Rosé, and Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon. You’ll have a chance to sample them all on this epicurean adventure, be it ashore or ordering off Windstar’s onboard wine menu that features other regional gems such as Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley (which Peter lovingly terms “temperamental”) and Pepper Bridge Winery Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.

Peter also raves about the “fresh, peppery, and herbal notes” of California’s olive oils, which he ranks alongside the Mediterranean’s finest. And don’t even get him started on the West Coast’s dynamic food scene, a reflection of the region’s “diversifying culture and integration of global flavors.” There’s Frisco’s famous cioppino in Fisherman’s Wharf, fresh-caught salmon and crab from the Puget Sound, Portland’s doughnut obsession (“Blue Star and Voodoo have a long-standing battle for best maple bacon”), wild-caught Pacific sardines at Monterey’s storied Cannery Row … he could go on (and on), but thinks it’s best that you taste them all yourself on this brag-worthy voyage.

IF I WERE THERE...
  • Nosh your way through Seattle's historic Pike Place market, one of Tobler's favorite spots for its daily offerings of fresh Alaskan fish, crustaceans, and mollusks, as well as artisan products from around the Northwest - "It's a great place to interact with the producers and fishermen," he adds.
  • Check our Portland's hipster vibes and vibrant food truck scene (Tobler's recommendation: Wild North Food Truck for its Seared Duck Breast and Wild Pacific Cod Chowder) - An overnight call leaves time to also explore the staggeringly beautiful Columbia River Gorge, the largest National Scenic Area in the U.S.
  • Spend two full days in San Francisco for a foodie's foray through its Farmer's Market and myriad neighborhoods, including the oldest Chinatown in the Western Hemisphere - "Head straight to Yank Sing in the Rincon Center for dim sum," says Tobler. another must-try: A signature Irish coffee at The Buena Vista, a city icon since 1916 and just a short walk from where Star Legend docks.
  • Taste your way through the pretty coastal city of Monterey, where you’ll find everything from sustainable comfort fare (“order the bucatini pasta with smoked local sardines at The C Restaurant on Cannery Row”) to haute cuisine — better still, sample them all on the optional Food and Wine Stroll excursion.

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