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Wine & 'A Bite' Art Walks off to great start


Last updated 6/26/2008 at Noon

This portrait of Caravan owner Leslie Sommers, painted (from a photograph) by Fernanda Natale-Reynolds, was displayed at the Brandon Gallery.

The first Wine & “A Bite” Art Walk was off to a great start in spite of the near 100-degree temperature experienced on Saturday. However, the heat didn’t seem to deter the guests as they wandered from venue to venue with their glasses filled with wine from Orfila Winery in Escondido.

People were able to purchase tickets from the Fallbrook Area Visitor’s Bureau at the Gem & Mineral Society building across Alvarado from the Art Center. Each month the tickets will be available at the same venue.

Guests were given an attractive wineglass with “Find Fallbrook” emblazoned in a copper hue. A decorative bag held a program and directions to the various venues.

Number one on the list was the Fallbrook Art Center. People wandered through the Center enthralled by the expansive collection of gourd art. It is fascinating what these talented artists can create out of a dried vegetable.

“Café Focaccia Delight” was the appetizer served at the Art Center by Café des Artistes. The grilled focaccia bread topped with sharp cheddar cheese and a sweet red pepper was paired with a 2005 “Coastal Cuvee” merlot, which has a hint of raspberry and cherry flavors.

Visitors came from other areas and locals who had not seen the Art Center since it was converted from a drugstore were pleased with the change.

“It is fantastic,” said Mary Perhacs, director of the Fallbrook Art Center. “We have had many people visit who have not been to the Art Center before.”

The next venue was the Fallbrook School of the Arts, where Executive Director Brigitte Schlemmer was also pleased to see so many new faces.

At this venue, guests enjoyed watching artist Amber George create intaglio prints. She smeared ink on the plate, then transferred the ink to paper on a huge pressing machine.

Trupiano’s Italian Bistro served “Crespelle di Mamma,” a fresh crepe filled with marinated grilled chicken, prosciutto (thinly sliced Italian smoked ham), fresh asparagus and spinach, then finished with a freshly-made gorgonzola and parmesan crème sauce. The crepe was very light and the sauce which was drizzled on top was complemented by Orfila’s 2006 “Ambassador’s Reserve” chardonnay with its tones of oak, apple and vanilla.

Flinging paint from squeeze bottles on a canvas spread out on the patio was another fun activity for guests to experience at the Art School. Misters made this bearable on the very hot day.

Some guests opted to get their hands a little dirty and tried their skill at the pottery wheel. Helpful potters, including an instructor who teaches at Potter Junior High, guided the adventurous. There is much skill involved; a little bit of pressure here and too much pressure there or the entire pot will go flinging off the wheel.

At the Jacques Company on Main, fine art by Fredonia Jacques was featured. Her paintings mainly focused on landscapes, seascapes and still life. As guests strolled around the gallery they nibbled on “Roquefort Grape Truffles” from The Lace Apron. The truffles were a unique delight made of grapes wrapped in Roquefort cheese and rolled in toasted pecans. The wine pairing was a cabernet sauvignon, which is a red wine with blackberry and licorice tones to it.

The Brandon Gallery offered a collection of fine art drawings and paintings as well as some pottery and wax works. Fernanda Natale-Reynolds demonstrated her painting techniques and had a portrait of Leslie Sommers, owner of local shop Caravan, on display. The painting was done expressly for the show in about seven hours from a photograph. The artist is from Italy and learned to paint as a child, though she put it aside until she had raised her children.

La Caseta Mexican restaurant served a marvelous “Shrimp Diablo,” large shrimp simmered and served with a savory crème sauce, made with wine, herbs and spices. A “2006 Gewurztraminer,” which is a sweet wine with flavors of melon, green apples and honey, complemented the shrimp dish.

Linda Kissam, director of the Fallbrook Area Visitor’s Bureau, had this to say about the event: “I am really pleased, and what I have heard from the venue owners is that there are some people that they didn’t recognize. It is the bureau’s mission to reach out beyond our borders. Apparently we have done that.”

The next Wine & “A Bite” will be held Saturday, July 19. Expect to visit the Fallbrook Art Center’s Glass Show, where Café des Artistes will provide the “bite.”

Fallbrook Fine Art will offer Fallbrook native Carly Castillon’s artwork and La Caseta’s food. Castillion has produced many works for books, magazines and the Grammys. Her most recent is a commissioned portrait of “The Chronicles of Narnia” author C.S. Lewis.

Delos Eyer, owner of La Caseta Mexican restaurant, serves his delicious

The downtown shop A Few of Our Favorite Things will offer food from Le Bistro. Local award-winning artist Jim Bates will be featured with his outstanding watercolors.

Additionally, chef Patty Debaugh will be making hors d-oeuvres at Village Kitchen Design.

For more information, call (760) 451-3282 or visit

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