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Richard Blais
TV Chef Richard Blais takes his show to the renovated Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in Carlsbad with his new creation, Ember & Rye, a Richard Blais Steakhouse. Courtesy photo
ColumnsFood & WineTaste of Wine

Taste of Wine: Rock star chef shakes things up at Park Hyatt

What’s this! Richard Blais, winner of Bravo’s Top Chef All-Stars, is shaking up North County’s food and wine world as we know it at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in Carlsbad.

Blais, a Del Mar resident and celebrity chef, brings his culinary craft to the old Argyle Steak House located at the Aviara golf club in Carlsbad. The new name with the new format is now Ember & Rye, a Richard Blais Steak House.

Blais is no stranger to the San Diego culinary scene. He helped launch Juniper & Ivy in Little Italy and has other restaurant credits nationwide, plus other TV “fun with food” projects. Ember & Rye is the final piece to the $50 million work-up renovations at Park Hyatt.

If you were a diner at the previous format of mostly bar food and steaks at Argyle, you know that one of the pleasant things about it was the wrap-around patio overlooking the 18th hole and the nearby lagoon. You’ll be happy to know that the balcony was doubled, accommodating a lot more happy diners than before. And some of them will get to see Blais at work when he occasionally comes in to thrill his fans.

A Santa Maria-style wood-fired grill gets the Blais touch when he puts the final touch on such heavyweight beef selections as “Thor’s Hammer Cut,” a 30-ounce cut ribeye, dry-aged for 14 days. Other beef choices include the “Kings Cut,” a 32-ounce massive piece of ribeye, dry-aged for 28 days.

If that seems too much, even with a doggie bag, do like I did and order a Mishima Ranch Wagyu Beef Burger, with triple cooked fries, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, Catalina sauce and kimchi ketchup, with a side of grilled carrots and roasted cauliflower “Pot Roast.”

To his credit, Blais packs the menu with lots of twists and turns, from a Beef Rib Chop “Storm Breaker” 40-ounce cut for $230 to that Wagyu Beef Burger with the triple-cooked fries for $26. I chose it and was filled to the brim. Visit

Paul Brown guitarist
Guitar jazz artist and producer Paul Brown will kick off the South Coast Winery Rhythm on the Vine series Sunday, July 18, at 7 p.m. Courtesy photo

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa brings back Rhythm on the Vine

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa in Temecula brings back its popular Rhythm on the Vine jazz concert series, with Michael Paulo producing three exciting concerts this summer.

Paul Brown and Gregg Karukas play on Sunday, July 18, at 7 p.m.; doors open at 6:15 p.m. Brown is a two-time Grammy Award-winning jazz producer and has released six albums.

Other concerts will be Sunday, Aug. 1, featuring Brian Simpson, Steve Oliver and Will Donato, and on Aug. 15 enjoy Michael Paulo, Adam Hawley and Daryl Williams.

Ticket prices are $65 for general admission, chair seating only; $95 for preferred seating, including a table behind VIP seating; $150 for VIP seats, which are close to the stage and include a table. Tickets can be purchased at

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa offers 82 recently refurbished villas with step-out patios to the resort’s vineyards and 50 guest suites in the main tower.

Concertgoers receive a welcome bottle of wine when booking direct here:

Wine Bytes

  • Hats, Heels and Hooves—the Ultimate Del Mar Racing Opening Day After-Party is at the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe on Friday, July 16, 5 to 10 p.m. The inn’s front lawns will become the setting to celebrate Del Mar’s big day. Enjoy a welcome cocktail, live music, dancing, entertainment and food creations by the inn’s culinary team and other restaurants. Cost is $125 per person. For more information, call 858-756-1131.
  • The news is out, the Pacific Wine & Food Classic Festival is returning to Orange County this year, at the Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort, Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 23-24. Help celebrate the bounty that is SoCal with exquisite wines, lavish cocktails and exceptional bites from the region’s top chefs. Net proceeds will go to the Golden Rule Charity. For information, visit

Frank Mangio is a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator. Reach him at [email protected]