Greer's OC: Cheese that will please

Orange County just landed a fantastic cheese shop that's making cheese connoisseurs and foodies swoon. Taste Abbaye de Belloc made by Benedictine monks at the abbey of Notre Dame from French Pyrenees sheep's milk; the famed cow's milk cheese Époisses de Bourgogne, referred to as the "king of all cheeses"; and one of the country's finest goat milk cheeses, Humboldt Fog.

Vin Goat in Corona del Mar fills a void in the market—no more driving to Beverly Hills or Silver Lake to find a one-stop boutique filled with the world's finest artisan cheeses.

Co-owners Erich Vogel and John Bennett left the world of high-tech marketing and advertising to live out their dream of owning a cheese boutique—and both absorbed themselves in culinary education first: Vogel attended the Cheese School of San Francisco; and Bennett enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley.

Vin Goat stocks 90 fresh cheeses from all over the world and will soon carry up to 200. There are also fresh artisan breads delivered daily from Sadie Rose in San Diego plus mustards, honeys, olive oils, vinegars, crackers and gourmet finishing salts including vintage merlot, Spanish rosemary, Thai ginger and black truffle. In the works are cheese tastings as well as wines arriving in the next few months.

Vin Goat is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at 3326 E. Coast Highway in Corona del Mar. For more information, call (949) 673-2200 or visit

Shop to empower women

The inaugural Wine Women & Shoes event is coming to Orange County from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday to benefit the YWCA Central Orange County.

At the event, held in an exclusive Crystal Cove estate, you can enjoy wines, food tasting, boutique shopping and informal modeling—three fun hours of shopping for a great cause. Vendors will be donating 20% proceeds to YWCA. Participating vendors include Swimspot, Traditional Jewelers, Jo Malone, David August and Novecento Boutique, Silpada and many more.

You can also purchase a raffle ticket for a chance to win a designer closet filled with designer clothes, or a wine cellar with domestic and international wines. Cost $150 per person.

The event is located at 21 High Water at Crystal Cove. For more information, call (714) 633-4950, ext. 3, or visit

Are you Mr. BBQ?

A barbecue cook-off, considered one of the state's biggest BBQ contests, is coming to the Orange County Fairgrounds from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Taste award-winning BBQ including chicken, ribs, pulled pork, brisket and tri-tip as well as like smoked macaroni and cheese, moink balls, pig-candy, smoked cobblers and more. You can vote for your favorite BBQ, enjoy beer from local breweries and enter a rib-eating contest. Family fun includes a car show, a Mr. BBQ beauty pageant, a kid's zone, live music, entertainment and more.

The OC BBQ Festival benefits Kristie's Foundation, a local nonprofit providing support to families dealing with the monumental difficulty of having a terminally ill child.

Tickets cost $10 each. The OC Fair & Event Center is at 88 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa. For more information, visit

The Bay comes to Laguna

Laguna Beach artist Ken Auster captures the beauty of San Francisco's sights with spectacular plein air paintings in his new coffee table book "Intellect and Passion." You can meet Auster and see his visual story, 68 paintings, of the city by the bay at a book signing at 4 p.m. Sunday at Laguna Beach Books.

Laguna Beach Books is located at the Old Pottery Place at 1200 S. Coast Highway in Laguna Beach. For more information, call (949) 949-4779 or visit

Fendi benefit for cancer

Fendi at South Coast Plaza is celebrating a rare made-to-measure fur event from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday to benefit Beckstrand Cancer Foundation.

You'll have the chance to customize an item, plus see an exclusive showing of the fall/winter ready-to-wear collection. Ten percent of the proceeds benefit Beckstrand Cancer Foundation, which betters the quality of life for cancer patients and their families.

Fendi is on Level 1 of South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. For more information, call (714) 751-1111 or visit

Enjoy a drink with Dad

Treat your dad to an early Father's Day scotch tasting event at OC Wine Mart. Special guest Ray Pearson, a single malt scotch expert, will be in store from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday for a presentation and tasting. It costs just $35 per person for a flight of six fine scotch whiskies with cheese and crackers.

During the event, if you purchase any scotch whiskies, you'll receive 10% off. Space is limited to the first 30 RSVPs. For more information, email or call (714) 785-5451.

OC Wine Mart is located at 2272 Michelson Blvd. in Irvine.

A night of luxury

Fashions, fun and shopping to benefit the CHOC Foundation are rolled into one from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Friday at Fashion Island, thanks to Riviera Orange County's 3rd Annual Passport to Luxury.

The complimentary event features special offers, tastes and drinks, entertainment and more.

Check in at the gazebo in the Neiman Marcus-Bloomingdale's Courtyard to pick up a complimentary passport, then collect at least six stamps by visiting participating stores and return to the gazebo by 9:30 p.m. to enter to win luxury prizes, including a $1,000 Fashion Island gift card.

Take advantage of special offers and events at participating stores, including Bloomingdale's, Carrol Boyes, Elie Tahari, Ever, Neiman Marcus, the Newport Colony Company, Nordstrom, Room Service, Splendid, Trina Turk and Vince.

And enjoy complimentary hors d'oeuvres and drinks from Brasserie Pascal, Canaletto Ristorante Veneto, El Torito Grill, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Nordstrom Cafe Bistro, Roy's Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine and True Food Kitchen.

The festive evening will include four DJ's and a photo booth, as well as a face painter and balloon artist. For more information on Passport to Luxury, call (949) 721-2000.

GREER WYLDER writes Greer's OC for the Huntington Beach Independent each Thursday and the Daily Pilot and Coastline Pilot each Friday. She's the founder and president of, a free daily e-mail service that provides the latest in Orange County fashion, dining, music, events and trends. Her blog can be viewed and she can be contacted at

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