One of the wine stations (right) and culinary stations (left and back) in the Standing/Strolling Ticket area at Harbor Nights La Dolce Vita.
The Harbor Piazza is set up for Harbor Nights La Dolce Vita! The Standing/Strolling Ticket area is on the left in this photo (black tablecloths) and the VIP Ticket area is on the right (white tablecloths with chairs).
Once we get down in the Standing/Strolling Ticket area, we can see that the high-boy style tables are quite spread out. There's plenty of room to move around.
These high-boy tables in the Standing/Strolling Ticket area at Harbor Nights, are not really intended to be "held" by a party. The idea is, that guests will stroll around to the different food and wine stations, and stop briefly at the nearest table, before strolling to the next area.
The Harbor Nights VIP Section has reserved tables and chairs.
Corporate Tables that seat up to 10 people are also available at Harbor Nights.
The Corporate Table section at Harbor Nights is usually right next to the VIP section. While corporate table guests don't have access to the special culinary and wine stations that the VIP section has... it does offer a reserved chair and place at the table that's yours all night.
The waitstaff in the VIP section are pretty great. They help to take away dirty plates and also come around with more wine every now and then!
The VIP Ticket Check-In area for Harbor Nights was just beyond the lobby area inside the Portofino Bay Hotel.
Compared to the "Standing Harbor" ticket check-in line... this one wasn't too bad. The best part was, it's all indoors and air conditioned.
The "Standing Harbor" Ticket Check-In line was outside the Portofino Bay Hotel. If you're looking directly at the lobby, this area would be to your left. Interestingly, the stairs you see on the right hand side of this photo, lead down to where the Harbor Nights event takes place.
Guests in the VIP Ticket area at Harbor Nights started the event with a flute of sparkling wine and this hors d'oeuvres plate.
The antipasto plate contained a good selection of Italian meat, cheese, and some marinated veggies too!
There were some marinated mushrooms mixed in with this small dish of olives that were on the antipasto plate. Only guests in the VIP area get this extra plate, and it's really nice to have over the course of the evening.
An empty bottle of Cava's Poema Brut and lots of sparkling wine flutes were on-hand for guests in the VIP section at Harbor Nights.
The band's first set at Harbor Nights usually features classics from the 50's… cover tunes from artists like Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, and Rosemary Clooney.
The main band's first set was really classy! I've been to several of the Harbor Night events now, and the main band that they select, has always been really great!
One of the Harbor Nights La Dolce Vita food items was this Napoletano style sub from the Splendido Bar & Grill culinary station. They called it a "Panino Prosciutto" and it featured prosciutto, artichoke and fresh mozzarella.
There's a good number of these culinary stations set up around the Harbor Piazza during a Harbor Nights event. The idea being, gusts can stroll around the piazza, and pick up food and wine samples to try at the different stations.
The wine stations set up around the Harbor Piazza also have bottled water... which is good for drinking, I suppose, if you don't want wine... but it's also used to rinse out your glass when switching from a red wine to a white wine, and vice-versa.
A couple of plates are made ahead of time and kept under heat lamps on the front side of each of the culinary stations. They don't stay too long there though — guests are usually taking these sample plates just as quick as the chefs can put them out there.
The culinary stations that are located in the VIP area at Harbor Nights are just for the VIP guests. The Standing/Strolling Ticket guests can't get into this private area.
Here's one of the dessert stations in the VIP area. Any line that might form to pick up some food in the VIP area is much, much shorter than in the Standing/Strolling Ticket area.
There's also a couple of wine stations set up just for the VIP guests. This is acutally a bigger time saver that having private food stations... the wine stations out in the Standing/Strolling Ticket area can be very long at times. Getting some wine in the VIP area is fairly quick!
Just walk up to this dessert station, and take a couple of these Apple Spiced Crème Cakes with you!
These sparkling wine flutes are only available in the VIP area. Just like at the food stations, you can just walk up and take a glass! I didn't have to get multiples though... the amazing waitstaff in the VIP area kept filling my glass tableside!
This Chicken Cacciatore was being served from the "Bice Ristorante" food station and was a traditional "hunter-style" cacciatora, with onions, herbs, tomatoes, peppers, and wine.
There's usally around 15 different wine to try at any of the Harbor Nights events. Pictured here (from left to right), is a Mezzacorona Dinotte which is a red blend, the very nice Roscato Rosso Dolce Gold which is a sparkling red wine, and the Fantini Montepulciano D'Abruzzo — all three are from Italy.
On this particular night, there were three tenors! But I've seen various voices, both male and female, represented at various Harbor Nights events over the years.
This Gamberi Genovese was soooo good. It was from the "Mama Della's Ristorante" culinary station.
The Gamberi Genovese features sautéed shrimp in pesto sauce with a side of roasted pepper sauce and microgreens.
This is the Focaccia Pizza from the "Sal's Market Deli" culinary station.
The warm focaccia bread was topped with tomato ragu, cured meats and mozzarella cheese.
There's usually several different vocal performers that take the mic over the course of the main band's two sets.
The main performance band at any given Harbor Nights event have all been really great! With multiple vocal performers, they can cover a broad range of styles and genres.
There's ample space in the Strolling Ticket area for spontaneous dancing.
The area in front of the band's stage is left free of highboy tables, so guests can get closer to the band. The area is open enough for dancing too!
The Red Wine Braised Beef from "Trattoria del Porto" was amazing! My favorite dish of the night. I would totally order this as a main entree from a dinner menu.
The Red Wine Braised Beef features braised beef in a pool of cheese polenta rustica, and was served with a couple pickled heirloom tomatoes and fresh chives.
The "Gelateria" station was offering two flavors of Gelato for the Harbor Nights La Dolce Vita event... a Triple Chocolate Gelato (left) and a Pumpkin Spice Gelato (right).
The Milk Chocolate Raspberry Panna Cotta had great flavor and texture contrasts (and paired really well with sparkling wine).
It's always nice seeing something chocolate being offered (I'm not much for those "all berry" kind of desserts. This Milk Chocolate Raspberry Panna Cotta was really great!
This Apple Spiced Crème Cake was one of two desserts from the dessert station.
The Apple Spiced Crème Cake featured two layers of apple spice cake with two cream cheese style icing layers, along with a little white chocolate square on top.
The last musical set of the evening switches back from the main band to the opera singers. Now's a great change to capture a couple clips on your phone!
The coffee station is located in the middle of the piazza. This is a daytime photo of the coffee station, because it's a little too dark for photos at the end of the event. If you want to take a coffee with you, there are paper or styrofoam cups with lids at the station. Be sure to get your coffee before the final opera song though... this station closes down right at the end of the event.
Be sure to grab a last glass of wine before the opera singers finish their last song. They won't pour any more after the event is over, but there's no push to leave the area either, you'll have another 10 or 15 minutes to just sit and relax with a final sip.
It's been another really amazing Harbor Nights La Dolce Vita event!