Monday, October 5, 2015

1MB Travels: Pebble Beach: Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival Day 3

So, as you may have noticed, I definitely eat a lot faster than I write :P

And, the older you get, the further ahead you plan: so, I'm going to see this very belated post as an 'early' heads-up for those who are considering the next Pebble Beach Food & Wine (March 2016!) and want to see what came to pass in 2015.

This was what our Day 3 looked like:

10:00-11:15am, The Inn at Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach Resort: Chef Curtis Stone's cooking demo was one of the festival's events I most looked forward to. Maude's Seasonal Stories with Chef Curtis Stone put the charismatic chef front and center for an awesome kickoff for the day.

As with his monthly changing menus, Chef Curtis is apparently not one to do the expected, even for his cooking demo. Beyond entertaining the packed room with his simple breakfast / sweets demo, he energized us with a very interactive audience participation approach, first with two members dueling for title of Bloody Mary champ.  Then, he asked three pairs of couples to join him on the stage, who were at various phases of relationship milestones: one married for decades, one months into dating, and one pair of complete strangers.  Mixing in secret ingredients like mint and curry into chocolate, he asked one person from each couple to be blindfolded, and TASTE and try to identify the mystery chocolate by licking the chocolate painted on the other's lips!!!! (imagine the awkwardness and entertainment value of the couple who had JUST met each other for the first time on stage that day!).

A fantastically fun time, if not the traditional educational / behind the scenes insights forum that we had been expecting.

We did get to taste sweet treats from chef Curtis though, including these caramel chocolate 'kisses'...
...and sample this luscious ricotta filled crepe with strawberries and maple syrup.  Simple, but that's where skill comes in, as you can't hide behind any distracting ingredients or food styling.

12:00pm, The Lodge at Inn at Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach Resort: then it was off to the first Lexus Grand Tasting.

This being a luxury destination event, in one of the highest income zip codes in the country, there was of course lots of A-list creations to be had.

Coming from Chef Curtis Stone's cooking demo, of course I had to head to Maude's table: their Liver Parfait with Bay Leaf Pain Perdu - with its luscious dollop of foie mousse, balanced by fluffy foie powder, light crunch of onion crumble, and airy, fragrant block of french toast, was instantly addictive and one of the best of show.

Foie was also present in abundance at other tables, like The Bench at The Lodge at Pebble Beach, where Chef Aaron Burns served up foie gras mousse and red wine sauce parfaits with foie gras brownies.

Meatlovers also got their dose of elevated bites from Pork Chicharrones with pickled fresno chili powder and artichoke dip (also from The Bench)... Trippa Fritto: Beef Heart Tartare "Bolognese" with white balsamic, sundried tomatoes, dijon algrodulce and bottarga from Chef Brad Briske of La Balena in Carmel.  This was one of my favorite bites at the event: emphasis on in, many shameless repeat visits to that table.

Lightness to offset the heartiness is Trotter Torchon by Chef Eric Korsh of North End Grill in New York.

There was also plenty of seafood on hand, of course.  I loved the Creole Shrimp Dip with Pickled Shrimp Crackers from Chef Jean-Paul Bourgeois of Blue Smoke New York.

But the award for BEST DRAMA(tic) presentation goes to Chef John Cox of Sierra Mar, Big Sur, with an ENTIRE sturgeon on ice as if some local fisherman had just slung it over from the side of the boat.  Its belly sliced open, it was  STUFFED with caviar that lucky grand tasting attendees could step and and spoon right from the fish.  Know where your food comes from, right? Brilliant.

To also showcase his skills, Chef Cox also presented red abalone blini topped with the Black River Caviar.

AND, the genius marketers behind Sierra Mar also ran a live Instagram contest at the show, where those who tagged pictures of the caviar with the correct hashtag got to win a tin of the Black River Caviar...and I was over the moon to be one of those lucky winners!!!!!  (Please the Palate and I had a great time polishing off the caviar back at the hotel after the event.)

For a sweet finish, we had our pick of desserts, but one of the most memorable for me was the Stout Chocolate Trifle by Holsteins Shake and Buns, Las Vegas.

Ghiradelli also brought their A-game with a chocolate + wine tasting station, where they paired a different wine with each of their dark chocolates, in a flight of 3 - it was fun to see how the flavors in the wine brought out different elements in the chocolate and vice versa!

My favorite of the trio was Terra d'Oro Zinfandel Port + Intense Dark midnight reverie 86% cacao for the layers of complex flavor interactions.

3:30-4:45pm, The Inn at Spanish Bay: Pure Pork Awesomeness with Chef Kevin Gillespie was my afternoon event post tasting.  Chef Kevin was pure entertainment as he demonstrated how to make Pork Stroganoff with Finger Noodles.

Summary of the evening event,  Love in the Kitchen: Dynamic Duos to come soon!

To see my previous recap of Opening Night reception, click here.  Also, read about Day 2 here.


Pebble Beach Food and Wine
Pebble Beach, CA
Saturday, April 11, 2015
Pebble Beach Resort

If you missed this year's Pebble Beach Food and Wine: mark your calendar for next year's events March 31-April 3, 2016!

And check out the Los Angeles edition thrown by the same event organizers: LA Food and Wine Festival happening next week August 27-29, 2015!

*Disclaimer: Tickets to these events were provided courtesy of PBFW.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Sweepstakes: Win Two Tickets to LA Weekly's Brunch At The Races

LA Weekly is presenting a brunch focused event at Santa Anita Park on October 18th, where you can sample food from some of the city's most popular restaurants including Sonny's Hideaway, Superba Food + Bread and BierBeisl, and sip cocktails / beer while cheering on your favorite racehorse at the live track!

****And I'm giving readers the chance to win two general admission tickets to the event!  Scroll to bottom for sweepstakes details****


Vital Event Stats

What: AYCE AYCD breakfast and brunch event (replacing Pancake Breakfast)

Where: Santa Anita Park 

When: Sunday October 18th, 2015 11am - 2pm

How much: $45 General Admission presale ($55 at door), $65 VIP ($75 at door)

Drool factor: A fun day out at the track while enjoying good food and drink - can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday in October in sunny SoCal. The races will be happening during the event, and your Brunch At the Races ticket includes access to Santa Anita Park for the day

Event website:

Tickets Sold

[Deal alert: get a general admission ticket for $29 (35% off) at Gilt City through Monday 10/5! Stack the deal by going through eBates first to get an extra 3% rebate (free to join)]


Enter for your chance to win two tickets below, by following the directions in the Rafflecopter widget.

(Yes, you can enter multiple times per day!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note:  Sweepstakes starts September 26th at midnight and ends October 5th at midnight PST (so, night of October 4th).  Winner will be notified via email (so please provide your *correct* email address) by October 5th 11:00pm PST, and is required to respond to claim prize by October 7th at 9pm PST.

*Disclaimer: two general admission tickets are provided courtesy of LA Weekly for prizing.  In addition, two general admission tickets were supplied for One More Bite Blog to attend the event to experience it.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

1MB Travels: Pebble Beach: Pebble Beach Food and Wine Day 2

It was only April, but Pebble Beach Food and Wine felt to me like some superluxe summer 'glamp' for food and wine enthusiasts.  Between the gorgeous California sunshine, and our soon to be daily festival ritual of hopping on the shuttle that whisks us away from the hotel to the lush (very well manicured) nature at the Pebble Beach Resort - and the meeting and making of new friends along the way (often, eminent sommeliers or members of a celebrity chef's team happy to discuss their passion and share insights on the latest in their world), it was a 'summer' gathering that we never wanted to end.

There were several sessions happening throughout the day over the 'campgrounds'.   Here are highlights from my activities for the day:

10:00am, The Inn at Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach Resort: For our bright and early morning session, I was excited to get to attend a cooking demo Tips for a Beginner from a Star Chef featuring chef Hugh Acheson and Food and Wine magazine editor Dana Cowin.

Chef Acheson - who you know from Top Chef and some amazing restaurants in Atlanta including my fav, Empire State South - is originally from Canada, but after living in southern US for the last 25 years, he's developed a unique perspective on southern food.
A fun presentation to kick off the festival, and we got to taste from the demo: pimento cheese with bacon marmalade over brioche toast!

Chef Acheson's tips for pimento cheese is to use sharp cheese but that is yellow for color: think Vermont old cheddar or Sweet Grass Dairy cheddar from South Georgia, and mix with mayo, mustard, cayenne, pimento and yellow bell peppers.
Another of Chef Acheson's passions is pickling: he loves "hyper acidic food that wakes you up in the beginning, then get more luscious later".  At PBFW he demonstrated pickling fennel, stalks and all, and throwing them in a Ball jar with poached and chilled shrimp, to serve over a salad of butter lettuce topped with anchovy and pan crisped artichoke.

12:00pm, The Lodge at Inn at Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach Resort: Thanks to Please the Palate and her friends at Wines of Provence, we were able to get into the lunch session: Spring Break: Cooking Without Rules.

The pre-lunch reception hosted by Wines of Provence featured fantastic hor d'oeuvres, one by each of the featured chefs at the luncheon, including a Snapper Collar Roulade by Iron Chef Morimoto, Mini Arepa with seared filet and spicy chimichurri by Cindy Pawlcyn, Curried Oyster with smoked salmon caviar by Chef Roy Yamaguchi paired with a beautiful rosé (Chateau Saint-Maur Cotes de Provence).  

My favorite was probably the one created by Chef David Lefevre of MB Post (LA pride!!): shrimp and pork dumplings, in the most delicate crystal wrap, with ponzu, scallions and chili oil.

As a total wine newbie, it was exciting to see our table setting for the actual lunch.  Yep, this is what a wine-driven lunch at PBFW looks like.  Glass, anyone?

[PBFW overall was such an education for me, introducing so many amazing wines through the abundance of tastings throughout the event. (I do worry for my monthly budget though, now that I've had a taste for good wine...)]

Pre-meal, the chefs came out and spoke about each of their dishes - but Iron Chef Morimoto, ever the entertainer, and citing that English is challenging for him, stated he would rather sing for us - and proceeded to belt out an awesome tune (check out a little snippet in the video below!):

With that kick off, came the chefs' creations along with the perfect wine pairings:

Chef Morimoto: Seared Scallop with Thai curry sauce, sushi rice, roasted banana, bell pepper relish, fiddlehead ferns (Chateau Sainte-Marguerite, "Symphonie" 2014)

Chef Pawlcyn: Guinea Hen foie gras & pistachio terrine, sour cherry chutney, frisee & chervil salad, pickled spring onions (Maison Saint Aix-Rose, AIX 2014)

Chef Lefevre: Braised Lamb Neck Canneloni, rapini, bianco sardo (Chateau Roubine, 2012)

Chef Roy: Yuzu Japanese Style Cheesecake, coconut crumble, tropical mousse (Maison Gabriel Meffre Rose, 2014)

My favorite of the mains was Chef Mormimoto's, because the combination of ingredients was unexpected - and really fit the rule-defying theme the best, and of course was actually mind-blowingly delicious (who knew bananas could make such a great pairing with scallops???)!

6:30pm, Monterey Beach House: Meatopia: Meat, Drink, Fire, Music was the highly anticipated evening event on the beach, where the late (great, RIP) award-winning writer, food historian and Editor of Esquire, Josh Ozersky, who brought his hit event celebrating carnivorous appetites, and top chefs paired with primal meat + open fire in a waterfront venue, to the West Coast.

The PBFW edition takes place outside of an upscale club, right on the sand.

We arrived to incredible scents of sizzling proteins and fat before we ever spotted the meatlovers' wet dream of whole animals (pig, lamb, goat, to creatures of the sea - you name it, it's there) roasting on open spits.

Chef Jonathan Roberts of Pig Wizard outdid himself with pulled pork from a whole roasted pig marinated with Jack Daniels, PLUS the most addictive 'Porkcorn': taking the idea of caramel popcorn, but replacing the popcorn with pork rinds + stepping up the caramel by making it with bacon demi-glace, bacon bits and Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin!!!! "Whaaat???" would be the correct response.  We actually went back several times to beg and please for additional portions of the snack intended to be an accoutrement, but for us ended up being the star.

Beyond our four-legged friends, there was a fantastic selection of seafood, including live Monterey Spot Prawn fresh from the grill, head-on the way it was supposed to be eaten (the better for that treasure trove of umami to be sucked from its head... #foodpornmoment) by Chef Zakary Pelaccio of Fish & Game.

SPQR's Chef Matthew Accarrino brought the most creative dish of the night, which was definitely one of our favorites: Spit Roasted Passmore Ranch Sturgeon with salsa verde and *cracklin made with the fish skin!!! and topped with caviar!!!*

A close up shot because it was amazing, and we died from happiness after eating (three plates of, shamelessly) it.

As night fell, the strung lights, fire pits and free flowing cocktails, beer and wine around the beach created a lively, fun ambience that felt a bit like the best neighborhood block party for adults.  And, like all the other events at PBFW, part of the fun was meeting people in line or around the fire pit!

To see my previous recap of Opening Night reception, click here.  And look out for my recaps of Day 3 and 4 soon!


Pebble Beach Food and Wine
Pebble Beach, CA
Friday, April 10, 2015
Pebble Beach Resort

If you missed this year's Pebble Beach Food and Wine: mark your calendar for next year's events March 31-April 3, 2016!

And check out the LA edition thrown by the same event organizers: Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival happening next week August 27-29, 2015.

*Disclaimer: Tickets to these events were provided courtesy of PBFW.


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