Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival


It has been a whirlwind of a trip, first San Francisco, then Sausalito and next a stop in one of the most beautiful coastal regions of America - Pebble Beach! I was one of the very lucky ones to receive complimentary passes from Foodbuzz to attend the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival Grand Tasting, a grandiose hedonistic affair bringing together some of the top chefs of the bay area with some of the best wineries of California. Even with the torrential rain and relentless gusty winds over the weekend, foodie extraordinaire Sherry Page from Culinary Getaways and I made the trek to Pebble Beach to experience all of the incredible food and wines. It's tough to capture extravagance of food and wines that were showcased, but I here are a few that were most memorable to me.

With so many talented chefs drawn from a region that seems to thrive on the competition of kitchen olympics, it was hard not be get excited each time I passed a table that was serving a sample of their finiest. From La Toque, a Napa Valley restaurant, Chef Ken Frank served a twice cooked succulent soy braised pork belly with gingered brussels sprout slaw.


The pork belly undergoes a laborious process that is marinated in a soy ginger sauce, slow-braised for seven hours and refrigerated overnight before it is cut into bite sized cubes and fried to produce caramelized morsels of crisp meltingly tender pork confit that is nicely contrasted with a refreshing side of thinly shaved fresh brussels sprouts and cabbage that was lightly dressed with sweet tangy vinaigrette. This was probably the best dish we ate of the entire event, which is tough to accomplish given the amazing suite of elite chefs serving.


Chef Tom Douglass of Dahlia Lounge in Seattle, WA served pork that had been rubbed with a savory house-made porcini salt, and slow-roasted for three hours at 250°F.


This was yet another magnificent and memorable tender and succulent pork dish at the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival, as evidenced by the numerous attendees hovering around the table over the afternoon.


Chef Dory Ford of Aqua Terra served shredded pork and fresh salsa stuffed in soft corn tortillas that were deep fried creating a rustic, flavorful and substantial bite-sized taco.  Surprisingly unique with bright flavors for a simple and humble taco, and tickles my curiosity of the other quality dishes that are served at Aqua Terra.


Chef Cal Stamenov of Marinus Restaurant at Bernardus Lodge, an outstanding establishment in Carmel Valley served a spicy crab & Nantucket bay scallop with rangpur lime juice, heart of palm, and fresh olive oil.  The bright spicy and refreshing citrus flavors integrated with the delicate briny seafood really makes this dish pop. The supple tenderness of the hearts of palm added a sophisticated dimension to the texture of the dish, completing the intriguing combination.


Chef Richard Reddington of REDD in Napa Valley served a fun bite-sized scallop ceviche taco that was as delicious and refreshing as it was cute.


Chef Anastasia Simpson of Spanish Bay Inn served an incredible peanut butter crunch, milk chocolate bavarian, salted caramel cream cake topped with a house-made nougat, which was the best I've ever tasted.


There were several stunning wines served, and given the numerous great choices, I was only able to try a mere fraction. Of the great wines I sampled were:

O'Shaughnessy Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
This is a beautiful full-bodied and powerful cabernet sauvignon exhibiting bold blueberry, blackberry flavors, notes of creme de cassis and pencil shaving. Stunningly rich and bold, this is a wine for Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon lovers.

Cade Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
This is yet another bold and beautiful wine from the North Coast of California, exhibiting a nuanced array of ripe blue and blackberries integrated with mineral undertones. The wine is approachable at this age with soft well-rounded tannins that manifest in a wonderful velvety mouth-feel in the finish.

Hanzell Chardonnay Sonoma 2006
This is a lovely, elegant and refined California chardonnay exhibiting flavors of white peach, pear and layers of subtle mineral qualities. 

Dolce Nickel& Nickel Late Harvest, 2005
This is powerful and very sweet wine that will knock your socks off at the end of an evening. Drink in small doses because you'll only need a sip of this cloying, viscous, and concentrated dessert to cap a meal.


In between nibbling and sipping on beautiful California wines, we had the opportunity to meet with celebrity chefs such as Tyler Florence. I can tell you that he is as cute and charming in person as he on TV.


Sherry Page with Chef Hubert Keller of Fleur de Lys, and a Top Chef Master. It is always a great pleasure to meet such a kind, humble and talented food soul.


We even got to take a picture with the original Iron Chef himself, Masaharu Morimoto.

The Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival is an incredible and exciting event for foodies, one that I am looking forward to revisiting again in the future. Thanks again Foodbuzz for sending me to this event!

69 comments:

Gulmohar said...

Wow..cool..looks like you had a great time :-)yummy food and all great chefs, what else you could ask for

Megan said...

You must have had so much fun! I would love to meet Hubert. He was one of my favorites on Top Chef Masters. And, oh, what I wouldn't give to try a bite of that cake!

Debinhawaii said...

Looks like a fabulous time and wonderful food. I am so glad you got to visit the tent of Tom Douglas and try his food. I am a big fan. If you are ever in Seattle you have to try one (or more!) or his restaurants. Glad you got to go and enjoyed it so much. ;-)

Bridgett said...

Fabulous people and fabulous food!

Ravenous Couple said...

It was awesome to finally meet up with you and Sherry! Love that photo with morimoto!!!!!

Kim said...

So glad to hear that you had such a wonderful time (and such tasty treats)! Sounds like pork was very well represented at this event.

Rebecca Subbiah RD said...

great food and congrats on winning, your a star foodie and love the snap of you so so cute

Rebecca Subbiah RD said...

great food and congrats on winning, your a star foodie and love the snap of you so so cute

Chef E said...

Ha! Love it, seems as if you are the first in my reader to share! Oh we ate at Fleur de Lys, and it was wonderful!

Ate at Morimotos in PA too, what a fun experience!

Of course, a word I use often on here- Jealous! I had no idea this was going on until Greg of Sippitysup mentioned it on twitter!

Tara said...

Looks like an awesome event! WIsh I could have attended and tried all the tasty dishes! (:

high low said...

Great recap and welcome back! Thanks for sharing!

♥Sugar♥Plum♥Fairy♥ said...

This sure sounds like a super day u had ...all in all way way an enriching experience ...everything a foodies absolute delite...and thru u we live the beautiful moments too...thank u .....

lindsaymeyer said...

Oh, no! I missed the little taco. My life is not complete...

Totally agreed on those pork belly cubes with slaw. Whoa, so good!

Your photos turned out great, especially since the lighting was really poor.

anna... said...

wow.... Cristine, che foto e che look... ^.^

Esme said...

Wow what a wonderful experience.

A Canadian Foodie said...

I was wondering why you were trecking across the country. I can see it was well worth it. We have a similar event in Edmonton. No one famous as there is not any big TV stuff going on here, but the platings and food is spectacular. Local, prairie grown and cooked by our amazing local chefs. Love your pic with The Iron Chef... would love to participate in this kind of event. I get SO excited. Too bead you had to have lousy weather, but clearly, you were in great company.
Thanks for sharing.
:)
Valerie

Joanne said...

My god this looks amazing! All of that pork...and the chance to see Tyler - my food network CRUSH. Lucky girl :P

TKW said...

Omigosh! You touched the Morimoto!! I think I would have swooned!

The food looks amazing--especially those scallops!

lostpastremembered said...

I'm dying over brussel sprout slaw.. how genius is that!!! You covered the event beautifully...of course... wish I was there!!

La Table De Nana said...

Wow..You lucky girl!I loved Hubert Keller on the Top Chef Masters..so nice..
I always like Tyler:)

Mari's Cakes said...

Lucky you...you know I love the peanut butter crunch, milk chocolate Bavarian and the fun size ceviche taco.

Thanks for sharing this beautiful experience.

Bellini Valli said...

Sounds like an amazing experience!!

Stella said...

Nice Christine! Sounds so fun and exciting. I like the way all of the food looks so bite size and beautiful-that's the best way to eat to me (grazing and such). Hope you had fun and were able to relax a bit...

Beth said...

It looks like you had a great time!

Barbara said...

I am soooo jealous!!! What a fun time!

Cool Lassi(e) said...

Looks like you had an awesome time at the food n wine festival dear. Tyler looks sooo cute! Love your shot with the Iron Chef!

Lori said...

I love reading these recaps! For those of us who can't make it to the far corners of the US for these great events, it is so nice to live through other bloggers like you. :) It looks like you had a wonderful time.

alison said...

great time for you!thanks for sharring!

Chubby Chinese Girl said...

oh wow you go to go too? im so jealous!!!! looked awesome

Dolce said...

You are definitely one lucky gal! Those pictures are awesome. Ah, the chocolate & Peanut butter bavarois... Sigh...

Penny said...

Extraordinary Christine!

Heavenly Housewife said...

What a cool event. Great food, great people, what more could you want... maybe more of those bavarois!
*kisses* HH

Food&Wine Diva said...

Wonderful post, I was also given tickets but couldn't go at the last minuet. Pure tragedy. But your photos help me see what I missed! Your photographs are outstanding, what kind of camera are you using?

Sara said...

Fabulous!! I'm dying of jealousy. Dying...dying.

thepenandthepear said...

I put in my request to attend this prestigious event! Congrats on you going! Sounds like a memorable time!

nancy at goodfoodmatters said...

What a fun festival---I especially love seeing the petite bites. The scallop ceviche taco looks terrific.

OysterCulture said...

Darn you're good, I am still working on my write up! Do you mind if I link to your post as my photos did not turn out. It looks like either I stalked you or you followed me but we hit so many of the same wonderful booths. So much fun, but I am bummed we were not able to connect.

Travel Eat Love said...

As usual an incredible post from an amazing event! You are so lucky AND so talented!

krissy @ thefoodaddicts.com said...

what a great recap of the pebble beach food & wine festival! you're so lucky you got to go and meet some famous chefs, like tyler florence! sounds like a great time. i hope i get to go in the future!

Cinnamon-Girl said...

Tyler looks sooooo cute! The salted caramel cream cake looks every bit as delicious as I imagined. What a fun event!

Michelle said...

Scallop ceviche taco is so cute! I never thought to make some mini tacos for appetizers...great idea!

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

Thanks for letting us tag along with you - I was very jealous reading tweets coming from there last weekend!!! Great pics and you met some celebs! YAY!

El said...

You're becoming quite the world traveler and epicurean. Looks like great fun!

Mimi said...

Looks like a fun time.
Mimi

Table Talk said...

We were vacationing in Carmel just prior to the start of this event...it was killing me to see the tents go up. I'm sure it was a lot of fun~in such a beautiful location!

Justin said...

i was just reading about this on the ravenous couple site -- looks like a lot of fun!

5 Star Foodie said...

Sounds like it was an amazing event, fun time!

Catherine said...

Wow looks incredible! The food looks wonderful...great pictures!

Catherine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lori Lynn said...

Oh Christine! You are so fortunate! Sounds like an exquisite event! Thanks for reporting on it, love the chef photos!
LL

Velva said...

This looks so amazing. I am glad to know that Tyler Florence is just as charming and cute in person. I really like Tom Douglas and have enjoyed his restaraunts. He is an amazing chef.

As always, thanks for sharing this foodie adventure with us.

tasteofbeirut said...

When you said gusty winds and torrential rains, I was reminded of the oodles of time I have been in San Fransisco in this kind of weather! At least you had the exciting food and the no less exciting chefs to meet! great fun looks like!

tigerfish said...

That must be indeed a wonderful experience. Lovely photo with Morimoto! *envy*

sweetlife said...

what a great time you must have had..tyler, hubert and morimoto..what envy girl..great pics


sweetlife

Sophie said...

Well, it looks that you had a fab & great time!! Lucky you!!

Thanks for sharing this experience & pictures with us!!

A lovely post to read, Christine!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

What fun! I'd be like a kid in a candy store!

redmenace said...

I am so jealous! I want to meet Hubert Keller. He sounds so lovely! Glad you enjoyed yourself!

That's Ron said...

congrats! and so lucky! a picture with Iron Chef Morimoto!!! Jeolous

Joy said...

WOW you are so lucky congrats on winning -- there were so many famous chefs there!!!! I love the picture of you and Morimoto :)

Trissa said...

What a fantastic experience it must have been for you to be able to attend the Food & Wine Festival. I've heard of this event when I used to watch Top chef and thought how amazing it must be to actually attend it and here you ARE doing so! I love the bite sized scallop ceviches - such a cute idea!

The Diva on a Diet said...

What a wonderful experience, FLB! And thanks so much for sharing it with us. It all sounds magnificent, and I am loving the sound of the porcini rubbed slow roasted pork. Wow!

Love the pic of you with Morimoto!

Elizabeth in SLO said...

All I can say is...WOW! I want to go next year!

Angie's Recipes said...

Lucky you living in a place that full of events and activities!

Diana Bauman said...

Oh my gosh, looks like you had a blast! How great that you were able to go with Sherri!

Claudia said...

What a lovely wrap-up of the event. Gave me just a peek of what I was mmissing - but enough to sample and be satisfied!

Patty said...

Goodness gracious! What an incredible opportunity to eat some out-of-this world food AND rub shoulder's with some of the world's best chefs! How lucky! What I would do for some of that pork with the porcini salt. Seriously? I could jump through the screen and woof it down.

Yasmeen said...

Lucky you!thanks for sharing the joyful moments of the event :D

Divina Pe said...

Great event to meet wonderful people and great event to taste great food. I definitely want to meet Tyler Florence.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a great event and how fabulous to meet Tyler. I'm impressed.
Sam