The fifth-annual Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival successfully wrapped up this weekend, with mostly sell-out events to the luxe four-day epicurean celebration. From a Tribute to a Legend Dinner honoring Chef Thomas Keller, to the familiar tented daytime Grand Tastings, wine and dining afficionados and fans came out to indulge.
I drove up for the day with Laiko from Epicuring, and the ride up was therapeutic and mesmerizing. We chose an ideal day, since it had just finished raining the night before. As much as I love the energy of the city, it's always a welcome escape to get out and smell the fresh seawater, drive by artichoke farms and sand dunes, and gaze at the alpacas and grazing cows hanging out under a massive willow tree.
In addition to the pre-scheduled events of PBFW, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas threw a well-attended oceanfront happy hour at the Inn at Spanish Bay that brought the chefs, sommeliers and locals out to socialize, unwind and party. DJ beats, champagne, fresh-shucked oysters and heavily scented cigars were all in attendance. Spotted in the crowd were Chefs Charles Phan, Francois Payard, Paul Bartolotta, Rory Hermann, Luigi Fineo, Ricardo Zarate, Roy Choi, Sang Yoon and 40th birthday boy Chris Consentino in addition to many others.
Everyone I ran into at PBFW commented on how much they have been enjoying the tranquil, natural backdrop of the festival. Basically, Pebble Beach Food & Wine is more than just a stellar wine and food festival, it's the chance to be surrounded by dreamy scenery that folks like Clint Eastwood and George Lopez soak in on a regular basis. Combined with a multitude of the most premier wine, liquor and cuisine names and brands, this was for many, a weekend they will soon not forget. Or perhaps with all the wine consumption, they already have. Not to worry, there's always Los Angeles Food and Wine coming up in August and less than 365 days til' the next Pebble Beach.