I was fortunate enough to attend the Fourth Annual Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival this year thanks to Foodbuzz. I packed up all my gear and went and grabbed my sister for a girls' weekend. We stayed in Monterey a few miles away from the event, plus it's a town that has a soft spot in my heart. When my Great Grandmother was young she worked at the Del Monte Cannery. I took a quick drive down Cannery Row to see if it was how I remembered it, I was amazed at how much the area has changed. It was bustling with shops, restaurants and tourists.
I pulled off the road in Pebble Beach to grab a couple shots of the coastline for you.
I always wonder to myself when I see people in the surf; are they from around here because that water is freezing. I think this gal has gotten too used to a swimming pool or better yet a warm bath.
It was a crystal clear day and the sun was out in full force, it was actually a perfect day for the coast. I was kind of wishing I had a picnic basket in the back of the car and that I could have lingered on the shore for a while.
With tickets in hand we headed to the Viking Demo Pavilion for a cooking demonstration with Guy Fieri. The demonstration was a lot of fun, how could it not be with Guy's jovial personality. Only critique would have been that we got some samples of the food, he was making us hungry. I looked over his new cookbook coming out "Guy Fieri Food". I was pretty impressed, there were tons of recipes I consider to be family friendly and the photos and graphics were amazing. After all, the audience I cook for is a bunch of underage food critics.
After the demo we headed to the Lexus Grand Tasting Event, which was located about 10 minutes away. I wish the hosts had handed out maps, but luckily we found it eventually. Guy was signing books and when we finally found him the lady at the end of the line said, "The line was closed and he wasn't signing anymore". Guy was gracious enough to tell them to open it back up so he could sign more.
We immediately spotted one of our favorites; there he was just standing there cooking away right in front of us, Iron Chef Michael Symon.
He had a long line of people waiting to get a photo, so we decided let's try the goods first. They handed us a lamb meatball and it was delicious and warm I might add, way to go after an Italian girl's heart.
Good looking and he can cook, now we had to get a photo with him. He was so nice to everyone that came up to him; he stopped what he was doing and was so patient. This cute older lady in front of us was trying to use her daughter's iphone to snap a shot and after a couple minutes I decided to help her, Michael just stood there the whole time smiling. Afterwards she wanted to apologize for her lack of technology skills, no need sweets; I think we have all been there.
We found Josh Drage the Executive Chef for The Ranch at Rock Creek, and were very pleasantly surprised by his dish.
His plate of Bison with a Cherry Glaze and Potato Salad with Blue Cheese made for quite the pop in your mouth. I could have eaten a whole plate of just that potato salad.
There he was my personal favorite Tyler Florence, we wanted to wait and get a photo, but his line was crazy long. Unfortunately there were lines for everything and it got a little tiring. I ran into Liren - Kitchen Confidante, Jean - Lemons and Anchovies and Lisa - Authentic Suburban Gourmet, they got a great photo with him, go check it out.
At least I got to walk away with a piece of his lip smacking fried chicken. I have to go visit his Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco soon.
There were so many wines to sample, if I hadn't had to drive three hours home I would have tried more. The tent was stuffed to the gills with people and I did start to get overheated, so I opted for a nice cold refreshing Stella Artois that was strategically located near an opening for a touch of a breeze, it must have been a sign.
There were certainly some highs and lows of the day, there were so many good things I tasted and unfortunately there were a few losers too. I can imagine cooking in that large of scale there would be control issues, but cold dried out food is never appealing.
Several of the chefs I visited were out of food early on, so I didn't get a chance to try everything I wanted too.
Having only experienced a small sampling of the weekend I read more coverage online, including a post from Grubstreet to see what I might have missed. I kind of wish I didn't because I was a little peeved by a photo I saw of Tom Colicchio's team were wearing tee's that said, "Don't be a Hater" and on the back it said, "Bloggers ride the short bus". Sounds kind of like 5th grade to me.
All in all it was a wonderful day and I'm so glad I got to spend it with my sister plus I got to run into Azmina - Lawyer Loves Lunch.