Pebble Beach Food & Wine: Saturday Grand Tasting

This weekend Chris and I went down to Monterey to hang out with our friends, Ryan and Maegen (and Sammi). We got the opportunity to attend Saturday’s Grand Tasting of the Sixth Annual Pebble Beach’s Food & Wine Festival. I was so happy to get to go again because I had so much fun last year. And this time, Chris got to join.

Laura Werlin: Author & Cheese Expert served buffalo chicken and crispy (fried chicken) skin mac n’ cheese

It was pretty fabulous.

The most interesting dish was from Chef Andre Bienvenu of Joe’s Stone Crab (in Miami). I honestly had no idea what I was looking at and even after reading the description, I still couldn’t tell you what I was looking at. The first thing he made was kettle popcorn (my dinner of choice when Chris is away) topped with pork belly and lobster, and some scallions. It was an interesting combination that strangely worked. Maybe this will be my new go-to dinner when I’m by myself next time…

Next he layered cotton candy with compressed watermelon, gravlox of cobia and Meyer lemon gel (huh?) on a Popsicle stick and paired it with a “mystic dragon shot.” I know. Now that I know gravlox of cobia means thinly sliced cured black salmon and not some reference from Harry Potter, I kind of wish I could try it again. It was pretty good and really fun to eat! I love seeing chefs play with food.

One of my favorite things of the day (besides the short rib grilled cheese from Chef Ben Cohn, formerly of SPRUCE, which I ate way too fast to take a picture of) is this dessert sampler from Chef John Hui of Pebble Beach Resorts:

He made a mandarin orange créme brûlée with an assortment of almond frangipane cake, apricot sesame cookie, and chocolate raspberry ganache – all insanely good! I usually don’t like créme brûlée but this one had great flavor and the almond cake was so light and crumbly. I think this was a unanimous favorite for all of us.

Another favorite dish of mine was from Chef Susan Spicer of Bayona in New Orleans. She made smoked duck with cashew butter and pepper served on top of a sweet potato brioche. Again, I ate this too fast to take a picture. (Notice a trend?) Here are some photos I did manage to take:

Chef Matthew Lightner of Atera in NYC preparing dried beet and sea urchin/ sous vide rocky mountain elk with purple sweet potato croquette and annatto cabernet reduction from Chef Rick Sordahl of Amangani in Wyoming/ workers from Sweet Earth, a natural foods company based in Pacific Grove, CA/ chipotle seitan fajitas presented by Chef Jason Wrobel of How to Live to 100/ stoba di carni pan bati with bata yena johnny cakes and funchi from Chef Miguel Garcia of Occidental Grand Aruba in Aruba

I also got to see a couple of my favorite pastry chefs including Jacques Torres (sorry for unabashedly taking half of your chocolates, oh wait, I’m not sorry…)

and Yigit Pura of Tout Sweet. I adore him.

After we got back to Ryan and Maegen’s, all of us completely crashed. This is what 3 hours of day drinking and eating will do to you (#firstworldproblems). By 5 o’clock, Maegen and I were talking about which teas we wanted to drink. Old hens as she liked to say!

We made dinner later that evening and watched a (final four) game that shall not be mentioned. The evening, albiet saddened by the loss of a certain orange colored team, was still great. We grilled some salmon with caramelized lemons, orange slices and mushrooms, made a roasted vegetable quinoa dish, and prepared a nice mixed green salad to go with it that had strawberries, goat cheese and pecans. YUM is right.

And after playing a round of “dirty” Scrabble (don’t ask) we called it a night. The next day, Maegan, Chris, Sammi and I went for a nice walk along Carmel Beach. It was the perfect end to a great weekend! And now I’m going to end with some lovely pics of Sammi on the beach:

Sammi in action.
Sammi “playing” with another dog.
Look! Sammi found one of Kara’s cousins 😉
Hope everyone had a great weekend as well!

2 thoughts on “Pebble Beach Food & Wine: Saturday Grand Tasting

  1. Looks like such a blast! The food looks even more innovative than last year. I ADORE the picture of you and Yigit Pura. SO CUTE! Can't wait for you to get here so we can eat our way through Paris!!!!


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