Martinis at PBFW
Living the New Bond Life
During the 7th Annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine event, We sat in on one of the few lunches held off site, in downtown Monterey, at Coastal Luxury Management (CLM) Restaurant 1833. Hosted by The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, it was a convergence of CLM’s current projects, with Ben Spungin of CLM, Michael Hung of Faith & Flower in Los Angeles, Wesley Holton of Rose. Rabbit. Lie. in Las Vegas, and Abby Burk of Restaurant 1833. That’s quite a team.
I knew I would have to pace myself. My last run-in with a martini (a saki martini to be exact) was ages ago. And before the first drink arrived, I wondered how many ways one can put olives in a cocktail glass and call it something different. But, the sheer creativity was inspiring. It was easy to feel overwhelmed by the cocktail offerings at this lunch….this was not a ‘tasting.’ I was definitely anticipating a hangover the next day.
Fact is, Restaurant 1833 didn’t stop at their promised 4 martini pageantry. It was much more of an extravaganza; I counted at least 6. Four were paired with the food, and a couple more to spare. It all went down without a hitch…or hiccup.
The full sized drinks were followed immediately by appetizers: Speck Americano w/ Vermont Creamery Cultured Butter & Parmigiano-Reggiano; Hawaiian Kampachi Tartare w/ Lotus Root, Ginger -Yuzu Emulsion; Abalone w/ Fingerling Potato, Flying Fish Roe….and that’s just the beginning.
Everyone sat down for a first course within 30 minutes of noshing on those delights, so even if you were about to slip sideways from too many martinis, you were at least already in a sitting position.
What followed can best be described as a very well orchestrated Old World dance between glasses, plates, waiters, kitchen and bar staff across the entire premises. Each martini presented was so unique and so different from the one before it that the previous one was soon forgotten. (Not that they took it away from you, it continued to sit with you at the table. But it quickly became like a familiar lover, if you know what I mean). On each martini’s heels, followed a first, second, third and fourth course of beautifully plated savories: Smoked Passmore Ranch Rainbow Trout, Slow Poached Mary’s Chicken, Snake River Farms Eye of the Ribeye…
With all the opulence and potential for overindulgence, it wasn’t over yet. The finale was a plate full of small, sweet mouth-fulls. Smaller bites always make you feel less guilty. Pistachio Parfait with Yuzu, Black Sesame and Pickled Blackberry, hand crafted chocolates that looked like glass marbles, and (Lavender?) macaroons, all plated to look like a fine art painting. And all washed down with a Wanderlust Martini.
As we wandered back to the PBFW event, we made new as we mused on the many ways to describe the colorful and unique martinis we’d just experienced. I started to feel sorry for James Bond, who has stuck to his singular stock martini all these 40+ years.
This is the only way to do a Friday lunch. I’d do it all again…even if there were only two martinis.
By Kate Mulligan