Things That Make You Go “Yummm”PBFW 2014
With the epic 7th annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine behind us, we search for a way to sum up the un-sumup-able. Five days of spot on events, taste treats, and creators sharing so much of what is good in life. Here are some favorites.
Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho, with Sweet Shrimp, Hass Avocado Mousse and Petite Basil, by Chefs Rory Herrmann and Tim Hollingsworth. This amuse bouche was so bursting with flavor that it landed on the palate like a mini vacation to Cabo. This recipe is proof that with the right ingredients and techniques, seemingly effortless high notes can be achieved with simple ingredients.
Chef Antonio Lofaso’s Deep Fried Squash Blossom and mixed drink combo. Whoa. Crispy and crunchy, and sweet and savory all held up very well against a tart nectar iced brew of Pappy Van Winkles (23 year old) Bourbon Whiskey. Mixed with lime and a few subtle herbals, this combo packed such a punch that the inspired after-effect of random kissing was witnessed in the crowds. (no, really).
Two separate savory morsels brought us back to our childhood favorites.
Chef Cindy Pawlcyn’s “Adult Grilled Cheese” with Black Truffle, Cypress Grove Truffle Tremor Cheese, served on a sliver of Brioche ~ a mouthful of pure heaven. It was the most amazing way to start Sunday’s Grand Tasting. It was just one of the many comfort food favorites that day.
One of Chef Laura Werlin’s signature Mac and Cheese recipes from her book, Mac and Cheese Please, drew a slew of happy eaters. A bundle of cheesy goodness, it both elevated and made simple this American favorite. Served on a real plate with a real fork, this appetizer stood apart from the rest, and gave us the sustenance necessary for drinking our way through the remaining hours of the 2014 Grand Tasting.
“The Somm Epiphany – Life Changing Wines” event sported an atmosphere of true friends gathering round to chat up the wines they held in highest esteem – with a lot of laughs along the way. We noticed some stars from the SOMM Documentary: Ian Cauble, Brian McClintic, DLynn Proctor, Sabato Sagaria and in particular, Eric Railsback, whose Woody Allen-esque repartee had us all in stitches. (Can someone please continue to follow him around with a camera? We need more of what he’s thinking and drinking!)
At The Grand Tasting on Sunday we met up with Chef Fabio The Fabulouso – aka ‘Fan Favorite’. His way with words is just as flavorful as his dishes, not to mention his willingness to stand in front of everyone’s camera every two seconds. His beef dish, served on delightfully light polenta, complemented his earthy and down home good nature. He truly is a bite of Italy.
Chef Robert Irvine’s cooking demonstration, without a doubt, did the heavy lifting of all the cooking demos: He started by showing a few simple truths of cooking, with a casual and confident flair; then he tossed in a handful of humility and humor, engaging his audience with personal life lessons on the true essence of what having an appetite really means, even sharing the stage and dishing out samples to the crowd. We will never stand on line at the grocery store without thinking of his efforts to nurture 24x7x365. Thanks Robert!
“Dinner With The Stars of Los Angeles” on Friday night featured a very hard working Chef Jon Shook, with coordinated plating by Chefs Rory Herrmann, Tim Hollingsworth, Michael Voltaggio, Walter Manske and Ori Menasche. Shook’s relaxed and friendly Southern California style did not stop him from focusing on creating perfection on every plate; all the while, still cracking a smile. The dinner was well orchestrated with the intimate banquet atmosphere of a subdued starry night and a Flashback Dance Band featuring Laurent Fourgo. The dedication- and art- required in feeding a large audience with that kind of ambiance is truly special. The well trained army of kitchen and wait staff descended on patrons with a Swiss clockwork precision. We applaud and respect their successful mission, they deserve their own five star rating.
By Kate Mulligan