Pebble Beach Food & Wine Highlights – April 2012

Landing in a helicopter at the base of the Santa Lucia Highlands for a Carmel Road vineyard wine tasting

My first Pebble Beach Food & Wine this April 12-15, 2012. Despite chilly breezes post-rainfall and those outrageously high ticket prices ($500 is a cheap dinner ticket), it was a bustling, fun-filled weekend of food and far more wine, much of it high quality, celebrity chefs, after (and after-after) parties, copious amounts of caviar, champagne and white Burgundy sipped overlooking the waves from the Inn at Spanish Bay fire pits, and a helicopter ride with sommeliers landing in Carmel Road’s idyllic winery grounds at the base of the Santa Lucia Highlands.

Here is a photo recap of highlights from the weekend…

Helicopter view just after takeoff from the Monterey airport
After landing on Carmel Road’s expansive grounds, we road this tractor to a pinot tasting tent among the vines
Carmel Road riesling tasting tent waiting as our helicopter landed
Bites from Restaurant 1833 in Monterey to pair with the wines
Inside Saturday’s Grand Tasting
Intelligentsia coffee station
At Saturday’s Grand Tasting: Chef Craig von Foerster’s (Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur) raw beef
At Saturday’s Grand Tasting:  Chef John Sedlar’s (Rivera, Los Angeles) corn pudding
Chef Sang Yoon of Lukshon (Los Angeles)
Chef Sam Choy of Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai, Kailua-Kona (Hawaii)
Joe’s Stone Crab crew came out from Florida bearing fresh stone crab which was available in endless supply at Saturday’s mid-afternoon caviar  & champagne party at the Inn at Spanish Bay fire pits
Chef Chris Cosentino of Incanto (San Franisco)
Chef Elizabeth Falkner – moving from SF to NYC
Sunset at the Lodge at Pebble Beach before Saturday’s Italian Love Affair Dinner
Chef Paul Bartolatta (Las Vegas) in the kitchen preparing his course for Italian Love Affair Dinner
Chef Nancy Silverton (Mozza, LA) preps her course at Italian Love Affair Dinner
THE best course of the Italian Love Affair Dinner: Chef Michael White’s (of Marea, NYC) agnolotti filed with duck liver & guinea hen in rich foie gras sauce
Chef Paul Bartolotta (Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare, Las Vegas) explains his course at the Italian Love Affair Dinner
Italian Love Affair Dinner: Fabio Viviani jokes after intro as a Top Chef star: “I’ve lost that freakin’ show twice-screw Top Chef!”
Food Network star Anne Burrell smiles & interacts with fans at Sunday’s Grand Tasting
Chef Douglas Rodriguez (Alma de Cuba, Miami) serves a Sunday Grand Tasting favorite: egg baked inside a pupusa-like corn patty
Chef Michael White (Marea, NYC) explains decadent ingredients of his agnolotti, receiving an “ahhh” from diners when mentioning foie gras sauce, joking: “I wish I could get this response from my wife”
Nancy Silverton (Mozza, LA) prepares one of the simplest, best tastes of Sunday’s grand tasting: perfect burrata & tomatoes in pesto sauce with toasted bread