Three beautiful things: Pebble Beach, California; Food; Wine.
I could write forever about the unbelievable famous chefs who shook my hand and even posed for pictures with me but then I wouldn’t be able to write about the amazing food they created and yet again no time to tell about the world class wineries sharing AMAZING grape juice.
I’ll start with a quick story.
On a plane to DC – instead of Miami – to celebrate my dearest friend’s wedding shower instead of attending the South Beach Food and Wine Festival.
Guy sits next to me yacking on the phone about the South Beach Festival, assigning this chef to that and another menu to another venue. I strike up a conversation about missing the festival and he tells me I’m crazy to go to South Beach and that I should be going to Pebble Beach instead. He says: “They have Paula Deen and we have Thomas Keller…” Hmmm (I say)…tell me more! The entire flight was consumed with me picking his brain about food and wine and just general foodie talk. It was the fastest flight across the country I’ve ever taken – turns out this guy is the founder of the festival and booked his flight last minute and 1st class was full -my lucky day) Two months later I realized the day had arrived and I hadn’t purchased tickets, hadn’t booked a hotel and wasn’t sure if it was worth the two-hour drive without a guarantee we’d be able to do anything – oh and it was already 11:00am and storming.
I should say that I am not a big celebrity freaker-outer…except when it comes to food and wine – I turned to jello when I marched into The Inn at Spanish Bay and who is standing smack in front of me? Tyler Florence! The enormous smile on my otherwise reserved (non-wrinkle exposing) face should give you an idea of how I was feeling.
As I write this post my sister is sending me Instant Messages telling me she’s looking at a picture of me making out with Tyler Florence to which I tell her I gladly would have made out with Tyler but the awkward moment with Mister standing there with the camera could have been… well, strange in the least. But let’s be clear: Tyler you can lay a smooch on me anytime. The fact that we couldn’t get in to the Grand Tasting and that evening’s events were out of my price range and also sold out wasn’t daunting in the least when greeted by Chef Florence. We took a seat by the outdoor firepits and I told Mister to sit back and we’d just watch and see what happens. And it happened. Ming Tsei brushed past us, dropping his sportcoat and chef’s coat on the chair next to me to do some quick promotional filming on the 18th green, and the celebrity sightings continued.
Turns out EVERYONE who is anyone in the culinary world was hanging out where we were and we had front row seats. Snacks and Martinis with three blue cheese stuffed olives (yummy), a world famous view of Carmel’s Spanish Bay and shortly the sunset bagpiper made his appearance.
As we prepared to go eat dinner at Roy’s (Yes, famed chef Roy Yamaguchi was in the house) a couple of chefs came up to speak with a man who I was chatting with – the cutest nicest woman who actually struck up a conversation with ME, introduced herself (which immediately turned on the “Oh my gosh it’s you, lightbulb” ) and started just chatting about this and that and what desserts she made for the Tribute to Jaques Pepin dinner ($1.500 ticket price but Charlie Trotter, Thomas Keller, Ming Tsei and others were cooking – I’m told it was to die for.) Sherry Yard, pastry chef to the Wolfgang Puck empire and author of one of my favorites The Secrets of Baking – Simple techniques for sophisticated desserts.
So off to Roy’s for a phenomenal (albeit noisey) dinner and a two hour trek home.
More tomorrow about my early Sunday morning suprise text from none other than Ada Fisher wife of Chef Todd (Fisher) a super duper nice woman!!