Feasting, Drinking, and Shenanigans at Pebble Beach Food & Wine

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Menu for the Tribute to a Legend: Thomas Keller dinner. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Group shot at the Tribute to a Legend: Thomas Keller dinner. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Spruce’s dish at the opening reception: vadouvan waffle and foie with pistachio. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Nancy Silverton’s burrata with beets and spicy horseradish vinaigrette (at An Italian Love Affair). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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My favorite character at the Lexus Grand Tasting on Saturday. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

This year’s ~PEBBLE BEACH FOOD & WINE~ was yet another one for the books: the amount of talent that descends onto the property is staggering. As a media guest, I feel very honored to get the access that I do—a huge thanks to the Coastal Luxury Management team for so graciously taking care of so many people, and for continuing to put on such a memorable (and fun) event.

I posted my photo album from my three days at Pebble Beach here, so you can take a look at what Daniel Boulud was serving at the opening reception (one of my favorite events, was sorry I could only stay for an hour before my dinner reservation at 1833!), what was on the menu at the Tribute to a Legend: Thomas Keller dinner, what was being served at the Grand Tasting on Saturday, and who was in the kitchen at the Italian Love Affair dinner.

Some highlights of the event:

At the Lexus Opening Night Reception, Michael Symon was looking really fit (and showing off his guns), the charisma and joie de vivre that emanates from Daniel Boulud is enough to power a medium-sized country, and Michael Chiarello is making some tasty ‘nduja over at Bottega (I wonder when a Cooking with Blood cookbook will come out?). I also got a taste of the just-released 2003 Dom Perignon before flouncing out the door—purr purr.

The Wines of Gaja tasting was extraordinary—it was such a pleasure to hear the personal story of the wines and the family by none other than the elegant and very passionate Gaia Gaja. (Tasting the family’s 1978 Barbaresco was something I won’t forget.)

I can’t believe I got to attend the Tribute to a Legend: Thomas Keller dinner—the dishes and wines at the dinner were fabulous (um, yeah, like they weren’t going to be). I cracked up with some of the Texans at my table, who needed me to explain what squab was. At the end of the dinner, the tallest of the Texans said, “Marcia, I wish you could be with us all weekend. We need you when we go out to fancy places so you can tell us everything we’re eating.” Adorable.

At the dinner, the joking between Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller over Bouchon was hilarious. Daniel was giving Keller a hard time for beating him to the name (Daniel is from Lyon, famous for bouchons), while Keller retorted in his speech: “Bouchon is mine. Get over it.” Cue uproarious laughter.

I also laughed over the fact that Daniel Boulud unwittingly swiped my glass of 1988 Domaine Dujac Clos de la Roche. I was absolutely, wildly in love with that wine and asked our table’s sommelier if she could possibly find anymore in the back (it was popular that night). She managed to scare up enough for two more glasses for our table, but when she turned around, Daniel had nabbed one of them, so she had to split the last glass between me and another guest. Even funnier: she snapped a pic of my pilfered glass of wine and sent it to me. If there’s anyone I’m willing to lose a glass of wine to, it’s Daniel.

Although nothing can top the moment when I was sitting at the table, talking with my fellow guests, and there was suddenly a hand on my shoulder. I look up, and it’s Thomas Keller, making the rounds to each and every table, warmly thanking everyone for attending the dinner. Pure class, all the way, all the time.

You should watch this tribute video to Thomas Keller (h/t to Scoop). (Good, now I can erase the mega file I had on my camera recording it.)

I highly recommend starting the day with a cheese class from Laura Werlin. We were spoiled with cheeses, wine, grilled cheese, and mac and cheese. Healed!

An Italian Love Affair had a reception that was the stuff of my dreams (hello, famous uni and lardo crostini from Michael White of Marea that no one was really eating—except yours truly).

Thanks to The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas for throwing quite the Saturday happy hour on the patio at The Inn at Spanish Bay. Bubbles and caviar and oysters and friends? Really, it’s all you need.

Ladies, what is up with all the sky-high heels that you can’t walk in? Women were stumbling around the after parties and the tasting tents like the walking wounded. If you can’t walk the sky-high walk, then just don’t do it. Not fresh.

Guy Fieri’s truck.

I also heard someone threw a drink at Guy Fieri at one of the after parties, and was quickly escorted out by his bouncers and security. This is totally unconfirmed, but really, dude, don’t throw drinks at people with bouncers. Dummy.

A fellow diner at one of the dinners observed none of the tables ever had salt, bread, or butter, and no coffee service, either. (Psssst, all you have to do is ask—although I do agree about the salt, just have some on the table.)

Was happy to meet the winner of the two Magnum packages that were given away on tablehopper—was also happy to learn she brought her sister! Good girl.

You can’t find a more glorious setting than Pebble Beach: the views, the fresh air, the sunsets, the ocean. Stunning.

And now, please excuse me while I try to exercise some of this debauchery off me.