HOT IN, SO HOT IN HERE!!! Man, it’s like 90 degrees right now in my apartment. I’m sweating up a storm!! Okay, I have an epic post ahead so I can share my adventures from Saturday :)

I woke up at 4:30 AM (good times) so I could make it up to Carmel before noon. I toasted up a Perfect 10 bagel with AB and Better N’ Peanut Butter with half a banana sliced on top for some fuel. It was weird eating so early in the morning!

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I was on the road by 5:30 with a big steamy cup of tea — way too early for coffee! The roads were very peaceful so early in the day. The first half of the drive was through mountains like these:

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Around 9 AM I started to get hungry. That’s when I realized it had already been 4 hours since breakfast! Luckily I packed a Fiber One Oats & Peanut Butter bar. The PB chips in this guy are oh so good!!

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I also stopped for gas and a non-fat latte in King City. It’s crazy how desolate some areas of CA can be. I had been driving for about 4 hours by the time I stopped, and this was the first town I had seen in maybe 100 miles??

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By now, the sun was shining and I was grooving out to Jack & Johnny (Jackson & Rzeznik of course!). I drove past a whole bunch of vineyards, plus farms, a military base, and a corrections facility — how’s that for a varied landscape!

When I finally got to Pebble Beach Food & Wine, there was a little runaround trying to track down my ticket but I finally made it into the tents! This thing was HUGE!! I wasn’t sure what to expect, but there were tons of people milling around. Immediately, I was handed a wine glass and sent off to start tasting — my kind of event!

Oh, quick disclaimer here…so at the game Friday night, I dropped my camera and SMASHED the screen. I still took a ton of pictures at the event, but I could only see 1/4 of the photo on the screen (surprisingly, the photos aren’t that bad…apparently I’ve gotten much better at this food photography thing!). Also, I tried most of the wines right there at the table so I could speak with the vineyard reps (same with the food) but I still snapped a bunch of shots to share with you guys!

There were over 300 wines believe it or not. I didn’t even make the tiniest dent.  There were also chefs all over serving amazing bites of their signature recipes. Some faces that my very untrained eye recognized included Cat Cora (so cute!!), Jamie Lauren, Stefan Richter, Tom Colicchio (also so cute!!), as well as a bunch of familiar names. Here are some of my highlights!

Jonata Cabernet Sauvignon (my only red of the day actually) was nice and mellow.

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I followed this wine with a cabbage & smoked sturgeon soup with caviar made by Jean Joho. Never in my life have I seen as much caviar as I did Saturday! The cold sturgeon taste just didn’t appeal to me very much, I have to admit…

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I still savored that wine though :)

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I switched over to white with a Clos du Val Cabernet that went wonderfully with a fancy creation by Mark Estee — homemade english muffin with tomato jelly, Becker Lane pork, and romaine “ice cream!”

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Then I happened to bump into the beer section so I got a Stella. No, definitely did NOT finish this one — it was huge!!

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What goes better with beer than burgers?! Nothing! Next up for me was Gabriel Rucker’s Strawberry Mountain Farms beef burger topped with Tillamook vintage white extra sharp cheddar. This was SO good. Maybe not as fancy as the rest of the food, but it was hands-down the best thing I tried. I had two of these baby burger bites, of course :)

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After the burgers, I sipped on a Sauvignon Blanc from Whitehaven. This was my favorite wine of the day!! There were SO many flavors that I could taste (and I am no wine expert), and apparently, it’s only $20 per bottle, which seems like a great price for such an awesome wine. This is the only one I went back for a second pour!

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This light white went perfectly with my next few food items, which included two seafood dishes — a mini crabcake by Jerry Regester and crab & caviar a la Cat Cora.

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I also taste tested a very interesting dish by Joseph Lenn, which included pork shoulder and crispy black eyed peas. The black eyed peas were cooked so they were very airy and almost popped in your mouth.

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Next up was a Voigner by Wild Horse, which I drank with a Lime Fresco chocolate from Lula’s Chocolates. This lime caramel was sprinkled with sea salt!

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I was getting pretty full by this time, but I still found room to taste test a few more things, including a liver kidney fois gras pie by Chris Cosentino.  The crispy pastry shell underneath was good, but one bite of this guy and I was moving along. This is definitely something I would have been served at a typical family meal when I was in France, and I would have eaten it without question and really enjoyed it too, but my tastes have definitely shifted since then!

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Then came the smoked sturgeon croquette by Michael Mina. Man, I never knew sturgeon was such a hot ingredient (?!?!).

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I cleansed my palate with a surprise discovery in the cheese section — Bremner Wafers!!! These were my all-time favorite crackers growing up and are nearly impossible to find. I had a few with cheese and then just finally asked the guy for a few sans topping. I think he thought I was nuts for wanting to toss the brie and just munch on these guys!!

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After this, it wasn’t hard to make the transition over to dessert, where I grabbed an amazing chocolate/pear mousse and a little raspberry macaron made by John Hui. The mousse had a fantastic mix of flavors!

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I also had a Picket Fence Chardonnay with a Merlot chocolate truffle. What a great way to mix white and red wine :)

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I THOUGHT I was getting a dessert when I grabbed this flan by Michael Ginor to taste test…

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Nope, apparently flan can be fois gras flavored, and covered in a veal reduction!!! No thanks!  As you can imagine, I needed to grab one more merlot chocolate to even out the taste :)

During the event, I got to hear Tom Colicchio, Jamie Lauren, and Stefan Richter (all from Bravo’s Top Chef) speak about their experiences both on and off the show. I got a great photo too but it’s on the camera I borrowed from Becky, so it will be a surprise (i.e., when I can download the photo) when it shows up on the blog!!

Right near the end, I met up with some of the girls from the Foodbuzz staff. So lucky I caught them before everyone left!! We drove over to the other end of Pebble Beach with Denise and Laudalino from Chez Us to grab a drink and chat with Pim from Chez Pim. These guys have some pretty fantastic websites!!  I had a baby glass of champagne before switching over to some coffee. The Foodbuzz girls are awesome, totally wish I could have stayed the rest of the weekend — hope y’all had a blast!

Finally, I had to peace out if I wanted to make it back to LA at a reasonable hour (reasonable, of course, meaning midnight). On the way back down Pebble Beach, I stopped for a few great shots. It was SUCH a gorgeous area. The top beaches were foggy, cold and smelled like the sea.

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After driving just a few minutes, the fog suddenly lifts and it’s all gorgeous trees, cliffs and beaches. Here’s Cypress Point Lookout:

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Then The Lone Cypress Tree. How cool is this?!

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And finally, Pescadero Point. Check out this eerie blanket of dense fog!  Apparently this stretch of the beach is haunted by the Lady in Lace…

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I got back on the road and reached good ole King City around 7:30. I stopped there for dinner since there isn’t much besides fast food anywhere else on the highway! I picked up the best long day/long drive food ever — pizza. I actually eyed this place when I stopped off for coffee and am so glad I remembered that there was also this cute little pizzaria.

Fresh! To-go! Perfect!

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I got a small pizza with green peppers. MMM! I ate the entire thing over the 6 hour drive home. Seriously, those last slices saved me when I started to get loopy around hour 5. Every time I needed another blood sugar rush, I had another piece and it immediately perked me up :)

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Thin & crispy!

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Early morning and late night driving always makes me feel like I’m channeling Jack Kerouac, see what I mean?

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I made it home safe & sound!  I had such a great time and I only got to experience a few hour stretch of a 4 day event, so I can only imagine what the rest of the weekend was like!  Thanks Foodbuzz for letting me check it out — you guys rock!!

Oops, and I can’t forget…

Saturday Three Things

  1. Making breakfast at home instead of getting a bagel w/cream cheese on the road (which was my original plan!)
  2. Ordering thin crust pizza instead of regular
  3. Skipping a snack when I got home late night
I’ll have to play catch-up with Sunday and today at some point tomorrow. I am getting SICK unfortunately and should get into bed sooner rather than later! Hope you all enjoyed reading about this fantastic event…if you ever get a chance to check out even just the one big tasting that I did, you definitely should!