Events | Pebble Beach Food & Wine 2011

Last Sunday was the kind of day I wish we still had a convertible. It was a California day and it begged for a California car. Isn’t every day a California day for you? you may ask. Well, technically, yes. But it’s those blue bird…

Events | Pebble Beach Food & Wine 2011

Last Sunday was the kind of day I wish we still had a convertible. It was a California day and it begged for a California car.

Isn’t every day a California day for you? you may ask. Well, technically, yes. But it’s those blue bird days with the rays that bathe you with a warm wash of happiness as you drive windy coastline roads that seem to be even more “California” than usual.

Pebble Beach is about a two hour drive from my home, and I was thrilled to make the drive down to this charming coast town to attend the Fourth Annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine to cover the event for Foodbuzz. With such a wonderful array of specialty events offered throughout the course of the long weekend, I was sad to miss some of the cooking demos and wine seminars due to a busy family schedule, but I was perfectly satisfied to attend the Lexus Grand Tasting on Sunday. Even better, I was able to enjoy the tasting with some good eating buddies. Lisa from Authentic Suburban Gourmet joined me as my guest, and we happily met Jean from Lemons and Anchovies to explore the grand tent together.

And indeed, the tent was grand. Of all the wonderful tasting events I have had the honor to attend, so far, the Pebble Beach Lexus Grand Tasting is one of the most luxurious. With hundreds of wineries from all around the world, a Bubble Lounge, and tastes from 23 top chefs from across the United States, it was certainly decadent. In fact, with such a skew toward liquid refreshment, I do wish there was more restaurant and chef representation, and I especially wish there were more sweet offerings from pastry chefs.

That one small criticism aside, I will say that as a whole, Sunday’s Grand Tasting was a fantastic feast of savory delicacies, superb wines, and exciting celebrity chef sightings. The atmosphere was bubbly, the tent spacious and airy, and three hours were not nearly enough.


Picking favorites is never easy, especially from such a fabulous display of culinary talent and flavors. The dishes offered embraced the succulent, the pork-y, and the luscious, and paired them with the freshest ingredients. The tastes that I will always remember include:

Bronzed Eastern Sea Scallop, Mango Dungeness Crab Ceviche & Blue Corn Crisp

Bronzed Eastern Sea Scallop, Mango Dungeness Crab Ceviche & Blue Corn Crisp, U.S. Foodservice SF

…for its fresh simplicity…

Buttered Popcorn Bisque

Buttered Popcorn Bisque, Clint Wilson of The Lodge at Pebble Beach

…for its whimsy…

Foie Gras Ravioli with English Pea Puree

Foie Gras Ravioli with English Pea Puree, Peter Armellino of The Plumed Horse

…for its delicate touch…

Pork Shank Terrine with Umbria Lentils and Dungeness Crab

Pork Shank Terrine with Umbria Lentils and Dungeness Crab, Jerry Regester of The C Restaurant + Bar

…for the beautiful layering of textures…

This just scratches the surface; there were, of course, more wonderful tastes to be had. Come join me, and explore the slide show below and taste with your own eyes! I hope you find inspiration, whether to visit Pebble Beach Food & Wine next year, drop by these wonderful restaurants, find a new wine, or recreate the flavors in your own kitchen.

My sincerest thanks to Foodbuzz for the opportunity to attend Pebble Beach Food & Wine 2011. It was a wonderful time and I was honored to be there.

Slide Show

…click on images to enlarge…



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  1. Carla

    Can I just say reading this post, I would like to be you when my little blog grows up. Lovely photos, post and blog!


    • Liren

      Aww, thank you, Carla, for stopping by and the sweetest comment ever! I am ever so flattered. Seems to me your blog is just beautiful already – I really enjoyed your recap of PBF&W (and I agree, it really is PB Food and Lotsa Wine!).

  2. Ken??hungry rabbit

    Finally got a chance to catch up on your blog. What a gorgeous day for a delicious event. Though I wasn’t there, your photos manage to take me on a journey that left me salivating.

  3. Jean

    It was definitely a convertible day last Sunday. The entire weekend as a matter of fact. Glad to have enjoyed the Grand Tasting experience with you and Lisa–so much fun!

    It seems like the scallops were a huge hit with many. I’m still thinking about them. Yay for the U.S. Foodservice Culinary team putting together a winner of a dish. :-)

    Happy Mother’s Day to you!

  4. skip to malou

    I’m so jealous as I read this post haha… your photos are stunning… and it looks like you ladies had an awesome time. Your eyes and smiles can’t hide it hihihi!
    Enjoy the rest of the week.

  5. Emily @ Life On Food

    It has become tradition for me to go the the Grand Tasting tent at the NYC Food and Wine festival. I always have so much fun. Your pictures look beautiful. I was also in California last week and the weather was so perfect. It was my first time out west and ended up being everything I dreamed.

    • Liren

      Hi Emily! Having been born and raised in NY, I know well that feeling when you first step foot in California – it really is a wonderful and special place, and I’m so glad you had a great visit out here! One day, I’ll have to return home so I can check out the NYC Food & Wine festival – I can just imagine the food scene there – how great that you go every year!

  6. Spicy Green Mango

    Liren, I’m so happy that you, Lisa and Jean all had a blast this year at Pebble Beach. Isn’t it just the best? It’s by far my favorite event for foodies. Lovely shots and I see you got to hang with Tyler Florence?! Ahh…I want to eat at his restaurant in SF!

    • Liren

      I thought of you, Ms. Spicy, as I made the rounds last Sunday! One day, we will have to enjoy PBF&W together. Meantime, it sounds like a field trip to Wayfare Tavern is in order! I have not been yet, either.

  7. Lisa { AuthenticSuburbanGourmet }

    Liren – Great post and the photos are amazing! It was fun to see the event from your perspective and Jean’s! Thank you again for driving down. Even with the “mix ups” it was indeed a great day. So wonderful to hang out with you & Jean. It was a treat to meet Sara and Gina in person. Too bad we missed Azmina and Trish! Have a terrific week!!!

  8. Rachel {eaternal bliss}

    How fun and fabulous! Oh, how I wish I was back in California.

    • Liren

      Sara! It was so good to meet you too, and your hubby! I’m so glad we were able to see one another, finally great to meet in person :) Hope you both enjoyed the rest of your day at Pebble Beach :)

  9. spcookiequeen

    Such a pleasure seeing you Liren. I’m a little envious I didn’t get to try some of those items, especially that scallop, yum. Hope we can meet up again soon.

    • Liren

      Hi Gina! I was so happy to see you again last Sunday, too! The tent was so large, it was hard to get to every bite. We missed some noteable tastes, too. Unfortunately some tables packed up early, not sure if they ran out of food or energy, but I know we missed a few here and there. While we were so happy to meet Tyler Florence, they were no longer serving his famous chicken. But that gives us an excuse to visit his restaurant soon :) Hope to meet up again soon!

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