Saturday, September 4, 2010

Taste of Beverly Hills Presented by Food and Wine Magazine

Eating. Drinking.  More Eating.  Still Eating.
by Denise Fondo

Food and wine lovers spent a day of bliss in Beverly Hills.  At least, this one did.  Saturday's morning and afternoon session of The Taste of Beverly Hills presented by Food and Wine magazine was a great success, in my opinion.  For a first time event, it was impressively organized.  The layout is smart, with two main tents of food and drink samples, seating areas in between, and live demonstration tents along the side.  It's a setup that gives you a sense of flow, makes the space feel more open, and prompts you to move about the grounds.  On the way from one tent to the next, you see and hear demonstrations that might interest you and you may run into some well-known names from the food world.  I ran into Ted Allen, Roger Mooking, and Ludo Lefebvre as I walked around the event and in the halls of the Beverly Hilton.

I really love that the event is utilizing the old Robinson's May parking lot in Beverly Hills.  I really miss that store and this makes me feel rather nostalgic. I wish organizers had found a way to incorporate that adorable courtyard on the ground floor of the old store into the events.  Perhaps next year.   Also love the opportunity to spend time at the Beverly Hilton.  Dipped into the cocktail bar in the hotel with friends in the afternoon to escape the heat, have a drink and talk about our experiences that day.  Nice to have that available.  With most food and wine events you are stuck in an outdoor location with absolutely no place to take a step back for a half hour or so.  

I was scheduled to cover a number of demonstrations and events during the day, but managed to miss most of them.  Too much food to taste!  I did attend Boys Versus Girls Sommelier Blind Tasting hosted by Bonnie Graves.  Randy Fuller will be writing about the this event on Now and Zin.  Not to give anything away but Graves threw in a Two Buck Chuck as a trick wine and it was fun to watch sommeliers fooled into thinking it might sell for $12 a glass in a restaurant.  Loved the surprise when it came out of the bag to be revealed as Trader Joe's cheap and popular wine.  

Restaurants in attendance change with each session, so ticketholders are given an opportunity to taste dishes from many Los Angeles restaurants and dessert makers.  Some of my favorite tastes include rigatoni with mushrooms from Nonna of Italy, meatballs from Delancey, beef satay from Talesai, beef and blue cheese sandwiches from Philippe The Original, champagne truffles from Valerie Confections and ribs from Mr. Cecil's California Ribs.  I'm personally surprised by the Mr. Cecil's.  Thought I didn't like their food but I'm going to have to give the restaurant another shot after today's taste.  Never saw a number of restaurants listed for the afternoon, such as Water Grill and Ortalon.  May have just missed them.

Just one small change to suggest, the bloggers lounge we were promised in media information, was nowhere to be found.  We need a place to gather our thoughts, download photos, get our notes together, and power up our cellphones, computers and iPads.  Other than that, The Taste of Beverly Hills was a lot of fun.