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2012 Aspen Food & Wine Classic Hangover Observations

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Zimmern was challenged to cook some marshmallows
Zimmern was challenged to cook some marshmallows

[Photos: Eater]

Another year of the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen has come and gone. Before we turn the page on the 2012 edition, here are some final thoughts on the weekend that was:

1) Thursday night's Jose Andres/Wines of Spain event was held at a new venue, a $26.9M mansion. Here's the real estate listing with photos.

2) Jose Andres rallied the mountaintop crowd during the final minutes of Game 2 of the NBA Finals with an adaptation of the venerable Spanish football chant: "Oklahoma! Oklahoma! Ole, Ole, Ole!"

3) Musician Cee Lo Green stopped through town to promote a coconut-flavored TY KU sake. He told The Denver Post he planned to "eat in my hotel room, then take it all in and soak up the sun." Andrew Zimmern wrote: "CeeLo Green loves Bizarre Foods. I promised him I would never eat his cat."

4) Emeril Lagasse and John Besh (who flew in his own pigs) brought their A-game, doing up the New Orleans-themed food at the mountaintop Publisher's Party on Friday night. Also noted: Cafe du Monde servers distributing dessert beignets. Genius. And a preview of drinks from New Orleans' SoBou.

5) The newly upgraded iPod/iPhone friendly music systems in the gondolas on the way there.

6) Also on Friday, the later-night Casa Dragones party was hosted by Sean Brock, Linton Hopkins, and George Mendes, who sliced a bunch of cured pork.

7) Eater knows who punked out of the early-AM Saturday Charity 5K, but isn't naming names.

8) Noted: Marcus Samuelsson's multiple outfit changes.

9) Tim Love's trailer returned to Aspen as a much sought-after after party spot. Operating as a self-serve bar with dozens of people drinking on the street, the trailer was some sort of open container law buffer zone.

10) Unexpected celebrity of the event: New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker, improbably in town for the festival and working the tents. Word got around he was in town, and apparently Ming Tsai joked at a panel: "Where's Wes Welker? I'm gonna throw this at him." But the festival had him beat. He tweeted, "Food and wine 1. Wes 0!"

11) This year the Best New Chefs event (normally held on Saturday night) was replaced with a tasting event (food by José Andrés, Batali and Michel Nischan) and a concert by Elvis Costello.

12) Instead, the Best New Chefs had to cook in the main tent, two at a time, throughout the weekend. One of the chefs was not happy about the setup, calling the hungry fans "relentless" and "animals."

13) Said BNC Jenn Louis about serving octopus at 10:45AM: "It's a little barfy."

14) Competing for attention the same night as Elvis Costello: The Swine at the Mine party at Smuggler's Mine, where guests had to sign safety waivers to get in.

15) Elvis Costello knew who Andrew Zimmern was, saying, "Hey, you're the guy that eats weird food on TV."

16) Self-congratulations alert! Said Chicago chef Rick Bayless at the American Express Trade Program: "Tech Talk: Marketing to Today's Diner": "A lot of the people that are really interested in what we're doing, they follow Eater more than they follow the dining section of the Tribune."

17) The later-night party hosted by F&W's Kate Krader and Belvedere Vodka at Casa Tua on Saturday night was a tough door. Notable rejection: Chef Richard Rosendale and Corey Siegel of the Bocuse d'Or USA Team. As a result Thomas Keller left the party to remain with the team.

18) Top Chef Paul Qui and his adorable girlfriend bailed on the festival on Sunday to go whitewater rafting.

19) New Aspen restaurant Justice Snow's became an easy impromptu meeting spot of sorts; one Eater operative managed to visit the place four separate times, with four separate groups of people.

20) Denver chef Samir Mohammad (of The Village Cork) got fired on his way to Aspen. Ouch. Mohammad was on his way to represent the restaurant with the Denver FIVE, a chef group that hosts pop-ups around the city. Not discouraged, he said he was offered several opportunities while in Aspen.

21) And don't forget the private jet.

· All Aspen Coverage on Eater [-E-]

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