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Pebble Beach Food & Wine 2013 Hangover Observations

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[Photos: Kat Odell/Eater]

Another year of the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival passed this weekend in Pebble Beach, California. But, before we turn the page on the 2013 edition, here are some final thoughts on the weekend that was from Eater LA editor Kat Odell and Eater SF editor Allie Pape:

1) Pebble Beach 2013 in one word: Uni.

2) Guy Fieri flew to Pebble on his private jet but left the festival early to catch his son's little league game.

3) The talks of the town: Is chef Todd Fisher (Sticks) the next Guy Fieri? During Sunday's Grand Tasting, the all around bacon proponent served a duck sausage in a glazed donut topped with truffle mayo, bacon choucroute, and crispy tator tots.

4) Jacques Torres, always the jokester, tossed chocolate covered Cheerios from his Grand Tasting booth on Saturday into fans' mouths.

5) After ordering an epic plate of nachos during lunch on Friday, chefs Daniel Boulud and George Mendes decided to send leftovers to chef Francois Payard's room with a lovely little note. At around midnight that night Boulud spied Payard and asked about the nacho delivery. Unfortunately, Payard had not been back to his room yet, thusly the surprise was spoiled.

6) On Saturday afternoon The Cosmopolitan Hotel in Vegas threw a cocktail party with caviar and oysters shucked by LA chef David LeFevre. LeFevre says he's excited about his forthcoming 36-seat restaurant Fishing with Dynamite. Especially the floor.

7) On the subject of opening a Los Angeles restaurant, chef Jonathan Waxman says, "maybe."

8) 94-year-old pioneering Mandarin chef Cecilia Chiang hit the after party Saturday night around 1 a.m., stopping to pose for photos with fans.

9) Noted: Festival co-founder David Bernahl was the most well-dressed man of the weekend. Pastels, plaid, white pants ...

10) Some festival-goers mistook chef Matthew Lightner's (Atera) Dried Beet & Sea Urchin for a lump of coal.

11) Sunday afternoon chef Carla Hall had tea and a snack at Inn at Spanish Bay's lobby. When milk arrived with her tea she queried, "This is skim milk, right? That's so west coast. Can I get some regular milk?" She also joked about the name of her future (unplanned) restaurant, Carla's Hall.

12) Friday night's tribute dinner to Cecilia Chiang featured chefs telling humorous tales about the irascible 93-year-old legend, who can still be seen out and about at restaurant openings in San Francisco. Tyler Florence (who turned in an excellent take on har gao for the occasion) had a particularly good one: he was visiting Corey Lee to congratulate him on opening night at Benu when Chiang recognized him. "I have a hot tip for you," she told him. "[San Francisco Chronicle critic] Michael Bauer is visiting your restaurant tonight. You should leave now." On Chiang's word, Florence hightailed it back across town, and sure enough, 45 minutes later, Bauer walked through the door.

13) Speaking of Bauer, the anonymous critic wasn't exactly in hiding this weekend: he and his partner helped Chiang navigate the event and flanked her at her table, and she thanked them both from the stage, gesturing right to them. The resulting cringe may have been visible from space.

14) While Chiang walked away from her tribute dinner with a three-liter bottle of Cristal, most attendees had to settle for pours of Champagne in the tasting tent. We were chatting up the folks at the Taittinger booth when a red-faced Jacques Torres ran up to it, screaming at the top of his lungs, "Zis ees ze very best Champagne! Ze very best!" "Guess he's a fan?" we asked the booth attendant, who shrugged, clearly having seen this before. "It comes over him sometimes," she said.

15) This was the first PBFW after the foie gras ban took effect in California, and while it couldn't be found in the tasting tent, it made its way into some of the courses at outside events, including the famous NoMad roast chicken served by chef de cuisine Abram Bissell at Restaurant 1833's Raising the Bar mixology lunch.

— Kat Odell and Allie Pape

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