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Hangover Observations: Aspen Food & Wine Classic 2014

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This past weekend the illuminati of the restaurant world descended on the town of Aspen, Colorado for the 32nd annual Food & Wine Classic. There was an Eater Lounge at the Limelight Hotel — check out the coverage here — and all kinds of seminars, panels, special meals, parties, and other shenanigans. Here are some final thoughts on the weekend that was:


Jose Andres' Wines of Spain party was held at a $17 million house. The views did not disappoint. Curbed Ski has photos of the mansion.


Thursday night at the magnum party Tyler Florence, José Andrés, and Dave Bernal somehow all had chosen to wear exactly the same shirt. They posed together for photos.

Tyler Florence shared that he had somehow acquired a stack of Hater (Eater) shirts and that he would be happy to give them back to staff.

Also Thursday night at The Little Nell, José Andrés was eating cheese that he had cut with his credit card (strange, yes).

The 5K Charity Race


Crazy people got up at 6AM to run the 5K charity race. Sommelier Bobby Stuckey came in 7th and Marcus Samuelsson came in 13th. Curbed Ski has the recap.

Scenes From the Eater Lounge

Eater held its fifth annual Eater Lounge. See interviews from Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo; Grant Achatz and team; Texas BNCs Matt McCallister, Paul Qui, and Justin Yu; Barbara Lynch; Greg and Gabi Denton; Stephanie Izard; Drew Nieporent; Hugh Acheson; Jim Meehan; Andrew Zimmern; Jason Dady; Paul Kahan; and Food & Wine's Christina Grdovic and Dana Cowin. Above, some behind the scenes.

Publisher's Party

This happened on Friday night at the Publisher's Party:

Last Bite Dessert Party

Hosted by Gail Simmons, this party had everything, including George Mendes, Hugh Acheson, and Johnny Iuzzini dressed as pirates.


Drew Nieporent, standing next to Marcus Samuelsson and talking to Sean Brock at the Southern Backyard Lunch hosted by AmEx. Re: the Husk fried chicken Brock served: "Man, Sean, I hate to say it but it's better than Red Rooster."


Grant Achatz and team made edible helium balloons, but the altitude made people dizzy (people were warned to only take small breaths). They also brought their giant Porthole to the show. In it: a transparent gazpacho that was filtered through ten layers of cheesecloth and 3,000 coffee filters.

Odds and Ends

Where does one find José Andrés slicing Iberico ham? Most places, really. But especially at the Little Nell at 2 in the morning. At a cooking demo, Andrés, who recently became an American citizen, boldly took off his chef's jacket to reveal a team USA soccer jersey:


Also at the same demo, Andrés, who totally owned the crowd a la Emeril, riffed: "None of the people you see around here in Aspen cook any more, but we call ourselves chefs."

The toughest door was the PDT pop-up inside the coat closet at Jimmy's. It fit five people max.

Jim Meehan on Joshua David Stein: "perhaps a harsher critic than friend."

NYC restaurant gossip dump: The Estela team is working on two new restaurants. And BNC Eli Kulp (Fork, Philadelphia) is working on a NYC deal. Also, there's a NYC restaurateur seriously considering bringing their champagne and fried chicken concept to Vail.

Johnny Iuzzini's next project is a bean-to-bar concept, and he's scoping out spaces in Williamsburg and/or downtown Los Angeles.

BNC Matthew Accarrino (SPQR, SF) totally threw down with truffles in the tasting tents (see photo in the gallery above).

Andrew Zimmern's selfie Instagram game was strong.

Drew Nieporent explained why he won't join Twitter: "Some people should hear my bullshit. But not everybody."

Fort Worth chef Tim Love's new CNBC show Restaurant Startup (with Joe Bastianich) has yet to air — it premieres July 8. But according to Love, it's already been picked up for a second season. He also offered up names for Eater competitors, including "Chewer," "Chomper," and "Regurgitator."

And finally, Eater operatives delivered a photo of the private jet:


Big thanks to Lori Lefevre, Dana Cowin, Kate Krader, Erika Gable, The Gant, the Limelight Hotel, Acqua Panna, and Food & Wine.

· All Aspen Coverage on Eater [-E-]

— Observations from Raphael Brion, Paula Forbes, Kat Odell, and Hillary Dixler