Spicy Green Mango

--Living and eating with a dash of whimsy and a sprinkling of spice--

  • I'm a budding food-tographer turned blogger who's insanely passionate about food..real food...the kind that sprouts from the earth and you have to wash it to eat it. Yes, hearty real food. I live to eat and I eat to live and am loving every bit of it! If you're here, then I suppose we share the same passion! Enjoy!

Posted by Spicy Green Mango 16 comments

I'm back and recovering from an AMAZING day of pigging out at the 2010 Pebble Food & Wine Festival.  One word: AWESOME!  A couple of weeks ago as a Featured Publisher, I won two tickets to attend thanks to Foodbuzz and have since been secretly carving an extra compartment in my tummy to make room for my eating extravaganza.

Did it work? Heck yeah!
Was I stuffed? More than you can possibly imagine!

Let's recap, shall we? 

I could barely contain my excitement as I stumbled out of bed and peeked into the outside world only to be met with a gloomy overcast that made the quiet tapping of a light drizzle slightly audible on my window panes.  But rain or shine, I wasn't going to let the weather dampen my mood, much less my appetite.  As my hubby and I drove the 3 hours towards Pebble Beach amidst the bucolic landscape of lush, rolling hills dotted with what I later realized were sheep (except without my glasses, they resembled more of the pale brown caps of button mushrooms) and fields of fresh, seaside artichokes, I couldn't help but roll down my window to breathe in the salty crispness of the ocean air.

By the time we arrived at the event, the rain was already pounding the pavement.  We hurried inside and were instantly greeted by a smiling volunteer who handed us our keepsake PBFW wine glasses.  We started off by taking a walking tour of the entire venue and scouting out the different stations.  Is it hard to believe that our very first stop was at the swanky Belvedere Vodka booth where the pretty bartenders were concocting the most delectable fruity cocktails of the evening.  Just the right amount of pucker, sweetness and vodka dressed up with fresh sprigs of mint and muddled fruit.  Wanna take a glimpse of their bar menu?

--Pink Grapefruit Yuzu Sour (with hand-squeezed lemon & yuzu juice, egg whites and a touch of honey)
--Belvedere Black Raspberry Julep (muddled on the spot with raspberries)
--Citrus Gimlet (with lime juice spiked with simple syrup)
--My Favorite:  Belvedere Orange Nam Som Kun (w/fresh OJ, lemongrass, chili, mint and lime & mandarin juices)

And let's not forget the amazing food and even more amazing chefs who created them!  My highlight for the evening was getting Food Network's Iron Chef Morimoto & Chef Michael Chiarello to sign my Foodbuzz apron!  So jazzed and big THANKS to fellow Foodbuzz feature publishers/bloggers,The Ravenous Couple, for giving me a heads up on the apron & Morimoto..much love your way!

But note to my readers: If you want them to sign anything, they are more than happy to do so....BUT if you want to chit chat, that's another story.  These guys are so busy running around, it's pretty nuts.  Oh, but I did score tickets to Cochon 555 for tweeting (@foodbuzz) Morimoto's dish of steamed pork dumplings w/fresh cucumbers and scallions eventhough by the time I got to their booth, the only thing they had left were the empty bamboo steamers!  Oh wells, I got to rub elbows with Morimoto and the hubby was even more thrilled than I was :)

In my dazed state of epicurean euphoria, I graciously accepted a plate of what I initially thought was a duck confit. Little did I realize that I had just gobbled down a tender, juicy piece of...dare I say, goat? Yep, it was so funny b/c I was approached by a man who asked me if I knew what I had just eaten?  When he told me it was goat meat, I was pleasantly suprised.  Wait. Not gamey. Melts in my mouth goat meat? I later found out that the kind gentleman was actually the very talented Executive Chef/Partner Mark Sullivan (pictured in upper left of collage, below) of Spruce Restaurant (SF).  He was so nice and even took the time to sign my Foodbuzz apron :) Thank you!  Next time you're in SF, be sure to check them out and try their Marin Sun Farms goat confit with turmeric dates & carrots. 

Among many other culinary masterpieces, here's some that I tried and enjoyed:

1. Pan-seared baby lamb chop popsicles w/micro greens.  My FIRST taste of lamb that wasn't gamey.  This is a definite winner in my book.  (US FoodService, SF)

2. Artichokes "A' la Grecque" with cured meyer lemon and aged jack cheese &Tide Pool in-a-cupwith abalone, crab, urchin roe, shellfish consomm√®, sea water & seaweed (Lodge at Pebble Beach)

3. Spicy Crab & Nantucket Bay Scallop ceviche with rangpur lime, hearts of palm and fresh olive oil (Marinus at Bernardus Lodge)

4. Peanut Butter Crunch, milk chocolate bavarian, salted caramel cream (Pastry Chef Anastasia Simpson of the Inn at Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach, CA)

5. Smokey Paprika Rubbed Grilled Octopus Spiedini with Olive Oil, Braised Marble Potato, Pickled Onion and Salsa Verde (Chef Michael Chiarello of Bottega, Napa Valley)

6. Smoked Braised Pork Belly, Garnet Yams and Port-Blackberry Reduction with Fresh Origins Micro Celery (Chef Mark Ayers of Pacific's Edge, Carmel, CA)

My personal favorite dish:
Northern Vietnamese-style halibut with vermicelli, fresh dill, scallion, peanut and a pineapple-anchovy sauce from a fellow Southeast Asian, Executive Chef/Owner Charles Phan (Slanted Door, SF)

--Tender morsels of pearly halibut pan-seared to perfection with aromatic dill fronds nestled on a bed of rice vermicelli...yum and yummer!  I love how they cook them in small batches and plated them right from the stovetop. 

My personal favorite wine:
Hartwell Vineyard's 2008 Estate Sauvignon Blanc.  The darling grand-daughter of this Napa Valley family vineyard, Jennelle (pictured below), was such a sweetheart to us and even managed to insist that we take home a complimentary bottle of her wine.  Clean and crisp with subtle notes of mango, passion fruit, grapefruit and vanilla. I know this wine would have been the perfect complement to a grilled chicken or seafood dish.  I say would have been b/c the hubby enjoyed his fair share of the bottle right when we got home.  Oh well..this is just another reason to visit this family operated winery the next time I'm in Napa. 


16 Responses

  1. Liren says:

    Beautifully done! Oh, how I wanted to go to the festival, alas, I was in Phoenix for a wedding (with lots of food, too, but oh, quite different).

    Gorgeous photographs - I'm so intrigued by Chiarello's octopus spiedinis! And the wine and cocktails, mmm!

    I'm so glad you had such a fantastic time! Lucky duck for getting to go :)

  2. Awesome recap! I got the chance to attend the South Beach Wine and Food Festival this past February and can certainly relate to your experience, it's an overwhelming but incredible event that leaves you so excited about food and wine! It looks like Pebble Beach offered a larger variety of Asian cuisine where as South Beach had a lot of Latin flair. I hope to be able to attend this event in the near future!

  3. INCREDIBLE! I love the photos and the commentary. Keep up the great work, Chandara!

  4. Linda says:

    Enjoyed your recap and photos! I was also there as a Foodbuzz blogger and was amazed at all the variety. I completely missed Slanted Door and didn't know they were there until I read your post.

  5. @Liren: Thank you..I knew you'd appreciate this and did you take pictures of the wedding food?

    @Tara: Yes, a bit more Asian flair, but I'd love to take a stab at the SBFW next time..although, I hear that I'd probably don my shorts & flip flops for that event!

    @Julia: Always on the top list of my #1 fans..you are wonderful, my dear.

    @Linda: I'm sure I missed a few good booths as well b/c it was soo overwhelming and SOOOO hard to take time and snap the pictures b/4 devouring the creations

  6. great recap and photos! so glad you guys were able to snag an apron because they were definitely running low!

  7. Wow - what a great recap of an amazing day! The photos are fantastic and really capture the energy and excitement of the day - not to mention the fabulous food and wine. Congrats on getting to go, and on doing such a lovely job of reporting back on it.

  8. I wish I could have been there! Well, eat some food and drink some wine for me to, please. :D

  9. @Ravenouscouple, MJ & Linn: Well, thanks so much! I'm glad I was able to resist temptation enough to snap these shots..its was tough, lemme tell ya! Thanks for visiting :)

  10. Awesome post! I felt as if I were at this event with you. Everything looks and sounds amazing and I'm particularly stoked that you got a foodbuzz apron and had it signed by Morimoto and Chiarello! Congrats on making the top 9 today :>)

  11. Hi @LBTurner*1959: You are so sweet and thoughtful. I'm really glad you enjoyed the adventure with me. Thank you!

  12. I enjoyed meeting you at the festival, I enjoyed reliving the food through your beautiful pics! GREG

  13. Loved the post, I couldn't be there so it really transported me! The pictures were wonderful, and the apron idea was spot on! best way to collect autographs whenever I go to a sponsored food event!

  14. Divina Pe says:

    That's a great recap. By the way, how do you take your photos indoors? I believe you didn't use a flash for this. Still struggling with that as I only know how to take photos with natural light.

  15. @Sippity Sup: So great to meet you as well! I checked out your blog..love the photos!

    @Food&Wine Diva: I'm happy you could feel as if you were in my pocket savoring all the goodness with me at PBFW. Can't wait till our very own Foodbuzz Festival!

    @Divina: Funny thing b/c I'm always swooning over your pictures and I know...natural light is the best! But yes, I shot these photos w/o flash and it's still a feat I'm working on mastering. I basically amped up my ISO and shot in Shutter mode b/c Aperture needs a certain amount of light to work its own magic. I'm still debating on a speedlight+diffuser b/c if used properly, that can work wonders!

  16. The 2010 pebbel beach food festival has been celebrated. Know all about it

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