Favorite Bites: The two panels I moderated kept me from hitting up all the tables, but Mom, who happened to be in town, worked off her ticket price by rounding up plates and hustling them over to me in the conversation lounge. What blew my mind? Moroccan lamb with five-grain salad from Barbrix , Palate’s blue hubbard squash custard with pomegranate relish and bacon-apple strudel, braised veal cheek with baby purple potatoes from the upcoming Public Kitchen & Bar at the Roosevelt, and mini ice-cream sandwiches and frozen banana bites from Sweet Rose Creamery .
Favorite Sips: With those Malibu roads so windy and slick, I took it relatively easy on the liquids. In the grape department, one of my first sips of the day was a hefty one, the 2007 Dierberg Vineyard Pinot Noir from Flying Goat Cellars. What I loved most of all? The magnum of smoked black lager that Craftsman’s Mark Jilk busted out after our beer panel. Like eating a cigar—but in a good way. Perfect for the autumn weather.
Favorite Happenings: Watching six or so giant limousines try to back in and out of the corral parking area. Having to ask the stellar mariachi band to move down the hill because the sound—and the gathering crowd—was distracting from the chef demonstrations. Watching Mark Peel and his tow-headed 18-month-old feed the roaming horsies. (OK, I called ’em horsies). The great feedback on the Mexican Food Issue from folks like Bill Esparza (Street Gourmet L.A. ) and Guelaguetza ’s Bricia Lopez.
‘Till next year!