A couple of weeks ago, Tom’s Foodie Blog had the pleasure of covering a very exciting foodie story, Food and Wine Festival – Palm Desert. This event placed a spotlight on Coachella Valley restaurants, including Palm Springs and Palm Desert communities. California winemakers and the best local restaurants were in attendance. Aside from the fantastic experience of sampling food and wine from each of the vendors, I was also able to attend several cooking demonstrations by some very talented chefs. For five hours, my senses were bombarded by the sights, tastes and aromas of the festival. As a result of this food stimulus overload, my body was on a heightened state of food awareness. In less
than five hours I was able to try at least one of every dish being sampled, drink at least two wines from each winery, and watch three cooking demos. Although, truth be known, after a full day of eating food and drinking wine, everything starts to taste the same. This is when the standouts make themselves obvious. I have highlighted some restaurants, vendors and wineries that are real standouts that made me say, “Wow that was good!”
Here are some of my personal highlights from the event:
Justin Winery – Amazing wines from my favorite wine region, Paso Robles. Their wines are affordable, but taste like $50 bottles.
South Coast Winery – A local winery that is starting to compete with the big boys and is also a gem in the Temecula Valley. I recommend their Big Red Table Wine and their Wild Horse Peak Blends. Trust me on this one!
Europa Village - Their European style wines are extremely delicious. I personally liked their Italian blends.
Stella Artois / Leffe / Hoegarten – I love Dutch beer! We were able to sample three of their most famous beers, via tap. Very delicious! Chef Lory even gave a cooking demo on cooking with these beers.
Crispin Cider: This was one of my standout favorites from the event. They featured five different varieties of their hard ciders. It is available at several gastropubs in Southern California, including Haven . Expect a blog post just about this cider.
Tequila Alderete – Some really amazing Tequila, especially when served with their signature margarita recipes. They made an incredible margarita using their tequila and cucumber juice… very refreshing.
Viceroy – Top Chef finalist Malibu Chris served a noteworthy veal neck croquette. This dish was crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, and had complex savory flavors.
3rd Corner – This local restaurant served duck wings! If you are turning your head sideways in confusion, think Buffalo wings, but from a duck. Duck wings are bigger than a chicken wing, but have more savory flavors.
US Foods – Chuck and Short rib Burgers on a Croissant Bun – This burger is made from ground chuck and short rib. The flavor almost reminded me of a Slater’s 50/50 which is made from half bacon and half chuck. They served it on a croissant bun. I would encourage any restaurant to carry this burger.
Caesar’s Choice –Home Style Caesar Dressings – Another major standout from the event. A healthy Caesar dressing that is low in saturated fat, low sodium, gluten free and tasted amazing! I will be doing a showcase blog on this item as well.
Overall the event was extremely well organized. The vendors and winemakers brought ample supplies, so there was enough food to last throughout the entire event. Many food festivals are known for running out of food towards the end of the event. All the vendors were also ready for the crowds at the start time with hot food and uncorked bottles.
If you are considering attending the Palm Desert Food and Wine Festival next year, I highly suggest you book a hotel nearby or plan on taking a taxi in and out of the Palm Springs. There is so much wine available, it should be enjoyed without worrying about self-monitoring your level of libation. Remember, drunk drivers are not cool and there are lots of Police Officers in Palm Desert looking to pull you over! Seriously, enjoy yourself with food and wine. You will be happy you did! While you are in the area be sure to check out the local Palm Desert and Palm Springs restaurants.
Picture Gallery from Food and Wine Festival – Palm Desert (full quality 14mb images available for sale email email@example.com)
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