Barnaby Draper Studios
From its inception six years ago as a series of intimate gatherings with the country’s top chefs and winemakers, Pebble Beach Food & Wine has grown into a celebrity-studded epicurean affair drawing 7,000 visitors and more than 350 chefs and wineries. (It spawned a sister event, Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival, in 2011.) When the 2013 classic (April 4–7) takes over the coastal communities of Pebble Beach and Carmel-by-the-Sea, visitors can choose from scores of cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, dinners and interactive experiences. Event co-founders David Bernahl and Robert Weakley let us in on their can’t-miss favorites.
The Founders’ Dinner
Held each year on the eve of the classic, the Founders’ Dinner is the ultimate insider event: 24 guests at an undisclosed location enjoy a nine-course meal that highlights wines donated from participants’ private cellars. The selection is exceptional; past vintages have included a 1945 Château Mouton Rothschild and a $40,000 magnum of 1978 Henri Jayer Cros Parantoux. Bernahl says this year’s lineup features the first full vertical of Scarecrow, a Napa Valley Cabernet cult favorite that runs $500 per bottle. April 3; tickets, $2,000 (plus 1.5 ml of wine, with a total value of at least $5,000); pbfw.com/tickets.
Interactive Lunch with Anne Burrell
The interactive series at The Inn at Spanish Bay is new for 2013. Guests sweat it out onstage as they prep and cook a four-course meal under the direction of a celebrity chef host—in this case Anne Burrell, currently in her fourth season of co-hosting Food Network’s Worst Cooks in America. At the end, everyone sits down to the meal and (of course) plenty of wine. April 4; $200; pbfw.com/tickets.
Make a reservation at Restaurant 1833 in Monterey, a James Beard Award semifinalist for best new restaurant in 2012 that is co-owned by Bernahl and Weakley. The fresh American fare by chef Levi Mezick, such as the wood-oven-roasted truffle chicken, is a highlight, but stick around for top-notch industry watching. “All the chefs end up coming out here to see what Levi is up to and hang out by the fire pits,” Bernahl says. Their lengthy renovation of the centuries-old adobe home resulted in seven beautiful dining rooms, plus a library and an outdoor patio that are perfect for celebrity chef surveillance. 500 Hartnell St.; 831-643-1833; restaurant1833.com.
Carmel-by-the-Sea’s Ocean Avenue
Packed with charming parks, pubs, high-end art galleries and clothing stores, the concentrated main drag of Carmel-by-the-Sea attracts plenty of shoppers during the classic. Weakley recommends Robert Talbott (Ocean Ave. at Dolores St.; 831-624-6604; roberttalbott.com), a haberdashery established in 1958, for made-to-measure dress shirts and hand-stitched neckties. Fine-jewelry fans should head to Fourtané (Ocean Ave. at Lincoln St.; 831-624-4684; fourtane.com) for its vintage Rolex collection, which includes rare styles, such as an encased hunting wristwatch from the 1920s.