Sprawled in the sand, along the shores of the Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort, watching stand-up paddleboarders, families enjoying the summer sun and kayakers, food, wine and spirits lovers were treated to an afternoon of indulging.
It was the first event like this that I have attended in Orange County. I’m venturing out of my “food comfort zone” and going north. Orange County can be a bit intimidating to outsiders, and this was a perfect way to learn about their food scene and meet and talk with local chefs.
Upon entering we were given a Govino wine glass. This latest and greatest of outdoor wine glasses is plastic, yet a hard plastic (for us wine snobs who don’t like to drink wine out of a soft plastic cup). The plastic doesn’t change the taste of a wine and for events like this, if you drop it, no big deal. Nothing breaks, you just wash it off and continue to enjoy your next glass of wine.
The first stall to greet us upon entering was the Absolute Elyx stall. I tried the “Orange you Glad” cocktail and fully enjoyed their booth. They must have a set designer for this. The air flowed through from the ocean. For me, it just set the tone of the event.
Wandering from booth to booth I’m not sure if I enjoyed the food presentation as much than the food. These creatives are artists, not just chefs. They appreciate the beauty of a plate. The relationship of color and lines and angles to the food itself.
Everyone laughed hysterically watching the people in the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines booth dancing with headsets on. No noise- to the outsiders, but plenty of music to the dancers! It’s a great new concept in the music/discotheque world!
The VIP area is definitely worth the cost upgrade from General Admission. You get in an hour earlier than the general admission attendees, you get the cooking stage, additional foods and wines and the Infinity Lounge area to explore with Patron Tequila, a dozen more restaurants, bakeries and waterfront seating to enjoy the sun.
The cooking stage in the VIP section had a full schedule of celebrity chefs demonstrating how to make summer foods from the bounty of their gardens and mixologists creating different artisanal summer drinks with fresh ingredients.
One of my favorite booths was the Patron Handcrafted cocktails. Bright chartreuse with umbrellas and Adirondack chairs. They featured Patron infused popsicles and Chunk ‘n Chip Patron infused ice cream sandwiches.
A definite highlight of the days was a table of meringues. What? Yep, meringues filled with different chocolates, jellies or infused with a flavor.
The last stop was for a bit of Sparkling wine. This tasting tent was extremely classy and calm. A perfect last stop for the day.
I hope that I get to attend in 2018 also. Keep up to date on details at http://www.pacificwineandfood.com/