That sound you hear is foodies and winos everywhere in SoCal breaking open their piggy banks as tickets for the 26th American Wine and Food Festival (which benefits Meals on Wheels) go on sale today.* It’s the ultimate in food festivals. At $300 a pop, the golden ticket gains you access to the Universal Studios back lot where, for five hours, you can sample an array of fine foods and wines from some of the best restaurants and wineries around.
Celebrity chefs — Nobu Matsuhisa of Matsuhisa & Ubon, Julian Serrano of Picasso, Lee Hefter of Spago Beverly Hills, Nancy Silverton and Matt Molina of Mozza, and Mark Peel of Campanille to name a few — will be on hand to worship. That’s right, you’ll get to meet all those people behind all those delicious dishes that made you weep at your favorite restaurants.
I was lucky enough to go to last year’s event. Unfortunately, I went by myself, meaning I didn’t have a designated driver so couldn’t partake of the Patron tequila bar, Belvedere vodka bar and the many tables of wine. But even then it was quite an experience, a foodie’s wonderland. My favorite was the dessert lounge sponsored by Moet & Chandon. With the circus performers there and the bubble machine, I felt like Charlie in the chocolate factory.
If you do go, I have some suggestions:
- Girls, forget the heels. In case this event is still held in the area with the cobbled stone streets as it was last year (no telling from last month’s fire), flats are a good idea. Wine and cobblestone and heels equal disaster.
- Leave the Spanx at home; baggy clothes good. You will be eating for five hours after all.
- Go with a friend. No one likes to drink or eat alone. (Drop me a line if you do go, maybe we can meet up.)
- Bring a designated driver or take the Metro.
EVENT: SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 from 6 to 11pm
If $300 is a little out of your budget, there’s always the festival’s Friday night event, Red Hot @ Red Seven which kicks off the AWFF festivities on September 26 from 7-11pm and is set at Wolfgang Puck’s WeHo restaurant, Red Seven. Enjoy wine and cocktails; tasty morsels of beef from the likes of Cut, Lawry’s and sidebar; and music under the stars. Tickets for this event are $150 a person with parking included.
- The AWFF site will be updated today for online ticket sales.