Pebble Beach Food & Wine 2013 pitted West Coast vs. East Coast chefs in a two-dinner Battle of the Coasts, featuring five chefs from each coast cooking on back-to-back nights at The Lodge at Pebble Beach’s Stillwater Bar & Grill. On April 5, East Coast started proceedings. On April 6, it was the West Coast’s chance to impress with an illustrious roster that included Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn), Thomas McNaughton (Flour + Water, Salumeria + Central Kitchen), Nancy Oakes (Boulevard + Prospect), Tyler Florence and pastry chef Lincoln Carson (Michael Mina Restaurant Group). Gary Obligacion, Director of Service Operations for Alinea, was once again a gracious M.C. People who attended both dinners (like me, thanks to my hosts at PBFW) got to informally choose a winner. While both dinners had plenty of positives, I ultimately preferred the West Coast meal.
Tyler Florence’s standout hors d’oeuvres consisted of Sweet Pea Deviled Eggs, crispy Iberico ham, mint, truffle salt.
COURSE #1: Dominique Crenn – Uni, Licorice, White Chocolate, Yuzu. The confident chef said, “Who was at the dinner last night? I’m sorry…You’re going to learn a lot tonight.” The pairing: Grieve Family Winery Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley 2011
COURSE #2: Thomas McNaughton – Black Cioppino. He was inspired by San Francisco and delivered a classic shellfish broth with swordfish, mussels, puffed rice, preserved radish, sliced radish, and black color from dried black Mexican chiles. The pairing: Clendenen Family Chardonnay, “Le Bon Climat,” Santa Maria 2008
COURSE #3: Nancy Oakes – Roasted King Quail with barberries, pinenuts, saba gumdrops and cabbage rolls with “duck liver.” Wink. The pairing: Sandhi Pinot Noir, “Sanford & Benedict,” Santa Rita. Hills 2011
COURSE #4: Tyler Florence – Roasted Beef Bone, short rib crust, dry aged cap, hedgehogs, asparagus, sea bean, fiddlehead ferns, fennel, garlic flavors, crispy shallots. Florence channeled the “spirit of the beef bone” with a “foresty effect.” My tablemate said, “This lends a whole new definition of having a bone to pick with you.” The pairing: Master Sommelier Larry Stone presented Quintessa, Rutherford 2006.
COURSE #5: Lincoln Carson – Red Velvet Cake, rooibos, strawberry, hibiscus. The pairing: Taylor Floodgate, Vintage Porto 2003, a rare vintage port.
Lincoln Carson provided two different mignardises to close the meal.