CRAVE Arizona is Perfectly Balanced Gluttony
|Four Seasons dished up a tasty gourmet version of short ribs and mac n' cheese.|
There was an unbelievable amount of wine, beer and spirits flowing at CRAVE -- perhaps two or three liquor booths for every one restaurant -- but the food remained the star. Local culinary powerhouses including James Porter (Petite Maison), Gio Osso (Estate House) and Mel Mecinas (Four Seasons Resort) whipped out fun palate pleasers that you won't necessarily find on their restaurant menus.
|We dug Ahnala's spicy ceviche, but the carved watermelons were even more impressive.|
Short ribs were popular. Foie gras made several appearances. And ceviche was so plentiful -- in varieties from Cafe Carumba's salsa-like shrimp blend to Ahnala's chunky Ecuadorian version -- that guests were left wondering if there was some sort of epicurean mind-meld prior to the event.
Chef Matt Carter had his hands full with neighboring booths for both The Mission and Zinc Bistro. Carter's salmon, served in a brothy tomato sauce with a dash of candied almond-bacon log grated on top, was a crowd favorite, as was James Porter's marrow. In fact, the latter was so popular that we caught Porter enjoying a sample of Sweet Republic's sorbet after his Petite Maison booth ran out of food halfway through the event. (He wasn't the only chef at Sweet Republic's vintage orange truck, either.)
Though we adore Stephanie, there were two CRAVE events which eclipsed even her magnetic personality: a ceviche (yes, there it is again!) demo from Jon Shook and Vinnie Dotolo of Animal in Los Angeles and a "Battle of the Sexes" blind wine tasting battle of men vs. women, hosted by Peter Kasperski. "In this event, I'm neutral," he quipped. "I'm like Jesus. I love everybody." Enough said.
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