The back lot of Universal Studios was turned from the actor's playground into the diner's playground on September 16, 2006 as the 24th annual American Wine and Food Festival was held.
The Puck-Lazaroff Charitable foundation, started by Wolfgang Puck and Barbara Lazaroff in 1982, was raising money to benefit the Los Angeles Meals On Wheels Programs. Coming off last year's event that raised $1.1 million, these years looked to be even better, as the event hosted over 2,200 guests that were able to choose from over 40 celebrated chefs and 70 fine wine and spirit purveyors. The only problem for the guests was how to find room for all of the amazing food.
The smoke filled the air as you approached the back lot, and the aroma put your senses in a frenzy, which made you just want to stop for a moment to take it all in. But then as you looked around, you had to decide where to dive in and begin.
The most fabulous part of the event is having restaurants from all over the country, so if you are traveling you may already know where to stop. I found Locke-Ober, a great restaurant out of Boston that made an amazing fried lobster and a lamb chop that dissolved in your mouth as soon as it touched your tongue.
If you were a wine conasseur, that alone would make this event worth your time as there were over 70 wine and spirit purveyors. A few of the wines that were truly memorable came from the Groth Vineyards and Winery as well as the Bonny Doon Vineyard.
This event gave you a great chance to get to know a number of wines you may have never tried or even heard of. As a bonus Baileys was introducing two new flavors; caramel and mint chocolate.
Robert Del Grande
Altamura, Arcadian, Artesa Winery, Au Bon Climat, Beckman Vineyards, Beringer Vineyards, Bernardus Winery, Bonny Doon Vineyard, B.R. Cohn, Chandon Sparkling Wine, Chateau St. Jean, Cobblestone Vineyards, Domaine Drouhin Oregon, Dierberg Family of Wines, Dr. Loosen, Dreyfus Ashby & Co., Etude Wines, Ferrari-Carano Vineyards & Winery, Frank Family Vineyards, Greenpoint (Australia), Groth Vineyards and Winery, Hanzell Vineyards, Hendry, Hendry Wine Group, Hitching Post Wines, Iron Horse Vineyards, Jordan Vineyard & Winery, J. Jacaman Wines, Justin Winery, Kalin Cellars, Kunde Winery, Kunin Wines, Laeticia Vineyards & Winery, Lancaster Estate, Larochette Manciat, Malibu Family Wines, Marques de Grinion (Spain), Melville Winery, Meyer Family Cellars, Minor Family Winery, Moet Hennessy, Morgan Winery, Newton Vineyard, Orin Swift, Peju Province, Premium Port Wines, Qupe Wine Cellars, Ramey Wine Cellars, Renwood Winery, Rosenthal-The Malibu Estate, Siduri Wines, Silver Oak Cellars & Twoney Cellars, Summerland Winery, Ste. Michele Wine Estates, Strange Wines, Regusci, Talley Vineyards, Ten Mile, The Grateful Palate, Topanga Vineyards, Torres (Spain), Truchard, Tutu, Veuve Clicquot Champagne, Vin Divino, Westerly Vineyards, and Zaca Mesa Vinery & Vineyards.
Participating Spirit Purveyors:
10 Cane Rum, Belvedere Vodka, Campari, Cinzano, Glenmorangie Single Malt Scotch, Johnnie Walker Scotch, Patron Tequila, Pallini Limoncello, and Bailey's Irish Cream.
Visa Signature, American Airlines, Electrolux, Mansour Travel Company, Veuve Clicquot, Riedel, Wolfgang Puck Catering, EvenasHardy+Young, Bentley Beverly Hills, Bentley Pasadena, Belvedere Vodka, Nestle Waters, 10 Cane Rum, ITS Transportation,Southern California Gas Company, Southern Wine and Spirits of California, Oneida, Chandon, Patron Tequila, Tsar Nicoulai Caviar, Lighten Up Inc., Los Angeles Magazine, Glen Morangie, Peet's Coffee & Tea, Furi Knives, La Brea Bakery, Urban Tartufi, Academia Barilla, The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills, K-Mozart 105.1 FM, Clear Channel Outdoor, Pallini Limoncello, Moet Hennessey, Sin Vino, and Barilla.
Photos by Lawrence Davis