“Devoured Culinary Classic”
The web site is up.
Will this year's event, March13 and 14, 2010 equal the West of Western Culinary Festival that past posters have raved about?
It may be a bit of an apples-and-oranges comparison because the two events had/have different sponsors and emphases.
WoW was sponsored by Slow Food and like-minded organizations. There was a definite orientation toward Arizona-grown, organic, "artisan" products. Devoured is sponsored by Local First Arizona with an orientation toward locally-owned restaurants. Those philosophies overlap considerably, but not 100%. Some Devoured participants like Fez, Switch, and Maizie's might not have passed muster at WoW. For the record, I think those restaurants are perfectly good, but they don't pledge allegiance to the locavore flag and have quite the same foodie cred as previous WoW participants.
One other difference is that WoW, despite its Central Phoenix location, drew participation from a lot of Scottsdale restaurants. The roster for Devoured leans much more heavily toward Central Phoenix establishments. I don't know if this is due to a geographical preference or simply the reality that there have been a lot more high-profile closures in Scottsdale. Tapino, Sol y Sombra, and Mosaic were all at WoW last year and have since closed.
Regardless, I'm just glad to have an epicurean festival conveniently located at PAM and occuring at a time of year when the weather is almost always perfect.
Interesting. The line-up on Devoured page hosted on the Phx Art Museum (link 1 below) site differs considerably from that on the Devour Phoenix site (link 2 below).
In terms of chefs and the levels of cuisine represented, the line-up on the PAM site comes much closer to that of the WoW events than the line-up on the Devour Phoenix site.
I think that the second link points to a list of restaurants that are members of the Devour organization. The first link points to a list of restaurants particpating in the Devoured event.
One other detail: I inquired via Twitter and learned that Devoured will be a 21+ event. That's not clear from the PAM Web site.
I saw that the tickets for Devoured were in line with the old West of Western price, about $75 -- but that if you buy them *at* the Phx Art Museum, the price goes down to $57. The Ansel Adams exhibit opened last Sunday, so I may kill two birds and pick up our tickets soon. I would have gone last weekend to get my tickets, but they said that the participation had not been finalized from Saturday to Sunday -- that is, some chefs would be there both days, but some not, and they hadn't announced the lineups yet.
I am looking forward to this years' fest. Had not been so impressed by the wine tasting part of it when it was WoW, there was more quantity than quality, but it was nice to switch from food to wine then back again. I am hoping they slant more local, and I am also hoping that the 21+ change means you can eat and drink at the same time --!
I think the ability to eat and drink at the same time is probably the reason behind the shift to 21+. If children are allowed at the event, then wine has to be poured in a sort of segregated area. If the entire event is 21+, then that's no longer necessary. The 21+ factor makes my attendance less likely because weekend time with my daughters is precious, but I can understand why the decision was made. I just think the event planners need to publicize their decision better so that no one shows up with kids in tow on the day of the event.
Some reports from Devour's day one event today:
I'm really looking forward to tomorrow, which will include some favorite restaurants like FnB, Caffe Boa, and Crudo, chef demos from Payton Curry and James Porter, and I finally get a chance to try Sweet Republic's ice cream (they've mentioned one of the flavors will be white truffle!). I'm also glad that this year the wine booths are no longer inside so that you can enjoy a glass of vino as you eat.
I thought Day One was a fantastic success. During the day I could not have imagined doing it all over again the next day. This morning I am wishing I didn't have plans so I could go again today. The problems from the first WoW (running out of food, wine in a separate location) were solved. The food was great. Everyone was friendly. All in all just a wonderful day.
I agree, fantastic success.
Sunday was a beautiful day, lots of people, but never more than a few-minute wait at a booth (like the popular huge scallops at Different Pointe of View). Loved that the wine booths were outside with the food booths at this year's event.
Tasty highlights for me, in addition to some great AZ wine (especially nice to be able to try Sam Pillsbury’s new unreleased wines - loved the new Diva), were:
Red Stripe, Blue Mountain curried prawn - Breadfruit Jamaican Grill
Corn dogs with Schreiner’s cheese-stuffed dogs and red wine mustard – District Kitchen
Ahi, yellowtail, and butterfish w/lemon vinaigrette and avocado – Crudo Cafe (I've been once for their opening dinner menu, and need to get back)
Day-boat scallops, peppadew puree, and English pea risotto – Different Pointe of View
Beef with red quinoa & pineapple salad, machaca with fry bread – Kai
Lamb chop with herb spaetzle, and tomato panna cotta – Talavera
Meatball and fennel salad – FnB
Walu tataki – Hana Japanese Eatery (so friendly too, must make first visit soon!)
Crispy shrimp tostada – Ticoz
Brussels sprouts salad - Chelsea's Kitchen
A trio: guacamole, cochinita pibil, and pollo en mole negro - Barrio Café
Salmon pate bruschetta with caviar, and Barely Buzzed (a favorite espresso/lavender-washed rind cheese from Beehive Co.) - Cheuvront
Gnocchi in cream sauce, and speck with burrata - Cibo
Vegetarian “buffalo wings” (really good!) - Green
Chile rojo – Maizie’s Cafe
Bruschetta: Salami and pesto, mascarpone and fig, prosciutto - Postino
District’s red velvet whoopie pie
FnB’s butterscotch pudding
Sweet Republic’s white truffle ice cream
Kai’s Ding Dongs and lemon/lavender push-up
Talavera’s grilled banana and chocolate sandwiches on brioche
Arcadia Farms’ Key lime tart
Cowboy Ciao’s Frosted Flake ice cream with malted oatmeal cookie
Udder Delights served a dessert they had featured at “Chef du Moo” the night before, a terrine called “Rockin Beets”. Two types of beets – yellow (with mango), and red (with raspberry) - layered with white chocolate. It was sprinkled with Pop Rocks and Casey poured a bit of port over it as he handed it to me. Unique and delicious.
Even with all those, I missed a few, including rillettes at Caffe Boa (but did get to try some roast pork after Payton did his pig butchering class). I attended one seminar on a grape varietal called Muller-Thurgau though, unfortunately, Sokolov canceled his seminar. AZinesandWines and I thought we were smart heading over to Payton Curry's cooking demo 15 minutes early, but it was already packed, standing room only. As to be expected with one of my favorite local chefs!
Jess Harter's pics from day two of Devour: