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Apr 28, 2012 03:58 PM

Food and wine fest

Thought I would post a review of the f&w fest so far in case anyone cares.

We splurged for the VIP pass. Not so thrilled with that decision at this point, but the jury is still out. We had to schlep downtown to the driskill to pick up our tickets. Absolutely no reasonable excuse for this. No gift bag provided, no celebrity chef to meet, just picking up our tickets the same as everyone else who got their's mailed to them.

Last night's event was underwhelming. It was pretty crowded, and there were few food providers there. The wine situation was so much worse. 6 choices of wine at a few bars, yet they are pouring tasting portions requiring you to get back in the long line to get more of the same. They only had two white wine choices and they ran out of white wine when the event was only half way through!

VIP reserved parking was just prepaid parking open to the general public. One parking pass for two tickets purchased, retail value of parking is $7. Not a bargain.

The events today were good. We heard some complaints from folks saying the av was screwed up at some of the events. Jonathon Waxman was awesome! Andrew Zimmern was also great. Tony mantuano seemed to not know where he was when he introduced his employee Sarah (loser on Top Chef) and said she was robbed. He evidently didn't watch the show this season either.

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  1. Eek. Yeah, that sounds like a bummer, man. Maybe if people voice enough similar experiences, F&W will get a clue. My whole opinion from the very beginning was that I really would love to go, but it was WAY too expensive. Surely they could charge a little less... if not, step up the game and make it worth the ridiculous price.

    1 Reply
    1. re: popvulture

      Also, s**t– you shelled out for the VIP; I wonder how crappy it must have been for the people who just opted for the $250 (!!!) hoi polloi price.

    2. I saw a lot of complaints from the $250/pass people who weren't even able to get in to see the demos they wanted, so I guess that's the real difference between the $850/pass and the $250. Both are potentially ripoffs, but the $850 at least gets you into what you want to see.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Mike B

        That's unbelievable. If I had $850 to blow on a really amazing dining experience, I could pay for a ticket to NY, go to Le Bernardin and still probably have a little change left over. Sounds a lot more fun than standing around under Austin's mid-day sun, waiting for little bites of food.

      2. Sorry to hear this. A bunch of us local wine folk broke off from this event years ago- for various reasons I won't go into here- but it had nothing to do with the quality of the event at the time. I am sad to see this going the way of so many similar festivals.

        Perhaps there are too many tickets sold? In the wine world, there have been many events of this type around the country that used to be very much worth the while, but have become so overrun with attendees- including a very high proportion of those more interested in socializing than really learning something- that I frequently hear the kinds of complaints you reference.

        1. I had to post an update since things got much better with last nights VIP event. There were waitresses everywhere roaming with wine, beer and cocktails. There were still long lines for the 9 or 10 food tents. And while they only had California white wine (blech), they had lots of beer choices and didn't appear to run out of anything. They also spiffed the park up a bit with more seating and made it more of a party atmosphere. The music was fabulous and everyone seemed to be having a great time. Much happier crowd then the night before.

          Today started out a little rough since the bun run had the street in front of the event shut down. So that "VIP reserved" parking was now pain in the butt prepaid parking. The event organizers should have told us about the problem and told us an easy solution for getting there.

          The event had a long line to get in with no VIP line. And once we got in and went to our first cooking demo, the event staff on hand didn't see to on know anything about the VIP passes or the VIP registration. It all worked out in the end and we had a great time today.

          We wouldn't splurge for VIP tix again given what we now know. But the first impressions were so awful and our expectations were so lowered that we wound up being pleasantly surprised any time things went off smoothly. I will say that the VIP lounge was very nicely appointed and once someone asked the staff hogging a table to move so that we could sit, we had a great time there as well.

          1 Reply
          1. re: BarkNFly

            Sounds like a rip in every way, but then neither do i drink $50/btl. "bargain" wines.

            Let me ask you this, what did you learn for your $850? Outstanding wines, food and accommodations must surely be presumed.

          2. i also had a vip ticket. i figured for my 40-10th birthday I'd splurge. my review. The festival needs some major work. We had a good time but i dont think it was worth the $850. and from what I heard from people with tthe $250 tickets,they were basically a waste of money. The grand tasting was good for the first 45 minutes until they let the weekender tickets in. then the tents got way to crowded. they need either more tents/demos etc or theyhave to cut way back on tickets sales. I would really have to think long and hard before I would attend next year

            friday nights VIP event was so so. the food wasnt all that special.