Maite Gomez-Rejón's ArtBites Heads Into the Desert for a Vegetarian Cooking Retreat

A scene from last year's Jeffersonian Feast at the Met in New York City

Cary ConoverA scene from last year's Jeffersonian Feast at the Met in New York City

From offal to potted preparations to in-house butchering to fabricated cuts, meat has been at the forefront of many recent food world trends. Anyone who has spent a few hours grazing at one of L.A.'s popular gastropubs can attest to this. In our case, the breaking point coincided with a Waterloo & City appetizer of escargots sauced in butter, wine, garlic, and herbs -- and accompanied by a sandwich stuffed to the hilt with shredded short rib meat. It had that stoned-at-the-bistro appeal, but matched with a charcuterie plate and a pork chop, it led us to briefly contemplate hanging up our steak knives and permanently going the way of Lord Byron, Elvis Costello, and Lisa Simpson: famous vegetarians all.

At Maite Gomez-Rejón's February 18-20 ArtBites retreat at the Hacienda Hot Springs Inn, even dedicated carnivores can get a break from the fleshy onslaught -- and explore the history of vegetarianism through the Middle Ages, Italian Renaissance, 17th and 18th century England, and finally, contemporary California.

With William Dailey's collection of rare vegetarian cookbooks as a guide, and the Inn's gardens, lagoon, and baths as a backdrop, participants will cook, eat, learn, and languish in equal measure. Check the itinerary here, or contact to register. The cost ($595 per person for a double occupancy; $795 per person for a single occupancy) covers lodging, breakfast, ingredients, and cooking instruction meals.