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.

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