If you're willing to spend a long day on the road and splurge for a food-and-slosh fest, then the second-annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine gathering held April 16-19 merits the effort. Consider: 250 wineries. 50+ major chefs. Tastings. Demos. Meals. Names on the roster that are near and dear to Angelenos' hearts include Cimarusti, Citrin, Mina, Myers, Richard, Silverton, and Yard. Plus the likes of Keller, Pasternack, Ripert, Des Jardins, and Pepin may ring a bell. We're already exhausted and jealous just thinking about it. But minor warning: this event in the amazing Monterey/Carmel region might require some tolerance of golf and stuff more often associated with retirement communities, suburbia and the like.
Alternately, the Santa Barbara Vintners' Festival doesn't appear to be as off the hook in terms of variety and sheer food quality, but it's a lot closer, cheaper, and will help scratch the wine and food itch. Plus the scenery ain't fugly either. The main celebration happens on Sunday, April 18 at Lompoc's River Park from 1 to 4 pm. Over 100 wineries participate, and you can also buy a Vintners' Visa, which is a four-day pass that gets you into special tastings and privileges as twelve locations around SB County.