Eat, Drink and Be Pretty, a quintessential part of the Scottsdale Culinary Festival, and one we couldn't imagine flying in any other part of town, returned to the Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts last night. Known more for aesthetics than substance, the event still had a good amount to offer including musical performances, a fashion show, plenty of liquor, and quite possibly the most eclectic selection of food vendors we've seen so far.
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Compared to last year, last night's Eat, Drink and Be Pretty seemed to place more emphasis in the beauty portion of the evening. While the fashion show was to be expected (no designer this year, just selected items from Caché), we don't remember there being a booth for Pearl Medspa or a hair styling team from Toni & Guy -- and really, who gets their hair cut at a culinary festival? The ones who have been drinking, that's who.
In all fairness though, that wasn't hard to do given the fact that alcohol made up a good portion of the evening's offerings with wine, champagne, and cocktails often overshadowing the selection of Jamaba Juice smoothies, cheese and crackers, and über casual chain restaurants like Zoës Kitchen and Pita Jungle.
That's not to say that there weren't a few culinary exceptions. Davanti Enoteca stood out with its pork shoulder ragu and white corn polenta, followed later in the evening by a hazelnut gelato sandwiched between two almond cookies and sprinkled with chocolate chips and powdered sugar (a dessert so tasty we could care less about how attractive we were while we ate it).
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Another popular pick was Milagro Grill with its red chili braised oxtail and goat cheese espuma served on a poblano chili sope. Lagging behind but certainly not last, were Del Frisco's simple yet satisfying beef sliders, and the teeny tiny cubes of somewhat dry prime rib from Seven's Bistro.
Our sympathies go out to the restaurants that were stationed outside the Center for Performing Arts, where things were relatively slow compared to the action inside. Our suggestion-- move more of the event outside. It's still nice out, people aren't wearing that much clothing to begin with, and it will really keep claustrophobia to a minimum.