The Scottsdale Culinary Festival's Eat, Drink, and Be Pretty fête is arguably more about seeing and being seen than it is about eating -- Be Pretty, Drink, and Eat might be a more apropos name. It's the sort of event that doesn't favor any foods too messy or cumbersome; if you can't eat it without smearing your lipstick, you probably won't find it at the party. But while the food wasn't of the no-holds-barred sort you'll see at, say, the festival's Burger Battle, neither did it disappoint.
The event, held at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, included food from more than 20 area restaurants. One standout came from seafood concept Little Cleo's. Called "Bacon and Eggs," it consisted of a quail egg and a bite of sturgeon served on a baguette with a dab of creme fraiche. We admired the dish's diverse flavors and textures and were particularly impressed by the sturgeon, which was smoked and cured like bacon. Maybe more people should treat fish like pigs.
Another pleaser - Milagro Grill's bacon-wrapped asparagus, sirloin steak, and cotija cheese on a crunchy yet pillowy potato croquette. What's not to like? As a fellow partygoer remarked, "You had me at bacon."
Other participants included Ra Sushi Bar & Restaurant, Cowboy Ciao, Fogo de Chão, Malee's Thai Bistro, Cuttlefish, and The Capital Grille. While they noshed and mingled, guests watched a live fashion show, featuring styles from Caché and Tommy Bahama.
Speaking of Tommy Bahama, the retailer's restaurant was also in attendance, serving up a pretty tasty Ahi Tuna Taco. The wasabi-lime infused avocado had a nice kick, and the crunchy wonton was better than any crispy taco shell we can remember eating.
All in all, we'd call this year's event an unqualified success (even if we'd personally put a little more emphasis on the eating and a little less on the being pretty). Guests at the well-attended soirée got to snack, sip, and strut their stuff, making the party everything it promised to be.