Chow Bella

Pics from West of Western

So did you make it down to West of Western over the weekend?

This year it was held at the Phoenix Art Museum, which turned out to be a great venue for a culinary fest. The wine tables were set up in the Great Hall (I loved the Wend-Tyler 2003 Ruby Cabernet, the Hawkes cab, and Green River rice wine), while restaurants set up their tents out in the courtyard, which was transformed into a sort of grand boulevard of food.

Thanks to gorgeous weather, Saturday turned out the be the better people-watching day, but on Sunday, when things cooled off somewhat, there were more restaurants to choose from -- and I ran into a bunch of different friends. Thank god the rain didn't amount to more than a few drops.

Talavera served up savory tarts on a pretty display stand, which made it easy to go back for seconds.

Chef Mark Tarbell -- who won the apple challenge on Iron Chef -- served up petite candied apples.

Tons of people lined up for the killer lamb chops from Javinos. The smoke coming off of that grill smelled soooo delicious.

Kai gets my unofficial award for best display. Their table had an army of chefs behind a spread that included cedar-planked salmon, black bean hummus with crisp sheets of lavosh, and great mini cheesecake cones (made with Purple Haze goat cheese!) dipped in crushed pistachios.

Here's Hell's Kitchen alumnus Brad Miller at the Boulders Resort table. Good thing he was plating food because otherwise he might've been mobbed for autographs.

Festival director Scott Andrews rocked his Persol shades on Saturday afternoon.

Sonorous got their groove on with Hillary and Obama.

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Michele Laudig
Contact: Michele Laudig