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A Gourmand's Paradise by the Sea

The Ritz in Half Moon Bay hosts a weekend of unparralleled culinary delight


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You could go to Paris for the weekend. Or you could head to the Inside the Kitchen food and wine extravaganza at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay. You might have more fun, learn more, and eat and drink just as extravagantly if you choose the Ritz. And you won’t have to contend with jet lag.

This annual event just might be the ultimate destination for food fanatics. It includes a Food Network–style preparation of the opening night dinner, intimate daytime cooking and wine classes, a Saturday night dinner featuring such wines as a 1985 Château Lafite Rothschild and Château d’Yquem Sauternes, and a field trip to farms producing local delicacies.

Right. To heck with the City of Light.

Inside the Kitchen weekend at the

Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay

When: October 27-29

Whet Your Appetite: A duo of pistachio-crusted foie gras and a traditional foie gras terrine had everyone squealing with delight at last year’s feast. Prepared by top chef Hubert Keller of Fleur de Lys, it was served with a pillowy, pull-apart mini brioche and a 2003 Clos Uroulat from France’s Jurançon, chosen by star sommelier Shelley Lindgren of A16 in San Francisco. The golden wine was syrupy and spicy, with
just enough acidity to make its way through the foie gras. The combination of flavors
was like a perfect, many-voiced chord—
a heavenly harmony.

Overheard: "This is food pornography," said Michael Green, wine and spirits consultant for Gourmet magazine, at the opening night dinner.

Celebrity Sightings: This year’s event brings an all-star lineup of food celebrities, including such Las Vegas–based master chefs as Bradley Ogden of Bradley Ogden at Caesars Palace, and Julian Serrano of Picasso at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino. San Francisco will be well represented by Elizabeth Falkner of Citizen Cake, Gerald Hirigoyen of Piperade and Bocadillos, Roland Passot of La Folie and Left Bank, Laurent Manrique of Aqua, and Fleur de Lys’s Keller for a second year.

Thrills: You will find yourself in a nonstop flurry of cooking and wine tips, which are like bites of butter-poached lobster to food fiends. One such tip: buy a microplane, a woodworking tool that’s now used in the kitchen for grating. Your citrus rind won’t be bitter, and you won’t grate the skin off your knuckles.

Frills: The Ritz is nothing but frills: rooms with patio fireplaces, an oceanfront whirlpool, an elegant spa, breathtaking views, ocean-side tennis courts.

Service: Five years ago when the Ritz opened, service was a big problem. But it’s come a long way since then. Today, the Ritz has a bigger cast of characters than Disneyland—and they’re all popping out of their skins to help you, not only during special events but throughout the year.

Hot Tip: Pace yourself when eating and drinking. You certainly don’t want to get maxed out just as your venison loin appears, especially since you still have the cheese course, pre-dessert, dessert, and petit four yet to come.

Insider Advice: If you have to choose between a wine class and a session on afternoon tea, hit the wines. Always.

Rates: $3,550 to $4,050 and up for double occupancy, depending on how many nights you stay, which dinners and classes you attend, and whether you choose a room with an ocean view.

Contact: Reserve now to make sure you get a spot. Call (650) 712-7040 or visit www.ritzcarlton.com/hmb.

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