SEPT. 28-29: Wolfgang Puck's American Food & Wine Festival is probably the biggest of the year, the granddaddy of them all. Held at the Universal Studios backlot, some of the most widely recognized chefs in the country show up, all at Wolfgang's beck and call, to schmooze with those who love them. Nancy Silverton will be there (but no Mario?), plus Gino Angelini, Tom Colicchio, David Burke, Stephan Pyles, Drew Nieporent, Nobu Matsuhisa, Todd English, Michael Mina, Mark Peel, Paul Prudhomme, and many many more. The main event is on Saturday, Sept. 29. $300 per person and worth every penny. On Friday, Sept. 28, Wolfgang throws "Red Hot Friday" at his new Red Seven at the Pacific Design Center, a booze and beef fest. Chefs from Craftsteak, CUT, Katana, Lawry’s The Prime Rib, SW Steakhouse from the Wynn Las Vegas, and this Shake Shack place from New York we keep hearing so much about. Tickets are $150 per person. Proceeds go to Meals on Wheels.
Our advice: (1) Get your tickets now and start training. With so much food and wines at every pass, it's all about pacing. (2) Get a driver. See #1. (3) Don't miss Jasper White's fried clams at the Summer Shack table; you'll be sorry if you do. We also recommend finding Paul Bartolotta, who's Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare at the Wynn is one of our top three in Vegas. (4) Start the diet on Sunday, Sept. 30.
SEPT. 23: Slow Food Nation, a celebration of sustainability, ecogastronomy, and conviviality, will take place in San Francisco in May. To help raise money for the three-day event, Chez Panisse founder Alice Waters will join Mark Peel to host a dinner at Campanile. Tickets are $250, but $1,000 will get you into the cocktail reception and $25,000 will buy you a seat at Waters' table. Call 323.938.1447 for reservations.