Wow, some people attending the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen have a lot of money. One woman paid $37,000 so she and her daughter could be Bobby Flay's sous chefs for 20 minutes during the Sunday morning cookoff. The money went to charity, but still...
I thought the cookoff pretty much closed the Classic, but no, the big tasting tent opened, and there I heard of the pool party at the Sky hotel, and of another party at the Eagles club.
So I went.
But first I coincidentally ran into Greg Graber, who went to East High School in Denver with me and also happened to live in Bangkok when I did. Now he's a buyer of non-performing mortgages and spends his time mostly between Denver and Los Angeles.
At the pool party I drank margaritas, got better acquainted with San Francisco mixologist Duggan McDonnel and caught up with chef E. Michael Reidt. I also chatted with young Justin Amick, whom I had met the night before -- or was it the night before that? -- at the 212 House. He's the son of Atlanta restaurateur Bob Amick, and plans to join him in the business.
The 212 and pool parties were similar in that they were the sort of parties held behind the second velvet rope of trendy clubs. You have to get past one rope just to get in -- that would be going to the Food & Wine Classic in the first place -- but then you have to be cool enough to get past the second rope to go to the best parties. It's elitist, but fun if you're part of the in crowd.
I didn't get to go to the much less exclusive publisher's dinner atop Ajax mountain two nights before, so I had duck confit lettuce wraps and carne asada tacos at Blue Maize with Erica Duecy, her friend Gibson, whom she met on a press trip to Italy, and his wife Heather.
Anyway, the pool party drew to a close shortly after Steve Olson and his entire crew ended up in the pool. The distributor of a high-end collection of mezcals also jumped in the pool -- he was the only one to do so bare naked.
So from there I wandered over to the Eagles club, where chef Todd Downs had invited me.
There I hung out with a very friendly group of local cooks and assorted others and munched on top-notch beef and lamb chops while drinking punch and wine.
We moved inside as stragglers from other parties showed up. I rehydrated on water, which seemed to annoy the bartender, and then wandered home.
Speaking of water, the water company that was one of the sponsors of the Classic estimates that it gave away 70,000 bottles of the stuff over the weekend.