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Posted by on Apr 11, 2016 | 82 comments

2016 Palm Desert Food Festival

How do you like to eat your food? Grilled, boiled, poached, baked, seared, fried or steamed?

The gastronomic world is comprised of an innumerable amount of dishes.  Nevertheless, if you think about it, cooking and preparation techniques can be as exciting as the dishes themselves.

After all, a piece of meat is piece of meat until somebody cooks it in certain way and combines it with other ingredients.  We may be eating that piece of meat in the same fashion for many years until somebody else decides to apply a different cooking method and to pair it with a whole new range of ingredients.

You all know how much I enjoy attending food festivals.  And, yes, it is great to eat and drink to your heart’s content.

But, you actually get more than the food.  You get an entire experience.  For example, say you see a chef taking a raw ingredient, cooking it in a way you have never seen before and then serving it with other ingredients picked to enhance the flavor profile.

Once that plate is in your hands, you are eager to sink your teeth into that food.  You observed the entire preparation process and now, you are anxious to try the final product.

That is how I felt when I attended the Palm Desert Food & Wine presented by Agua Caliente Casino Resort & Spa this past weekend.  The food was delicious but some of the cooking techniques blew me away.  I am still thinking about some of the stuff I saw there.

In this post, I am going to share some of those techniques that I found interesting. Have you seen some of these before?

The chefs of JW Marriot Desert Springs Resort & Spa were preparing their beef cheeks in a wood steamer.  This technique gave the cheeks a super tender feeling.  This reminded me of the boxes (bigger, of course) used to prepare an entire pig in urban areas of Puerto Rico.  The pig is slowly cooked for an entire day to achieve a melt in your mouth texture.

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

JW Marriot Desert Springs Resort & Spa was also preparing liquid nitrogen ice cream on site.  They poured a vanilla or chocolate concoction into a bowl and mixed it with the nitrogen.  You got ice cream in a couple of seconds.

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

The folks from Big Green Egg were serving a variety of smoked meats and fruits.  I had the pineapple sprinkled with a spicy dust called Diva Caliente (I will let you translate that one).

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

The Green Egg is a domed-shaped clay cooking utensil (very high tech utensil).  This type of utensils had their origins during the Chinese Quin Dynasty and sometimes are known as kamado style cookers.  The design gives added flavor and juiciness to the food that is prepared inside.

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Also, the Green Eggs can be used as a grill.  This is how the chefs of Balisage Bistro were using them.  In addition, they had a block of Moroccan salt inside the grill.  They kept alternating the meat between the grill and the salt block until cooked.

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

The guys from Hepp’s Salt and Co. were demonstrating how to turn a simple summer salad into something out of the ordinary.  They added their flavored salts (sciracha, applewood, garlic, rosemary, etc.) to lettuce, tomato and crumbled cheese.

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Roy’s was serving grilled ribs (tons of ribs I should say).

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

bluEmber was serving seared ahi tuna (to die for!) and a variety of desserts.

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Every year, several festival participants present some sort of raw fish dish.  This year was not the exception and establishments such as El Jefe (The Saguaro) and Threesixty North Bar & Grill presented attendees raw tuna dishes.

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Essence presented a halibut and citrus Gohu Ikan (mandarin, grapefruit, mint and sciracha aioli).  For what I found, Gohu Ikan is a raw fish dish from Ternate, Indonesia.  I am assuming the dish is a reinterpretation of the chef since the ingredients do not resemble the typical way of doing it.

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

My favorite raw fish of the day was the Peruvian ceviche prepared by chef Ricardo Zarate.  He mentioned the secret of this type of ceviche is the sauce called Leche de Tigre (Tiger’s Milk).  The sauce is a mix of red onions, ginger, garlic, celery, rocoto (a Peruvian pepper), lime juice and sea bass.  So, the sauce is poured over raw fish but it contains raw fish itself.  It was delicious!

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Fleming’s presented their phenomenal oven baked potatoes (leeks, cheddar, jalapenos and cream).

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

The State Fare Bar + Kitchen (Ritz Carlton, Rancho Mirage) threw the house by the window.  They excel by presenting attendees about six different samples.

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

I was able to see how they were preparing some of their food in the back.  They focused a lot on fresh ingredients.

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

They prepared a goat cheese and date pizza in order to showcase local ingredients (the Coachella Valley is one of the biggest producers of dates in the United States).

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

They also had perfectly grilled sliders.

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Lots of people were fascinated by the watermelon mojito shots.

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Soups like this crab bisque made an appearance (from Wilma & Frieda’s)

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

The Purple Room served a chilled salad and a caramel / chocolate tart

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Here are other festival highlights:

Biscuits topped with chili from The Broken Yolk

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Shrimp tacos from Rubio’s

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

 

Sweet corn tomato and shredded pork from Rio Azul

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Green tea ice cream from Ice Cream & Shop(pe)

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Toffee and caramel popcorn from Brandini

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Pea panna cotta with Jamon iberico and edible flowers from WP Kitchen & Bar

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Chef Gale Gand

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Chef Suzanne Tracht

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Chef Engin Onural

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

More photos of the event:

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

What cooking techniques or preparation methods grabbed your attention from here? What other techniques have you observed in restaurants or festival?

Pin it for later?

Highlights of the 2016 Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, California

___


82 Comments

    • Good looking and delicious!

  1. oh my! I’m curious about the liquid nitrogen ice cream! Did it taste different than “normal” ice cream??
    You’re killing me with those festivals…we don’t have any in Greece!!
    Anna recently posted..Cookie Land, AthensMy Profile

    • It tasted like regular ice cream to me. It wasn’t as creamy as I like ice cream but it was definitely better than frozen yogurt.

      • good to know! By the way I believe that my wishes for a food festival in Athens are coming true! In May there are going to be 2 of them: one with burgers (which I don’t know if I’m going to attend) and a street food one!!
        Anna recently posted..Cookie Land, AthensMy Profile

  2. Just looking at the photos made me gain 10 pounds.

    😉

    It looks like a wonderful assortment of sights and tastes and smells! Thanks for linking up at mage-in-ing.blogspot.com/2016/04/the-many-faces-of-louie.html
    image-in-ing: weekly photo linky recently posted..The many faces of LouieMy Profile

    • If you gained 10 pound by looking, imagine how many I gained for trying everything that is in the photos. I guess the sacrifice paid off ;0)

    • It was really cool. I have never seen something like that before. They had the big thanks and everything in there.

  3. That all looks unbelievably good. Did you manage to sample them all?! I have to say I’m fascinated by the Green Eggs plus salt blocks. That looks like it would be an absolute winner but I’m not sure exactly how you’d go about cooking on/in it?! Either which way, looks like you had a brilliant day out.
    Rachel ¦¦ A Nesting Nomad recently posted..The sights of Istanbul Old TownMy Profile

    • Yes, I sampled everything I have presented in here. The food was delicious as always. You will use the Green Egg as a grill. You just need to move the food around. It will cook on the block on salt too since it gets hot from the grill.

  4. For me it’s still the grill which I prefer or braai or barbecue as you say in different parts of the world. Your pictures tell the story of a great festival which you surely left with a full tummy 🙂

    • I like grills too. We do a lot of “carne asada” parties with friends.

  5. This fascinating – so creative, I love seeing the ways people transform the ingredients. And it all sounds delicious! Thanks for joining up with #citytripping
    Cathy (MummyTravels) recently posted..City Tripping #22My Profile

    • I know. You fill kind of pumped up when you see people doing interesting things with vegetables. It inspires you to cook more often.

  6. Wow, looks like an awesome food festival. All the food looks delicious. Happy Wednesday, have a happy day!

    • Yes, it was an awesome food festival. Thanks for stopping by.

    • I want to explore more about Peruvian food too. I have it almost every week but I feel like I can learn more about it.

    • Hey Lauren, keep saying we have to go to an event together. Or, at least, have a foodie outing to try some great food around LA.

  7. I’ll definitely need to add this to my bucket list! I love this hotel and Palm Springs in general, so adding amazing food to the mix sounds right up my alley!

    • I love Palm Springs, Palm Desert and the other desert cities too. They offer a lot in terms of attractions and food.

  8. I’m so glad I had breakfast before reading this. Where do I sign up for green tea ice cream and watermelon mojito shots? 😀 (I really need to google the recipes for those, haha)
    Vlad recently posted..5 European Road Trips To Take This SummerMy Profile

    • I would like those recipes too. Some of the booths do offer recipes but it is not common. I think that is why they have the demonstration. Chefs give recipes on those.

  9. What an extravaganza of food. Heaven for foodies. Suddenly, I need a snack!

    • You said it right: food heaven! That is why I love these events.

    • Salt block is kind of popular around here. I have never seen a Moroccan salt block but I have seen the pink Himalayan ones. You have to try the ribs and shrimp tacos one day.

  10. There’s so much creativity here, such rich pairings of ingredients.
    I could use one of those watermelon mojito shots right now!
    Marcia recently posted..Portobello Road MarketMy Profile

    • That was a big hit! I was surprised at the creativity. It was kind of hot that day, so, that just felt good.

  11. We absolutely love food festivals! Looks like you had an incredible time! I am very intrigued by the pea panna cotta; it is so colorful. Also the ahi tuna looks incredible.

    • You would have loved the panna cotta. I was kind of hesitant to have it but it was really good. The Iberic ham added a really good punch. Pea is a spring vegetable so it is served a lot in these festivals. I liked the creative way to present it.

    • I know, we should go to a food festival together! Or, you can take me around some good restaurants in Europe. You are always trying awesome places!

    • A bigger serving will be great!

  12. OMG, how did you eat all of this?! Looks fantastic, and I would have had a hard time not eating everything in sight. I’ve tried Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream before. It really does send up quite a cloud when they’re making it. And the Big Green Egg is very popular in Central Texas among serious backyard BBQ folks. I’m intrigued by the salt block. Did it make the food salty? Getting to see the food prep would make me enjoy a food festival even more than just eating the samples.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted..Delectable Desserts at Remy onboard the Disney Dream CruiseMy Profile

    • I can see how the Green Egg is popular in Texas. I mentioned to some guys who are really serious about BBQ and they said it is their dream to have one one day. The salt block add flavor to the meat (it doesn’t make it necessarily salty).

  13. Wow – what an incredible food festival – and sooo much food! I am incredibly impressed at all the dishes you sampled. It’s really interesting to see all the different techniques used. Thanks for linking to #citytripping
    Elizabeth (Wander Mum) recently posted..City Tripping #22My Profile

    • I actually got full in an hour. Then, I slowed down by sitting at the food demonstrations. The thing is that they give samples there too ;0)

    • I would like to be able to do too. I once saw a ball that can be used to make ice cream in places like campsites. Sounds crazy but it works!

    • The good thing is that at festivals there is not an order in which you should have your food. If you want to have dessert first, then that is your choice.

    • You know, sometimes desserts steal the show. I have been to some festivals where the dessert have been the best of the entire event.

    • I googled the Noosa Festival and it looks pretty good. I want to experience an food festival in another country!

  14. All this food looks amazing, you are so lucky to have tried it all. I must admit your pic with the edible flowers caught my eye, until I read it pea panna cotta as peas are my least favourite food. Thank you for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard
    Lyn – A Hole in my Shoe recently posted..A memorable moment in ViennaMy Profile

    • Well Lyn, maybe you would have liked these peas. There are ingredients I do not necessarily like but then, when these awesome chefs prepared them, they are like heaven in my mouth.

  15. I don’t want to hear that this food festival was this past weekend. Please tell me that’s not true, Ruth. I just came back on Monday from Palm Desert. How could I miss it?
    Anda recently posted..Exploring Paso Robles Through My Taste BudsMy Profile

    • Yes, it was last week! Where do you went in Palm Desert?

  16. Such a lot of delicious food I’m glad I’m reading this after having had lunch or I’d be too hungry! Great round up of all the food available at this festival. I’d love to go to something like this. #wkendtravelinspiration
    Phoebe @ Lou Messugo recently posted..Nantes and its fabulous giant elephantMy Profile

    • You have to include a food festival on your list of things to do one day. They are really fun and the food is super good!

  17. I’m a festival girl through and through – this looks fantastic! Actually heading to a food/music fest today in Charleston and can’t wait!

    • Hope you blog about the festival because I want to take a look at some Southern goodness.

  18. We were there in October wish this festival had been on then.

    • There are tons of festivals that take place during the year. If you ever come back to the area, I amsure you can attend a festival.

    • I guess I get food tours and restaurants envy!

    • Great! Thanks so much!

  19. You always share the best foodie photos Ruth! That ahi tuna looked amazing and it’s always interesting to see different techniques and styles to cook food, it all looks so good! – Tasha

    • Thanks Tasha! There were days when I couldn’t even taste ahi tuna. I love it now!

  20. I am a huge Marriott fan so this would be right up my alley. Everything looks so delicious! Fun!

    • Thanks Melody! Looks like the Marriott has excellent food on their properties.

  21. Wow Ruth – another amazing food festival – I’m so envious! Love all your food pics. Think I gotta go and have something to eat now 🙂

    • Thanks Lyndall. Love to post food pics.

    • I hope there are some in France. I am assuming those will be really great.

    • I am not a fan of beef cheeks but this one was to die for.

    • Oh, yes, this is a well known, well consolidated event. There is a lot of good food and nice chef demonstrations.

  22. Hi Ruth,

    So many amazing dishes, I bet you had the time of your life in this festival (well I would too!). I can’t pick only one dish, everything looks amazing. From the ribs to the salads, so many unique flavors! Thank you for this great post!

    Zaria
    Psychic Nest recently posted..How to Survive Being an EmpathMy Profile

    • Hello, thanks for stopping by. Yes, I had great time. I can’t wait for the next festival.

  23. I love reading your posts, Ruth, because they always make my mouth water. You guys sure have a knack for finding all the foodie spots around. Do you have a secret you’d like to share?
    #TheWeeklyPostcard
    Linda recently posted..Panamanian Sancocho RecipeMy Profile

    • Linda, we feel like we have way more to discover when it comes to food. Out list of places to eat grows every day (thanks Instagram).

  24. OMG, how did you eat all of this?! Looks fantastic, and I would have had a hard time not eating everything in sight. I’ve tried Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream before. It really does send up quite a cloud when they’re making it. And the Big Green Egg is very popular in Central Texas among serious backyard BBQ folks.

  25. We absolutely love food festivals! Looks like you had an incredible time! I am very intrigued by the pea panna cotta; it is so colorful. Also the ahi tuna looks incredible.

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