Monday, July 13, 2015

Food & Wine Extravaganza!

This might be my longest post ever. We went to the Park City Food & Wine Festival this weekend and it was a ton of fun, not the event itself ... but being with Boyfriend.
First, I want to write a short review of the event itself and why we felt it was lackluster. Then, I will catalog everything that happened when we there.

Park City Food and Wine Festival 2015

Last year the event was hosted at the Canyons. The setting was wide open, there were vendors spread out across the field and an assortment of food options. This year it was at Deer Valley.

Despite how much I love to complain,
I will not complain about the view up there.
To start, this instantly put us at a disadvantage. The rooms at the Canyons seemed pricey last year at ~$200, this year it wasn't even an option to stay on location since the rooms started at $300 (THESE ARE THEIR SUMMER PRICES). So, instead of staying on location, which was extremely convenient last year, we had to find a hotel downtown and ride the bus up to the Montage.

The event itself was cramped and poorly organized. The staff was not very helpful and the organizers had split up the vendors, so that half of them were up on the veranda and the other half were down on the grand lawn. The vendors themselves we nice, but the food was much more limited. Instead of having additional food from Park City, the hosts brought in more of their own. There was the Deer Valley Montage kitchen and the Montage kitchens from their locations in South Carolina and California. It is the Park City Food and Wine festival ... not the Montage food festival.

Because it was so out of the way and so spread out during the event, this year palls in comparison to last year's event. I wish I could say better things about it, since we HAVE been looking forward to it all year but, sadly, we were both incredibly underwhelmed.

Now, I want to move on to telling you about the good things that actually happened to us while we were there, or maybe not even good things. Just ... things.

Getting There

Like I said, getting to the festival this year already presented us with a challenge. This becomes even more difficult if you do not prepare in advance.

Transit Center!
We thought it would be fairly simple to ride the bus from our hotel to the main transit center and hook up with the Deer Valley connection, which we did. Unfortunately, the Deer Valley connection was the wrong bus for Montage Deer Valley. So, we rode all the way up and then back to the main transit center so that we could hop on the Empire line to Montage Deer Valley. I don't know if that is a check against them ... or us.

The Main Event: The Toast of Park City

After we checked in to the event and got our wristbands, we headed out to the veranda and were a little surprised to see only about five wine vendors and Whole Foods as the food vendor (even though the hummus they were serving was delicious). We were frustrated and grumpy when we saw the event was split and we had to wait in another huge line to get to the bigger part of the event.

We look so nice! I spilled coffee on
Boyfriend's other shirt ... so
we bought this really nice one! Win-win!
Here is the part I don't understand-- they had everything blocked off. We weren't allowed to use the stairs and we were all being herded into one elevator, even though there were another five available. Event staff was everywhere and we had to dump our wine out before heading into one of the hallways, and we still couldn't get on our own elevator or head down the stairs. Is it snotty to say that if I'm paying $175+ per ticket, I expect a little bit more? Better organization! Better service! Let me hold my wine while I wait in line!

Lastly, I would like to complain that the event, which went from 2:30 to 6, had last call at 5:50 and I'm certain they stopped pouring before then thus not grasping the concept of last call ...

Getting Fed

The majority of the vendors were fairly accommodating. More than that actually, they were great and friendly, even if for them that meant when they took the bison out of the bison taco they were really just handing me an itty-bitty two-inch tortilla,  with a smile!

Except ... for this one guy and his crew. They were making barbecued pork sandwiches with pickled onions on chibatta buns. When I inched up and requested a vegetarian one, he looked at me dismayed, exasperated and just flat-out confused before yelling, "It's PORK?!?! You just want some onions???" I nodded and said, "Yeah! Just onions." He rolled his eyes and about 15 seconds later a girl brought me a pickled onion sandwich.

Honestly, the most annoying part of this whole exchange was how funny Boyfriend thought it was. For the next hour he would randomly reenact the scene and yell out, "It's PORK!" then start laughing.

Wrapping Up

Laying in the shade. That lady in the picture
yelled at me for wearing white to a
wine tasting.
After an hour or so, we were ... um ... tired. We needed a rest. So, I found us some shade, which happened to be directly behind the High West Distillery tent, to take a nap in. I didn't notice that every single person ordering a drink from High West had to look at me sprawled out behind the tent...until some very friendly gentleman started laughing, took a picture, gave us a thumbs up and left. 

By the time last call came around, I think we were ready. I felt good. Not too full and not really that drunk. I think the "not too drunk" is the one good thing about there being less vendors. I was able to pace myself, take that small napping break and feel OK. 

Getting Home ... 

Getting home was the best and worst part of the evening. We took the bus up to Deer Valley, as their website advised. Somehow there was a disconnect ... the buses stopped running at 4 p.m., meaning no bus would be coming to take us back down the mountain. Additionally, we lacked cell phone service so we couldn't call anybody.

Displaying IMG_1002.JPG
Driver John! So nice! Such a great
driver too!
Displaying IMG_1004.JPG
Our friends! Whose names I do not know. They
were also very nice. I would hitchhike with them
10 times out of 10!
So, what did we do? We started walking and stuck our thumbs out along the way. Actually, Boyfriend did since I'm not a huge fan of interacting with strangers. We'd been walking about ten minutes and our group had grown by two, we started talking to two girls who faced our same dilemma, when finally I stuck out my thumb. I was sick of every single car (with only one person in it!!!) passing us by. 

I don't want to sound vain, which is hard because I am, but the first time I stuck my thumb out a guy stopped. It was great. Like magic. Probably coincidence ... but I'm going to take the credit anyway. 

The guy who picked us up was really nice. He had just finished trail running and was actually just in town for work. I've never hitchhiked before, but ... since it was a great experience I'll probably look into this as a more regular form of transportation.

As soon as we got back to the hotel, we went to bed. It was only 6:30, so we woke up at 12:30 and now our sleeping schedules are incredibly off-kilter.

I'm not sure if we will go to the festival again if it is at Deer Valley next year. Though they have other events that I would like to check out instead of the Toast of Park City. Maybe we will do a stroll or something. 
I ran into a door during our
"be wide awake at midnight" adventure
because I refused to turn on the lights.

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