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A Taste of the American Wine and Food Festival

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On Saturday October 3rd, celebrated chefs and vintners/spirit-makers from all over the nation gathered on the backlot of Universal Studios here in Los Angeles to showcase their best bites and sips as part of the popular 27th annual American Wine and Food Festival (AWFF), hosted by Wolfgang Puck and Barbara Lazaroff. The event is a big draw for food and wine lovers of all calibers, and offers an astonishing quantity of quality eats and drinks for the ticket price; although the pricetag is hefty ($300 advance, $350 at the door), the event is not merely a showcase for food and wine, but rather a wildly successful fundraiser for Meals on Wheels.

Spanning five hours and what seemed like branch after branch of cobblestone European-styled film exterior sets, the AWFF was a memorable night complicated for our purposes only by the eternal struggle of balancing plates of food, cups of cocktails, the details of the dishes, a camera, and the setting sun all while standing on two feet and roving from station to station with decreasing room in our stomachs. While some of the chefs and restaurants opted to stick to the concept of presenting guests with a small bite that showcased their signature flavors, others created either full plates or offered multiple dishes, which made for tricky consumption, faster filling-up, and more waste than necessary.