A Well Done Rarities Dinner: Highlands Inn, Park Hyatt, Carmel, CA

Coming to you straight from the Twenty-First Annual Masters of Food & Wine Event being held at the historic Highlands Inn, Park Hyatt in Carmel, which has been voted one of the top hotels in North America by both Condé Nast Traveler and Travel & Leisure.

Ok, so I do get to stay in a lovely townhouse suite with one of the most gorgeous sunset ocean views I ever saw outside of a Merchant Ivory film. And yes, I did attend the Opening Night Festivities for this four-day extravaganza –– a fantastic reception featuring 50 wineries and more than a dozen world- renowned chefs whipping up their signature dishes right before your eyes.

But, was it too much to ask for just one measly press ticket to the Rarities Dinner tonight? It’s being held at the “Villa Della Cova,” which is a dead ringer for a Tuscan Villa. A team of culinary stars will be preparing the eight-course dinner, headed up by Rick Tramonto (Tru Restaurant, Chicago.) The food will be paired with 21 incredible wine selections of rare vintage wines, many acquired from collectors and wine estates. When I read that the dessert wine was a 1959 Chateau d Y’Quem, I went up to the organizers and asked again, if there wasn’t just one little space that might have opened up?

” No,” I was informed, “The dinner sold out long ago, and unfortunately there are none of the $5,000.00 tickets left!