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Hangover Observations: Aspen 2009

Another year of Aspen has come and gone. Before we turn the page on the '09 edition, here are some final thoughts on the weekend that was:

1) The quick breakdown from the Best New Chefs dinner: LA's Animal guys and their pork belly sliders had the longest lines, but the best dishes were by Paul Liebrandt (uni ice cream) and Christopher Kostow (corn custard with popcorn and truffles). But SF's Nate Appleman took top honors in Dana Cowin's popularity contest. How did he win? His fine meatballs aside, he wisely played a little card called Kogi.

2) Yes, David Chang was cooking there too.

3) And we'd be remiss if we didn't note that Liebrandt got stuck serving in the basement. The rather quiet basement.

4) [Elite chef that will remain nameless], did you ever convince that girl to come be a hostess at your restaurant?

5) Outside of the festival bubble, the place to be throughout the festival was surely the Little Nell, and we don't say that just because they hosted us. Mr. Leventhal astutely noted the starry lineup inside for Saturday lunch. And the same time, we just happened to be on the patio, so we'll tack on the following outside: Giada, Nancy Silverton, the Baltz and several Best New Chefs, among others.

6) Who knew there were B&T folks in Aspen? And who thought they'd be brawling outside Brexi on Saturday night? And really, who fights in Aspen?

7) One big name who flew under the radar but was certainly on the ground was Michael Mina. Odds are that he was probably just treating himself to a weekend break. But what if—what. if.—he was there scouting on possible locations? Tell us there aren't a few marquee Aspen hotels that would welcome a new Mina restaurant.

8) More sights from the weekend are above, including chef vehicles, your requisite Gail Simmons photo and some delightful doodles from Jose Andres and Top Chef winners.
· All Coverage From the 2009 Food & Wine Classic in Aspen [~E~]

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