Desert Dine: Palm Desert Food & Wine Fest

Cat Cora and a host of gourmet honchos'll demo, chat at the springtime festivity.

Palm Desert Food and Wine Festival

WHEN A DALLIANCE IN THE DESERT... is in the cards, one only keeps a couple of very important questions in one's heart. Am I staying near a pool? How many steps is it from where I wake up to the pool? Are there shaded loungers surrounding the pool, with tables nearby where I may place refreshing beverages? And what are the daily hours of the pool? These are, of course, essential queries for any desert trip, but after we sort out swimming pool-based decisions, the next one that comes up is incredibly important, too: the cuisine. Dining out in a desert environment isn't all salads and iced teas (though, of course, both can figure largely). There is, in fact, quite the gourmet component, a component that shows its savory self especially strongly each spring when the Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival returns. It doesn't return on its own, however; a brigade of "the brightest and most inspired chefs" come on board to demo away the warm spring days and meet fans who want to know more about certain recipes or cooking styles. The dates for the 2016 extravaganza are on the books -- Friday, April 8 through Sunday, April 10 -- and...

...TICKETS ARE NOW ON SALE: That means if you want to join the four-courser that opens the weekend-long party -- it's called the James Beard Gourmet Luncheon, and it is on April 8 -- that you can now land upon a ticket. There are also two full days of Grand Tastings, a chance to sip several dozen (think 60 or so) wines and bubblies, and time enough to stroll by over 40 tasting booths. As for the famous toques signed on for the 2016 to-do? SoCal-based stalwart Cat Cora, pastry wiz Gale Gand, Suzanne Tracht of the beloved Jar restaurant, and more makers of fine foods'll be at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa. There's no way for us to know, as of this typing, where the swimming pool will be at wherever you stay, and what the pool hours are, and how many steps there are from your door to the water's edge, but that will be revealed in time, we're sure. For now, though, you can get to know the schedule at the Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, and maybe move on those tickets, too.

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