We saw and learned a lot that was new and impressive at the recent IMEX America convention in Las Vegas. When it came to food and beverage offerings, there was one clear stand out: the salad presentation at the swank party The Venetian and The Palazzo held at an airport hangar.

If you think there’s no fresh way to make greens exciting, take a look at the photos above. Micro greens were planted in “soil” made of pumpernickel crumbs and guests were invited to pick the herbs, lettuces and mini veggies they wanted. Even in Vegas, where spectacle reigns, this new interpretation of the salad bar drew oohs and aahs. It was an innovative twist on “farm to table,” and one that California meeting planners might want to adapt to take advantage of the beautiful local produce in our home state.

On the other side of the hangar, was another novel food station. A sushi chef carved sashimi right from the belly of a giant tuna. We’d call that “fish to fork,” were it not for the fact that, of course, one eats raw fish with chopsticks. Maybe “sea to sticks”? 

When Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows was tapped to host its first World Cup ski event since 1969, the fear was that there wouldn’t be enough snow to sustain the icy, rock-hard course required for top-circuit ski racing by the governing International Ski Federation (FIS). 

Instead, after four years of drought, the major challenges turned out to be too much snow, as in about 50 feet—a near record—by the time the Audi FIS World Cup competition rolled around on March 9-12. 

 

I’ve been spending a lot of time experimenting with sea salt lately. Grilling fish with Meyer-lemon infused salt, adding a pinch of rosemary salt to pinto beans, making a vinaigrette with a smoked sea salt, sprinkling fruit or popcorn with dashes of this or that. A few weeks ago I took the Sea Salt Workshop at the Terranea Resort in Palos Verdes. Held the first Saturday of every month, at a cost of $70 per person, the workshops are led by the resort’s chefs.

 

Corks pop in celebration of the popular music festival that almost wasn’t.