Movable Feast

The Whist restaurant at the Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica, Calif., launched a creative food-and-wine pairing series that invites more social mingling than traditional seated dinners. Between courses participants in the monthly series circulate through a variety of spaces—a candlelit poolside, a chandeliered lounge, a cozy standing room, for example. “We wanted to mix things up,” says Thomas Rekasis, who, as the property’s food and beverage manager, designed the program to allow guests to interact with each other in a social atmosphere. Opus One winery kicked off the series in late January, with a winery representative discussing the diverse differences between the 2005, 2004, 2003, and 2000 vintages, in both group and one-on-one conversations. Whist executive chef Taite Pearson designed the French-inspired menu to highlight the flavors of each vintage, using fresh produce from the local farmers’ market that he purchased that day, as well as such dishes as lamb (prepared five ways), flavors from the sea, and fresh chartcuterie. Dinners are limited to 50 guests and take place the last Wednesday of each month. The cost is $125 per person, and the schedule of Napa wineries hosting the dinners through June are Quintessa, Stag’s Leap, Beckstoffer, Silver Oak, and Joseph Phelps Insignia. (

 —Jessica Taylor

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