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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 had the longest lines, but hands down, the best dishes were by Meadowood's Chris Kostow (corn custard with popcorn and truffles) and NYC's Paul Liebrandt (uni ice cream with konbu gelee). But Nate Appleman took top honors in Dana Cowin's popularity contest. How did he win? His fine meatballs aside, he 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) 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 out possible locations? Tell us there aren't a few marquee Aspen hotels that would welcome a new Mina restaurant.

5) Despite all the hoopla surrounding the Best New Chefs and the Top Chefs, the old guard—Batali, Pepin, Flay, even Giada—remained the most popular attractions. Jose Andres was a crowd pleaser throughout, but Flay, once he arrived, commanded the longest lines.

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

7) 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?

8) Hey Nate, when's the meatball truck rolling out?

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