Weekend Planner: AC Food & Wine Festival

Admit it. You have Food Network and The Cooking Channel marked as favorites on the DVR. You have a minor (OK, major) crush on Bobby Flay. And you are fairly certain that heaven involves something baked by Paula Deen. You, my friend, have a date this weekend with the 2010 Atlantic City Food & Wine Festival.

Taking over the seaside city July 29 through August 1, the annual spectacle makes gluttony glam. Events, dinners and demonstrations will take over Caesars Atlantic City, Harrah’s Resort, Bally’s and Showboat, all to benefit the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation.

Simply stroll the boardwalk to get a glimpse of the big names in town, thanks to title sponsor Food Network. Guy Fieri, Sandra Lee, Anne Burrell, Ted Allen, Alex Guarnaschelli and more will be on hand to share the secrets of culinary enlightenment. Local names will also be in attendance, including chefs Georges Perrier, Daniel Stern and Chris Scarduzio.

The list of events is long, but as Philadelphians, I think attendance at Fieri’s Cheesesteak Battle on Friday is a must. The Maker’s Mark Whiskey & Cigar Gala, Conde Nast Travelers Taste the World: Grapes & Global Tapas and the Wine Down Art Show also have been marked on my calendar. Dayside, take a break from the beach with a cooking class or seminar on mixology. And visitors should certainly make time for The Grand Market: aisle after aisle of food, wine, beer, and liquor booths offering up their best samples. Grab a napkin and just try to pace yourself.

For a full list of events, tickets and information on hotel deals, visit www.acfoodandwine.com.