SPG Experience – Dinner at Spago + Kitchen Tour with Wolfgang Puck
Whenever we see new experiences, we usually ask if it would make sense to make a trip out of it. We were therefore surprised to see a local experience for August: Dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago with a tour of the kitchen by the man himself. The great thing was that instead of being a typical auction where the highest bidder wins, you could just “buy” the experience with 75,000 Marriott points (25,000 SPG points.) SPG had the same experience on their site, but in auction style that went for a minimum of 40,000 SPG points (120,000 Marriott points.) Here is the description of the experience from the website.
- Dinner in the private dining room at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago in Beverly Hills
- Welcome reception with passed canapés and champagne (6:30pm – 7:30pm)
- Small group kitchen tour led by Chef Wolfang Puck
- Multi-course tasting menu with premium wine pairings
- Autographed cookbook by Wolfgang Puck
- Experience is for two people
We arrived at the restaurant right on time at 6:30 in our House Car from Waldorf Astoria. We went into the main restaurant and were quickly directed back outside and to the left where the first door was the Private part of the restaurant or aptly named “Prive.” We walked in to see a table of gift bags, and several guests already enjoying drinks. We made our way to the bar and had our choice of wine, champagne or cocktail. They also came around with various canapes: we noticed two different types of pizzas and an Arancini ball.
One of the hostesses that had called to confirm the event, checked us in. After enjoying a beverage and chatting with the bartender, the hostess asked us to join the group that was going to the kitchen. We followed the group into the kitchen where we saw Wolfgang Puck. He explained a few things about the kitchen and pasta, and then they took us around back to take pictures with him.
We then went back to the bar area and then were escorted to the dining room. The room was setup with 5 tables with 10 chairs each. To be honest, we didn’t really like this setup. We wished that they would have setup tables for couples. Obviously this would have taken up more room, but it would have allowed you to enjoy dinner with your guest and not feel like you have to socialize with others. We made the best of it and were able to share stories of traveling and hear about how the others had earned SPG or Marriott points for the experience. Before dinner was served, Wolfgang came out and talked for about 12 minutes describing how he came to the US, started Spago, and his subsequent Wolfgang Puck Empire. It was neat to hear this.
Before the first course was served, I (Bryan) went to use the restroom, and on the way ran into Wolfgang. I thanked him for the dinner and said I had a question for him. I asked him the question I learned from Tim Ferriss, “is there anything on the menu that almost no one orders that you think everyone should?” He immediately answered, “no. If we have a new item and it doesn’t do well, it’ll get removed very fast. But most items pickup slowly, then the waiters get more confident to sell it and it becomes a success.” So you can tell that if something new doesn’t work, he does something about it.
The first course was served and wine was offered as well. The tomato salad was delicious with just the right amount of salt. For the second course, the Agnolotti was nice with a sweet corn filling. I would have liked more salt or some Parmesan cheese to add some salinity. For the main course, I chose the Filet and Missy chose the cod. The Filet was cooked perfectly with a nice and earthy mushroom sauce to accompany it. Missy enjoyed her cod, but it was nothing to write home about. The Strawberry dessert had a tart strawberry sorbet but the crust was unusually dense. We had a bite of the chocolate chip cookie as we left which was a very good cookie.
Before leaving, we were given a gift bag with a signed copy of Wolfgang Puck’s book, Wolfgang Puck Makes It Healthy and back to our house car we went for our three minute trip back to Waldorf Astoria – Beverly Hills.
We both agree that we would rate this experience as a 6, on a scale of 1-10. We enjoyed the “idea” of having dinner at Spago and we enjoyed meeting and taking a picture with Wolfgang Puck. The drinks were nice as well. We did not like the fact that we had to eat at large tables, the pacing of the meal was extremely lengthy and the food felt just like elevated “event” food and not dishes that Wolfgang would be known for. Unfortunately it did not give us the desire to return to Spago to find out what else was there.
In the future, we will definitely be taking a closer look at what is included in the package, and how many packages are being offered. We do look forward to other Marriott events though in the future with our next one being Monster Jam at Staples Center.
You can enjoy Marriott Rewards experiences too! With one or more of the below credit cards, you could enjoy several experiences.
SPG Credit Card – Earn 75,000 points after $3,000 spend
SPG Business Credit Card – Earn 100,000 points after $5,000 spend
SPG Luxury Credit Card – Earn 100,000 points after $5,000 spend
Marriott Premiere Plus Credit Card – Earn 75,000 points after $3,000 spend
Marriott Premiere Business Credit Card – Earn 75,000 points after $3,000 spend
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