For some reason The Taste always falls on the hottest most humid day in Los Angeles, you would think that the organizers would get smart and change the dates to more fall like conditions. No, you have to endure the blazing heat, and sweaty 2 days to imbibe on Los Angeles bounty. I must say I was a real trooper; the first day I brought a water sprayer, and cool clothes. It’s so hot it’s almost impossible to drink any alcohol for the 11:00 am – 3:00 PM session. Any liquor combined with the food, heat, sun and stifling humidity and you would basically pass out before noon. Instead I drank 10 bottles of Icelandic Glacier water, and only had a sip of beer at the end.
The food was spectacular, all great restaurants pulling out their best dishes for this 3-day feast. There is also lots of panel and cooking demonstrations that are enough to keep you very occupied in-between grazing. They did have a cooling tent which was quite pleasant, and cooled down the mind, body and spirit for a little bit of a time.
Saturday’s event hosted by Parsons (Times Food Editor & Columnist) and Cimarusti (Chef/Owner of Connie & Ted’s, Providence) kicked off Saturday’s events with Field to Fork, a tribute to the joys of cooking and eating seasonal dishes. Lots of great demonstrations and panels including a dynamic panel discussion on “Fish or Famine; Sustainability & the Seafood on Your Plate.” In between bites from locavore favorites like Farmshop and Canelé, and sips of wine stolen during the session’s two tasting seminars. The cooking demos were led by Alma’s rockstar Chef Ari Taymor, Chef Ray Garcia from Fig, and LA’s pastry queen Sherry Yard (Helm’s Bakery), each one offered up some very educational ways of new cooking.
Field to Fork – Participating Restaurants:
Lotería Grill, Momed, Tender Greens, The Blvd at Beverly Wilshire Hotel, a/k/a An American Bistro, Bagatelle, Bistro 45, Canelé, Chipotle, City Tavern, CravOn Fries, Fancifull Fine Foods, Farmshop, Fred 62, Good Girl Dinette, Hamasaku, Hudson House, le comptoir, LYFE Kitchen, Mayura, Melissa’s Produce Company, Michael’s on Naples, Mr. Chow, Muddy Leek, Pasta Mia, Pinches Tacos, Pizza Antica, Rivabella, Santa Monica Seafood, STK, Sun Cafe Organic, Sweets for the Soul, The Cake Mamas, The Curious Palate, and The Tripel.
These are the ones that stood out for me:
Saturday Day Food:
Michael’s on Naples – Zucchini flowers with honey, Fred 62 – Fritos with shredded meat, Szechwan Pork Ribs – do not know the name of the restaurant, Mr. Chow – Vegetables with chicken, Hamasaku – Scallops, and Rivabella – Pasta Roll.
In the evening Flavors of LA did its thing with Jonathan Gold (Times Restaurant Critic) and Sang Yoon’s (Chef/Owner of Lukshon, Father’s Office) celebration of Southern California’s culinary melting pot with the sold-out event. An epicurean crowd turned out to savor global eats, from Yoon’s lip-numbing dandan noodles at the popular Lukshon booth, which he demoed that evening, to Chichén Itzá’s grilled shrimp with creamy habanero sauce. There were demos by: demos Brooke Williamson (Hudson House/The Tripel), Bryant Ng (Spice Table), Josef Centeno (Baco Mercat/Bar Ama), and a mixology demo with Robin Chopra (Corazon y Miel). The Gold-moderated panel “The Power of Pop-ups” with Gary Menes (Le Comptoir), Craig Thornton (Wolvesmouth) and Nguyen Tran (Starry Kitchen) rounded out the evening with insights into how the phenomenon has changed the LA dining scene.
Flavors of LA – Participating Restaurants:
9021PHO, Lotería Grill, RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen, Sushi Roku, THE Blvd at Beverly Wilshire Hotel, The Counter, Allumette, Ayara Thai, Bagatelle, Bibigo, BLVD 16, Border Grill, Bulgarini Gelato, Chakra Indian Cuisine, Chichén Itzá Restaurant, Chipotle, Crème Caramel LA, DOMA, Estérel Restaurant at Sofitel Hotel, Fluff Ice, Fred 62, GOTTSUI, Inn of the Seventh Ray, JINYA Ramen Bar, Juan’s Restaurante, le comptoir, Lukshon, Meals by Genet, Mohawk Bend, NineThirty at W Hotel, Pasta Mia, Pinches Tacos, Santa Monica Seafood, State Social House, STK, Superba Snackbar, Tsujita L.A. Artisan Noodle Annex, The Cake Mamas, The Grilled Cheese Truck, Waterloo & City, and Wood & Vine.
These were the ones that stood out for me:
Saturday Night Food:
Chakra – Chicken Curry, Rock Shrimp – Cashew Shrimp, Inn of 7th Ray – Sea Urchin, and GOTTSUI – Japanese Pizza.
The Sunday sessions launched into full swing with the family-friendly Labor Day Block Party hosted by Carter (Times Test Kitchen Director) and Silverton (Chef/Owner of Osteria Mozza, Pizzeria Mozza). The crowds cooled off with honeydew “fluff” from Monterey Park’s Fluff Ice and freshly shucked oysters from L&E Oyster Bar, and put on their culinary thinking caps during demos led by Silverton, Fred Eric (D’Elish, Fred 62) and Evan Kleiman (KCRW’s Good Food), who showcased her pie prowess with a soulful cherry tomato pastry. Soul was also found in Carter’s “Going Whole Hog” competition barbecue panel with Ryan Chester (The Rub Co.), Sylvia Curry (Lady of Q) and Neil Strawder (Bigmista’s Barbecue). With face-painting fun for the kids and Times Columnist Steve Lopez’s Firehouse Cook-off crowning Cruz Macias from LAFD Station 87 in Granada Hills the king of the cooking brigade, the day was filled with tastes for everyone in LA’s dining family.
Labor Day Block Party – Participating Restaurants:
BOA Steakhouse, A ROCKin ICE, Bagatelle, Brite Spot, Chichén Itzá Restaurant, Coni’Seafood, Dog Haus, Fluff Ice, Fred 62, Freddy Smalls: Bar + Kitchen, Got Kosher?, Haven Gastropub, Horse Thief BBQ, JINYA Ramen Bar, Juan’s Restaurante, Kobawoo House, L&E Oyster Bar, Manhattan Beach Creamery, Melissa’s Produce Company, Pasta Mia, Pizzeria il Fico, Rosa Mexicano, Rosebud Cakes, Santa Monica Seafood, STK, The Cake Mamas, Uncle Lau’s Island BBQ, and Waffles de Liege.
There were the ones that stood out for me:
Sunday Day Food:
BOA – Filet Mignon stuffed with Lobster, Horse Thief BBQ – BBQ Brisket, L&E – Oysters, JINYA – Ramen, Pizzeria il Fico – Lasagna, and Dog Haus – Hot Dog.
On Sunday evening, Hallock (Times Deputy Food Editor) and Gelt (Times Food & Night Life Writer) teamed up with Biancaniello for a final toast to LA’s thriving culinary scene with a celebration of the shared inspirations inside LA’s best bars and kitchens. In addition to plates and tastes from popular restaurants like Chi Lin, Cliff’s Edge and Jitlada, the Cocktail Confidential event brought together the city’s most dynamic chef and bartender duos, including John Sedlar and Julian Cox (Rivera), Octavio Becerra (Acabàr) and Josh Goldman (Soigné Group/ Acabàr), Kuniko Yagi and Brandyn Tepper (Hinoki & the Bird), and Michael Voltaggio and Gabriella Mlynarczyk (ink.), who engaged the thirsty throngs with cooking and mixology demonstrations showcasing the fusion of haute cuisine and craft cocktails. Biancaniello furthered the conversation with a demo featuring his bartending contemporaries Serena Herrick (Allumette), Christiaan Rollich (Lucques/A.O.C./Tavern) and Brady Weise (1886).
Cocktail Confidential – Participating:
9021PHO, Jitlada, The Counter, A ROCKin ICE, Aventine Trattoria, Bagatelle, Buenos Aires Grill, Bulgarini Gelato, Chi Lin, Cliff’s Edge, Coni’Seafood, FEED Body & Soul, Fred 62, Juan’s Restaurante, Mexikosher, Pace, Pasta Mia, Rosebud Cakes, Santa Monica Seafood, STK, supperclub The Restaurant, Takami Sushi and Robbata, The Cake Mamas, The Corner Door, The Glendon, The Park Restaurant, Uncle Lau’s Island BBQ, Worldwide Tacos, and Zengo.
One’s that stood out for me:
Sunday Nite Food:
Jitlada – Spicy noodles, Chin Lin – Kale mushrooms sauté, Buenos Aires Grill – Empanada’s, 9021PHO – Rice with Meat, and The Counter – turkey burgers, regular burgers with Hawaiian bread.
Each night had different cocktails; beer and wine.
Here are some of my favorites wineries that attended:
Stag’s Leap, Wente Family Vineyards, Robert Mondavi Private Reserve, Ferrari-Carano, Bernadus Winery, Acacia Vineyards, Canoe Ridge Vineyards, Herzog Wine Cellars, and Francis Ford Coppola Winery. My drug of choice was Chardonnay by these various wineries.
Los Angeles Times THE TASTE is produced in association with Best Events and event sponsors include Cadillac, Don Julio, Sysco, Icelandic Glacial, Stella Artois and Svedka. THE TASTE is a proud supporter of the LA Times Family Fund Summer Camp Campaign and the Cal Poly Pomona Collins College of Hospitality Management. For a taste of what the thousands of people who passed through the Paramount lot enjoyed during this year’s THE TASTE, check out the Daily Dish’s Weekend Eats slideshow. Additional images are available upon request. To stay up to date on LA Times events, connect with them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at LATimesEvents.
What a fine array of food and drink, in all of its glory, this is the grand dam of events in Los Angeles as far as I am concerned. Come one, come all, come hungry, you won’t want to miss this food extravaganza ever.
(Note some content was taken right off of The LA Taste website.)
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