L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade 2016

L.A. Loves Alex's Lemonade 2016

L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade 2016, the 7th annual fundraiser for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, an organization that raises money for childhood cancer research, took place last weekend on Royce Quad at UCLA, and once again did gangbusters. I’ll let the blurb on the top of the event website speak for itself:

Over 2,000 people attended our 2016 L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade event which brought in superstar chefs and mixologists from across the country to Los Angeles to lend their support and fight childhood cancer. This event on September 10, 2016 raised over $1 million. Our live and silent auctions brought in $440,000 alone. Late-night host, Jimmy Kimmel and several chefs pulled together two spontaneous dinners that went for a total of $110,000. The Kids’ Campaign raised $23,000 through their lemonade stands, bake sales and other creative fundraising activities throughout the year.

The event is known for bringing in top talent from across the country, but my favorite bites this year happened to all be from Los Angeles area chefs and restaurants. This year, some chefs teamed up to present a single dish, like Jeremy Fox (Rustic Canyon) and Bryant Ng (Cassia), or Josiah Citrin (Melisse) and Michael Cimarusti (Providence), and their dishes were among my favorites:


My wife’s favorite dish of the event was another chef collaboration, between Ben Ford (Ford Filling Station) and Neal Fraser (Redbird), among other highlights:


The event held a nice, low-key after party across from Royce Quad for the chefs, crew, staff, and volunteers. Roy Choi’s Kogi truck and Maple Block Meat Co. provided the food, while the drinks continued to flow. Cocktails were courtesy of Christiaan Rollich of the Lucques Group, who also made a delicious drink during the main event called the Rule Breaker.


In a sea of food events, this one probably ranks highest for me, and this year I was able to bring my wife and older daughter thanks to a handful of tickets that Table8 obtained by being a sponsor of the event and generously gave out to its members (those who were fast enough to grab them before they were all gone). As always, children 12 and under got into L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade free, so we were able to bring my younger daughter and a few of her friends, for a great time supporting a great cause!

For more of my food shots from L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade, check out my hashtag #offalolemonade2016 on Instagram! Already looking forward to next year!

16. September 2016 by The Offalo
Categories: Events and Festivals | 1 comment

Best Bites of LA Times The Taste 2016

LA Times The Taste 2016

Los Angeles Times‘ annual multi-day food festival The Taste took place over Labor Day weekend this year (and I think every year).  Last year I attended four events, two on Saturday and two on Sunday.  This year, I was able to add the Friday night Opening Night event to my repertoire.


Highlights from Opening Night included chef Dakota Weiss’s one-two punch of Estrella and Sweetfin Poke, Horse Thief’s pork belly (which was my wife’s favorite), and a surprise vegan hit from Little Pine.  Oh, and the venerable and magical dessert from Manhattan Beach Post, The Elvis!


Highlights from Saturday’s Field to Fork came from Manhattan House and Restauration, and chef Esdras Ochoa of Mexicali, Salazar, and Califas Tacos, did a cooking demonstration, making carne en su jugo.  It looked great, but unfortunately, the audience didn’t get to try it.


Dinner with a Twist had some of my favorite bites of the entire weekend, with Terrine and Chaya Downtown showing strong work, but the most talked about dish was a mashup between Guisados and Badmaash that was super delicious, and, yes, super spicy!


The Taste’s Sunday Block Party may have had the highest number of dishes that I really liked, including ones from The Cannibal, L & E Oyster Bar, Little Beast, Bulgarini Gelato, and Chichen Itza.


The final event of Taste LA, Flavors of LA definitely delivered, with great bites from Oh Man! Ramen, Taco Maria, and Mexikosher.


(For at least four times more Instagam posts from the event than what I included above, go to #offalotastela2016!)

People have asked me which of these mega-events I prefer, The Taste or LAFW, and I tell them that the events are very different.  LAFW definitely aims more high end, with the red carpet down Grand Ave and the large banners of the chefs at each booth, while The Taste is a little more intimate, a little more “street” (and not just because it’s in the “New York” backlot set at Paramount), and definitely more “LA” than LAFW.  Case in point, The Taste had at least 10 different taco dishes by various chefs and restaurants, while I can’t recall LAFW having any (there probably was and I just forgotten).  Both are worth going to if you can afford it.  If you want the chance to mingle with Jonathan Gold, though, you have to go to The Taste…

07. September 2016 by The Offalo
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Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival 2016

Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival is one of two multi-day festivals at the end of the summer–the other is Los Angeles Times The Taste (see my September 2016 food event round-up post for more info on that event).  It is literally a red-carpet event, with Grand Avenue blocked off between 1st and 2nd Streets and decked out in crimson.  The three night-time events take place there, with the Walt Disney Concert Hall looming overhead, culminating in Live on Grand with a concert performance, this year by De La Soul!  I was invited to attend three of the events, Eat the World on Thursday night, Lexus Grand Tasting during the day on Saturday, and then Live on Grand.

Highlights from Eat the World include Patina Catering’s scallops w/fresh-shaved truffles, Chi SPACCA’s salumi, and The Blanchard’s foie gras cromesquis:


Highlights from the Lexus Grand Tasting included Tacklebox’s michelada shrimp ceviche, The Bellwether’s avocado gazpacho, and Chaya Downtown’s uni ice cream monaka:


Highlights from Live on Grand included watching a taping of POPSUGAR segment and watching chefs compete in an eating contest at the Barrel and Ashes booth:


Okay, the food highlights included Hamasaku’s ankimo and fish sashimi, chef Jason Dady’s frito pie, and chef Tyler Florence’s shrimp and grits:


Believe it or not, the above 9 dishes was less than a quarter of the dishes I posted to Instagram, and I had a few more beyond that too!  To see more, check out hashtag #offalolafw2016 on Instagram!

30. August 2016 by The Offalo
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September 2016 Food Events and Festivals

September kicks off with a huge multi-day event over Labor Day weekend, then follows up with an intimate yet world-class fundraiser, another event benefiting culinary education and programs, and in the midst of it all is a series of guest chef dinners across different locations of one of the most popular gastropubs in town.

September 2-4, 2016 – Los Angeles Times The Taste:  This marquee food festival is divided up into 5 separate events starting on Friday night, and then a daytime and an evening event each on Saturday and Sunday.  I went last year (my reviews:  Saturday, Sunday) and had a spectacular time at the Paramount backlots!


For Opening Night, the entire Times Food staff will be your hosts, with food by Badmaash, Estrella, Love & Salt, Manhattan Beach Post, Scratch|Bar, and more!  The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) and Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) will have a #TasteJapan booth that will feature Ramen Tatsunoya’s koku tonkotsu ramen at the event.

Saturday’s Field to Fork is hosted by Food editor Amy Scattergood and Providence/Connie & Ted’s chef/owner Michael Cimarusti, with food by Coni’Seafood, Eagle Rock Public House, Maple Block Meat Co., Restauration, Slapfish, and more!  The #TasteJapan booth will feature ediBOL’s miso peanut ramen.  Cooking demonstrations by Cimarusti, Esdras Ochoa (Mexicali/Salazar), and more, as well as panels and discussions, will take place throughout the event.

Saturday night’s Dinner with a Twist is hosted by Food deputy editor Jenn Harris, restaurant critic Jonathan Gold, and B.S. Taqueria/Broken Spanish chef/owner Ray Garcia and mixologist Michael Lay.  The Bellwether, El Coraloense, Hanjip, Kali, Leona, Terrine, and more, will bring the food.  #TasteJapan will feature Ramen Tentenyu’s chicken-based tori paitan ramen.  Garcia and Lay will be doing a cooking and mixology demonstration, as will Kris Morningstar and Ryan Wainwright of Terrine, and other demos and panels will be available!

The Sunday Block Party is hosted by Times test kitchen director Noelle Carter and Border Grill’s Mary Sue Milliken, with food by Bulgarini Gelato, Chichen Itza, Hinoki and the Bird, Spring, The Cannibal, and more!  Cooking demonstrations by Milliken, Duff Goldman (Charm City Cakes), and other demos and panels will take place during the event.

Sunday evening’s Flavors of LA will be hosted by Jonathan Gold and Night+Market chef/owner Kris Yenbamroong, with food by Baroo,  Jitlada, Kato, Simbal, Taco Maria, WOLF, and more!  Cooking demonstrations by Yenbamroong, Kwang Uh (Baroo), Nyesha Arrington (Leona), Michael Voltaggio (.ink), and a panel on Filipino cooking with Gold, Alvin Cailan (Eggslut/Unit 120/Amboy), Charles Olalia (Ricebar), and Gary Menes (Le Comptoir), as well as other demos and talks, will be available!

For all of the above events events, which generally cost $100 for daytime events and $125 for evening events, you have three options to purchase tickets:  General Admission, LA Times Subscribers ($25 discount), and Citi Cardmembers (special benefits).  All events are currently available, though most did sell out during the week leading up to last year’s event.

* * *

September 10, 2016 – LA Loves Alex’s Lemonade:  While not a multi-day affair like LA Food & Wine or The Taste, this “little” fundraiser packs a wallop, with amazing chefs from across the country gathering at UCLA to raise money to fight childhood cancer, including Chris Bianco (Pizzeria Bianco), April Bloomfield (Spotted Pig), Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn), Giada De Laurentiis (Giada), Aaron Sanchez (Johnny Sanchez), Jonathan Waxman (Barbuto), and there’s even more chefs from out of town coming!

That’s not even counting the local talent, like Josiah Citrin (Melisse), Ben Ford (Ford Filling Station), Jeremy Fox (Rustic Canyon), Tim Hollingsworth (Otium), Walter and Margarita Manzke (Republique), Bryant Ng (Cassia), Nancy Silverton (Mozza), I could go on for another paragraph!  Last year’s event (my review) raised over $1 million!  Tickets are $195 ($95 tax deductible).  If you can swing it, definitely go!  It is truly a world-class event, and it’s for a great cause!

Buy your tickets today!!! They will sell out! ♥️🍋 link in bio ☝🏽️

A photo posted by LA Loves Alex's Lemonade (@lalovesalexs) on


September 23-24, 2016 – James Beard Foundation Taste America:  On Friday evening at Vibiana in DTLA, a sit-down dinner featuring Scott Conant, Curtis Stone (Gwen), Hedy Goldsmith (Sweet Hedy), Neal Fraser (Redbird) will follow a reception by Nyesha Arrington (Leona), Josef Centeno (Orsa & Winston), Jeremy Fox (Rustic Canyon), and Bruce Kalman (Union).  Benefitting the James Beard Foundation, proceeds with go to funding various culinary programs and scholarships.  On Saturday, Scott Conant and Suzanne Goin (Lucques Group) will hold cooking demos and book signings at Sur La Table in Westwood.  Tickets for the Friday reception and dinner are $275 for premier dining or $350 for VIP; the Saturday event is free.

http://s2.evcdn.com/images/edpborder500/I0-001/031/392/289-0.png_/4th-annual-james-beard-foundations-taste-america-89.pngVarious Dates in September (and beyond) – Plan Check Comfort Masters Series:  Created by restaurant owner Terry Heller and food writer Andy Wang, this guest chef series starts on September 6th and 7th at Plan Check Downtown with Christopher Anderson of SO•PA in Palm Springs.  A Michelin-starred veteran of Alinea and Moto, Anderson will incorporate the molecular gastronomy skills he picked up in Chicago with the abundant farmers market ingredients available to him in Southern California.

The second in the series features chef/owner Jamie DeRosa of Izzy’s Fish & Oyster in Miami Beach.  Long-time food enthusiasts in LA may remember DeRosa, who was executive chef at both Campanile and Patina in the mid-2000s.  The dinners will take place on September 13th and 14th at Plan Check Fairfax.  Following these two runs will be two other one-night guest spots in September, and then a couple a month through December.  Tickets for and details on all of the guest chefs is on the Comfort Masters Table8 page.  (I will be doing a giveaway to one of the dinners–keep an eye on my Instagram!)

click here

Events to look forward to in October:  Off the Hook Seafood Festival (Oct. 1st), EastSide Food Festival (Oct. 2nd), LA Weekly’s Brunch at the Races (Oct. 9th), Pier del Sol (Oct. 9th), Taste of Mexico (Oct. 15th), Los Angeles Magazine’s The Food Event (Oct. 16th), and more!  Will do an October round-up next month.

29. August 2016 by The Offalo
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California Spirit 31 for American Cancer Society (2016)

The Cannibal at California Spirit 31

California Spirit is an annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.  In it’s 31st(!) year, the event is relatively small in scale, with only a dozen or so participating restaurants, but they managed to raise over $100k this year.  The event was chaired by movie studio executive Sherry Lansing, co-creator of Everybody Loves Raymond and food enthusiast Phil Rosenthal, and founder and former partner of Sprout Group Bill Chait.  This year the event honored and spotlighted oncology nurses.

The assortment of food available, despite the small number of participants, were quite varied and delicious!  Wallflower brought a Indonesian ceviche while BOA served a mini-bone in filet medallion.

Highlights for me included the charcuterie spread from The Cannibal, some cured salmon sashimi from Ox & Son, and Tavern’s poached shrimp!

It’s amazing to think that this event has been running for three decades, and also kind of disappointing that it’s had to run for so long.  But donating to the ACS and other organizations help to both support those who are afflicted with cancer and those who are trying to cure cancer.  Visit Cancer.org to see what you can do.

28. August 2016 by The Offalo
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