July 2016 Food Events in Los Angeles

Can’t believe it’s already July!  Starting with one big 3-day food festival at toward the beginning of the month and then four different food events happening the last weekend of the month, you should be able to find something that suits your fancy in July!

July 8-10, 2016 – LA Food Fest:  Rebranded from its original name, the LA Street Food Fest, this year makes a major expansion and changes to the event. Instead of one day at the Rose Bowl, LAFF takes place over three days at Exposition Park.  Participants include Button Mash (Starry Kitchen), El Coraloense, Howlin’ Ray’s, Knuckle & Claw, Ricebar, and more!  There’s a series of special chef-hosted Rose Garden events.  The usual unlimited-samples food festival experience has been dubbed the VIP Golden Hour, even though it includes 2 hours of access, while a more affordable a la carte general-admission MRKT option has been added.  Tickets range from $18 to $160+ depending on what experience you’re after.


July 15, 2016 – East LA Meets Napa World Tour:  This annual fundraiser benefitting AltaMed, a non-profit healthcare provider that supports underserved communities in Southern California is going global this year with celebrity international chefs including Ana Quincoces, Ingrid Hoffmann, Doreen Colondres, Katsuji Tanabe, Hamlet Garcia, and more.  Early Bird tickets are available for GA at $175; regular price is $200.  VIP access is $300.

East L.A. Meets Napa WORLD TOUR - Premier Food and Wine Tasting Event


July 29, 2016 – Luckyrice:  The pan-Asian-themed food event is being hosted this year by the folks behind Seoul Sausage, brothers Ted and Yong Kim and chef Chris Oh, at Vibiana in DTLA.  Participants include Ayara Thai, Hinoki and the Bird, Komodo, Lao Tao, Parks BBQ, Starry Kitchen, and Tatsunoya.  Tickets are $88 for GA or $150 for VIP w/one hour early entry.


July 30, 2016 – Burgers & Beer:  Featuring over 30 restaurants including Barrel & Ashes, Fritzi, Plan Check, Terrine, and more, as well as breweries such as 21st Amendment, El Segundo Brewing Co., Firestone Walker, Lagunitas, Pizza Port, and others, the second annual beer and burger fest should be a blast.  Take the Expo Line to the Coliseum so you don’t have to worry about the drive.  Tickets are $95 for VIP w/early entry, $75 for GA, or $219 for a “Buddy Pack” of 4 GA tickets ($55/person).


July 31, 2016 – Live & Dine LA:  Moving to the summer this year, this event at the posh Fairmont Miramar in Santa Monica has an impressive line-up including The Arthur J, Broken Spanish, The Cannibal, Herringbone, Little Sister, Moruno, Redbird, Trois Familia, Union, Viviane, Wolf, and more!  Tickets are $95 + fees.


July 31, 2016 – Stu and The Kids:  This fundraiser for orphaned children in Thailand draws top-notch talent to support the cause, including The Bellwether, Mare, Night+Market, Playa Provisions, Pok Pok LA, Republique, Spago, and more.  Hosted at Vibiana, the chef Neal Fraser and his crew at Redbird should have their hands full considering they’re also at Live & Dine LA happening the same day!  Tickets are $125 for GA, $195 for VIP, which includes a special cooking demo by chef Jet Tila 90 minutes before the event starts.


29. June 2016 by The Offalo
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Top of the Line Cooking Competition by The Line RTA

Last month I got to attend a dinner quite unlike any I had attended.  The Line RTA, a restaurant talent agency, has been quietly holding semi-regular cooking competitions since late last year.  Line cooks from popular restaurants around town put their budding reputations on the line to compete against each other and be judged by respected chefs such as Bruce Kalman (Union), Jason Fullilove (Barbara Jean LA), and Ricardo Zarate (Rosaliné).  The competitions are held at The Park Restaurant in Echo Park.

For the May competition, the contestants were line cooks William Pentecost (.ink), Juan Agustin (Olivella), and Shad Newton (Trois Mec).  The judges were none other than chefs Evan Funke (Felix), Vartan Abgaryan (71 Above), and Ben Ford (Ford Filling Station).  The cooks have to put out two dishes each to the three judges and 40 or so guests.  Dessert is provided by The Park.  It works out to a seven-course meal for $52, a fabulous deal if it could be found at any of the above-mentioned chefs’ restaurants, but would what these young line cooks make be worth our while?

First up was William Pentecost, who served two bold-looking dishes:  raw scallops with foam and nori and hanger steak topped with enoki hay.  .ink is known for dishes that incorporate molecular gastronomy, and certainly William’s dishes seem to take the most risks.  Not all of it worked, the foam for example, but the enoki hay was a definite highlight for me!



Next was Juan Agustin, who put out two rather more refined-looking plates:   a gnocchi and morels dish and a duck breast with spring vegetables.  Juan’s dishes paired classic ingredients together–pasta and mushrooms, duck with a sweet sauce–but executed at a very high level.



Last was Shad Newton, who served two deceptively-simple looking dishes: an asparagus salad and a Santa Maria-style tri-tip.  The salad was actually quite complex with Shad trying to do a deconstructed sauce gribiche, with a very interesting smoked egg yolk, but the components didn’t “reconstruct” too well on the plate.  The tri-tip was a bit tough for me, but salt-baked potatoes were a crowd favorite.



The most interesting part of the competition was when the judges gave their feedback openly to each cook after tasting each of their two courses.  All three judges were quite honest and tough with their criticism, but Evan was definitely a little more Simon Cowell.  But the comments were also fair and, more importantly, very constructive, and when they complimented the aspects the line cooks did well, you could tell it really meant something to them.

The judges actually tied in trying to determine a winner, and it came down to William Pentecost and Juan Agustin.  In the end, by audience vote, Juan Agustin took top spot.  The prize?  A $250 check, a bottle of liquor, and bragging rights!  The judges applauded all three cooks for putting themselves out there–Evan said he wouldn’t have had the confidence to do what they did, and wouldn’t have put out dishes as well conceived, when he was at the same stage of his career.


If this sounds like an interesting way to spend an evening, The Line RTA is hosting its next competition on Monday, June 27th.  The judges this time around are Wes Avila (Guerrilla Tacos), Eddie Ruiz (Corazon y Miel), and Matt Wilson (Augustine Wine Bar).  The competitors are David Bowles (The Bellwether), Oscar Molina (NeueHouse), and Marcos Guillen (A.O.C.).  Find out what each are serving, and how to get in on the fun, here:  http://thelinerta.com/events

22. June 2016 by The Offalo
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Taste of the Nation Los Angeles 2016

Taste of the Nation Los Angeles 2016

On Sunday, June 5, 2016, dozens of top Los Angeles chefs and restaurants descended upon Media Park in Culver City for Taste of the Nation LA, a fundraising event for No Kid Hungry, the Share Our Strength campaign to end childhood hunger in the United States.  Chef Bruce Kalman of Union and Knead fame, and soon (by the end of this year) to have a restaurant on the Westside in Culver City itself, curated the event, and picked some amazing participants.

Some of my favorite bites included The Bellwether‘s heirloom tomato salad, The Cannibal‘s morcilla, The Culver Hotel‘s grilled apricot and burrata, Kali Restaurant‘s yellowtail crudo, and Sotto’s crispy lamb belly.  Alas, I didn’t get a great shot of Kali’s dish, so I can’t show you their offering.

Other highlights included Birch’s cod tikka masala, Hatchet Hall’s crawfish boil, Sweetfin Poke’s yellowfin tuna poke, and Upper West’s lamb tacos.

A strong presence at the event was the Bombet Hospitality Group, with four restaurants participating:  Faith & Flower, Hanjip, Terrine, and Viviane.  I particularly liked Hanjip’s and Terrine’s dishes, and Stephan Bombet and François Renaud of the restaurant group were kind enough to host the after party at Hanjip.

Believe it or not, what I’ve shown above isn’t even half of everything I tried at the event–I sampled over 25 dishes–so please check out my hashtag for the event, #offalototnla2016, on Instagram.

I really enjoyed myself at Taste of the Nation LA 2016.  Media Park is like a little wooded oasis in the middle of bustling downtown Culver City.  The crowds were lively, the lines never got too long, and the attendees seemed happy!  A great event for a great cause!  If you missed this event but still want to help, and eat great food, check out the fundraising dinner this Thursday in Chinatown from chefs Alvin Cailan and Michael Hung for No Kid Hungry’s Chefs Cycle.

07. June 2016 by The Offalo
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Los Angeles Food Events & Festivals for June 2016

Before I get to the regularly scheduled June food events round-up, here’s one last May event that’s on my radar:

Sunday, May 29, 2016:  Spin Public Relations and the Main Street Business Improvement Association is holding its annual MAINopoly on Main Street in Santa Monica from 3pm-8pm this Sunday.  Get a taste of Main Street Santa Monica restaurants and shops including Ashland Hill, Aussie Pie, Bareburger,  Knuckle & Claw, Pressed Juicery, and more!  Tickets are $25/$30 (in-advance/day-of) for GA, and $40/$50 (in-advance/day-of) for VIP, which includes access a VIP lounge with more food and drink and games and more!

And now back to your regularly scheduled June food festival round-up:

Sunday, June 5, 2016 – Taste of the Nation LA:  As mentioned in a previous post, Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is throwing its annual fundraiser at Media Park in Culver City.  Tickets are $110/$160/$25 for GA/VIP/Kids.  If you go to the ToTNLA page, click Buy Tickets, then the “Enter a Promotional Code” link, and use OFFALO10, you’ll save 10% on GA/VIP prices.  This event has an all-star line-up of chefs/restaurants including Mary Sue Milliken (Border Grill), Josiah Citrin (Charcoal, Melisse), Steve Samson (Sotto, Rossoblu), Bruce Kalman (Union, Knead), Susan Feniger (Mudhen Tavern, Blue Window), just to name a few!


Saturday, June 11, 2016 – Tacolandia:  This year’s Tacolandia event, by LA Weekly and Bill “Street Gourmet LA” Esparza, promises to be bigger than ever, with over 130 restaurants/chefs/taco makers descending on El Pueblo de Los Angeles near Union Station in DTLA.  Participants include Corazon y Miel, Galaxy Tacos, Guerrilla Tacos, Katsuji Tanabe, La Guerrerense, Mariscos Jalisco, Petty Cash, Primera Taza, Revolutionario, Taco Maria, Tacos Punta Cabras, and so many more!  GA tickets are currently $45, but goes up to $50 on May 30th.


I know there are many more events happening in June, including a pair of beer-related festivals:  Vegan Beer Fest and LA Beer Week, both on June 18th, but I won’t be able to attend those.  The Line RTA will also be hosting another cooking competition on that date as well, but details aren’t set yet (look for a write-up of the May cooking competition here on the blog soon).  Any other food events that I missed or that you think I might be interested in, please let me know!

(Festivals to look out for in July and August:  LA Street Food Fest, East LA Meets Napa, Luckyrice, Burgers & Beer, Stu and the Kids, Plate by Plate, LA Food & Wine, and more!)

26. May 2016 by The Offalo
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The Cannibal Butcher Shop & The Expo Line

Everything Pretzel at The Cannibal

The Expo Line’s westward expansion to the Pacific Ocean is complete. Starting at noon today, the Expo Line will have seven new stops and a new endpoint at 4th Street in Santa Monica. Another exciting development for the Expo Line is The Cannibal. (How’s that for a segue?)

This butcher shop-slash-restaurant, steps from the Culver City train stop, is a recent transplant from New York City, and this week the butcher shop portion, headed by skilled butcher Tony Suarez, opened for business, selling cuts of meat, sausages and charcuterie, and sandwiches. The restaurant is set to open next week or the week after at the latest.

The sandwich menu at the butcher shop has some classics, like turkey, Italian, Cubano, but also interesting combinations like a roast pork in General Tso’s sauce with dry chile peppers and broccoli, like you’d actually find in a General Tso’s Chicken back East. The meatball sandwich has a kimchi marinara, and the Cubano is pressed within an inch of its life but packed with flavor (and pig’s head terrine)!

The Cannibal is named after Eddy “The Cannibal” Merckx, and Christian Pappanicholas, co-owner with front-of-house veteran Cory Lane, is an avid cyclist. There are cycling supplies in the butcher shop, and each day a different Musette Bag Lunch, which includes a sandwich, side, and fruit or cookie, is available for cyclists (and everyone) to pick up for $15. For a lighter to-go snack, check out their Everything Pretzel!

There have been some early criticisms of The Cannibal on Yelp and on Chowhound-replacement board Food Talk Central, including of the choice of bread being the softer Amoroso’s-style rolls for all their sandwiches as opposed to baguettes or other styles for different ones, and the restaurant is taking in all the feedback. Expect some tweaks and fine-tuning as they settle into the space and the L.A. food community.

As mentioned, the restaurant, helmed by chefs Francis Derby and Jude Parra, is set to open in a week or two and should be worth checking out. You can get to The Cannibal from DTLA in a half hour, or from the Pacific Ocean in under 20 minutes, using the Expo Line, and you don’t have to deal with parking! Or use the bike lines built along the train tracks. Eventually cyclists will be able to score some discounts, including possibly free beer, for showing up in their gear. Speaking of beer, expect hundreds of craft beers curated by beverage director Julian Kurland.  Should be fun!

The Cannibal
8850 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 838-2783

20. May 2016 by The Offalo
Categories: American, Beer, Butcher Shop, Charcuterie, Lunch, Offal, Rotisserie, Sandwich | Leave a comment

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