The last weekend of March is chock-full of food events, starting with…
Saturday, March 25th – Latin Food Fest: Featuring chefs Ricardo Zarate (Rosaline), Francisco Perez (Aqui es Texcoco), Connie Cosio (Coni’Seafood), Josiah Citrin (Melisse) and more, this event celebrates the various cuisines of Latin American countries. Tickets are $29 for GA or $149 for VIP, which includes early access and food in the VIP tents (lobster and steak, among other treats).
Saturday, March 25th – Simply diVine: This annual event benefits the Los Angeles LGBT Center, and has some of the most popular restaurants in town, including Border Grill, Craft, Jar, Kismet/Madcapra, Milo + Olive, Petrossian, Sotto, Tavern, and more! Tickets are $500 for VIP, which includes an hour early entry and exclusive chef meet-and-greets, or $125 for GA.
Sunday, March 26th – LA Weekly The Essentials: The premier food event for the alt-weekly newspaper, in addition to hosting more than half of the Essential 99 restaurants–Baroo, Guerrilla Tacos, Jitlada, Love & Salt, n/naka, RiceBar, to name a few–this year the event introduces the Freshman 15, restaurants too new to include on the 99. The inaugural group of newbies include 71above, Erven, Gwen, Holbox, Kato, Salazar, and more! Tickets are $100 for VIP, which is the only way to check out the Freshman 15 showcase, or $65 for GA.
Upcoming events in April include the FounderMade Food Summit on the 8th, LA Weekly’s Burgers and Beer on the 29th, and St. John’s Well Child & Family Center’s Movable Feast on the 30th. Did I miss any events in April or for the rest of March?
Last month, Los Angeles Magazine held its second annual Whiskey Festival at the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum. Many of the same spirits were back, including my favorite Bruichladdich with their Octomore line of well-peated scotches. But got to try some great stuff from Four Roses, Highland Park, Kikori, and Macallan.
Of course, you had to have some food to help space out all those high proof drinks. Finger foods were passed around, charcuterie and cheese were available, and the mashed potato bar was back! Also back were the cigars, hand-rolled while you waited. Very old-school cool!
#TBT to @lamag's Whiskey Festival last month. Had some nice grub between pours of whisk(e)y, scotch, bourbon, and rye. Also scored some cigars. Alas could not enjoy them there w/the food & drinks. #whiskeyfestival #whiskey #whisky #scotch #bourbon #rye #spirits #alcohol #lamag #labreatarpits #labrea #losangeles #theoffalo #offalowhiskey
I joke with friends that having so much booze in between all those prehistoric fossils could be recipe for disaster, but like last year, the event went off without a hitch. If you love whisk(e)ys, scotches, bourbons, or ryes, and didn’t attend last year or this year, set yourself a reminder for next year!
March is coming up faster than you think, and there’s quite a few events, so I’m splitting this into two posts! But before we get there, here’s one last one happening this week before the end of February…
Wednesday, February 22nd – Whiskey Festival: Fresh off their Best New Restaurants celebration, Los Angeles Magazine is throwing its second Whiskey Festival at the La Brea Tar Pits Museum. Featuring whiskeys (or if you prefer, whiskys), scotches, bourbons, and ryes from the likes of Bruichladdich, Four Roses, Kikori, Macallan, Whistle Pig and more, if last year’s shindig was any indication, it should be a great time! Tickets are $95 + fee for unlimited pours and some food–can’t drink all night on an empty stomach. Remember to rideshare!
Thursday, March 2nd – PPLA Food Fare: This long-time fundraiser, held annually since 1979, raises money for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, which provides critical women’s health services. Chef of the Year for 2017 is Annie Miler of Clementine, and the participating restaurants include a mix of new restaurants like 71 Above, Holbox, Kali, and established ones like a.o.c., Michael’s, and Thyme. Looks like just the AM session (11a-2p) is available now. Tickets are $150.
Wednesday-Saturday, March 8th through 11th – All-Star Chef Classic: This multi-day mega-event takes place at L.A. Live and has flair to spare! The four Masters Dinners held each night take place in Restaurant Stadium and have such chefs as Ludo Lefebvre, Antonia Lofaso, Curtis Stone, and more for each themed night. The “strolling” events this year are Southern Eats on Friday night, with The Hart & The Hunter, Hatchet Hall, Howlin’ Rays and other non-“H” named restaurants participating; and Saturday night’s annual “Grill & Chill” featuring Ford Filling Station, The Cannibal, Mexikosher, Broken Spanish, and more! Tickets range from $125 to $425 depending on the events.
Sunday, March 12th – COCHON555: Easily one of my favorite events of the year, the L.A. stop for this national heritage pig cooking competition takes place once again at Viceroy in Santa Monica. This year’s competing chefs are returning challenger Bruce Kalman (Union), Kyle Johnson (Bourbon Steak), Dakota Weiss (Estrella), David Féau (Wally’s), and Jonathan Granada (Otium). Each chef will be paired with a whole heritage pig, a different breed each, and will have to come up with 5-6 dishes. 20 judges, and all attendees, will get to vote for their favorite dishes and chefs, and one will be crowned Prince/Princess of Porc and go on to Aspen to compete to be the King/Queen of Porc! Tickets are $125 for GA, $200 for VIP (1 hour early entry), and $400 for the BeSpoke experience, which includes a charity dinner the night before at Otium hosted by chef Timothy Hollingsworth.
Tuesday, March 14th – L.A. Cooks for the James Beard Foundation: This year’s James Beard Foundation nominations had many names from Los Angeles, including many personal favorites in the Best Chef: West category: Wes Avila (Guerrilla Tacos), Jeremy Fox (Rustic Canyon), Bryant Ng (Cassia), Carlos Salgado (Taco Maria), Kris Yenbamroong (Night+Market), to name a few… This year the short list of nominees will be announced at Lucques on Wednesady, March 15th, but on the eve of the announcement the restaurant will host a dinner featuring a bunch of past JBF winners and nominees including host Suzanne Goin, Michael Cimarusti (Providence), Nancy Silverton (Mozza), Susan Feniger & Mary Sue Milliken (Border Grill), Vinny Dotolo & Jon Shook (Animal), and more! Reservations are $285, or $1,000 for the VIP Chef’s Table Experience! Call 323.655.6277.
Throughout March (and beyond) – Hanging with Harris Dinner Series: Professional master of ceremony Billy Harris is literally the host with the most … events, that is! In addition to hosting two of my favorite food events–L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade and the aforementioned COCHON555 (all stops on tour!)–he somehow finds time to host a bunch of dinners here in L.A. The first just happened this weekend, but two are happening in March, including dinners at Lucques on the 6th and at The Rose Cafe on the 27th. Tickets are $125.
Last month, Los Angeles Magazine held it’s annual Best New Restaurants Celebration at the A+D Architecture and Design Museum in the Arts District. The event is known for its tight line-up of new restaurants that opened in 2016, plus a few slightly less shiny but no less delicious participants like The Bellwether and Manhattan Beach Post:
@thebellwether_la's Nancy's Day Boat Scallops, duck bacon, sprouted lentils, orange crème fraîche. @tedhopson @ms_sassafras #scallops #duck #bacon #thebellwetherla — For @lamag @lamagfood #bestnewrestaurants celebration. #foodevent #foodfestival #lamag #lamagfood #artsdistrict #losangeles #theoffalo #offalolamagbestnew
Even though nearly all of the restaurants were new, the chefs behind them have all made their name in L.A. Howlin’ Ray’s chef/owner Johnny Zone and wife/partner Amanda Chapman and their crew were on-hand, frying up wings fresh and lacquering them with their spicy cayenne seasoning! Alvin Cailan of Eggslut and Unit 120 used his booth to showcase a new venture by former CUT chef Ken Concepcion called Now Serving.
@howlinrays had the longest lines, of course! They were frying up wings on the spot, piping hot, and dashing their hot shake right on their chicken for all to see! #hotwings #chickenwings #wings #nashvillehotchicken #hotchicken #howlinrayshotchicken #howlinrays — Lighting by @losangelesfoodiegirl, plate held up by @juliainezz! This Instagram stuff, it's a collaborative effort! — For @lamag @lamagfood #bestnewrestaurants celebration. #foodevent #foodfestival #lamag #lamagfood #artsdistrict #losangeles #theoffalo #offalolamagbestnew
@unit1twenty/@nowservingla's Salt Cod Chowder, chorizo, green garlic, mussels, chickpeas. Super comforting on a cold, rainy night! #bacalao #saltcod #chowder #chorizo #garlic #mussels #crostini #filipinofoodmovement #unit1twenty #nowservingla — For @lamag @lamagfood #bestnewrestaurants celebration. #foodevent #foodfestival #lamag #lamagfood #artsdistrict #losangeles #theoffalo #offalolamagbestnew
Speaking of Alvin, he and the Badmaash bros. Arjun and Nakul Mahendro were on hand recording their Super Amazing Restaurant Show podcast, interviewing chefs and attendees, and generally having a great time, as they always do!
@kalichefkevin singing some opera for @superamazingrestaurantshow! Catch the next episode and you might hear me blather on about random shit for a minute… @alvincailan @arjunbadmaash @nakulbadmaash #superamazingrestaurantshow #podcast #alvincailan #arjunmahendro #nakulmahendro #kevinmeehan — For @lamag @lamagfood #bestnewrestaurants celebration. #foodevent #foodfestival #lamag #lamagfood #artsdistrict #losangeles #theoffalo #offalolamagbestnew
For such a small line-up, not even a dozen restaurants, the food was delicious! As mentioned in the caption above, Howlin’ Ray’s line was longest and they served right up to the end. Wolf’s pun-tastic “Let the Beet Drop” had a great little liquid nitrogen gag, while 71 Above kept it classy with an amazing octopus dish.
@wolfdiningla Let the Beet Drop, yuzu, citrus, berries, almonds, nasturtium, liquid nitrogen. @marcelvigneron #letthebeetdrop #beets #yuzu #citrus #berries #almond #nasturtium #liquidnitrogen #wolfdiningla — For @lamag @lamagfood #bestnewrestaurants celebration. #foodevent #foodfestival #lamag #lamagfood #artsdistrict #losangeles #theoffalo #offalolamagbestnew
But my favorite dish of the night was Here’s Looking At You’s soft-shell prawn! You just pop the whole thing in your mouth and crunch it up! So good!
@hereslookingatyoula's Soft Shell Prawn, sauce diabla, avocado, rau ram. This picture doesn't do the dish justice–it was my favorite of the night! I had at least 3 there, and I still wanted more at the end! Fortunately, they come six to an order at the restaurant. @jonathanwhitener @lientigre #softshellprawn #prawn #shrimp #avocado #hereslookingatyoula — For @lamag @lamagfood #bestnewrestaurants celebration. #foodevent #foodfestival #lamag #lamagfood #artsdistrict #losangeles #theoffalo #offalolamagbestnew
LA Mag’s Best New Restaurant Celebration is a great way to kick off the year and get me back in the swing of food-eventing! Great job everyone involved!
Sorry folks for being MIA recently–just lots of stuff going on IRL. Will be posting some recaps of events that I went to last month as well as a few restaurant reports, so look for that. But first, here are two food events and festivals on my radar, one for each of the first two months of 2017!
Wednesday, January 18th – Best New Restaurants 2017 Celebration: Los Angeles Magazine’s annual shindig celebrating their, you guessed it, Top 10 Best New Restaurants of 2016. The line-up is interesting… Whereas last year’s event had I think all restaurants that opened roughly in 2015, this year we have at least one classic spot, like chef David Lefevre’s MB Post, and a repeater, The Bellwether. But there are plenty of legit new restaurants participating, including 71 Above, Erven, Here’s Looking at You, and Howlin’ Ray’s! Tickets are $75 + fee.
Saturday & Sunday, February 18-19 – LA Cookie Con and Sweets Show 2017: If you’re not careful, you can overdo the sugar at this event quite easily, but if you pace yourself and take advantage of the various talks and demos, you can have a blast without the crash at the end. Rosanna Pansino of Nerdy Nummies and Duff Goldman of Charm City Cakes will be on hand, and there will be plenty of samples and a couple of contests too! Tickets start at $25 for a one-day pass to $55 for VIP, with child admissions at a discount and weekend passes available too.
As always, if I’ve missed any events happening this month or next, please let me know!
Coming Soon: A lot of food events coming up in March, including but not limited to PPLA Food Fare (March 2nd), All-Star Chef Classic (March 8-11), COCHON555 (March 12th), Latin Food Fest (March 24-25), LA Weekly’s The Essentials (March 26th). Will do a more in-depth round-up next month!