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.
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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!
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.
Various 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!)
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.