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…