Not going to reinvent the wheel here–below is from the press release for the Los Angeles Times‘ The Taste event happening this weekend. Even though I just spent a weekend attending 5 separate events for the LA Food & Wine Festival (check out #offalolafw2017 on IG for coverage), I’m very excited to attend The Taste, which is one of my favorite food events of the year.
This year, especially, I’m extra excited because one of my photos is part of the event, as I had taken a portrait of chef Gilberto Cetina, Jr. of Chichen Itza and Holbox, which he submitted for use in The Taste’s promotional materials! Without further ado, here’s what you can look forward to this weekend if you attend!
- Opening Night – Hosted by all of the individual event hosts listed below; Fri., Sept. 1, 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.
The Taste’s most intimate soiree features a focused collection of tastings, distinctive cocktail and wine offerings, and a chance to party on the backlot with The Times’ hosts and the weekend’s participating chefs and mixologists. Restaurants include Baran’s 2239, Bourbon Steak, Chinese Laundry, Crying Tiger, Fat Dragon, Friends & Family, Georgie, Hatchet Hall, Lao Tao, Little Fatty, Mainland Poke, Scratch Bar & Kitchen, Side Chick, Simone, Tabula Rasa Bar and Tar & Roses.
- Field to Fork – Hosted by Amy Scattergood, Times Food Editor, and Sang Yoon, Chef/Owner of Father’s Office and Lukshon; Sat., Sept. 2, noon to 3 p.m.
Inspired by Southern California’s agricultural roots and DIY attitude, Yoon and Miles Thompson (Michael’s) will each share their farmers market savvy through individual cooking demos using their favorite bright and flavorful ingredients. Scattergood will lead a discussion about the importance of farms and eating local with Romeo Coleman (Coleman Family Farms), Alex Weiser (Weiser Family Farms) and Wes Whitsell (Manuela). Restaurants include Aqui es Texcoco, Banh Oui, Cento Pasta Bar, Coni’Seafood, Cruciferous, M Café, Maury’s Bagels, McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams, Robert’s Catering Service and VCHOS Pupuseria Moderna.
- Dinner with a Twist – Hosted by Jonathan Gold, Times Restaurant Critic, Jenn Harris, Times Deputy Food Editor, Antonia Lofaso, Chef/Owner of Scopa Italian Roots and Black Market Liquor Bar, and Marco A. Ramos, Mixologist at Scopa Italian Roots; Sat., Sept. 2, 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.
L.A.’s dining and cocktail culture takes the stage with a chef-bartender demo by Lofaso and Ramos, and by Allan Katz and Jonathan Whitener (Here’s Looking At You). Breana Jackson (Sugar & Spice: Baked by Bre), Danielle Bennett (Lady on the Rocks), Derrick Lewis (Not Your Mama’s Kitchen) and Chef E Dubble (E Dubble Catering/Grilled Fraiche) will celebrate urban gastronomy with a collaborative showcase of their signature concoctions, and Meredith Hayman (Michael’s), Gabriella Mlynarczyk (Accomplice Bar) and Brynn Smith (Sotto) will shake it up with a group demo. Restaurants include Barrel & Ashes, Beauty & Essex, Black Market Liquor Bar, Faith & Flower, Mayura Indian Restaurant, Pedalers Fork, Scopa Italian Roots, Szechuan Impression, The Bellwether, The Ponte and Wolf.
- Sunday Block Party – Hosted by Noelle Carter, Times Test Kitchen Director, and Sherry Yard, Chef/Owner of Tuck Room Tavern; Sun., Sept. 3, noon to 3 p.m.
Great food and good times are the order of the day at the block party on the backlot, where Yard will demystify pastry-baking for home cooks and David LeFevre (Manhattan Beach Post) will give a master class on making biscuits. Carter will host a talk with Chris Phelps (Salt’s Cure) about what it means to brunch at some of the most innovative spots around town, with additional panelists to be announced. Restaurants include Cheezus, Cocobella Creamery, E.A.K. Ramen, Hotville Chicken & Chops, Hummus Yummy Food Truck, MessHall, Otium, Rosaliné, The Butcher’s Daughterand Tuck Room Tavern.
- Flavors of L.A. – Hosted by Jonathan Gold, Times Restaurant Critic, and Gilberto Cetina Jr., Chef/Owner of Chichen Itza and Holbox; Sun., Sept. 3, 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.
Closing night of The Taste embraces the depth and diversity of flavors that make Los Angeles one of the most exciting places to dine through demos by Cetina, Wes Avila (Guerrilla Tacos) and the team behind Badmaash: Pawan, Nakul and Arjun Mahendro. Gold will explore Korean barbecue with masters of the grill: Jenee Kim (Park’s Barbeque) and Chris Oh (Seoul Sausage Co.). Restaurants include Chichen Itza, Frankland’s Crab & Co., Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, Holbox, Luv2eat Thai Bistro, Meals by Genet, Pasta Sisters, Revolutionario North African Tacos, Same Same and Worldwide Tacos.
Tickets range between $95 and $150, with a $25 discount for current Times’ subscribers, and are available on The Taste’s website: http://extras.latimes.com/taste/
One of the biggest food events of the year for the greater Los Angeles area, the 7th annual Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival is taking place in a little under two weeks, from August 24th through August 27th. Following the same format as last year, the festival consists of three evening events on Grand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles, on red carpet, and under the stars and both the Broad Museum and the Disney Concert Hall:
On Thursday Night, chef Curtis Stone (Maude, Gwen) will host the Ultimate Bites of L.A., featuring chefs like Vartan Abgaryan (71 Above), Brian Dunsmoor (Hatchet Hall), Michael Fiorelli & Rebecca Merhej (Love & Salt), Walter Manzke (Republique) and more! Tickets are $175 for GA, or $225 for VIP with early access.
The Friday Night Market takes place on, you guessed it, Friday! Chefs such as Alvin Cailan (Eggslut, Unit 120), Perry Cheung (Phorage), David Kuo (Little Fatty), Pawan Mahendro (Badmaash), Yoya Takahashi (Hamasaku), Jet Tila, Tin Vuong (Little Sister) and more will showcase the flavors across Asia. Tickets are $150 for GA, or $195 for VIP with early access.
On Saturday, Live on Grand is hosted by none other than chef Tyler Florence (Wayfare Tavern) and musician Wyclef Jean, with chefs Barb Batiste (B Sweet), Carlos Enriquez (Bakers Kneaded), Michael Ginor (Hudson Valley Foie Gras), Ted Hopson (The Bellwether), Jason Neroni (The Rose Cafe), Nguyen & Thi Tran (Starry Kitchen, Button Mash), and Ricardo Zarate (Rosaline), and more! Tickets are $195 for GA, or $275 for VIP with early access.
LAFW doesn’t leave the daylight hours out either. On Friday the 25th, seven different Power Lunches are taking place across the city at restaurants such as Craft, Ivory on Sunset, and The Church Key, with chef collaborations galore! The two I’m most excited about, and I wish I could be at two places at once (but hope the event lets me cover at least one of these lunches) are at Redbird in DLTA and Michael’s in Santa Monica:
The first brings chef Trey Foshee (George’s at the Cove) up from La Jolla, to partner with Rory Hermann of the Sprout Restaurant Group, and Neal Fraser (Redbird, Vibiana, Fritzi) to Redbird. There are many exciting chefs doing these Power Lunches, but I’ve interacted with these three chefs, separately, in the past, and not only are they talented, they are incredibly kind and generous. Chef Hermann was a mentor to one of my favorite chefs in town, Johnny Zone of Howlin’ Ray’s. Anyway, tickets are $125 for this, and all (but one) of the Power Lunches.
The second one I’m interested in will feature an incredible line-up of past Michael’s chefs including Brooke Williamson (Playa Provisions, Top Chef), Sang Yoon (Father’s Office, Lukson), Jonathan Waxman (Barbuto, Adele’s), Nancy Silverton (Mozza), and current chef Miles Thompson (Alumette). Can’t even imagine what this collection of chefs can do together for one meal! Tickets are $150 for this one!
Speaking of Santa Monica, the Westside isn’t left out of the festival-style events either, though they do take place in the afternoons rather than the evenings. On Saturday and Sunday, the Lexus Grand Tastings are taking place at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica. Saturday‘s line-up includes Evan Funke (Felix), Holly Jivin (The Bazaar by Jose Andres), Joel Miller (The Wallace), Jon Shook & Vinny Dotolo (Animal, Son of a Gun, Trois Mec), and more! Sunday‘s line-up includes Andre Bienvenu (Joe’s Stone Crab), Yousef Galani (FIG), Andrew Gruel (Slapfish), Nick Shipp (The Upper West), John Tesar (Knife at the Highlands), and Dakota Weiss (Sweetfin Poke). Tickets are $175 for GA, $225 for VIP.
LAFW definitely puts on a grandiose display on Grand Ave (and at Barker Hangar, but no red carpet), and puts the spotlight definitively on the chefs. It’s one of the biggest food events of the year. I’m very much looking forward to it, and if you can swing the tickets, it’s definitely worth checking out!
August has one of the biggest food events around at the end of the month, L.A. Food & Wine (August 24th through 27th), but there are some that look good for earlier in the month:
Saturday, August 5th – Plate by Plate LA: As I mentioned before, this was the event that got me into food events several years ago. It was also the first event I covered professionally, for Eater LA. The restaurants are curated by none other than kevinEats, who always pulls together some of the best chefs and restaurants in LA to support this Asian/Asian-American organization, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Returning restaurants include Hamasaku, KazuNori, Mardi, Redbird, Republique, Restauration, Rosaline, Starry Kitchen, and more! Newcomers include Kali, Kato, Manuela, The Ponte, Tsubaki, The Wallace, WOLF, and more! Tickets are $150 for GA, and $250 for VIP, which gives you 1 hour early entry to the event plus access to the VIP area for exclusive tastings from Otium and Scratch|Bar, who pioneered the mini four-course tasting menu at PbP’s VIP area years ago.
Saturday and Sunday, August 12th and 13th – BrunchCon: This event, which started just last year, is back for two days of brunching. I actually haven’t been to this event, so I’m not sure what to expect, and I won’t be able to attend, but it looks interesting, so I’m including it for you, my readers. Tickets are $65 for GA and $90 for VIP, and there’s two sessions for each day.
Saturday, August 12 – Taco Knockout: This event, held by Thrillist LA, brings 9+ great tacos from restaurants such as Aqui es Texcoco, MexiKosher, Duke’s, Slapfish, and more. Price can’t be beat at $35!
I’ll do a post just on L.A. Food & Wine (August 24th through 27th) next week, so look for that! Other events to look forward to, in September: Los Angeles Times’ The Taste September 1st through 3rd, L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade on September 9th, An Evening on the Beach on September 14th, and more!
California Spirit, the gala fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, now in its 32nd year(!), took place at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City on Sunday, July 16th. Hosted by chef Richard Blais, the event is a relatively small, intimate affair featuring a dozen restaurants from around Los Angeles. The event also featured a raucous live auction called by none other than Andrew Firestone of The Bachelor fame.
The restaurants in question ran the range of cuisines. Some of the newcomers to the event included 71 Above, Ayara Thai, and Takami:
Many restaurants bought multiple dishes. Returnee Wolfgang Puck Catering brought a savory dish, with included cocktail, and a dessert:
Barrel and Ashes brought three dishes, up from two from last year:
IDG is a restaurant group, also a repeat supporter of California Spirit, that brought multiple restaurants with them, BOA and ROKU, and each brought two dishes:
My favorite bite of the event was from Bouchon in Beverly Hills. I made sure to go back through the line a few times:
Speakers at the event were Bill Chait (founder of Sprout, the restaurant group behind Barrel & Ashes, Republique, and many other successful restaurants in L.A.), Phil Rosenthal (creator of Everybody Loves Raymond and diehard food enthusiast), and chef Derrick Fox (MasterChef), and Fran Drescher, this year’s event honoree, among others. Many shared how cancer affected their lives and praised the work the ACS does and the support they provide patients and families experiencing cancer.
The event seemed like a rousing success, though I haven’t heard the amount of funds raised yet. Last year it raised over $100,000 for the ACS. Hopefully they were able to match or exceed that!
Here are some upcoming food events and festivals in Los Angeles in July:
Saturday, July 15th – Sip & Savor Santa Monica: This new event taking place at the Santa Monica Pier will feature local and area purveyos like Tar & Roses, Spinfish Poke, 2424 Main Street (formerly Fork in the Road), Ococoa Chocolates, and Venice Ale House as well as a selection of wine and other beverage vendors. The event benefits MOSTe, “a non-profit empowering girls from underserved LA neighborhoods to become college-educated women” per the event site. Tickets are $70/$85 for GA and VIP (early entry), respectively, but right now LA Weekly has a promo code LAW that’ll get you $10 while supplies last.
Sunday, July 16th – California Spirit 32: This long-running gala benefitting the American Cancer Society is back at the Sony Pictures lot in Culver City. This small and intimate affair features restaurants such as 71 Above, Barrel & Ashes, Bouchon, Roku, Tavern, and Wolfgang Puck Catering. Tickets are not cheap at $350, but if you can afford it, it’s a great cause.
Friday, July 28th – LUCKYRICE Los Angeles: I was bummed to miss this event last year, when they moved to the gorgeous Vibiana space. They’re back again this year, as are mainstay participants Ayara Thai, Parks BBQ, Seoul Sausage, Starry Kitchen, and joined by newcomers Bone Kettle, Chinese Laundry, Little Fatty, and more! Tickets are $88 (lucky!) for GA and $150 for VIP (early entry). American Express cardholders get additional benefits.
Friday, July 28th – East LA Meets Napa: This event, curated by AltaMed, a health service group that serves minority and underserved populations, has grown bigger and more swanky, to the point of moving to L.A. Live in DTLA. Some of the most popular Latin American restaurants in and around Los Angeles are participating, including Chichen Itza, El Coraloense, Porto’s, Rocio’s, and more! Tickets are $175 for GA through July 14th, then $200, or $300 for a Celebrity Lounge ticket.
Sunday, July 30th – Live & Dine LA 2017: Angeleno Magazine’s breezy event at the Fairmont Miramar in Santa Monica attracts some of the hottest restaurants in town, including 71 Above, FIG, Gwen, Kali, Mama Lion, NoMad, Salazar, The Bazaar by José Andrés, and more! Tickets are $95 but search the internet for some discounts while they last!
Sunday, July 30th – Stu and the Kids: This annual fundraiser started by chef Stuart Skversky benefits orphaned and underserved Hill Tribe kids in Northern Thailand. He called up some chef friends years back to do a fundraiser and the rest is history. The event has grown and some very popular restaurants in L.A. are pitching in: Broken Spanish, Chichen Itza, Jitlada, Miro, Night+Market, Playa Provisions, Republique, Rose Cafe, The Wallace, and more! It’s all going down at Vibiana! Tickets are $125 for GA, $195 for VIP (early entry and a reception and book signing with chef Jet Tila), and $25 for kids 6-12 years old.
Events to look for in the next month or so: Plate by Plate LA on August 5th, L.A. Food & Wine August 24th through 27th, Los Angeles Times’ The Taste September 1st through 3rd, L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade on September 9th, An Evening on the Beach on September 14th, and more!