On a hot summer’s day an outdoor food festival complete with cool drinks is a welcome respite. But this isn’t any plain old food festival, it’s The Taste, one of LA’s premiere food adventures. Set on the Paramount lot, nothing could be more quintessentially Hollywood than this ode to food and drink, particularly since the backdrop street is… Brooklyn? Leave it to LA to have our own city’s top-notch food festival in a fake (yeah, I said it, FAKE) East Coast city’s backdrop. We can be or do anything, so don’t mess with us. We are farm-to-table, Izakaya, California-French fusion. Got a problem with it? Call our agent.
Now back to the action that made up The Taste Festival last weekend. “Field to Fork” was the first event with Los Angeles Times food editor Russ Parsons. Cooking demonstrations focused on sustainable seafood and featured noted chefs such as Ari Taymor of Alma and Michael Cimarusti of Providence fame. Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Jonathan Gold, of the LA Times, hosted “Flavors of LA,” the first evening’s event, co-hosted by Sang Yoon, the creator of Father’s Office and Lukshon. Discussions (and samples!) of the growing pop-up restaurant culture were covered, as were cooking demonstrations from some of LA’s hottest up and coming chefs.
Vendors hawked their goodies, everything from sausages to watermelon slaw. Two days and two nights of food frenzy and enough alcohol to keep one forgetting about the scorching heat. Who knew there could be so many iterations of wine cocktails out there? Wineries such as Jacob’s Creek and Cupcake served up iced concoctions of their well-received white blends. Can I say that Cupcake Wines wasn’t the only vendor sloughing out cupcakes and can I say I am over the cupcake? Can we move on? How about a Cronut or a Fonut? Or a gluten-free, dairy free, date-nut, acai, antioxidant puff? You know, something Gwynenth Paltrow might eat a crumb of? And make it tasty. This is a LOS ANGELES food festival isn’t it?
The gems of the event seemed to be some of the smaller restaurants that knew making a name for themselves here could mean a boon for business. L & E Oyster Bar came out with guns blazing: mountains of ice and pounds of oysters from around the country. Wagyu Beef by Gottsui was both smoky and satisfying. Surprisingly, Ramen from Jinya Ramen was so tasty that ninety degree weather couldn’t stop them from running low on their superb broth. And nothing like The Counter’s deviled eggs, shredded in cheddar, mustard, mayo, paprika & topped with parsley and bacon to keep your tastebuds coming back for more.
Not to be outdone, an entire bar featuring beers from Belgium stole the show. High end sponsors like STK and BOA Steakhouse drew lines for mouthwatering sliders and filet mignon.
Sunday’s festivities covered more family-friendly fair, dubbed the “Labor Day Block Party” and co-hosted by Noelle Carter and Nancy Silverton. The most meat-heavy day, event-goers could also fill up on everything from fresh made guacamole, bratwurst, or octopus ceviche. Not to leave the kiddos out, the paramount lot was filled with bubbles, face-painters, and balloons. If you still had room, or like us were willing to continue out of the goodness of your heart and not wanting to leave anyone out, ice cream sandwiches beckoned, as did more cold beer.
The final night was “Cocktail Confidential” hosted by LA Times Deputy Food Editor Betty Hallock, Destination Cocktail columnist Jessica Gelt, and mixologist Matthew Biancaniello. All in all, a food lover’s dream complete with the little guys and big guys all in the trenches showing LA what they’ve got. LA’s got a lot to be proud of and the spectacular food and drink made this event one not to be missed!
All photos provided by Supper For One and Ben Hunter for Life & Thyme