RECAP: LA TIMES’ THE TASTE FESTIVAL

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.

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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 LukshonDiscussions (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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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All photos provided by Supper For One and Ben Hunter for Life & Thyme

 

 
 
 
 

GIVEAWAY: LA TIMES’ THE TASTE FESTIVAL

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Between pigging out on expertly prepared bites at the LA Food and Wine Fest last weekend, gearing up for LA Times’ insane culinary talent for their upcoming The Taste festival, and overindulging at Septemberfest, this summer is quickly becoming a foodie’s paradise.

This Labor Day weekend, we are especially thrilled to be clinking our plastic stemware with the LA Times for The Taste festival at Paramount Pictures Studios. The three-day food festival is jam packed with some of the food industry’s biggest names. From our local faves like Ari Taymor of Alma (peep his feature in our newest issue), Craig Thornton of Wolvesmouth, and Josef Centeno of Bäco Mercat, to mixologists extraordinaire like Julian Cox, Brandyn Tepper, and Serena Herrick, this food fête is hitting all our deepest hunger pangs.

The weekend feast kicks off Friday evening where hosts, co-hosts, guests, and fancy food-lovers (oh-and us) will be mingling, rubbing shoulders, and tasting some of the finest food offerings in the city. On Saturday, August 31, food editor Russ Parsons and Michael Cimarusti (Providence, Connie & Ted’s) will highlight local and seasonal fare with Field to Fork from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. That night, Jonathan Gold and Sang Yoon (Father’s Office, Lukshon) will bring a foods representative of L.A.’s cultural diversity with Flavors of L.A. at 7:30 to 11:30 PM.

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Test Kitchen editor Noelle Carter and Nancy Silverton (Osteria Mozza; Pizzeria Mozza) will host a barbecue-focused Labor Day Block Party welcome to Angelenos of all ages on Sunday, September 1, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The festival wraps up with Cocktail Confidential later on in the evening from 7:30 to 11:30 PM, hosted by deputy food editor Betty Hallock, food and nightlife writer Jessica Gelt and cocktail guru Matthew Biancaniello.

Tickets for the weekend-long grub fest may be a bit steep for some, but fear not young epicureans! LA CANVAS has got your back. We’re giving away a fabulous pair of tickets for The Taste’s Cocktail Confidential on Sunday, September 1st from 7:30-11:30 PM. Head to our Instagram and Facebook to find out how you can win.

So raise a glass and toast to a divine culinary experience. And let’s just hope Kat Odell and those damn Bravo cameras keep their paws off of our amuse-bouche.