It was a thankfully mild Sunday in Chinatown, and Grand Central Plaza was filled with red tents under which chefs, cooks, brewers, bartenders and vendors doled out Sriracha-themed exclusives to enthusiasts of the celebrated, local Rooster sauce. Whether the food and drink were evocative of or complementary to the red jalapeno chili sauce, there was no shortage of flavor to be found on that block between Broadway and Hill.
In true form, the longest line was at Egg Slut’s booth, which was serving Spicy Pork Tan Tan Ramen as a preview to Ramen Champ – their forthcoming stand at Grand Central Market. Nothing like spicy, chewy noodle goodness on a Sunday afternoon.
And if that or any of the other bites weren’t spicy enough, practically everyone knew to hit up Jitlada for their Spicy Sriracha Curry over rice – over rice and with some raw carrots for barely enough cooling action. You know that when things hurt at Jitlada, they hurt so good.
Chef Philip Frankland Lee represented his brand new vegan and vegetarian-focused The Garadene Swine in Studio City with a dynamic Crispy Yucca bite, sriracha (of course) and avocado mousse. SQIRL served their ever-popular Crispy Rice Salad.
One of the out-of-the-park hits amongst the omnivores were the Sriracha BBQ Glazed Smoked Spare Ribs that Beachwood BBQ was handing out along a couple beer selections – with many attendees going back for more meaty bone. Amazingly, the well-prepared Seal Beach BBQ and beer slingers came from afar yet didn’t run out of ribs until maybe after I left.
Eagle Rock Brewery came prepared with taps on Populist, their IPA, and Manifesto, their Witbier. They also brought some chocolate-sriracha sauce in which to dip some highly addictive, salty-sweet, airy chicharrones. Los Angeles Ale Works brought forth their Thai Tea Soda and SrirachaFest exclusive, Phoracha Soda – with lime, basil, anise, cinnamon, plum and Sriracha flavors coming together in a surprisingly delicious bubbly treat.
Komodo Food slung hot tacos of juicy Sriracha Marinated Chimichurri Steak – nothing short of perfect in every way, even down to the tortilla. Newcomer and immediate neighborhood favorite, Little Jewel of New Orleans, brought their deliciously fishy crawfish mac ‘n cheese topped with a slice of hot link. Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese was a simple-but-perfect bacon, sriracha, and egg grilled cheese with tomato-sriracha soup dip.
Chef Christian Page represented his Willy B’s hot sauce with Smoked Berkshire Pork Belly topped with dehydrated red sauce, honey, scallions and toasted sesame seeds – a flavorful bite. Kajsa Alger from Mud Hen Tavern squeezed some seriously delicious Sriracha-Braised Pumpkin essence for a salad which included arugula – tasting better than the appearance of its parts.
Jason Bran was on-hand to make two cocktails, one Jalisco Breeze with Olmeca Altos Plata Tequila, jicama, cucumber, cilantro and lemon – a complementary drink to any Sriracha dish – as well as a well-done Sriracha Sour for a drink with that desired, spicy essence.
As for dessert, McConnell’s was on-hand with their Salty Caramel Chip, Pumpkin and Sweet Cream flavors to remind us all how gorgeously rich their ice creams taste.
And Crème Caramel wowed everyone with their dessert, dubbed “Holy Petit S’mores.” Sriracha Marshmallow came layered on a fudgey dark chocolate brownie, before being dipped in white chocolate…before being rolled in Graham Cracker and Sriracha Honeycomb Dust. This was heaven, and is just today now available at their store in Van Nuys – so be sure to head on over to get yours.
In all, this was a fantastic event put on by Sriracha Cookbook Author Randy Clemens and Josh Lurie of Food GPS, further proving that yes, you really can hold food festivals in one vein while keeping things varied and engaging with its attendees. It’s been quite a summer and fall for food events in 2014, but the Sriracha Festival has become a great way to see the really creative ways chefs, brewers, bartenders and others play it up with the Rooster Sauce.
Be sure to buy your copy of The Sriracha Cookbook, The Veggie-Lovers’ Sriracha Cookbook and head on over to FoodGPS.com to learn all about the adventures of Randy and Josh with and without the spicy sauce.