Now in its 27th year, the Passport to Dry Creek Valley event this weekend promises to be a great time to visit and taste Pinots, Zinfandels and other Sonoma wines. If you fly to Sonoma (via Alaska Air), you’ll get to take home a case of wine free of charge. And if you wisely decide to take a bottle from a Dry Creek vineyard to dine at one of the participating charter restaurants, you’ll also get free corkage as a part of their culinary cooperative.
While I love wine, food and wine always taste better when together, so I’ve highlighted some culinary-focused opportunities at certain wineries to turn your attention to this weekend:
So many events, so little time. So many events within events, as well. Such as with The Taste, which has been revamped since last year’s The Taste of Beverly Hills 3-day event ran concurrent with L.A. Times’ own cooking, food truck and tasting debut.
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, as they say. And so the 4-day, 3-location extravaganza, a collaboration between L.A. Times and Food & Wine, begins today.Â Through Monday, nine 3- and 4-hour eventsÂ will span The Beverly Hills Hilton, Rodeo Drive,Â Hollywood’s Paramount Studios and a block of Downtown Los Angeles.
So, which The Taste sessions will I be attending? If I weren’t hampered by a LudoBites 7.0Â reservation tonight and FYF Fest (to see friends OFF!Â and others) tomorrow, I would pick these:
Secrets From The Kitchen & Cellar (Saturday, 11 AM – 3 PM)
This is the session with intriguing demos, sure-to-be entertaining panelsÂ and top-notch restaurants all bundled in one. Get the inside take on Ludo and Krissy Lefebvre’s LudoBites operation and the first season of Ludo Bites America. Listen to Jonathan Gold, Michael Voltaggio, Craig Thornton (Wolvesmouth) and Walter Manzke talk about the industry in the age of tweeting. Learn insider tips on farmers’ markets from Russ Parsons. The cooking demos by Celestino Drago and Scarpetta’s Scott Conant are sure to be educational and interesting.
The panel led by Betty Hallock will be the main event for this session as she leads Roy Choi, Sang Yoon (Father’s Office, Lukshon), Jet Tila (Wazuzu) and Mario Alberto (Chimu) through a discussion about Los Angeles as a (the best) food city.
I wish I had time to list all the wines and spirits that are also participating, but you’ll have to see the individual event pages for those. Don’t forget the 40% off code (WEB) when you buy your tickets. The all-inclusive price of $125 and $150 gets knocked down to $75 and $90.
Have fun this weekend, whatever you do. Enjoy the long one, and see you on the flipside.
Tasting events come and go, but Plate By Plate is one of those events that I’ve made sure to frequent every year. The proceeds of Project By Project’s annual benefit go towards a particular partner chosen for that year like this event’s Asian Youth Center. It also doesn’t hurt that the selection of participants is top-notch in comparison to many other events that I’ve attended over time.
Its focus on benefiting Asian non-profits flavor the event with entertainment such as modern dance and singing performances. Club beats pulse between the performances, perforating every bite. The Vibiana, with its high ceilings, is concurrently flooded with pink and white lights. And wherever Plate By Plate is, it’s always the site of the most successfully-executed-yet-unspoken dress code of the year. The chefs are the ones most expected to wear jeans, here.
The good news is that they all seem really amped to be at Plate By Plate. The answer to that age-old (in blogosphere time, anyway) question of “Why Are There So Many Asian Food Bloggers?” – if one were to ask it – lies in this event. The vibe is positive and the camaraderie, despite the pounding soundtrack, is warm.
And then there were many ofÂ my L.A. favorites – allÂ in one room. MyÂ profile on Laurent Quenioux at Vertical Bistro had just run in the Pasadena Sun (yay! I’m in print!), and he brought his delicious sweetbreads and hamachi to serve up to Plate By Plate participants. Gavin Mills, who helms my neighborhood favorite, Wood & Vine, was there to present a wonderful charcuterie spread. I’d be hard-pressed to name one other Hollywood eatery which makes their own pates and rillettes in-house, and Wood & Vine’s are really good.
Picca Peru was on-hand to serve their ultra comforting Chicken Cau Cau. The Royce of Pasadena’s The Langham Hotel, under David Feau, platedÂ pieces of Wagyu “Au Poivre” with a baby pearl onion. It’s pretty hard to argue with wagyu, but there was a certain elegant savoryness to this particular version.
The surprise of the night was The Gorbals’ Beef Tongue with Romesco. It was certainly the most tender – despite beingÂ thick -Â slice of tongue I’ve had. While I’m not a squeamish or picky eater, I can’t say that tongue has ever been a favorite “cut” of mine. But I was pretty shocked at how much I enjoyed this rendition. The delicious romesco sauce, of course, was no detail – so bravo.
Of course, the beautifulÂ Bricia Lopez was in attendance to represent La Guelaguetza. They served up their famous Tamales OaxaqueÃ±os with chicken and mole.
It’s always a festive time at Plate By Plate. The food and drink (complete this year with a mixology demo by Julian Cox) are always prime and the company in full garbÂ is always colorful. If you are keen on taking a break between bites and sips, there are also really impressive silent auction items with low starting bids on the block. It’s pretty much the sleeper event of the year.
Tickets start at $55 plus tax for tastes of all vendors, pre-event cocktails, Veev event cocktails, Zhena’s Gypsy Tea and Duvel beer. VIP will run you $85 and will get you a VIP gift bag, open bar and a special entrance. Fancy.
Proceeds from Savor Los Angeles will benefit CoachArt, which teaches art and athletic classes to children and adolescents with chronic illness. All paper- and plasticware at this event will be reusable or rapid biodegradable.
So there you have it: A tasting event in a posh, intimate Hollywood studio setting. I’ll see you there!
Hi everyone! It’s been awhile here on the blog. Thanks for being patient while I took the time for a much-needed hiatus while I rested and regrouped my going out and blogging mojo. I’m going to continue to bring you some quality reviews and heads-up on worthy up-coming events on an on-again, regular basis – so let’s get this ball rolling again, shall we?
We’ve got a debuting, community-driven food event on our hands on Sunday at Barnsdall Art Park, featuring eateries that mostly populate, well, the east side of town. Seems as though it’s skewed towards Silver Lake and Eagle Rock in particular, but it can only mean an even wider selection on their sophomore effort, right?
Also taking place at the event will be three separate book signings brought by Skylight BooksÂ (only one of my favorite book stores), including “From Seed to Skillet” by Jimmy Williams & Susan Heeger, “The Sriracha Cookbook” by Randy Clemens and “Los Angeles’s Best Dive Bars: Drinking and Diving in the City of Angels” by Lina Lecaro. Bring the family for Barnsdall Art Sunday’s art workshop from 2-4 PM. If you like to roll in style, VIPs will enjoy a special cocktail tasting by Talmadge Lowe from 1-3 PM. Five percent of proceeds from the silent auction will be donated to Children’s Hospital LA.
Tickets are $25 and include 15 taste coupons. VIP will run you $65 but also get you 5 more (with 20 total) taste coupons and an additional, exclusive hour to the vendors before the event – as well as the cocktail tasting with Talmadge. You can purchase them at The Green Bean in and on Eagle Rock or via Brown Paper Tickets online.
Looks like a promising, inaugural event – especially if you’re local and looking to support your community at large. See you there!
We got there kind of late, but there were great hits to be had at Great Chefs of LA. It was overcast and we had just come from another culinary extravaganza – still determined to conquer. The range of bite options varied more than ever – right on down to those Sushi Popper People – but those that showed up at the top of the available selection did a really good job doing so.
What the heavyweights brought to the event often came in pairs. Like Lago’s Bone Marrow and a Burrata dish paired with Housemade Pink Lady Apple Gelato and Parma Prosciutto. I have a hard time arguing with either bone marrow or burrata, but the application of especially the burrata made for a refreshing, mildly-sweet take on the fresh, wet cheese. Autumn savory notes were alive and well in Studio City.
Another “solid” was the super generous sashimi plate from Sushi House Unico from the (yes, Italian)Â Giacomino Drago group. I opted for no rice, though you could have ordered sushi as well. The fish was fresh and though I was full from another food event, I just couldn’t leave the pieces down on the plate.
La Grande Orange was on hand to showcase pizzas (including a truffle topped variety) from their newly-opened The Luggage Room in Pasadena. The Border Grill truck returned this year for another stop. Stefan Richter’s L.A. Farm had hand-dipped liquid nitrogen orange ice cream popsicles.
The Beer Chicks curated the mini beer garden, and invited the individual brewers to Great Chefs, which made it one of the best places to consume beer that weekend. The Bruery, Deschutes, TAPS (Pumpkin Ale!), Duvel and Ommegang were all there to represent – and boy was I happy.
There were tons of food event options this particular day (forget about the weekend, period) – but Great Chefs again proved that they were a contender for your time, money and appetite.
Held last Sunday, November 7, 2010
12 – 3:30 PM
CBS Studio Center 4024 Radford Dr. Studio City, CA 91604
There were a lot of events going on over the weekend, but the inaugural LA Loves Alex’s Lemonade at Culver Studios was a culinary extravaganza to hit it out of the park. The backdrop? The famous Gone With the Wind mansion on a beautiful autumn day. Our hosts were Chefs Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne (Lucques, AOC, Tavern) along with Chef David Lentz (Hungry Cat) – and there was a solid showing of chefs from across the country who all offered their live talents to an event whose goal was to fight childhood cancer.
The standouts? Chris Bianco’s Antipasto dish, featuring beautifully seasoned fall vegetables and almost making us forget that it was his pizza we were looking forward to. Celebrity chef Giada of The Food Network was personally on-hand to serve up her Pasta Ponza, topped with a fried prosciutto. Paul Kahan, of The Publican in Chicago, brought forth a delicious house-made chorizo coupled with cured ham and dressed with arugula and apples. Hailing from New Orleans was a dish from Susan Spicer’s Bayona – a delicious grilled rosemary shrimp with artichoke bread pudding. Local Neal Fraser (Grace) had pig on the brain, or “Pig in a Box,” as he called it. We caught him reloading charcoal into his smoking apparatus and appreciated the pork he prepared, dressed with a side of mustard potatoes and brussel sprouts.
With all the dishes at the event making it ever apparent that it was autumn in Los Angeles, the cocktails and beer did not pale in comparison. VIP had access to Craftsman Beer, offering up their Triple Sage, Lavender Sour, Poppy Fields and Firestone brews. Hungry Cat cocktails were also in VIP and out in the common area and were delicious as ever. Of course, we can’t forget the epic dessert table from Tavern and Lucques. S’mores, caramel chocolate macarons, carrot cake – I didn’t even have room for a bite of everything on the table, though I wanted to. Fortunately, I was able to stuff in almost a half-scoop of Mozza’s Meyer Lemon Gelato. ItsÂ lemon zestÂ packed punch in the midst of a goat cheese-like flavor and consistency.
If Caroline on Crack, Lindsay of LAist and I didn’t have somewhere else to be later that day, we would have surely enjoyed basking in the Culver City sun with our perfect cocktails, food, beer and desserts the rest of the afternoon. Overall, it was such a stand-out showing that I do hope the event moves from inaugural to annual.
Held last Sunday, November 7, 2010
12 – 4 PM
Culver Studios 9336 Washington Boulevard Culver City, CA 90232-2600
Looks like Beverly Hills wants officially mark themselves on the map as a culinary eventÂ destination in Los Angeles – as the first annual Taste of Beverly Hills will take place on September 2 – 5, 2010. With no event legacy, the first thing I’m drawn to is that it spans over 4 days – and over Labor Day Weekend, at that! The second? The price.
Of course, it wouldn’t be L.A., much less Beverly Hills, without all the hot names on the ticket. Names like (Top Chef Season Six winner) Michael Voltaggio, Walter Mazke (formerly of Church & State), Ludo Lefebvre (LudoBites), John Shook and Vinny Dotolo (Animal) all showcasing their work for visitors to the event.
The weekend will commence on Thursday with an ever appropriately named picnic matched to its date, â€œ9.02.10 City of Beverly Hills Celebration.â€ You’llÂ sit under the stars with guests such as Larry King and others while enjoying live musical performances. Remember: This event is separately ticketed and not included in the all-inclusive price.
Enjoy food from over 50 chefs and restauranteurs, beer, wine, cocktail tastings, and chef demos within the Grand Tasting area throughout the weekend. The schedule is curated by KCRWâ€™s â€œGood Foodâ€ Host and Chef Evan Kleiman while the tunes are directed by Jason Bentley, KCRW music director and host of â€œMorning Becomes Eclectic.” The schedule that’s planned in the Grand Tasting area:
â€œThe Art of Mixingâ€ (Friday evening)â€”the cityâ€™s top mixologists and DJs â€œmixâ€ their talents. Ooh, la la!
â€œSecrets From the Kitchen and Cellarâ€ (Saturday afternoon)â€”chefs and master sommeliers showcase the tricks of their trades.
â€œTaste of Something Betterâ€ Cooking Competition (Saturday afternoon)â€”three finalists will vie for the crown of â€œAmericaâ€™s Top Amateur Chefâ€ and compete to represent the United States in the 2010 LG â€œLife Tastes Goodâ€ global cooking competition in Seoul, South Korea, this fall.
â€œDate Nightâ€ (Saturday evening)â€”an evening of good food, wine, music, and one-on-one time with master sommeliers and vintners.
â€œThe Art of Brunchâ€ (Sunday afternoon)â€”free-flowing brunch cocktails, live gospel and jazz performances, a 50-foot grand table featuring the cityâ€™s finest pastries and breads, along with KCRWâ€™s annual pie contest hosted by â€œGood Foodâ€ Host Evan Kleiman.
Okay, Beverly Hills! Show us what you got. Tickets areÂ available today for $125 per person for a day session pass, $150 for an evening session pass and $500 per person for an all-access weekend package. Again, the â€œ90210 City of Beverly Hills Celebrationâ€ on Thursday is an individually ticketed event for $150.