Last month, I got a chance to partake in one night of the excellent Culinary Masters series going on at The Strand House in Manhattan Beach. The chef of the night was John Besh in the wake of the release of the Louisiana native and home cooking champion’s latest cookbook, “Cooking From the Heart,” and the celebratory 6-course dinner, expertly paired with Bwise Vineyard Wines, was nothing short of fantastic.
When you get offered car service in a Lexus RX450h to a celebratory dinner at Animal because Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo are to be presented as the next Culinary Masters, you say Yes. Especially when last year’s anointed, Miami’s Latin fusion extraordinaire and longtime mentor to Jon & Vinny, Michelle Bernstein, is in town and also presenting dishes of her own at the dinner.
Today’s the day. That is, the last day to get your tickets to this weekend’s events at L.A. Times’ The Taste before they go up in price! Also, there are some events (tomorrow night’s limited-capacity opening night, Flavors of L.A. and the weekend pass) that are sold out, so don’t snooze on it; get your tickets now while you can.
Summer food events are a dime a dozen, but Angeleno Magazine manages to present a consistently solid line-up year after year at their steady Live and Dine LA event held at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows. This year, there was no award presentation, leaving a core group of favorites to sample their eats in the courtyard surrounding the gorgeous, 130-some-year-old, 80-foot tall Moreton Bay Fig Tree.
Attendees sipped Brugal Summer Hounds, Pavan Sangria Cocktails, Macallan 12 Fine Oak, iced Handsome Coffee brew, Solsticio Wines, 123 Organic Tequila margaritas and more as they savored dishes from some of the most popular restaurants in the city:
The food festival circuit is a doozy, these days. And with how exhausting each event is, it’s easy to fatigue early on. There’s dealing with the line wait in front of the popular stands, but there’s also the prioritizing that goes on to ensure you’re getting the good stuff before you get full. The sold-out Tacolandia stood to be no different.
There are a lot of freebies and promotion deals to be had in our wonderful city, but I can’t say I’ve run across the offering of an entire dinner in exchange for the test drive of a car, before. And now, we have.
L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade, for my third year in attendance, remains one of my favorite food events. The original idea of Alex’s Lemonade arose out of a courageous four-year-old’s battle with neuroblastoma and her desire to donate the proceeds of her lemonade stand to doctors who have helped her. Childhood cancer strikes a chord personally, as my first born nephew was diagnosed with Acute lymphocytic leukemia at the age of 1 1/2. Thanks to treatment and some faith, he’s now entering his teen years as a survivor. Of course, more research needs to be done.
It took a few tries, but it seems as though the flagship food, cocktails, wine & beer event of our city’s flagship publication may have this Labor Day weekend on lock. So head on over to Paramount Pictures this upcoming 3-day weekend for a celebration of delicious consumptions and libations. Tickets cost $65 per event and come with unlimited bites and swigs. See below for a preview of dishes, cocktails & people you’ll have to look forward to:
Field to Fork: Saturday, 9/1 • 11 am- 3 pm (21+)
Times Food Editor Russ Parsons and Chef Ray Garcia of FIG host this session inspired by fresh, local ingredients in celebration of seasonal dishes. Look forward to cooking demos, a conversation with local farmers and a chef’s challenge. You’ll experience tastes from Cook’s County, Sunny Spot, Picca, Mo-Chica, M.B. Post and Canele, who will be plating their Shelled Bean Salad.
I hope everyone’s having a great holiday season! I’m checking back in (with a New Year’s resolution to update regularly come the…you’ve guessed it…new year) since I’m super excited to be live-blogging tonight from Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills.
St. Vincent’s famous food truck, Cart for a Cause, has launched a cookbook featuring 40 of Los Angeles’ acclaimed chefs. Four of them – Mark Gold (Eva Restaurant), Alex Becker (NOBU Los Angeles), Bebe Flynn (Miss Lilly’s Trading Company) and Michael Fiorelli (mar’sel at Terranea) – will be on-hand at the VIP reception at 5 PM today. For $25, you’ll get bites straight from the cookbook and get to take home your own signed copy (call 213.484.7128 to RSVP). You’ll be taking home some delicious recipes while knowing that 100% of the proceeds from your cookbook purchase benefits Meals on Wheels.
At 6 PM, tonight, is the main holiday shopping event. You can expect lots of treats! Not only will Cart for a Cause be serving up food at the valet, every sponsor will have something special to offer every attendee. Plus, free Pisco Porton cocktails and glitter tattoos. The Guerlain lash bar will be open as will the Frederic Fekkai counter. Check below for what everyone’s got in store:
- Free glitter tattoos
- Feed with Fashion Social T-shirt from JUNK FOOD CLOTHING
- Longer lashes at the GUERLAIN lash bar
- A hair analysis at FREDERIC FEKKAI
- The 30-second facelift at CELLCOSMET
- Hand and arm massages from LA MER and JO MALONE
- Mini facials at SK-II
- A chance to enter and win a PENHALIGONâ€™S fragrance gift basket, valued at $385.
- Makeovers and artistry from ARMANI, BOBBI BROWN, CHANEL, CLARINS, ESTEE LAUDER, LANCOME, LAURA MERCIER, NARS and YSL
- A special gift with your BOBBI BROWN, CELLCOSMET, CLARINS, DIOR, DOLCE & GABBANA, ESTEE LAUDER, FREDERIC FEKKAI, IOMA, LAURA MERCIER and SK-II purchases.*
- A complimentary makeup sample when you meet with a CLE DE PEAU or SHISEIDO consultant*
- Customization of your ESTEE LAUDER purchase by their engraver*
- With your SISLEY purchase, get your future foretold by renowned psychic Dora Blacman*
*denotes one per purchase
Also, don’t forget to visit me in the Blogger’s Hub! I’ll be live-blogging and tweeting the event.
And, if you decide to do some holiday shopping (for others or yourself, natch), you’ll feel great that during the hours of 6 – 8 PM tonight, 5% will benefit Miss Lilly’s Trading Company, which goes towards feeding pets belonging to homebound seniors, while 5% more will go towards St. Vincent Meals on Wheels, which help feed the seniors themselves.
See you tonight!
Every year, there are more and more food events to choose from, making it hard to know exactly which one to support. LA Loves Alex’s Lemonade, however, is pretty much la crÃ¨me de la crÃ¨me when it comes to the quality of participants – at least from my inaugural experience last year. This year, it looks like the case will be the same.
Let’s take a look and see why. Participants from LA include Michael Cimarusti (Providence), Vinny Dotolo & Jon Shook (Animal), Neal Fraser (Grace), Suzanne Goin (Lucques, A.O.C., Tavern), Matt Molina (Osteria Mozza), Zoe Nathan (Huckelberry), Steve Samson & Zach Pollack (Sotto), Eric Alperin (The Varnish) and Jonathan Graham (Compartes).
And if those weren’t all enough reasons, there will also be stellar showings from other parts, such as April Bloomfield (The Spotted Pig – NY), Neal Bodenheimer (CURE – New Orleans), Brian Huston & Paul Kahan (The Publican – Chicago), Johnathan Sundstrom (Lark – Seattle), Jonathan Waxman (Barbuto – NY) andÂ Lachlan Patterson (Frasca Food and Wine – Boulder, CO).
As far as tickets, they’re not a drop in the bucket, but they’re mostly tax-deductible. But there’s no better way to enjoy endlessÂ hand-crafted cocktails from top mixologists and dishes from your favorite chefsÂ with the Gone With The Wind mansion as your backdrop. Meanwhile, you pay your taxes forwardÂ and further research on childhood cancer. Yay!Â While the regular general ticket price is normally $175, Thrillist LA is offeringÂ VIP tickets (normally $400) forÂ $225 ($100 is tax-deductible). Given that you get a whole extra hour and admission into the VIP area as well as the pre-event mixology session, this ticket is your best bet.
See you in Culver City next weekend!