As the Los Angeles “chill” continues, it’s only natural to crave the comforting foods in which we take refuge. Luckily, there’s Bar Pinxto, a tapas place that has reinvigorated the Spanish traditions behind the term that was once disgracefully applied to all “small plates.” The place has the most mom and pop feel of anywhere in the tourist hub of Santa Monica, and the reasonable price points, accommodating happy hour specials and prix fixe menu options clinch its status as a neighborhood favorite.
That young, Venice-representative food festival called The Taste of Abbot Kinney is back. And this, the third time around, they’ve got a new model to present. As a result of last year’s Taste souring due to food shortages and taste ticket overages, the board had decided to completely revamp the event. To start, they brought one of Abbot Kinney’s most important and veteran proprietors on-board as event chairman: Joe Miller.
The event returns with two ticket levels but with a centralized reception space in the former studio of Charles & Ray Eames. VIPs get early access at 3 PM with a reception hosted by The Food Network’s Adam Gertler; chef demos by Joe Miller himself and Yoshi Shima; appetizers by Primitivo, Joe’s and Gjelina; Calstar Cellar wines poured by Primitivo; Bloody Marys by Tasting Kitchen;Â desserts by Crema and even a VIP gift bag.
At 4:30 PM, regular Tasting Tour takers join in with included access to the DJ’edÂ reception, where they also get to participate in the drawing, which includes hotel and restaurant packages from such destinations as: Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, Hotel Wilshire, Hotel Erwin and Terranea Resort and original art by Ellie Riley. Participating restaurants in the Taste of Abbot Kinney also include Halâ€™s Restaurant & Bar, Lillyâ€™s French CafÃ© & Bar, Casa Linda, Lemonade, Otheroom, 3 Square Cafe & Bakery, The General Store/Pop Up Gallery and Abbotâ€™s Habit.
See below to see how you can win one of two pairs of tickets to the VIP reception…
And of course, the day of tasting doesn’t just end at 6 PM. Full disclosure: I’m judging this subsequent cocktail competition!
The inaugural Abbot Kinney Cocktail Clash held at Joe’s Restaurant will be held at 7 PM for all who want to attend (free), where Ryan Wainwright of Tasting Kitchen, Dennis Kahn of Hal’s Bar and Grill and Jennifer Zerboni from Joe’s Restaurant will go head-to-head in a cocktail competition.
First round: Each mixologist will be presented with a mystery box of five ingredients that they must use in their cocktail, and will have 10 minutes to create. Potential ingredients include: Portuguese peppers, Persian cucumbers, bacon, lemon verbena, arugula, tomato, passion fruit, cardamom, star anise and huckleberry.
Second round: Each bartender will have 7 minutes to create their own, pre-planned signature cocktail. Wainwright will be making his Navy Sour, Kahn his Sapphire Sunset and Zebroni will be creating her Fisco Pig. Each cocktail will be judged on: best presentation, most original and best overall taste.
Daniel Djang of Thirsty in LA and I will be judges and guests will be able to purchase food from the bar or dinner menu at Joe’s Restaurant.
And now the giveaway…
To enter to win one of two pairs of tickets to the VIP Reception + Tasting Tour of Abbot Kinney, do both of the following:
- Tweet: “I want to win VIP tix to @TasteofAK, @estarLA! http://estar.la/e/c1”
- “Like e*starLA” on Facebook
- Leave a comment below (with your email address, which won’t be shared, so I can contact you) on what you’re most looking forward to at TofAK.
Contest closes Thursday at 5PM! I’ll contact the two winners by 7PM. If I don’t hear back by the end of the day, I’ll pick another winner (or two) on Friday morning. Be on standby at your Inboxes.
See you at Taste of Abbot Kinney!