Food festivals come and go, but the multi-event Los Angeles Food & Wine always produces many noteworthy moments across a diverse set of mediums. From lunches combining famous visiting chefs with hometown culinary stars and cooking demonstrations to Lexus grand tastings and informative seminars, the extravaganza is a great way to see how the Los Angeles culinary scene somehow fits in with the rest of the world’s.
Here are some highlights from the daytime events I attended:
Los Angeles Food & Wine: It’s basically the hottest ticket of the year, in that there’s a hodgepodge of over forty events all packed into four days. There are out-of-town culinary stars that join with local forces to grace us with their presentations of different food and wine themes.
For those with Fridays off or non-business hour workdays, don’t forget to check out one of the lunches available – for instance at CUT, which is usually not even available for lunch service.
Of course, for those of you who just can’t decide, it’ll be easy to pick a Lexus Grand Tasting on one of the two afternoons or evenings, wherein you’ll get to walk around L.A. LIVE while sampling plenty of eats & wines from kitchens and vineyards that hail from all over.
And get your tickets fast, because the event starts in a matter of 3 days. Some events are already sold out. This is your final warning.
It’s a beautiful thing when you can find a beer – or, what’s more, an entire beer culture – right in our own backyard. And the latter became increasingly evident as L.A. Beer Week events were curated andÂ celebrated around the city. It was a beautiful thing to witnessÂ Angelenos walking away from events, bars and gatherings ever moreÂ appreciativeÂ and knowledgable about suds the past ten days.
Now, there were plenty more people with better stamina than I who attended probably double or even quadruple the number of events that I did – and props to you whether you’re also press or aÂ beer distributor by trade. Whatever the degree of which you decided to participate, one thing was certain: Beer Week is an exciting time to be in Los Angeles. Here’s why:
You may witness a celebrity chef’s decision toÂ revamp his beer program. Nobody is exempt from learning – nobody – andÂ at the first ever Dogfish Head beer dinner held in Los Angeles, Chef Eric Greenspan confessed that his appreciation for craft beers has been renewed since his college brewing days. Now, at The Foundry on Melrose, you can findÂ a highlightedÂ craft beer for the month paired with an entree expressly by Chef Greenspan, himself.
You get to experience the evolution of aÂ dessert that just a couple years ago never even existed. Yes,Â I’m talking aboutÂ the now-popularÂ beer float. There were fourÂ such creative renditions of beer floats at Food GPS’ Beer Float Showdown II with Boneyard Bistro‘s Floris Apple with salted Bourbon and cinnamon ice cream taking the prize. A close second was Simmzy’s cherry pie rendition … oh, was it so hard to vote for the winner!!
It’s a great occasion to try an L.A. beer you’ve never tried and/or visit an L.A.Â pubÂ you have never been to. Beer is really hot in L.A. right now, and Beer Week is only helping. One only needs toÂ reference theÂ entrance of The Bruery a couple years ago and Eagle Rock Brewery one year ago into the foray. Or the opening of Nibble Bit Tabby just last Spring. Naja’s Place, the place where all beer taps go to heaven, ranks up there as one of the only reasons I will visit the South Bay.
You get to experience food-beer pairings that blow your mind. Like the Dogfish Head Sah’tea paired with Chef Greenspan’s Smoked Cod Brandade with potato, cauliflower and eggplant. The juniper berries, black tea, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and black pepper in the Sah’tea were highlighted so well against the salty brandade (yet tempered by the cauliflower and eggplant), I’m salivating just thinking about it again. Another mind-blowing pairing was the Hot Knivez‘s Brugge Rodenbach cherry-ciabatta grilled cheese paired with The Bruery’s Oude Tart, a sour Red Ale which had dark fruit and oak notes that matched the Rodenbach-soakedÂ cherries in the homemade ciabatta so deliciously. The Hot Knivez-Bruery Symposium at Verdugo Bar was another delightful event.
You may have dibs on theÂ first batch – of something – to exist or hit the West Coast. The beer industry knows that L.A. Beer Week is the place to be, so you best know it, too. The Delawareans at Dogfish Head sent over its 10% ABV Burton Baton, an oak-aged old ale and Imperial IPA blend, to Los Angeles just for this event.
You get to try rare beers you have never tried – or even heard of – before. File this under Category: Obvious. Yesterday, at the culiminating event of all L.A. Beer Week events, the Union Station party in which you got unlimited 4 oz. pours for $40, you could taste a Samuel Adams sour ale in one sip and Craftsman Triple Sage in the next – with Victory Brewing Company’s version of Saison du Buff in the next. Be sure to walk around the party with at least one beer geek on hand (and mini stein in the other)Â to expedite the best recommendations and tastes to your lips.
It’s an exciting time for beer right now in L.A., and with this being only the second beer week – and a super successful one – I can see the excitement only growing. And brewing. 😉 I’d like to thank everyone I’ve bumped into along the way for making it a great few days to suds it up. There’s really nothing like great beer and great company.
Maison 140â€™s Bar Noir is quite a unique spot. With Maison 140 being a boutique hotel housing only 43 unique guestrooms, itâ€™s actually hidden away in an enclave in Beverly Hills. Bar Noir has Mandarin and French black-red themes and an intimate feel, which makes it the perfect place to relax with a few good friends over cocktails. Or wine and cheese, that is.
For the summer, you can enjoy this stylish retreat while sipping fruity, floral French RoseÌ wine and nibbling artisanal cheeses selected for the pairing. Itâ€™s held every Wednesday from 6-9 PM and costs a respectable $35 per person.
The following RoseÌs are featured:
Jabouletâ€”CoÌ‚tes du RhoÌ‚ne ‘ParalleÌ€le 45’ RoseÌ 2008
Whispering Angelâ€”CoÌ‚tes de Provence RoseÌ 2007