Disclosure: I received free tickets for LA Times’ The Taste, but as always, all opinions are 100% my own!
This year, I had the amazing opportunity to attend the LA Times’ yearly gathering of foodies and amazing chefs and restaurants from the LA area: The Taste. Five different events span three days, covering every inch of the culinary landscape of Los Angeles.
As a food lover and fan of many LA chefs, it was a dream come true for me to attend. If you follow me at all on Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, or have visited my YouTube channel, you’ve definitely seen all the fun that I had at the four events I attended. I thought it would be nice to bring a little recap to the blog after all that, though!
The first event I attended was “Field to Fork,” hosted by Amy Scattergood (Times food editor) and Michael Cimarusti (from Providence & Connie & Ted’s). The event featured the endless bounty of California’s local produce and our chefs’ love of seasonal cooking. There were so many vegetable-based dishes that were beyond anything I have ever tasted.
I loved Manhattan House’s crostini with fresh pesto and the brightest, most delicious cherry tomatoes I’ve ever seen.The Springs’ Vegan Ceviche and Kale salad was also amazing–and I’m learning that vegan ceviche is DEFINITELY one of my favorite things (thinking back to my Night Market experience, where the vegan ceviche was ALSO a fave!).
Another standout was Tart’s Carolina Gold Risotta, with Rainbow Cauliflower, Purple Microgreens, and Stone Ground Mustard Cream, as well as Circa 55’s Golden Beet Ceviche, with delicious and earthy golden beets.
My favorite by far, however, was Ceviche Nikkei from Firefly, with crispy roasted Brussels sprouts, mint, and kimchi sake sauce. I still have dreams about that one.
On Saturday night, foodies came out in droves for Dinner with a Twist, which combined LA’s greatest chefs with LA’s greatest cocktail mixologists. The event was hosted by revered LA Times food critic Jonathan Gold, and featured restaurants ranging from Redbird to Broken Spanish to Vivianne and so much more.
My personal favorites included Vivianne’s Saffron Fried Rice with Duck Confit; Knob Creek’s Booker’s Bramble cocktail with fresh blackberries, bourbon, and triple sec; and Komodo’s Paradise Pork Taco.
I loved getting a quick visit with my favorite ramen bar–Jinya–and also loved Faith & Flower’s Chocolate Hazelnut mousse for dessert.
Sunday included another full day of events, with the Block Party kicking off the day, and Flavors of LA closing out the evening. The Block Party brought backyard cookout-inspired dishes, with everything from buttermilk fried oysters (from L&E Oyster Bar) to s’mores ice cream sandwiches (from Hinoki & the Bird).
I loved the Thai Turkey Burger from Simmyz, the Ensaymada Project’s ube ensaymada (like a more bread-like cupcake), the delicious Egg & Avocado Breakfast Sandwich from The Hudson, Rainbow Cauliflower Taco from Trejo’s Tacos (you know, Danny Trejo? As in MACHETE???).
There were also plenty of cocktails to be enjoyed, including more Knob Creek concoctions, Suntory Whisky, Ocean Vodka, and several wineries, including Coppola and Mark West.
The closing event, Flavors of LA, paid tribute to the diversity of the LA culinary scene, with Thai, Filipino, Korean, Italian, and Mexican cuisines being represented, just to name a few. I personally loved the lamb tacos from Aqui es Texcoco–and I’m pretty sure everyone else did too, judging by the line… and let me tell you–it was SO, SO worth it! Other hits of the night for me were the Slow & Low Indian Pork Curry from my fave guys at Badmaash, and the Chorizo Tostado at Guisados. I feel like you can never go wrong with either of those places–everything they make is just beyond amazing.
I also have to give it up for my favorite dish of the entire weekend–Chef Bruce Kahlman’s pork meatballs from Knead Bread & Pasta Co. Simple, amazingly flavorful, and just delicious beyond description. It doesn’t hurt that Chef Kahlman is just a super cool dude.
All in all, the weekend was an amazing success. That much culinary talent in one place is pretty much like heaven for a foodie for me!
Check out my YouTube videos for more photos of this year’s 2016 The Taste: