Los Angeles Magazine, The Food Event, 2012 Review – Eat, Drink And Be Merry

I died and went to heaven. Not literally, of course, but on Sunday, October 21st, picture the splendor of the Saddlerock Ranch in the Malibu Hills, combine it with 40 of the top restaurants in LA, accompanied by some of the finest California wines and spirits and you have the 7th Annual Los Angeles Magazine Food Event, 2012. This culinary extravaganza also included food demonstrations and conversations by top celebrity chefs and sommeliers.  A veritable feast for the senses.  So, forget the diet! Time to indulge!!

Los Angeles Magazine, The Food Event 2012


Saddlerock Ranch in the Malibu Hills, the magnificent vineyard grounds of Malibu Family Wines, Saddlerock and Semler Wines again played host to this spectacular event benefitting “KIDS COURAGE.” Founded in 2006, the mission of Kids Courage Foundation is to provide financial assistance to the families of children (newborns up to the age of eighteen) suffering from serious illnesses or injuries. Sponsors participating in this noteworthy charity event included “The Naked Grape” wine, Stella Artois beer, Luna, healthy and nutritious bars, VOSS water, Sub-Zero & Wolf Appliances, HSBC Premier and Cadillac.

Saddlerock ranch grounds

Saddlerock ranch grounds

Saddlerock guests - photo courtesy of Jim Donnelly Photo and Jennifer Fujikawa Photography


There was a cornucopia of great restaurants and the savory dishes were expertly prepared and presented. Among them, short rib grilled cheese by Westside Tavern. Now, I’m not a big fan of grilled cheese but this sandwich was pure heaven. The short rib was so moist and tender. It literally melted in my mouth. Naturally, I went back for seconds and apparently everyone else did as well. It was simply marvelous. There was also marinated octopus salad, caramelized cabbage, pomegranate, smoked almonds, coriander and caraway seed by Farmshop, lump crab saffron rice and avocado parfait by Gladstones (so yummy and another favorite), ground beef and pickle tacos, tamales -  flor de Calabasa with rajas and jack cheese by Malo/Mas Malo, I can go on but I can’t list all 40 restaurants and dishes here. You’ll just have to come to the ranch next year and see for yourself. As you can imagine, my taste buds were going crazy. For you “dessertaholics” out there, there was chocolate supplied by ChocoVivo, dulce de leche flan by Saddlepeak Lodge (my favorite) and drunken udder ice cream. How sweet it is!!

Westside Tavern

Westside Tavern - grilled cheese and short rib

Farmshop - marinated octopus salad - caramelized cabbage,pomegranate,smoked almonds, coriander & caraway seed - photo courtesy of Jim Donnelly Photo and Jennifer Fujikawa Photography

Gladstones - lump crab saffron rice and avocado parfait - photo courtesy of Jim Donnelly Photo and Jennifer Fujikawa Photography

Malo/Mas Malo Restaurant

Black Market Liquor - Clams, Calabrese Salami, marjoram lemon breadcrumb; salted caramel pudding, carnita cactus salad - photo courtesy of Jim Donnelly Photo and Jennifer Fujikawa Photography

Saddle Peak Lodge - dulce de leche flan


These dishes were enhanced by some of the finest wines and spirits this state has to offer.. Among the wineries pouring were Saddlerock/Semler, Herzog Wines Cellars, Testarossa Winery, Vampire Vineyards, Echalon Vineyards, The Naked Grape and many others. You had your choice of cabernet, syrah, merlot, pinot, red blends, sauvignon blanc and chardonnay. Some were dry, some sweet. All smooth on the palate. Spirits included Ketel One Vodka, Stella Artois beer and VOSS generously donated all the water.

Saddlerock Wines

Herzog Wines

The author at Ketel One

Stella Artois Beer - photo courtesy of Jim Donnelly Photo and Jennifer Fujikawa Photography


While taking a break from all the food and wine, what better way to “chill” for a while than to watch the many chefs and sommeliers do their thing at the “Demonstration Tent.”. They included Eric Greenspan of The Foundry on Melrose, Ludo Lefebvre of LudoBites, Matt Biancaniello of The Library Bar, Antonia Lofaso of Black Market Liquor Bar and David Feau of the Royce at The Langham.

Ludo Lefebvre of LudoBites - photo courtesy of Jim Donnelly Photo and Jennifer Fujikawa Photography

Eric Greenspan of The Foundry on Melrose


Another place to  relax while learning about food, wine and beer was at “The Conversation Lounge.” Topics included “Que Syrah, Syrah!,” “Meet the Pizza Makers,” and “Building a Craft Beer Empire.”  Leo Quinones and Lesley Bargar Suter (LA Magazine) did a fantastic job as moderators.

Conversation Lounge - "Meet the Pizza Makers" - Zach Pollack of Sotto, Jeff Mahin of Stella Rossa Pizza Bar and Anthony Carron of 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria - narrated by LA Magazine Dine Editor, Lesley Bargar Suter - photo courtesy of Jim Donnelly Photo and Jennifer Fujikawa Photography


After three hours of decadent indulging at Saddlerock Ranch in the glorious hills of Malibu, it was time to leave.. The event was a tremendous success and a great time was had by all. I would definitely recommend it to all the “foodies” out there. It was certainly worth the price of admission and for such a worthy charity.

So put this on your 2013 calendar and get that appetite ready. You’re in for a real treat!. 

To learn more about the event, go to: http://www.lamag.com/thefoodevent/


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