Friday September 2nd 2011 – The annual Los Angeles Times Taste of LA event kicked off Friday night behind the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. Several large tents housed a collection of restaurateurs, wine merchants and liquor distributors from the greater Los Angeles area. The exception was a number of wineries from Napa Valley and beyond. It was a decadent Labor Day weekend of gourmet food and libation.
Burgers & Beer Presented by Peroni & Eater LA
Each day of the event had its own theme and vendors. The opening night theme was “Burgers & Beer” presented by Peroni and Eater LA. Patrons were treated to Los Angeles’ most celebrated restaurants and chefs as they interpreted what a gourmet ‘burger’ means to them. Tasty creations included burgers from Ford’s Filling Station and The Tasting Kitchen and patrons had the opportunity to vote for their favorite L.A. burger.
There was also an impressive selection of wine and handcrafted beers that were available. Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune (The Beer Chicks) selected their personal favorites for the evening from the assortment of breweries. There were also several live cooking demos including one from Marc Boussarie, The Counter’s Executive Chef, who educated the audience on how to build a unique burger.
The Art of Mixing Presented by American Airlines
Another Taste of LA event took place that same evening at Paramount Pictures in Hollywood on their renowned studio backlot. The famed motion picture company was founded in 1912 and is one of America’s oldest existing film studios. Patrons drank and dined on the same streets where such classic motion pictures as "The Godfather", "Chinatown" and others were filmed.
KCRW’s Jason Bentley dropped beats as the opening DJ and after setting the vibe, the Latin-inspired punk band, Mariachi El Bronx kept the tempo up throughout the evening. Attendees enjoyed exclusive cooking/mixology demos with Chef Ricardo Zarate, John Rivera Sedlar and Julian Cox along with spectacular food, music and got educated with the secrets behind mixing a show-stopping beverage.
Secrets from the Kitchen & Cellar Presented by Infiniti
Event goers learned the secrets behind Scarpetta owner, Scott Conant’s signature Italian cooking style. Patrons checked out exclusive interviews with celebrity couple Chef Ludo & Krissy Lefebvre. Chef Michael Voltaggio also was cooking up some fun. Patrons also sampled the latest dishes from top L.A. restaurants like Craft and Napa Valley Grille and tasted wines from Ferrari Carano and Barone Fini.
Taco Tequila Tryst Presented by Hornitos, Buick & GMC Hosted by Roy Choi
Roy Choi, the godfather of the food truck movement, served up an incredible evening including L.A.’s best taco artists who brought their A-game to create one-of-a-kind tacos. Everyone enjoyed Worldwide Tacos latest creations and stopped by Yamashiro Restaurant to see what Executive Chef Brock Kleweno was cooking up. The best part was pairing it all with Hornitos tequila (at their packed tequila bar) or with a little Don Q rum.
Live music was proided by Diego Garcia who kept kept the atmosphere lively. The real standout performance though, was from Pollyn, an up-and-coming local band who's ethereal music permeated every corner of the venue. Pollyn's atmospheric music is influenced by down-tempo, new wave, funk world and traditional pop. The lead vocalist Geneieve Artadi has a reamrkable voice, soothing and yet melodic. The bands debut album "This Little Night" was released in 2009.
Fashion Bites Brunch Presented by Ciroc & Infiniti
On Sunday morning, patrons experienced unparalleled brunch tasting on the famous Rodeo Drive. Los Angeles’ hottest brunch spots served up signature dishes alongside free-flowing Bloody Mary’s, Bellinis and mimosas along with dishes from The Farm of Beverly Hills and from The Blvd at the Beverly Wilshire. Guests also checked out the latest from Chef Richard Sandoval’s Zengo. Between bites, shoppers found some of the most fashionable accessories and clothes in the world on Rodeo Drive.
Street Eats Presented Buick & GMC Hosted by Susan Feniger
Susan Feniger of Top Chef Masters, Border Grill and Susan Feniger’s STREET hosted an unforgettable event Sunday night at Paramount Studios. Whether the featured restaurants were in Hollywood, Downtown, Chinatown or the gourmet food trucks, everyone experienced the diverse culture of Los Angeles like never before. Marcel Vignero showcased his “Modern Global” cuisine as he made the most unusual tacos. Patrons also got to sample what Top Chef favorite; Fabio Viviani’s signature pork belly sandwich was all about.
Desserts After Dark Presented by Ciroc Hosted By Duff Goldman
Food Network star Duff Goldman and acclaimed pastry chefs showcased their most sinful sweets that L.A. had to offer. Duff, star of the upcoming Food Network show Sugar High and owner of Charm City West in L.A., satisfied everyone’s sweet tooth, while Craft Restaurant also served up an assortment of delicious desserts. Event guests discovered the fonut, a new spin on the donut. A variety of tastings were complimented with Qream Liqueur, Dow’s Port and a little Villa Massa Limoncello.
Food Noir Presented by Peroni
Sunday night, the Party moved downtown on Broadway, between 8th and 9th streets as Los Angeles’ most celebrated restaurants and chefs served up ‘noir’ inspired dishes, wine and spirits. There were tastings from the First & Hope Supper Club, Peroni beer, Landy Cognac and much more.
Between bites and sips, patrons wandered into the iconic Orpheum Theatre to enjoy classic Warner Brothers cartoons, vintage newsreels and trailers for legendary movies from Alfred Hitchcock, Cecil B. DeMille and more.
Picnic in the Hills Presented by Target and Hosted by Giada De Laurentiis
Both family and friends enjoyed one of the most elaborate Labor Day celebrations, hosted by Food Network star, Giada De Laurentiis. Guests enjoyed amazing chef creations, as well as fun kid and family-focused events throughout the afternoon.
Patrons caught an interview with “Hungry Girl” host and best-selling author Lisa Lillien and learned how Aida Mollenkamp of Cooking Channel’s Foodcrafters makes kid-friendly vegetable chips. Sprinkles Cupcakes founder Candace Nelson baked her popular strawberry cupcakes. Yummy!
If you weren't able to make it to this years Taste of LA Event, you should definitely put it on the calendar for next year. For more information go to their website at http://events.latimes.com/taste/