Taste of Beverly Hills 90210 Review - Full Trendy Plates

So much effort went into doing it up just right on the part of the producers for the “Taste of Beverly Hills 90210” event that even the weather and all of the participating restaurants and spirits vendors went all out to wow and please the guests.

got kosher? Tunisian sandwich

Imagine a tented, three-story space the size of three football fields, ringed with restaurant booths, the spirits vendors in the middle each tent. That’s what the parking lot across from the Beverly Hilton looked like, under clear skies and in cool weather.

It’s a marathon compared with the Slow Food Italy’s Tri-Athlon of food which is five times as big and unimaginable. At least with all the walking, I actually lost two pounds after three days of walking at 90210 – probably just because I was in that area code.

To start off, representive of Beverly Hills, , right inside the red carpet entrance under an imposing arch was “ Taste of Persia,” a splendid Arabian Nights style tent (sorry! I know Iranians are not Arabs!) housing food and entertainment by the Farhang Foundation - a non-religious, non-political, not-for-profit organization dedicated to celebrating and promoting Iranian art , culture, and heritage for the benefit of the community at large. Inviting guests inside, just outside the opening were tables of inviting Persian market fruits and sweets outside. Inside a veiled dancer moved high in the center of the floor. In true Beverly Hills, or is it Hollywood style, photo ops for the public of the entire Kardashian family. And judging from the crowds of people, it worked.

All was quiet just before the start of the first sold out evening as vendors hustled to finish their tables. Wolfgang Puck wandered from booth to booth, hawking his new iced c offee, offering up either a serious greeting of “oh this is where the pretty girls are” (SLS) or “tell your boss to get you help down here ( The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills).”

When the doors opened a rush of people started flowing in, stopping only to take a wine glass from the glittering displays on large round tables, and the energy never flagged from this upbeat holiday crowd ready until the evening was over after the concert.

“Sliders” and “fat-for-flavor” pork dishes ruled at the VIP opening night of “ Taste of Beverly Hills”, with just enough appetizer dishes and desserts to make a “balanced” meal.

Beef sliders, with the best beef, ruled but duck was not far behind. Fraiche’s handsome staff offered decadent duck sliders. Duck schwarma with cous cous from MOMED was so succulent and tasty you didn’t need a wrapper.

At the CUT booth, kobe beef sliders were prepared by chef Ari Rosenson, the man, who created one of L.A.’s best and most decadent “peasant” dishes, now a menu star, Bone Marrow Flan, Mushroom Marmalade and Parsley Salad. Warm and engaging award-winning pastry chef Sherry Yard beamed as she introduced her husband, while her chewy chocolate cookies were packaged to go home in case guests were too full.

Even notoriously severe Chef-owner Sang Yoon of Father’s Office was smiling as he served a mini-form of his immaculate designed and handcrafted burgers and beers from a portable bar.

Yoon’s pals, The Marino brothers, Sal and Mario, of La Bottega Marino left the bread off with their signature family meat balls.

All the more of an appetite for a prime rib (rare or medium!) slider, homemade potato chips and creamed corn from historic Lawry's The Prime Rib . National manager Brian Monfort, General Manager Todd Johnson and their whole crew created a crowd buzz --and they wound up going through 400 pounds of meat. Following close behind were the popular, juicy short ribs and homemade mashed potatoes, the most popular dish on the The Grill on the Alley menu, and ribs from at RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen.

Angelini Osteria. Co-owner Elizabeth (Mrs. Angelini) told us the health department would not let them serve their showstopper whole porcetta (whole roasted pig), but their signature green lasagna was perfection

Noodles were also served with KimmyTang’s usual huge, warm smile, as she served her namesake dish, 9021PHO from her new Beverly Hills location.

More pasta, this time displayed in a eye-catching five-foot pan by the new chef at the Four Seasons, Wilshire Boulevard, Perfecto Rocher. He prepared his Catalon grandmother’s recipe of black fideua pasta (a large grain orzo infused with squid ink, with crunchy shrimp.

The Thompson Hotel, Chef Executive Chef Mirko Paderno, creator of such fantastic modern Italian food at Oliverio at the Avalon Hotel, and Mr. Chow’s had continuous lines, which could have been as much for their model-handsome chefs and serving team, as for their tasty dishes. We could say the same for the friendly brother-sister owners of Guelaguetza.

Downtown acquitted itself well. Wurstkuche’s genius owner, Joseph Pitruzzelli, served rattlesnake sausage and beer. And from there, pork reigned. From the break-out hit of 2008 Nickel Diner was represented by owner Kristan Trattner (my cousin!) and partner-chef Monica May, who served a complete little meal of their most popular dish , Catfish with Corn Cakes and Pecan Sauce with Hashed Bacon Brussel Sprouts and their nationally famous bacon (!) doughnuts. Chef Joshua Smith at Church and State was all smiles, plating his highly unusual little pork shank dish to a never ending line of guests.

Matching pig for pig from the opposite end of town near the beach was Rustic Canyon with a yummy pork belly, warm white beans and kale and pickled chili . FIG chef Ray Garcia offered up a “ bacon wrapped bacon” sandwich and fresh farm produce salad, snapped up as soon as they were made. The secret of the bacon inside pork belly was “braising the bacon in apple juice to make it melt in the mouth,” revealed Chef Garcia. L’Epicerie, gourmet food, bakery, charcuterie and market about to open in Culver City introduced themselves with the highest grade cured pork, shaved right off the leg..

got kosher? Tunisian sandwich

Desserts were spaced out perfectly. At Got Kosher, crowds swept up canales, a kind of virgin Baba au Rhum, along with Tunisian sandwiches, pretzel challah (the better to go with the cherubic Celestino’s airy foie gras) and babaganoush. Cheesecake Factory served huge slabs of moist red velvet cheesecake. Executive pastry Chef Richard Ruskell, FTN winning chef, represented the Montage Beverly Hills with a variety of mini-treats. Mickey Fine Pharmacy and Grill’s table was a huge candy display. Another candy display, with their signature pop rocks was offered by Bazaar at SLS Hotel.

Hansen’s glorious (and edible) multi-tier cake was a tribute to 90210. The cheerful ladies at the booth laughed as people brushed by it, thinking it was not real. For those who just wanted to sample a taste, the ladies made up plates of frosting and cake scrapings – “the best part,” laughed one, like the crust on a casserole.

And on the way out to the shuttle, Intelligencia coffee provided freshly individually brewed and steeped cups of coffee, the coffee barrista’s faces intense with concentration.

The expansive “Taste of Beverly Hills” event compares to restaurant openings these days: they might not prove lucrative but there’s a new one every month that’s giving it a go. To quote Momed restaurant owner Alex Sarkissian, “against enormous odds, they pulled it off.”

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