Gold Standard 2011
Petersen Auto Museum
6060 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Dining date: 3/6/11
I came. I saw. I left full. That pretty much sums up my experience from this year’s Gold Standard, the third annual event presented by LA Weekly and LA food critic Jonathan Gold. Last year was my first time attending, and it was one of the best food events I went to. I bought my ticket early this year, getting an early-bird discount of $10 off the regular ticket price ($60 GA, $80 VIP). The VIP ticket gets you in an hour earlier, but I didn’t think it was necessary – thus, I went with General Admission.
The event featured over 40 of Jonathan Gold’s favorite restaurants, as well as an impressive number of wineries represented. The restaurants represented cuisines of all kinds, casual restaurants to high-end, and locations all over the city – it was an interesting picture of the LA dining scene.
The first thing I saw was the line to get in, which was long. However, once we hit 1pm, the line moved pretty quickly in.
A long row, with tables on both sides, served as the “wine bars.”
Compressed pineapple and curry petit four
Our gameplan was to hit some of our “musts” early – this was one of them. The scallop tartare was a highlight, wrapped in a leaf and topped with popped rice. The fish was tender and tasty, while the popped rice added a nice crunch. In a bite, this dish represented the restaurant’s clean flavors, emphasis on seafood and Japanese influences. The pineapple and curry petit four came out later in the afternoon – I liked the interplay of the sweet pineapple with the curry.
Whipped brie, honey balsamic frisee
This was another of the “musts,” and one of the most crowded booths…for obvious reasons. This dish was reminiscent of one I had at LudoBites 4.0, with a very creamy brie chantilly paired with crostini. I’m not really a big cheese person so this wasn’t my favorite dish. However, I appreciated the acidity from the balsamic and the sweetness from the honey in tandem with the rich, creamy brie.
Ham & cheese croissant
Almond & vanilla blanc – manger, blood orange gelee
Alain Giraud was serving up a couple of choices here. Since it was early on, I passed on the croissant, thinking it was too heavy at this point. I was hoping to take one home later, but they ran out quickly. The dessert was really good though, with almond, vanilla and citrus flavors melding well together in the custard.
Char siu buns
I’ve always seen Jar serve their signature pot roast at food festivals such as this one, but they opted to serve another regular on their menu, the char siu buns. The buns had a flaky exterior, but I found the barbecued pork interior to be a little dry.
I was impressed with the ramen here. I was afraid I might find lukewarm broth or soggy noodles – not the case, the execution was spot on. The noodles had a great al dente chew, complemented by a savory, milky broth. Really good. I visited this booth at least 5 times throughout the afternoon…sounds like I will have to pay a visit to their restaurant soon.
Kobe short rib
Cut is my favorite steakhouse in LA. Here was a really delicious preparation of short rib – tender, moist, beefy. It was served with a sort of tortilla, which made this easier to pick up and eat; however, I found it a bit chewy.
Furikake kettle corn
Rum, hibiscus, lime, orange bitters
I haven’t had a chance to try A-Frame yet, but I’ve wanted to. I wished they presented something more savory, but this kettle corn was some of the best I’ve had. Sweet, spicy and full of flavor, these were a definite hit. They also served a refreshing cocktail, which was quite nice as it became warmer and warmer in the tent.
My friend brilliantly recycled his glass from the Singha Beer table.
Pork rillete, pickled red onion, frisee
I didn’t think there was too much going on here. The pork rillete was good, but not something that stood out.
Waterloo & City
Chicken liver & foie gras mousse
I found this mousse to be really good, with flavors of the chicken liver and foie gras both present. I would’ve preferred the bread to be toasted, but I’m just being picky.
Bulgogi, kimchi rice
Park’s dish was comfortable, homey. I thought the bulgogi was a little salty, but had good flavor.
Pork belly & pineapple adobo, lumpia shanghai
Manila Machine is one of the better food trucks I’ve tasted, and I’m glad they were able to showcase some of their food here. The pork belly was really tender and flavorful…well done. The lumpia were pretty good too.
Grilled cheese sandwich
Chef Eric Greenspan was proclaiming to everyone that this would be the best sandwich they ever ate. I’m not sure how many agreed with that statement, but it’s a very good sandwich as far as grilled cheeses go. I really enjoyed the peppery arugula in the sandwich, helping to contrast the rich Taleggio cheese.
Chicken gizzards, romesco sauce
I was excited to see Ilan Hall serving some gizzards here. I like them, but I never see it in restaurants. They were very tender, so I think they were perhaps braised. The romesco sauce did a nice job of adding some extra flavor to the dish.
Tacos Baja Ensenada
I thought the shrimp was nicely fried, leaving a moist interior. However, the tortilla was really greasy.
Pulled pork, beef brisket
I’m always down for some good barbecue. Here, Bludso’s prepared a duo of meats, slathered in a sweet, savory barbecue sauce. Both of the meats were really tender, with a smokiness that was complemented by the sauce.
Foie gras panna cotta
Drago Centro served this light, creamy panna cotta with a good foie gras flavor.
Peruvian-spiced chicken skewers
There were some oysters here as well, but I just missed them. Still, I was able to get one of these skewers, which exhibited a nice char fresh of the grill. I’ve had some of Chef Zarate’s anticucho before and really enjoyed them. No different here, with a mildly spicy rub adding a lot of flavor to the chicken.
Stout braised pork ribs, spicy orange blossom honey glaze
I was really curious about what FO would serve. Would they make slider versions of their famed burger? Not quite – the restaurant opted to showcase some of their other dishes with these ribs. These were very tender and had a nice sweetness, presumably from the stout braise and the honey glaze. I didn’t think the glaze was spicy as advertised, but I wasn’t complaining.
Susan Feniger’s Street
I thought this crepe was okay – I just didn’t think there was much to this dish.
Hare terrine and stuffed duck neck, pickled huckleberries
I liked the terrine and duck – it was meaty and tender, and had a creamy polenta to go along with it. I also heard some good macarons were coming from this table, but I wasn’t able to get one.
Malaysian chicken curry
I work downtown and Starry is in my regular rotation of restaurants. I had this curry a couple of weeks ago, and it’s a pretty good one with just enough spice to keep things interesting. Supposedly, a stash of their tofu balls was available somewhere.
The Slaw Dogs
Spring fling holly roller, spicy chipotle mayo
As it was getting later into the afternoon, I passed on taking a bite of this as it seemed pretty heavy.
Banana leaf braised pork
Red snapper ceviche
I enjoyed the ceviche here. It was a generous portion of tender fish, sitting in a citrus-y marinade. The tortilla chip was key, as well, for texture and as a scooping mechanism.
I found the corn here to be deliciously sweet, with a hint of tart lime juice and a little creaminess from mayonnaise.
This was a long line throughout the afternoon. No french dips here – just an old fashioned cocktail. It was a good one too, though I wish the serving size was larger given the lengthy wait and size of the glass (this picture was before any of it was consumed).
Good Girl Dinette
Curry cauliflower pot pie
I tried these pot pies last year and found them pretty good. This one was the vegetarian version, which exhibited a comfortable curry flavor with chunks of vegetables and a flaky crust.
Chicken curry, spicy beef
I opted to stay away from the beef here, saving my tastebuds. It kicked my ass last year.
Palate Food & Wine
Pig ear banh mi
Palate often serves banh mi at these festivals, and this was a more creative one. I liked the flavors, but I’m not a fan of the cartilage in pig ears in general. Personal preference.
I was able to try almost everything I wanted to; Mozza was one that I missed. I thought this was another really successful Gold Standard. For $50 I had an all-you-can-eat-and-drink ticket to some really good food and drinks. Heck, I’ve spent more on a meal at Cheesecake Factory. One of the biggest issues with similar events are the lines, and somehow this event has largely avoided that problem. There were a few tables that had some good lines throughout the afternoon, but for the most part, I think people were able to get what they wanted in a timely manner. There were some tables that ran out of food relatively quickly, though.
I’m already looking forward to next year!