The Taste 2011
5555 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA
Dining date: 9/4/11
Day three of The Taste brought 4 events: Fashion Bites Brunch, Street Eats, Desserts After Dark, and Food Noir. I wanted to check out the Hollywood venue, and “Street Eats” would provide a perfect opportunity. I feel like ‘street food’ in LA is becoming synonymous with food trucks, but there’s a lot more exciting options in LA outside of the truck scene. This event had a good balance between trucks and established restaurants making their interpretations of street food – something that interested me. Ironically, this was one of the more expensive tickets at $150 ($90 with promotion).
Whereas the Beverly Hills events were concentrated under two large tents, the Hollywood events took place in the open air of the Paramount Studios backlot.
Akasha masala chicken taco, jalapeno slaw, chili chicharrones, peanuts
Ayara Thai chicken sate crostini
Border Grill churro tots, dulce de leche
Cast Iron Gourmet bourbon bacon chutney
Chichen Itza Restaurant black bean filled tortilla, turkey
Coolhaus Ice Cream Sandwiches
Firenze Osteria duck sausage, fresh pasta
Great Balls on Tires italian meatball
Guelaguetza tamales oaxaquenos: black mole and chicken breast tamales wrapped in banana leaf
Jitlada crying tiger beef
Loteria Grill esquites: corn kernels infused with epazote, chili powder, mayonnaise, lemon
Osteria La Buca corn on the cob, paprika, garlic aioli
Palate Food & Wine lamb flatbread
Pitfire Artisan Pizza heirloom tomato pizza; sausage pizza
Steel City Sandwich duck pierogi
Susan Feniger’s STREET kaya toast
The Foundry on Melrose grilled cheese
The Grilled Cheese Truck american melt; cheesy mac melt
As with all of the events, plenty of alcohol was available, inclusive of the ticket price. Wine, beer, tequila, vodka and a host of other spirits.
Fabio Viviani hosted a cooking demonstration where he made pork belly sandwiches, while Jet Tila (Wazuzu), Sang Yoon (Father’s Office, Lukshon), Roy Choi (Kogi, A-Frame, Chego) and Mario Alberto (Chimu) talked about the food scene in LA, particularly the rise of Asian cuisine.
Food highlights for me included Akasha’s chicken masala taco. I thought it was unique (naan -> taco?) with a well-executed, deep curry chicken flavor. The Italian meatball from Great Balls on Tires was easily one of the better things I’ve eaten from a truck, with a moist meatball complemented well by a tangy tomato sauce and parmesan cheese. Pitfire’s pizzas were rather simple and done well – the sausage had great flavor. Coolhaus had a pretty long line each time I walked by so I didn’t get an ice cream sandwich, but I’ve been a fan of their stuff from the start.
I don’t think this event presented as much value as the others I attended, especially at the elevated price point. Not that anything was bad; this event had just as much to offer as the others. However, I don’t think the ‘street food’ theme commanded such a high price tag.
Disclosure: This event was hosted.