The Taste: Burgers & Beer (Los Angeles, CA)

Burgers & Beer
The Taste 2011
9900 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Dining date: 9/2/11

Last year, the Labor Day weekend brought the debut of two new food festivals to LA. LA Times brought the one-day fest called the LA Times Celebration of Food & Wine to Hollywood, while Food & Wine Magazine presented a 4-day festival called Taste of Beverly Hills.

This year, they’ve decided to combine forces for The Taste, covering 4 days and both Beverly Hills and Hollywood (and one downtown event). 9 all-you-can-eat, all-you-can-drink events (of various themes) make up the weekend festival, with ticket prices varying from $125-$150 each. However, significant discounts of 40% were available in the last couple of weeks leading up to the event. Luckily, I was able to get a media pass granting access to all of the events.

The first event was in Beverly Hills called “Burgers & Beers.” I liked the setup of the venue – two large tents housed the food and booze, while tables were available outside to chill. I’ve found that many of the food festivals I’ve been to have very limited room to sit, and I liked the fact that there were dozens of tables available for anyone to sit and relax with their food and drink.

25 Degrees hatch chili, tomme dolce, nueske bacon, chipotle aioli, arugula

Blue Palms BrewHouse kobe beef cooked in duck fat, black truffles, maytag blue cheese, pop & wop peppers, crimini mushrooms, onions, white truffle glazed bun

BOA Steakhouse braised kobe beef brisket

Delphine burger on a stick

Ford’s Filling Station lamb burger

Rosewood Tavern beef burger

Rustic Canyon black angus, tillamook sharp cheddar, housemade pickles, herb remoulade, onion fondue, wild arugula

STK bbq short rib sliders, sour cream and chives, roasted corn salad, stk bbq sauce

The Bowery gruyere, red onion confit

The Glendon Bar & Kitchen house burger: angus beef blend, horseradish aioli, caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms

The Gorbals onion six ways burger: onion marmalade, caramelized onions, grilled onion steak, pickled red onion, crispy shallots, green onion mayonnaise

The Misfit grass fed paso prime beef, edmond fallot dijon, aioli, cheddar, tomato, arugula

The Spice Table hangar steak & short rib, curried pickled cucumbers, sambal, fried shallots, kraft american cheese

The Yard chorizo burger

Westside Tavern cheeseburger

Wilshire Restaurant roasted pork slider, apple chutney, arugula, dijon aioli

The Cake Mamas

A host of beers and vineyards were represented as well. Some of my favorite local breweries were featured, including Craftsman, Stone and Eagle Rock. From halfway around the world, I was pleased to find Ferran Adria’s Estrella Damm Inedit.

There were a bunch of other burgers I didn’t get to try (some willing and some unwilling) but my stomach could only hold so much. Sounded like I definitely missed out on Osteria La Buca and The Tasting Kitchen. My favorite singular item of the night was the Wilshire’s roasted pork sandwich. The bun was soft and buttery while the pork was tender, moist and full of flavor. The apple added a nice sweetness to balance the peppery arugula. However, I wouldn’t really call it a burger, per se. While Rustic Canyon won the ‘Best Burger’ vote, my favorite of the evening was The Misfit’s. The patty ate like a steak, with its 1+ inch medium-rare grass-fed beef exuding a wonderful juicy, beefy flavor. The crostini “buns” weren’t the easiest to bite through (meat and juices would come out the other side), but I liked the change of pace.

I thought this was a fun and tasty event. For an event that is sort of in its first year (yet, sort of second), I thought it was pretty well-run. Parking and entry were both quick. The tents got a little crowded midway through the evening, but all of the lines were pretty short with the exception of The Tasting Kitchen.

Was the event worth $125? I would say probably not…unless you really, really love burgers. For $40, I could go to Father’s Office and have an excellent burger and a few pints of really good beer. However, that’s not entirely comparable – the venue here was a pretty nice one, and the variety of burgers and alcohol easily justify a higher price point. At $75 (the promotional price in the last week of ticket sales), I think this event presented a good value. I look forward to seeing what else The Taste has to offer in the coming days.


Other posts from The Taste 2011:
Secrets from the Kitchen & Cellar | Street Eats | Picnic in the Hills

Disclosure: This event was hosted.