Gold Standard 2012
Petersen Auto Museum
6060 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Dining date: 3/4/12
This was the fourth Gold Standard event, Jonathan Gold and LA Weekly’s annual food festival. Given Gold’s impending move to the LA Times, this is presumably the last one. It’s a little sad since the Gold Standard has been one of the better food events in the city in my opinion. The lineup of restaurants has consistently been pretty good; the venue is pretty large and the lines have typically been reasonable.
In previous years, General Admission tickets were $60 – a great value for the all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink event. The price was hiked up this year to $75, no longer a steal but still one of the better food festivals in terms of bang for the buck, given these events tend to easily reach into the triple-digits. This year though, I obtained a media pass for entrance.
This year’s venue was the same as the previous two years at the Petersen Auto Museum. It was a pretty hot day and a large tent provided a lot of shade, but the sheer crowds made for a rather muggy atmosphere – like a New York subway in the summer. Anything cold seemed to have a long line whether it be beer, gelato or cocktails.
Approximately 50 restaurants set up a booth for the afternoon, along with a few coffee roasters and plenty of beer and wine. This seemed to be the biggest Gold Standard yet, and there was no way I could try it all. However, I think I was able to try just about everything I wanted to.
Animal foie gras mousse, satsuma marmalade, toast
A-Frame charred octopus ceviche
Baco Mercat braised pork shoulder baco
Bludso’s BBQ bbq brisket and chicken
Bulgarini Gelato assorted flavors
Campanile 28-day aged prime rib, horseradish on crostini
Chego house kimchi
Drago Centro mushroom agnolotti with shaved black truffle
Huckleberry assorted cakes/sweets
ink. beef tongue and tendon taco, horseradish snow
LaOn short rib, kimchi pancake
Le Comptoir quail egg and herb flowers, lemon pound cake with lemon confit
Little Dom’s bbq oyster
Lukshon cured hawaiian butterfish (nahm jim, rau ram, watermelon radish), rib eye bao (spicy cucumber pickle, black bean ghee)
MB Post pomegranate cous cous, feta, almonds
Mezze beef brisket shawarma
Mozza butterscotch budino
Night + Market startled pig (grilled pork, basil, lemongrass, fish sauce, lime, garlic, bird eye chili), catfish tamale (catfish baked in banana leaf with chili and herbs)
Picca/Mo-Chica pork belly with sundried potato, grilled black tiger shrimp
Playa yellowtail ceviche
Providence pistachio, white chocolate, rose water, meyer lemon
Ramen Jinya ramen
Short Cake assorted cakes/sweets
Short Order sausage
Smoke City Market bbq brisket, pastrami, potatoes
Sotto porchetto, mustard greens
Spice Table pig tail, mint, red perilla, gem lettuce, fish sauce
Starry Kitchen salted plum chicken wings, lychee panna cotta
Street mung bean pancake, miso mustard, dark soy
A few beers (Singha, Stella Artois, Hoegaarden) were available and dozens of wineries were represented. The beer lines were rather lengthy throughout the afternoon; for me, the wines were more interesting and I repeatedly came back to the Silver Oak table. I think I had about 8 pours of the Alexander Valley Cab. Literally.
A very strong lineup of coffees were available. I’m not sure how popular hot coffees were this afternoon, but Single Origin was pouring a wonderfully refreshing Verve cold brew. Battle food coma while cooling off? Two birds, one stone.
This event was a ton of fun; I left full and satisfied. The food overall was fairly strong, and I found myself coming back to a few favorites. My favorite dish had to be Drago Centro’s mushroom agnolotti with shaved black truffle (I came back three times!). Just like at the restaurant, the execution of the pasta was spot on – a creamy filling, chewy pasta and tender mushrooms were topped by a generous shaving of black truffle. Other highlights for me included Sotto’s porchetto, the basis of their popular porchetto sandwich. The pork flavor was expectantly upfront, and the textures were wonderful between the crispy skin, tender meat and soft, gelatinous fat. The sweet mostarda and bitter, acidic mustard greens were nice accompaniments. Picca had two solid dishes; I found the jumbo grilled tiger prawns to be perfectly cooked with a smoky perfume from the grill. Lukshon’s cured Hawaiian butterfish was light and refreshing (perfect for the hot day) with nice textures and Asian accents. I also liked the Spice Table’s pig tail taco, with the greens balancing out the richness of the tail nicely. For dessert, Mozza’s always-reliable butterscotch budino was a highlight, as well as Starry Kitchen’s lychee panna cotta which provided a light and cool treat that worked well in the heat.
I’m sad to see the Gold Standard go. I hope Gold and the LA Times come up with something else to fill the void.
Note: This event was sponsored.