The Taste 2012: Field to Fork
Paramount Pictures Studios
5555 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Dining date: 9/1/12
This past weekend, The Taste returned to LA. In its second year, it’s one of the biggest food festivals in the city, stretching over the three day Labor Day weekend. It was a slightly slimmed down version this year with less events (5), one location (Paramount Studios), and a more approachable ticket price ($65 in advance, $75 at the door, $50 via a LivingSocial promo).
Similar to last year, the five events each had a different theme. Each featured its own lineup of cooking demonstrations, wine seminars, chef panels and book signings. Of course, unlimited food & drink tastings were included in the ticket price as well, making this one of the most complete (if not the most) food event packages for 65 bucks.
The first event of the weekend, ‘Field to Fork’, reflected the farm-to-table concept that we’ve been seeing more and more of around the country. In addition to the ~30 restaurants whipping up dishes, there were a number of farms showcasing their produce, as well a panel on the ‘State of the Farmers Market.’
Tender Greens freekeh, gazpacho sliders
Rocio’s Moles de Dioses grasshopper cream soup
Ombra Ristorante farro salad
9021PHO chicken pho
FigOly spicy gazpacho with crab
Ray’s & Stark Bar roasted pork belly, watermelon
Good Girl Dinette corn and tomato hand pie, peach hand pie
Valerie Confections basil panna cotta with blenheim preserves
Bistro 45 za’atar dusted duck, honey dates, goat cheese polenta
Locanda del Lago puree of market vegetables, micro arugula; eggplant sorbet, ricotta, red onion, golden raisin saute
Scarpetta porchetta, smoked brentwood corn, pickled mustard seed vinaigrette
Mr. Chow chicken satay; shanghai cucumber
Sysco sterling silver roasted new york
La Casita Mexicana dry white corn soup; bean salad
Casa Azul Cantina/Frida mexican corn snack
Guelaguetza oyster mushroom & cactus tostadas
BLVD 16 heirloom tomato & watermelon gazpacho; strawberry & piquillo gazpacho
Creme Caramel LA vanilla and emerald plum almond creme caramel; vanilla and upside down summer peach bread pudding
Terranea lobster rolls; peach blueberry oat streusel pie
Canele mixed bean salad
Lexington Social House grilled peaches with burrata and crispy pancetta; rice pudding with pineapple
Red O pork belly sopes
Soleto Trattoria & Pizza Bar chopped salad; salmon scallopini, tiramisu; strawberry shortcake
Wood & Vine chicken liver & foie gras pate
The Blvd at Beverly Wilshire Hotel quail breast, chayote jicama slaw, guajillo vinaigrette
Cook’s County spretzel with mustard dipping sauce; grilled sausage salad with pickled onion
Drinks were also plentiful, perhaps moreso than the food itself. One of my favorites was Veev pouring drinks (mojito or lemonade) into these mason jars.
I probably stopped by the Vita Coco stand a dozen times throughout the weekend.
And tasted my way through several pours of scotch and tequila…
in between other cocktails and wines.
I was also able to catch a few minutes of one of the wine tasting seminars and the tail end of a cooking competition between David LeFevre (M.B. Post) and Ray Garcia (Fig).
This was a fun event. Given it was outdoors and pretty damn hot out, shade and anything cold (cocktails!) were in high demand. Food-wise, I didn’t think there was anything spectacular, but some of the highlights were Scarpetta’s porchetta, Valerie Confections’ basil panna cotta, and Wood & Vine’s chicken liver & foie gras pate. Scarpetta’s porchetta, which seemed to actually just be roasted pork belly, was lucious, tender and delicious. Served with a smoky corn puree and a light vinaigrette to cut through the richness – it was a winner. Valerie Confections brought a couple of my favorite bites of the weekend; here, the panna cotta was smooth and creamy with a subtle basil flavor. Paired with a sweet apricot preserve, this was another hit. I thought Sysco was an odd inclusion in the ‘restaurant’ lineup, but I’ll never complain with large roasts of strip loin beef. Lastly, I appreciated Wood & Vine taking the opportunity to give away some foie gras, in a duo of tasty livers (chicken and foie) on a crispy crostini.
Being one of the more reasonable ticket prices in the LA food festival arena, The Taste presented quite a bit of value with its considerable array of food/drink-related activities. I’m excited to see how The Taste evolves next year.
Note: This was a hosted event.