Live on Grand
Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival 2013
Grand Avenue between 1st and 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dining date: 8/24/13
Live on Grand was one of the marquee tasting events of this past weekend’s LA Food & Wine Festival. Formerly called Live on the Plaza when the event was held at LA Live, it’s now moved to the heart of downtown – on Grand right outside the Walt Disney Concert Hall. In the shadow of downtown skyscrapers and the concert hall, it was an ideal location for a summer evening food & drink fest.
Similar to other LAFW tasting events, approximately 25 chefs/restaurants were on hand from around the country to serve up samples of their food in all-you-can-eat fashion. Dozens more wineries, breweries and a couple of mixologists were around to keep glasses full. Unique to this event, Gavin DeGraw provided live entertainment towards the end of the evening.
General admission was a hefty $250 with VIP tickets (allowing earlier admission) running $350. My tickets were compliments of luxury kitchen appliance maker Jenn-Air, one of the festival’s main sponsors.
Frontera Grill/Red O fresh shucked oyster ceviche with plantain chip
The Little Beet tomato & melon salad, mint, dill, basil
Sierra Mar at Post Ranch smoked baby abalone escabeche, heirloom tomato, padron peppers, sherry vinaigrette
Mijita Cocina/Jardinere baby back ribs in tomatillo sauce
Cavallo Point white gazpacho, sea urchin, frozen champagne grapes
Border Grill crispy bacon, summer squash tostada
Redbird seared japanese wagyu, carrot puree, bonito
Caulfield’s american wagyu belly hash, sunnyside quail egg, grilled chicory
Taberna Arros y Vi cider braised morcilla with harissa aioli, green scallion, piquillo peppers
Aldea octopus, potato, pimenton, squid ink, lemon puree
Restaurant 1833 hen egg, proscuitto, brioche, truffle butter
Michael Mina duck spring rolls, white peach, szechuan pepper
Ray’s & Stark Bar spiced lamb with pistachio yogurt
Slanted Door pork dumplings
Redd seared pork belly with asian tomato broth
Rivera autumn corn custard
Nobu Malibu tai agave sashimi
Curtis Stone tuna ceviche, chili, pepper, lime, soy
icdc cereal milk doughnut, honey nut cheerios glaze, cinnamon rice krispies
Belga Cafe endive foam, chocolate panna cotta, blue cheese crisp, orange coulis
STK grilled beef tenderloin, pickled heirloom confit, shallot, maytag bleu cheese
Along with Achatz’s cocktail, a pretty wide of drinks were represented. On the vintner side, I spent considerable time at the Justin (Isosceles) and Silver Oak tables; I was also pleased to find Goose Island serving their Matilda and Sofie ales, making a couple trips for their keepsake custom glasses.
I thought this was a very nice venue, although the relatively narrow street did cause a lot more congestion here than the daytime tastings at LA Center Studios. The south side of the street had a large stage setup for Gavin DeGraw’s performance to end the night.
This event had the best food of any of the individual tastings that I attended. If I had to pick a favorite, it was Neal Fraser’s Japanese wagyu with bonito and a carrot puree; rich, thin slices of the beef were complemented by the slightly smoky, slightly sweet accents. But there were other highlights. Traci Des Jardins’ tomatillo braised ribs were seriously tender and delicious and kept us coming back for more. Caulfied’s wagyu hash was also great, particularly topped with a fried quail egg. Cavallo Point’s white gazpacho was a cool counterpoint with a touch of sea urchin added, very well-balanced. Aldea’s octopus, Michael Mina’s duck spring rolls, icdc’s warm, homey cereal milk doughnuts, and Restaurant 1833’s poached egg, proscuitto, brioche and truffle butter combination were also standout dishes.
LA Food & Wine’s Live on Grand is the most expensive tasting event in the lineup, but it brought the heavy hitters and the best food. Combined with the beautiful venue and live entertainment, it’s an excellent choice for anyone looking to splurge on just one event during this weekend.
Note: This was a sponsored event.