LA Food & Wine 2013: Live on Grand (Los Angeles, CA)

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

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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.

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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.

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Alinea/Aviary cocktails

achatz

Frontera Grill/Red O fresh shucked oyster ceviche with plantain chip

Frontera Grill/Red O fresh shucked oyster ceviche with plantain chip

The Little Beet tomato & melon salad, mint, dill, basil

The Little Beet tomato & melon salad, mint, dill, basil

Sierra Mar at Post Ranch smoked baby abalone escabeche, heirloom tomato, padron peppers, sherry vinaigrette

Sierra Mar at Post Ranch smoked baby abalone escabeche, heirloom tomato, padron peppers, sherry vinaigrette

Mijita Cocina/Jardinere baby back ribs in tomatillo sauce

Mijita Cocina/Jardinere baby back ribs in tomatillo sauce

Cavallo Point white gazpacho, sea urchin, frozen champagne grapes

Cavallo Point white gazpacho, sea urchin, frozen champagne grapes

Border Grill crispy bacon, summer squash tostada

Border Grill crispy bacon, summer squash tostada

Redbird seared japanese wagyu, carrot puree, bonito

Redbird seared japanese wagyu, carrot puree, bonito

Caulfield’s american wagyu belly hash, sunnyside quail egg, grilled chicory

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

Taberna Arros y Vi cider braised morcilla with harissa aioli, greeb scallion, piquillo peppers

Aldea octopus, potato, pimenton, squid ink, lemon puree

Aldea octopus, potato, pimenton, squid ink, lemon puree

Restaurant 1833 hen egg, proscuitto, brioche, truffle butter

Restaurant 1833 hen egg, proscuitto, brioche, truffle butter

Michael Mina duck spring rolls, white peach, szechuan pepper

Michael Mina duck spring rolls, white peach, szechuan pepper

Ray’s & Stark Bar spiced lamb with pistachio yogurt

Ray's & Stark Bar spiced lamb with pistachio yogurt

Slanted Door pork dumplings

Slanted Door pork dumplings

Redd seared pork belly with asian tomato broth

Redd seared pork belly with asian tomato broth

Rivera autumn corn custard

Rivera autumn corn custard

Nobu Malibu tai agave sashimi

Nobu Malibu tai agave sashimi

Curtis Stone tuna ceviche, chili, pepper, lime, soy

Curtis Stone tuna ceviche, chili, pepper, lime, soy

icdc cereal milk doughnut, honey nut cheerios glaze, cinnamon rice krispies

icdc cereal cereal milk doughnut, honey nut cheerios glaze, cinnamon rice krispies

Belga Cafe endive foam, chocolate panna cotta, blue cheese crisp, orange coulis

Belga Cafe endive foam, chocolate panna cotta, blue cheese crisp, orange coulis

STK grilled beef tenderloin, pickled heirloom confit, shallot, maytag bleu cheese

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.

goose island

justin

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.

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chefs

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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.

See other LAFW 2013 coverage: Lexus Grand Tastings & Asian Night Market.

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Note: This was a sponsored event.


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