The Taste 2013: Field to Fork
Paramount Pictures Studios
5555 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Dining date: 8/31/13
LA Times’ The Taste was held this past Labor Day weekend, completing the largest tandem of LA food festivals in back-to-back weeks (with LA Food & Wine). This is the third year of The Taste in its current incarnation (fourth if the LA Times Celebration of Food & Wine is included) and I’ve attended every single year. This year, the festival encompassed five individual events at the Paramount Studios backlot.
The Taste’s events have a number of similarities to LAFW events, particularly the tasting events (large lineups of all-you-can-eat food/drink). One of the main differences is The Taste’s events tend to be more all-inclusive, including cooking demonstrations, wine/cocktail tasting/demos, and various discussion panels in the price of admission. Speaking of price admission, it’s much cheaper ($65 GA to most events with a variety of discounts available), although another big difference is the more LA-centric lineup of chefs/restaurants represented here.
Of this year’s events, I only made it out to the daytime Saturday one, dubbed Field to Fork. A media pass granted admission.
The Paramount backlot is a pretty large space, making it ideal for an event such as this. However, it also meant minimal shade…unfortunately this weekend was scorching hot.
Chipotle tacos; patron margaritas
Farmshop smoked albacore tuna, atyichoke caponata, fennel blossoms
good girl dinette summer fruit & licorice hand pies
Hamasaku hokkaido scallop with yuzu-apple ceviche
Hudson House/The Tripel vadouvan spiced ricotta, fennel salad, mission figs, baby mustard greens, crispy parma proscuitto
Lotería Grill squash blossom & huitlacoche quesadillas with creamy epazote sauce
Mayura butter chicken, vegetable korma, spinach chana, vegetable fried rice, garlic naan
Michael’s on Naples fried squash blossoms with honey basil; lasagnetta with tomato, basil and mozzarella
Momed duck shawarma, avocado hummus, muhammara
Mr Chow five spice tofu salad; curry chicken with shanghai cucumbers
Pasta Mia shortrib ravioli with grana padana cheese sauce
Pinches Tacos al pastor taco
Pizza Antica porchetta sandwich with onions agrodolce
Rivabella nidi di rondine; carciofi in casseruola
STK wedge skewer with beef tenderloin
Tender Greens salami & kale salad; chilled heirloom gazpacho; mini upside-down grape cake
Sysco brickyard tri-tip sandwich
Sweets for the Soul valrhona chocolate brownies
McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams summer peach ice cream
Of course, drinks were plentiful as well. There was a pretty good mix of wineries and the hard stuff, and the inclusion of Goose Island (and their IPA) was a big plus for me. Anything cold really seemed to be a draw on this hot afternoon.
Goose Island & Shock Top
I caught glimpses of a couple of the cooking demonstrations – Ari Taymor and Sherry Yard demonstrate their craft.
For a $65 GA and $50 early-bird pricing, this event was hard to beat considering everything that was included in the price of admission. It seems like there’s just about something for everyone. Food-wise, a lot of food was ‘pretty good,’ but nothing was particularly standout. Favorites included the porchetta sandwich from Pizza Antica and The BLVD’s antelope with red rice and kale salad. While it didn’t seem to be a traditional porchetta, Antica’s sandwich had tender, juicy slices of the pork with a slightly sweet, slightly sour onion condiment. The BLVD was able to create a dish that was somewhat rich and satisfying, yet also sort of refreshing. The antelope was delicious and the cool red rice and kale salads worked well alongside. On the sweet side, McConnell’s had three different ice creams available – the summer peach flavor I tried had a nice fruity punch in a rich and creamy ice cream. Lastly, Chipotle had one of the more popular stands all afternoon serving up the tacos (carnitas and sofritas) everyone’s familiar with. It was interesting that, even at an event like this, Chipotle’s food still had a way to draw people in and come back. I actually really liked their Patron margaritas.
Over the last few years, The Taste has established itself as one of the premiere food festivals in LA and is becoming a Labor Day tradition. I just hope that we have milder temperatures next year.
Note: This was a hosted event.