The Taste: Secrets from the Kitchen & Cellar (Los Angeles, CA)

Secrets from the Kitchen & Cellar
The Taste 2011
9900 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Dining date: 9/3/11

After Friday’s opening night event “Burgers & Beer,” Saturday brought two more: “Secrets from the Kitchen & Cellar” and “Taco Tequila Tryst.” I elected to go to the first. Whereas the “Burgers & Beer” event was focused around burgers, this one was open to the restaurants cooking whatever they wanted. Given I had close to 20 burgers the previous evening, I was looking forward to some variety.

The venue was set up pretty much exactly the same as the previous night, with two large tents housing the food & drink, and a number of tables outside. Also, a few tents with small stages were set up for various cooking demonstrations and chef panel discussions.

Cafe del Rey lobster ceviche

CHAYA Brasserie seaweed salad with chicken; compressed watermelon with basil oil

Craft sonoma pork, heirloom beans

Enoteca Drago cherry balsamic glazed roasted pork belly, sardinia fregola salad

Il Pastaio baked spaghetti wrapped with eggplant, mozzarella, tomato basil sauce

K-ZO crispy albacore

Larsen’s Steakhouse prime new york strip, creamed spinach, garlic mashed potatoes

Locanda del Lago rainbow trout marinated with celery, carrots, onions, juniper berries

Mezze ginger cookie, honey milk sorbet

Momed duck shawarma

Mr. Chow shrimp with glazed walnuts

Napa Valley Grille wild halibut crudo, summer root salad, gin citrus vinaigrette; heirloom tomato gazpacho

Oliverio at Avalon Hotel orecchiette with lamb ragu

Picca beef wrap, quinoa risotto, rocoto sauce

Public Kitchen + Bar pork sausage on ciabatta

Ray’s & Stark Bar marinated bay scallops; pork meatball

Sam’s By the Beach wild boar lasagna

Scarpetta yellowtail

Simon LA braised short rib, creamy farro, pea puree, toasted pine nuts, merlot glaze

Sotto crispy pork belly porchetta

Sushi Roku heirloom hamachi salad

Tender Greens wild alaskan salmon, corn, arugula, roasted peppers, red onions, cherry tomatoes, lemon basil aioli; agave cupcake, black mission fig

Wood & Vine foie gras & pork terrine

Dozens of wineries and spirits were featured, but my favorite drink happened to be this one:

Cuties has started bottling their citrusy goodness (I love their clementines). I tried the clementine/Mandarin juice and it tasted just like the fruit…I will be buying these in the grocery store soon. Love the bottle too.

I also dropped in on Scarpetta chef Scott Conant doing a cooking demonstration, the Lefebvres talking about their history and new show, and Craig Thornton (Wolvesmouth), Walter Manzke, Michael Voltaggio and Jonathan Gold discussing the role of social media in today’s restaurant scene. I thought these side events were an excellent opportunity for anyone wanting to take a break from stuffing their faces with more food.

My favorite dish would was definitely Sotto’s pork belly porchetta. The meat was rich and succulent with a complementary fennel flavor. And a crispy skin! So good. Neighbor Picca had another memorable dish, with chunks of beef and a quinoa risotto wrapped in lettuce cups, topped with a rocoto pepper sauce. Sam’s by the Beach had a simple-seeming lasagna, but it was comforting and delicious. Lastly, Chaya’s compressed watermelon were refreshing sweet bursts of flavor, while the basil oil really elevated the bites. Perfect for the weather.

I actually liked this event more than “Burgers & Beer” particularly for the wider variety of food, as well as the option of the chef panel discussions.


Other posts from The Taste 2011:
Burgers & Beer | Street Eats | Picnic in the Hills

Disclosure: This event was hosted.


  1. Sotto’s pork belly was the first thing I had at 11AM — I wanted an entire slab of it. crispy/fatty/oozy/tender — high-five on the agreement!

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