The Taste: Picnic in the Hills (Los Angeles, CA)

Picnic in the Hills
The Taste 2011
9900 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Dining date: 9/3/11

The Taste’s final event of the weekend-long festival was this picnic, hosted by Giada DeLaurentiis. I was glad to return to Beverly Hills (my favorite of the venues I visited); for the most part, the set-up was similar to the other events at this venue. One of the main differences was that it was a picnic with more of a family focus. Plenty of faux grass, foliage and picnic benches were brought in to set the tone. Given that children 14 and under were free (and it was a hot, sunny day) this place was packed with adults and children alike.

Summer picnic? Of course there had to be a lemonade stand. Upon entering, everyone received a mason jar to be filled up at this stand. Fresh fruit and herbs were available for customization. Fun!

Angelini Osteria lasagna verde

BLD/Grace farro salad, wild arugula, parmesan

Clementine sloppy joe; summer fruit crisp

Dolly’s Sweet Dreams Cotton Candy

Factors Famous Deli pastrami reuben

Fig & Olive gazpacho

Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate

Huckleberry bbq pork n’ biscuit sliders, tabouleh salad, raw kale salad

Inn of the Seventh Ray mole braised short rib, 63 degree quail egg, cauliflower escabeche, crispy carrot

Kate Mantilini lamb lollipop; white chili

Lawry’s Catering watermelon arugula salad; mini roast beef sandwich

Lexington Social House fried chicken, corn salad

Literati Bar & Grill herb hummus; curry chicken salad

M Street Kitchen/Stella Rossa Pizza Bar grilled ciabatta, mozzarella, grapes, olive oil

Pitfire Artisan Pizza sausage pizza

Richard Ruskell Pastries at Montage

RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen ovaltine shaved ice

Sprinklesmobile assorted cupcakes

Terroni tagliatelle with beef and pork ragu; spaghetti; rigatoni with eggplant

Vinoteque on Melrose roasted tomato & herbed cheese tarlets; key lime cheesecake bites with toasted coconut

Waffles de Liege liege waffle

Wurstkuche duck, bacon & jalapeno sausage, sweet bell peppers, whole grain mustard

Even though there were a lot of children around, the alcohol was as plentiful as any other event. Below, a variety of soju as well as dark & stormy cocktails being made all afternoon.

“Hungry Girl” Lisa Lillien was interviewed by Rene Lynch of the LA Times, while Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos (“Extra Virgin”) hosted a cooking demonstration.

My favorite dish here had to be Lexington Social House’s fried chicken, which was also one of my favorites from this year’s Taste of the Nation. In both instances they used white meat (a drumette here), but was able to keep it very moist and flavorful. The well-seasoned batter had just the crunch I was looking for…so good. Selfishly, I had 5 or 6 of these throughout the afternoon.

A visit to Angelini Osteria has been long delayed on my part, so I was really excited to try the lasagna verde. It did not disappoint, displaying a homey, delicious ragu (made of beef and veal) topped with crispy fried spinach. I also enjoyed the dish from Inn at the Seventh Ray, which somehow was able to compact mole-braised short rib, cauliflower and a quail egg in one bite.

I found myself coming back multiple times to Terroni, which was making fresh pasta on the spot and serving a rotating pasta dish. Fresh pasta? I am so there. Of the three I tried, I liked the meaty tagliatelle with beef and pork ragu best, but they were all very good.

I enjoyed this event quite a bit and the whole festival overall. As food festivals go, I’d say The Taste is one of the more expensive ones (the last-week promotions made the price much more palatable), and I’ll be interested to see if is changed or maintained next year. I thought the venues were pretty well done, with the crowds not being too bad either. The abundance of tables and space was kind of unique and a definite plus as well.


Other posts from The Taste 2011:
Burgers & Beer | Secrets from the Kitchen & Cellar | Street Eats

Disclosure: This event was hosted.


  1. Oh man! Picnic in the Hills > Secrets of the Kitchen & Cellar it seems. I’m very partial to freshly made pasta. I think I may return to The Taste next year. Though, my decision will mostly be based on price. There are so many tasting events that are significantly cheaper. :/

    1. Both of those were my favorites and I can’t choose! It will be interesting to see what The Taste brings next year…and don’t forget LA Food & Wine in October..

Leave a Reply!