It may have been the 10th Annual LA Food Fest, held on the infield of Santa Anita Park, but it was the first LA Food Fest for me. Unfortunately, it was set to be the last. This is what I learned from their (abbreviated) press release:
The LA Food Fest was born as the LA Street Food Fest in 2009 founded by Shawna Dawson, Founder + CEO of Angeleno, Inc. (Sauce LA, LA Food Fest, Artisanal LA and Clean Made). She officially kicked off her very first event in Downtown Los Angeles in February 2010. With a lofty goal to not only to fill a gap in the event scene by creating something that was the first of its kind, Dawson created a culinary community and a platform to support independent small businesses that has traveled from Los Angeles Center Studios in DTLA, the historic Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Exposition Park, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and to its final destination Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, cementing the LA Food Fest as L.A.’s premier street food event.
What We Had
Approximately 5,000 foodies had their pick from over 100 “restaurants, carts, stands, trucks, bars, beer, wine and craft cocktail makers” and “Nuevo Gastropub.”
The infield, I would quickly learn, is huge! What I thought was the main event was just one corner. Of course I took a lot of photos, and these were standouts for me:
The myriad of flavors from Truly Hard Seltzer (loved that blueberry) and Jiant Hard Kombucha (Green tea, elderflower and jasmine = yum!) canned low-alcohol beverages; Red Rock Deli’s many potato chip flavors; Tequila Sin Rival, seeing park workers smiling under their Sahara hats; the many-flavored Bertha Mae’s Brownies that would be swell in both wine and whisky pairings; You Had Me At Helado refreshing honeycomb ice cream and grapefruit Champagne sorbet; discovered Citrus Grove Distillers vodka and bourbon (planning a road trip to Claremont to try their many gins); The Pie Hole’s amazing mini pie selections (more blueberry!); Revel Spirits Agave – especially the barrel aged; Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese light and cool cheesecake; every taste from Tequila Don Nacho, Bite Me Gourm-Asian “Kimchini” kimchi rice ball stuffed with cheese and topped with teriyaki and Sriracha aioli (my favorite dish!); Krafted Rum – white, pineapple and barrel aged; Takami seared tuna; Nine Banded Whiskey cocktail made by Mister O’s was my fave cocktail of the day; Mama Musubi gourmet rice balls; Alexander’s Steakhouse tuna, roe and Ponzu shooter; Wedell Cellars wines; from “Gordon Ramsay Uncharted” we enjoyed Manuel’s Potatoes fried in duck fat, honey and cheese; Tequila Corazon; the mole sauce from Quiadayn; both the booth workers and the pizza from Pizza of Venice; and pretty floral crowns and clothing from Crown Bloom Floral.
We got in on some of the dishes created by the “international guests chefs” in the “Nuevo Gastropub” section of the event including chef Sergio Meza and his innovative dish of broiled beet with cheese, pistachio and lemon dust. Chef Meza came all the way from his restaurant in Columbia to blow our minds at the LA Food Fest. Chef Rafael Covarrubias, born in Mexico and currently at Hexagon in Ontario, Canada created a delectable Spanish shrimp tostada with peanuts, salsa, mushrooms, onions and more. Chef Eduardo Morali, from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico thrilled guests with a simple grilled corn on the cob with black garlic and creamy sauce. Then Chef Emmanuelle Deboise, currently at La Casa Caramel, finished us off completely with a small dessert of grilled plantain, avocado, cheese and honey.
Participating Chefs and Restaurants
Chef Dante Ferrero (Dante Brasa y Fuego, Mexico City); Olivier Deboise (Aperi, San Miguel de Allende); Sergio Meza (Villanos en Bermudas, Mexico City), co-owner of one of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants; Rafael Covarrubias (Hexagon and 7 Enoteca, Ontario, Canada); Eduardo Morali (Pangea, Monterrey, Nuevo Leon) and French pastry chef Emmanuelle Deboise (La Casa Caramel, San Miguel de Allende). Restaurants included Cuizina, Quiadaiyn, The Burristas, Cevicheria las Olas, African Chop, El Chef Taco, Ken’s Ramen, POKEBAR, Big Grandma’s Kitchen, Sushi Roku, Oak Smoke BBQ, EK’BALAM Yucatan Cuisine (formerly Delicias Yucatecas), The Vegan Salvi, Always Coffee, Maquina Taco, Pasta Sisters, Eagle Rock Public House, Comfort LA, Pinches Flautas, Barranco Lounge by Chef Walther, Fishin for Brews,Low Key Burritos, Luckdish Curry, Takami Sushi, Bearology, Humbleburgerz, Bite Me Gourmasian, Pez Cantina, Padthai Boran, Mama Musubi, Nature Well, Café de Leche and more.
Dessert fare came from The Donuttery, Pie Hole, You Had Me at Helado, Communitea Bakery, Down South Treats, Dearly Beloved Confections, Tastee Flavors New Orleans style shaved ice, Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Cheesecake, 12 Oaks Desserts and others.
Cocktails from Birds & Bees, Mister O’s, Citrus Grove Distillers, Revel Spirits, Broken Shed Vodka, Pez Cantina micheladas. Mexican beers from Border X, Cabotella and CALIDAD. Wines were served by Riboli Wines, Obvious Wines. Beers and ciders were available from Stella Airstream, Golden Road, Eagle Rock Brewery, CALIDAD, Border X, Elysian Brewing IPA, Glutenberg Beer, Hop Valley Brewing, Michelob Gold Organic, Common Cider and Hard Kombucha. Non-alcoholic drinks were served by Spindrift, KeVita, Honest Tea and more.
VIP guests were treated to HotPoint Lightbox Photo Booth, Alexander’s Steakhouse, FrankieLucy Bakeshop and Wedell Cellars wines.
A portion of the proceeds from the 10th Annual LA Food Fest will directly benefit Food Forward, this year’s charity partner. Food Forward fights hunger and prevents food waste by rescuing fresh surplus produce, connecting this abundance with people in need and inspiring others to do the same. Food Forward is synonymous with food waste reduction in Los Angeles and the LA Food Fest could not ask for a better partner as they head into their third and final year of being LA’s only Zero Food Waste event.
Sponsors: Essentia Water, National Geographic, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Entercom, Baja Brewing, Golden Road, Calidad, Tequila Cocula, Corazon Azul Spirits, Aguirre Tequila, Tequila Don Nacho, Spindrift, KeVita, Good Farms, Kumana Foods, 4th & Heart and more.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.