The winding line of expectant foodies serpentined outside and into the lobby of Cal Mart, more than ready to attack the food at L.A. Weekly’s The Essentials 2015 event. Just when I was considering giving up, the line moved, and moved, and moved again. Soon we were to be rewarded with a giant open space dedicated to some of the best dining experiences L.A. has to offer, and I found a few good drinking experiences too, of course.
The list of vendors below provided by L.A. Weekly seemed short compared to what I discovered at the event and I did my best to photograph most (See Facebook photo album HERE) and sample until I could sample no longer.
Here are a few of my highlights:
Cocktails by A.O.C./Lucques/Tavern star bartender Christiaan Rollich (30 second YouTube) with house made syrups made me want more.
Non alcoholic non dairy coffee drinks made by Califia Farms – loved this creamy alternative.
Everything that Crawford Family Wines poured from their new releases: Rose, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and a red blend. Definitely the best wine of the day for me.
Dressing up our oysters from L & E Oyster Bar.
The little croquet from Melisse was filled with Béarnaise sauce and topped with beef, meant to pop it in your mouth all at once = heaven! And getting a selfie with Chef Josiah Citrin didn’t hurt either!
Chef Ludo Lefebvre of Petit Trois served up steak tartar with onion straw and toast – remarkable.
Getting my flavorful Kogi BBQ taco – yes my first! And another selfie, with Chef Roy Choi this time!
At one point my husband Eddie and I had to divide and conquer, he was so thrilled to find Philippe The Original – a staple for anyone that loves French dipped sandwiches! Eddie also loved the ice creams offered up by McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams.
Loved the iced green tea and green tea shortbread made by Sugarbird Sweets and Teas.
The Spago Sandwich (40 second YouTube) was very popular!
Corbin Sweet Potato Vodka, served straight up, was delish!
Middlebar Bloody Mary Mix was pretty cool. Hope to run into them again!
Alimento, Sotto, Animal, Bestia, Beverly Soon Tofu, Buna Ethiopian Market, Cacao Mexicatessen, Chengdu Taste, Chichen Itza, Coni’ Seafood, Connie and Ted’s, Providence, Father’s Office, Lukshon, Guelaguetza, Guerrilla Tacos, Guisados, Hinoki & The Bird, Hungry Cat, Jitlada Southern Thai, Kogi BBQ, L&E Oyster Bar, Little Sister, Lum-Ka-Naad, Mélisse, Mozza, Picca, Plan Check, Pollo ALa Brasa, POT, Rocio’s Mole De Los Dioses, Saint Martha, Spago, Sqirl, Szechuan Impression, Tar & Roses, Petit Trois, ink., La Casita Mexicana, Eggslut, Crossroads, Horse Thief BBQ, Mariscos Jalisco, McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams, Valerie Confections, Belcampo Meat Co., DTLA Cheese, El Huarache Azteca, Kiriko Sushi, Philippe the Original, Sarita’s Pupuseria, Sticky Rice, Summer Rolls, Maude, Park’s BBQ, Superba Food + Bread. Wine: Dark Horse, Napa Cellars, Menage a Trois, Joel Gott Wines and Santa Barbara Vintners members Core, Melville, Martellotto, Lucas & Lewellen, Hitching Post, Palmina, Crawford Family Wines, Consilience and Turiya.
“LA Weekly’s signature food and wine extravaganza…The Essential’s at the California Market Center” in DTLA was presented on March 8th. Curated by their award-winning food writers, the event showcased signature bites from restaurants featured in their 99 Essentials restaurant issue that hit stands the same week. “Along with the great food, guests will enjoy wine from top shelf wineries and cocktail samples from our liquor partners.”
Last year’s event was truly amazing but this year guests could “expect more of LA’s hottest chefs, more wineries and more homegrown Los Angeles vendors” all in the “expanded California Market Center Penthouse” with “360 views of stunning DTLA” as guests enjoyed “samples of the best food and drink” the city has to offer.
LA Weekly is proud to present Food on Foot as the charity benefiting from this year’s Essentials event. A portion of ticket sales will be donated to Food on Foot and collections will be taken on site as well.
Since 1996, Food on Foot is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing the poor and homeless of Los Angeles with nutritious meals, clothing, job opportunities, and assistance in the transition to employment and life off the streets.
Food on Foot operates a weekly meal program every Sunday in Hollywood. Food on Foot began in March 1996 as one man’s response to the hunger he witnessed among the poor and homeless of Hollywood. What initially began as the distribution of meals from the trunk of a car has grown through the dedication of its volunteers and now serves more than 200 meals each week to homeless, disabled, elderly and low-income adults and children.
For more information and to make donations, please visit: www.foodonfoot.org
Eve Bushman has been reading, writing, taking coursework and tasting wine for over 20 years. She has obtained a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, has been the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and recently served as a guest judge for the L.A. International Wine Competition. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits that may be answered in a future column. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com