Thank you, LA Food & Wine Fest! I may never eat again!

on 01/08/16 at 9:40 am

a woman walks into a bar...

stage2The LA Food & Wine Fest is three days of glorious fressing made by world class chefs and served by them, sipping wines from about 100(!) wineries, tippling cocktails and quaffing beer all in the name of diligent food and beverage research. Here is what my research discovered covering these three big foodie events: Emeril Legasse’s Eat The World on Grand Avenue, Tyler Florence Host Live On Grand and Lexus Grand Tasting at Barker Hangar. That’s enough food and booze to keep you happily hibernating for an entire winter. Since hibernating isn’t an option, we must patiently digest and courageously march right on to the next meal.

First piece of advice when you go to one of these foodie events, don’t wait in the long lines at first. Find the booths with no line or a very short line…go there…then circle back later to the other booths. And, oh god, pace yourself! You know what? You do not have to finish every morsel. Remembering the old saw, you will not be scolded that there are starving children in China. As a precaution, in case you cannot help yourself and eat every tiny crumb, tuck some Alka Seltzer into your bag. Why aren’t they a sponsor?

tofu ballSo, you probably want to know which chef’s bites were the tastiest. Pretty much everything was pretty damn delicious but, incredibly, a crispy little tofu ball won my palate! Chef Nguyen Tran, you know, the guy in the banana suit shouted instructions into a megaphone, “Please enjoy our balls in yo’ mouth!” And so I did. More than once.Nguyen Tran banana costume You can get those balls in yo’ mouth at Button Mash in Echo Park.

Oh, boy, so much good stuff…here are a few that caught my attention: there was a delightful little bite of meat /sausage – well, I’m not quite sure what it was (it was early and I was bedazzled) – on a pretty sesame leaf from Cannibal Beer & Butcher.Cannibal on sesame leaf

You can tell where Joe’s Stone Crab is by the loooong line. Oddly, their offering was steak frites and a drink of gin juice…no stone crab. Guess you have to go to Florida for those.

I loved the salmon “Belle-Vue” in aspic(!) – don’t think ’50s tomato aspic – with fingerling potatoes and herring cream from Le Petit Paris in LA.  It all came together in a lovely quivering morsel.aspic

 A food and wine festival of this kind takes hundreds of people to coordinate everything from the chefs, the entertainment, the wineries, the deliveries, the PR (Wagstaff amazing job), the bloggers, the wine glasses, the printing…exhausting just thinking about it…and it takes this ‘village’ to make it all come together. But, what interests me is the gargantuan amounts of food that each restaurant has to bring. I asked a few of them what they brought: Sean O’Toole, from Napa’s TORC restaurant, made sliders at the Terroir Life ‘campus’ and brought 900 pounds of meat and 7000 buns for three nights – different meat, different preparation each night.tritip sliders

Patina brought 350 pounds of veal cheeks. Andreas Roller of Nick + Stef’s brought 40 pounds of chanterelles! Alex Seidel of Mercantile in Denver brought 200 pounds of octopus.

Moving on to the Lexus Grand Tasting at The Barker Hangar,  Stephanie Izard’s lump crab (40 pounds) and ricotta (40 pounds) salad was one of the tastiest morsels and Hugh Acheson made a delectable bite of sustainable Arctic Char (100 pounds, 1800 portions)Hugh Acheson arctic char

A word about Hugh Acheson. He is not 6’3″ which is what I thought he was from seeing him on the tv. He is actually kind of slight, about 5’10″ish. In great shape. So when I saw him, I thought the man I saw might be Hugh’s brother or twin…just a smaller version! But it was really Hugh and he was very gracious…as, I might add, were all the chefs who were working their asses off. Sweating and working like machines, smiling and patiently answering all questions.

And let’s not forget hip-hop royalty De La Soul was in the house! They got the place hoppin’ with their old-school vibes and they were fabulous!

Okay, so you’ve heard about many of these celebrity chefs. You’ve watched them on television but it’s super cool to meet them up close and personal! Listen, put this event on your calendar for next year. You have a whole year to diet and get ready!

I’ll be posting more pictures on Instagram @awomanwalksintoabar and writing about a few other things that I need to talk about! Stay tuned!

Hugh Acheson3

Hugh Acheson