Likening the LA Food and Wine Festival to Comic-Con for food may bend out of shape those with a privilege of a ticket.
Even though general admission tickets ranged in the mid $100, that didn’t stop attendees from a horde mentality.
And why shouldn’t they have it? At many of the mega tasting events, over 200 wines were poured alongside offerings from a multitude of renowned chefs and beloved eateries.
Spectacle and Spectacular
Curtis Stone, sporting his humungous wedding band-it burrrnns-dined on Kogi Truck tacos. Attendees breathed “Dragon’s Smoke” out their orifices with the help of Patina Pantry’s Nitro Cotton Candy. And attendees rushed around from table to table, grabbing samples and downing them en route to the next.
Upstarts like the always-loveable Nguyen Tran from Starry Kitchen were a welcome contrast to those too uppity for their own good. Nguyen, in Lederhosen, playfully teased attendees over a megaphone while supplying them with an amazing Black Sesame Panna Cotta and Chili Crab Gumbo.
Celebrity. Kitsch. Swag-albeit in the form of food.
What’s not Comic-Con about that?
But SDCC seldom sates the taste buds. LAFW sure did.
Chef Ben Ford’s savory Lamb Meatball with Tomato Chutney and Guanciale and Cilantro Yogurt was my favorite for Saturday’s Lexus Grand Tasting event at the LA Center Studios. Also incredible were Phorage’s Chef Perry Cheung’s Dungeness Crab; and Chef Tachibe Shigafumie’s Compressed Watermelon Mojitos and Wagyu Nigiri.
I also appreciated some gluten-free offerings: Chef Andie Leon’s Superfood Shepherd’s Pie made with organic Local Grass Fed Ground Beef and Amaranth Flour with Sacha Inchi Powder, Goji Powder, and Cacao Nibs.
Closing down Grand Avenue between 1 st and 2 nd alongside the magnificent Walt Disney Concert Hall was the Asian Market Night hosted by “Iron Chef” Masaharu Morimoto. Chef Bryan Ng of The Spice Table brought wonderful Spicy Grilled Beef Ribs topped with Pineapple-Anchovy Sauce. Roy Yamaguchi of Roy’s Hawaii’s Shellfish Curry with Lobster was incredible as expected. Kris Yenbamroong of Night Market brought his delicious Koi Tuna-Isan Tuna Ceviche served on a shrimp chip. And I much enjoyed the Grilled Cha Soba and Blue Crab with Shiso, Red Radish, and Ginger-Apple Ponzu from David LeFevre of Manhattan Beach Post.
Toward the end of the night, food was running thin so there was a reason to rush around and try everything.
Some had extensive lines, most notably The House of An.
Like SDCC, there were many who used their bodies as battering rams, not wanting to move an inch. But here, they acted like they had paid for the license of doing so.
And also like Comic-Con, there was not enough time. While I was exhausted just after a mere three hours of shoving food in my mouth, I still didn’t get to try everything.
I’m sure many like me will be formulating a plan for next year. Until then, I’ll also be dreaming of Ben Ford’s meatball.
*** An exactly similar story appears on Yahoo however Yahoo has not fixed the link and the web version is not available for the previous post. The mobile version does work for both posts of these articles.