The weather was sizzling, the atmosphere sublime, as Los Angeles 'foodies,' natives and transplants as well, assembled with culinary excitement and enthusiasm for what has become a Labor Day weekend tradition, The Los Angeles Times "The Taste." Visitors to this festival faced the 'daunting' task of which booth to choose first, from the many eclectic selections offered from the finest of wining and dining LA, and its surrounds has to offer.
The lineup of restaurants and wine, beer and spirits companies, was phenomenal. Given the festival's esteemed reputation as a showcase for emerging talent among chefs, food critics, sommeliers, and mixologists, many panels were enlightening and informative, including: Matthew Biancaniello, "Best Bartender in LA, 2010;" Nancy Silverton; of the famed Mozza and La Brea Bakery; Jonathan Gold; LA Times restaurant critic and author of "Counter Intelligence- Where to Eat in the Real Los Angeles; and Jessica Gelt, food and nightlife writer for the LA Times, to name a few.
Many an event theme has become a festival favorite. For me, particularly, as a relatively new vegetarian, the Saturday afternoon "From Field to Fork' was an innovative, gastronomic delight. Sun Cafe Organic, of Studio City, served up Kale Shakes (voted #1 smoothie in LA) ; vegan mac n cheese; and kelp pasta pesto. Mr. Chow, of Beverly Hills, offering fine Beijing cuisine for years, sampled a deliciously delicate warm five spice tofu salad, with a zesty chili sauce, shaved carrots, and slices of crunchy sweet Asian pear. The array of raw food and cooked items offered at various booths seemed customized and designed to delight and amaze one's taste buds and culinary curiosity. Goose Island and Shock Top featured a booth, promoting the country's newly found fascination and passion with all things IPA 'craft beer.' Gift bags, care of Don Julio Tequila, were a welcome gift, as well as a booth introducing Lounge Attire Premium Cocktail Cranberries, making the perfect festive gift, this upcoming holiday season. Distillery #209, of Mission Bay, San Francisco, Pier 50,was another gem of a booth, offering the perfect gin for an exquisite martini, pristine and smooth.
Every delicacy, from cuisine to cocktail, were the essence throughout the weekend, of promoting relaxation, well-being, and nourishment. Days and nights... to sip and savor.. were had by all. For more information, visit latimes.com/taste