The evolution of “The Taste LA“, like any other similar event, reflects in the progression of both its vendors as well as those attending. While making the event more central to Paramount Studios over the three day Labor Day period, excluding the aspects of Beverly Hills and Downtown LA (which made last year’s scheduling so great and explosive) was sorely missing this year. Even though the progression was palpatable, its energy and focus lacked some diversity (though its dexterity does far outweigh its competitor [LA Food & Wine] in keeping the action decidedly local.
The first intention event was “Field To Fork” representing more organic elements across the palette. Good Girl Dinette started off the festivities with a freekeh comprised of cherry tomatoes, corn and shredded kale which touched the buds without any exceptional texture while the Avalon Grille in nearby Catalina heightened with a fried pinkerton avocado which resonated with much higher efficiency.
Red O followed with a tantalizing one/two punch starting with a pork belly sope surrounded with black beans and salsa negro but it was their albacore ceviche with cilantro and serrano chiles that truly impacted.
The Terranea Resort in Palos Verdes sanctioned for power with its lobster roll, replete with too much bread, but still with vivid soft shell enough to impress.
Continuing in the organic functionality, M Cafe proceeded forward with their kale marinated in peanut sauce accompanied with dilled tofu on a pita which generated a dichotomy of flavor to be sure while AKA initiated a paradox with Z’atar dusted duck bathed with honey dates that piqued the interest but left with little aftershock.
Blending the dark, Cocktail Confidential followed beginning with whiskey shenanigans through Wild Turkey with a drink called “Give Them The Bird” mixing the rye, lemon, honey, apple spiced tea, angostura and sparkling water for an exceptional smooth finish where the night could end somewhere down the line.
Allowing for the texture, Haven Gastropub offered up its pig jam pork rillettes encompassed by its house mustard and micro-greens which resounded nicely but it was Gorbals and its beef tongue a la plancha with romesco, rye croutons and vinegar powder that popped the intensity with glorious aftertaste.
Balancing the functionality, Cast Iron Gourmet rallied over the top with a southern fried chicken bite enraptured with bacon fat mayo macaroni slaw but the textured taste belonged to Forbidden Secret, an American-based Wisconsin-made cream liqeur that hit the spot.
Relating the position, Dinner & Drinks the following night persuaded at the inset with Rosa Mexicano and its one/two punch of duck tinga tacos with homemade salsa served with an exquisite side of lobster truffle oil corn equites.
Nic’s Beverly Hills followed knowing its strengths with his duck liver pate topped with apricot and pistachio cream cheese but it was the loveliness of Fat Dog with its flavorful meatballs ensconced in gravy and its french dip that took the breathe and hunger away.
Returning to form, Lexington Social House mirrored its progression of last year with the favorite of fried jidori chicken topped with corn and mango salsa but it was Frida’s with its chicken taco in full flagrante that truly hit the spot.
Revolving into the Labor Day Picnic event, the tone was decidedly more kid-friendly and less full culinary driven. That said, Rosa Mexicano succeeded again with its elotes, translating its succulent corn on the cob topped with creama and chiles to perfection.
Showing dexterity and humor, Juan’s Restaurante offered their pre-hispanicos topped with mango and fried grasshopper for exceptional effect.
In opposition, Mexikosher, again realizing the power of their entry last year, returned to form with tantalizing layer of safe meat tacos enveloped with a spectacular sauce while Red Lion, also understanding the functionality of tried and true ingredients, succeeded with their weisswurst with red cabbage and sauerkraut.
No picnic could be concluded without the aspect of ice cream seen in a more dexterous form. Cool Haus began the proceedings with their libations of Dirty Mint Chip as well as Chicken N’ Waffles but it was Sweet Rose Creamery with their unusual Sweet Corn N’ Spicy Cheese and the indeniable Salted Caramel that truly took the cake.
Still evolving within its texture, The Taste LA continues to show its integration of possibility (though the event itself paled in many ways in terms of exhibitors and locations to last year) while still delivering some interesting consumables from intended vendors who truly know their craft.
Posted in Arts Travel & Culture Features
Tags: AKA, Avalon Grille, Cast Irony Gourmet, Catalina, Cool Haus, Culinary, Feature, Forbidden Secret, Frida, Good Girl Dinette, Gorbals, Haven Gastropub, IFWTWA, Juan's Restaurante, Lexington Social House, los angeles times, M Cafe, Mexikosher, Nic's Beverly Hills, Red Lion, Red O, Rosa Mexicano, Sweet Rose Creamery, Terranea Resort, The Fat Dog, The Taste LA, tim wassberg, Wild Turkey