This year marked the 5th annual Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival. Always a favorite, our anticipation for this year’s event was through the roof—and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
Here’s the scoop: LAFW is a 4-day series of culinary happenings that take place throughout the city, celebrating today’s food scene. This year, the festival’s two marquee events (Friday and Saturday) posted up along the Grand Avenue stretch of Downtown LA, flanked by the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the new Broad Museum as the stunning backdrop.
Though the entire roundup is worth attending, the Friday and Saturday events produce a particularly electrifying energy. Everyone comes together—wide-eyed, hungry, and thirsty. The industry’s best chefs gather to showcase their world-renowned chops through menu tastings, wine pairings and live demonstrations for thousands of enthusiastic attendees. The interactive festival is one of the city’s most unique events where live music, master sommeliers, local chefs, and the food world’s biggest culinary stars come together for the ultimate foodie experience.
Friday night’s Lexus Grand Avenue Night Market kicked off with a Fried Chicken Party, err we mean demonstration, hosted by Tyler Florence of Food 911. The demos are always worth the ticket price —we were taught how to make the featured dishes while enjoying champagne, plus we got to sample the food right after. The Fried Chicken was served with a lemon (new to us—the unexpected ingredient added a zesty kick) and the best version of the classic dish we’ve ever had (really).
Though there were numerous delicious tastings throughout the festival, check out a list of our favorites:
Best Rose: Miraval
Yes, we know, straight from Angelina and Brad Pitt’s Chateau estate in France, but seriously worth the hype. Rose all day.
Best Rose Brut: Le Grand Courtage Brut Rose
Rose is already to die for—add some bubbles to it and we literally can’t even. Slightly sweet, subtly floral, refreshing, and with a clean finish, as they say, it’s deliciously seductive. Friday night’s set up was paired next to the Oyster Station in the Lexus Lounge tempting us not to move.
Best Noodles: The District | Hannah An
This buzzed-about Friday night tasting was chalked full of F-L-A-V-O-R, specifically, Hannah’s homemade noodles. Their W. 3rd St. location opened earlier this year in the former Duplex space and we couldn’t reserve a table fast enough.
Best Dish: Saigon Lemongrass Beef Salad | Chef Tin Vuong | Little Sister
We just can’t say enough about Chef Tin Vuoung. In fact, we have so much to say we featured him in our latest issue. Friday night’s dish was more than a bite (much appreciated) and the complexity crescendoed with every bite as the savory flavors set in— a trend in Chef Vuong’s exquisite dishes. Complex and outstanding, we give this one 5 stars.
Best BBQ: Barrel and Ashes
Quickly becoming our favorite BBQ in Los Angeles, Barrel and Ashes had quite the impressive set-up with memorable flavors to match. If you haven’t tried this Studio City gem yet, you’re definitely missing out.
Photo: Michelle Lipa
Best Presentation: Bouchon
Ok, it wasn’t juuust the presentation. The mini nicoise salad was not only clever, but refreshing and delicious to boot.
Best Personality: Chef Freddy Vargas | Scarpetta
Before we go on about how warm and friendly Chef Freddy Vargas is, we’ve got to mention his epic Saturday night dish. Tigelle with coppa di testa, pickled shallots & salsa verde was one of our favorites of the evening. Freddy, if you’re listening, will you please put this on the menu? We can’t stop thinking about it!
And the list goes on. From finding your inner spice personality at Plated, to sampling Nancy Silverton’s new gelato flavors, the LAFW gave us one of our most memorable experiences of 2015. If you haven’t made it to the LA Food and Wine Festival yet, make sure to check it out next year. Until then, enjoy our snaps!
Chef David Hands | Bouchon
Chef Brad Miller | Ox & Son
Chef David LeFevre | M.B. Post
Chef Ryan Ososky | Church Key
Nancy Silverton | Nancy’s Fancy
Chef Paul Lee | Patina
Sev puri chaat with mango + avocado | Sambar