By all accounts, the first annual Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival at LA Live was a smashing success. If we judge food festivals based on how stuffed we were, then this one takes the cake as we came starving and left belts loosen and stomachs completely satiated. But of course what makes a food festival a success is more than that and that’s where the folks putting on the Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival have the right formula—top chefs, great variety, and flawless execution. It’s no suprise that they’re the same folks that put on the wildly successful Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival that we had such a wonderful time two years ago. Spanning 4 days and over 70 different events it’s almost mind numbing to choose one over another. But if you had to choose one, the grand tasting events are the place to be. With over 30 chefs and just as many wineries it’s always a treat to see what the chefs come up with.
Our favorite bite of the day was Wolfgang Puck’s raw seafood stew (above) of uni, clams, hamachi, and succulent amaebi prawns and it’s delectably fried head in a hot tomato broth. Simply spectacular.
Another favorite was Drago Centro‘s fresh agnolotti pasta with shaved truffles from the man himself, Celestino Drago. Anything with freshly shaven tuffles will be a hit, but the agnolotti alone was on point.
Taking his meatballs all the way from New York City was Daniel Holzman, chef of The Meatball Shop. After a meal from The Meatball Shop last year, we enjoyed it so much we made several versions his meatballs at home to much success. To our delight, he will be coming out with a cookbook soon!
Of course what’s a food festival with some liquid nitrogen? Stephan Richter of Top Chef fame and Stephan’s at LA Farm indulged our fancies with a red wine lollipop. Fancy that, wine on a stick!
The Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival has an air of elegance and exclusivity. No expense was spared as everything from knorks, fancy port-a-potties, personalized chef’s coats, and modern lounge areas were quite impressive. While pricey, the quality of dishes and ingredients and free flow of wine and booze and top talent certainly makes it worthwhile. It’s a welcomed and fabulous addition to the Los Angeles food scene, and one we will look forward to yearly.