When I first heard of Los Angeles Times and Food & Wine magazine’s THE TASTE I didn’t know what to expect. I knew it kicked off with their Burgers & Beer event and…well, really, how can you go wrong with an event named after the two things that have made this country great? But the name was actually a bit misleading. It probably should have been called, Burgers & Beer & Every Other Wonderful Thing You Would Ever Want To Devour Extravaganza. From foie gras to fine cheeses to wine to decadent chocolates and assorted baked goods, the Burgers & Beer event was enough to make you think you had died and gone to culinary heaven. The only clue that you might not have reached an ethereal plane is that your human body simply doesn’t have the ability to eat everything being offered. Seriously, by the end of that event my eyes were still lusting after Wilshire Restaurant’s Roasted Pork Slider (complete with apple chutney, arugula, Dijon and aioli) and STK’s BBQ short rib sliders (served with sour cream, chives, roasted corn salad and their house made BBQ sauce). And although I knew that, in order to save room, I should only have had one taste of Waterloo & City’s chicken liver foie gras, stopping at one bite proved to be a fairly impossible task. The drinks from Cupcake Wine, Justin Vineyards and Peroni helped me forget about how far off my normal diet plan I had gone.
Cider & Pork Slider from Wilshire Restaurant
And even if the beer and wine served at the Burgers & Beer event weren’t enough to help me throw caution to the wind the spirits served at the second event of the night, appropriately titled The Art of Mixing, would have done the trick. Anyone who knows me or who has ever read my books knows I have a fondness for vodka and this festival, hosted at the gorgeous Paramount Studios Backlot, was serving some of the most amazing vodka I’ve ever tasted. Beluga Vodka was one of my favorites, served with Lounge Attire Cranberries which are naturally sweet, dark red in color and grown exclusively in the Northwest. Normally I don’t wax poetic about cranberries but honestly, these were the perfect enhancement to the miniature Beluga vodka shots they were serving, making the drink flavorful, slightly sweet and not even a little syrupy. But there were lots of other drinks to get excited about, including the martinis served by Chopin, the wine served by Herzog Wine Cellars and the Skinny Girl Cocktails (relatively low calorie drinks that I like to pretend make up for everything I tasted at Essential Chocolate Desserts and The Cake Mamas booths). And the band, Mariachi El Bronx just made everything all the more festive and fun.
Beluga Vodka from Russia
Karlsson's Potatoes + Vodka
And what’s the perfect finish for a night of total decadence? Shaved ice, flavored perfectly with gin, lemon, blackberry and basil (a flavor combination otherwise known as Bramble). How can you not LOVE that?
All in all it was worth every wonderfully sinful bite. I can’t wait until the next event.
Kyra Davis on the Red Carpet at The Taste
You can learn more about Kyra and her books at KyraDavis.com
You can still purchase tickets for this weekend's events at THE TASTE.
Check back for many more upcoming photos and features of THE TASTE.