Saturday at LA Food Fest

Photo: Michael Farah.
Photo: Michael Farah.

 

Last weekend marked one of the most anticipated weekends of the year if you are a hardcore foodie and Angelino: The LA Food Fest. Formerly known as the LA Street Food Fest, this food faire with the possibility of “all you can eat” was a favorite of Michael and mine when we went a few years ago. Back then? One entry fee got you into the Rose Bowl and the ability to eat whatever you want, as much as you want, from the festival’s food vendors. There were massive lines for the Stella Rosa wine samples, Sushi Roku’s hand rolls, tequila tastings and all kinds of BBQ’dmeats.

Since then, the LA Food Fest has had changes in management, PR and location. Now taking over Exposition Park behind the Natural History Museum, they certainly have managed to transform a generous amount of space to their 100 vendors, entertainment and, now, food trucks, indy co-op shop stands and their “Rose Garden” al-fresco style dining experience.

Wine. I wasted no time. Photo: Michael Farah.
Wine. I wasted no time.
Photo: Michael Farah.

Like I quite often say with festivals involving help-yourself-food-samples and crowds, there are going to be some kinks. What I previously loved about the food fest was the one ticket price for all to enjoy. The only other ticket option was a VIP, which meant you got to come in earlier to start your noshing. VIP now indicates “The Golden Hour”: Giving those of us wanting to enjoy samples til our heart is content for 2 hours (from 12-2) to do so. Once the clock struck 2? The vendors stopped serving for an hour, to make way for the MRKT ticket holders.

MRKT passes got you into the fun for a small fee, and you then select from the vendors full portioned dish on ap for the day. From the signage, it appeared that the prices went from $5 and up. Not sure if the prices meant a different sized dish, too.

And, for the full treatment, their Rose Garden Pop Up Restaurant passes got you an intimate, Chef hosted, long table style dining experience, including a brunch, for $95 and access to MRKT.

Photo: Michael Farah.
Photo: Michael Farah.

And, there is also the elephant that’s always in the room with me: My diet. Many have asked me, Is this worth it if you’re gluten-free? Or, better yet, gluten-free AND Vegetarian/Pescatarian? While it was a fun afternoon at Exposition Park, and I got a great share of wine, ice cream and iced coffees, I would vote no, judging from 2016.

In 2014, I had a ball trying a great selection of “Mary Friendly” foods. While Michael enjoyed himself a plenty (BBQ, ice cream, meatballs….), he also felt that the variety was not as elaborate as 2 years ago.

Nevertheless, I will always have fun and enjoy LA Food Fest. Here is to 2017! xo

(*Disclosure: I received media credentials to cover LA Food Fest. All opinions are my own.)

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