While there are so many subjects that come to mind when you hear “Los Angeles”, I feel like “Food and Wine” may not be the first thing that you think of. LA became famous for its Hollywood glam, the rich and famous, beaches and its diversity. Yet, in the more recent years? Hands down some of the most beloved weekends are all about the food festivals. Not to mention popular attractions like Disneyland, Eat-See-Hear, The Dodgers and more are now offering an array of top notch wines, beers and dishes.
One of those anticipated weekends is The LA Food and Wine Festival. Having just wrapped its 6th year this past weekend, I was thrilled to once again cover this fabulous festival. With its Night Market at 1st and Grand Street in beautiful Downtown LA, this 3 night event is just whistling distance from The Music Center and makes for the ideal backdrop for a night of delicious foods (I was treated to everything from crab legs courtesy of Mr. Chow, to Earl Grey sorbet from Sweet Lucy’s), schmoozing and free flowing wines.
Along with the Night Market, LA Food and Wine has expanded immensely over its years establishing itself as the hottest food and wine event to attend. Thursday night found the one and only Emeril Lagasse hosting their opening celebration of “Eat the World” while Saturday found foodies enjoying The Sunset Chill ‘n Grill event hosted by Rick Bayless at The Fairmont Miramar in Santa Monica.
What makes The LA Food and Wine Festival’s Night Market so eclectic and fun is the variety of dishes and varietals you get to try while also getting the opportunity to chat with the wine makers and the famous chef’s behind your plate. The slew of world renowned Chef’s in attendance is something to marvel at, and, if you’re lucky, you may even get a photo op or autograph from them!
Favorite wines of mine including J. Lohr and Justin were there pouring some of their consumer’s faves, while I got to sip phenomenal Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir’s from new friends like Priest Ranch (Out of Yountville, CA) and Paso Robles’ Tablas Creek. I will be visiting the Paso wine region later this year, and love the fact that I have already connected with some great wineries to visit there.
Unlike last year, I was extremely pleased that at-least half of the cuisine offering were “Mary Friendly” (Gluten free and Vegetarian or seafood)! Aside from the decadent crab legs at Mr. Chow’s (Which were indeed battered, but in corn flour), I was treated to spicy salmon hand rolls from The Grove’s Blue Ribbon, Lavender truffles from Tonet Tibay (Chocolatier and Founder of Marti Chocolatt here in town), gluten free and vegetarian tostada chip appetizers from Chef Nicole Votano and more over the course of this three hour soiree.
Something else to keep in mind when attending LAFW is that, all are welcome. Whether you are a wine connoisseur or just love a great slider, it doesn’t matter what your level of food and wine is. I love talking wine, yet, am in no way near being a Sommelier. I love to eat, but don’t often eat meat and am somewhat picky. I was surrounded by both like-minded attendees as well as very educated Chefs and wine makers. Everyone is family at LA Food and Wine Festival. It’s a great, eclectic mix all coming together.
While LAFW Festival may be in the books for 2016, I cannot wait to see what they unveil for us dedicated foodies and wino’s next year. See you there?! xo