The eighth annual Los Angeles Food & Wine festival returns Aug. 22–26 with events expanding to five days this year. The festivities include tasting events hosted by culinary luminaries along Downtown’s Grand Avenue, with “Ultimate Bites of L.A.” hosted by Alvin Cailan and Antonia Lofaso on Thursday, Aug. 23, from 7 to 10 p.m.
Attending this event, I visited some of my favorite chefs that included Ian Gresik (The Arbour in Pasadena), Chris Ford (Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills), Antonio Lofaso (DAMA), Nikolas Erven (Rappahannock Oyster Bar), Ari Kolender (Hayden), Robert Liberato (STK), Holly Jivin (The Bazaar by Jose Andres in Beverly Hills), and more.
One of my favorite experiences was by the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas . There were photo opportunities on an Italian Vespa, specialty cocktail, postcards that attendees could fill out and place in a colorful mailbox to be mailed to a friend or loved one. This interactive pop-up also has a DJ spinning tunes for The Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival up on a rooftop giving attendees a birds-eye view below. Since Factory Kitchen is now at the Venetian, the staff were serving the restaurant’s signature Hankercheif pasta with a lovely basil and almond sauce. Here’s my Factory Kitchen review.
Here are my some of my favorite winning moments from many of LA’s most celebrated chefs. They create these “Ultimate Bites” and other culinary sensations at their restaurants:
BEST Italian Dish – Ian Gresik (The Arbour Pasadena) wins for his ethereal corn agnolotti with shaved black truffles.
PRETTIEST Dessert: Chris Ford, Executive Pastry Chef at Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Resort in Beverly Hills won with his cake pop display. My review of Chris Ford.
BEST Sandwich – a Philly Cheesesteak like you have never had before made by Holly Jivin (The Bazaar by Jose Andres in Beverly Hills).
BEST Summer Mango Beer – Golden Road Mango Wheat Ale.
BEST Non-alcoholic beverage – Executive Pastry Chef Frania Mendivil Patina Restaurant Group made picturesque strawberry shakes and sorbet smoothies.
BEST Burger – Chef Greg Wiele Patina Restaurant Group made delicious Summer Truffle Sliders, served in a box.
BEST Salad – Executive Chef Michael Schlow was at the festival making a festive salad. My review of Cavatina at the Sunset Marquis is featured here.
BEST Asian cuisine – Chef David Kau from Little Fatty and Accomplice made a stunning Squid Ink Xiao Long Bao.
Tonight, Aug. 24, the event’s typical Night Market will be replaced by the Latin-themed Heat on the Street on Grand Avenue. Esteemed celebrity chefs Aarón Sánchez, Mary Sue Milliken Susan Feniger, and Food Network’s Robert Irvine headline the event.
The festival’s marquee tasting event will take place on Saturday, Aug. 25 and feature music by Questlove. Other Los Angeles Food and Wine events include afternoons at the Lexus Grand Tasting at The Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, as well as an exclusive dinners, and the Power Lunch series.
Cooking demonstrations and appearances by celebrity chefs Curtis Stone, Antonia Lofaso, Tiffani Thiessen, and James Beard nominated chef Casey Lane and award-winning Brady Williams are just some of the star-studded lineup.
The Lexus Grand Tasting at The Barker Hangar will be open on Saturday, Aug. 25 and Sunday, Aug. 26 afternoons and feature more than 25 celebrity chefs, many of whom will sign books and appear in photos with guests.
Tickets range from $125 – $225. For information, visit lafw.com or call (855)433-5239.