NO KID HUNGRY Food Festival

Taste of the Nation LA is celebrating its 30th charitable food festival on May 4, 2019 with some of LA’s favorite chefs This year the chef chairs include Bruce Kalman, Dakota Weiss, and Nick Shipp.


I was invited to a special preview night last month at SLS Hotel Beverly Hills. The multi-course dinner was paired with MacRostie Wine. Sitting next to Gillian Jeske Dodd from Distinguished Vineyards & Wine Partners, she represents the state-of-the-art winery, located on a picturesque hilltop overlooking the bucolic Russian River Valley in California.


We first enjoyed pours of 2016 MacRostie Charles Heintz Vineyard Chardonnay. I noticed layers of citrus layers and tropical fruit. The grapes for this wine were harvested by hand and went direct to press as whole clusters. The juice was racked into French oak barrels for fermentation, and aged in 20% new French oak barrels, and 40% one-year-old, adding subtle nuances to a vibrant and beautifully balanced Chardonnay.


The adorable chef Dakota Weiss (Sweet Fin Poke) made the first course – a fresh albacore poke to wake up our palate. This Chardonnay was an excellent pairing with this dish.


Next we enjoyed pork and shrimp wontons with English peas and frilly pea tendrils made by Shirley Chung of Ms. Chi Cafe.


The last dish with the Chardonnay was Jason Neroni (The Rose Venice) Rissole Asparagus with truffle caviar, egg parmesan, petite greens, asparagus jus and cultured creme fraiche. Next bottles of MacRostie Pinot Noir arrived on the table.


While a bottle of MacRostie Thale’s Vineyard Pinot Noir was poured, I learned Steve MacRostie Pinot-focused winery is also the home to Thale’s Vineyard, named after Steve’s wife. This brilliant red wine offered appealing aromas of clove, brown spice, and cherry with lovely berry notes and a pleasing French oak-inspired finish.

This Pinot Noir was made by the talented female winemaker Heidi Bridenhagen. She works closely with owner Steve MacRostie to give this Pinot Noir an amazing palette of flavor. Heidi does as many as 130 small fermentations with each vintage. The wine is made from gently destemmed grapes and is aged for 10 months in 32% new French oak, and 20% one-year-old French oak before it was bottled in July, 2017.


I enjoyed this with the coffee crusted Mangalista pork tenderloin prepared by Nick Shipp from Upper West. On the plate were truffles and a puree of goat cheese. The roasted jalapeño apple sauce had a kick of heat.


It also went well with the Holstein beef strip roast prepared by Bruce Kalman of Square Peg. This dish had braised fennel, and glistened with a pleasing lemon rosemary oil.

Desserts was an amazing Farmers Market array of colorful and creative treats by Mitzi Reyes and Hussain Zouhbi (The Bazaar by José Andrés at SLS Hotel Beverly Hills).


The Taste of the Nation food festival on May 4 offers ticket holders unlimited bites and sips from the chefs above, plus other restaurant and drink purveyors, such as Ample Hills Creamery, Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken, Baltaire, Border Grill, Bourbon Steak, Charcoal Venice, China’s Tacos, Commerson, Dog Haus Eagle Rock Public House, Gwen Butcher Shop & Restaurant, Jaffa Palms, Jiktalda, Los Balcones, Maude, Maple Block Meat Co. McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream, Salazar, Socalo, Tartine Bianco, Tesse, The Bazaar by Jose’ Andres, The Culver Hotel, The Restaurant at Montage Beverly Hills, Valerie Confectlons and Viviane Restaurant.


Beverage participants besides MacRostie Winery & Vineyards include Ammunition Wines, Brockmans Gin, Buffalo Trace Distillery, Cavaletti Vineyards, Chamisal Vineyards, Common Space Brewery, Domaine De Cala, Duvel, Eagle Rock Brewery, Frisco Cellars, Fords Gin, Luna Nuda Wines, Mulholland Distilling Co., Malene Vineyards, Obvious Wines, Singha North America, Seedlip Drinks and Tequila Partida.

There will be a silent auction, photo booth, Chrysler Pacifica Kids activity and lawn games area, and an Opportunity Drawing to win a gift card from every participating restaurant.

By attending this event, proceeds will go to ensure that no kid goes hungry, whether in California or across the nation.

For tickets and information, go to No Kid Hungry.


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