September 12, 2010
New York City has one.
South Beach has one.
Aspen, of course, has one.
And now…Beverly Hills has one too.
What do all the above have? Well, sometime during the year, all of them have one of Food & Wine magazine’s numerous food festivals hosted in their city.
The first ever Taste of Beverly Hills was held this past Labor Day weekend – a four day/six session event touting unlimited food and wine tastings from Los Angeles’ top restaurants and vendors, demos from well-known chefs from across the country and live musical performances.
Thanks to a *special someone*, I found myself in possession of a pair of weekend passes to the Taste of Beverly Hills. My schedule only permitted me to attend Friday night’s “The Art of Mixing” and Saturday night’s “Date Night” sessions, but I made the most of both nights and ate and drank to my heart’s content.
Now I’ve never been to a tasting event of this magnitude or caliber so I wanted to really take the time and enjoy the Taste of Beverly Hills. Thus, I decided early on that I wouldn’t take any pictures at either session and would completely suppress my (now normal) food blogging habits. Therefore, if you’re scanning this post and wondering where the pictures are – Sorry! You’re out of luck. (Honestly, part of me does wish I had taken pictures…but it was so much more fun eating knowing I didn’t have to shoot every bite!)
The Art of Mixing
I was so excited going into Friday night’s session; upon walking into the venue, I began prancing around like a kid in a candy store, giddy with anticipation. Luckily, I had two of my favorite dining companions to share the excitement with – thanks to a ticket giveaway from YelpLA, I was able to invite Libby the Lusty Glutton and Linden the Gastronomnom to join in on the Taste of Beverly Hills fun.
In 45 minutes, the three of us ate at every food exhibitors in both tents. As expected, some samples were better than others. The following were my favorites of the night (listed alphabetically):
– Angeli Cafe – beet and ricotta gnocchi
– Church and State – pigs feet croquettes
– Cut – kobe sliders
– Il Cielo – white truffle pappardelle
– Osteria Mozza – burrata with olive oil and tomatoes
– Restaurant at Sunset Marquis – duck and foie gras
– Walter Manzke – potato taquito
Friday was fun but Saturday was better, solely because my “date” happened to be the little brother, who I wish I could hang out with more often. The little brother is a bit of a closet foodie (he finds food bloggers pretentious, but he likes to eat and can be just as critical as food as the rest of us), so I knew he’d appreciate the event.
I was a little disappointed with Saturday’s night session as I felt the food was slightly stronger the day before. However, Saturday’s session was also noticeably more crowded, so I think that may have been the cause for the decline in overall food quality. No matter the night, the following exhibitors would have still been my favorites though (listed alphabetically):
– District on Sunset – venison relleno, zucchini terrine
– Ford’s Filling Station – ham hock risotto
– Petrossian – caviar tasting
– Water Grill – freshly shucked oysters
In the end, my feelings about the Taste of Beverly Hills can best be summed up by a conversation I overheard during Friday’s session between a little boy and his father:
“…And that was delicious! And the burger was amazing! And this dessert is fantastic! And….”
Well done, Taste of Beverly Hills, well done.