Ahhh Labor Day…. this time of year conjures up images of the end of lazy, carefree summer days; the Jerry Lewis annual telethon; barbeques with family and friends; and my most favorite tradition of late: the Los Angeles Times’ Taste of LA fest, on the lot at Paramount Studios. Foodies from the LA area and its environs were in for a treat, as they sipped and savored delicacies for three days. On a cool, yet balmy Saturday night, guests enjoyed the theme of “dinner with a twist.” Some highlights included lamb chops and chicken kebobs fresh off the grill from downtown’s trendy restaurant 10E. Ditmas Kitchen & Grill, located in Pico-Robertson, served up a delicious veal breast and veal consommé broth. Mexikosher had a unique twist on the traditional taco, with a falafel as its filling. Venice Whaler had a scrumptious crab cake slider as its offering; while Prova Pizzeria provided pizza, fresh from the stone fire oven onsite. To complement the many flavorful dishes, truly international, was the Stella Artois Beer booth, featuring Belgian Chef Daniel Joly and Master Beer Sommelier Marc Stroobant. To top off the night, guest enjoyed smooth iced coffee from La Mill, as well as cocktails and wine galore, with a presentation by Southern Wine and Spirits, entitled ” Potent Libations: How your Thoughts and Emotions Affect Your Cocktails.”
The next morning, visitors enjoyed the theme of “Labor Day Brunch,” always one of my favorite events. Some standouts included Comfort Kitchen, serving up mac & cheese; mashed potatoes & gravy; and turkey meatballs. Canele of Atwater Village had a traditional English favorite: scones with clotted cream and jam; while Circa 55 at the Beverly Hilton had vanilla bean polenta tamales with strawberry wine topping. La Brea Bakery presented assorted breads, cookies and even a healthful protein salad. Choctal had ‘out of this world’ chocolate and vanilla ice cream; and the Art of Tea sampled a wonderful hibiscus blend, so refreshing on a warm Sunday morning. Virgin mimosas from Califia farms were also quite the refresher; along with plenty of spirits to start the day, including Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale; Goose Island Autumn Ale; Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine; and LVP Sangria, to name a few.
Rounding off the festival was the Sunday evening “Flavors of LA,” celebrating the unique melting pot that our city truly is. Akasha of Culver City had delightful potato pancakes with smoked salmon and sour cream; Madcapra of downtown’s culinary center in the Grand Central Market, featured falafels with labne yogurt and pomegranate, that totally delighted one’s tastebuds. Mr. Chows of Beverly Hills and Malibu had a perennial line of people waiting to try the signature honey prawns, glazed walnuts and soy cucumbers. Spice Affair, another popular booth, presented a gourmet Indian buffet, replete with samosas, artichoke hearts and pineapple quencher. And speaking of thirst quenchers, many spirits were represented, including Knob Creek; Shock Top; Sukkah Hill Spirits, with an exquisite Etrog and Besamim with Ginger Wine; Mezzacorona; Matua; Hornitos; and Kirin Ichiban. truly a global variety.
This festival is a must do for everyone’s Labor Day celebrations; a tradition well worth it.