We’ve finally sobered up sufficiently to look back on the endless culinary and quaffing events that swept through the city this past weekend as part of Los Angeles Food and Wine. We were more than a touch skeptical that our town needed another food festival, no less a 70-event culinary happening that stretched for four days, attached with flashing video billboards and a lengthy roll-call of corporate sponsors. But when all was said and done, we admit being impressed by the organization of this premiere event and more importantly, were wowed by each and every dish presented. Following last week’s red carpet premiere, Grub Street attended the Tom Colicchio-less “Tom Colicchio’s Clambake,” Saturday’s Lexus Grand Tasting in Downtown, and Guy Fieri’s Brew-B-Que (which yes, embarrasses us to utter out loud) and encountered an army of prominent chefs homegrown and visiting raising the culinary bar high for years to come. Take a look at the food porn we amassed and the celebrity chefs we got to know a little better in this slideshow look at the first Los Angeles Food and Wine.
Held Friday night at The Jonathan Club in Santa Monica.
Corn pudding tamale with fried clams, creamy chorizo, and radish salpicon.
The legendary Hawaiian chef.
Sous vide octopus.
Elliott Kelly of Restaurant RDG prepared BBQ red fish in banana leaf for the clambake.
BBQ red fish in banana leaf with pickled onions and smoked chile adobo.
Though Tom Colicchio was unable to make his own event, his team made up for the absence with four preps of oysters. Here we find a fried oyster with pork belly.
The La Quinta chef made Santa Barbara spot prawns served with a bacon-topped oyster.
The NYC chef from Essex House and South Gate made our night with his magic way of buttering up these bread crumb-topped clams served on a bed of seaweed.
The New Orleans chef made a savory oyster gravy for these brioche cakes.
NYC’s Blue Smoke chef made lobster ceviche with avocado and micro-greens.
The Central Coast’s Italian-influenced winery was in the house.
At Saturday’s Lexus Grand Tasting Event. We were disappointed not to see Mary J. Blidge and John McEnroe as advertised, but there were plenty of big name chefs to keep our jaws dropped.
Marinated skirt steak with blue cheese, beet risotto, and creamed corn.
With Hasty “Madame Chocolat” Torres (far right).
Offered these perfect fried chicken bows.
Prepared a pumpkin pie soup with marshmallow.
The Texas chef prepared her pork jowl chili on a pupusa.
Had one of our favorite dishes of the day, with this peanut butter pork belly.
Sorry, but we can’t not take photos of severed pig heads when we see them
Joe Miller and team offered a pork sandwich.
The creamy cheese and corn grits accompanying this pork belly was another huge hit, sending guests back for seconds.
In addition to the reprise of alpaca mixed with chorizo, Ricardo Zarate offered this divine diver scallop anticucho.
The Chicago chef from Old Town Social sliced this thin Italian meat on the spot. Though it was our favorite bite of this particular event, we forget the name (we think it kind of sounded like “Pinnochio”).
The Bristol chef topped Manila clams with fresh crab meat.
One of our local heroes!
Who better to perfect the classics than the Campanile and Tar Pit chef?
The owner and chef at Beverly Hills’ new Italian restaurant Pici.
Ogden prepared this beautiful arrangement of Duroc duck tenderloin, with corn pudding, gremolata of bacon and corn, and blackberry cipollini from his Root 246.
We were dying to experience David LeFevre’s touch with seafood, but had no complaints about his veal and pork meatballs.
Hosted Saturday evenings’ “Brew B’ Cue.” Although a colleague told us he was kind of cold offstage, Fieri really knows how to get a crowd amped with his high energy. Soon, he introduced the band Uncle Kracker, which sounds exactly like if Guy Fieri himself fronted a band. And no, that isn’t a good thing.
The chef’s team made Bloody Mary flank steak and rosemary tri-tip.
Carved by Tanimura and Antle in Salinas.
The San Francisco chef is soon to be part of Umamicatessen in Downtown L.A.
Made a porky sandwich, perhaps a glimpse into his forthcoming Pigg restaurant?
Of San Francisco’s The Slanted Door made these paper cones full of fried chicken.
The great L.A. chef showcased these brown-sugar short ribs, a dish he’s currently serving at Venice’s Beechwood, soon to be renamed Sunny Spot: A Cook Shop.
From The Compund Restaurant made duck tacos and had his whole team wearing “I Love Tacos” t-shirts.
The chef at The Playboy Mansion. Hubba hubba!
Offered a walnut-topped pork dish.
The FIG chef made the porkiest tacos of all time, using a caja China for his roasted pork chile de arbol tacos with pineapple.