A Taste of The Taste

For years my friends have been telling me about this awesome food festival called The Taste. I love a good food fest so they didn’t need to work too hard to convince me to attend but every year I ran smack dab into the same issue – I was out of town. The Taste occurs every Labor Day weekend and for years it conflicted with my family’s annual vacation.. But this year the stars aligned and I happened to be in town so I grabbed a press pass and headed to Paramount Studios for my first taste of The Taste.

Organized by the LA Times, The Taste is a three day celebration of the city’s favorite foods on the Paramount back-lot. This year marks the first festival since the passing of celebrated Times’ food critic Jonathan Gold and several moving tributes were paid to the beloved Angeleno.

He may be gone but his passion for area cuisine endures as evidenced by the enthusiastic crowd of both vendors and attendees at this year’s festival.

Since I was a newbie I decided to jump right into the celebration and stopped by as many booths as my stomach would allow.

I started with a most delicious bite of a chicken dinner from Poppy + Rose, newly opened near the Los Angeles Flower Market. The restaurant has been on my list of must visit spots and this delicious bite just may have moved it straight to the top.

Watermelon is the quintessential summer food and it was delightful in this refreshing salad from Ocean Prime in Beverly Hills. Paired with fresh feta and tomatoes and topped with a light vinaigrette it was a tasty tribute to the waning days of the season.

I adore Pacific Dining Car and couldn’t resist the classic combo of rib-eye, mashed potatoes and creamed spinach. The dish was served especially as a tribute to Mr. Gold and I certainly share his enthusiasm for this rich classic.

I may be a meat-lover but I’m always down for a good vegetarian dish. I especially enjoyed the roasted carrot tartine from the newly opened Yarrow Cafe in the Fairfax District. Light as air yet packed with flavor the dish proves that less is sometimes more.

Of course, I couldn’t try all these dishes without some liquid sustenance and The Taste certainly had me covered. Countless wine, beer and liquor brands filled the back-lot with fun, interactive booths serving up delicious concoctions. But there was one problem…I had to drive home. Needing to keep it light I opted for an Aperol Spritz.

This classic combination of Prosecco, Aperol and soda water never disappoints and I decided I chose my one drink well. But then I came across Seedlip.

Based in the UK, Seedlip brands itself as the world’s first non alcoholic spirit. It’s variety of botanically inspired tinctures can serve as the base for endless virgin cocktails. I opted for their version of a Moscow Mule and it was…fantastic! As one often stuck driving to events this is a total game-changer.

Before I knew it I was well sated and decided to head on home. But not before dessert.

Century City hot spot, Hinoki & the Bird offered a trio of fresh doughnut holes and I just had to sample one of each. The honey caramel was a bit disappointing but both the chocolate and the matcha were incredibly tasty. They were the perfect end to a delightful evening.

My first taste of The Taste was far more enjoyable that I could have imagined. My friends weren’t kidding when they encouraged me to attend! In October the festival is heading down to Orange County for three days and you may just find me there!


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