LA Magazine's The Food Event Lives Up To Hype

The thing about these food extravaganzas is sometimes you can expect a lot of piecemeal efforts from restaurants who run the gambit of quality and notoriety and are there to garner publicity because they need it. Not so with Los Angeles Magazine’s The Food Event - held at Saddlerock Ranch in Malibu last Sunday and which featured a ton of power players in the L.A. scene. First of all, the setting was beautiful and couldn’t be more fairy tale. Imagine food and wine in a bowl set inside rolling hills with rows of grape vines and a clear blue sky above. Second, I actually regretted not having enough capacity to try everything. If I knew what everyone was serving ahead of time as I perused stand to stand, I could prioritize the space in my stomach somehow. Then again, that would have taken oodles of self-control that - let’s face it - I frankly don’t have.

Highlights that I was actually able to digest included a steak sandwich from Dakota (above), three different tacos including a potato variety from Loteria! Grill, an interesting foie gras-eel sushi roll (yes, the magic was in the foie gras) as well as an astounding lettuce wrap (below) from Wilshire Restaurant, and - I’m sure - tons of other things I eyed with a look only a diner with an overwhelmed yet yearning palate could exude.

Oh - and how nice it was to see the newly-expanded Petrossian in my neighborhood, in Malibu. Their blinis and borscht was one of the smallest bites there but also the most delectable and luxurious. And you’d think I’d never be so excited to see so many sliders, which I’d normally view as fillers. There were so many varieties of meats and perfect buns to accompany them, including Westside Tavern’s lamb dip.

And there was also reprieve from the meat, thanks to Lemonade - who I’m always happy to see. Their fresh vegetable salads (curry cauliflower, sesame snap pea, ahi tuna with green beans) and refreshing cucumber mint lemonade were hits as always. Eventually as my capacity waned and inner chamber became full, I concentrated on taking pictures. One of the bites I wished I had capacity for was Little Dom’s rice ball filled with mozzarella and mushrooms - also, a butternut squash fritter!

Unfortunately, my girlfriend and I had a timeline to meet (and were tired, having just driven from a wedding the night prior in Paso Robles - the site of many visiting wineries at The Food Event) and couldn’t stay for what I heard were awesome cooking demonstrations and odes to bloggers. *ahem* But it would have been nice to see heavyweights like Chef Ludo Lefebvre (LudoBites) and John Sedlar (Rivera) work their magic. You’ll have to go to the LAist recap for the report. For a $95 entrance fee (or $100 including a 1-year subscription to LA Mag), expectations were high but if you stayed the entire duration of the event you were sure to get your money’s worth in both quantity and quality. And what a pleasure it is (as always) to bump elbows with fellow attendees like Jo of MyLastBite, Lindsay and Elise of LAist, Hadley of GrubStreet, Danny of Kungfoodpanda, Carina and Josie of UncouthGourmands, and I believe I missed Fiona of GourmetPigs. If you missed it this year - you best go next! It’s definitely worth the drive and price.

See my The Food Event by LA Magazine Flickr set

Further reading: Blown Away By LA Mag’s The Food Event -

On Video: Jalapeno Chocolate Mousse With Chef Ludo - Gourmet Pigs

Saddlerock Ranch 31727 Mulholland Hwy Malibu, CA 90265-2704 818.706.0888