Two years ago, the weather was cloudy and rainy; last year it was sunny and extremely hot. This year, the weather was pretty much perfect—occasional clouds and moderate temperatures. So, the setting was just right for the 7th annual installment of LA Magazine’s The Food Event 2012 at Saddlerock Ranch (home to Semler and Saddlerock wines) in Malibu’s Santa Monica Mountains on Sunday, October 21st. Unlike previous years, we left early and arrived shortly before the event began. Among the first through the entry way, we enjoyed roaming from booth to booth without any lines.
Even when the event was in full swing, there were few long lines for food samples. It seems that the event organizers packed in a higher ratio of food booths in comparison to wine, which may have helped to keep each line reasonably short. Or, perhaps, the food purveyors have learned how to put together their edible samples more efficiently so they can serve a greater number of patrons quickly. (Of course, the always–popular Stella Artois beer booth had its usual long line.) Whatever the reason, the event was notably even more relaxing and fun than in the past couple of years. Another trend that seems to have developed over the past year or two is the increase in spirits featured at this event. Mixologists with their innovative cocktails seem to have overtaken wine in the beverage department. Since my focus is on wine, you’d think I’d be disappointed. To the contrary, this trend provides a nice balance to the event, which is really focused, after all, on food!
Speaking of wine, I think the wines served by Herzog Wine Cellars and Hoyt Family Vineyards were among the best at the event, although there were several other wineries with nice pours. But the food was the center of attention that day. From the Lump Crab Saffron Rice and Avocado Parfait (Gladstone’s) to fried chicken (Plan Check Kitchen + Bar) to the beef slider to the pork belly banh mini (Blue Cow kitchen & bar) to the delightful tacos and the tamales in mole sauce (Malo Restaurant), there was something for everyone, not to mention the more eclectic bites, including a pastrami and tongue sandwich, asparagus skewer (Picca), shaved Bbrussels sprout salad with bacon sherry vinaigrette and aged Hook cheddar (The Hart and the Hunter), seafood campechana and short–rib taco (Public School 612 of Downtown LA, which is opening another location in Culver City soon) and bourbon infused ice cream (Drunken Udder Ice Cream). You get the idea.
In addition to great food and beverages, there were some speakers on various topics and cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs. We caught a few moments of cooking demonstrations by Eric Greenspan (The Foundry on Melrose) and Ludo Lefebvre (LudoBites). Eric was getting down and dirty with a grilled cheese sandwich (as he said, it’s a grilled cheese sandwich as long as it is 60% cheese). Ludo, accent and all, is the only person we know who can describe a brioche crouton and make it sound totally unique and exquisite.
All in all, this year’s The Food Event hit the mark, and it also the spot!
Disclosure: We were granted complimentary media credentials for this event.