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Jonathan Gold's 2nd Annual Gold Standard

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Yesterday the second annual LA Weekly Gold Standard food event highlighted Los Angeles' vast culinary repertoire with tastings from 35 restaurants and scores of wineries. Despite a few organizational hiccups, the event brought together as many flavors as it did people interested in stuffing their faces with food and alcohol for five hours. After last year's overcrowding, long lines, and poor circulation (both air conditioning and walkways), the event organizers chose a larger, one-room venue at the Peterson Automotive Museum this year. Right off the bat, however, problems resurfaced. A long line of VIP ticket-holders who paid $80 for first dibs at popular restaurants like Mozza, Bistro LQ and Kogi BBQ began to form well before noon. To their dismay, a last minute health department inspection forced a delay in letting in the hungry masses, who stood for fifteen minutes next to the "What Were They Thinking?" automobile exhibit- many mimicking those sentiments. By twenty after, throwing disregard to the health department's nitpicking, they allowed entrance and the fun began.

Ludo Lefebvre, who currently is looking for his next Ludo Bites location, opted against his much loved, but labor intensive fried chicken and instead served his LA Weekly 2009 Top 10 Dish of the Year, cold chorizo veloute with cornichon sorbet. It was one of the most unique dishes of the day- extremely rich, a bit salty, but ultimately something that you won't find elsewhere in LA. Lou offered two dishes that took much longer to prepare but rewarded those who waited. One was a crostini with red onion jam, smoked duck breast, Hook's ten year cheddar and pistachios, and the other was shrimp with house cured bacon and piquillo pepper sauce. David Myers, who hid behind a trucker hat, sunglasses and a beard, served Vietnamese green curry cured salmon with Meyer lemon. The dish was simple and well-executed but it seems Myers (usually the showman) is showing signs of wear as his restaurants jarringly ride the tough economy's bumpy road. A dizzying display of sweets from Huckleberry complimented an assortment of gelato from Bulgarini that included raspberry sorbetto, sea salt chocolate, hazelnut chocolate orange and a superb goat milk gelato with cocoa nibs.

The range of dishes at the Gold Standard included standouts like La Casita Mexicana's moles, Jitalda's soon-to-be-featured-on-The-Food-Network's dry curry, Palate's pork belly banh mi and Little Doms fried oyster. There were some misses from fan favorites like Jar (pot roast and horse radish sliders) and Mozza (ricotta crostone with peperonata). Kogi made vegan tacos. Is that a cop out or choice to stray from the mainly meaty offerings at the event?

My big question is who designed the layout with narrow rows for the restaurant stalls and a wide row for the wine? Unless the fire marshall forced that, it should have been the exact opposite. My only other question is where else can you get so much amazing food in one room? Only in LA and only at the Gold Standard. Food Marathon

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