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Thoughts on Jonathan Gold's Gold Standard 2011

Yesterday's Gold Standard event was a doozy. With just over 40 participating restaurants (including some apparent all-time Gold favs: Little Doms, Ludo Fried Chicken, Mozza, Jitlada), wine selections from the Wine House, Singha Beer and cocktails by Cole's/Varnish and A-Frame, the event defined the ultimate laid-back, food-focused Los Angeles foodie experience. Sure, there was a DJ booth and yes there were lots of cars, but the several hundred food lovers, Gold fans and chefs in attendance didn't care about anything but the grub.

Hosted for the second year in a row at the Petersen Automotive Museum on Miracle Mile, the event was somewhat centrally located, offered plenty of parking options, and was spacious enough to accommodate the crowds. Guests mingled, lined up for cocktails, and drank wine out of LA Weekly branded glasses. Only a handful of restaurants ran out of food early (including Jar, Mozza, and, unsurprisingly Ludo Fried Chicken).

While Eater was trying to sneak a photo of the man of honor, LA's Street Gourmet-- aka Bill Esparza -- interrupted to out the photographer. Like many of the bloggers and writers in attendance, Esparza found picking a favorite dish from the day nearly impossible. Grilled oysters from Little Dom's drew long lines. Various patés from A.O.C., Akasha and Waterloo & City competed with braised short ribs from Father's Office (plated by Sang Yoon himself) and Duck Confit from Bistro LQ (where Chef Laurent Quenioux also offered Green Tea and Black Sesame Macarons). Tacos from Guelaguetza and Babita, as well as stuffed chiles from La Casita Mexicana added some spice to the quintessentially LA event.

There were scores of great foodie and fan moments. Jo Stougaard of MyLastBite showed off her golden shoes while Jitlada's Jazz looked on proudly at her most notorious patron. Ilan Hall's The Gorbals served Fried Gizzards; repeat patrons asked if he also served an 'extra-crispy' version. Susan Feninger's STREET offered up Vietnamese Crepes, which she reheated individually in between sheets of aluminum foil with a clothing iron, a la Benny and Joon! Lo-key and with a diverse array of food options, even with dozens of competing food events in this city, the Gold Standard 2011 was an event to remember -- and, hopefully, repeat. — Daniela Galarza