Yesterday afternoon, the masses descended on Media Park in Culver City to sip and chew their way thought the 2011 edition of Taste of the Nation. While last year (and prior years?) could have been considered the year(s) of the pork belly, this year one theme ingredient fell to octopus. Tres by Jose Andres prepared a grilled octopus salad, Hatfield's served a Spanish octopus salad, and Whist offered, in addition to a few other dishes, an octopus salad with smoked potatoes.
After making the rounds and shooting the breeze, it seemed as though many enjoyed Mo-Chica/Picca's chicken anticucho, Campanile's olive oil fried egg served on grilled bread with olive tapenade and tomato concasse, and La Seine's coconut-jalapeno albacore salmon yellowtail. There was Street's Kaya Toast which is always a hit, an audible Eric Greenspan grilled up his grilled cheese, and an exorbitantly long line, as per usual, snaked out of Mozza, which served porcini-rubbed short ribs.
This year there were noticeably fewer fedoras than last, Kathy Griffin showed up causing a ruckus outside the event ("Where do I go?" and "Kathy Griffin doesn't wait"), and Eater spotted a few guests noticeably avoiding vegetables. Apparently stomach space was too precious and vegetables were a "waste of room."
A handful of forthcoming restaurants popped up for an preview taste, Waylynn Lucas demoed her fonuts concept, Pour Vous (which should open in August) served a Cinq a Sept cocktail, Nancy Silverton's Short Order served sloppy bolognese sliders (slated to launch in September), and Michael Voltaggio offered wagyu tongue and mini ice cream cones in the VIP tent. He said Ink. is almost ready for its debut. We're waiting...
·All TOTN Coverage [~ELA~]