Welcome to Inside The Stoves by Jason Kessler. Each week Kessler will look deep within the soul of food media and come out with fake excerpts from fake books that are absolutely, positively not real. Basically, it's foodie fan fiction.
Artisanal Tiny Ice Cube Festival; July 16-17; Bay Cities Deli Parking Lot
While most of LA’s food community was spending time at either the Eat Real Fest in Culver City or the LA Street Food Festival at the Rose Bowl, truly dedicated LA food fans headed out to Santa Monica for the 2011 Artisanal Tiny Ice Cube Festival. Now in its eleventh year, the ATICF featured artisanal ice makers, heirloom melters, and avant-garde carvers from eight states and four different countries including one man from Trinidad who claimed he had never seen real ice before.
Unfortunately for the organizers, the event space they had booked fell through at the last moment due to Carmageddon-related shenanigans. Luckily, they were able to quickly regroup and reserve three spaces in the back of the parking lot at the well-respected Bay Cities Deli. The space was tight, but everyone kept their cool (ice cube festival joke). In fact, the new location provided an exciting new development to the festival. Rapper/Director/Producer/Actor O’Shea Jackson, better known as “Ice Cube,” made an appearance mid-day. While most festivalgoers treated him as a surprise guest, it quickly became apparent that Mr. Cube was just picking up a Godmother (the sandwich, not the relative). He did, however, oblige several fans with autographs and accepted several artisanal tiny ice cubes as a thank you, which he proceeded to add to his beverage.
The true highlight of the ATICF was the Ice-Off, in which makers, melters, and carvers combined to create the perfect tiny ice cube in the shape of this year’s secret muse: Chef Mario Batali. Most teams attempted a straight-up ice bust of Batali’s recognizable head but the winning crew (“Icy-Hot Supastarz”) created a fully functioning tiny replica of the zaftig chef’s signature orange Croc clog. Served on a bed of prosciutto (purchased from inside Bay Cities), the winning cube was a tiny masterpiece. Sadly, the heat destroyed all entries within ten minutes of their submission. As such, the Artisanal Tiny Ice Cube Raffle was called off.
Next year’s festival is currently unscheduled.
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— Jason Kessler
*Jason Kessler writes The Nitpicker column for BonAppetit.com as well as "Heart Attack" for FoodRepublic.com. He also writes things for television.