This year's Taste of the Nation sprouted in West Hollywood's The Lot, taking over a concrete quad that buzzed like a sweltering hive with a few thousand hungry Angelenos. The city's premier dining festival supports Share Our Strength, and 100% of the $250,000 raised on tickets alone supports local food banks in an effort to end childhood hunger. Thanks to a breeze that made the day bearable, the cocktails kept shaking, the taps kept flowing, and the grills kept grilling until every last person was well-fed and perhaps a little tipsy.
Almost every chef of the 45 restaurants represented at the event manned his/her booth, serving people or overseeing the dishes. Highlights included Black Market's Korean fried chicken with kimchi cucumber, Akasha's Thai beef salad, Cook's County's grilled beef skewers and strawberry ice cream cones, Michael Voltaggio's ink.sack sandwiches, FIG restaurant's chorizo con huevo, Lukshon's Mongolian lamb tartare and oolong tea panna cotta, Lazy Ox Canteen's black ink fideua pasta, Mo-Chica's morcilla crostini with fried quail egg, a mini version of Plan Check's burger, Umami's pink slime burger, and Whist's chili-fried chicken.
Bars like Pour Vous were serving up pear cocktails, Harvard & Stone plus Miracle Mile Bitters, La Descarga, 1886, and the Spare Room kept people refreshed throughout the day, amid endless piles of melting ice. A slew of great breweries and brewpubs took up a jolly corner, with Eagle Rock Brewery, The Bruery, Beechwood Barbecue, El Segundo, Beer Belly, Library Alehouse, Stone Brewing, and finally The Golden State serving up Brewery Ommegang.
Desserts capped off the day with fonuts' mini faux donuts and ice cream in the VIP. The Larder at Maple Drive served Pistachio Orange cupcakes, Short Cake offered assorts brownies and brunettes, while Valerie Confections gave out their delicious chocolates, including a fantastic almond fleur de sel toffee.
Traffic wasn't too much of an issue despite the annual Pride Weekend taking place on the other side of West Hollywood, though parking wasn't quite as easy as last year's Culver City backdrop. Things wrapped up later in the afternoon while the remaining volunteers, cooks, and chefs hung out in the Fountain Courtyard of The Lot, munching on bites by Gary Arabia's Global Cuisine.
·All Taste of the Nation Coverage [~ELA~]
— Matthew Kang