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Los Angeles Food & Wine Takes Over Grand Ave & More

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Giada's Festa Italiana
Giada's Festa Italiana

[Photos: Matthew Kang]

Taking place over five days from August 21-25, Los Angeles Food & Wine was an extravaganza of chefs, food, personalities, wine, and cocktails spread across the city, from its lofty digs on Grand Avenue just in front of Walt Disney Concert Hall to L.A. Center Studios (where shows like Mad Men are filmed). Also, plenty of special events dispersed among restaurants around town, like The Bungalow in Santa Monica and Scarpetta in Beverly Hills. Below, an compendium of some of the weekend's highlights, along with some vignettes, oddities, and otherwise good old-fashioned merriment from the biggest culinary event of the year in L.A.

Giada's Festa Italiana kicked things off on Thursday evening, with the Food Network star herself serving dishes from her catering company. Luminaries included Gino Angellini with RivaBella, Anthony Carron of 800 Degrees, Scott Conant of Scarpetta, Michael Chiarello of Bottega in Napa Valley, Thomas Keller of Bouchon, Mirko Paderno of Oliverio, Matthew Accarrino of San Francisco's SPQR and Fabio Vibiani of Firenze Osteria.

Thomas Keller was hitting Bouchon beach balls into the crowd and handing out flyers while LA Times Food Editor Russ Parsons was serving oysters at the Bouchon booth. All the seafood at this station eventually ran out.

Giada de Laurentiis was mostly in her catering company's booth, signing cookbooks and talking to guests, but she was also pretty vigilant about tasting her dishes and telling staff how to correct their flavor. The initial batch of watermelon gazpacho was a touch too sweet, according to the Food Network Star.

Justin Smillie of NYC's Il Buco Alimentari was serving cherry tomatoes with salmon roe. He commented on his inability to get Korean barbecue at Park's the night before and ended up getting goat stew next door, which he said was amazing.

Questlove was DJ for the night, with random people dancing with fury all over Grand Avenue.

Neil Patrick Harris, Nadia G from Cooking Channel, Alie and Georgia from Cooking Channel, Duff Goldman, and Michelle Branch were all among some of the celebrities in the house.

[Photos: Matthew Kang]

Asian Night Market on Friday was hosted by Masaharu Morimoto, of Iron Chef fame, who presided over the evening with a fairly comedian introduction that disparaged his English-speaking ability (which was actually quite fine). Later on, the Fung Brothers tore up the stage with their Asian inside jokes and quickfire rapping. In the meantime, the floor was chock full of culinary talent, with the likes of Helene An of Crustacean (garlic noodles for the win), Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia, David Lefevre of M.B. Post, Kuniko Yagi and David Myers of hinoki & the bird, Ricardo Zarate of Picca and Mo-Chica, Yujean Kang of Chi-Lin, Bryant Ng of The Spice Table, and Roy Yamaguchi himself of the Roy's restaurant chain.

Carlos Enriquez, pastry chef of Patina, was pretty liberal with spraying liquid nitrogen vapor in his booth, attracting attention from the crowds.

Joe's Stone Crab had the longest line, mostly because of the fresh cotton candy

Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia in Louisville, Kentucky was serving a Korean mung bean pancake with roast pork and shrimp topped with brussels sprouts kimchi. He was also touting his specially made bourbon.

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas had a makeshift building with the best view, a second floor that made for some pretty good people watching. Downstairs was an "art" dispenser that doled out little handmade pieces of "art."

[Photos: Matthew Kang]

While there were two other grand tastings held at L.A. Center Studios, a crowd gathered for Grant Achatz's cocktail tasting with Aviary barman Charles Joly. The two of them showed some of the techniques and methods used to create cocktails, but in the end, Achatz stressed that these are all ultimately tools to present things in a new way, nothing more. One of the drinks included using liquid nitrogen to freeze matcha green tea that was then placed into a glass that had been "painted" inside with solidified Peychaud's bitters.

In all, it was a festival that offered just about everything for everyone, from small chef demos to large-scale eating and drinking sessions. Until next year.
·All Hangover Observations [~ELA~]

Bouchon Bistro

235 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210 310 271 9910 Visit Website

Mo-Chica

3655 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90007

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