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Gossip, Action, and Revelry at Los Angeles Food & Wine This Past Weekend

Mojito shots, ironing board sandwiches, strawberry shortcakes, celebrity sightings and more.

Los Angeles Food & Wine
Los Angeles Food & Wine
Wonho Frank Lee

The fifth annual Los Angeles Food and Wine festival was another success this past weekend, with the main event taking place on Grand Avenue in Downtown from Thursday to Saturday evenings. With the red carpet, wine flowing, and music bumping combined with unique dishes from celebrity and prominent chefs from around the country, it was easy to feel like culinary VIP. Other events took place at everywhere from Hollywood's swanky Milk Studios to Downtown's Ace Hotel.

Here are some hangover observations from Eater contributors throughout the weekend.

Notes from Friday Evening:

Photos by Uracha Chaiyapinunt

— Superba Food & Bread might have had a lot of shuffling of chairs on deck, but corporate chef James Trees and the folks at Superba are calling full steam ahead: Their next location, a full Superba Food & Bread, is set to open in El Segundo in November, with a Snack Bar location in Pasadena also in the works.

— Of course, Eggslut's booth had a line as long as a typical Saturday morning line at their Grand Central Market shop. What's on the menu in the upcoming year? "Filipino food," the Ramen Champ chef said instantly. Cailan said his favorite dish from his homeland is oxtail kare kare, which sounds like "curry" and incorporates a brownish sauce, but is made from peanut butter. "The story behind that dish is that somebody brought curry to the Philippines, but we were poor, so we just mimicked the color with peanut butter," Cailan said.

— Birch chef Brendan Collins was his usual affable self. He also found time to poke fun at a current food trend. "The poke thing might have gotten out of hand a bit, they seem to be poking up everywhere, without using the pun," the Birch chef said.

— Chef Hannah An of District was effusive in her love for Southeast Asian spices and herbs. The daughter of Crustacean's Helene An wasn't afraid to single out her favorite dish at her restaurant. "I love the Chilean sea bass with tumeric," An said.

— Little Sister chef Tin Vuong had little time for chit-chat and was absolutely in the zone: Vuong was a one-man wrecking crew at his booth, sweating profusely while plating the final flourishes on a bun dish that was a big hit with the crowd.

— Frozen beer to top off my beer at the Kirin Beer booth? Yes please. Four for you Kirin Beer, you go Kirin Beer.

— Reporting by Euno Lee

Here's a roundup of Saturday's events on Grand Avenue:

Photos by Wonho Frank Lee

— The long line at Miami Beach's Joe's Stone Crab booth wrapped across the red carpet thanks to a rowdy quad shot board, where people grabbed onto a wooden plank and took mojito shots simultaneously.

Quad shots at the @joesstonecrab booth. #LAFoodWine #joesstonecrab

A photo posted by Los Angeles Food & Wine (@lafoodwine) on

— The sliders were grilled between two clothing irons (which were at Eater Young Guns this year).

— Chef Yousef Ghalaini of FIG shared that the Santa Monica restaurant is going through a huge remodel in two weeks. At its completion, a wood fire oven will be installed so FIG can make additional pizzas and breads in-house.

— As Eater earlier reported, Steve Samson of Sotto shared a few details of his new project. The Northern Italian concept named Rossoblu in Downtown LA will open by the end of this year. He wasn't ready to disclose the location yet, but is very eager and enthusiastic about the restaurant.

— Iron Chef Alex Guarnascelli's booth suffered long lines, with many hungry fans waiting their turn to take a picture with the celebrity chef. She also had one of the most comforting dishes of the night with a warm brie sandwich with toasted sesame and marash peppers. When asked if she had plans to open a restaurant in Los Angeles, she simply replied with: "It's not where I live."

— Chef Bruce Kalman from Union in Pasadena shared that he's working on multiple projects but didn't want to divulge. However, Knead and Co. should open next monthin Grand Central Market.

— With the foie gras ban lifted in LA, the popular decadent ingredient made appearances at multiple booths, including seared foie gras with pig ear crisp by chef Sean Chaney of Hot's Kitchen and Hudson Valley Foie Gras with caramelized while chocolate by chef Michael Ginor of Lola Restaurant.

The Roots x #LAFoodWine x #LexusCulinary. @questlove @theroots

A photo posted by Los Angeles Food & Wine (@lafoodwine) on

— The Barrel & Ashes crew kept their line long with "A Whole Pig Picnic," featuring a whole roasted pig. As guests enjoyed pulled pork sliders, barman Julian Cox made rum and coconut water cocktails at their booth. Toward the end of the night, the foie gras came out and the end of the line got a special treat to go inside their sliders.

— Breaking Bad's Giancarlo Esposito was spotted, with many hoping a Los Pollos Hermanos booth would become a reality.

— Although no one was making truffles rain on the red carpet this year, many chefs were spotted taking caviar shots from their hands.

Reporting by Keyla Vasconcellos

Odds and Ends

On Thursday evening, Roberta's and Blanca chef Carlo Mirarchi was cooking up a storm for the Lexus Signature Series dinner at Milk Studios, with amazing grilled corn, crisp-skinned porchetta, and more in a beautifully designed dining room by this guy. Mirarchi seemed happy to sip on endless glasses of wine while snapping pics with fans in the brightly lit photo stage. On Friday afternoon, Elizabeth Falkner teamed up with Ben Spungin and LA Chapter's Ricky Webster for a sweet-savory lunch rocking beautiful plates of foie-basted venison followed by delectable desserts.

Reporting by Matthew Kang