This year’s LA Food Fest promises to be a stark departure from the massive, sometimes hectic LA Street Food Festivals of years past. Those events, held primarily at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, helped define the early large-scale food festival scene in Los Angeles, but now event ownership has partnered with event production company Nederlander to widen the scope and scale of what they’re offering. Frankly, this year’s festival looks amazing.
The plan for the festival, which arrives tomorrow, is to massively overhaul the south lawn of the Natural History Museum in a variety of ways, with general admission hours, specialty sections, and a pop-up situation in the Rose Garden. They’re also widening the available options to include food from trucks, pop-up restaurants, and full-fledged high-end dining spots all across Los Angeles.
First, there are the Golden Hours on both Saturday and Sunday, which run two hours and include unlimited bites from a ton of vendors for a set price of $69. Then there’s the MRKT, which operates like a 626 Night Market in a sense: guests can get in for $15 and then pay their way through each stall, where items are priced at around $5. Lastly is the Rose Garden pop-up series, which mimics the sit down dinners of this year’s Coachella. Guests purchase a full meal for around $95, and then get access to the rest of the fest as a result.
The list of vendors is pretty unparalleled this year as well, with everyone from Cento Pasta Bar and Bigmista’s BBQ to All Flavor No Grease showing up. The Grilled Cheese truck will also be there, alongside Petty Cash, Ricebar, The Halal Guys, Top Round, and more. There’s even a dedicated dessert section with options from Salt & Straw, Wanderlust, Creme Caramel LA, and Peddler’s Creamery, to name a few.
As for the sit down Rose Garden dinners, chefs like Chris Oh from Hanjip, Johnny Ray Zone from Howlin’ Rays, Nyesha Arrington from Leona, Ted Hopson from The Bellwether, Bruce Kalman from Union, and Ray Garcia from Broken Spanish will be on site.
Perhaps best of all is the stark Mexican influence on this year’s festival. Jair Tellez from Laja outside Ensenada and Antonia de Livier from La Pagna del Impostor in Guadalajara, along with beers like Baja Brewing Company making an appearance. A full list of vendors can be found here.
LA Food Fest runs July 8 - 10 at Exposition Park just outside Downtown. Tickets for all events are available now, with some likely available at the door to boot.