Dustin Downing courtesy of Los Angeles Food & Wine
Whether it was Chicago chef extraordinaire Grant Achatz building a tower of bourbon based cocktails in the Lexus tent or singer Gavin DeGraw jumping on a white sofa in the VIP lounge to serenade a lucky few during his raw, energetic performance, LA Food & Wine held plenty of surprises during its third year.
As for the food, we loved the hen egg on brioche with truffle butter and crispy prosciutto from 1833 in Monterrey, almost as much as the blood sausage from Taberna Arros y Di tapas bar in Santa Monica on the last night of the festival. As for eye-candy we were stunned by the new Lexus cars that were on display from the IS 350 F Sport to the 2013 ES or the 2014 GX, and short of taking a test drive down Grand Avenue, there was plenty to keep the crowd entertained – including DeGraw jumping on a car during another song after he waded through the cheering crowd -- the guy just couldn't stay on stage. Wines flowed from South Africa to the South of France and cocktails were being poured near the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas hospitality lounge.
Other hightlightsof the weekend included an afternoon taco fiesta with Patron Platinum Tequila at The Bungalow in Santa Monica-by-the-sea with a top trio of Mexican talent from Chef Rick Bayless, Ray Garcia and Josef Centeno slinging puffy pork and chorizo tacos. Giada’s Italian night kick-off not only brought an amazing ravioli with artichoke dish from Gino Angelini of Riva Bella, and a pizza oven from 800 Degrees churning out an amazing array of pies, but “Ace of Cakes” Duff Goldman presented the lovely Ms. De Laurentiis with a towering cake while one of the L.A. Phil members serenaded her to the backdrop of the Disney Concert Hall before Questlove starting spinning oldies. It was a surreal night – and weekend in downtown and we can’t wait for next year.
Ty Washington courtesy of Los Angeles Food & Wine