Los Angeles Times’ The Taste is a huge annual food festival that showcases Los Angeles chefs and restaurants, as well as other food and beverage brands. The festival is located on the Paramount Studios backlot, giving it a particularly LA feel – and providing a beautiful backdrop for some fantastic food.
The event is broken up into several smaller events – morning and evening over the course of several days – and each one has a different theme. The daytime events are open to all, while the evening events are 21+. Some of the restaurants may be there for one event and not another, while others may stay throughout the festival and mix up their offerings. Each vendor, whether they have food or drinks, will offer up generous samples that are completely included in the price of admission. Going to the event is like getting to eat a bite of food – and always a good one – from dozens of different restaurants in one night.
This year marked the second time I’d been able to attend the event and, as usual, it was a fantastic experience. I ended up at Dinner with A Twist, one of the evening events, on a warm summer night where the crowd was even hungrier than I was. We headed into the festival after leaving our mark on the huge chalkboard near the entrance.
Since the weather was warm, I headed off to a bourbon-sponsored bar to pick up a cocktail as I started to check out the food options. There was everything from seafood to sliders, and there was even some nose-to-tail whole pig cooking happening right on site!
It is one delicious dish after another, and every restaurant’s booth is staffed by people who are more than happy to talk to you about the restaurant’s offerings and history. My only recommendation is that you try to get in for longer conversations when the line dies down, as some booths end up with quite the crowd at times and you want to be polite to your fellow guests on site.
In case you’re thinking that the event is just walking around eating and drinking (which is not a bad thing, in any way), there are also many speakers and cooking demonstrations. We saw Jonathan Gold, Ludo Lefebre and Tricia Carr all give outstanding presentations. The talks also give you a nice break from walking around, but still provide you with a taste of something different, as most include more food and drink samples.
It was a fun evening and one I certainly recommend taking part in next year if you have the chance. I know that I’ll try to be there again – and next year, I hope to have even more in-depth coverage of the event to give you guys a more comprehensive taste of LA.