Showing posts with label pasadena. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pasadena. Show all posts

Monday, May 1, 2017

2nd Annual Masters of Taste Takes Over Pasadena's Rose Bowl on May 7

Summer is the season is food festivals. Up next on the calendar: Masters of Taste will be back for its second annual event on May 7 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Guests will get to stroll the Rose Bowl's 50-yard line while sampling bites and cocktails from 45 of LA's top restaurants and bars.
Masters of Taste
This year's restaurant lineup includes Miro, The Raymond 1886, Nerano, Alexander's Steakhouse, Hamasaku, Little Beast, Kato, and Redbird.
Masters of Taste
There will be plenty to drink including cocktails, beers, and wines. Participating bars include Bar Mattachine, Birds and Bees, and 1886. You can find beers and spirits from Indie Brewing Company, Kikori Whiskey, Mezcal El Silencio, as well as various wineries.
Masters of Taste
They didn't forget about desserts. You can cool down with ice creams from Choctal and Magpies Softserve, or much on treats from Street Churros, Spirnkles, and Nothing Bundt Cakes.

General admission tickets are $105 per person which provides festival admission at 4pm and unlimited food and beverage tastings. VIP admission tickets are $185 per person and include early admission at 3pm, access to VIP lounges and seating, and special access to limited release tastings. 100% of the proceeds will go to benefit Union Station Homeless Services. The organization works to identify causes that led to each individual or family’s homeless and provide the resources they need to end their cycle of homelessness. Purchase tickets here and get 15% off with code GPIGS.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Preview: Taste of Italy in Los Angeles on October 1

by @btsunoda

The Taste of Italy is an upscale food and wine event which features some of the best regional Italian cuisine, food products and wine LA has to offer. This year is the 8th annual event and I had an opportunity to preview food served by Celestino in Pasadena.

Celestino has been in business for over 17 years, originally located in Beverly Hills. It is owned and operated by the Drago brothers, known for their quality Italian cuisine since the 1980’s. Celestino’s cuisine is mostly Sicilian and some other regional dishes such as squid ink risotto or osso buco.  
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One of the starters was a squid ink arancini filled with seafood. These were triangular black rice balls served piping hot and very crispy. It was one of my favorite dishes that evening and I hope they serve that at The Taste of Italy.
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Porcini mushrooms are more earthy and woodsy and for that reason they make an excellent foundation for soup. Celestino’s porcini soup was topped with shaved black truffles. Taking a bite of the truffles with the porcini soup was the marriage of two great flavors.
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The third dish was a veal carpaccio topped with grated pecorino cheese and shaved truffles. By this time, I was grateful that everything was paired with truffles. The veal was very delicate in flavor and didn’t overpower the remaining ingredients.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Literary-Themed Spring Cocktails at Kings Row Gastropub (Pasadena, CA)

I have to admit, I hadn't really bothered looking at the cocktail menu at Kings Row Gastropub in Old Town Pasadena before, after all, it's a beer bar, right? Well, I was wrong. Kings Row Gastropub actually has a solid cocktail menu - one of the best in Pasadena - thanks to bartender Zulma Cobain.

Kings Row Gastropub
Just like previous menus, her new spring cocktail menu is literary-themed. See how many titles/references you can pick out!

The menu starts out from the lighter ones:
Infinite Jest (Pisco Capurro, sugar, Pimm's No 1, lemon juice, raspberries, bitters)
Kings Row Gastropub
A very appropriate thirst quencher to start a spring tasting, and great for all Pimm's fans.
(The name is a title of David Foster Wallace's book).

Spring & All (Old Forrester, Averna, passionfruit, lemon)
Kings Row Gastropub
Spring is a time for fruits and flowers, after all, and the passionfruit goes perfectly with bourbon. Zulma's cocktails are not overly sweet and were all well balanced. 
(Spring and All is a poetry book by William Carlos Williams)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Old Town Pasadena's Equator Rebrands as Edwin Mills

Old Town Pasadena's popular Equator Cafe on the little alley that is Mills Place has rebranded itself as Edwin Mills, serving gastropub-fare and affordable drinks with a slew of weekly specials.

Edwin Mills
The menu ranges from asian fusion to typical pub fare like chicken wings and shepherd's pie. The owner recommended that we try the Crabby puffs (crab baked over swai fish, $8)
Edwin Mills
The fish was back until it turned soft and melded with the creamy sauce to accompany the crab.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Old Town Pasadena Drinking at PUNCH

While 1886 Bar is one of my favorite bars in the LA area, there wasn't many other options for cocktails in Pasadena. That is, until recently. Now, you can get pretty good drinks at Trattoria Neapolis, though they've gone through some staff changes lately. One of the latest entrants is PUNCH Bar (it's been a while now since they've opened), headed by Robin Chopra and Darwin Manahan, who are also manning the bar at Corazon Y Miel.

Punch
The bar is a bit hard to find. It's on top of PICNIK, and I think you're supposed to go up the stairs from the parking lot around the back, but I got lost and they let me upstairs from inside PICNIK.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Raymond's First New Menu in 35 Years (Pasadena, CA)

Chef Tim Guiltinan has been helming the kitchen at Pasadena's The Raymond for a few years now (since 2008), but it isn't until this summer - following the kitchen's renovation - that he's completed taking over the menu and making into something he's proud to launch as his. The Raymond thus announced a whole new dinner menu, a first in 35 years.

I've often been told that Pasadena diners are less adventurous, but Chef Guiltinan didn't let that stop him. On the Starters section, you'll find things like Bonito cured beef tataki, fried garlic, jalapeno salsa ($16)

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Curing the beef in bonito gave it a markedly unique flavor than the usual beef carpaccio.

Wild Northwestern organic mushroom, "forest soil", salsify, "hay", smoked vinegar ($16)
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An earthy dish with presentation that mimics the forest one might forage in. Seems like Chef Guiltinan is also becoming bolder with his presentation.

Octopus and bone marrow bruschetta, radish, carrot, tomato, toasted bread ($16)
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We loved this one - spreading the bone marrow on toast combined with dipping it in the seafood broth. The two things bread is best for!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Laurent Quenioux's New Menu at Vertical Wine Bistro (Pasadena)

It's the height of summer and Chef Laurent Quenioux has rolled out a new menu at Pasadena's Vertical Wine Bistro. I hadn't been in for a while but I'm always excited to try LQ's food, especially seeing fried quail on the menu.

Now, when Laurent Quenioux is in charge, you can't miss the cheese plate! For mine, I chose cheese that spanned the whole range: Brillat Savarin Frais (France, cow), Bucheron (California, goat), and Pecorino Foglie di Noce (Italy, sheep). Truffle honey is extra but a must try.

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The cheese plate is typically served with berry jam, bell pepper mustard, roasted hazelnut, and baguette, but like I said my favorite condiment is the truffle honey! Especially with the creamy triple-creme Brillat Savarin.

I couldn't settle on a wine, so my server put together a flight instead. I asked for a rose and two reds and received: 2011 Schnaitmann Pinot Noir Rose from Germany, 2012 Boson Pinot Noir from Carneros, 2011 Le Pich Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa
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Appropriate for summer, the menu features Watermelon gazpacho with lobster and mango ($11)
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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

5th Annual LA Street Food Fest on June 28 + Last Year's Recap

Summer is coming, and that means so is LA Street Food Fest! Can you believe this is their 5th year? On June 28, the 5th LA Street Food Fest returns to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, and you can already buy your tickets

This time, the festival starts at 4pm for VIP ticket holders and 6pm for general admission, so at least it won't be that hot! The ticket price includes free parking, all the food you can stomach, cocktails from six bars with LA's top mixologists, Ice Cream Social, craft beer from Eagle Rock Brewery and more, and this year also brings in an Iced Coffee Experience featuring a dozen coffee brands. Keep an eye out on http://lastreetfoodfest.com/ for the full list of participants.

If you've never been, check out last year's recap below from One More Bite Blog, who attended the event as my guest blogger:
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Ever since my first Artisanal LA and Unique LA experiences, I'd been a fan of the events put together by show founders and 'buy local', small business supporters Shawna Dawson and Sonja Rasula. (NOTE: Sonja Rasula was only involved in the first Artisanal LA event, all subsequent Artisanal LA and LA Street Food Fest events have been organized by Shawna Dawson).

But I'd somehow never made it to another always-sold-out-show by the duo, LA Street Food Fest. Maybe it was the cognitive dissonance of a $50 admission price paired with the theme of "street food" even if it was AYCE once you got inside...so when Gourmetpigs had to go out of town last minute and kindly offered to give me her media pass, I jumped at the chance! (The experience totally changed my mind and I am definitely planning to attend the next one paid or not!)

It was a scorching day at the Rose Bowl but - and even as organizers made the smart decision to cap the event at 5000 attendees, to make for a better experience where you would NOT find most stalls running out of food early like at some other events - that didn't stop a massive crowd from waiting with palpable eagerness outside the gates, literally rounding the Bowl, just before they opened.


With the sun blazing overhead, plus that lovely motto 'life's to short, eat dessert first' in mind: the first section I hit was the ice cream social. Float Pasadena served up two kinds of floats: Puckerin Peach with sparkling lemonade and peach ice cream and Red Cow with Boylan's red birch beer and vanilla bean ice cream.  Both refreshing and adorable with their candy-cane-striped, environmentally friend paper straws.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Lobster Deal for Sunday Supper at Vertical Wine Bistro (Pasadena)

Sundays in Pasadena are going to get exciting with Vertical Wine Bistro's newly launched Sunday Suppers! The new Sunday Supper menu, which started this past Sunday, is $25 and includes a whole steamed Maine lobster, among other items. I'm not kidding and it's quite a deal!

The supper starts with an Iceberg Wedge salad with ranch dressing

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Crisp iceberg lettuce to get things going ...

Then, the main attraction: a whole steamed Maine lobster. One of the claws had been used for the lobster and shrimp roll. They come with a cup of lobster bisque and corn on the cob.
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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Winter Cocktails at 1886 Bar (Pasadena, CA)

Granted this winter in Los Angeles has been strange, but that doesn't mean I can't get my winter cocktails fix! After all, I love my hot cocktails and spices, and luckily 1886 Bar in Pasadena is providing all of them this winter. Spiced and spicy cocktails, chai lattes, hot toddies, and more ...

Interesting spices are making their way into the cocktails like in the Moroccan Exchange (by Gillian Georges): Dos Maderas PX rum, Nicaraguan 5-year rum, lime, harissa spices on a rock of ice, finished with Smith and Cross rum.

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I tend to always order a dish with harissa (just like I probably will order any drink with saffron or kaffir lime) and Gillian did an excellent job using the aromatic spices with a blend of rums from three different countries, which, of course, has to include one from Morocco's neighboring country, Spain.

The beer cocktail of the season is the complex Rico Suave (by Jesus Gomez and Saul Soto).
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The drink takes on a traditional Aztec recipe for beer using fermented corn, pineapple, and secret blend of spices. The secret mix is then served with a Bavarian Hefeweizen, resulting in a unique flavor.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Beer Dinner at Kings Row Gastropub With Smog City Brewing Co

King Row Gastropub in Old Town Pasadena has launched a monthly beer dinner series, starting with local Smog City Brewing Co earlier this month. The five course dinner, paired with five beers, was quite a deal at $30 per person! The dinners are limited to 30 people and will take place in a communal setting. We had the owners of Smog City coming out to talk to us about the beers as well.

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The theme for the Smog City dinner is Smoke and Beers, in which all the dishes have something smoked in them.

There was an amuse bouche of taro chip topped with salsa crudo of melon, mint, cantalope, and beans - all of which were smoked.
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The first course was a Smoked Gouda with Porter honey, fresh beer bread, cornichons.
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I really liked the beer bread but thought they too thick in proportion to the cheese. I loved the porter honey, though. This course was paired with Lil Bo Pils.
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Monday, December 30, 2013

Winter Cocktail Pairing at Trattoria Neapolis (Pasadena, CA)

Ken Baranda has left the bar at Trattoria Neapolis, but his successor, Chris Doyle, is doing just fine, as exemplified by his winter cocktails.

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The first cocktail I tried during a recent tasting was a warm one, a variation of hot buttered rum: Fireside (Appleton dark rum, Matusalem light rum, butter, cloves, vanilla, cinnamon, orange zest)
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Not too heavy, warm, and would be perfect on chilly nights.
The cocktails were paired with some bites. The Fireside was paired with some Beef short rib "manwiches" on house focaccia
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Darling Clementine (Tito's vodka, fresh clementine juice, housemade cranberry ginger chutney, Combier, fresh orange and lemon juices)
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Clementines are a great citrus alternative for cocktails! This drink was so refreshing but with some spice from the ginger chutney. We all loved this one. Despite my usual snobby tendency to avoid vodka cocktails, this was my favorite.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgivukkah Dog and Pumpkin Cocktail at Dog Haus

In celebration of the rare holiday overlap that is dubbed Thanksgivukkah, Dog Haus is serving a Thanksgivukkah Dog at all three of their locations until Sunday, December 1st.

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The $6.99 dog is made with a "Thanksgiving Sausage" that contains as many ingredients as a Thanksgiving meal: with turkey, whiskey-soaked cranberries, brown-sugared sweet potatoes, thyme, sage and rosemary. All that was just in the sausage.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

September 28: Trattoria Neapolis One Year Anniversary Celebration (Pasadena, CA)

Trattoria Neapolis is one of my favorite places in Pasadena, both for food and drinks, and they're celebrating their one year anniversary next week! On Saturday September 28, starting at 7pm, the different rooms and balcony will turn into different tasting areas with food from Chef Bryant Wigger, wine, beers, distilleries, and Stumptown coffee. Since the menu is not posted on their website, I wanted to share it with you here!

Tickets are only $60 (advance purchase) and looks like it will be a great value! Plus $10 of each ticket purchase will be donated to Foothill Family Service. You can purchase the tickets in advance by calling (626) 792-3000.

Here's the menu and the list of wineries/breweries/distilleries!



TASTING MENU:

A few bite-sized versions of dishes will include:

Vitello Tonnato
Veal Tenderloin, Frisee, Caperberries, Grana Padano
& Ahi Tuna-Caper Aioli

Wood Grilled Baby Octopus
Crispy Potato Torta, Cerignola Olives & Lemon

Arancini
Crispy Lobster Arancini, Sweet Basil, Mozzarella
& Lemon Aioli

Barolo Risotto
Braised Oxtail, Sautéed Brussels Sprouts
& Castelrosso Cheese

Rabbit
Rosemary, Roasted Garlic, Chestnut Farrotto
& Crostini Toscano

Tiramisu
Roasted Bartlett Pears, House Made Ladyfingers, Mascarpone,
Buttered Pecans, Pear Moscato Sorbetto
& Salted Caramel

Bombolini
Pumpkin Spiced Mini Italian Donuts, Limoncello & Pumpkin Crema,
& Candied Pecans
PARTICIPATING
VENDORS:                               
U.S. West Coast Wineries
Duckhorn Vineyards
Stags Leap Wine Cellars
Northstar Winery
Erath Winery
Antica Napa Valley
Rutherford Ranch
Stolpman Vineyards
Frog’s Leap Winery

Italian Wineries
Antinori
Tormaresca
Castello della Sala
Col de’ Salici
Donnafugata
Maculan
Villa Sandi
Cantele
Tenuta
Luisa
Suavia
Moretti Omero
Riseccoli
Tenuta Monteti
Tenuta Argentiera

Distillers & Spirits

Bourbon
Buffalo Trace
Maker’s Mark
Maker’s Mark 46
Rye Whiskey
Templeton Old
Overholt
Knob Creek

Vodka
Tito’s

Scotch
Famous Grouse
Black Grouse

Single Malt Scotch
Auchentoshan Three Wood
Bowmore Islay

Limoncello
Limoncello Originale
Orangecello Blood Orange

Beer
Eagle Rock Brewery
Bootleggers Brewery
Telegraph Brewery
The Bruery

Coffee
Stumptown Coffee Roasters

WHEN:                  Saturday, September 28th
                             7:00 p.m.

WHERE:                336 South Lake Avenue
Pasadena, California 91101

Saturday, August 10, 2013

1886 Bar Goes Tiki and Divey This Summer

Every season, 1886 does something different with their cocktail menu, and this summer they're turning into a tiki and dive bar complete with fun tiki decorations (complete with the bartender Peter Lloyd-Jones wearing a Hawaiian shirt!)

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Per usual, their menu is divided into four sections. The first features fun interpretations of classic tiki cocktails.
The Strawberry Pina Colada on Fire is an ode to the recently closed Bahooka. There's also the classic Zombie, and the one thing I still haven't tried is the Scorpion Bowl for 4, since they were still waiting for the bowl to come in.

The next section is the dive bar drinks they labeled "Dirty Pretty Things", including a "molecular" approach to shots. There's a Mojito Jello Shot made with Flor de Cana rum. Ever had a pickleback? That's a shot of whisky with a chaser of pickle juice. Here, the pickleback is pickle brine from Langer's Deli enclosed in a sphere inside a shot of Powers Irish whisky.
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On a similar line, there's also a sangrita sphere served in a shot of tequila.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sneak Peek of LA Street Food Fest, June 29 2013

LA Street Food Fest is returning to the Rose Bowl on June 29. While I recently did a recap of last year's Food Fest, I previewed some of this year's vendors and there are some new ones you should be excited about!


1. Dante's Fried Chicken: Sock-It-To-Me fried chicken with coconut honey black sesame biscuit
Despite being white meat this was an awesome piece of fried chicken! 

2. Donut Snob.
Donut Snob has no retail store and you can usually only get them by pre-order, so the Food Fest is the perfect time to try these amazing donuts! No, really, they are some of the best in LA.

3. D'elish Sandwich Shop by Tiara Cafe: pastrami smoked short rib on fresh baked potato roll with slaw and jalapeno pickles

4. El Coraloense had all kinds of ceviche tostada during the preview. I tried the crab ceviche 

5. Local distillery Greenbar will be showcasing their new poppy liqueur, but if you shy away from alcohol, La Guelaguetza's horchata is always a good bet!

Some of the old favorites will make a return, but I'm excited about many of the new ones. These are just but a tiny portion of the vendors that will be there, so be sure to get your tickets soon at http://lastreetfoodfest.com 
All inclusive general admission tickets are $50 and VIP early admission is $75 with access to the Luxe Lounge (one time they had special cocktails and free massage!)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Summer Truffle Menu at Celestino (Pasadena)

Celestino Ristorante in Pasadena is one of six restaurants owned by the four Drago brothers. The one in charge of Celestino is actually Calogero Drago who named the restaurant after the eldest brother.


Unlike the higher end Drago or Drago Centro, Celestino is intimate and rustic. It's a place where you'd feel at home and where by the end of dinner you know that the chef is going truffle hunting in two weeks and that your server's wife just gave birth to their second baby. In like with this feel, Celestino is offering an affordable summer truffle menu, which will be available until around mid or late June. 

The truffle items are available a la carte, but to get the best value order the four course prix fixe for $58! The 4-course menu lets you choose one dish from the truffle antipasti, pasta, and meat/fish menu and finishes with Tartufo ice cream. Considering the a la carte pricing of $15-38, the $58 prix fixe is the way to go.

At Celestino, they stick with traditional recipes. The antipasti selection includes Tuna Carpaccio with Mushrooms and Truffles ($18)
Calogero explained that summer truffle is called bianchetti. These truffles are black on the outside and white on the inside. This was new to me as I'm used to having truffles with something richer, not tuna carpaccio. The mushrooms accentuated the truffles and the combination with tuna was both interesting and delicious.


Soft Polenta with Mushroom in Fontina Cheese and Shaved Black Truffle Sauce ($18)
The consistency of the soft polenta was pretty runny. I'm not sure if this is usual, but we ate it almost like it was soup.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Osawa Upgrades Old Shaab Location in Pasadena

When Shaab shuttered it left Pasadena devoid of shabu shabu. Now Osawa has taken over the exact same spot, serving shabu Shabu, sushi, and otsumami (small plates). Osawa is owned by Sayuri Tachibe, the wife of Chaya's corporate chef, Shigefumi Tachibe.


I went with Wandering Chopsticks who I know doesn't drink much so I ordered something sweeter that she can enjoy, a yuzu sake called Aladdin. Definitely easy to drink.
There's also blood orange lemonade for those who don't drink at all.
We started with some otsumami. I had been eyeing the beef tongue with Furofuki daikon radish and shaved kelp ($11)
I wondered if this was a common combination. I've never had shaved kelp (as opposed to dried) and like bonito flakes, when they get wet they clump together making it hard to separate with your chopsticks, but overall I liked this interesting dish. The beef tongue was quite tender and I'm partial to daikon.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

1886 Bar Reopens With New Spring Menu (Pasadena)

Some of you may already know that 1886 is my favorite bar in Pasadena, so I was in a withdrawal when they temporarily closed while the kitchen is being renovated. It's not that I go every week, but it's nice to know I can if I want to! Anyway, they finally reopened and a few days after launched their new spring menu. I didn't try everything this time around but got pretty close.

The menu is divided into four different sections. Let's start with the last one, since that has the drink I started out with: ANATOMY OF A MEAL.
SprezzaturaThey say this section is a "work in progress", with cocktails that would go well with different food.
My cocktail tasting started with the Sprezzatura (by Pete Lloyd-Jones): Campari, Cynar, Grapefruit Soda. The menu advises you to try this before the meal to cleanse your palate, and it's certainly a great one for that with a balance between the sweetness and bitterness. It's lighter in alcohol as well, making it even more perfect to start the night.

Mama Loves Mango (Rosie Ruiz): Mezcal, Tequila, Mango, Citrus, Cayenne. Meant to pair with dishes where fish or shellfish take center stage.

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"Mama" Rosie created this because she loves mango. So do I! This drink is calling my name as the weather in Pasadena is getting unbearably hot ...

Dinner at the Gamble House (Nikita Minin): Cedar infused Bourbon, East India Sherry, Sweet Vermouth Try pairing with red meat or game.
Photo courtesy of 1886 Bar

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

June 29: LA Street Food Fest Summer Tasting Event

The 4th Annual LA Street Food Fest is back on June 29 at the Rose Bowl! As usual, your ticket will be all inclusive. Inclusive of what? Well, all of these awesome things:

1. Food from 100 food vendors ...
Since the vendors from Baja were so popular 2 years ago, they brought even more last year! La Guerrerense, kraken tacos from Kokopelli, tacos de Camaron enchilado from El Mazateno are but a few.

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Simpang Asia had these mini versions of nasi bungkus, how adorable!
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The higher end LA restaurants could also be found here. Some of the highlights were the fried pig's feet from Chef Neal Fraser, cannolis from Sotto
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