8/13/2012 02:43:00 PM

What We Tasted, Devoured and Sipped at Los Angeles Food & Wine

A semi-charmed Third Eye Blind at LAFW
As food events go, Los Angeles Food & Wine really hits the mark on being a splashy LA affair. There are red carpets. Celebrity chefs, local and visiting. Regular (if there is such a thing) celebrities. Lots of champagne. Boozy late-night after-parties. Even live performances by '90s-era rockers. Now in its second year, you get a sense of what the organizers are trying to do: bring together what outsiders deem LA (lights, cameras, action) and celebrate our burgeoning dining scene. So does it work?

It definitely delivers exactly what it promises. The trickiest part is navigating all of the options - the wine seminars and cooking demos, intimate lunches, several walk-around tasting events all over town and a few ultimate meal type dinners - all at a hefty price tag. And then there's getting yourself around the city for them. Angelenos probably aren't crossing town from a Santa Monica event to another Downtown, but tourists might, especially if they had a Lexus driver (which, we think, came in one of the packages). The only complaints we heard throughout the weekend was that it was hot (nothing anyone could do about that), and that there was more wine than food at the events, which isn't a bad thing, depending on your boozy outlook. But it also meant long lines at some of the tables, especially at the more crowded events. But the food was fantastic at almost every turn, the chefs really bringing their A-games. And did we mention the wine?

We live here, and we couldn't even come close to hitting everything, but we did eat well at the opening night Fest Italiana at L.A. Live and had a great lunch with the Voltaggio brothers. We had copious amounts of caviar and champagne at the Montage Beverly Hills, and then we hit the closing night Live on the Plaza at L.A. Live, which featured a show with Third Eye Blind, more visiting and local chefs, and more wine. There may or may not have been an after-party with a Christina Aguilera sighting and chefs getting their serious groove on (you know who you are), but what happens at the WaterMarke Tower, stays at the WaterMarke Tower. All in all, this is an event that we think will continue to pull in star power and evolve over time. It ain't going anywhere, that's for sure. Check out our final slideshow for some leftover nibbles and nods from the weekend.


  1. Went Saturday night.Not enough Chef's. Had to wait at least 20+ minutes to get a taste of anything. Have been going to this for almost 20 years and this by far was not the event that it was. too many wineries, not enough food vendors, a lot of booths did not have enough food and closed early.