“Dinner With A Twist” at LA Times’ The Taste 2014

Dinner With A Twist co-host, superior mixologist and all-around good guy to have around when you're ready for cocktails, Julian Cox

Dinner With A Twist co-host, superior mixologist and all-around good guy to have around when you’re ready for cocktails, Julian Cox

All photos by Bob Lee for the Los Angeles Beat. 

Visitors to The Taste’s Saturday evening event, Dinner With A Twist, were treated to a generous spread from some of LA’s most beloved institutions. A festive mood prevailed through the warm night air, fueled by fruity cocktails and cool white wine, to make this one of the most satisfying Taste events to date.

Tonight, this writer was most blown away by Barbershop Ristorante, who offered an exquisite spoonful of veal tartare topped with tuna foam, with some tasty linguine and mussels. Michaels On Naples was serving up the last few portions of its delectable duck neck ravioli as I got to their table, and I was grateful not to have missed out. Pedalers Fork made salmon bacon, an idea that once I’ve heard it, seems so obvious I’m amazed I’ve never had it before, especially when the result is as impactful as this. Harisa-seared scallop from The Churchill was another winner, the kind of dish that makes me try to think of an excuse to find myself in their part of town. And the Ensaymada Project had the most delightful dessert bite, spongy cupcakes topped with maple and bacon; I regret not taking ube-topped version home with me.

Offerings all around were consistently strong, and on a night with so many things to taste, I was glad so many of the vendors did seafood dishes – by coincidence or conspiracy, three stands in a row had octopus-based platings. Just watch out, when the folks at Chichen Itza tell you your octopus taco is already “mildly spicy” but they will happily kick it up just a little with some of their homemade habanero sauce, and even after you repeat “just a little”, you need to be prepared for a psychedelic heat experience like the one Homer Simpson had where he met a coyote with the voice of Johnny Cash.

Event co-hosts John Sedlar and Julian Cox presented a combined cooking and cocktail-making demonstration toward the evening’s end, one of a number of talks and demos presented for those looking to cool their heels and take instruction from the city’s top talents.


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