Upcoming: The LA Times Taste of LA 2014 is Here! Labor Day Weekend!

Welcome to the TasteIf you have been looking at all of our pictures of delicious food events with envy, fear not. You have not missed out. This weekend, the LA Times’ “Taste of LA” once again takes over the Paramount lot with three days of food, cocktails, cooking demos and panels. If you are an LA Times member, you save $25 off of each event. Become a member here. There are also special perks for Citi members including skipping the line, which is a seriously major perk. Check out the special Citi pass here.

Friday night’s opening event has already sold out, unfortunately. There are, however, four amazing strolling tasting events to choose from. Who am I fooling? It’s impossible to choose! Buy the weekend pass!

“Field to Fork” Saturday August 30 11am-3pm

Saturday afternoon’s “Field to Fork” is aimed not only at foodies, but at home cooks as well. The theme revolves around fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Expect participating restaurants to make use of the last of summer’s bounty like fresh tomatoes, corn and stone fruits. Hosting the event is Russ Parsons, The Times’ Food Editor, with co-host, Nancy Silverton. Some of the restaurants offering up tastes are Eveleigh, BOA Steakhouse, Loteria Grill, Coni’Seafood and Canelé. 21+

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Q&A with Gipsy Kings, who Love LA!

Photo: 186  Left to right: Patchai Reyes, Andre Reyes, Tonino Baliardo, Diego Baliardo, Nicolas Reyes, Pablo Reyes, Paco Baliardo.  Credit: Pascal Ito - copyright Gipsy Kings

Photo: 186 Left to right: Patchai Reyes, Andre Reyes, Tonino Baliardo, Diego Baliardo, Nicolas Reyes, Pablo Reyes, Paco Baliardo. Credit: Pascal Ito – copyright Gipsy Kings

It’s been 25 years since the Gipsy Kings came out with their distinctive blend of traditional Flamenco, Latin, Rock, Jazz and other genres. The band members are truly master musicians who create a sonic fabric that has helped them win platinum and gold recordings and world-wide recognition.

The Los Angeles Beat caught up with Tonino Baliardo, lead guitarist, co-producer and writer of the band, to get some insights on their 25 year plus journey and their new album “Sabor Flamenco.”

Congrats on the new album and 25th anniversary tour! What’s the secret of the band’s longevity?

Thank you. Our longevity is that we enjoy what we do. We do not know much else, but the joy and great feeling we get [from] writing, playing, and performing our music is such a great [way to] appreciate what we have.

Our fans make us realize that every time we step out in front of them.

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SMASH Fashion Rocks Big Cat Love at South Bay Customs Saturday, August 30

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 5_26_33 PMSMASH Fashion: (Left to right) Reijo Kauppila, Lloyd Stuart Casson, Tony Kinman and Roger Deering.

Los Angeles rockers SMASH Fashion have been enjoying significant press attention and receiving solid accolades on both sides of the Atlantic with the release of their third LP Big Cat Love last March.  Gleaning the finest instincts and expressions from 70’s glam, punk and power pop, Big Cat Love is a contemporary rock masterpiece sprinkled with sonic confections that stimulate serotonin and exclaim that ROCK and ROLL is alive and well.  This group of music heavyweights will be playing a rare show at South Bay Customs this Saturday evening at 10:00 p.m.  Sharing the bill are The Crazy Squeeze, featuring current and former members of The Stitches, and Los Angeles blues rock veterans The Hangmen.

South Bay Customs is located at 115 Penn St., El Segundo, CA  90245.  Admission is $10.  Doors open at 8:00 p.m.  For more information visit the SMASH Fashion and South Bay Customs websites.

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LAFW Grand Tasting Saturday 2014

Vartan Abgaryan of Cliff’s Edge. But he sealed the deal by whipping out the uni. Corn Panna Cotta Vadouvan with a hint of curry toped with uniSaturday afternoon’s Lexus Grand Tasting was all about elegance and luxury. Held on two soundstages at LA Center Studios, the ambiance was that of a chi chi wedding reception. Chefs brought out high end ingredients, and a greater variety of champagnes were poured compared to the other LAFW events we attended. The crowd was much smaller than at the evening events on Grand Avenue, but not as exclusive as some of the lunches and demos.

Church Key highlighted the perfection of simplicity with Chef Steven Frett’s hamachi with liquid nitrogen-frozen watermelon. And as long as they had the nitrogen, why not make tequila Otter Pops? Why not indeed! Greg Hozinsky of The Strand House in the culinary upstart that is Manhattan Beach presented a lovely Spanish Octopus with Fairytale Eggplant, Cranberry Beans, and Heirloom Tomato in a Patron Vinaigrette which also emphasized quality ingredients treated simply. Chef Peter Haller of The Gorbals knew mussels are always a welcome indulgence.

Richard Blaise presented a Carne Crudo Asada and quail egg with a perfect, runny yolk. A precious deviled quail egg with puff pastry, smoked salmon roe, Caramelized Radish Salad, Frisee and Horseradish was intricately plated by Chef Joe Vasiloff of Cafe Pinot. Brad Farmerie of Public and The Thomas had the most dramatic presentation of the day, with a salmon head and tail bookending slices of sumptuous Ora King Salmon crudo. But there was stiff competition from Alimento’s Scallop Crudo with lemon and calabrian chile by Chef Zach Pollack.

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Random LA: Nothing but Class

maidsA daily eyesore on my commute.

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BeautyCon focus: Perfect365

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BeautyCon—the preeminent global summit for top digital fashion and beauty influencers, and their ever-growing number of fans—returned  to Los Angeles for its third-annual summit. BeautyCon Los Angeles was held in partnership with ELLE, at the LA Mart, on August 16th from 10am-6pm, marking the second stop for BeautyCon’s 2014 event series

BeautyCon is the place where hundreds of content creators—professional beauty gurus, editors, celebrities, bloggers and YouTube personalities—come together to network, discuss the future of online media, and interact with their fans. More than 6,000 of those fans gathered at the LA Mart to participate in interactive presentations, attend panels, create content, engage with a variety of top brands, shop, play games, and interact with some of the most popular fashion and beauty icons in the digital space.

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Everyone Enjoyed Terrific Pig and Terrific Drinks at the Pig Out 3.0 Benefit for Inspire Artistic Minds

Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar

Yesterday’s Pig Out 3.0 took place under beautiful Southern California skies at the Noguchi Gardens in Costa Mesa. The event, a benefit for the Orange County organization Inspire Artistic Minds, featured 15 local chefs from top-notch restaurants and 7 top local bartenders. The Inspire Artistic Minds program creates scholarship opportunities for those involved in the restaurant industry to further their education, enhancing their career opportunities as well as benefitting the restaurants that they work for. Gabrielle Miynarczyk, from Michael Voltaggio’s renowned restaurant Ink in Los Angeles, is just one of many who has benefitted from I AM programs, recently attending the Portland Cocktail Week with a grant from Inspire Artistic Minds.

Bobby Navarro, founder of I AM, described the type of person that they look for in the I AM program. He said, “We really try to target the individuals that are self motivated and personally driven, so we are looking for those people that are already going to those programs or have the intent of already doing those things, so us coming in and helping them with that is an unexpected bonus, as opposed to other scholarship programs that may pay for an individual to go before they may know exactly what they are trying to do, or pay for a program that they may not necessarily benefit from in the future. I feel that that’s our biggest benefit”. Continue reading

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LAFW Asian Night Market 2014

Indonesian Shrimp Satay with Cashew Curry and Fried Shallot Sambal from Little SisterFriday night LA Food and Wine’s Asian Night Market lit up downtown with some of the best chefs cooking Asian food in LA, with a nod to San Francisco, New York and Napa. Host Iron Chef Morimoto posed for pictures with excited fans and doled out chicken dumplings with a Sriracha sauce.

The night’s menu leaned heavily toward noodles and dumplings. Eggslut impressed with  a spicy lamb Mazemen Ramen made with very little broth. Besides Chef Morimoto’s dumplings, Slanted Door from San Francisco presented huge Shrimp & Spinach Dumplings that had an explosion of hot broth like soup dumplings. A seriously inspired Chris Oh of Seoul Sausage Co. made a Little Osaka Japanese Curry Rice Ball filled with Ground Kalbi.

This being LA, there were also delicious Pork Belly Tacos from Jet Tila and Adobo Tacos from B Sweet. Nobu Los Angeles served gorgeous cocktail-sized salmon sashimi tacos. Chef Brad Farmerie of Public also went with salmon in an alluringly presented roll with salmon caviar.

One of the most exotic dishes was spicy periwinkles accompanied by a Craft Beer Panna Cotta with a Chocolate Stout Caramel using Hangar 24 Belgian Summer Ale from Starry Kitchen. Another daring dish came courtesy of Fickle, which is known for its nose-to-tail menu, a Cambodian Beef Heart Tartar in a Lemongrass-Curry Vinaigrette with Green Mango and Squash Blossoms on a Crispy Squash Chip. I know that seems like a lot to fit on one squash chip. It was a big chip.

Photo essay after the jump

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Christian Death

walsbyolderbrother

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Southland Tales: Manhood

Photo by Michael Essington

Photo by Michael Essington

Growing up in the shadow of such an imposing guy as my dad, I think my brother and I picked up a lot of his, for lack of a better word, boldness.

You see, my dad didn’t back down from anything . . . ever. I remember hearing a story where an ex gave two black bikers some money to “finish” my dad with tire irons.
My dad opened the door, and invited them in. This spooked them and they talked some shit and left. My dad more than likely had a shotgun just inside the door.

Anyway, I had developed my own theory on being a man. I always knew how to fight, and I was pretty decent at it, that together with my dad’s never-back-down attitude.

My theory was based on a guy’s actions after he was hit. Might sound strange, but being hit says a lot about a man. Watch somebody in a fight, after they are hit, do they tear up, retreat, or does the punch amp them up to win said fight?

It may be strange, but that was my theory on manhood from the age of fifteen to about thirty-eight. Can you take a punch, and what do you do after you take that punch?

Then something weird happened when my Son was born. I don’t know if I softened or his three weeks in the Natal Intensive Care Unit or the very indifferent attitude certain family members took towards him and I during this time.

My whole mantra changed. It wasn’t attitude or toughness anymore. It was me lifting him past a few crappy people that failed to acknowledge him.

My new definition of manhood was making sure my family had a better life than me. I had created this weird little internal poem, which I used to pray with while my Son was in the NICU. I would repeat, “For every person that fell out of love with me, may three love him. For every tear I cried, may there be three days of smiles for him . . .”

So, have I succeeded in my definition of manhood? Sometimes. Life is fucking hard. Sometimes I elevate the people around me, and other times they rejuvenate me. But on the whole, I try to live up to my definition.

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