LA Mag’s 6th Annual Food Event: New Friends

Written with Marga Mayhew and Bob Lee

There were so many new restaurants to try at the LA magazine’s Food Event. Even though some restaurants have been around for a while, we haven’t had the opportunity to try them. Our to-do list grows and grows.

Chef Francesco Velasco from Tra di Noi was all smiles as he said, “I got a little trick or treat for you, you have to try the hand made Pumpkin Spiced Truffle”.  You don’t have to ask me twice to try chocolate. These were just divine! The other two items on his menu were just as delicious. Insalatta Riccia: baby freeze salad, celery roots, parmesan cheese, mortadella, black truffles and lemon olive oil & Polenta e Funghi: creamy polenta, mushrooms fricassee, black truffle sauce.

Savory did it right by offering samples of these little morsels.  Who would have thought a date could taste this good? I know they are healthy and all but I must admit they are not usually my favorite, unless you stuff them with goat cheese, drizzle it in honey and roll them in almonds. Then I’m all for it!

There is a reason this event is much anticipated. Restaurants bring some of their best for the crowds, like Manhattan Beach Post. This was not only healthy but the flavors and textures gelled so nicely.  Bold flavors were packed in this little ramekin. Pomegranate Cous Cous lavender feta, marcona almonds, weiser farm mixed melon and mint.

Chef David Féau (fay-o) of The Royce takes his cheese dish seriously, making it everyday with non-pasteurized milk. This is as fresh as it gets.  The beef short ribs and new potato in a surprising squid ink sauce was just as delicious.

 If you love rustic middle eastern then you need to try Cleo.  Their Lamb Shawarma was just melt in your mouth good. The lafa was a bit on the thick side for me but the lamb was cooked to perfection with caramelized onion, lebaneh, and harissa.

Fonuts- Who doesn’t like donuts? And what’s that? They’re not fried? I wish I had a to-go box for these. There is a reason there is so much buzz around this place. They weren’ quite donuts, they were like very intense cupcakes. They even had an amazing gluten free pumpkin. These were hands down, my favorite desert of the afternoon (but this may be a bias statement given that I am obsessed with anything pumpkin).

Black Market Liquor Bar had a number of interesting dishes, with a confit tongue, specialty drink, and duck pate w/bourbon raisin on crostini. This is one restaurant we can’t wait to check out.

The most refreshing fish dish went to Lukshon. This Hawaiian Walu was so fresh. It cut like butter and the flavors were so delicate and refreshing. The short rib rendang with malay spices, red chile and lemongrass was cut like a filet and melted in your mouth, leaving a fatty, Thai-flavored finish.

Onyx also braved the hot weather and served tuna tartare. The Tuna was not only delicious but it was miraculously kept cold as we tried this dish towards the end of the event. As for the ribs, they were fall off the bone good! The pupu platter style was very appropriate for a “tasting” event. We vote for an all pupu platter tasting next year!

Elise Thompson

About Elise Thompson

Born and raised in the great city of Los Angeles, this food, culture and music-loving punk rock angeleno wants to turn you on to all that is funky, delicious and weird in the city. While Elise holds down the fort, her adventurous alter ego Kiki Maraschino is known to roam the country in search of catfish.
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