Saturday’s Taste event, Field to Fork, was a celebration of fresh, locally sourced food. That made it somewhat disconcerting to see a Sysco tent, but hey, someone’s got to pay the rental on the glamorous Paramount backlot, don’t they?
The chef who may have taken the theme most to heart was Brooke Williamson of Hudson House and Tripel. Her plate of Vadouvan spiced ricotta with a fennel salad, black mission figs, baby mustard greens and crispy parma prosciutto was refreshing, with a complex layering of flavors. Another favorite was Farmshop’s cold smoked tuna with an artichoke caponata topped with fennel flowers (it was Thon, not, as I originally read it, Zhon, which google defined as an animal mortician). Chef Jimmy Shaw of Loteria Grill’s tomato and watermelon skewer was a bit of a practical joke, with a hibiscus reduction that dripped down your shirt if you weren’t fast enough. That’s what press laminates are for, hiding drips, right?
RivaBella’s Chef Gino Angelini provided the top bite of the entire day. I can only describe nidi di rondine as a cinnamon roll made out of pasta and meat. The spiral of handmade pasta was alternated with what was likely Parma ham, surrounding a center of thick bolognese. Fred 62 served an old school bag of Fritos topped with brisket chili. The Blvd at Beverly Hills’ Texas Ranch Antelope was deliciousand not at all gamey. The pork belly biscuit from City Tavern was spot-on, with a tender flaky biscuit. A perennial favorite, Momed’s Duck Shawarma was a pleasing plate.
I naturally shy away from foods touted as “healthy” “natural or “vegan”. My inner child was force-fed too much broccoli. The Sun Cafe claimed that their green shake “brings all the boys to the yard.” I ended up standing in one place too long and was cajoled into trying the green-tea tinted mix. I was surprised that it actually did taste good, without resorting to the common trick of ginger to mask ickiness.
In the dessert category, Sweets for the Soul pulled off a best in category with salted caramel brownies and “Billionaire’s Bliss” shortbread topped with a layer of caramel and chocolate, then dusted with salt. I don’t usually try more than one sweet at a table, but swooned over their baked treats like a drunk at the bar. Tender Greens’ mini upside-down grape cake was also a stunner. Good Girl Dinette’s Stone Fruit and Licorice Pie was daring but not too strong, with a super-flaky crust.
Caorunn Gin’s garden gimlet was a nice way to start off the afternoon, leaving lots of time to drink water and sober up. Thanks to the taste for offering plenty of shade and water on every corner. In spite of the day being a scorcher, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.