LA Weekly’s “Brunch at the Races” at Santa Anita Race Track 

All Photos by Billy Bennight for The Los Angeles Beat

When Bonnie and I struck out for The LA Weekly Brunch at the Races we had foodie dreams and alcoholic libations on our minds. Upon arrival, we oriented ourselves as we drank in in the bucolic beauty of the Santa Anita Race Track center field with its ephemeral hints of antebellum society and equestrian finery. After nesting ourselves in the VIP area with Makers Mark specialty cocktail “Maker Mint Julip” before we struck out on our adventure into an unexplored (for us) half of the center field which was dedicated to The LA Weekly Brunch at the Races . We doubled down on the Makers on the Maker Mint Julip to get us in the mood.

Once we entered the food area proper, we were promptly greeted by the Sweet Beats truck laying out the party jams! We continued jamming over the knoll to the first amazing experience with Ar Cucina and their delicious polenta square and pulled pork bites. They we so good we had to have a few more to make sure of how good they were. Poppy + Rose had some savvy comfort food breakfast fare with buttermilk biscuit and home-made farmer’s market jam – flakey buttery goodness. While we were working on our hangover we found the cure at Momed; were they boasted of the solution of excessive alcohol intake with their “Hangover Meatballs” and their vegetarian cousin featured there as well. The meatballs were just meaty, savory tomato-y-yum. Then there was what appeared to be a Quail Egg Benedict by Monkey Bar Gastro Pub. Then Sweet and Savory‘s bacon on an arugula and a cheesy custard. I soaked up some suds for “The Dudes” to keep the buzz rollin’ and Bonnie and I headed back for a brief VIP retreat to drink and recount out experiences.

LA Weekly Brunch at the Races 2017

Once we returned to the VIP area for shade, we did a little more preparation with those delicious mint juleps and Effin Vodka’s Bloody Marys. We watched the crowd mill and play in the early afternoon sun from our protective perch. Occasionally, we would see a horse and jockey ride around us, circling Santa Anita’s center field. Sun-soaked and alcohol-drenched, we were able to summon a little more energy to hit the remaining fine bites awaiting us beyond the VIP area. La Huesuda Tacos had some marvelous huevos tacos with freshly made corn tortillas. We met a few fine and festive individuals as we waited our turn, cocktails and bites in hand. We definitely had some laughs.

In our last moments, I got a taste of Sanctuary Coffee Tanzanian Cold Brew to put a zip in my doo dah as we spotted the Du Pars booth to find they only had cream pie left. The cream pie had a hint of coconut for a subtle dessert treat to close out the day with some lingering sweetness. It was a day well spent exploring food and drink in an absolutely intoxicating location that felt like a vacation; it was an antithesis of urbanism and surely an affirmation of the good things associated with suburban and rural civility where food was king

Billy Bennight

About Billy Bennight

Billy Bennight is a writer and photographer with expertise and years of experience in these disciplines. His musical youth started as a Punk Rocker and has expanded into exploring many genres of music, with a keen interest in art, fashion, photography, and writing. He shoots celebrity and red-carpet events for ZUMA Press. He is also a member of the Los Angeles Art Association. His images have been published in The Los Angeles Times, People Magazine, Parade, Wall Street Journal, and French Elle, both Vanity Fair and Vanity Fair Italia. He's very engaged in life. You an see more of his work at ZUMA Press at You can follow him on his Facebook page at: and on Instagram and Twitter @billybennight
This entry was posted in Events, Photo Essays and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply