The Lexus Grand Tasting on the last day of LA Food and Wine had a pretty strong seafood leaning with some red meat to round things out. Best in Show must go to Bear and Star from Los Olivos for fun and flair.
Chef Austin Cobb of The Strand House in Manhattan Beach served a cool and tender Hiramasa Tiradito—a Peruvian dish of raw fish with a spicy sauce—done here with amberjack with a Peruvian ponzu, Fresno chili, scallion, crispy garlic, and Shimeji mushrooms. CBC Malibu went ultramodern with a traditional Greek dip for meze with trout roe blended with sourdough, spices, onions and the surprising twist of charcoal, served on a lentil poppadum crisp.
Chef Jason Fullilove of Barbara Jean is always a crowd-pleaser and he combined comfort food with haute cuisine for his Fried Shrimp n’ Grits with black truffle caviar, ajo amarillo, and a tomato-garlic confit.
Chef Andrés Dangond of The Cut and Tacos by Drés served juicy sliders with bacon relish, swiss cheese, “3000 island” and garlic aioli. One of my long-time favorites, Hudson Valley Foie Gras from New York wowed with a Hudson Valley Duck “French Dip” w foie gras and black truffle created by Chef Michael Ginor. Chef Michael Lombardi and Chef Kevin O’Donnell SRV Restaurant in Boston challenged the guests a little with Nervetti Fritti cacio e pepe, beef tendon with a traditional Italian topping of cheese and pepper.
The host for the event, Chef Michelle Bernstein ran the Lexus lounge with delicious octopus tacos with almonds for a chimichurri-like crunch and shrimp & squash blossom tacos. Don Julio Blanco was the spirit of the day at Lexus and they were mixing a sweet, light cocktail with the Blanco, a mix of passion fruit and habaneros with the Reposado and nonalcoholic aguas frescas.
As we did all weekend, we enjoyed the variety of cocktails from Hendricks Gin, this time around there was one with berries and a light citrusy drink. There was a lot of wine being poured, but we stuck with the Perrier champagne, which was light and highly effervescent, a perfect complement to the wide variety of delicious food.
The Saturday and Sunday Grand Tastings at Barker hangar are really enjoyable because they are usually less crowded with a mellow vibe. Although it’s really hard to pick a favorite event from the four days of revelry. Maybe we’ll try again next year.