It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Labor Day weekend is coming, and for us, that means the picturesque Paramount backlot will once again be a celebration of Los Angeles’ exciting food scene, from classics to cutting-edge restaurants that aren’t even open yet, and from taco trucks to haute cuisine. The L.A. Times event, “The Taste,” always throws a fun bash with unlimited drinks, including outstanding cocktails and small plates from the best the city has to offer. You can also attend a variety of panels, cooking demos, and wine tastings.
Friday, Aug. 30, from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.
Enjoy tastes from some of our favorite restaurants, including Chef Antonia Lofaso’s Black Market Liquor Bar, Church & State, Burritos La Palma, who serve a beef birria burrito that tastes like my childhood, Casa Vega, which just had a cameo in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” super spicy Nashville-style chicken from Gus’s Famous Fried Chicken, Manhattan Beach’s Love and Salt, Ma’am Sir, Aquí es Texcoco, who usually serve a serious lamb barbacoa, McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams (Please bring Myer Lemon and Marionberry!), Chef Timothy Hollingsworth’s fine dining restaurant at The Broad, Otium, the famous NYC transplant, Rao’s Hollywood (Who we hope will be serving their meatballs), Chef Neil Fraser’s Redbird, Chef Esdras Ochoa’s upscale Mexican spot in Frogtown, Salazar, Tacos 1986, Wanderlust Creamery, and DTLA’s sausage fest, Wurstküche. There will be a cooking Cooking Demonstration featuring Pawan, Nakul and Arjun Mahendro from Badmaash, hosted by Genevieve Ko (LA Times), The Times’ Wine Club will launch with a demo by expert Mark Oldman, and you can taste the wines of France with Ira Norof and Troy Chappel of Southern Glazer’s, and Erin Landsberg of American Wine & Spirits.
Saturday, Aug. 31, 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.
Saturday night, get ready for some spicy food! Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, Sichuan Impression, and Hotville Chicken will be heating things up, with the possibility of some face-searing Thai chicken from Jitlada. There are also a lot of swank spots mixed in with neighborhood restaurants, including the ritzy Baltaire in Brentwood, the elegant Faith & Flower from DTLA, our favorite brunch and special events spot, The Bellwether from Studio City, and Viviane, another upscale beauty. We are also thrilled to taste bites from Coni’ Seafood, who thrills us with their ceviches. Employees Only, The South Bay’s modern Vietnamese from Little Sister, Oaxacan from Madre in Torrance, the Cantonese BBQ-inspired RiceBox, and the unassuming Yardbird Southern, which has made the best shrimp and grits I have had to this day. Enjoy a Cooking Demonstration from the charming and loveable Jazz from Jitlada, a Hot Chicken cooking demonstration featuring Kim Prince of Hotville Hot Chicken, and learn all about rice wine with a sake demo by Courtney Kaplan of Ototo.
Sunday, Sept. 1, 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.
Featured restaurants on Sunday include Pasadena’s Southeast Asian Bone Kettle, Thai food from Chao Krung and Jitlada, Lalibela Ethiopian, Texas breakfast and lunch spot, HomeState, Le Comptoir, Rappahannock Oyster Bar, Thai food from Same Same, and Chef Drew Adams from Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak. There is always something exciting from Chef Holly Jivin of The Bazaar by José Andrés, The Chef Bruce Kalman-founded Union Pasadena, a taste of Yucatan from the family-owned Chichen Itza as well as their son, Chef Gilberto Cetina’s delicious seafood stand, Holbox, and South Redondo’s tapas joint Gabi James as well as a whole host of returning restaurants from Friday and Saturday’s lineup.
Every night the wine will be poured, the beer pulled and the cocktails shaken by merchants like Absolut Juice, Bernardus Winery, Blinking Owl, Constellation Brands, Exotico Tequila, Leblon, Lillet, Mulholland Distilling, Revel Spirits, St. Germain, and Teeling Whiskey. You may want to consider taking an Uber.
General Admission is $115 per day. For $190 VIP tickets get you early “first-in-the door-access” to the event (No lines!), convenient and free parking inside the Paramount Pictures gates (No hiking!), exclusive tastings of fine wines, Mod Seléction Réserve Champagne, Roku Gin, Haku Vodka, and Toki Whiskey by House of Suntory, exclusive dishes by chefs including David LeFevre of Manhattan Beach Post/Fishing with Dynamite (Friday), Curtis Stone Events (Saturday), and Phillip Frankland Lee of Sushi Bar (Sunday), plus a special furnished VIP lounge during the entire event (Access!).