By Andy J. Gordon and Jenny Peters
A great way to spend the end of summer and Labor Day weekend is always at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, enjoying the annual Los Angeles Times The Taste culinary events. That yearly food festival is in its tenth iteration, with 2019’s version keeping up the top-quality tradition that has always made this three-day extravaganza such a hit among Angelenos.
The intense Southern California heat mellowed each day after the sun set on the evenings of August 29, 30 and September 1, as many local foodies converged on the New York street scene on the studio backlot to indulge in delicious delicacies presented by fabulous area restaurants.
All three sessions featured distinctive cocktails, craft beer and wine offerings from a first-rate group of vendors. Each night had a different lineup of excellent area restaurants, as well as celebrity chef cooking demonstrations. The celebration of culinary excellence gave Angelenos a unique opportunity to sample some of the best food and beverages available in the region.
The Saturday event featured several outstanding food offerings. Two of the hottest spots (the booths with the longest lines) served the extremely popular spicy chicken. Both Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken and Hotville Hot Chicken had lots of happy guests licking their fingers and searching for some milk to put out the fire in their mouths. Later that night, Kim Prince, the owner at Hotville, led a cooking demo explaining the secrets of Nashville-style hot chicken with the L.A. Times’ senior food writer Jenn Harris.
Hollywood’s LN2, a fairly new restaurant that is known for their pizza and liquid nitrogen ice cream, served a delicious crispy chicken slider and crunchy, seasoned Brussels sprouts. Granville offered up a sophisticated “uptown” mac and cheese with aged gruyere, chicken, asparagus and peas. Roberta’s Pizza had a portable oven that hit 900 degrees and quickly pumped out amazing thin-crust masterpieces. Their “Bee Sting” pie, made with tomatoes, mozzarella, sopressata and honey was very special.
Kali Restaurant served a delicate yellowtail crudo with sea grass and buttermilk that melted in your mouth. Eataly had an especially long line, as guests waited for some of their fresh-made pastas. Maple Block Meat Co. presented their incredibly tender and smoky beef brisket with a vinegar cole slaw. Bellwether’s wonderful seasoned ahi tuna over a soba noodle salad was a true standout.
A few of our favorite adult beverages included the Venice Duck Agave Blonde beer and the Los Angeles Brewers Guild’s Eagle Rock Witbier. Josh Cellars served their tasty Cabernet Sauvignon and 1849Wine.com poured their Declaration Napa Cabernet from a distinctive decanter. Revel, a new Mexican agave spirit, served an enjoyable cocktail made with spiced peach syrup, black tea and lemon juice. Ketel One Vodka had a large bar area with a variety of their flavored spirits and fresh fruits and herbs used to create inventive cocktails.
There were hardly any dessert offerings at the Saturday night event, so the massive line for Wanderlust Creamery’s exotic ice cream treats was no surprise.
The weekend of culinary indulgence came to end on Sunday night with a new lineup of restaurants. The Los Angeles Times The Taste always provides a unique opportunity to sample from an amazing variety of excellent area restaurants. This year’s event was as good as in past years and we know the Times will pick the hottest chefs, restaurants, wine, beer and spirits for next year’s event. We can’t wait to see what taste delights happen next year.