By Andy J. Gordon
Los Angeles is definitely a foodie town, and there are many events throughout the year that celebrate the diverse culinary skills available in the Southland. One such event is highly anticipated for its unique combination of great chefs, excellent wine, top shelf liquor and beautiful setting. It was a sunny day in the Malibu Hills where about 2500 guests enjoyed Los Angeles Magazine’s annual Food Event at Saddlerock Ranch. The October 23rd, 2011 event featured amazing food, great wine, and fine spirits that kept the crowds happy. The picturesque setting added a magical aura to the culinary extravaganza and made it an extremely enjoyable Sunday afternoon.
The ranch is the home of Malibu Family Wines (www.malibufamilywines.com,) the producers of Saddlerock and Semler wines. Several of these wines were poured throughout the afternoon, and a long list of additional California wineries presented their selections as well. Guests looking for other beverages found Stella Artois pouring their signature Belgian brew as well as Hoegaarden and Leffe. Herradura and Karma tequila stations offered a selection of tasty cocktails, as did Veev, a maker of an acai infused beverage. Voss water was available for the teetotalers in the crowd.
Los Angeles Magazine (www.lamag.com) hosted this sixth annual event. The day featured many of the regions fine restaurants, star chef cooking demonstrations, and panel discussions. At the Snyder Diamond (www.snyderdiamond.com) demo tent, guests picked up tips from Rory Hermann of Bouchon Beverly Hills (www.bouchonbistro.com,) Karen and Quinn Hatfield of Hatfield’s (www.hatfieldsrestaurant.com,) Aida Mollenkamp of Cooking Channel and Ricardo Zarate of Picca (www.piccaperu.com) and Mo-Chica (http://mo-chica.com/.) Each demo concluded with tastings of expertly prepared dishes. Topics covered during the panel discussions included charcuterie, the importance of farmer’s markets, winemaking, and pastries. The panel discussions were held in the relaxing and shaded Voss (www.vosswater.com) Conversation Lounge, which provided a rare place to sit and catch a break from the strong sunshine.
While some guests crowded the demo tent and conversation lounge, many others were happy to stroll through the seemingly endless food stations loaded with samples from featured restaurants. Sang Yoon’s Lukshon (www.lukshon.com) was serving delicious short ribs with Malaysian spices. Mezze (http://mezzela.com) offered Middle Eastern inspired brisket shawarmas. Palihouse Courtyard Brasserie (www.palihouse.com) did a vibrant ahi tuna hamachi with a ginger, shallot and wasabi vinaigrette. Michael’s (www.michaelssantamonica.com) had a delicious duck confit salad with walnuts and blue cheese. Sweetsalt Food Shop (www.sweetsaltfood.com) served a succulent guava bbq pork slider. Saddle Peak Lodge (www.saddlepeaklodge.com) served a fine elk tenderloin with butternut squash puree.
There were also plenty of choices for those seeking something sweet. Bread Basket Cake Company (www.breadbasketcake.com) had platters of double dark chocolate and red velvet truffles that were incredibly rich and decadent. Frosted Cupcakery (www.frostedcupcakery.com) and Scarlett’s Cupcakes (www.scarlettscupcakes.com) tried to outdo each other with artistic, rich and decadent mini cakes.
The party wound down as guests departed with full stomachs, glassy eyes and a profound appreciation for the culinary expertise available in the greater Los Angeles area. Los Angeles Magazine always puts on a great party and The Food Event at Saddlerock Ranch was the ultimate celebration of talented LA based chefs.
Photos courtesy of Chris Schmitt Photography, Forest Casey of Forest Casey Photography and Andy J. Gordon