By Andy J. Gordon
One of the most anticipated food events of the year took place on a Sunday afternoon in October at the majestic Saddlerock Ranch in the Malibu hills. Los Angeles Magazine puts on this spectacular culinary feast that is simply called The Food Event. The home of Malibu Family Wines, makers of Saddlerock and Semler wines served as the site for this tasting event. More than 40 of the finest restaurants and food purveyors in the greater Los Angeles area provided samples of their menus. Guests tasted some amazing food, drank a variety of wines, beers and cocktails while enjoying a beautiful autumn day at the scenic ranch setting.
One of the nice things about this event is getting a map at the entrance that shows you where each of the vendors are situated. The ranch is a huge property with vineyards, exotic animals in pens and a lush, grassy residential area. The food event is set up in the grassy sections – a lower one and another one that is up a gradual incline. Restaurant and beverage tents are set up throughout the expanse and knowing in advance where each is located makes it easier to plan your trek through the property. A large, shaded chef demo kitchen was set up near the middle of the lower section. Over the course of the afternoon, Brooke Williamson (Playa Provisions), Elia Aboumard and Uyen Nguyen (Gorge), CJ Jacobson (Girasol) and Tal Ronnen (Crossroads Los Angeles) shared a few of their recipes with the guests.
Los Angeles Magazine is always dialed into the hottest restaurants in town, so the food choices at this event are always top notch. Some of the outstanding items this year were presented by Wolfgang Puck’s restaurants. Cut offered succulent braised boneless short ribs. Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air served delicious lamb belly with squid ink crackers. Spago Beverly Hills had an amazing Korean flavored salmon dish. Jimmy Shaw’s Loteria Grill always offers something special. This year they served chilaquiles in green tomatillo and red chipotle salsas. The Front Yard had a decadent Korean braised short rib grilled cheese. The Sunset Malibu served a delicious scallop with fish roe and micro greens.
There were a variety of excellent choices to wash down the fine food. In addition to a wide selection of Semler and Saddlerock wines, Karma tequila, founded by Devin Semler from the wine making family, was pouring tasty strawberry margaritas. They also offered samples of their full line of Blanco, Reposado and the newly released Añejo. The Don Julio ice bar also had a variety of tequila cocktails. Their Jalisco Garden was a delicious blend of Blanco tequila, pineapple juice, pressed kale and agave nectar. Deep Eddy vodka had a festive booth with two of the Deep Eddy “Betty’s” pouring special potions. Some fine beers were also available at the event. A long line stretched out from the Stella Artois/Hoegaarden/Leffe Belgian Beer café. At another location, guests could sample some of the Goose Island and Shock Top selections.
There are many food, wine and booze events in Los Angeles throughout the year. None of them can match the array of excellent restaurants combined with the scenic setting of Los Angeles Magazine’s Food Event. The 2014 edition was a smashing success and raised money for Kids Courage Foundation, an organization that offers support to families with critically ill children. What could be better than enjoying great food and drinks in a beautiful setting while helping raise money for needy kids? Several hundred people did just that and enjoyed every minute of it.
All photos copyright Andy J. Gordon 2014© except where noted.