As summer begins its last official hooray before transitioning into hopefully cooler temperatures, people are scrambling to soak up the last beaming rays of sun by the beach, pool or wherever they find comfort in unwinding. For some, music concerts and palate pleasing food events are reminders of a chill summer weekend full of great food and memories worth eating for.
Over the weekend we attended the LA Times The Taste food event, held at Paramount Studios. Known for its prestigious roster of top LA restaurants and beverage sponsors, The Taste has become one of the many “must” attend summer events of the year.
Seeing how our reporter is vegetarian who often leans towards vegan dishes, it was quite surprising to see how many restaurants served mouth-watering bites nonmeater eaters could have. Oftentimes, this is not the case which causes a dilemma for people who want to attend food events, but aren’t sure if they’ll have anything to eat. With the growing number of plant-based diets increasing and people making more of an effort to know what is in their food, it was reassuring, and quite pleasing, to see at least a handful of chefs (each night) cater to a growing city population.
After trying every single vegetarian and vegan dish, Wolf’s “Crack” potato was absolutely worth the carbs, even after four visits! Perfectly crisp and seasoned, without jeopardizing the soft interior. We’d happily eat these again and again. Church & State served a chilled vegan and gluten free cucumber gazpacho that was ideal for the warm summer night. Also considering the heat, Wanderlust scooped up their vegan and gluten free violet marshmallow ice cream, including a tribute to Jonathan Gold with T E A M O └A – a sorbet neapolitan of salted watermelon, cucumber lime, and chamango. Back to savory, the avocado salad with black sesame dressing from The Exchange at Freehand LA was the best salad of the night.
Our entire team went back for seconds within a matter of minutes. Another favorite was Citizen Mustard, a vegan and plant-based restaurant that gives back to charity. Their wild mushroom croquettes and meyer lemon cheesecake (using cashews) was impressive. Trois Mec kept the crowd intrigued with Smoked Macedoine, a mixture of vegetables cut into small pieces. Lastly, Jitlada packed a punch with their signature spices in a stewed tofu dish over rice. Talk about heat. Literally mouth-watering but worth every bite.
For a breakdown of the other restaurants who served vegetarian and/or vegan dishes, see below. Note: Restaurants are not ranked in any particular order
- Nerano – Gnudi pasta with chanterelle butter sage and black truffle
- Ocean Prime – Watermelon tomato salad (Gluten Free)
- Bar Garcia – Saffron croquettes
- Beaming – Thai salad and vegan Cookie (V/GF)
- Firefly – Fried olives and whipped creme fraiche
- Yarrow – Roasted carrot tartine
- TUMBI CARAFT Indian Kitchen – Dosa rice and lentil crepe with masala potato
- Noree Thai – Kao Soi Tofu (spicy, but good!)
- Kasih – Asinan Kelapa Indonesia slaw (V)
- Mayura Indian Restaurant – Appam (GF), Veggie Pulav (GF) and Veggie Stew (GF)
- The Guest House – Vegan black rice (GF)
- Lalibela Ethiopian – Vegetable samosa and various vegan stews
- Ban Oui – Sticky tofu bites
To accompany this year’s food, several alcoholic vendors were on hand ranging from various wineries, Maker’s Mark, Bulleit Bourbon, Stella Artois, Aperol Spritz, Don Julio and more. One surprising and much welcomed addition was Seedlip, the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit. For those that wanted a special cocktail without the alcohol and sugar, Seedlip was perfect.
We should mention that with the recent passing of acclaimed food writer, Jonathan Gold, the event paid tribute to the LA food icon in so many ways that almost made you feel as if he was watching over the three-day celebration in a way Gold would approve. Well done, LA Times…