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The cup runneth over at The TASTE

September 06, 2013|By Lisa Dupuy
  • Stephanie Cabrera tries an oyster luge with Bowmore 12 yr Whiskey during the Flavors of L.A. evening of the Los Angeles Times The TASTE food and wine festival on the Paramount Studios backlot on Saturday, August 31, 2013 in Hollywood, Calif.
Stephanie Cabrera tries an oyster luge with Bowmore 12… (Patrick T. Fallon…)

Food lovers lucky enough to attend Los Angeles Times’ The TASTE over Labor Day weekend devoured dozens of savory samples and gulped cupfuls of craft cocktails. If you’re feeling left out, the best I can offer is a rundown of event highlights and ruminations on general food trends.

Celebrated restaurants from all corners of metropolitan Los Angeles distributed small, often artistic plates of top-shelf menu items. For instance, Glendale’s own le comptoir (Gary Menes‘ superb pop-up in the Bekins building on Brand) served a fragrant and delicious cherrywood smoked potted shrimp.

I noticed certain food items kept popping up again and again. Kale continues to be popular among health nuts and taste nuts alike. There was a Tuscan kale Caesar, baby lacinato kale with salami, kale and crispy shiitake salad, and even a delicious kale shake from Studio City’s Sun Cafe made with banana, cashew and agave.

Unusual greens of all kinds were major stars at most of the events, which bore titles like “Field to Fork” and “Flavors of L.A.” At food booths and in cooking demos held throughout the weekend, chefs such as Michael Cimarusti (of Providence) and John Sedlar (of Rivera) created seductive salads made with redwood sorrel, fennel fronds, chervil, golden purslane, wild arugula and other chlorophylls.

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Gazpacho was another trend at The TASTE, some more successfully realized than others. My personal favorite was Tender Greens’ yellow heirloom gazpacho with a punch of tangy vinegar.

But woman cannot live on vegetables alone (at least not this woman). Seafood was plentiful at The TASTE as were all things belly: braised lamb belly, seared salmon belly, pan-fried pork belly. Some of the memorable seafood dishes include Coni’ Seafood’s tostaditos with shrimp, octopus, sea snail and jicama ceviche and FEED Body & Soul’s scallop, sea bass and brine appetizer. Salt brine made an appearance in a number of dishes and demos this year.

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