LA Times Food & Wine Report

The LA Times Celebration of Food & Wine on 9/5/10 was a great event.  We splurged for VIP tickets, and it was worth it!  No lines, great food and wine samples and fun events.  Wonderful setting at Paramount Studios.

We spotted the Tar Pit (a Mark Peel restaurant) booth offering large glasses (not just a taste) of a rum punch concoction that got us started nicely.  Then we went from booth to booth, tasting so fast we couldn’t stop for pictures or to write things down.  It became a blur (or was that the punch?). 

I know we had good food samples, including ribs, chicken mole, gazpacho, tacos, and other interesting tastes, from Susan Feniger’s STREET, Border Grill, Rock Sugar, palate Food & Wine, La Casita Mexicana, Mar’sel (at the Tereana Resort), Eva and others, plus wine, cognac, tequila, sake and other samples from The Girls in the Vineyard, Grgich Hills, Hope Family Wines, Bracero Tequila, and more. 

I signed up for 2 competitions sponsored by Share Our Strength – a vegetable stacking contest (came in second) and a Food Trivia contest (won this). 

I got Mark Peel’s book New Classic Family Dinners, and was able to meet Chef Mark (Top Chef Masters, Campanile, Tar Pit), and get him to autograph the book!

One of the most exciting parts was that the contests were hosted by Michael Voltaggio, the Top Chef Winner from season 6 (Bravo). 

After winning the trivia, I didn’t realize the individual contest winners were coming back up, but we were called up for a taste test against Chef Voltaggio!  We had to name ingredients in a bowl of Mole we were given, and the winner would be the last person to guess correctly.  Would you believe Voltaggio was eliminated on his second guess?  No sugar in this mole!  In any case, I was the last person standing, having guessed bittersweet chocolate, ancho chiles, and garlic – so you could say I beat Michael Voltaggio. 

Michael was great, high-fived me, and gave me a magnum of Abraxas wine, which is made by Robert Sinskey Vineyards, and is a blend of 47% Pinot Gris, 23% Riesling, 17% Gewurztraminer, 13% Pinot Blanc.  The notes say it is good with spicy food, so maybe we’ll have to have friends over for Thai, or maybe save this for Thanksgiving.

We stayed for a little of the She & Him concert (Zooey Deschanel), but we were so ready to call it a day.  Thanks to Amanda for the photos!


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