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Guide To The Taste Food Festival

LA Times The Taste CocktailConfidential_01-432 - Marie Astrid Gonzalez LATMG
(credit: Marie Astrid Gonzalez)

Labor Day weekend, August 29-31, is all about L.A. Times "The Taste", which takes over Paramount Pictures Studios for a three day showcase of this city's best restaurants, bars and chefs. Sponsored by Citi and Buick, the fifth annual event's co-hosts are renowned chefs Michael Cimarusti, Thomas Keller, John Sedlar, and Nancy Silverton, and bartender Julian Cox who will lead demonstrations and panels throughout the course of the celebration, along with L.A. Times Food staff. Here's a rundown of everything you need to know in preparation for the food extravaganza.

The Taste
5555 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038

LA Times The Taste - FlavorsLA_01-98 - Marie Astrid Gonzalez LATMG
(credit: Marie Astrid Gonzalez)

Friday, August 29th (Opening Night)

Friday's opening night kicks off the weekend with an intimate sampling of food and cocktails, while guests mingle with participating chefs, restaurateurs, mixologists, and event co-hosts. Hours: 7:30-11pm

(credit: Crossroads Kitchen)

Saturday, August 30th

Saturday morning's Field to Fork, 11a-3p, is all about local ingredients and flavors with demos on the Culinary Stages from Bruce Kalman (Union), Tal Ronnen (Crossroads), and C.J. Jacobson (Girasol). The Taste Bar will host panel discussions about market fresh foods with Josiah Citrin (Mélisse), Roxana Jullapat (Cooks County) and Vincenzo Marianella (Copa d'Oro), an unearthing of lesser known French wines with Ira Norof (CWE) and Stewart Prato (CWE) and everything about Sauternes' sweet wines with Carole Solomon (Heritage Link Brands). Saturday evening's Dinner with a Twist, 7:30-11p, focuses on big, bold dishes and cocktails demonstrated by Ricardo Zarate (Picca), Michael Hung (Faith & Flower), John Sedlar (Rivera), Julian Cox (Rivera) and Daniel Joly (Mirabelle at Beaver Creek), plus an all-cocktail demo from the bar masters at The Varnish, Honeycut and The Spare Room.

LA Times The Taste -FlavorsLA_01-12 - Marie Astrid Gonzalez LATMG
(credit: Marie Astrid Gonzalez)

Sunday, August 31st

Sunday Brunch, 11a-3p, features cooking demos from Casey Lane (The Tasting Kitchen), Karen Hatfield (Hatfield's), Noelle Carter and Melisa Nicola (Nic's Beverly Hills). Enjoy plenty of California wine chat with Margaux Kugelman (Advanced Sommelier) and Spanish Rioja buzz from Nina Sventitsky (Certified Sommelier) at The Taste Bar stage. That evening, Flavors of L.A., 7:30-11p, welcomes the culinary prowess of Jimmy Shaw (Loteria Grill), Amelia Posada (Lindy Grundy), and Michael Cimarusti (Connie & Ted's) at the Culinary Stage. Jonathan Gold will also moderate a lively discussion about the backyard foraging movement with Ari Taymor (Alma), Pascal Baudar (Urban Outdoor Skills) and Wes Avila (Guerilla Tacos).

Ari Taymor photos - Marie Astrid Gonzalez LATMG
Don't Miss Out

The Taste recently added two new pre-event options for those who enjoy libations. The Cocktail Lab and Wine Cellar, taking place on Friday and Saturday evening respectively, will offer guests an extra hour and a half of beverages from 6-7:30p. Entrance to these events will require a ticket upgrade.

In addition to the demos and panels, don't forget to visit the numerous booths from more than 100 Los Angeles restaurants, including Acabar, Angelini Osteria, Bar Pintxo, Border Grill, Doghaus, Eveleigh, Hinoki & the Bird, Lemonade, Manhattan Beach Post, Pedalars Fork, Sage Vegan Bistro, The Must, Tipple & Brine and Waterloo & City. There are nearly 90 wine, beer and spirit participants including Avion Tequila, Cupcake Vineyards, Don Q Rum, Goose Island Beer Company, Robert Mondavi Winery, Seven Daughters, Stoli Elit, Ty KU Sake and Spirits, Veev and Wines from Rioja.

How To Attend

Tickets are available online at The Taste. Entrance prices range from $100-175 for individual events, or you could splurge on a full Weekend Pass for $300. L.A. Times members are eligible for a $25 savings on Saturday and Sunday events. The Taste is also offering a limited amount of discount tickets. Use TasteThanks for $20 off for Saturday's and Sunday's main events as well. Grab a ticket for one of L.A.'s biggest and best food events of the year.

Chrystal Baker is a freelance food and events contributor for CBS Los Angeles, Basil Magazine and Frugivore Magazine. She is the co-editor of a recipe blog, The Duo Dishes, and manages her own lifestyle and travel blog, Any and Everywhere.
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