There were many bites to be consumed at Friday's Decadence. The key was to arrive early and explore deep. If you got stuck following the same line of people, you missed out on some lip-smacking eats. Here were our favorites of the night.
5. Raspberry Sherbert Pops from Sweets by Jenni
VIP entry offered limited access tastes. A display from Sweets by Jenni served a dizzying array of eye candy. We watched ladies strategically lounge in close proximity to her chock-full table. Our favorite was a pretty cake pop. The dessert wasn't cloying, but gentle on our taste buds. An ideal bite between salty plates.
4. Ceviche from House of Big Fish and Ice Cold Beer
There were a couple of places serving seafood, but we were hooked on this particular version. A chunky mixture of shrimp and crab, lime and OJ citrus notes married all the flavors. Their garnish of Corn Nuts kept it playful. A recent overhaul of Craig Connole's menu means yet another reason to perch ourselves in Laguna.
3. Lobster Grilled Cheese from Slapfish
The gang headed by Andrew Gruel got a very late start due to electricity woes. So by the time they began cooking, it was a mad rush to serve their line. Smoky chile sauce and melty Jack cheese made for total comfort food. Our bite wasn't the prettiest (hence the photo), but it was what we've come to expect from Slapfish-- sustainable and flavorful. 2. Pate de Campagne from Little Sparrow
Chef Eric Samaniego's table was one of our first stops that evening, and he didn't disappoint. He was happy to elaborate on our fanciful plate. Pork shoulder and chicken livers are stars of his pate. Fresh Mission fig mostarda cut through the richness. Its complex profile outshone most restaurants.
1. Everything from Smoqued BBQ
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We found our local BBQ experts tucked away in one corner. Manager Mike Hernandez handled double smoked brisket burnt ends onto endless plates, while the rest of the team assembled with lightning efficiency. Insanely good candied bacon made for a meat feast. Bits of smoqued cheddar and tangy pickle chips were our icing on this proverbial cake. They brought their A game, and it showed.