The lady and I headed up to Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon to see what the first-ever LA Times Celebration of Food & Wine was all about. As fans of both food (essential to survival) and wine (essential to happiness, also: good for you?) the lady and I thought spending our Labor Day Sunday “celebrating” them sounded like a fine idea, even if it required a drive to LA, which I like about as much as like getting punched in the balls. (Read: not at all.) As someone amused by words and how we use them, I had no idea what a “celebration” of Food & Wine would entail, but I was eager to find out.
“Ladies and Gentlemen…TACOS!”
(Crowd goes wild, pops champagne, dogpiles on a pitcher's mound made of taco meat, Kool & The Gang's “Celebration” plays.)
What did happen was a surprisingly enjoyable, albeit crowded, afternoon of culinary exploration and people-watching. A $55 ticket got us access to the Paramount lot, eight coupons that we could exchange for samples of wine and booze, and a free She & Him concert (which we skipped.) VIP tickets were available for $125, but from what I gathered, that extra $70 just got you access to an exclusive corral of the wealthy (surrounded by a white picket fence), featuring higher-end wineries and purveyors of booze, and I think you could try to jockey for conversation time with some of the chefs that mingled in the area. I consider myself neither “important,” nor “very important”, so I happily snatched two of the “general” admission tickets and generally wandered the Paramount lot with the rest of the unimportant masses.
1) The Good: The Food & A Panel Featuring Michael Voltaggio
The point that all three of them stressed that really resonated with me was that they are extremely driven to bring high-quality dining to So Cal in an affordable and comfortable atmosphere. To me, so much of fine-dining seems overly uppity and stifled by convention, it was inspiring to see these young chefs so eager to think outside of the box not only in what they're putting on the plate, but how and where they're going to do that in the new restaurants they'll be opening soon.
2) The Bad: The Layout
3) The Ugly: The Whine
It's summer in LA, idiot.
Surprise! You're not the only one that thought an afternoon of food and booze would be a good idea.
Your sweaty exposed back flab is pouring over your belt, and you're calling people out for what they're wearing?
Everything is amazing and nobody is happy (see: the clip above.) Sigh.