LA Times Celebration of Food and Wine

We stumbled upon this little gem of a festival when we found out that She and Him were going to be playing at the festival at the Paramount Studios Backlot on the same weekend we happened to be there. We were originally going to pay for just the concert but the price difference was only $15 and since we had nothing else planned for the day, we bought tickets for the full day (but not the $125 VIP tickets). So far this has been one of my favorite events of the year…

For its first year, the LA Times Celebration of Food and Wine was a huge success. After talking briefly to LA Times’ Food Editor, Russ Parsons, we discovered that they predicted to sell only 2,500 tickets but they sold out the event at 8,000 people. Even with 8,000 people there, it never felt crowded, the toilets weren’t over-flowing (or even dirty) near the end of the event. Since this post has taken over two weeks to compile, I’m going to save you the details and give you a bit of a photo tour of the event.

Hip and with the times, Twitter signs like this one were posted everywhere. This one was my favorite:

The event felt almost like a street fair with fake buildings and much narrower streets. Lot of wine choices, some liquor and sake available too. There was even options for soda tasting. Restaurants were few and there was about 15-20 food trucks with 45 minute to an hour-long lines. Yep, food trucks are not really made for making mass quantities of food.

I am a sucker for ice cream sandwiches. We shared an orange chocolate Cointreau ice cream on a chocolate chip cookie from the Cool Haus food truck. Divine… although steep at $4. I would rather have less odd choices (brioche ice cream sandwich?) and pay $1.50 like at Diddy Riese in Westwood.

Russ Parsons, Food Editor for the LA Times did a little Q&A session; answering questions like “Where is the best farmer’s market?” to “what is the best place to get fresh fish?” The primary answer to the questions the crowd posed was “It depends on what you like.” Cool part… if you asked a question you got a copy of one of his books or Dodgers tickets. I asked a question about “What food blogs does he recommend?” and I got the typical answer of “It depends what you like.” But I did get a copy of his book, How to Read a French Fry. Roger’s loving the read.

She and Him took the stage with a request that no photos be taken and to just sit back and enjoy the show. I managed to take a couple but refrained from any more out of respect. The stage was set inside the studio’s backlot where there would normally be water (horizon scenes are filmed here). Comfortable and not packed, we watched the couple perform some of my favorite from both albums: Volume One and Volume Two.

The ambiance was perfect. And then hearing them sing their rendition of the Beach Boys’ “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” was heart-wrenching. I wish you could have been there. This was one of those musical acts I needed to “check off” but would gladly see them again if the timing fell just right.

I feel slightly bad that this post was rushed since this event was totally awesome. I wish we could have something like this in San Diego. I definitely plan to bring some of the components into the North Park Festival of the ArtsCraft Beer Block and the Taste of North Park… well, not this year since the event is on Oct 2, but next year.

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