6 Events Not to Miss at LA Food & Wine
Now in its fifth year, LA Food & Wine is back, once again taking over Grand Avenue in front of the Disney Concert Hall Downtown and spreading its wings across the culinary landscape. Slightly scaled down in the number of events and celebrity chefs, the weekend is leaner but no less meaner. Gone are the events (save for a few lunches) that take guests clear across town. What is happening is still great and filled with star power, from collaborative meals with visiting and local chefs to lavish walk-around tastings and more intimate wine seminars and cooking demos. Some events are already sold out, but there are still tickets available for some top-notch happenings, including a few chances to hear Questlove and The Roots. Here's what to hit at LA Food & Wine in 2015. 1. Opening Night: Hosted by Curtis Stone (Maude), the Ultimate Bites of LA kicks off the festivities on the red carpet. Top chefs from restaurants all over town will be there, including Vartan Abgaryan (Cliff's Edge), Steven Fretz (The Church Key), Antonia Lofaso (Scopa Italian Roots), Kris Morningstar (Terrine), Nancy Silverton (Mozza) and more. Wines and cocktails will be in great abundance, as well. DJ Questlove will keep the beats going throughout the night. Thursday, Aug. 27, 7-10 PM. Tickets are $165 per person; $250 for VIP, which gets you in 30 minutes before everyone else. 2. Guest Chef Lunches: The collaborative lunches on Friday have always been one of the best ideas to come out of LAFW. Visiting chefs from around the country join a local chef at their restaurant for a sit-down, multi-course meal with wine pairings. In some cases, it's a few local chefs teaming up from different parts of town, which can often feel like worlds away. Tickets ($125 per person) are still available for lunch with Markus Glocker (Batard NYC) and Neal Fraser at Redbird Downtown; John Tesar (Knife in Dallas) and Bruce Kalman at Union in Pasadena; and with Zach Pollack (Alimento) and Michael Fiorelli at Love & Salt in Manhattan Beach, among others. Friday, Aug. 28, 12-2PM. 3. Friday Night: This year's Lexus Grand Avenue Night Market is hosted by Tyler Florence, who's swooping in from the Bay Area. Chefs and restaurants serving up Asian dishes include Alvin Cailan (Eggslut and Ramen Champ), Perry Cheung (Phorage), Tim Byres (Smoke, Dallas), Viet Pham (Ray's & Stark Bar), Akasha Richmond (Sambar) and many more. Friday, Aug. 28, 7-10 PM on Grand Avenue. Tickets are $125; $175 for VIP. 4. Boozy Brunch with Michelle Bernstein and Questlove: A new event this year is The Definitive Boozy Brunch at Milk Studios (855 N. Cahuenga Blvd.) in Hollywood featuring bites by Michelle Bernstein (Cena by Michy, Miami) and beats by DJ Questlove. The multi-course, sit-down brunch includes hand-crafted cocktails. Lexus will proved cars for optional transportation — take advantage of it. Saturday, Aug. 29, 11 AM-1 PM. Tickets are $125 per person. 5. Beer and/or Wine Seminar: There aren't as many beer and wine tastings as, say, Pebble Beach Food & Wine, the other culinary extravaganza Coastal Luxury Management puts on in the Central Coast, but there are a few good ones to check out on Saturday, including one on Cult Cabs and another on Super Tuscans, both held at Faith & Flower Downtown, led by wine director Jared Hooper. Friday, Aug. 20, 11 AM-12:15 PM and 4:30-5:45 PM, respectively. Tickets for either are $150 per person. 6. Food with The Roots on the Side: The Lexus Live on Grand finale has always incorporated live music, and having Downtown LA as the backdrop instead of the neon lights of LA Live, where the event was first held, makes it feel even more special. This year The Roots take the stage, and it should be a funky good time. The line-up of chefs for the evening has just as much star power, including Thomas Keller, San Francisco's Elizabeth Falkner, Dallas' John Tesar, and locals such as David LeFevre (MB Post, Arthur J, Fishing With Dynamite) and Steve Samson (Sotto). McConnell's and Salt & Straw ice creams will also make an appearance. Saturday, Aug. 29, 7-10 PM. Tickets are $195; $350 for VIP.