On October 23rd my cousin Elena and I attended the 6th annual “The Food Event” hosted by Los Angeles magazine. Neither of us had been to this event before so we didn’t know exactly what to expect but we knew we were getting unlimited food and wine for the price of admission ($95, though we got some discounted tickets through a luxury shopping site) and that was all we really needed to know.

Unlimited food and wine tastings? Don't mind if we do...

The Scene: Gorgeous Saddlerock Ranch in Malibu. Approximately 40 restaurants participated in the event. There were booths set up around the lawn and each restaurant gave out tapas-sized samples of delicious menu items.

When we arrived, we received a guide to the event as well as a wine glass and a tote and off we went. I hadn’t eaten anything all day so I was really hungry. Given the size of the portions it was going to take me a while to be able to drink wine without having a problem. So I tried to sample as much food as I could before doing any wine tasting. We quickly learned a few strategies:

  1. Find out what the booth is serving before getting in line. If you’re like me, you don’t want to stand in line under a searing sun, only to find out the booth is serving seafood or lamb since those are both no-nos on my food list.
  2. Divide and conquer. My cousin and I stood in separate lines, grabbed two plates and re-grouped.
  3. Bring a little blanket to the event. Ok, we didn’t do this but since we did end up picnicking on the grass with our food loot, it would have been nice to have something to sit on and avoid wet booties.
  4. Don’t be overzealous and try to carry too much. At one point I had a cocktail, a plate of mini cupcakes and a wine glass I was trying to maneuver through the lawn and it was a miracle that nothing spilled (but there were close calls!).
  5. Get there first-thing. We didn’t arrive until an hour into the event. Given that it was only three hours long, this created a rushed experience which is never good when you’re eating and drinking. Plus, I had to drive to the airport from the event and catch a flight back to San Francisco which meant I could only drink so much anyway.

But the event wasn’t all eating and drinking. There were also demonstrations and conversations with industry experts, not to mention the beautiful scenery. For those who weren’t in a rush it was a perfect day to relax and just enjoy a warm sunny day in the mountains.

Some of my favorite bites were (all pictured below):

Rosemary Olive Oil donuts from fōnuts. Baked donut deliciousness. These weren’t heavy and greasy, the way some donuts end up. Oh no, these little babies were light, lemony and so, so good.

Short Ribs from ONYX at the Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village. I heard the sauce was made of squid ink and I’m not sure that’s true but these ribs were amazing, regardless.

Beet salad from Palihouse Courtyard Brasserie

Couscous with pomegranate seeds from Savory, ONYX's ribs, beet salad from Palihouse Courtyard Brasserie, fried chicken from Lexington Social House

Butternut squash soup, meringue with raspberry sauce, rosemary-olive-oil fonut, assorted cupcakes from Frosted Cupcakery and Scarlett's Cupcakes

On a side note: I’ve never been to Lexington Social House but after visiting the web site I now really want to go. The place looks really beautiful.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to taste many of the wines (because of that drive to the airport after). But there were so many wineries representing and there were cocktails to try as well. I had a Pisco cocktail that was made with strawberry and fennel and it was delicious. You can find Pisco Portón recipes here. There was also a Chambord table that had two different cocktail tastings and both were delicious. I asked to have the Chambord recipe emailed to me because it would make a great party cocktail. You can find a bunch of recipes here.

This was really a fun event with so much delicious food, wine, cocktails and desserts that we couldn’t even try them all. If you live in the L.A. area I would recommend checking out the event next year.