event

Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival 2017

by Franklin on October 5, 2017

The 2017 Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival was such a great event. Live music, a meet and greet with Fabio Viviani, some sips of wine and awesome food tastings made the afternoon a fun time. The 3 day even has something special for each day, and I had the opportunity to try the last and final day of the tasting. It a was a perfect Sunday afternoon, and the crowds of people were enjoying everything the chefs had to offer.

The octopus and pork belly salad from Aveo Table and Bar was a good pairing. One of the most refreshing bites that day was the hamachi mango jalapeno sorbet by Florent Marneau of Marche Moderne. The fresh fish with the kick of the cold mango sorbet really cooled me off a bit. Chef Pablo at The Dock surprised us with his salmon caviar bite with cucumber. Ceviche at A+O Kitchen came in a pull apart tin and the insides were so delicious with their tortilla chips. I know a lot of my favorites were seafood inspired, but my favorite bit of the day was the spinach cavatelli from Andrea Ristorante of the Pelican Hill Resort. The cavatelli was cooked perfectly and the saltiness from the sausage was a perfect pairing.

The Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival is such a great even in the heart of Newport Beach. I am excited to see what they will have next year!

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The Taste 2017 – Burning Sun and Rain

by Franklin on September 9, 2017

When the LA Time’s The Taste rolls around, you know it’s Labor Day Weekend. I made it to the Field to Fork event and the food was superb. Despite the heat reaching nearly 100 degrees, I was able to find some shade and enjoy the different selections. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go to the other events due to rain. Yeah, 100 degrees one day and rain on the next — I don’t do neither.

My favorites included the crème brûlée doughnuts from Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken. Restauration in Long Beach delivered an oxtail doughnut that was so savory and delicious. Other than doughnuts being the star, octopus really the theme for the chefs. From octopus ceviche to charred octopus, the selection was massive.

The heat got to my head and had to take rests in the shade with a nice cold Bai. Hopefully next year we won’t get this funky weather with 100+ degrees and rain back to back. It was a lot of fun, and hope to see what’s in store next Labor Day Weekend.

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LA Weekly’s Brunch at the Races was quite a treat. Brunch is my all time favorite — I love breakfast, and adding the lunch element heightens the experience. Having never really been into the horse racing scene, I can confidently say the only times I went to Santa Anita Park was for food events. Arriving to the back of the park, I got my coffee mug and was ready for some great eats.

Squid ink bread with lox and yogurt. #sundayfunday

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My first bite and one of the best bites of the event was Status Kuo’s squid ink bread with lox and yogurt. It was so flavorful and a nice play on the classic bagels and lox.

The waffles at the @ggetLA booth was insane!!! #sundayfunday

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Go Get ‘Em Tiger’s waffles with berries blew my mind. The waffle was so light and crispy. I have never had a waffle like this before. It did feel a bit more eggy than flour-y. It was so nice and delicious.

This donut and coffee cream from @superbafoodandbread was bomb. #sundayfunday

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The donut and coffee cream from Superba Food + Bread was something else! The shot of donut and coffee infused cream tasted was great.

This Hainan chicken was superb!! Thanks @senor_gionni

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Johnny Lee killed it with his Hainan chicken dish. The chicken was perfectly tender and moist and the rice was seasoned just right. The ginger and the sauce all mixed to make a perfect bite each time. Full of flavor indeed. Better than Savoy? I think so.

Poppy + Rose had my favorite dish of the event. I know its just a chicken sandwich, but each and every part was perfect. The biscuit was light and fluffy/flakey. The fried chicken was flavorful and juicy — and the pickle was perfect and balanced this whole thing out the best way possible.

Fluffy pancakes & donut muffins from @SweetButterLA with the best display #Brunch at the races #sundayfunday

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The buttermilk pancakes from Sweet Butter Kitchen was a surprise. I tried making pancakes a number of times, and mine never come out this soft and fluffy. Simple and delicious is the name of the game here, and went well with my cold brew from Jones Coffee Pasadena.

The event was quite nice, and seeing the horses at the end was special. It kind of reminded me of LA Weekly’s previous event, Pancake Breakfast. The outdoor venue was refreshing and of course, spacious. Brunch is served!

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Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival 2015

by Franklin on October 21, 2015

The Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival was honestly my first proper Orange County food festival. The inaugural event occurred last year, and the second event was even better. Held at the Newport Beach Civic Center, the space was perfect. All of the vendors did a great job in creating wonderful dishes. Some of my favorites are below.

Short ribs from @selannesteak #NBWFF #NEWBFEST

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The short ribs from Salenne Steak Tavern was wonderful. As a matter of fact, they pretty much stole the show with their different offerings.

The foie gras mousse #NBWFF #NEWBFEST

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Their foie gras mousse was stellar. Topped with a huckleberry compote, the cornets were bites of deliciousness.

A gang of Reese's Pieces #macarons #NBWFF #NEWBFEST

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And their Reese’s Pieces macarons were on point. It tasted just like Reece’s Pieces. It didn’t taste like peanut butter chocolate macarons, nor did it taste like Reese’s peanut butter cup macarons. They were just on point with the candy.

Best presentation of #NBWFF #NEWBFEST from Stonehill Tavern

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Another favorite was tuna tartare on nori chips from Stonehill Tavern. Their presentation stole the show.

First bite of #NBWFF #NEWBFEST

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My first bite was the perfectly braised octopus from Studio at Montage Laguna Beach.

The Clobster roll from @SlapfishSeafood

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Slapfish killed it with these “Clobster” rolls. The part crab, part lobster filling filled on a buttery bun was just delicious.

Rainbow cake bites ???? #NEWBFEST #NBWFF

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B Candy got the sweets covered for the event. This sprinkles covered cake with the rainbow goodness inside was ridiculous! They offered cookies, amazing cup cakes and mini ice cream cones. They could basically hold a sweets/dessert fest on their own altogether.

The

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LA Times The Taste 2015 – Dinner With a Twist

by Franklin on September 17, 2015


Dinner with a Twist was the Saturday night event, and it had a lot more memorable bites and dishes. The flavors were a bit more packed and delicate. The night started around sunset and as night time set in, the event was packed!

Grilled peaches with cheese. #TasteLA

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Love and Salt’s grilled peach was stellar. The addition of dandelion greens and duck salami was great.

First bite for the night is ceviche! #TasteLA

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Coni’seafood made a nice shrimp ceviche marinated in tamarind. The shrimp had a nice texture and flavor that was like no other.

The ricotta cavatelli with Chianina beef. #TasteLA

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The ricotta cavatelli with chianina beef was great. The sauce had a nice depth of flavor and was rich in flavor.

Tuna Crudo from Scarpetta. @ConantNYC your team is killin it!

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Scarpetta’s Tuna crudo with sea urchin sauce was a great bite. The addition of fried garlic and bonito gave it a nice delicate saltiness to the dish. The fish was very fresh and candy like.

The falafel taco from top chef @KatsujiTanabe #TasteLA

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The falafel taco from Top Chef’s Kasuji Tanabe was masterfully prepared. The falafel was crispy and full of deep flavors. I wasn’t a fan of the taco idea, but the taste was definitely there.

I just made sure the last thing I ate was the fresh made mozzarella from @pizzaprova #TasteLA

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Provo Pizza was my all time favorite of the night. It wasn’t because of the pizza, but the mozzarella ball they gave out. It was warm, silky smooth and eating it was just pure pleasure.

Other notable dishes came from a plethora of chefs. Kris Morningstar of Terrine made a great salade landaise with foie gras torchon, gizzards, and shallot vinaigrette. The Raymond 1886 came out with a great scallop dish. I would say 10e Restaurant’s lamb chops were the star of the night. Everything just tasted better at night. Maybe it was the lack of heat and sun. The event at the night events were a lot more packed and lines were quite long. The Taste was such a fun event and always look forward to it every year!

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LA Times The Taste 2015 – Field to Fork

by Franklin on September 17, 2015

The LA Times’ The Taste event always follows right after LA Food & Wine and also is during the Labor Day Weekend. This weekend is never good for my diet and is always filled with delicious food and a barbecue on Monday. Field to Fork was the Saturday daytime event. I made my way around and tasted all that the restaurants and chefs had to offer. Some of my favorites are below.

Matcha Donut with cognac apple filling. #TasteLA

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Hinoki and the Bird’s matcha donuts were quite nice. The hint of green tea matcha was subtle but noticeable, and the cognac apple filling was prominent and tasty.

Solid burgers from BOA Steakhouse

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Boa Steakhouse always makes a great burger at these events. The brie in the slider gave a nice creaminess and the fried onions, a nice texture.

These Brussels sprouts… #TasteLA

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The Ingo’s Tasty Diner Brussels sprouts were great. It proved that not all Brussels sprout dishes are the same. The goat cheese and Marcona almonds were a great match.

Vegan stuff..

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Freshology Anson Mills polenta pudding. It had vanilla bean and candied Fresno chile. The texture and flavor was like no other.

Cookin down.. See you again in a few hours! #TasteLA

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Of course, I like the end things with some ice cream. Amorino of Beverly Hills was serving their gelato (not in flower form). It was still good in and cold in the summer heat.

Other notable dishes were Quenelle’s graham cracker Thai tea ice cream. I also liked the fried olives prepared by The Gadarene Swine. Another notable dish was East Borough’s Vietnamese fish sauce wings — it had a salty spicy and fishy taste that was a bit off and addicting at the same time. Everything was very tasty and well prepared. The heat wasn’t unbearable and the food/drinks kept flowing. For me, the overflow of ice cream was all I needed to keep me cool.

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5th Annual LA Food & Wine – Lexus Live on Grand

by Franklin on September 9, 2015

The 5th Annual LA Food & Wine Lexus Live on Grand was the highlight of the weekend. Last year, Questlove graced the main stage with his DJ skills. This year, he brought along his band, The Roots with him and put on an awesome concert. The food was definitely happening this night. Good food, wine, and music was the recipe for a great party atmosphere of gastronomic proportions.

Hudson Valley Farms foie gras. Best of tonight's #lafw #lafoodwine

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By far, my favorite of the night, and I think everyone’s night was the Hudson Valley Farms foie gras. Each bite was fatty and smooth, and the tartness from the blueberry and sweetness from the white chocolate was so perfect.

Went for this twice! Doesn't look "pretty" but so flavorful. #lafw #lafoodwine

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Another favorite that I think was underrated was the Guajillo chile crusted baby back ribs. They were wrapped in a roll and dipped in nuoc mam cham which gave it a nice tart and saltiness that was so delicious.

The cowboy sushi was too nice! Having #lafw withdrawals already #lafoodwine

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The most interesting bite would be the cowboy sushi. The raw beef on top of the rice served nigiri style was stellar.

This whole pig bbq display #lafw #lafoodwine

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This whole pig picnic from Barrel & Ashes was a true display of deliciousness.

Other great bites came from Union’s Bruce Kalman. He made a roasted beet tortellini sauced with lemon, poppy seed, and wild fennel. The citrus marinated hamachi with purple potato from chef Patrice Martineau of Montage was unforgettable. Another foie dish was the seared foie gras and pig ear crisp from Hot’s Kitchen. After all of the great dishes, I enjoyed The Roots kill it on stage. The guy with the beat machine was great too. After the concert, I grabbed one more Hudson Valley Farms foie gras and an ice cream for the road. It was such a great night!!!

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The Lexus Grand Avenue Night Market hosted by Tyler Florence was a success! With 30 chefs whipping up their special dishes and an overflow of wine and cocktails, the night went on with the tunes of a mediocre DJ. I like to believe the DJ was just “opening” for The Roots the next night.

#lafoodwine First bite of the night is porkbelly!!

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My first bite, which was the pork belly above set the mood of the night. A lot of chefs were doing pork belly, and for a good reason. It was delicious! Topped with a zesty sauce and atop a nice crunchy slaw, the dish was a great start.

Hotdog at #lafoodwine?? Banh Mi style.. 'Twas pretty good.

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Another stellar dish was the banh mi hot dog. It had all the great flavors of a banh mi sandwich, with the humbleness of a hotdog. Great combination, and very gutsy to serve hot dogs at LA Food & Wine!

Yuhhhhh… #lafw #lafoodwine #badass

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Another porky dish I liked was Badmaash’s rice and pork dish. The spiced mango pork belly went perfectly with the Bacon Biryani. Pork and rice is indeed my weakness.

Other great dishes included arroz caldo from Eggslut’s/Rice Bar’ Calvin Dunn. Chef Tin Vuong of Little Sister had a great dish of a vermicelli noodle salad with tender lemongrass beef and spices galore. Other favorites included:
– Hamasaku’s Jewelry Box Chirashi bowl
– Superba’s nitrogen candy
– Seoul Sausage’s Chinese Spiced Lamb Belly
– Patina’s Chef Paul Lee’s Dungeness Crab Cone (pictured below)

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2015 LA Street Food Fest

by Franklin on July 23, 2015

It was my first time covering the LA Street Food Fest, and I gatta say, it was a pretty awesome food festival. Being held at the Rose Bowl, it gave me a chance to literally go around the perimeter and try all of the food samples. Never having been at a football game or on a football field, it was kind of awe-inspiring to stand on the field.

The food selection was really great. The cool thing about the LA Street Food Fest is that the food was really down to earth and simple. Donuts, poke, ice cream, and burgers were some of the samples that vendors had. Some of the stellar items were from Bachi Burger, with their short rib and kimchi burgers. One of my top picks for the event was Free Range’s chicken sandwich. I was quite impressed with Colorado Donut’s display and donut selection. They killed it with all of their specialty donuts and flavors.

The event in all was a success and was glad to have been part of it! I heard in past years, the crowds were unbearable. It looks like the crew at LA Street Food Fest worked out the kinks and made it even better this year. The Rose Bowl is a perfect venue for this kind of thing. The ring shape lets vendors spread out and hungry eaters can eat and drink as the go around the bowl. You can even go on the field and enjoy some food and drinks picnic style.

I can’t wait for next year’s LA Street Food Fest!

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Tacolandia 2015

by Franklin on June 14, 2015


If any city is going to have a taco festival, Los Angeles is going to do it. If any person is going to spearhead this task, it would only be Bill Esparza. This was my first time attending the taco themed food festival, and I was in awe of all the different kinds of tacos everyone presented. The 4,500+ participants got to try food from over 80 vendors.

The Venue:
The event took place at El Pueblo de Los Angeles, just next door to the historic Olvera Street. This was the perfect venue for this type of event. Closing off the streets for the masses of people, everyone had a chance to bounce from station to station. The lines moved quickly to enter the event. Being out in the sun in the middle of the street is the only way to eat tacos.

The Food:
I think we ended up eating about 12 – 15 different kinds of tacos. Some of the stellar and interesting tacos came outside of Los Angeles. I was surprised to see some vendors coming from Mexico and Baja California. The seafood tostada from La Guerrerense from Ensenada was quite memorable. Bar Ama’s pork belly taco and nacho chili cheese sauce was stellar. The most interesting taco has to go to Corazon de Tierra’s duck pate taco. I was sad to have missed Kraken Taco’s grilled octopus taco. As a matter of fact, I was looking for any of the various octopus/squid tacos, but all were gone. Food ran out quickly, and I think that would have been one of the best of the bunch.

The Good:
Other than the delicious tacos, participants were able to drink and over-drink Jarritos! Tacos and Jarritos is just a perfect combination. The venue was perfect. It brought the historic Los Angeles essence into the whole event. Another good is that the lines moved quickly to get into the venue.

The Bad:
Though the lines to get into the venue was relatively quick. Some lines to the actual food was quite unbearable. This was usually caused by food not being prepped fast enough, or fans taking pictures with Danny Trejo 🙂 I know these vendors are producing some quality tacos, so the lines are understood. Though the event was supposed to last until 8PM, most of the vendors ran out of food by 5PM. Respect to the vendors who were still serving food until the end!

On a side note, food events such as these need to serve water. Eating tacos by the dozen and being out in the hot sun, you sometimes just need ice cold water. Jarritos is great, but you can’t beat ice cold water when you are parched.

The End:
This was my first Tacolandia event, so I don’t have past events to compare it to. As far a Los Angeles food events go, it went quite well. The food was quite diverse and the quality was exceptional. Tacolandia 2015 was fun and memorable. I can’t wait for next year’s event!

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LA Weekly’s The Essentials

by Franklin on March 16, 2015

The LA Weekly’s The Essentials event was a first time for me. I love going to food events because you can try a number of things from many different chefs and restaurants. The Essentials was held at California Market Center in downtown LA. More than 40 restaurants participated and fed the masses of people. When I say masses of people, these are a lot of people. The lines were a bit insane — I think we waited almost an hour until food touched our lips. Once we got up to the main floor, it was all smooth from there.

My favorites were Coni’Seafood‘s shrimp, octopus, scallop ceviche and Providence/Connie & Ted‘s raw oysters. The creative award goes to Saint Martha‘s for their uni tataki on seaweed “Doritos”. Mélisse‘s wagyu beef béarnaise was memorable. Spago‘s pork belly bánh mì was quite delicious. The pork belly was melt in your mouth wonderful. Curtis Stone plated some white asparagus pain perdu w/foie gras mousse form his restaurant in Beverly Hills, Maude. Also the blue crab rolls from Kiriko was memorable.

The event was filled with food and drinks. After waiting in line for some time, the reward was quite worth it. Can’t wait for next year!

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2014 LA Times The Taste – Flavors of LA

by Franklin on October 7, 2014


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LA Times The Taste 2014 – Dinner with a Twist

by Franklin on October 7, 2014

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Asian Night Market hosted by Chef Masaharu Morimoto was a success with plenty to eat and drink. Chef Morimoto’s dumplings were plenty. The peppery and somewhat acidic tartness was delicious on top. The dumplings seemed endless. Team Morimoto was like a well oiled machine. The dumplings just kept coming, as others’ lines just grew and grew. This event definitely had more people. I guess when Morimoto hosts LA Food and Wine, people notice.

Asian tacos were huge in this Asian Night Market. Chef Jet Tila was the first and last thing I ate that night, and for good reason too. His pork belly taco was quite delicious. He is slowly gaining presence on TV and Food Network. Phorage’s fried drunkenness crab and shrimp cakes were quite memorable. When shrimp and crab come together, its always a beautiful thing. Chef Tin Vuong from Little Sister Manhattan Beach did a wonderful charcoal grilled shrimp in a nice sauce.

Definitely, seafood played a large part in the Asian Night Market. From snails, fish, scallops, to octopus, seafood, in the addition to pork is what Asians do well. The night was amazing with a lot of Asian variations and cuisine. It was good to see Asian food lifted up and taken to an extreme level. The food preparation was quite impressive and the dishes the chefs were producing was impeccable.

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2014 LAFW – Ultimate Bites of L.A. Hosted By Graham Elliot

September 5, 2014

The 2014 Los Angeles Food and Wine started off with Ultimate Bites of L.A., hosted by chef Graham Elliot. The celebrity chef laden event was a great start for the food filled weekend. Somewhat being a fan of Master Chef, it was exciting to see Graham Elliot in the flesh. The most special item on […]

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KTOWN Night Market Recap

May 13, 2014

LOS ANGELES – On April 18th and 19th, the highly anticipated KTOWN Night Market welcomed an estimated 80,000 guests to the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools for its twoQday community festival. In partnership with the City of Los Angeles District 10, the free to enter event showcased over 100 multi ethnic food vendors, merchandise booths, […]

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Koreatown Night Market

February 28, 2014

The night market makes its way to Koreatown! Presented by the City of Los Angeles, The inaugural festival will be help on Friday, April 18, and Saturday, April 19. The event will be held at Robert F Kennedy Community Schools in Los Angeles. The event is free to the public and will feature over 100 […]

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Los Angeles Magazine’s The Food Event 2013

October 31, 2013

On Sunday, October 20, The Food Event took place at Saddlerock Ranch in the Malibu Hills. The weather was perfect, a bit hot, but not enough to keep away all the hungry and thirsty Angelinos. Entering the winding vineyard, I was accompanied with llamas, zebras, horses, ostriches, and peacocks. With all these exotic animals on […]

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2013 LAFW Duff Goldman Cooking Demo

September 23, 2013

Meeting Duff Goldman throughout the LA Food & Wine Festival, I was excited to see him in the last and final event. He showed us how to make Bananas Foster. The event started off quite interestingly. I don’t know if he was killing time, or just in a silly mood, but Duff started telling us […]

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2013 LA Food & Wine – Lexus Grand Tasting

September 11, 2013

The LA Food and Wine Grand Tasting, to me, is the cream of the crop. Not only do you have some of the finest chefs showcasing their food, but there isn’t a theme attached to it. This means that chefs have free rein on what they want to cook. The 3rd Annual LA Food & […]

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