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National News / Entertainment

Thursday, 6 September, 2012 9:29 PM

Attendees favor new all-inclusive pricing at 'The Taste' in Hollywood, Calif.

Second annual food and wine festival wraps up on Labor Day at the Paramount Pictures Studios


Guests arriving on the red carpet at the Flavors of L.A. event at The Taste on Sept. 2, 2012.


by Jason Rzucidlo



HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- The Hollywood studio lot where "Dr. Phil," "Glee" and "Community" tape their shows was transformed into the 2012 edition of "The Taste." Upon paid admission, guests were allowed to enjoy unlimited food samples, beer, wine and spirits. Advance tickets were $50 for each of the five events, then $65 after Aug. 7 and $75 at the door. Most attendees said they preferred the one-time admission fee over the individual tickets that were previously required for food and beverage stands.

"Actually, it is my first time here," said Kasey Spangler from Westminster, Calif., who came with her husband, Tom. "So far, it's been pretty good. We've had a little bit of champagne, I'm going over to the beer one pretty soon. We had some Indian food, we had the ice cream too. That was good. It's a good selection of stuff here. I thought the price was pretty reasonable to have free food and drinks all day. I think it's a pretty good price, I thought it was a good deal. It's kind of a distance for us, so we're not going to be able to be here all weekend."

The second annual food and wine festival presented by The Los Angeles Times, took place from Sept. 1 - 3 at the Paramount Pictures Studios.

"We like it much better this year," said Shirley Kawa of Santa Ana, Calif. "It's a little bit more organized. The pastries were delicious. Sweets for the Soul had the best baked goods, fabulous. The mariachi was really good. I think it was reasonable. It was all-inclusive, which made it a lot easier than two years ago. One day is enough. We'll be back again, we liked it."

The Taste consisted of five events over three days: "Field to Fork," "Cocktail Confidential," "Flavors of L.A.," "Dinner & Drinks" and finally, the "Labor Day Picnic."

"This is my second time here," said Oxana Davydova from Sherman Oaks, Calif. "It's so much fun, too much food and too much wine, I can't drink anymore. I've had everything from Thai food to tacos, all kinds of Sangria, drinks, wine, everything and desserts. The mariachi band right here is amazing. It is just so much fun, it really is. We're here for just today. It's worth it for the price that we paid--even just today."

Her friend, George Byrnes, also of Sherman Oaks, Calif., added: "It's a great experience. It's my first time here. It's a great experience--introductions to a lot of restaurants we didn't know about. I had everything she had and more. We're really enjoying it. For what it is, having everything included and not having to use a ticket system, I think it's a great deal. I'd just encourage people to come out and see it. It's a wonderful exposure to the community and the restaurants."

Tickets were sold out for the Flavors of L.A. event, which took place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Dozens of L.A.'s best restaurants and bars set up tents to offer tastes of their specialties.

"We've had a great time as always," said Pam Vasquez from Glendale, Calif. "We also had a good time because we're family. The fried chicken was the favorite of the whole day. It was wonderful. I don't even think I paid attention to the music because we were just having such a great time enjoying the food and the drinks. I loved it. I wish that I would have been Bushmills make the drink that they were serving because that would have been fun to see it. It was a delicious drink also. We were saying last time we had little coupons for every little exhibit and that was kind of painful. Instead, just come in and enjoy the whole thing. It was really nice."

Her husband, Bill Vasquez, added: "We came to this event a couple of years ago and missed it the last few years. We had to come back, we've had a great time. I probably had just about everything to eat that's been offered. I had tacos, scallops, shrimp, it was all wonderful and very good. Music was great, the entertainment was great. I got to see the chefs cook, a lot of fun. We saw a little bit of Susan Feniger, who is one of our favorites, but really didn't see anybody other than that. I'll come back again next time and invite more people."

Times' Restaurant Critic Jonathan Gold and KCRW-FM "Good Food" Host Evan Kleiman hosted the Flavors of L.A. part of The Taste.

"We have a little chilled summer succotash," said Bistro 45 Executive Chef Steven Lona. "It's like a play on chili. It has chipotle-cured beef, a little bit of white bean, sweet corn, smoked peppers and a little truffle oil. In a restaurant, you could charge $8-$9 for a rather large portion. For the portion we have here, probably three bucks. We did the event yesterday, but this is the first day for the taste event. Yesterday was really good and we were really excited about that. It's been crazy how busy it's been today. It's great for the whole community at large. We're sitting at 45 S. Mentor in Pasadena."

9021PHO, A 1 Cucina Italiana, Ayara Thai, Bibigo, Bistro 45, Black Market Liquor Bar, Border Grill, Bulgarini, Candela Taco Bar & Lounge, Carvel 90210, Casa Azul Cantina, CHAYA Downtown, Chichen Itza Restaurant, Coolhaus Ice Cream Sandwiches, Coupa Café and Creme Caramel LA were among the restaurants on site at the festival.

"We have a mini version of our duck shawarma, which we serve at the restaurant," said Momed Restaurant Owner Alex Sarkissian. "It's made with duck confit, roasted tomatoes, figs, a little bit of garlic on house-made pita bread. The other one is an avocado hummus Both of these dishes were invented or created at Momed. The duck shawarma is $14 and a side of avocado hummus is $6. This year has been the largest turnout we've ever had. We've served close to 2,000 plates. We hope to visit you at Momed, 233 S. Beverly Dr. in Beverly Hills."

Additional food choices at the Flavors of LA event included Farmshop, Got Kosher?, Gottsui, Juan’s Restaurante, Locando del Lago, Lukshon, M Cafe, Mayura, Meals by Genet, Milo & Olive Milling Co., Mo-Chica, Momed, Ombra Ristorante, Picca, Plan Check, Red Lion and RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen.

"I'm helping with the Italian beer distribution," said Bravo Beverage Brand Ambassador Lauren Schwab. "It's from Milan, Italy. We have three different styles--a lager and two ales. We have a premium ale, which is a double malt and then we have our reserve, which is our brown, amber ale. You can sample all three of them. The turnout's been great. I really like these bottles and then we also have the 12-oz. bottle, four packs. You can buy it at Whole Foods, BevMo or Total Wine, also in some restaurants. We're getting ready to have draft beer. It costs $8.99 to $9.99. It's awesome, you should try it."

Saffron Spot, Sam’s By the Beach, Schulzie Bread Pudding, Streets of Thailand, Susan Fenniger’s STREET, Sushi Roku, Sweets for the Soul, Tamarind of London, The Cake Mamas, The Counter Custom Built Burgers, The Glendon Bar & Kitchen, The Spice Table, Valerie Confections and Wurstküche wrapped up the list of restaurants.

"It's been great, we're really proud to introduce the moles [sauces]," said Feria de Los Moles Founder Lourdes Juárez. "It's a great event. We're very, very happy to be here. For this edition, we only brought Black Mole and the mole from Puebla. Come to Olvera Street on Oct. 7."

Next up: The 5th Annual Feria de Los Moles is scheduled for Oct. 7 at Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles. It is known as the world's largest Mexican food festival. Last year's attendance surpassed 30,000 people. Click here for more information about Feria de Los Moles.

For more information about "The Taste," visit

Related Story: THE TASTE Announces Chef Lineup and Event Programming (Los Angeles)




The studio lot where "Dr. Phil," "Glee" and "Community" tape their shows was transformed into a food and wine festival.



Employees from Mayura Indian Restaurant serving attendees.



The famous Paramount Pictures water tower in the background.



Serving Stelle Artois beer



Street Restaurant Owner Susan Feniger hosted a cooking demonstration on Saturday.


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Unauthorized duplication or use of Text, Photos, Videos, Site Template, Graphics and or Site Design is Prohibited by Federal and International laws. See our Notice/Disclaimer.