A Postcard from Malibu: The 2015 Los Angeles Magazine Food Event in Review

2015 marked the tenth anniversary of The Los Angeles Magazine’s Food Event.  As in previous years, this year’s soiree brought the best of LA’s restaurant scene to the beautiful hills of Malibu’s wine county.  Here’s a look back at the setting, the people, and of course the foods and beverages that make The Food Event a highlight each year.

The Setting

One of the best things about The Event is the location: Saddlerock Ranch in Malibu.  The venue’s wide open lawns and whimsical layout make The Event more like a picnic in the park than a hustling, bustling food festival.  And while crowds and lines happen where phenomenal food is being served, there always seems to be plenty of space to stretch out when needed.

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A three piece band provided live music.

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The spacious grounds of the Saddlerock Ranch gave folks plenty of room to get comfortable.

 

And because Saddlerock Ranch is also home to a variety of exotic animals, you never know who will show up to the party.

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Look like this giraffe is saying “Tag me”!

The Chefs

Another great part of The Food Event is the intimate accessibility to renowned chefs.  With demonstrations scheduled throughout the day, guests learn what goes into turning fresh ingredients into dishes that pack flavor into every bit.

Chef Eric Greenspan (you’ve seen him on Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef) shared his recipe for preparing clams in sausage romesco broth.  It was great to learn his technique for not overcooking the clams (you’re good when most of them are open…don’t wait for them all) while laughing to his jokes.

 

And while the demonstrations were great, casual conversations with the chefs were even better.  I had the opportunity to chat with Chef Brooke Williamson (from Hudson House, Playa Provision, The Tripel, and of course Food Network’s Next Top Chef) while she took a break from her booth.  She explained that when things heat up in the kitchen, chefs don’t mind drinking out of whatever container is available.

Chef Brooke Williamson cools of with a large sample of beer after heating up the demonstration stage.

Chef Brooke Williamson cools of with a large sample of beer after heating up the demonstration stage.

And while I didn’t get to ask Chef Neal Fraser about his latest venture, Redbird in Downtown Los Angeles, I did see him walking the grounds and conversing with guests as he went.

Chef Neal Fraser chats with a fellow foodie.

Chef Neal Fraser chats with a fellow foodie.

Another chef I was glad to see was Chef Pawan Mahendro from the gastropub Badmaash.  He and his sons prepare traditional Indian fare with fresh, modern influences.  Their offering for The Event was a spicy and flavorful pork curry served over perfectly cooked rice.

Chef "Pav" from Badmaash.

Chef “Pav” from Badmaash.

Pork Curry from Badmaash.

Pork Curry from Badmaash.

The Food and Beverages

I’ve touched on the setting of The Event and few of the many chefs that bring their best, but the star attraction is of course the food and drink that everyone comes to sample.

With so much to cover in that space, here are a few of my favorite bites and sips from the day.

I’m always amazed at expertly prepared seafood served at food festivals and this time around was no exception.  A few in particular that made my taste buds dance were the bite of tender lobster doused in butter from Knuckle & Claw; the whole shrimp from Hatchet Hall; and the succulent tuna poké flavored with peppers and seeds from Sweetfin Poké.

Whole Shrimp from Hatchet Hall.

Whole Shrimp from Hatchet Hall.

Tuna poké flavored from Sweetfin Poké

Tuna poké from Sweetfin Poké

Lobster from Knuckle & Claw.

Lobster from Knuckle & Claw.

A particular shout out goes to the team from L&E Oyster Bar.  They painstakingly shucked oyster after oyster for guests to enjoy.

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It wouldn’t be a party without dessert and California Donuts filled that space in a big way with a huge display of their fanciful, colorful donuts.

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Of course, fine dining wouldn’t be complete without fine drinking.  Plenty of beverages were available from a variety of vendors.  Of course there was plenty of wine and beer lovers were sated by the ever-present Stella Artois tap.  Liquor aficionados also had plenty to choose from with tequila being a stand out.  Both Don Julio and Karma tequila were present serving a range of cocktails from classic margaritas to Sunday-funday bloody Marys.

Blending with Karma Tequlia.

Blending with Karma Tequlia.

Beer and smiles on tap at Stella Artois.

Beer and smiles on tap at Stella Artois.

Sampling blanco, anejo, and reposado tequlias from Don Julio .

Sampling blanco, anejo, and reposado tequlias from Don Julio .

One of my favorite concoctions was the Mango Enchilado Margarita from Loteria Grill.  They put a spin on the typical margarita by adding fresh mango puree, Tapatio, and finishing the rim with spicy tajin, a pungent blend of ground chile peppers, salt and dehydrated lime juice.

the Mango Enchilado Margarita from Loteria Grill

the Mango Enchilado Margarita from Loteria Grill

After Ten Years of The Event, What’s Next?

After putting on one of the snazziest food festivals in all of Los Angeles for ten years running, I’m eager to see what LA Magazine is planning for the next installment of The Food Event.  With close ties to LA’s evolving restaurant and beverage scene, I’m sure LA Magazine will continue make this an event worth attending.

 

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About the Author

Michael loves grilling, rum, and has a weakness for key lime pie.

One Response to “A Postcard from Malibu: The 2015 Los Angeles Magazine Food Event in Review”

  1. Cool posts, keep up the good work. I stumbled on your blog while researching the Forum Terrace pre show festivities. I really enjoyed your video.

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