Third Annual Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival

One of the most anticipated food events in Los Angeles is the Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival, an annual 4-day city-wide event that features unlimited samplings from some of the greatest chefs and world-class wines and spirits. This year, my boyfriend and I were fortunate enough to win a set of VIP tickets to one of the main events in downtown Los Angeles–the Asian Night Market hosted by Iron Chef Morimoto. The VIP tickets included access to an exclusive Morimoto Cooking Demonstration prior to the main event.

Morimoto Cooking Demonstration
Morimoto Cooking Demonstration

Morimoto, with the aid of his sous chef, demonstrated how to cook and prepare a Takoyaki and Kobe Carpaccio dish. I have watched Morimoto cook on Iron Chef America many times over the years, and it was surreal to sit in the same room he was standing in and to watch him cook right before my very eyes! As he was cooking, Morimoto talked about several things ranging from his childhood memories to his experiences on Iron Chef America (it really is just a one hour cooking battle). Apparently, Morimoto initially intended to become a professional baseball player, but a shoulder injury ended his potential career in sports. He then turned his attention to food (particularly sushi), and the rest is history.

Towards the end of his cooking demonstration, waiters started filing into the room, each holding a silver platter with several small plates of Takoyaki and Kobe Carpaccio. Every single person attending the cooking demonstration received a serving of this wonderful and unique dish. The Takoyaki was a ball of flour-based batter filled with diced octopus (tako), duck liver, and pickled ginger, then topped with crispy bonito. The Kobe Carpaccio drizzled with Yuzu Soy sauce was so flavorful and tender, it melted the second it hit my mouth–I would love to be able to eat this every day!

Morimoto Takoyaki & Kobe Carpaccio
Morimoto
Takoyaki & Kobe Carpaccio

The cooking demonstration was followed with a Q&A session with the audience, during which Morimoto answered a range of questions: how he first became interested in making food for others, his current favorite restaurant in Los Angeles (Hinoki & The Bird), and his favorite type of sushi to make (kona kampachi). One audience member was even bold (or rash?) enough to ask Morimoto for an intern position at one of his restaurants. Morimoto closed the event by singing a traditional Japanese fisherman’s song–a fitting ending to the celebrity chef’s showcase of his Japanese culinary influences.


Once the Morimoto Cooking Demonstration ended, we walked over to the Asian Night Market, where several food and beverage vendors were set up and ready to serve hordes of hungry foodies. The Night Market was located on the block of Grand Avenue, a major street in downtown LA that was blocked off to traffic due to the event. The transformation of Grand Avenue from a busy, dirty street to an upscale food tasting venue was quite amazing!

Sadly, I made a food blogger rookie mistake–I didn’t check to make sure my digital camera was fully charged before leaving for the Food & Wine Festival. It turned out my digital camera was completely out of battery! On top of that, my smartphone battery was running low from taking so many pictures and videos during Morimoto’s cooking demonstration. My boyfriend and I hurriedly got in line to grab food, take pictures of the dish, eat the food, then move on to the next food stand to repeat the process.

We enjoyed every dish we ate, but some dishes stood out more than others: Night + Market’s Koi Tuna, Crustacean/House of An’s Garlic Noodles, Belga Café’s Hoegaarden Beer Float, Nobu’s Salmon Tacos (which I unfortunately do not have a picture of), and Patina’s Nitro Cotton Candy. Although, for me, nothing compares to the night markets in Taiwan, this culinary event gave me a new outlook on what an Asian night market could be. I was thrilled to see how even the non-Asian restaurants created delectable dishes with Asian-inspired ingredients.

Mr. Chow Mr. Chow Spare Ribs & Shanghai Cucumbers
Mr. Chow
Mr. Chow Spare Ribs & Shanghai Cucumbers
Night + Market Koi Tuna: Isan Tuna Ceviche served on Shrimp Chip
Night + Market
Koi Tuna: Isan Tuna Ceviche served on Shrimp Chip
Crustacean and House of An Seared Tuna on Jicama w/ Seaweed; Lemongrass Spicy Beef Taco
Crustacean and House of An
Seared Tuna on Jicama w/ Seaweed; Lemongrass Spicy Beef Taco
Crustacean and House of An Garlic Noodles
Crustacean and House of An
Garlic Noodles
Mo-Chica, Picca, and Paiche Grilled Pork Neck Gochujang, Green Onions, and Ajiaco
Mo-Chica, Picca, and Paiche
Grilled Pork Neck Gochujang, Green Onions, and Ajiaco
Belga Café Hoegaarden Beer Float w/ Cilantro, Lemongrass, and Vanilla Ice Cream
Belga Café
Hoegaarden Beer Float w/ Cilantro, Lemongrass, and Vanilla Ice Cream
Hudson Valley Foie Gras and Lola Duck Mortadella & Peach Chutney Banh Mi
Hudson Valley Foie Gras and Lola
Duck Mortadella & Peach Chutney Banh Mi
Chi Lin Fresh Kale & Crispy Shiitake Mushroom Salad w/ Tofu Skin, Sesame Vinaigrette, and White Asparagus
Chi Lin
Fresh Kale & Crispy Shiitake Mushroom Salad w/ Tofu Skin, Sesame Vinaigrette, and White Asparagus
M.B. Post Chilled Cha Soba & Blue Crab w/ Shiso, Red Radish, and Ginger-Apple Ponzu
M.B. Post
Chilled Cha Soba & Blue Crab w/ Shiso, Red Radish, and Ginger-Apple Ponzu
The Spice Table Spicy Grilled Beef Ribs, Pineapple-Anchovy Sauce, Sawtooth Herb, and Lettuce
The Spice Table
Spicy Grilled Beef Ribs, Pineapple-Anchovy Sauce, Sawtooth Herb, and Lettuce
Patina Coconut Tapioca w/ Passion Fruit Gelee & Spicy Mango Relish
Patina
Coconut Tapioca w/ Passion Fruit Gelee & Spicy Mango Relish
Patina Nitro Cotton Candy
Patina
Nitro Cotton Candy
Hamasaku Chicken Nanban Slider w/ Miso Slaw
Hamasaku
Chicken Nanban Slider w/ Miso Slaw
Hinoki & The Bird Chili Crab Toast
Hinoki & The Bird
Chili Crab Toast

In addition to all the food we devoured, my boyfriend and I took advantage of some of the many libations offered at the Night Market. There were several beverage stands serving unlimited wine, beer, sake, and cocktails.

This was one of the rare nights I had time on my side. When we stopped by Morimoto’s food stand (which served the Takoyaki he demonstrated earlier), Morimoto was standing right there. At that moment, I didn’t care as much about the abundance of high-end dishes available to me–I was simply reveling in the fact that I was able to take a picture with the famous chef!

I had so much fun (and food) at the Morimoto Cooking Demonstration and Asian Night Market! My boyfriend and I were incredibly lucky to have won a pair of tickets to this much-anticipated event. The regular price of just one ticket is pricey, but it is well worth the money if you take advantage of all the event has to offer. I hope to attend next year’s Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival!

Third Annual Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival
http://www.lafw.com
Morimoto Cooking Demonstration
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion: 135 N Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Asian Night Market
Downtown LA: Between 1st and 2nd Street on Grand Avenue
Event Date: August 23, 2013
Price: General Admission, $125; VIP Access, $175

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24 thoughts on “Third Annual Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival

  1. Awesome! You are so lucky and what a load of awesome food 🙂 Huge wow (do you get that I’m excited for you? 😉 ) and many thanks for sharing. You should include a warning near the top that anyone who dares to read and look at your (most excellent) photos will have a growling tummy by the end of things. That sounds like an amazing party.

  2. such an awesome event with scrumptious foods to celebrate,we are so happy for you…thanks for sharing this wonderful experience with all of us,we thoroughly enjoyed going through the post and loved each food plated….but seriously chili crab on toast is irresistible,wanted to grab some of it now,thanks 🙂

  3. That Hoegarden beer float is hilarious! I’ve never seen inside a food festival before. We have them here in the UK countryside but I get the impression they are more Hog Roasts and rustic bakes… maybe I am wrong. This looks so global. it’s amazing… I think if there is one in London I will have a look.

    1. I enjoyed the beer float–the combination of cilantro with the ice cream and beer was very interesting! These types of food festivals are really fun. I tasted a huge variety of dishes from many renowned restaurants. If there is an event like this in London, I highly recommend going at least once to experience it!

  4. I had a moment of excitement when I went to Morimoto restaurant in Waikiki last year and he was actually in the kitchen cooking! The food was sooo good too. Great post 🙂

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