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Did anybody go to the 1st annual L.A. KBBQ cook-off & Food Fest?

Was it any good? What did you do there? How was the food? Would you go again next year? Please tell all!

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  1. Yes, local food-blogger Rameniac said he was going. So I'm hoping he'll post about, or if you can't wait, e-mail him or post a comment (or question) on his blog (Bottom of 1st page):


    1. Went around 4 pm and as expected, lines way too long and about half the booths (only about 14 total) where sold out by around 4:30 so that made the lines even longer. Luckily we half expected this as we saw it was $10-15 per plate in the ads, we already planned to just watch the festivities and eat at a restaurant in K town instead. Good thing too because the portions on the bbq plates seem skimpy for the price.

      The location was way too small for the numbers that showed--we took the subway, but we saw lots of tow trucks having a big day right outside the festival lot. The beer garden was packed--you had to buy tickets to redeem for the beer--but only one person selling so that took a long time.

      Lots of local bloggers were there, but frankly it wasn't much to write home about. We stayed till almost 6 pm and the cook off still didn't go as scheduled (at 5pm) Hopefully they'll have a bigger venue with definitely need more food booths next year.

      1. Hopefully it will be more well organized next time. We got there at noon (when they opened) and they were not ready. None of the booths were prepared to serve food and were just heating up their bbqs. Basically there were a bunch of people wandering around but nothing was available for them to eat. If one booth had food ready, they would have killed it. Unfortunately, we waited till a little after 1 and when the food still wasnt ready, we left and went ot A-Won for a Hwe Du Bap and an Al Bap. mmm.

        1. Yes we went exactly at noon. Poorly organized in that the vendors were just setting up. Nobody ate until well after one o'clock. Health inspectors were still handing out permits at 12:45. No hot water until then! Not well organized at all.

          Therefore, the lines got super long. I could only bear to try one stand, b/c DH & my boys were starving, and I was not about to wait in other stands' lines, although I would have had I gone alone.

          Had the pork bbq at Ham Jin Park's stand. I was second in line, and ordered four plates. They gave us enough food for about 6-8 ppl. Ribs were delicious, not super spicy which was good, so the boys ate them as well. Served with a mound of sticky rice, kimchee, potatoes in a soy-garlic-ginger marinade plus steamed broccoli & carrots. As I said, it was all good, we ate very well. But unfortunately it was packed by the time we left at 1:30 to go to another engagement. I would've stayed for more, but had other plans. Hopefully will be better executed next year.

          PS - didn't see Soot Bull Jeep there, which was advertised? Also does anyone know who won??

          2 Replies
          1. re: Phurstluv

            that new place, moo dae po, won. after park's and flip's, i was already stuffed, so i think i'll have to hit up the actual restaurant soon!

            1. re: rameniac

              Oh, I remember seeing them. I would definitely try to go again next year. I would still go early, even if you have to wait a bit for them to start, but I would go alone or with a friend, not 3 hungry boys! But I was very proud of them for sticking it out on the hot roof of a parking lot, and trying new food. I had a feeling some places would run out of food, hard to know how many people are going to attend fests like that. Safe to say there is a large Korean community here, as well as a lot of korean food fans. Hopefully they will take that into account when planning next year's event.

          2. We arrived about 3:30. We did one lap of the lot. The fragrances were luring, but the crowds were not. The lines were very long, and several booths had sold out. The plates looked good, but -- as other posters mentioned -- a visit to the actual restaurant is much less chaotic. Since we had enjoyed many of these restaurants, we knew we were missing nothing.

            We left. We had just seen Julie & Julia, so we went to Canele in Atwater Village for a very nice dinner.

            1. i got there about 1:00 PM took a few pictures. Yes it seemed overbooked. I got a plate from ham ji park. I took a pic of the plate. it was good but I wanted to try Flips but the line was too long. left at 3:00 via subway.

              1. As a food event, it wasn't very good, if you ask me. Too many people, complete lack of organization (or of signage, at least), it appeared poorly planned (needs of the public and other details for an outdoor event were not adequately anticipated). There was an overall sense of poor communication and not enough emphasis placed on the food or participant satisfaction with the food experience as the primary vehicle. As a fundraiser, I really didn't see a presence from the benefactors, so it felt a little "shadowy" (like you think you're spending your money on food/entertainment, but proceeds really go to X cause and Y cause) even though I am familiar with the overall mission. There should have been a big displays with the work that they do to capitalize on the opoprtunity informing those who attended and patronized the event. But I digress... food is what's on my mind.

                We looked around at the long, loooong lines, saw people squeezing into the "beer garden", walked around dodging people, trying to get a glimpse of each of the vendors and what they were serving, and basically decided that we had seen enough and left to eat elsewhere. It was past 2 p.m. and we didn't see many other vendors (shaved ice, corn, etc..) set up, in fact, what we saw even from the main (restaurant) vendors suggested that set up might have been rushed. No signs, no pictures, no labels... I cannot comment on the food, but what I saw people carry around were plate built-up with rice, topped with some bbq-'d meats... didn't appear to be a lot of value for $10-$15, plus however long it took to line up to get that.

                From this experience, I would be hard-pressed to go again next year or to recommend it to friends or colleagues as a food event. It just seemed that the "food" emphasis wasn't there. Sure, there were tons of people and deliciously-smoking grills fired-up, but it lacked the festive atmosphere I was looking for: freebies from sponsors (even if I usually pass on them), samples of food, tidbits of cultural/culinary info (especially for non-Koreans), music... Come to think of it, my local farmer's market does a better job in creating a more inviting and satisfying atmosphere.

                And, yes... still eagerly waiting to find out what the judges decided on this "cook-off"!

                2 Replies
                  1. re: ironchefwill

                    ironchefwill --
                    I think you have articulated the scene very well.

                    It didn't take us long to assess this event. It wasn't fun. Fortunately, it wasn't the hottest day of the year; I never could have stood in those lines in the heat. As you pointed out, there just wasn't much there to spread out the crowd.

                    Nevertheless, some of the Korean restaurants that were represented are very good. I encourage anyone who was less-than-enthusiastic about the festival itself to try some of the restaurants. Parks is one of our favorites!

                  2. I only ate from the rice cake stand and Moo Dae Po next to it. I waited for 2 hours in line for a plate of LA kalbi at Moo Dae Po because Soowon ran out of food. It was good for $10 but not for 2 hours of my life in sweltering heat... None of the stalls had the infrastructure to handle that turn out. The time spent in line was waiting for their meat to cook. Get more grills next year with bigger booths to accommodate the masses. I know more people who left and were frustrated with the waits.