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Oct 5, 2009 10:50 AM

AWFF - anyone else attend?

Went to the AWFF food festival at Universal Back Lot Saturday...good time as usual (been the last 5 years).

The portions were huge...instead of a little dish on a 4" plate, many places were loading up what appeared to be full sized entrees on 10" plates...just too much to try everything.

Best dish was Indian platter from Spago BH - great lamb chop and sides. Surprisingly, the Spago Maui right next door was awful - slimly raw fish salad - and I love sashimi!

Other good dishes were Patina (Splichal serving) corn mouse with cucumber gelee...i wish all the chef had served portions like that.

T Keller was there - everyone wanted their photo with him. He was serving raw seafood - oysters etc...also had some homemade bags of crackerjack to go.

Hitching Post is always solid - great fries and baby back ribs. Nice corn salad too.

Jonathan Waxman had a tasty apple crumble/ ice cream desert.

Too many chefs had pork belly or braised beef - too heavy and fatty, IMO, for this type of event.

A couple dishes I found inedible - Montage BH (weird korean rice noodle/chorizo), Wynn Las Vegas (quail that had consistency of sawdust), and I can't remember chef, but it was a Chinese chef serving what looked like Panda Express - and tasted not much different!

Highly recommend this aren't inexpensive, but it's tax deductible.

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  1. We were there, but it seems that no one took me up on my suggestion to meet up and get acquainted. Our #1 choice was the grilled pork with the impossibly crispy skin from I forget where. Valentino was solid and Piero was handing out pizza slices to those waiting in line. Hitching Post was good and I was glad they didn't have the sweet potato fries this year. I agree, too much to eat - we were full by 7:30 but continued to eat anyway. We waddled out at about 10:00. Considering the tax deduction it's one of the best values ever!

    3 Replies
    1. re: TomSwift

      was paul prudhomme there this year?

      and lobster with chili sauce dishes?

      i always like the sliced steak from the hitching post and fries.

      and any dishes with white truffles this year?

      Lastly, how were the desserts?

      1. re: kevin

        I remember having a lobster dish with a spicy sauce, but not sure which table it was, maybe Sam Choy?

        1. re: Ernie

          Probably Yuji Wakiya - that was one of my favs of the night.

    2. Yes, this was my first time to this amazing event and I had a great time. My favorite was Lydia Shire's basket of lamb chops, crab cakes, and clams casino. The granache truffles near the VIP area were also fantastic. I also really liked the bulgogi sliders from the Facebook chef. I hope I can go again next year!

      1. As always, Lydia Shire was my favorite - a perfectly rose double lamb chop, crab cake, and a fried tuber of some sort (salsify?). I also loved Mozza's pig trotters and the cauliflower, lobster and caviar presentation from Terra/AME. This year, like last year, saw fewer guests at AWFF, so the lines were not nearly as long as in years past. A few design flaws (that big table in the courtyard where Mozza, Church & State, et al were placed was a BIG mistake) but all in all, a wonderful evening I look forward to every year.

        5 Replies
        1. re: parmamom

          how much were tickets too this year?

          in this economy, if the price remains the same, of course the lines will be shorter i would tink, even the rich people are poorer in recent years.

          1. re: kevin

            $300 pp. for the basic admission, more if you want a reserved place to sit. They did do a good job of having lots of unreserved tables, though, but as noted above the crowd was significantly smaller than last year.

            1. re: TomSwift

              Prudhomme was not there this year, I take it?

              1. re: kevin

                prudhomme was there, just to the right of the entrance...can't recall what he was serving...i had it - couldn't have been that memorable.

                this economy, despite what the media says, is not that bad in LA - yes, maybe the inland empire- but the westside of la is still LOADED, as are Pasadena, Manhattan Beach and Hidden HIlls. $300 is not a lot of money, especially since it's a charitable donation, for tens of thousands of people here in SoCal.

                The event was actually sold out...I didn't notice the crowd being much smaller than last year...but maybe that's because I was drinking more!

                1. re: manku

                  As far as we could tell, Paul was not there - his wife was. Perhaps he was elsewhere whenever we went by. The event was not sold out, at least according to the website a couple of hours before start time.

        2. I went as well. Too much good food and wine to possibly taste it all, and even though I tried, many things were gone or limited by the time I got to them even though I started at about 6:30 and stayed until they shut down. Some of my favorites were Wakiya lobster, Strada pork belly, Wynn steak sandwiches, CUT, Punta Mita Four Seasons tartare, Nobu taco, oysters from someplace and hands down my favorite was the raw Bartollota langoustines which were ridiculously good.

          3 Replies
          1. re: krick

            Those langoustines were obscenely good, much better than their grilled ones. Difficult to get out of the shell, though, but great fun trying.

            1. re: TomSwift

              Yep which is why after my second one I gave up on trying to do it with utensils and just tore the flesh out with my teeth and then sucked on the heads. I figured if that's how Paul was doing it right next to me, who was I to argue?

              1. re: krick

                Did the same after failing with the fork. It was somewhat embarassing to keep going back for more - I almost felt as if that woman (she called herself the crudo server) could call me by name!