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LA Times Food and Wine Fest?

Want to go to this on Sunday, but only general admission is available. Is it still worth it? Please let me know.....

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  1. it's their first, so it's hard to compare it to anything. But knowing the folks at the Times, I know how hard they are working to make this not only a delicious event, but an interesting one too! I would go except that I have a commitment to a dear friend that day. So I'd appreciate any reports back! :)

    --Dommy!

      1. re: wienermobile

        The VIP tickets were sold out on Goldstar. I bought General Admission (cause I want to see "She & Him" anyway). I will definitely report back!

      2. Agree with Dommy that we can't know how good it will be since it's the first. But when I was looking at general admission vs. VIP tix, it seemed that the general admission tix basically gave you access to a limited number of tastings of mostly foodtruck food. So if that interests you, it would be worth it. Personally, I wanted to do the VIP partly because I recently attended the LA Street Food fest so I am a little street-fooded out. But you'll have to look at the general admission participant list and decide for yourself if you are interested in them.

        1. I had thought about going, but for some reason my instincts told me to skip this one. Perhaps I'm all foodfest'ed out...

          If any of you Hounds go, please say hi to Chef Ludo and Chef Michael Voltaggio for us!

          5 Replies
          1. re: J.L.

            Aww, I wish I knew about this earlier. I'd love to meet Michael Voltaggio! Too bad VIP tickets are sold out...

            1. re: justinelc

              They've been advertising this event for quite some time.

              1. re: justinelc

                In the paper today they listed what time the demonstrations are (I think MV is in the afternoon around 3-4'ish). In any case, I believe the general admission tickets allow you to go to 2 of the chef demonstrations.

              2. re: J.L.

                Ludo bailed, apparently - he's off the program in today's paper. On the other hand there was a conflict between his panel and Anne Willan's demo, which is now resolved...except of course I'd like to see the other panelists too.

                I think the General-admission tix get you only so much complimentary food, but it says here that you'll have additional "opportunities" for more, which I gather means you'll pay.

                1. re: Will Owen

                  Ouch. My instincts were right, I suppose.

              3. As mentioned, we had General Admission tickets so can only report on this section. It was a huge cluster-f**k and many of the vendors started running out of food around 3-4pm - and the concert didn't start till after 5pm (opening band - "She & Him" at 6:30pm). Disappointing also that most of the food available in GA was from food trucks and you had to pay for it - though I sort of knew this in-going. Campanille/Tar Pit had a table serving grilled cheese, but the line was ridiculous.

                We sampled some Arancini Balls from Bella Rosa that were pretty tasty. The best wine we had was from Cambria/Byron table, but the line was long. We had food from Nana Queens and Ragin' Cagin' - mostly because they were the shortest lines. @ Nana's we had 5 spicy wings, mashed potatoes, spicy corn (canned) and a soda for $9. Nothing extraordinary. The Brisket & Sausage with Brown Gravy over rice from Ragin' Cagin' was good, but probably better suitable for colder weather. DH and his friend sampled some food from Hoy (Mexican) - he reported "it wasn't bad at the time." Meaning, after having a lot of wine everything tastes good.

                The lines for Nom Nom and Crepe truck were retarded.

                The highlight for me was Michael Voltaggio, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo interviews. All the seats in front of the stage were taken, but it was easy for me to stand up front/side. I really enjoyed their candor about the LA food scene, their upcoming restaurants and love of farmers markets (including a shout-out to my favorite - Melrose Market - which I was even at before coming to this event). Jon was hilarious and definitely my favorite!

                I'm glad I paid the Goldstar prices for tickets as it definitely was not worth $55. I think I'm over the food trucks.

                7 Replies
                1. re: Obessed

                  Ouch. Thanks for reporting back, and "taking one for the team".

                  Granted, it IS their first outing for the LA Times... But when will food fair organizers get it right? When will food truck vendors coordinate to bring enough food, approximated on the number of foodfest tickets sold?

                  1. re: J.L.

                    "Granted, it IS their first outing for the LA Times"
                    And from what a friend posted on Facebook, maybe their last. She was furious at having to pay the not so cheap admission, only to have to again pay for the food.

                    1. re: Briggs

                      It was no better on the "VIP" side. No one bothered to tell those of us stupid enough to buy tickets that the VIP area didn't even open until 3:00. The lines there were way too long. We bailed at 3:30 feeling quite ripped off. This whole thing was poorly organized and a complete rip off. I am sure if I was one of the "comped VIPs" I might feel different. There were so many of them that those of us who paid couldn't try any of the included bites. Bummer experience.

                      1. re: eatemup

                        I had VIP admission as well. I thought that there were some problems for VIPs as well, but not as bad as you experienced. I too was surprised that the VIP area didn't open til 3...arrived at 12. In the meantime, thought I could get some food from some of the trucks but found that most didn't honor the VIP bracelet. Nom nom was one of few to provide food to VIPs (and it was great). Getting drinks was also a major hassle, lots of confusion about what VIPs were entitled to. All in all, visited the information booth 3 times, talked to different sets of staff to try to understand what was going on...first 2 times they stared blankly and sent me to the VIP area, which was pointless since it wasn't open and there weren't any staff there to answer questions. The third time a man there honestly told me that since this is the first time they are having the event, the different trucks/vendors are basically making it up as they are going along and that's why nothing makes sense. I appreciated his honesty.

                        I made my way to the VIP area around 3:15. That's where my experience differs from eatemup, because I didn't experience the lines as long. There was 1 or 2 stalls that I didn't bother to visit due to long lines. However, all other stalls had lines that were around 5 min, which I thought was very reasonable. We spent maybe an hour and a half in the VIP area and sampled most of the food.

                        My favorite from the VIP area was a sardine sandwich from Palate. Love oily, fishy fish and they treated it very nicely...very well-balanced flavors. Burrata with heirloom tomato gelato from Lago was another winner.

                        All in all, we had a nice afternoon. But when you compare this event (VIP experience) to similarly priced food events such as Taste of the Nation, it pales in comparison.

                        1. re: Nicole

                          We had VIP tix too, though we went with a friend who had general admission. We got there around 2pm, walked all the way back to the Times area; Mrs. O is a freelancer there and worked on a lot of the Festival signage, and she took my picture in the photo booth. I was about to drop from hunger, so we bought some sliders at Uncle Lau's Hawaiian BBQ truck, not expensive and quite good, though I overdid it and had a HUGE side of potato mac as well. Delicious, but it played hell with my capacity down the road. I then tried a few wines, none of which was particularly compelling.

                          We left our friend on her own for a while and went to the VIP area. The lines there were much shorter, except for a few booths that we weren't interested in anyway. I wasn't taking notes, but I remember being almost run over by Mark Peel when I stopped and turned around and he was striding along behind me on his cell phone, and then later backing right into Voltaggio. There were lots of nice bits of charcuterie being handed out, and several items involving very good raw fish. One of the tastiest and funniest was the chef we'd all hated on Top Chef, who outraged us by apparently stealing someone's pea purée and then winning the segment by serving it. He was serving...pea purée! I wanted to ask him if he'd come by it honestly... he also had bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with bleu cheese, which were hardly original but damned good.

                          I had just a few wines in that area, too, and again nothing blew my skirt up. I should probably say here that we'd thrown a big party the night before, after a long day of preparation, and neither of us was at the peak of perkiness, so by 5:00 I at least was fading fast, and the concrete underfoot was beginning to feel like cobblestones, so it could be that I could've had a fine Margaux in there and been too burnt to taste it.

                          We learned some stuff to remember next year, assuming they do this again. I hope they learned a few things, too - there were some definite rookie fumbles and silly glitches, but the folks could not have been nicer and the venue is fun. Plenty of parking, too, unlike what we'd been told to expect.

                        2. re: eatemup

                          If you bought your tix through Goldstar, you may be in luck. My FB friend was able to get a refund from GS - although I don't know how much yelling and screaming she had to do.

                    2. re: Obessed

                      Agreed- we had a good time hanging out with friends but spent an inordinate amount of time standing in line for food trucks just for the opportunity to shell out MORE money after our general admission ticket. There was certainly a lot of room for improvement from an organizational standpoint (what the heck were the tickets for? No one seemed to know) and nothing extraordinary when it came to the food offerings or demonstrations. Oh well.