artisanal la this past weekend
any reports? i attended in november, but wasn't able to get over to santa monica this weekend. what did i miss? how were the crowds?
I went on Sunday - bought mole sauce, cupcake, pie, bread pudding and marshmallows.
Sampled amazing cookies, sodas, chocolates, and much more. The area was spacious and uncrowded - a great afternoon for me!
Went on Saturday from 12 to 3 and I thought it was worth the trip. I like the $10 pre-sale/$15 at the door cost. I think it's the right price range to ensure you don't have a bunch of freeloaders just eating out the samples but the price isn't so onerous that you'd feel ripped off if there was only a few things you liked.
It was heavy on jams, sweets and olive oils. But overall, it was still fun to walk around and sample the various items. Product prices were reasonable to expensive in my opinion. One of the best deals was Salumi stand. I'm blanking on the vendor's name but they're going to be at the new Market there on the 3rd floor. They were selling a charcuterie plate for $5 and it was a very generous portion of five different kinds of meats and a small slice of bread drizzled with one of their olive oils. They were also selling two kinds of pasta plates for $4. Great way to try all their different products
All the other vendors were very generous with their time and samples. Willing to talk and discuss. You could really see the pride and love from all the vendors.
I liked the space, well laid out, lots of room to move. Plenty of seating. There was a rush around 2 p.m. but I never got that salmon swimming upstream feeling. People were well behaved for the most part. I only observed two instances of people exhibiting Costco sampling behavior. The most egregious was one guy who parked himself in front of the bowl full of bread cubes and trays of meats and cheeses. He then proceeded to rapidly stab multiple pieces and just hoovering them into his mouth. Still I suppose only two incidents in that entire time wasn't bad. Everyone else was very respectful and sanitary, both vendors and visitors.
I liked how the marshmallow guy had a little sterno pot in front of each flavor. He would skewer a marshmallow for you and you could roast it. Brandt meats was really popular with their fresh grilled organic beef that was sliced up piping hot for the samples. The cocktail stand was also very popular.
The event was very well run I thought. Check in was painless. Plenty of trash cans and staff keeping things clean. Good signage. Plenty of cheap parking in the various Santa Monica public parking structures. I wish all food events were done this well. Fun way to spend a few hours on a weekend afternoon if you're into food. The experience was well worth the cost.
I loved this event so much when it was downtown last time that I volunteered this go around. I echo your comments and thought that it was incredibly well-run and I liked the venue a lot (especially because I could bike there). I also love how passionate the vendors are and got a chance to talk with many of them. I sampled pretty much everything because I was there both days and my favorites were the teas from Sugarbird Sweets & Teas (http://www.sugarbirdsweets.com/index2...) and the mango passion caramels from Le Bon Garcon (lebongacon.com). It also made me excited for the Daily Dose to open downtown. Considering the amount of free samples of food and cocktails, I think the ticket price is a bargain.