Gold Standard 2012
I'm sure I wasn't the only one at this year's gold standard. I'm curious what people thought of this year's event.
Like last year, one of my favorite's were the wonderful grilled oysters from Little Dom's. I missed Mozza last year, so made it my first stop this year. I was slightly disappointed to see they were only serving dessert, but wow. That butterscotch bundino with a rosemary cookie was good. Other favorites were Guegeletza's mole topped tamales, Drago Centro's mushroom angoloti with shaved truffle, Tasting Kitchen's pork rillettes and Huckleberry's extremely impressive pastry spread. I was also little disappointed that Providence was only serving desert after the scallop ceviche they served last year. I missed Animal's Foie Gras, but luckily am having dinner reservations there this coming Friday. Anyone know what Playa was serving? I Missed that one as well.
Also, that pork dish from Night + Market market is certainly one of the spiciest dishes I've ever had, and unfortunately, it was the very first dish I ate..
Overall, I'm not sure the even twas quite worth the $75 general admission price. It was a bit too crowded and lacked adequate seating. Also, more of the vendors ran out of food before the event was over than last year. With Johanthan Gold leaving the LA Weekly, I know this may be the last Gold Standard, but if there is another one, they seriously need to consider changing venues and certainly providing more seating.
After attending all previous incarnations of the Gold Standard, I honestly thought this was the best one. Yes it crowded. Yes food ran out. Yes it was HOT. But I learned from the first one it's best to have a plan, pace yourself and grab the champagne.
It's so easy to grab a bite of this. a bit of that and really feel like you didn't eat anything worthwhile while still making yourself green. I always tend to survey people I know there. Take a peek at what people are making in those long lines (Sometimes it is just the hype). Mostly skip the sweets and then pick a few favorites and go to town. This year I think I ate more of my $75 fill of Foie from Animal, Lamb Heart Tacos from Palate and Sushi from Tsujita all while never having an empty glass. I did miss some places, mostly because what they were making didn't seem to appeal to me (like Ink's tongue lettuce tacos) but for those I'm sad I didn't try more (Bludsoes), then it gives me more of a reason to actually go back...
I thought this years Gold Standard was comparable to last years. Unfortunately the weather might have influenced my food choices. The highlights for me were ink's Tongue and Tendon Tacos with Horseradish Snow, Mushroom Angoloti with Black Truffles, Baco Mercat Pork Baco, Sotto's Porchetta with Mustard Greens and Mozza Butterscotch Budino.
One of my favorite from last year was also the BBQ Oyster from Dom's. But this year the one I had was good not great. Last year I did VIP, this year I didn't. I still think that's the way to go.
I thought the taco from ink and the porchetta from sotto were the two best bites of the day. The pastrami from smoke city was good but had it before. It was fun trying their brisket and bludso back to back. Thought it was a very well done event but I was gone before the heavy crush of people
I thought this year was set up better than last year's. Not to say they couldn't stand a few more improvements. I liked spreading out to the parking lot more, that made the crush in the main hall a lot less than last year.
Agree they could stand to put in more seating. At least they had some picnic tables this year in the extra parking lot set up. There was a lot of open area there, it really should be set up to have another dozen or more picnic tables and more of the high cocktail tables. I'd also ban any SUV strollers or strollers if I had a say in the matter. The aisles get crowded enough and I think it was ridiculous the amount of strollers that were just parked in the middle blocking traffic.
I like the venue and the bonus of having free admission to the museum. They just need more seating and cocktail tables to easily eat the food in my opinion.
As for the pricing, last year and this year we paid for the VIP and I thought it was worth it. Admittedly the big jump in VIP and regular pricing this year made me hesitate. That's a big commitment for a pair of tickets even with the discount code. But they do a good job of limiting the amount of VIP tickets and that makes the difference worthwhile in my experience. I also think in some ways the higher ticket pricing helps weed out some of the indiscriminate grazers. I'd rather pay this year's prices if it means a little less traffic and better seating arrangements.
In regards to the food and ROI, I agree with Dommy wholeheartedly. The secret is to be strategic and pick out the foods that appeal to you personally. For most people, if you try to take a taste of everything, I think you'll be sick at the end of the event and at the same time, feel like you didn't eat a lot of worthwhile items.
Off the top of my head? Several coupons, such as $10 off a $50 Gelson purchase, free item at a restaurant that kind of stuff, a 1 gig flash drive, organic pet food sample, jar of tapenade from one of the sponsors, samples of nuts and organic energy bars, couple of different roll up reusable grocery bags the kind that's in a tiny bag you can attach to your keychain or throw in pocket easily, a cheesy foam singha visor, pizza cookbook from woodfired, Smart water chapstick, luggage tag. That's all I recall at this point. A few other minor knick knacks such as a a high quality booklet of great bars around the world that's worth a few minutes of reading diversion.
Oh and a completely useless business card from Stella Artois that said redeem this card by 1 p.m. at the booth to redeem your VIP gift. Yeah, like I'm going to notice that card buried at the bottom of my bag amidst all the other pieces of paper and other items. After emptying my bag at home and finding it, I found myself more irritated at that poor marketing attempt than any good feelings they were trying to raise by giving away a gift.
Animal's fois gras on buttered bread
ink's "taco "was very hard to eat but tasty and won the creativity prize
Tasting Kitchen had two great bites, pork rillettes and white beans topped with salmon skin
Night + Market's thai sausage was killer too
The baco with pork shoulder was great.
Palata duck tongue sanwhich was delish too.
This is sacreligious to my usual way of thinking but my only complaint may be that there was too much pork-inspiration and not enough other ideas.
Beer and drink lines were much more manageable this year.