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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.

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  1. 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...

    --Dommy!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Dommy

      Forgot about the lamb heart tacos. Those were really good as well.

    2. 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.

      2 Replies
      1. re: puppychao

        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

        1. re: puppychao

          The mushroom angoloti was very generous with the shave truffle. I was amazed at how much they gave for that small bite.

        2. thought this year was better executed. last year had higher highs though.

          1. 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.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Jase

              pardon the obvious, but what was in the goodie bag besides a 6'er of Singha?

              1. re: ns1

                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.

            2. Loved
              Sotto's porchetta
              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.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Ciao Bob

                Also it was very nice to get approriately branded beer glasses at the end of the of the event! ;)

                --Dommy!

                1. re: Dommy

                  Good idea to save them...I did not...too much to carry.

                  1. re: Ciao Bob

                    Yeah, again, I'm an old pro at these sort of events. So I always have a backpack or messegener type bag with me. This year is was my Duck bag (LOVE THIS BAG!)

                    http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/...

                    --Dommy!

                    1. re: Dommy

                      Sling backpack, wipes, extra napkins, bottle of water, pen and paper. SOP for urban food adventuring. <big grin>

                2. re: Ciao Bob

                  baco merkat. what tasted like a gordita with suadero. EXCELLENT.

                3. This was my first time going. I thought it was well worth the price of admission. I managed to try things from 21 of the restaurants with multiple trips to some of them.

                  Highlights:

                  Lamb Heart Buns @ Palate
                  Pig tails @ The Spice Table
                  Foie Gras @ Animal
                  Everything from Chichen Itza
                  The Pork dish @ Night & Market
                  Desserts from Short Cake (especially the peanut one)
                  Moles from Guegeletza
                  Mushroom Angoloti from Drago Central

                  Disappointments:

                  Providence - had hoped for something other than the dessert which wasn't even that good
                  MB Post - The Cous Cous was ok but not exciting. Had heard good things about them and was hoping for something better
                  Picca/Mo Chica - I'm a big fan of Mo Chica but didn't love the pork belly or shrimp.

                  I was so stuffed by the end that I waited in line at the Tasting Kitchen line and bailed after five minutes and called it a day. Wish I could have skipped something earlier and tried their rilletes.

                  I also didn't make it to ink or sotto, both of which I had wanted to try. When I was looking at what they brought it just didn't look that appealing. I guess they tasted a lot better than they looked. Oh well.

                  And for the OP, Playa had a ceviche dish was was pretty good but not something that you'd probably really regret missing.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: bg90027

                    I SO Wanted to try the queso relleno from Chichen Itza, but I had it before and it's such a rich dish that it didn't appeal to me in the heat. It looked like a much more refinded version than the one I had previously... how did you like it?

                    --Dommy!

                    1. re: Dommy

                      I wish I could give you a better answer than I really liked it. I'm just having a hard time remembering the specifics - so much food and so much good mexican. I was excited to try Chichen Itza though because I always have opted for Mo Chica when I've been at Mercado Paloma.

                    2. re: bg90027

                      loved the cous cous from MB post. Thought it was very refreshing and loved the flavors.

                      Picca/Mo Chica was a complete and utter disappointment. No shrimp when I got there though.

                      Border Grill had a surprisingly good smoked oyster ceviche.

                      Overall no standout pork belly dishes this year.

                      1. re: ns1

                        I wasn't complaining about the execution on the Cous Cous dish. I thought it was good. I just wish that they'd brought something a little more substantive than a cous cous. Damn, add Border Grill to the places I wished I'd stopped. I just never have thought their food that impressive and there was so much good mexican.

                        Glad to see I wasn't alone on the Picca disappointment. I was however happy to see that the new Mo Chica will be open until midnight.

                        1. re: bg90027

                          STREET was a complete and utter disappointment (again). I just don't understand why she keeps bringing asian inspired stuff to these events. I'm not a fan of Border Grill usually so yes, the smoked oyster was a surprise.

                          Nobody mentioned LaOn yet?

                          I have never even heard of the place but the GF brought me a sample. I didn't care for the fish cake (or w/e) but the braised meat on top of whatever it was was SPECTACULAR. Found out later the establishment is related to Park's BBQ so I can't say I'm very surprised. I'll have to check LaOn in lieu of Park's one of these days.

                        2. re: ns1

                          I'm with bg90027. Was excited about MB Post since they've had such good buzz. The couscous was a complete letdown. The way it was presented with that big chunk of feta in the middle was not conducive to letting the flavors blend as instructed. I didn't find the flavors very interesting by themselves or eating as a whole. Thought it was kind of underseasoned too.

                          Mo Chica's two items were just okay. The shrimp didn't have a great grilled taste or any of the other ingredients they described. I liked last year's mussels dish much better.

                          Agree on Border Grill's smoked oyster dish. The bite made me smile as soon as the flavors hit my tongue.

                          1. re: Jase

                            We'll have to agree to disagree..I cut the feta in half with my spoon and grabbed a little bit of everything. I do wish they brought some more stuff though cuz they've been blowing up lately.

                            1. re: ns1

                              Just to be clear, I didn't really have any problem with the flavors. I was excited that they were going to be there because they have gotten good buzz. I was just hoping they would bring more than a Cous Cous.

                              1. re: ns1

                                "We'll have to agree to disagree."

                                Of course! Just stating what didn't work for me. Certainly don't think that it means the same for everyone. Agree that I wish they had showcased something else.

                        3. This was my first Gold Standard event. Missed Animal's Foie Gras, but had a great time otherwise. A little uncomfortable due to the heat, but I managed to eat pretty much everything else. The only annoyance was the number of "bloggers" holding up lines taking photos of everything, particularly one who cut in front of me as I was about to grab some tasty food.

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: andytseng

                            where WAS animal's booth anyway and did they run out? Could not find for the life of me.

                            1. re: ns1

                              It was in the back area behind the seating area directly across from the Tasting Kitchen and right between a cheese table and Upstairs 2. If "back area" isn't clear enough, some of the other popular restaurants in the same area were Hungry Cat, Starry Kitchen, and Salt's Cure. They did run out sometime around 3pm I think.

                              1. re: bg90027

                                Yup! That whole back room was also filled with lines because a) the big names were there and b) it was the coolest room in the area. Plus, it was hard to tell what lines belonged to what and where the end was... But the Animal line moved pretty fast. And based on past experience with the boys, I know they put their all at this event and it was worth the wait (A couple of times! :))

                                --Dommy!

                                1. re: Dommy

                                  Yeah, yeah, rub it in. I can't believe even with VIP early admittance, we didn't get to Animal's booth. That was a complete fail on my part. The one time I don't go all OCD mapping out the booths, it bites me.

                                  1. re: Jase

                                    did you know there was a map listing of all the booths in the program? I didn't until we got home.

                                    1. re: ns1

                                      Yeah, they had the booklet when you checked in, same one as last year. But I came with my wife this year and we were chatting away in line and I lost focus <shakes fist at sky> I didn't do a good job of scoping out ahead of time. So even though we had VIP, I didn't make it over to where Animal was in time before general admission. And then everytime we circled back the line was horrendous.

                                2. re: bg90027

                                  man, maybe they ran out by the time I got there. Starry Kitchen had great desserts but the chicken wing was a huge WTF

                              2. re: andytseng

                                OMG! You should have seen the first one. It was during the peak year of personal food Blogging (Most of the bloggers that have stuck it out are now working for various outfits that keep them pretty busy with other reporting). The number of folks carrying DSLR with over compensating mega lenses was hillarious. Thankfully most of the bloggers who were any good and stuck it out have now been hired by various outfits that keep them pretty busy with other reporting. I mean, we already know Eater and their ilk are gonna do quicker and better coverage on it anyway... so what's the point anymore?

                                --Dommy!

                                1. re: andytseng

                                  And somewhere there's a blogger complaining about the guy who kept getting in the way of his shot. LOL!

                                  Granted, I just use a quick point and shoot for my personal facebook album. But I always just take a shot away from the crush of the front of the booth.

                                  I don't get all these people trying to get a great looking shot with their dslr's of one item right there on the booth. Grab the stupid plate and walk it over to a table to get a good shot. Get the heck out of the way and let people behind you through.

                                2. I got in during VIP hour and it was still swamped, but definitely not as crowded as it was later. I do wish that this event were earlier in the year just so it wouldn't be so hot. Sweating while waiting in line isn't really conducive to a good appetite.

                                  I thought the budino with the cookie looked wonderful and tasted every bit as good as it does from the restaurant. I liked that more booths were serving finger-foods, since even with the cocktail plate, it gets unwieldy trying to balance a glass, a plate, food, and a utensil.

                                  There should definitely be a ban on all strollers for the event next year. Really, do we need that giant double-wide stroller right in the middle of where people are trying to walk?

                                  I was more annoyed by the people standing around a booth not eating than the people taking pictures. Maybe because I was one of the people taking pictures (seen here: http://www.runawaysquirrels.com/2012/...). I found plenty of time to snap a picture while the people in front of me in line picked up their food and then just STOOD THERE while they ate instead of moving out of the way. It's like being at the free samples counter at Costco.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: PandanExpress

                                    "I do wish that this event were earlier in the year just so it wouldn't be so hot. Sweating while waiting in line isn't really conducive to a good appetite."

                                    I know it sounds ridiculous, but we're still in WINTER.

                                    Bad luck on their part - it's a balmy 62' today, 62' next tuesday, but 80' this friday.

                                    1. re: ns1

                                      Yeah they can't control the weather. It was more likely that we'd be complaining about the cold or wind or even rain than the heat. It was obviously crowded but being that this was my time, I was actually pleasantly surprised that the lines weren't any longer than they were. It was the size of my stomach that prevented me from being able to taste everything I wanted, not the lines or anyone running out of anything, and I only bought regular admission.

                                      1. re: ns1

                                        Yeah, can't do anything about the weather. I help run an event every year in the fall. The last few years we've pushed it deeper into mid October to account for warm weather. Worked out fine first couple years we pushed it back, nice cool temps. Last year, it was right in the middle of that horrendous heatwave with record setting temps.