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LA Weekly: The Essentials March 8 - Anyone Going?

Curious about this new iteration of Plate. Anyone been to one of these before? Anyone going to the one this year?

I'm thinking of going, but I don't really know what to make of it and how well it operates.


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  1. I'll be going! Year after year, they put on this event to great success and with a big focus on value. In fact, when selling the event to my friends, I joke that I make up my ticket price, in the glasses of champagne alone (I actually probably do! ;))


    1. Do you have purchase dishes once you are inside or is everything included in the ticket price? It is not exactly clear.

      4 Replies
      1. re: amybobamy

        All inclusive. Compared to most of the other food festivals out there (especially those that are fundraisers), I've always found it a really good deal.

        1. re: jsandler

          All inclusive with the caveot that first come first serve. Undoubtly there are dishes that you might not get a try or that are in limited quanity. But regardless... you will come out stuffed.


          1. re: Dommy

            LOL you had me sold at champagne!

            1. re: Dommy

              Are there still discounted tickets left ?

        2. I'll be there. Thx to deal sites got in @ 2 for 35! Can't beat that =)

          Great lineup of restaurants this year, better than last IMO. I think they've finally grown out of the jgold era.

          8 Replies
          1. re: ns1

            hold up, you got in at 2 for $35? who did you have to b... to get that pricing?

            1. re: TonyC

              $35 x2, posted on FB/CH, got 3 biters for referrals = $35 refunded.

              Net cost = $17.50pp

              1. re: ns1

                Confession #1: at least one pair of those "bites" are from me (saw your post in the Coupon thread).

                Confession #2: I actually bought tickets to this event last week, but didn't see anyone on these boards post anything about it. I thought "Aw fuck, what did I just get myself into?", so I started this thread to see if I had made a wise choice.

                I'm feeling better already.

                1. re: Novelli

                  THANK YOU.

                  I was wondering who the 3rd was!

                  1. re: Novelli

                    You guys selling the tickets for about $17.50 ?????

                    Have any of those tickets left ?

                    1. re: kevin

                      reading comprehension bro, try it out.

                      1. re: ns1

                        i think i need that GED right about now.

                  2. re: ns1

                    Really wish I saw the deal earlier.

                1. Now, THIS is a Chowhound gathering! Should be fun!

                  1. At LA Weekly it gives the date as SUNDAY, MARCH 9, 2014.
                    It also mentions March 8th, but differently.
                    I'm fully confused.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: VenusCafe

                      OOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHH, my bad! Didn't realize I had put March 8 in the thread title!

                      It DOES takes place on Sunday, March 9!

                      I've got my tickets ready!

                      Quite the list of restaurants:

                      " A.O.C., Allumette, Angelini Osteria, Animal, Bestia, Beverly Soon Tofu, Border Grill, Bucato, Cacao Mexicatessen, Chichen Itza, Chi SPACCA, Church & State, Coni' Seafood, Craft Los Angeles, Crossroads, Drago Centro, Father's Office, Got Kosher, Gottsui, Goldie's, Good Girl Dinette, Guerilla Tacos, HomeState, Horse Thief BBQ, Hinoki & the Bird, Il Grano, Jitlada, Kogi BBQ, Little Sister, Loteria Grill, Lucques, Mariscos Jalisco, Mexicali Taco & Co., Nickel Diner, Night + Market, Oinkster, Salt's Cure, Sotto, Sqirl, Star King BBQ, Starry Kitchen, Superba Snack Bar and more."

                    2. Yup, I'm in. We've gone the last few years. I was a little hesistant after last year since I thought it took a bit of a downhill turn after J. Gold was no longer associated with it. Also the prices had creeped up.

                      But this year's lineup seems solid and the pricing came back down some.

                      1. today is the day =D

                        1. GA line is around the block 15 minutes before the 1pm GA start.

                          1. For an event that goes til 5 things are sure looking sad at 2:45

                            16 Replies
                            1. re: ns1

                              That's because Dommy put together a Doggy bag for me since I had to work today.

                              1. re: ns1

                                Sad as in not a lot of people?

                                1. re: TheOffalo

                                  Sad as in vendors tapping out by 2pm. Way oversold IMO

                                2. re: ns1

                                  Ridiculous. Friends joined us there at 2:15 and half the stands were out of food by then. By 2:45, almost all food was gone.

                                  Was it like that last year? J Gold's event 2 or 3 years ago at the automotive museum definitely wasn't.

                                  Kind of a cluster....

                                  1. re: Helper Monkey

                                    Agree with ns1 and Helper--there just simply wasn't enough to go around and people were getting aggressive. Got in around 2 due to car trouble (originally should have gotten in at 1:30 after lining up on the Hill side of LA Mart. The worst part was being in one of the many long lines when the food just ran out at Hinoki and the Bird and Little Sister, for example. Missed Starry Kitchen, Bestia, A.O.C., Alumette, which were some of the places I was looking forward to. Was sorely disappointed--especially as an SF hound looking to get a nice sampling of LA restaurants.

                                    Props to some places like Oinkster, Jitlada and Wally's Wines for feeding the masses until the end. Wine was OK and the beer was decent (with the latter flowing until the end) which I tried to drink a lot of to make up for the food fail. Thinking the VIP status would have been worth it but also annoyed that they sold so many tickets.

                                    1. re: Helper Monkey

                                      Nope. Last year was great - managed to make two or three very good rounds. Vendors weren't tapped out until 330-4+. Lines shorter tio

                                      1. re: ns1

                                        As you noted, they TOTALLY oversold the event. I was mortified when I arrived upstairs as we were on time and it was crowded as peak time when we walked! And then at peak time, there just was NO FOOD. My brother arrived at 2:30p and he basically got five bites! He joked that I owed him dinner after. :/ We did talk to a chef and he was also so sad to dispoint all the folks that came to see his restaurant. He said the organizers told him to prep for 900... not the 2,000 that showed up...

                                        I also hated how the wine was laid out. Having it by vineyard basically meant that everyone had basically the same type of wines, whereas when it was an aisle of wine, there was so much more varieties and regions represented! :(

                                        I hopefully they learn from all the unhappy folks who were there... I am still looking forward to Tacolandia #2 (especially since one of my favorite dishes was from Mexicali), but we will FOR SURE get there early. It's just the only way...


                                        1. re: Dommy

                                          I don't blame the restaurants at all. We ended up bailing @245 and went to bottega.

                                          1. re: Dommy

                                            I place the blame squarely on the organizers. Something that should never happen when it's this many years into an event. This was the kind of amateur operation I'd expect from a first year event.

                                            After going the last several years, I'm seriously reconsidering bothering to go again next year.

                                            It was a complete and utter cluster F***. We were in line at 12:30, about halfway up the line and walked upstairs a few minutes after 1 and some places were running low already.

                                            The way the stalls were organized were also ridiculous. There was no way for many of the stalls to have any kind of organized line. You had lines forming in two directions resulting in testy people. Furthermore the more popular ones would end up blocking the ones next to them.

                                            Btw, special shout out to the jerk chef of Localita & The Badasserie. With a name like that, I should have expected a pretentious douchebag ahole chef.

                                            Towards the end when traffic had died down with no lines, we walked up and asked what he had out since he was one of the few with plenty of food left. He told us it was the best breakfast sandwich in the city. We asked what was it, he just replied it's the best breakfast sandwich you'll ever eat.

                                            I then asked politely what's in it. He said it's all gluten free, organic, soy free, vegetarian ingredients. Once again I asked but what is it. He finally said, it's a gluten free bread with a soy cheese and vegetarian patty. I told him that sounds interesting, thanked him and walked away.

                                            As we walked away, he proceeded to yell at us, "yeah just walk away, it isn't for you"

                                            Just eff you, freaking jerk.

                                            1. re: Dommy

                                              Was Mexicalo the snail taco? That was GREAT!

                                              1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                Nope, Mexicali was the squid ink coctel. The Escargot Taco was Cocao Mexicatessen who gets credit for actually using a tortilla and not a smart and final chip like so many other mexican/latin establishments there. :{


                                                1. re: Dommy

                                                  Was not a fan of Mexicali's coctel (ruso?) negro.

                                                  1. re: ns1

                                                    It's a very personal thing for me since my grandmother made something similar. The only thing missing from there was a dollop of olive oil. that would have made things come together more.


                                                    1. re: ns1

                                                      I got the spicy version and liked it. The seafood had a good texture for me with the spice just the right amount of heat

                                                    2. re: Dommy

                                                      i actually didn't mind the use of the tortilla chip for the guerilla taco crab and tuna taco. still full of flavor and liked the texture of the chip.

                                                      1. re: Dommy

                                                        Yeah, I liked that bite. Balanced flavors

                                            2. Just got home. Thank god for degidnated drivers. I had a good time. I must hve drank my weight in wine and champ.

                                              Ate a lot of good stuff. Got in abot 1:15. Only places I regret missing were Sotto and Bucato. Hit up all the other paces I wanted tho.

                                              When everything ran out, I just hung out at Wally's cheese and wine and ate slabs of brie while chugging chardonay. Time for a nap. It was hot today.

                                              1. Agree with what a few others have said. There was some good food, but the number of places running out less than half way through the event was highly unfortunate. I didn't go last year, but the two previous years were much better. I also liked the Peterson better as a venue. I do not remember there ever being such a wait at so many booths, and many of the lines were merging into each other.

                                                1. Evidently home state went through 700 frito pies in 2 hours

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: ns1

                                                    And they were FABULOUS! It was real meaty texas chili with just the right ratio of chili, condiments and FRITOS!!! The owner was there where dishing it out and was SO Gracious with the compliments and advice. So glad they are successful! :D


                                                    1. re: Dommy

                                                      Yep. One of the best bites I had today.

                                                  2. Despite the crowds/early-run-outs I managed to eat quite a bit.
                                                    My favorite bites
                                                    Guerilla's crab taco
                                                    Chichen Itza seafood tostada
                                                    Tacos Puntas Cabras pig face taco with Ikura
                                                    Bucato Porchetta
                                                    Horse Thief - BBQ pork
                                                    Snail taco
                                                    Starry Kitchen dry shrimp "shooter"
                                                    Superba - Fried chix
                                                    Hinoki - Avocado Smoothie

                                                    10 Replies
                                                    1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                      Chichen Itza were PROS! I love their shrimp and lobster tostada and they keep up with the crowd! It's not a second generation restaurant. I love seeing Jr (Chino!) there sweating it out with pops. So PROUD of them. :)


                                                      1. re: Dommy

                                                        I still miss the location of Chichen Itza on 6th street, near Mac Park.

                                                      2. re: Ciao Bob


                                                        I didn't even know Guerilla tacos was there. Same for chichen itza. Couldn't get TPC cuz of the line. Starry kitchen? Still trying to taste their elusive balls 5 years into this event. By the time I got to Superba, all I saw were cracklins.

                                                        TERRIBLE alcohol situation this year too, first event where I didn't even get a buzz.

                                                        1. re: ns1

                                                          I agree... that is the thing I'm MOST upset about... how they spread out the wine. I got there in good time and had lots of great bites. But having the wines so spread out really made it hard to run over and do a pairing. Especially with the crowd. :(


                                                          1. re: ns1

                                                            TPC was one of the first ones we hit and we stood there waiting while they made up a fresh batch. I'm not surprised the lines grew so badly for them. They were being entirely too precious in assembling. They needed 5 people to put together each one bite serving. One guy to slice the pighead. The rest adding multiple dollops of sauce and garnish. All over a piece of meat the size of a quarter. It was hilarious watching them climb over each other trying to put a drizzle of this and a dollop of that finishes with garnishes over this tiny portion.

                                                            1. re: Jase

                                                              Still, they were operating at warp speed compared to guerrilla tacos. He took no less than 3, maybe 4, minutes to make just two (2!) tacos/order. And he was the only one making them while others chatted up the line.

                                                              1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                That is one negative thing about his truck. Everything I've had has been amazing but the wait for him to prepare everything is rather long.

                                                                1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                  still one of the best bites in the whole event.

                                                                2. re: Jase

                                                                  I noticed the same thing about TPC. Perhaps that explains why they did not run out of food as fast as most other vendors, though.

                                                              2. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                hmm, avocado smoothie.

                                                                i wonder if it's on the reg. hinoki menu ??????