Labor Day might signal the end of summer, but it also means it's time for the LA Times and Food & Wine's THE TASTE: a four day epicurean exploration of the Los Angeles food scene.
Among the events we're particularly interested in are the kickoff on Friday, a "Burgers & Beer" tasting with over 30 participating LA restaurants, over 30 wineries and breweries pouring libations, and several beer seminars as well as live music all hosted by Peroni, EaterLA and the Beer Chicks. Also that evening over at the Paramount Studios lot is the "Art of Mixing" tasting and cocktail demos featuring some of the city's hottest mixologists and chefs including Ricardo Zarate (MoChica and Picca), John Sedlar Rivera (Rivera, Playa) and Julian Cox (Rivera, Picca).
On Saturday morning, we'd suggest hitting the "Secrets of the Kitchen & Cellar" event in Beverly Hills with panel discussions and cooking demos from some of LA's biggest names including pop-up royalty Ludo and Krissy Lefebvre, tattooed bad boy Michael Voltaggio, Scarpetta's chef wunderkind Scott Conant, Italian veteran Celestino Drago, LearnAboutWine's Ian Blackburn and Russ Parsons of the LA Times among other special guests.
Sunday's a fun day with the "Fashion Bites Brunch" along Rodeo Drive where some of the city's best brunch spots will be serving signature dishes and free-flowing brunch cocktails among the famous streets' luxury boutiques.
The main event on Monday is the "Picnic in the Hills," hosted by the Food Network's incomparable high-wattage star, Giada De Laurentiis, and featuring the culinary stylings of other celebrity cooks like Debi Mazar and her husband Gabriele Corcos (co-stars of Cooking Channel's "Extra Virgin"), Aida Mollenkamp (Cooking Channel's "Foodcrafters"), and Candace Nelson (Sprinkles), plus an array of tastings from dozens of restaurants, wineries and breweries.
Among the other celebrity chef events will be the "Taco Tequila Tryst" on Friday hosted by Roy Choi of Kogi Truck fame in Hollywood, "Street Eats" with Susan Feniger and "Desserts After Dark" in Beverly Hills on Sunday with Duff Goldman.
Restaurants participating at events throughout the weekend include LA favorites like Breadbar, Cecconi's, raft, Eva, Jitlada, Huckleberry, the Kogi Food Truck, Mezze, Picca, Red O, Scarpetta, and Zengo among hundreds of others.
Guests planning to make a whole weekend out of it can save by buying one of the several ticket packages that include access to several events in one pass. Hotels around town will also be catering (so to speak) to hungry travelers with special packages for the weekend, including the Crescent Hotel in Beverly Hills; the Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel; the Montage Beverly Hills, and several more like the Los Angeles Athletic Club and the Omni Hotel at California Plaza Downtown.
Tickets to all events can be found and purchased HERE, while guests can search through the full list of events at Events.LATimes.com, and view participating restaurants HERE. A portion of the ticket sales will benefit various charities including Share Our Strength, Los Angeles Times Family Fund's Summer Camp Campaign and Los Angeles Conservancy.
For updates on the weekend's activities, you can check out The Taste's website or visit the event's Facebook Page.
All in all, it looks like the whole city will be out eating, drinking and talking about food Labor Day weekend.
Eric Rosen lives in Los Angeles and writes about food, wine, travel and adventure... usually in some combination of the four. He regularly contributes to Los Angeles Confidential Magazine, Condé Nast's HotelChatter and Jaunted, TravelAge West, Palate Press, Frontiers, Edge and Wandermelon. His work has also appeared in the L.A. Times. When he is not exploring the Los Angeles dining scene, Eri...(Read More)