Sampling Aspirations At The 1st Ever World Foodie Fair

Posted: September 26, 2014 in Dessert, Events, Food, Los Angeles, Restaurant
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The first ever World Foodie Fair came to Culver City this past Saturday evening. At this all-ages tasting event, ten hopeful restauranteurs all served their cuisine that would represent the menu of their dream restaurant. All ten participants do not currently own a restaurant, but want to use this pop-up event to test the waters and get a feel for the experience of running a full business. Each $6 ticket provided $7 worth of food, and attendees voted for their favorite foods at the end of the event. Four one-hour sessions took place starting at 5pm in order to spread out the flow of attendees, and interested attendees could purchase tickets for this event ONLY online so that the organizers could cap each session due to capacity limits.

For a first-time event, I expected some hiccups along the way. As the most glaring issue that affected everybody, the organizers did not open the doors to the public until 6pm, an hour later. Everyone involved in this project simply underestimated the amount of time it took to get everything ready. I will not speak much on this, as all attendees that had to wait an hour all openly voiced their discontent. Another issue involved the spacing, as this took place at a small cafe that could comfortably hold no more than 50 guests at a time. The organizers attempted to circumvent this by capping the amount of tickets sold per hourly session. One problem that troubled me and a handful of other attendees revolved around the ticket costs. Since nobody could use one ticket anywhere, many attendees ended up with one ticket and ended up losing that ticket because they did not want to pay for another batch of tickets. Aside from these problems, the only other real problems lie in the quality of the food, which I will now cover.

Green curry duck tamales – Mexican Thai style Bangkok green curry duck tamales & herb chili sauce
I wanted to taste more duck in these tamales. The curry sauce drowned out the duck flavor. If they can tone down the curry sauce, it would help to highlight the duck, a meat not often used in tamales.

Vietnamese summer rolls – served with spicy peanut dipping sauce
This spring roll contained nothing unique. It tasted just like any other spring roll.

Beef Empanadas – served with chimichurri verde
Although this took the longest to wait for due to the long line, I liked this the most. Of course, frying anything will make it taste better.

Mustards & Sausages – Italian & herb chicken sausage, caramelized sun-dried tomato mustard
I really did not enjoy the sausage with its rubbery casing that I could not bite through. The bread also made it very dry.

Asian BBQ Pork Belly Slider – Asian BBQ pork belly slider with slaw and wasabi mayo
On paper, this sounds delicious. The thinly-sliced pork belly quickly gets drowned in everything else on top of it.

Beef Cheek Cream Puff – French pastry filled with Bordelaise-braised beef cheeks & blue cheese potato mash, served with leaf rocket, topped with horseradish cream and grated Parmesan
Honestly I dug straight in to the meat, as I expected that everything else would mask the flavor of the beef. They did not lie – they braised this beef to the point that it melts in your mouth.

LA-Style Hawaiian Spam Musubi – seared spam & spiced sushi rice, shredded mustard greens, tropical soy vinaigrette
It tasted like normal spam musubi to me. I craved more of the seaweed-essence present in spam musubi elsewhere.

Truffles & Fruit Pâté
Finally, dessert. The truffles contained dark chocolate, which caused a strong lingering aftertaste. I loved the fruit pâté so much that I took a bag home. Honestly, I wanted to take all the bags home. It only consists of puréed fruits and sugar, but it tastes like bliss.

Nothing special to see here folks – just eclairs with a cream filling topped with chocolate and chocolate crisps.

Basically, the comp’d item for making the 5pm attendees wait an hour. Some of these tasted overly sweet, but eat just one, and it will taste just fine.

Although they did end up starting an hour later, I still think the organizers did all in their power to ensure that this event would run smoothly. They certainly have an ambitious goal in helping these restauranteurs get moving towards their dreams. In recent years, anyone wanting to get into the restaurant business would typically look to open a food truck to test the market. Pop-up tastings like this have gone on for many years, but since they only occur sporadically, people rarely hear about them, as opposed to food trucks that persist even after a dinner shift ends. Would you like to attend a pop-up tasting event like this? Check on my blog every Monday for a list of the week’s upcoming events, as I plan to stay in touch with the organizers of the World Foodie Fair.

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