Posts Tagged ‘food’

The craft beer scene in the South Bay area of Los Angeles County has surged quite a bit in the past year or two, and the scene will continue to experience rapid growth for an indefinite amount of time. This trend saw another spike this past Saturday when Absolution Brewing Company celebrated their third anniversary. Located across the ExxonMobil Refinery from the Torrance microbrewery core (which consists of Smog City Brewing and Monkish Brewing), Absolution Brewing represents another fine member of the South Bay craft beer collective. While they may not yet appear as widespread as Smog City or Monkish, the brews of Absolution live up to the expectations of any brewery from the South Bay.

At their third anniversary celebration, guests could still enter the tasting room and order beers right off the menu. To add to the celebration, Absolution employed a handful of additions, which included cask ales, games, mobile food vendors, and live music. Guests could still purchase beers as normal at the counter, but to those looking for a festival experience, Absolution offered just that in the form of beer packages. A general package cost $25 and came with three full beer pours, a souvenir glass, and one meal ticket from the food vendors. The VIP experience took place from 11am to 1pm, which consisted of unlimited beer pours for those two hours, plus everything that the $25 package gets.

Expect lots of hype and excitement from the South Bay in the upcoming weeks. This upcoming Saturday, Phantom Carriage in Carson will celebrate their second anniversary. The following weekend, Redondo Beach’s King Harbor Brewing Company will celebrate their third anniversary as well. The Monkish anniversary already happened the previous week, but one can expect that Smog City should have an anniversary event before summer starts. Regardless, one cannot go wrong with breweries in the South Bay, so head on over and check out some breweries!

When it comes to adding flavor to foods, nothing can boss the sauce. At its base, sauce contains sugar, salt, pepper, or any combination of those plus additional ingredients. Some foods contain flavor within itself, such as meats that have seasonings and herbs that help bring out the meat’s natural flavor. Most of the time, people add sauces or condiments to their foods to add flavor. For the most part, sauces bring a sweet component to the table, such as ketchup, barbecue sauce, steak sauce, or teriyaki sauce. Many other sauces can add flavor components from sour to salty to spicy and more. However, when it comes to enhancing the flavors of the original dish, nothing can beat hot sauce. The capsaicin in hot sauces helps to open up our taste buds, allowing us to detect and absorb more flavors. For those that cannot take the heat, just a little bit helps to greatly enhance the flavor of the dish, something you can do at Burger Parlor as of this week.

An Orange County staple, Burger Parlor brings the right balance of familiar foods with intuitive innovation. Now approaching their fifth year in business, Burger Parlor has the right business formula to keep customers coming back, as well as attract new customers to crave more. Their standard menu has not changed that much since they got started – the menu you see today contains items that has lived on that menu for years. However, that does not mean that Burger Parlor does not innovate – in fact, Burger Parlor appears to always have limited-time specials, such as their Gringo Bandito Burger available starting this week. Named for its signature ingredient, this burger comes with Gringo Bandito aioli, roasted Anaheim chiles, crushed avocado, a crisp tostada chip, a fried egg, and Gringo Bandito crema, topped with more Gringo Bandito sauce. Despite all the hot sauce getting thrown around, the overall burger does not come off as a spice attack. It balances quite nicely between the aioli, crema, avocado, and egg.

You can snag this burger at both Burger Parlor locations in Fullerton and Orange for a limited time. Head on over and taste this bit of heat to spice up your day. Follow Burger Parlor on Facebook and Twitter for more details about the Gringo Bandito Burger.

The first Taste of Downtown Long Beach of 2017 will occur this week on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Free to attend for all ages, numerous businesses in Downtown Long Beach will set up booths in the East Village Arts District to serve food & drinks to guests who purchase food tickets. Guests can purchase 12 tickets for $10 online, or one ticket for $1 each at the event. The restaurants that serve at this event range from the many restaurants around the East Village to those along Pine Avenue to the handful of restaurants in Shoreline Village and Rainbow Harbor. In addition to all the food, local bands will play music throughout the night, and local artists and vendors set up to sell their merchandise and other work.

If you cannot make it out to this food fest, the Downtown Long Beach Association will host the taste once again in early June and late August. For a simple method to sample what Downtown Long Beach has to offer, you do not want to miss the next taste or two.

The vernal equinox arrives this weekend, meaning that the weather will start to warm up, and the daily daylight will start to extend, providing even greater incentive to get out there and explore the world. Events around town occur regularly, and most people understand the basics of most of these events, such as 5k runs, art shows, or beer fests. But what happens when a traditional event comes up with a spin? Enter FirkFest, a beer festival celebrating the wonders of cask ales. Traditional beer fests see breweries or home brewers bringing in their brews to sample to the large crowd of attendees over a short period of time. This Saturday at Farmers Park in Anaheim, FirkFest will do that same thing, except the participating breweries will bring only casks to this party. A unique fest of its kind, cask ales rarely get this type of exposure, largely due to the portability of it. As a result, only cask ales from west coast breweries can survive the trip here.

Aside from the drinks featured here, FirkFest operates largely like most other beer festivals. Admission to this festival costs $55, and includes unlimited beer tastings from all the participating breweries from noon to 3:45pm, plus free parking. Around this small area, other activities include live music and some recreational games, like bocce ball, beanbag toss, hula hoops, Jenga, and more. Towards the entrance, guests can purchase food from any of the available food vendors. The majority of the beers’ alcohol percentage range from six to eight percent, with a few going above or below that. As this event takes place mostly outdoors, make sure you prepare to spend all that time under the sun, so dress for warm weather, and have sunscreen applied just in case. Attendees can find plenty of free parking in the nearby neighborhoods, or can park in a structure adjacent to City Hall for free that day.

Americans love their coffee. Visiting and inhabiting coffee shops represents a traditional American pastime. Business meetings, clubs, and first dates all do well with coffee in hand. Americans love their coffee so much that they dedicated events towards the love of coffee, such as at CoffeeCon LA 2017. Taking place at The Reef in Los Angeles this past weekend, this java-themed event featured all things coffee, from various types of coffee to coffee edibles to coffee equipment and more. Dozens of vendors sampled their brews, both hot and cold, while a handful of other vendors exhibited their coffee complements, such as candy, desserts, and other food. Many other vendors exhibited coffee equipment, such as machines or presses used to brew coffee. Throughout the day, seminars would take place detailing various topics about coffee, from the origins of certain types of coffee to how to utilize coffee in the culinary sense.

Following up on last year’s overwhelming attendance, CoffeeCon made some changes this year to accommodate attendees. They expanded CoffeeCon from one day to both Saturday and Sunday. Last year’s CoffeeCon took place in the basement of The Reef, a small, tight, and compact space. This year’s CoffeeCon moved to the second floor of The Reef, a significantly larger space. I have strolled through the second floor here for multiple events, and this huge space provided more than enough room for attendees to roam freely without worry of bumping into other people. While the second floor provided more walking space, I feel that the organizers could have spaced out the vendors a bit further apart, as some of the aisles felt really cramped in the middle of the afternoon when the most amount of people showed up and got into unorganized lines at booths. But most importantly, CoffeeCon got rid of all the non-coffee vendors that felt out-of-place last year, such as vendors selling t-shirts or coffee accessories. While this year’s CoffeeCon delivered a largely fresh batch of vendors, I still saw Bona Fide Craft Draft that I remember from last year as a mobile coffee vendor. They essentially rent or staff coffee taps for special events, similar to food trucks, but they come with the option of filling the taps with whatever the client chooses, as well as the option to allows patrons to self themselves.

It looks like with these improvements, CoffeeCon has found a way to cement themselves into the Los Angeles event market mainstay. My only complaint revolves around the entrance line, as it took too long for them to scan tickets, and the line to enter stretched outside the building. Consider that it rained on Sunday morning through the early afternoon, so that dampened some attendees’ spirits. As long as they fix that for next year, I believe they will have a winning formula to keep people coming back. For more information regarding future CoffeeCon events, check them out on Facebook and Twitter for further updates.

Despite a little wet weather, the Crave Expo went on as planned this past Sunday afternoon at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim. The Crave Expo represents a gathering of food vendors all in one spot for attendees of all ages to check out and dine from. The organizers originally set this up as a ticketed event costing $5 presale or $10 at the gate per person; however, with the weather forecast showing rain all weekend, the organizers decided to nix the admission fee and allow people in for free as long as they preregister; otherwise it would still cost people $10 to enter if they just show up. Once inside, attendees gained access to all the vendors and could eat from whichever they chose. Basically, think of this as a food court, since attendees still needed to pay for any food or drink they wished to consume.

When I first heard about this event, it immediately appeared to me as a food truck fest. Remember food truck fests from 2010-2012? You paid some crazy amount of money to get in, then had to pay again for food. Once people realized that you could visit these food trucks elsewhere for free, people stopped going to food truck fests. Instead, people opted to go to weekly food truck gatherings, or the monthly ones such as First Fridays. Undaunted, I waltzed in to Crave Expo with a little over $40 in cash and checked out what they had to offer. Not surprisingly, I had seen most of these vendors before, either at other similar food events such as Artisanal LA or OC Night Market, or at local food truck gatherings such as Street Food Tuesday. Regardless, I did not want to walk away on an empty stomach. By the time I left, I had over $10 in my wallet.

I do anticipate that Crave Expo will return again in the future, but I advise to keep an open mind about how this event works. Remember that you can indeed find and visit most of these mobile food vendors elsewhere for free, thus avoiding paying for some sort of admission fee just to visit a food truck. Stay active with the local food truck scene by following your favorite food trucks on Twitter, and you will get to visit lots of them without needing to go to another “food truck fest” for some fee.

The Los Angeles Cookie Con & Sweets Show returned to the Los Angeles Convention Center this past weekend for its third year running. As the name suggests, this event featured all manners of sweets and desserts, but especially cookies and anything related to cookies. From traditional cookies to cookie sandwiches to cookie ice cream to cookie cups, if it had to do with cookies, attendees would find it here. This year’s event setup largely resembled last year – in the first year, it took place at the Pasadena Convention Center. Due to overwhelming popularity, they moved it to the LA Convention Center, expanded the event to two days, and tripled the ticket price. However, last year’s event STILL sold out. This year, admission went up to $60, and it still appeared as though they sold out once again.

Although now in their third year, it appears that some things never change. For the most part, the organizers have solved the problem of most of the lines. Last year, attendees had to wait in a line outside the convention center to even enter, and then once inside had to wait in a line to scan their tickets, and then wait in another line to get into the expo hall where the event took place. All of that did not exist this time – what lines did remain resided within the expo halls. Despite the best efforts to qualm all the line-waiting that attendees did, no one could avoid the massive lines for the vendors once inside the expo hall. Once inside, all the attendees faced lines upon lines for the few vendors that had samples. At this Cookie Con, less than half the vendors had actual samples for attendees to try – most of the vendors set up to sell things, such as products or services. Basically, attendees paid $60 in order to wait in lines to spend even more money. At this rate, eating $60’s worth of food would only occur if this event had a quarter of the amount of attendees so that everyone could efficiently reach the front of lines. In reality, it took half an hour of waiting in each line to finally get a sample of a cookie or some other dessert. On the other hand, the few vendors that had savory foods instead of sweets did not have bad lines, so I could easily get food samples such as jerky and tamales.

I fully expect Cookie Con to return next year, and likely with increased admission once again. When Southern California has food fests similar to this that cost like $175 or more to get in and sell out all the time, Cookie Con can just keep raising their prices, and would still sell out. If paying exorbitant admission fees to see these vendors sounds bad to you, just independently support the businesses on your own, such as Maya Brigadeiro or Bad Pickle Tees. The Cookie Con site (linked above) has a full list of all the vendors. By directly supporting the vendors, you omit the admission fees of going to an event, and you get to select what you want to see without the hassle of dealing with crowds of people and the dozens of strollers taking up space. Plenty of other dessert events will come up soon in the greater Los Angeles area, so check out my weekly events post every Monday to see how you can satisfy your sweet tooth.