A coworker of Husband’s told us about this event a while ago and ever since finding out about it, I’ve been keeping watch for the next LA date. The minute tickets went on sale, I snatched up VIP ones and counted down to June 6th. Taste of a Nation is an event that occurs in different cities at different times of the year. Chefs in that locale get together and offer up tastings of various items, all in the name of ending childhood hunger in America via the Share Our Strength charity organization. Tickets for the LA event aren’t cheap but you get access to an amazing event AND, even better, you help out a great cause.
The Taste of a Nation LA event was held in Culver City’s Media Park, a perfect location with trees for shade in some areas and easy access parking. VIP tickets included free valet parking. It was awfully nice of the organizers not to oversell capacity; there were a lot of attendees but the park was never uncomfortably crowded, nor were there ever any insane lines to get to the food. I think the only complaint I had that day was about the amount of sun I got. I need to remember a hat next year and sunscreen. *ouch ouch sunburned cheeks*
Husband and I were there with a couple of other foodie friends and we attempted to sample everything but failed. Still, we managed to try some amazing bites like the beef cheeks from XIV, Public’s sliders on brioche and duck and foie gras sausage, The Foundry’s grilled cheese sandwich and Street’s Burmese Melon Salad. I’ll let the pictures do the talking…
That’s but just a taste of what was offered. Most of it was amazing though there were a few dishes that were too salty for me or just didn’t really win me over for one reason or another.
There was a cooking demo by Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio. If you watched the show, you know that he does some amazing but complex dishes. For his demo, instead of doing something that seems like it requires years of culinary expertise, he kept it simple and showed how to make a meal for 8 from a few simple ingredients, something that resonated with the theme of the event. But for dessert, he whipped out the liquid nitrogen and made churros. That was pretty awesome. :) I had the chance to meet him and he was quite nice. He also showed off his new tattoo – the Taste of the Nation logo…
Part of the event is a silent auction where people can bid on various items like gift baskets or trips. There was also a live auction to bid on catering services by various chefs. Chef Ludo Lefebvre offered up his Ludobites Truck and Chefs Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken auctioned off their Border Grill truck for private parties. I have to say, Chef Feniger is just awesomely energetic and enthusiastic, and it was a lot of fun watching her jump on stage and encourage the bidders. I think she’s my new chef crush… Her passion is infectious.
There was also a little “carnival” section where you could trade in tickets to make use of the mobile photobooth truck or attempt to win restaurant gift certificates via a culinary trivia game. I tried my hand at the trivia three times and managed to win three times! :) Wooo…an 8oz Burger and 2 Fraiche gift certs! I have to say though, some of those questions were challenging…
All in all, this was really a fabulous event and even Husband enjoyed himself. I think the free booze won him over. He did say though that he felt like a vegan at a BBQ since there wasn’t much that he could eat due to most items having some sort of fruit or vegetable in it. *roll eyes*
We both swore that we will try to make this event every year. We had a lot of fun and got to support a worthwhile cause. We also want to win one of those live auctions…time to save up a few thousand dollars! :)
More pictures can be seen on my Facebook page.
For more information on Taste of a Nation, visit http://taste.strength.org. I highly encourage you to attend next year!
Filed under: food events, Los Angeles Tagged: | auction, beef, Border Grill, Bottega Louie, charity, Ciudad, corn, demo, Eric Greenspan, food, food event, grilled cheese, liquid nitrogen, Los Angeles, Ludo Lefebvre, Ludobites, Michael Voltaggio, no kid hungry, Share Our Strength, Street, Susan Feniger, Taste of a Nation, tastings, The Foundry, wine, XIV