The Zócalo Jonathan Gold Food Marathon

In terms of one-stop food marathons, the Jonathan Gold Union Station Cocktail Party for Zócalo had one of the longest names and most prolific groups food and drink participants.

Zocalo Jonathan Gold Union Square Cocktail Party

The very quick background is:

Gold Zocalo Cocktail

– Zócalo is an organization that provides a public space for conversation and deliberation about the world today.

– Jonathan Gold is the Thom Yorke of food writing- a rockstar that should be treated as such.

– The cocktail is currently experiencing its shining moment as more than just an important part of nightlife, but in the food scene and resurgence of downtown LA as well.

And now the party…

Just as the cocktail resurgence brings the golden age of Hollywood back into style with a modern twist, so too does discussion of a new high speed train that would run from Los Angeles’ Union Station to San Diego. Union Station is the landmark of downtown LA that best sums up the night. Grand and historic, it signifies the strength and comfort of the old way of life. Rye whiskey, scotch, gin- timeless drinks, that take time to make. The train station in the 1940’s was the place where soldiers went off to war and then returned home. It was the center of community and communication.

The room, with its infinitely high ceilings and giant windows was warm despite being so open. It’s sturdy and well appointed, not unlike a good Manhattan.

Zocalo Jonathan Gold Union Square Cocktail Party

The alcohol was flowing in many forms, with the cocktail menu developed by 213.

213 Zocalo Jonathan Gold Cocktail Menu

Palate’s Octavio Becerra was the first chef I saw.

Palate's Octavio Becerra at Zocalo Jonathan Gold Cocktail Party

His pork terrine with Szechuan pigs ears, yali pears, pickled shiitake and radish, violet mustard was one of the top dishes of the night. No salad is complete without pigs ears… especially when it’s topping pork.

Palate's pork terrine at Zocalo Jonathan Gold Party

My other favorite was from Cut. They had kobe short ribs that were succulent and savory (albeit a bit messy) along side tuna tartare “sandwiches” with wasabi aioli on Togarashi crisps (not pictured because they were in my stomach too fast).

Cut at Zocalo Jonathan Gold Party

Food and Twitter darlings, Ludo and Krissy were there to enjoy the fun. Eater LA, My Last Bite, Street Gourmet LA, The Delicious Life and Tasting Table were all in the station as well.

Krissy and Ludo and Zocalo Jonathan Gold Party

Michael Cimarusti from Providence was in attendance, both to serve delicious clam fritters and to speak on the panel.

Michael Cimarusti at Zocalo Jonathan Gold Party

The clams were sweet and mild, not too greasy. They were tasty on their own and didn’t need the yuzu mayo.

Providence's Clam Fritters

Then came the dish I was most excited for- Ilan Hall’s bacon wrapped matzo balls. As a pig-loving Jew I’ve already expressed my excitement for The Gorbals’ menu. I’ve also written about my love for all things bacon-wrapped.

Ilan Hall from The Gorbals

Just look at the pan of harmonious religious unity.

Bacon wrapped matzo balls from The Gorbals

The final product is tasty, because everything wrapped with bacon is tasty. Whether hordes will flock to eat them by the fistful, I’m not sure.

Bacon wrapped matzo balls from The Gorbals

Chef John Sedlar from Rivera was there as well.

John Sedlar from Rivera

He was serving up his famous tortillas florales.

Frech Guacamole from Rivera

The handmade corn tortillas have a flower pressed into them before hitting the grill. The resulting beauty is the epitome of Rivera’s menu- unique, artful and delicious.

Tortillas florales from Rivera

Mozza sent over some mozzarella- yawn.

Mozza at Jonathan Gold Cocktail Party

Comme Ca made more of an effort but failed with their bland steak tartar sliders.

Comme Ca's steak tartar sliders

The bite sized burgers of choice were Church and State’s. They were perfect sized pork patties, with fantastic buns and rich flavor.

Church and State Sliders

Oh right. The cocktails. The Manhattan from Cole’s was my favorite.

Cole's at Zocalo Jonathan Gold Party

I also love Cole’s habanero pickles but they weren’t serving those.

Cole's Manhattan

The absinthe was a big draw for some, but I’m not a fan.

The Doheny

Champagne was prevalent throughout the party as well.

Zocalo Jonathan Gold Cocktail Party

There was a panel featuring Eric Alperin from The Varnish and Vincenzo Marianella from Copa d’Oro. Vincenzo actually has taken a train from New York to LA, so this wasn’t his first time at Union Station.

Mixologists Vincenzo and Eric

213’s Cedd Moses and Providence’s Michael Cimarusti were featured as well.

Zocalo Jonathan Gold Mixology Panel

The Zocalo girls put together a great party, one of the most fun I’ve been to as a blogger (it had nothing to do with the cocktails…).

Zocalo Team

By the end it turned into a real party with DJ Pajaro spinning dance hits for the few drunks left.

Zocalo Jonathan Gold Party

When it started to resemble a frat party I took my cue to leave.

Zocalo Frat Party

If anyone doubted the impact Jonathan Gold has had on LA, the night was a testament to the scope of his reach. In terms of fund raising for Zócalo, it was a great success. Not to mention it was fun as hell.


9 Responses to “The Zócalo Jonathan Gold Food Marathon”

  1. Liz Says:

    Thanks for sharing the evening with me. I truly wish I had been there, but you covered all the bases for me.

  2. SinoSoul Says:

    I wanna grow up to be like Octavio. HTF does a guy become THAT cool? Befuddles my mind.

  3. foodmarathon Says:

    With pig’s ears of course… pork on pork.

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