I know I keep saying it but you can try a swath of Los Angeles’ enviable and locationally diverse restaurants with one VIP ticket to LA Street Food Fest this Saturday. They shrink hundreds of miles of Southern California food marathon territory down to one single location outside the Rose Bowl. More importantly, they bring Tijuana’s thriving (and Anthony Bourdain-approved) food scene together in one outstanding row of Mexican food brilliance.
1. Some places serve portions that are too big for an event like this. Share those with a friend or ask that they cut them in half- don’t just eat half and throw the rest away.
2. Pepper in dessert every third course so you don’t overload on savory then get burned out of sweets.
3. Find the Baja chefs first.
This is what you’re day will look like:
Last night I sampled some of the great dishes that will be served Saturday. The Park’s Finest BBQ stood out as my favorite. Hailing from the neighborhood where Training Day was filmed, Oscar and John Eric grew up avoiding drama by cooking great barbecue. They came up from house parties to catering to a brick and mortar location in Echo Park. Saturday they’re bringing their famous Cornbread Bibingka (which stays moist with the inclusion of coconut milk) and Coco Beef.
Mama Leah’s Coconut Beef is 16 Hour Smoked Chuck Steak, sliced into cubed beef stew like pieces, pan roasted with garlic, stewed for 2 hours in a coconut cream, vinegar, and yellow chilis, then reintroduced into the smoker to hold and absorb smoke flavor in to the coconut oil.
Dog Haus Biergarten played host to the event, serving beer, hot dogs and sliders. Their Sooo Cali (mixed greens, diced tomato, tempura fried onions, spicy basil aioli, avocado) served on a Hawaiian Bread bun was fantastic. They just opened their third location in Alhambra.
The Peking Duck Truck will be making their debut. Chef Michael Brown (Red O, Wolfgang Puck Patina) brings years of experience and recipe trials to a truck focusing on traditional and contemporary takes on the famous Chinese dish. He manages an equally crispy and moist rendition that you should try Saturday.
The Hansik Truck was there serving Korean BBQ and milk tea from Moo Dae Po, Iota and Haus. The highlight was their “Papa Chokbal” (marinated pig’s feet with green onions and fermented bean paste).
All that salt needs something sweet. Coba Aguas Frescas are bringing the beloved drink to the masses with Horchata, Guayaba, Jamaica, Mango and Tamarindo.
Speculoos is the greatest single jarred import besides Marie Sharps Hot Sauce. Waffles de Liege serves waffles topped with speculoos so that’s more than enough reason to try them at the event. I just wish someone would make crunchy speculoos!
The Market on Holly is Pasadena’s Joan’s on Third. Their brown butter rice krispie treats go toe to toe with any you’ve had before.
Last but certainly not least was Mother Moo Creamery‘s salted dark chocolate ice cream. They are the real deal with hand made ice cream from Straus Family Farms’ organic dairy.
Here’s the full list. Study it:
Border Grill: Mini Green Corn Tamal Cone
Cambalaches Gourmet: Menu TBA
El Pan-Americano: Pernil Sandwich
Fox Pizza Bus: Farmers Market Salad + Wood Burning Pork Crostini
Frysmith: Menu TBA
Fuji Foods (Debuts at the Fest!): Rice ‘n Roll Onigiri
Gravy Train Poutinerie: Traditional Poutine + Deep Fried Cheese Curds
Hansik Truck: LA Galbi
Kogi BBQ: Black Jack Quesadilla, Sweet Chili Chicken Quesadilla
La Dolce Vita: Gourmet PB&J
Nonna’s Kitchenette (As seen on Food Network’s Great Truck Race): Maple Glazed French Toast Crostini
The Grilled Cheese Truck: Cheesy Mac & Rib
The Mighty Boba Truck: Buttermilk Popcorn Chicken + Boba Milk Tea
The Peking Duck Truck: Peking Duck Sliders
Vintage Kitchen: Patatas Bravas
Waffles de Liege: Original Liege Waffle
Wake N Bake Wagon: Pulled Pork Slider
WTF Pizza: Five Cheese Pizza
Yalla Truck: Pita Sandwiches
Antojitos mi Abuelita: Green Mole + Black Mole
Mariscos Jalisco: Tacos Dorado de Camaron
Mariscos Los Lechugas: Menu TBA
STREET CARTS & STANDS
Antojitos Carmen: Menu TBA
Antojitos Sofy | Sponsored by Street Gourmet LA (As seen on Bizarre Foods): Corundas (Mexican mini tamales)
bling bling dumpling: Cheeseburger Dumplings + Ginger Pork Dumplings
Jaliscos Mobile Taco Grill: Tacos de Asada + Al Pastor + Pollo
Mexicali Taco & Co.: Cachetada (The classic tostada reinvented)
Sabor da Bahia: Moqueca Taste (Brazilian fish stew with rice)
Seoul Sausage Company (As seen on Food Network’s Great Truck Race): Flaming Fried Balls
World Empanadas: Cricket, Bacon and Potato Empanada (VIP Hour+) + Chicken Empanadas
RESTAURANTS & CHEFS
Ayara Thai: Spicy Grilled Thai Clams with Lime Sauce
Dog Haus: Sliders + Scott Baioli Dog
Fat Spoon: Seasonal Vegetable Curry
HAUS: Spicy Chicken Dukboki + “Papa Chokbal” (Marinated trotter with green onions and fermented bean paste)
Haven Gastropub: Cola-glazed Berkshire Pork + Pig Ears
Isla Cocina Pilipina: Menu TBA
Kings Row Gastropub: Curried Al Pastor Pork Belly with Fresh Naan
La Flor de Yucatan: Cochinita Pibil Tacos
La Monarca Bakery: Guava & Cheese Puff Pastry Taquitos + Poblano Chicken Mole
Lazy Ox Canteen | Chef Perfecto Rocher: Paella
Moo Dae Po II: LA Galbi
Playa | Chef John Sedlar: Cielo Verde Cornet
Short Order | Chef Christian Page: Pretzel Pups
Simpang Asia: Nasi Bungkus (Indonesian curry combination rice wrap)
Starry Kitchen: Menu TBA
Sushi Roku: Menu TBA
Tiara Café: Slow Smoked Balls of Lust (Ham brined pork belly encased in roasted poblano)
The Park’s Finest: Menu TBA
Yxta Cocina Mexicana and Mercado: Shrimp Taquitos + Rajas Tamales
CART FOR A CAUSE
Chef Neal Fraser | Grace + Vibiana + BLD
Los Angeles FOOD & WINE BOOTHS
Chef Ricardo Zarate | Mo-chica + Picca (Food & Wine Best New Chef 2011)
Chef Bryant Ng | Spice Table (Food & Wine Best New Chef 2012)
Chefs Steve Samson & Zach Pollack | Sotto (Los Angeles Magazine’s #1 Best New Restaurant) (VIP Hour+)
TEST KITCHEN BOOTH
Ori Menashe | Bestia (Preview at the Fest!)
BAJA RESTAURANTS + CHEFS
Aqui es Texcoco: Menu TBA
Benito Molina | Manzanilla Restaurant: Menu TBA
Javier Plascencia | Mision 19: Tamal de Barbacoa (Pork shoulder, fig leaf, pickled veggies, coleslaw, heirloom beans)
Mariscos el Mazateño: Taco de Camaron Enchilado
Mariscos “La Guerrerense”: Sea Snail Tostada + Tostada Campechana
TACOS KOKOPELLI (US debut at the Fest!): Black Harder + Kracken
ICE CREAM SOCIAL
Beachy Cream: Ice Cream Sandwiches
CoolHaus: Menu TBA
Dragons Whisker Candy: Chinese Honey Candy
Ice Ice Shavie: Menu TBA
IOTA: Pat Bing Soo + Fruit Chips + Ice Coffee + Milk Tea
Longboards Ice Cream: The Big O + The Barfight
Market on Holly: Wonder Bar + Brown Butter Rice Crispy Treats
Mother Moo Creamery: Salty Chocolate + Cinnamon Ice Cream
Secret Squirrel Cold Brew: Menu TBA
Sinners & Saints Desserts: Salted Caramel + Honey Granache Tart
Short Cake: Brunettes + Snickerdoodles + Nancy’s Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie
Sweet Lucie’s: Organic Strawberry Mint Lemonade + Cookies & Cream Ice Cream
Sweet Wheels: Beignets + GF Churros with Caramel Dipping Sauce
The Churro Borough of Los Angeles: Churro Ice Cream Sandwiches