Los Angeles' years-long rise towards national culinary significance crested recently with the naming of downtown LA's Alma as America's best new restaurant. There have been lots of great restaurants and chefs riding that same wave, most recently in the guise of the annual Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival. Now in its third year, the LA Food & Wine Fest has grown exponentially from its beginnings outside of the Staples Center. This year, the multi-day event crisscrossed the city, with lunches in Beverly Hills, tacos and tequila by the beach, and an Asian night market with the Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall as a backdrop.
The events all culminate over the weekend, with back-to-back Grand Tasting events. The splashy, Lexus-backed tastings aren't cheap—VIP tickets will run you about $200—but they do bring out the absolute best, with chefs like Fabio Viviani, Masaharu Morimoto, David Lefevre, Ricardo Zarate, and Grant Achatz all on hand to serve up small plates of pork cheek, compressed yellow watermelon with speck, or whatever else came to mind. Add in 200 wineries from across the globe, and that hefty ticket price begins to make a little more sense.
With more out-of-town chefs, wineries, and attendees than ever, the LA Food & Wine Festival seems poised to keep riding the wave of LA's food scene success. Here are a few of our favorite bites from this year's Grand Tasting. Click through the slideshow to see them all »