In a nutshell: Taste of the Eastside is a food+drink festival that showcases the evolving and diverse food scene of the eastside neighborhoods of Silver Lake, Echo Park, Eagle Rock, Highland Park, Los Feliz, Atwater and beyond.
I caught a ride inward but was able to easily take the Red Line homeward – something I wish all food-related events in Los Angeles took into consideration as parking looked tight and complicated. NOT FOR ME! Bwahahaha. Metro Tap Cards Unite!
Anyway. I arrived a little early, which allowed me to admire the view.
That would be the Hollywood Sign and the Griffith Park Observatory in the distance. Though the weather originally called for temperature spike to 90 degrees Fahrenheit it was a balmy, sunny, breezy high 70s and the perfect weather for an outdoor food event.
You’re ready aren’t you?
Gird your loins, readers.
Pavlova – Proof Bakery/
Meyer Lemon Preserves (Sqirl) | Blackberry
Comment: Taste of the Eastside, we started off on the right foot. Fluffy like a cloud and in perfect harmony with the sweet/tart lemon preserves and the fresh juiciness of the blackberry.
Kumiai Oyster – L&E Oyster Bar
Comment: My affair with the oyster continues with this morsel (and maybe two of his brothers). I added cocktail sauce and lemon on this fella and the “hog wash” concoction (jalapenos, lime and cilantro I want to say).
Multigrain Salad - Madame Maltisse Cafe
Lentils | Kidney Beans | Wild Rice | Barley | Chickpeas | Feta | Lemon Dill Vinaigrette
Comment: I don’t do salads or vegan food very often, but when I do I hope it always tastes like this. Gorgeous to look at, and just the spot of green I needed. This is the kind of salad that inspires people to get back in their kitchen and realize simple can be delicious.
Noodle Salad – Good Girl Dinette
Rice Noodles | Mixed Greens | Pickled daikon & carrots | Rare Beef Skewers | Crisped Shallots | Advanced Sauce | Peanuts
Comment: The line for this sample was always long, deservedly so. It is safe to assume everyone thought it was well worth the wait, as I did. I asked the woman in charge to decide which meat to pick – beef, pork or chicken – and she said beef, no question. Props to her and her grill master because this was unsurprisingly the favorite of the whole festival. I foresee myself visiting the Good Girl Dinette in the very near future.
Spiced Caramel Sundae – Little Doms
vanilla bean gelato | spiced caramel sauce | candied salted pecans
Comment: I love it when a restaurant can take a classic standby and give it a creative little ooomph without making it unrecognizable. This is such a dish and Little Doms is such a restaurant.
BBQ Oyster – Little Doms
Comment: More Oysters. Yes, more, come to mama, my little mollusk…
Chicken liver pâté – Canele
| Dijon |
Comment: I’m not going to lie to you, Marge. I had five of these.
Brandade – Canele
Salt Cod | Tomato Confit
Barlotti Bean Puree – Canele
Spicy Marinated Shrimp – The Park Restaurant
Coconut Noodle Cake | Tom Yum Sauce
Comment: So I was in too much of a food haze to really pay close attention to where this flavorful morsel came from, but the only business card I cannot place with a picture is The Park Restaurant. Hence, default deduction. Whoever made it, though, it’s bang on delicious.
Strawberry Basil Mimosa & Chocolate Cointreau – Pazzo Gelato
Comment: Hey! It’s Pazzo Gelato again, two Sunday’s in a row! Sweet. Both of these flavors were amazing. The strawberry basil mimosa is definitely a richer version of a fruit sorbet, ideal for cooling down on a hot summer day or to sooth the stomach and sweet tooth. The chocolate Cointreau is seductively rich and just a bit boozy. I imagine it being served at a burlesque show. This association may or may not have something to do with the fact that Dita von Teese is the Cointreau spokeswoman.
Buttermilk Pancake with Bacon Caramel – Square One Dining
Comment: It doesn’t look like much, but this bite-sized pancake packs a powerful wallop. I’d order a 3 stack of these so long as they tasted precisely as this one did. Damn. Now I wish I had snagged seconds.
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo – Auntie Em’s Kitchen
Comment: Gumbo is probably one of my least favorite American staples, but Auntie Em’s gumbo managed to surprise and delight me.
Snapper Ceviche – Malo Cantina
Cochinita Pibil – Yuca’s
Yucatán-style Pork | Banana leaf | Achiote
Vegan Coconut Ice Cream – Xoia Vietnamese Eats
Comment: I went for this flavor after being assured what made this flavor vegan was not any soy-based substitute but pure coconut milk. Omitting the dairy really allowed the coconut to be the star of this frozen treat.
Cilantro Lime Chickpeas – Four Cafe
Spinach | Red Onion | Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
Comment: I am not a fan of chickpeas. I am not a fan of chickpeas. I am not a – oh, hell, this was so unbelievably tasty. Cilantro, lime and red onions are the perfect accompaniment for the normally bland and dry chickpea. Brilliantly simple.
Caprese Salad – Whole Foods Local Love
| Citrus Ginger Dressing |
Comment: This salad had a luscious, creamy texture I wouldn’t normally associate with salad. I thought dressing would detract from its richness, but I was surprised to discover that it only added depth. Applause all around.
Carnitas – Hugo’s Tacos
| Habanaro Sauce |
Comment: The guy at the booth looked at me like I was crazy when I asked, nay, insisted on the habanaro sauce. Perra, por favor! I wish I had added twice that much; meat was so tenderly, juicily deserving of it.
Ricotta Plum Plachinta – Lemon Poppy Kitchen
Mint Lime Natural Soda – Lemon Poppy Kitchen
Comment: The mint and lime soda doesn’t look particularly interesting, but it was the most refreshing drink offered at the event. Lemon Poppy Kitchen just opened up in a tiny strip-mall on Verdugo Road in Glassell Park. They’re serving up a Romanian classic, plachinta, both sweet and savory stuffed flatbread. They’re very friendly and hoping to become a mainstay for good L.A. eats. From what I sampled yesterday, I think their future looks very bright.
It is worth mentioning that Taste of the Eastside made every effort to be as environmentally aware as possible with volunteers stationed at every waste station to help attendees sort compost, recyclables, landfill, liquids and plastics.
While I cannot comment on the silent auction/fund raising aspect of the event simply because I did not take part in it, I can say quibbles were minor as I experienced a smoothly organized, friendly event with an array of food that got me interested in restaurants I may have not known about otherwise.