Shawna Dawson’s Artisanal LA, which ran both Saturday and Sunday in Downtown’s Cooper Building, was a great success. The event included dozens of local and artisanal vendors, selling their wares and giving away samples of handmade chocolates, pastries, jams, sauces, and more. Sunday’s highlights included a craft beer panel with Brian Lethcoe of Downtown’s Nibble Bit Tabby and Jeremy Raub of Glassell Park’s Eagle Rock Brewery. The Beer Chicks, Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune, hosted the panel, priming the crowd with samples of Jeremy’s beer before settling in to discuss the exciting new place of craft beer in Los Angeles.
Another Artisanal LA highlight was the live butchering demonstration given by Amelia Posada and Erika Nakamura, whose butcher shop, Lindy & Grundy, is slated to open at 801 N Fairfax in December. Once the doors open for business, Lindy & Grundy will begin hosting hands-on butchering seminars, sausage-making courses, whole animal cooking classes, and monthly “Meet the Rancher” cocktail events – all of which are sure to make Lindy & Grundy the most community-oriented butcher shop in L.A.
Next up was Taste of Abbot Kinney, a Sunday food festival coordinated by Darice E. Goodwin of Perfect Success, an event management and production company with offices adjacent to LAX. The event was far from a “perfect success”. After waiting forty-five minutes to be checked in, I walked to nearby Joe’s Restaurant just prior to 5pm, only to find that Joe’s was “sold out” of the featured dish – a dish that was supposed to be guaranteed to all ticket holders through 7pm.
The remaining vendors quickly followed suit, placing pre-made signs on their doors announcing that Taste of Abbot Kinney tickets would no longer be accepted. My girlfriend was left with $36 in unhonored tickets, and there were many more people stuck in similar predicaments. Fearing popular uprising, the event coordinators fled the scene, literally leaving hundreds of people deserving of refunds out in the cold (and rain).
To their credit, the non-profit benefiting from the event – Inside Out – offered my girlfriend a refund this morning. It’s a shame they’re having to return money collected for a good cause, but the event was grossly mismanaged. And, to echo Grubtrotters, the second annual Taste of Abbot Kinney was the first food festival to leave me hungry.
But all was not lost. The kitchen at Joe’s was good enough to serve us pâté on toast after the raviolis ran out. And the bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with chorizo at Primitivo were delicious. And though we had to wait thirty minutes to be served at Otheroom, the beer tasting flight was a welcome respite to the inclement weather brewing outside (though a flight of three beers cost two tickets more than advertised on the event map). I had the Rogue Dead Guy Ale, the Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, and the Maredsous #8.
Rogue brews the Dead Guy Ale in the German Maibock style. But to me it tasted more like a California Common, showcasing the mellow bread and carmel flavors often associated with lager beers fermented at ale temperatures. And in this case, the ale-lager hybrid connection makes sense. Because while Rogue’s Maibock is an ale, the German Maibocks are strictly lagers. And the Germans traditionally brew Maibock for consumption in May (hence the name) – a fact that may explain why the Dead Guy failed to enliven my palate on that cold, rainy late-October evening.
The Dogfish Head Punkin Ale was much more in keeping with the weather. Brewed with real pumpkin, brown sugar, and spices, the 7% ABV seasonal ale was the perfect amulet to ward off the chilly marine air. The Maredsous #8, a Belgian dubbel with 8% ABV, poured a dark brown with a shimmering of scarlet. It had a sour nose and tasted at first like a dark Scottish brown ale, but with bite, a little viscosity, lots of dark malts, and a hint of sour cherry.