Skip to main content

Live Review: Artisanal LA Weekend Wrap Up



Apparently, Los Angeles foodies are a tenacious bunch. Not even a huge line of 15,000 runners snaking their way through downtown L.A. for the Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathon could keep this crowd from showing up to Artisanal LA on its second day, Sunday, Oct. 24.

Despite the more-than-inconvenient road blocks, uncharacteristic (even for L.A.!) traffic and the ridiculous detours that were more like road trips than an alternate route, plenty of attendees showed up to enjoy this inaugural celebration of the wide array of local boutique food, drink and crafts.

Lucky for them, this festival was worth every wrong turn and frustrating detour they might have encountered on their way.

Held in the penthouse floor of the historic Cooper Building, the venue boasted a great look out into the city, and the venue served as an introspective guide into its eclectic nature.

The brilliance of this festival was without a doubt its overwhelming sense of creativity and innovation. From the fantastic artwork displayed on the event’s programs to the outfits and booths of the vendors, the innovation and originality was refreshing, to say the least.

Take, for example, the folks over at Lemon Bird Handmade Jams, who combined the flavors of cinnamon and white wine with preserved peaches for a smooth, tangy jam that is unlike any jam experience I’ve had to date. Or I Heart Pies’ executive pastry chef Emily Cofrancesco’s idea to emulate the flavors of a peanut-butter cup s’more in a pie. Talk about the best of both worlds.

Lemon Bird Handmade Jams

Even the more well-known flavors at the festival had an original flair. Morning Glory Confections, as headed by Max Lesser, featured peanut brittle redone as Thai curry and peanut brittle. The flavors of the lime, coconut, ginger and lemongrass played off each other in a delightful pop against the tongue. Immediately, it becomes clear the brittle is a sweet version of a savory Thai red or panang curry.

Bacon queen and chef/owner of Cast Iron Gourmet, Rashida Purifoy tells the story of her hit creation, Couch Mix, saying that one day she had a friend over who playfully suggested she pair a salty trail mix with some candied bacon she had on hand. “We decided to call it ‘couch mix,’ because we knew we weren’t going anywhere,” she says. And so the ingenious creation, combining the sweet flavors of candied peppered bacon along with a nutty trail mix with dried cranberries, was born.

For a flavorful play on childhood faves, Spun City featured a jalapeno cotton candy. With a lot of sweet and a bit of an edge, the cotton candy proved to be quite the sensation, although this writer would suggest infusing some vanilla bean to add another dimension of flavor. In the same vein, Plush Puffs had a caramel swirl marshmallow that was to die for. When toasted over a flame, the flavors swirl around in your mouth... Just thinking about these babies makes my mouth water.

Spun City's jalapeno cotton candy

When the people of Miss Fruitfly, an arts-and-crafts vendor specializing in kitschy tea towels, didn’t know how to display their products, they built life-sized cardboard stoves out of boxes. The stoves even had burners and a dish drying rack on top. Oh yeah, and the towels were more than adorable, too. I bought two.

Miss Fruitfly

The chocolate collection was astounding. The multitude of presenters included Brentwood’s Compartes, known for its elaborate and beautiful stenciled designs and Ococoa, featuring some of the most fanciful butter cup combinations imaginable. Ococoa’s most notable flavor combination is the Sunflower Honey cup, which is a dark chocolate cup full of sunflower seed butter and honey. Nutty, bittersweet, with the slight essence of sunflower seeds. ’Nuff said.


And then there were the endless array of olive oils, sauces and marinades. I happily enjoyed a tasting flight hosted by The Olive Press’ Matthew Gaffney (pictured), who walked attendees through a range of olive oils from delicate to robust intensity. The best, and perhaps my favorite of the group, was the company’s Master Blend, which had a rich buttery feel. The moles from San Angel Mole were rich and bold, and unlike most moles the Los Angeles public is familiar with. The black mole featured deep flavors such as dark chocolate and nuts. And then there was the balsamic barbecue sauce over at David’s Unforgettables—it was perhaps the first balsamic barbecue sauce I’ve ever heard of, and it was exquisite.

The Olive Press' Matthew Gafney

As we feasted on so many foods unique to this great city, we also stood together in support of the LAUSD School Gardens Programs. Part of the proceeds from the event were donated to this educational program, focused on teaching L.A. youth about community, sustainability and healthy living. Several representatives of the program were holding their own in a green-filled display happily handing out free seedlings of thyme, penny royal and more. Green policy director Mud Baron’s excitement for the program was contagious as he explained its mission to teach kids about healthy, flavorful foods and the importance of locally grown organic produce.

There are rumors of another Artisanal LA event in the future, and because of its dedication to fostering appreciation for local products, our youth, community and cultural appreciation, it’s easy for us to wish the event to grace us again soon.

Just preferably let it be on a day that doesn’t feature a massive marathon impeding the route.

All photos by Jessyca Dewey


About the Author

Jessyca is an L.A.-based editor for Demand Media who moonlights as a freelance writer with a focus on beauty and fashion writing. She has written for Back Stage magazine and Beverly Hills [213] magazine, among other regional publications. Dewey spends her free time reading InStyle, volunteering with the foster kids organization Peace4Kids, making and enjoying great food, and hanging out with her wee dog Webster.
Follow her on Twitter @jessycadewey


Bookmark and Share

Popular posts from this blog

2017 EXXXOTICA Expo Dates and Locations Announced

Riding high off its most successful event to date in Edison, New Jersey, the EXXXOTICA Expo presented by MyFreeCams is already looking forward to 2017 with a trio of events planned around the country. In addition to its longstanding shows in Chicago and New Jersey, the show’s producers are pinning a new city on its map — Denver, Colorado for EXXXOTICA Mile High.

EXXXOTICA’s debut in the Rocky Mountains has been in the works for years, and event organizers couldn’t be more excited to bring the show to Denver. The 2017 show schedule kicks off in grand style with EXXXOTICA Mile High, March 31 through April 2, 2017. The show will be taking place as a full hotel takeover at the Crowne Plaza Denver Airport Convention Center.
With nearly 100,000 square feet of exhibition and breakout space, EXXXOTICA Mile High will not only feature hundreds of exhibitors and the top stars in adult, as well as seminars and performers, but the hotel will be transformed into the hottest hotel in the country wi…

CAM4 To Sponsor The Ms. EXXXOTICA 2017 Competition

EXXXOTICA, the nation’s largest event dedicated to love and sex, just announced that webcam portal CAM4 has signed on as a show sponsor for 2017. CAM4 will be sponsoring and presenting one of the expo’s most popular events, as well as one of its newest initiatives for EXXXOTICA Chicago in June and EXXXOTICA New Jersey in November.
Developed as a community with a focus on social networking, CAM4 is much more than a traditional webcam site, and they are now the presenting sponsor of SW!TCH, EXXXOTICA’s LGBT showcase. SW!TCH made its debut at EXXXOTICA New Jersey in 2016 as the show continued its efforts to be completely inclusive. SW!TCH was created as a means for LGBT vendors, talent, and performers to become part of the EXXXOTICA family. SW!TCH will continue to grow in 2017, and with CAM4 as the presenting sponsor, their booth will be the anchor of the showcase that will feature seminars, events, vendors, talent, and broadcasters catering to LGBT attendees.
“CAM4 is extremely excited…

EXXXOTICA 2-17 Hits Chicago June 23rd

EXXXOTICA Chicago, the largest event in the USA dedicated to love and sex, opens its doors for the seventh straight year at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont this weekend and thousands of attendees will be treated to a virtual playground for adults, with over 150 adult stars, a convention floor packed with over 100 exhibitors, and over 20 hours of entertainment on the main stage and in the seminar rooms scheduled.

EXXXOTICA, presented by MyFreeCams, will feature the biggest names in the adult world. Legends, stars on the rise and the hottest cam girls will be appearing. Superstars such as Ron Jeremy, Lisa Ann, Tori Black, Katie Morgan, Alexis Texas, Lexi Belle, Allie Haze, Tanya Tate, Evan Stone, Adriana Chechik, Phoenix Marie, Joanna Angel, Rubberdoll, Briana Banks, Teagan Presley, Alexis Monroe, Adria Rae, Mr. Marcus, Misty Stone, Stoya, Kendra Sunderland, Vicki Chase, Mia Malkova, Jillian Janson, Darcie Dolce, Eva Lovia, Harley Dean, Dani Jensen, Natalia Starr, …

Summer Survival: Pick the Most Breathable Fabrics

Summer is inching closer, and while we're all psyched for the perpetually warm weather ahead after a tough winter, pretty soon it's inevitable that the heat, humidity and summer sun will leave us feeling, well, less than fresh.

Chrissy Volk, wardrobe consultant for Adahlia Volk has put together a cheat-sheet for navigating through the best, most breatheable fabrics for the season. Who ever looks at clothing "ingredient" listings on the tag - well, this season think of it as your guide to "cool."

SUMMER FABRIC "INGREDIENTS"

DENIM
COTTON + STRETCH = CUTE BUTT: Cotton jeans are the lightest for summer because they are airy and breathable, however, jeans with a small content of stretch are the most flattering. They will move with your body and it’s movements.BEST DENIM BLENDS: Chrissy suggests denim with a high cotton content, and small synthetic content. A jean with either a 98% cotton/2% lycra or 96 % cotton/4% Lycra fabric, is a good combination. J…

Exxxotica Los Angeles 2011 - Day 2 Gallery

DISCLAIMER: THESE IMAGES ARE NOT SAFE FOR WORK (NSFW)

Exxxotica, "the largest event in the U.S.A. dedicated to love and sex," took place at the Los Angeles Convention Center on August 26th-28th drawing hundreds of fans of all various ages. From middle aged men to college kids, fans got to meet their favorite adult stars, attend seminars, watch go go dancers on stripper poles and ask their favorite stars questions during the on stage panel. Even, Youtube sensation, the "Sexy Sax Man" made a cameo. If you missed out on the event, don’t fret. We’ve got you covered with our photo gallery.

If you're wondering how Exxxotica measures up to Adultcon, let's just say that this event was like the E3 of adult expos, with an emphasis on females, relationships and love. Let's not forget that bigger celebrities were in attendance here including the legendary Ron Jeremy, Rockstar Phil Varone and Wicked Pictures stars Stormy Daniels, Kirsten Price, Jessica Drake, Alekt…