Last Night: 2011 Gold Standard [Photos]
The third annual tasting event, held once again at Petersen Auto Museum, featured dozens of local restaurants with dishes on offer ranging from the baroque wieners of Slaw Dogs (where the sample was half a hot dog) to the simple but satisfying scoops of Korean barbecue and rice at Park's Barbecue.
Some of our favorites included Malaysian curry from Starry Kitchen (who also brought their famous green tofu balls), fried gizzards with Romesco sauce from The Gorbals (soon to be available on their Happy Hour menu), red snapper ceviche from Chichen Itza, lengua tacos from Loteria Grill and foie gras parfait with beet croutons from Drago Centro.
The most inventive dish, by far, was Michael Cimarusti's offering for Providence: a small scoop of chopped scallops topped with tiny brown rice puffs and served with a skewer of compressed pineapple and (we think) passion fruit/curry gelĂ©e.
Props to Susan Feniger for attempting to make Street's Vietnamese crepes, filled with mung beans and other vegetables, with an iron. Not an iron press you'd use to weigh down bacon or grilled cheese sandwiches, an iron you'd use to get wrinkles out of clothing.
New this year: In addition to wine, a few restaurants offered cocktails. Cole's was on hand mixing generously portioned Old-Fashioneds. Moon Mountain vodka had a booth where they made some sort of complex, citrusy cocktail. We preferred A-Frame's soft pink, unabashedly girly cocktail made with a touch of hibiscus, when we weren't drinking the non-alcoholic lime-citrus agua fresca from La Casita Mexicana.
Woe unto attendees who hadn't arrived as soon as the doors opened. By 2 p.m., only an hour after the general admission attendees were let in, Jar had run out of food. (That's the second year in a row we've missed them.) Mo-Chica, Maison Giraud and The Foundry also sold out early. Participating restaurants were asked to bring 1,800 samples. Either several of them didn't, or the VIP attendees are a bunch of pigs. Either way, we know for next year: Show up early and wear stretch pants.