Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Etc. 2nd Annual Gold Standard Food and Wine Event [Guest Post].

This past weekend I attended the L.A. Weekly's second annual "Gold Standard," a food-sampling event where attendees get to try specially chosen small dishes from 40 diverse Los Angeles area restaurants. “Gold Standard” is named for Jonathan Gold, the Weekly's Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic (and patron saint of the local foodie-blogger scene), as he is the one who chooses the participating restaurants. I, just like pretty much everyone else I know who is familiar with his work, am a huge fan of his writing, as well as his keen insight into the local culinary-culture scene.

After attending a second time, I remain convinced that “Gold Standard” is a perfect outing for those living in So Cal who (like me) consider the act of eating delicious food with friends to be among the more worthwhile and satisfying pursuits of life. Admittedly, the $60 cost is on the high side, and I found the food this year to be slightly less impressive when compared with last year's (my friend thought that this time there were fewer in the way of trendy new restaurants, a-la Animal, so maybe that's why I wasn't blown away by as many of the dishes this time). But such minor complaints aside, I definitely had a great time once again.

For one thing, the venue this year--the Petersen Automotive Museum--proved to be a lot easier to navigate than last year's site (the West Hollywood location of Smashbox Studios), which was a major complaint of many who attended. Also, Stella Artois and Bulleit Bourbon provided free custom glasses for attendees, and I was definitely not alone in my excitement at being able to go home with a gold-rimmed Stella beer glass! (What can I say; I'm a sucker for those commercials...) Most important though were the samples of food from some of Mr. Gold’s favorite local eateries, places like Jitlada, Palate Food and Wine, Wurstküche, and the Nickel Diner (who provided samples of their now infamous Maple Bacon Donut). And you could chase it all down with wine, beer and bourbon, all of which was also included in the $60 entrance fee. So really, what's not to like?

Personally, I enjoyed the frozen treats available from two of the stands providing desserts. One was that manned by the Bulgarini Gelato dudes, with their impressively authentic Italian gelato, something I've been meaning to try ever since Gold first started touting it a few years ago. Upon tasting their Chocolate with Sea Salt flavor, I was immediately transported back to the time I spent studying abroad in Florence a few summers ago. The other stand was the Saffron Spot ice cream table, which had a number of their own unique flavors of ice cream, all of which were delicious.

While at the event I was able to corner Gold briefly and ask him about Slake, the new magazine devoted to L.A. that his wife Laurie Ochoa--the Weekly's recently departed editor in chief--is heading up. I didn't find out many details, but it sounds as if they are continuing to move forward on it, and I'm really excited to read the first issue.

Anyway, if you like trying some delicious and very diverse kinds of food, and are willing to throw down a bit of money for an afternoon of some good old-fashioned gluttony, I would definitely consider looking into attending next year's event.

-- Nico Smedley

Nico, a former Los Angeles Times editorial assistant and Editorial Pages Aide, is currently living in San Diego and pursuing a career in the journalism and media industry.

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1 comment:

  1. i had a wonderful experience at the Gold Standard Event! These were some of my favorites