Get us in your inbox


The 10 best events at the 2019 L.A. Times Food Bowl

Written by
Stephanie Breijo

The L.A. Times’ monthlong marathon into all things culinary is back, and this year, Food Bowl’s taking over the city with nearly 200 events, specials, demos, pop-up markets, collab dinners and full-on parties to celebrate food and the way it brings us together.

There’s a weekend devoted to prosciutto di parma. There’s a hands-on cooking class devoted to noodle pulling. There’s an entire Chinese restaurant week, where boba shops and noodle houses and hot-pot spots offer specials and prix-fixe, limited-run options. And as if that weren’t enough, a handful of restaurants, like Tesse, will offer monthlong secret Food Bowl menus or items—such as Maple Block’s Mondays-only pastrami collab with baker Shannon Swindle. You just need to know to ask.

Food Bowl kicks off on Tuesday, April 30 and runs through May, and to help you make sense of it all, here’s our guide to the top 10 events of this year’s fest. But believe us when we say it’s worth diving into the full schedule, too—because come on, can you really have too much of a good thing?

Mesamérica L.A. Food Bowl Kickoff Event + DFiesta (April 30)

Enrique Olvera’s one of Mexico’s most lauded chefs, but he brings much more to the table than his world-famous restaurant, Pujol—he also organizes a wildly popular Mexico City symposium, Mesamérica, diving into both Mexican food and culture. To kickstart the onslaught of Food Bowl goodness, Olvera’s bringing the series to L.A.—its first ever appearance outside of Mexico—and he’s teamed up with L.A. Times food editor Peter Meehan for a night of programming that includes talks, multimedia and musical performance, all exploring and celebrating the ties between Los Angeles and Mexico City. Take the opportunity to get to know Olvera, who’s launching two L.A. restaurants later this year—and if you attend Mesamérica’s reception, DFiesta, you’ll get to sample some of the food he’ll be cooking in the Arts District soon enough (plus bites from Guerrilla Tacos, Petty Cash Taqueria, Mexico City’s Campobaja and more).

Mesamérica runs 7-8:30pm at the Million Dollar Theatre in Downtown; tickets cost $35. DFiesta and Mesamérica combined entry is $85, and includes a pre-symposium cocktail hour at the theater, 6-7pm, as well as the DFiesta party in Grand Central Market, plus post-reception drinks at La Cita.

View this post on Instagram

Taco de panza de lobina y aguacate a la parrilla

A post shared by Enrique Olvera (@enriqueolveraf) on

The Immigrant Dinners (May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29)

One of our favorite Food Bowl series is back: Every Wednesday in May, Momed Atwater Village is showcasing the cuisine of a different immigrant culture through a menu of small plates. Each week’s menu will be cooked by a friend of the restaurant, sharing their private family recipes. The best part? Momed’s donating a portion of the profits to a number of organizations that aid refugees and immigrants. This is one of the Food Bowl’s smaller individual-restaurant events, but it’s a great dinner option for an even greater cause, week in, week out.

Between $10 and $20 per small plate, 5–9:30pm

Night Market + Collaboration Lab (May 8-12)

Can’t make up your mind? There’s always Night Market, one of Food Bowl’s most popular returning events. Held in Grand Park, on the lawn in front of City Hall, it’s a sprawling little bit of everything: a five-night soirée featuring bites and sips from dozens of vendors selling à la carte goods like dumplings, sandwiches and meat skewers. Some of L.A.’s finest will be out in full force, including Gwen, Katsu Sando, Teddy’s Red Tacos, Kogi, Secret Lasagna, Phakhao Thip and Tacos 1986. Look for live cooking demos, KCRW-curated DJ sets and performances throughout—there’s even a special, ticketed collab section on opening night, where you’ll taste once-in-a-lifetime dishes from some of the city’s best chefs. So if you want to try a dish by Bavel and the O.C.’s Taco Maria; something from Shibumi and Spago; a Spanish-leaning plate from the Bazaar and Otoño; or a Chengdu Taste and Jitlada mashup, May 8 is the date you want to attend.

Night Market runs five nights at Grand Park; hours vary by night. Collaboration Lab costs $75 and runs 6-9pm on May 8 only.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by LA FOOD BOWL (@lafoodbowl) on

L.A.’s Best Burger (May 11)

Los Angeles is a burger city, and to celebrate the handheld dish, Food Bowl’s carving out a little space for perfect patties. On Saturday, May 11, the Night Market will host a special area devoted to burgers: The geniuses of wagyu-burger HiHo Cheeseburger; Vietnamese-French–inspired Banh Oui; home of the citywide-famous Single Burger, Everson Royce Bar; smashburger aficionados Love Hour; high-end burger wizards of the NoMad; butcher-shop–fresh Belcampo Meat Co. and others will all be on hand with burgers galore. Haven’t had enough? Smorgasburg’s throwing its own burger bash, on May 26.

L.A.’s Best Burger runs 1–4pm; tickets cost $75 and include food and drink.

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by HiHo 🍔 (@hihocheeseburger) on

All-Star BBQ (May 12)

On Sunday, May 12, head back to Night Market for a full-blown afternoon of smoked meats and treats from pitmasters people wait hours in line for. Adam Perry Lang of APL; Burt Bakman of Trudy’s Underground Barbecue and Slab; Andrew and Michelle Munoz of Moo’s Craft BBQ; Aaron Franklin of Austin’s Franklin Barbecue; and even dessert queen Valerie Gordon will be at this ticketed event, handing out hearty bites. And if that BBQ party isn’t enough for you, APL is throwing its one-year anniversary soirée on Friday, May 10, where you can catch both à la carte BBQ from chef Adam Perry Lang himself and appearances from also-renowned pitmasters Franklin, Bill Durney and more. The following day, May 11, you can find LAT food editor Peter Meehan interviewing Franklin and James Beard Award-winning author Sam Jones in a free, BBQ-focused talk at Now Serving. Let’s get meaty.

All-Star BBQ runs 1–4pm; tickets run $85 and include food and drink.

Filipinx Garage Party (May 18)

The Standard Hotel’s Angela Dimayuga, creative director of food and culture, is throwing it back old-school and hosting a party that’s reminiscent of her ’90s garage-party Filipino upbringing. A casual, potluck-style rooftop hang, this event includes food from some of the city’s best Filipino chefs: Russell Victorioso of Cafe Birdie and Chad Valencia of LASA, for example, plus all-star visiting chefs such as D.C.’s Tom Cunanan of Bad Saint and the Philippines’ JP Anglo of Sarsa Kitchen. Expect mahjongg, performances and DJ sets, not to mention some excellent eats.

Filipinx Garage Party runs noon–4pm at the rooftop of the Standard Hotel Downtown; tickets cost $35.

A Tutta Pizza! Pizza Festival (May 19)

What could be better than an all-day fest devoted to pizza? An all-day fest serving unlimited pizza. Hometown heroes Daniele Uditi of Pizzana and La Morra’s Zach Swemle and Marlee Blodgett will be there repping, as will Chris Bianco of both Arizona’s Pizzeria Bianco and L.A.’s own Manufactory. Tony Gemignani, a pizza world champion—a title to which we should all aspire—and Enzo Coccia, visiting from Naples, Italy. There’ll be live demos, endless slices and unlimited beer, plus panels featuring Mozza magnate Nancy Silverton and Peppe Miele, president of VPN Americas, the American delegation of Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana (and these guys mean business). You can even opt for intimate cooking workshops—for pizza, pasta and general Italian flavor—to make some magic at home.

A Tutta Pizza! is held at the Hollywood Palladium and runs from noon or 1pm until 8pm. Tickets cost $30 per person and 1pm entry; $80 per VIP ticket, which includes noon entry, VIP lounge and panel access, complimentary Peroni beer, gift bag and more; $125 per VIP and Workshop Panel entry, which includes all VIP perks plus entry to the workshop of your choice.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by La Morra Pizzeria (@lamorrapizzeria) on

L.A. Chef Conference (May 20)

You wanna talk food? This is your day. This symposium begins at 8:30 in the morning and keeps throwing industry panels, guest speakers, cooking demos and inside info at you well into the evening. Chefs and restaurateurs such as Suzanne Goin, Ludo Lefebvre, Tim Hollingsworth, Brooke Williamson, Jeremy Fox, Richard Blais, Michael Cimarusti, Susan Feniger, Will Guidara and others will chat on topics like mental health in the restaurant industry; whether hiring or hosting influencers is worth your money; the state of food media; and sustainable sourcing. 

The L.A. Chef Conference is held at ArcLight Cinemas and the Gourmandise School in Santa Monica, 8:30am-7pm; tickets cost $110 per person.

Wine Bowl (May 25)

If day drinking phenomenal wine in a very cool bowling alley doesn’t sound like a perfect afternoon to you, please know it will never work out between us. Let comedian and wino Eric Wareheim lead you through tastes from some incredible wineries, including Las Jaras, St. Reginald, Scribe, Method Sauvage, Vinca Minor, Lo-Fi Wine, Meinklang Farm, Ruth Lewandowski Wines, Domaine LA, Martha Stouman and more. Of course you’ll need to soak up some of that alcohol, and to help, Oakland’s own Kronnerburger will be slinging burgers—you know, to make sure you’re not throwing yourself down Highland Park Bowl’s refurbished lanes. 

Wine Bowl runs 11am–4pm at Highland Park Bowl; tickets cost $85 and include food, wine and general partying.

View this post on Instagram

Bring a date. Or don’t. You’ll meet plenty of people at the table.

A post shared by Outstanding In The Field (@out_inthefield) on

Outstanding in the Field (May 26-28)

Close out the fest the best way imaginable: by dining alfresco along the banks of the L.A. River, on a serene private farm or at a secret Downtown location. Roving dinner series Outstanding in the Field will host a trio of dinners toward the end of this year’s Food Bowl, each with their own menu, location and flair tailored to the setting. On May 26, the Downtown dinner includes a cocktail hour, appetizers and a four-course, family-style, long-table meal from Otium’s Tim Hollingsworth and Border Grill’s Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger. Tickets to dinner this run $265 per guest, and a portion of proceeds benefits the L.A. Food Bank.

On May 27, from 4 to 9pm, head to Weiser Family Farms in Tehachapi for a cocktail hour and four-course family style meal cooked by chef Rodolfo Guzmán of Chile, who’ll be weaving in grains and vegetables harvested from the very fields you’re sitting in—not to mention foraged ingredients from the nearby mountains. Tickets run $285. Then finally, on May 28, go waterside with a dinner on the L.A. River. You’ll learn the history of the watershed as you sip cocktails, then feast on a four-course, family-style meal from Redbird’s Neal Fraser, the Strand House’s Austin Cobb and Alimento’s Zach Pollack. Tickets to this dinner cost $265 per person, and a portion of the proceeds benefit River L.A.

Latest news