Among all the food and wine fêtes that take place in LA throughout the year, the Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival just might be the most extravagant. The four-day event boasts chefs from the city's best restaurants, luxurious wines curated by knowledgeable sommeliers, power lunches and cooking demonstrations from culinary giants you normally see trading jabs with judges on the Food Network. As you can imagine, tickets aren't cheap. But hey, go big or go home, right? We've rounded up the five most indulgent events to splurge on at this week's festival, from an Asian Night Market to a tasting soirée featuring Common (Yes. Common.). To see the full schedule of the festival events, click here.
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Does this not have the most hyperbolic name for a food event? These aren't just bites of L.A. that you'll be sampling; these are the ultimate bites, the bites that—if you suddenly found out you had just minutes to live—you'd cram into your mouth as one final indulgent meal. And with good reason: the gourmet snacks will be prepared by chefs from across the city, including FIG's Ray Garcia, Ford's Filling Station's Ben Ford, Black Market Liquor Bar's Antonia Lofaso, Sqirl's Jessica Koslow and more. Thursday; Downtown; 7-10pm; GA: $195, VIP: $250 (30 min entry before GA, VIP cooking demos with chef Graham Elliot)
From 626 Night Market to the latest Ktown Night Market, street snacking in the dark has become a legit way to spend a Saturday night. Here to take it up a notch at the festival is the Asian Night Market, hosted by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. Nosh on street food from over 25 restaurants (both established brick-and-mortars and mom-and-pop food trucks) that incorporate West Coast flavor with traditional Asian cuisine. But of course, skewers of chicken satay wouldn't be complete without sake cocktails, shochu, beer and all the free-flowing wine you could ask for. Friday; Downtown; 7-10pm; GA: $125, VIP: $175 (30 min entry before GA, VIP cooking demo with chef Morimoto)
For the non-foodie, let's put this event in perspective: Dining with the Michelin Stars is like watching five Oscar winners perform a dramatic scene for you while you sit in the front row of an intimate theater. If you can score (read: afford) tickets to this mind-blowing dinner, you'll receive the following: an incredible meal executed by Michael Cimarusti (Providence and Connie & Ted's in Los Angeles), Pierre Gagniere (Twist at the Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas), David Kinch and Stephanie Prida (Manresa in Los Gatos) and Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn in San Francisco), all Michelin-starred chefs who excel at what they do. A selection of wines from Aurelien Verdet, Champagne Krug, Mayacamas Viineyards and more will keep you hydrated as you just might have the best meal of your life. Saturday; Downtown (Vibiana dining room); 6:30-10:30pm; $500
Tastings from 25 chefs, wine selections from 200 wineries and, uh, did we mention that Common will be performing? Stroll along Grand Avenue as the twinkling lights of Downtown serve as a backdrop to this evening event celebrating food, wine and music in Los Angeles. There will be gourmet bites from Chi Spacca's Chad Colby, République's Walter Manzke, Mozza's Nancy Silverton and more—basically, a smorgasbord of food from our city's best chefs (and a few from across the country). Plus, you know, Common crooning his "Come Close" love ballad in the background. Saturday; Downtown; 7-10pm; GA: $250, VIP: $350 (early admission, private cooking demo and reception with celebrity chef Michael Chiarello)
What's the best way to end an indulgent weekend full of food and wine? More food and wine. The Lexus Grand Tasting on Sunday wraps up the festival with over 300 wines and drool-inducing samples from 25 celebrity chefs. Give in to your inner foodie geek and snap photos with Bucato's Evan Funke, Rivera's John Sedlar, Eggslut's Alvin Cailan and more LA all-stars, or pick up a signed cookbook from your favorite chefs. Sunday; Downtown; Noon-3pm; GA: $150, VIP: $195 (early admission, VIP cooking demo)