Los Angeles opened its gates this weekend to celebrity chefs from all over the country for the First Annual Food and Wine event. The four day festival included cooking demos, conversations with chefs, and unlimited tastings. In the spirit of Hollywood and its red carpet culture, we've presented awards to the weekend's best offerings.
BEST TEXTURE: Flan de Elote (John Sedlar, Rivera, Los Angeles, CA). This dish, with a creamy corn custard, a crunchy black quinoa, and squash blossom sauce, was served in a bowl made of corn husk.
BEST (AND MOST UPSCALE) CHINESE TAKEOUT: Char Siu Buns with Local Honey, Alaskan King Crab Crystal Chive Dumplings, Szechuan Style Chicken "Dan Dan" Dumplings (WP24, Wolfgang Puck and Sara Johannes, Los Angeles, CA). These Chinese treats were served in classic takeout boxes, giving the high-end restaurant's offerings a casual feel.
BEST "POP": Foie Gras Lollipops (Graham Elliot, Graham Elliot, Chicago, IL). Elliot's take on a childhood favorite included rich foie gras and watermelon Pop Rocks, giving the dish a sharp sizzle.
BEST ITEM ON BREAD: Short Rib Po' Boy (Rick Tramonto, Restaurant R'evolution, New Orleans, LA). Tramonto brought a Louisiana favorite to Los Angeles, and updated it with tender short rib and a truffle coleslaw.
BEST (AND MOST ADORABLE) MEXICAN DISH: Lamb Tostadita (Mary Sue Milliken, Border Grill, Santa Monica, CA). Milliken brought the charm with her bright smile and her bite-sized lamb tostadita, served with poblano slaw, pickled onion, and cotija cheese.
BEST SURF AND TURF: Mussels and Sausage (Mark Peel, Campanile, Los Angeles, CA). This dish brought seafood and meat together with a slice of baguette and rouille sauce.
BEST COMFORT FOOD: Pupusa with Pork Chili (Casey Thompson, Brownstone Restaurant and Lounge, Dallas, TX). The former "Top Chef" contestant put her spin on a Salvadoran dish, which served as a doughy and cheesy pillow for a spicy pork chili.
BEST WINE PAIRING: Cauliflower Panna Cotta and Sauvignon Blanc (Tyler Florence, Wayfare Tavern, San Francisco, CA). Florence, a frequent Food Network host, took his dish (cauliflower panna cotta with raw hamachi tartar and a crispy brussel sprout) to a new level by pairing it with his own sauvignon blanc.
BEST USE OF A CONE: Salmon Tartar (Roger Stettler, Four Seasons Resort, Wailea, HI). The salmon tartar was presented in a curry-flavored cone. Perfect with salmon, probably not so good with ice cream.
BEST (AND MOST INNOVATIVE) CHOCOLATE-COVERED TREATS: Assorted Chocolate Desserts (Hasty Torres, Madame Chocolat, Los Angeles, CA). This Beverly Hills shop covered Cheerios and marshmallows in chocolate for a sweet bite. Chocolate chip cookies and chocolate bark were also present to round out the sugar high.
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