FROM THE DESK OF: Aiza
Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival took place over the weekend right down the street from my apartment. I really did want to buy a ticket (especially because De La Soul was scheduled to perform on Saturday night). However, I just could not get over the ticket price. For the whole week, I went back and forth debating whether I could justify spending anywhere between $115-$175 for one (only 1) night of unlimited wine and food tastings from up and coming to well-known chefs. While I wanted to go, ultimately the practical me figured that for $150 I could create my own fake a$$ version of an LA Food and Wine Festival visiting different restaurants throughout the city for the entire weekend.
Aiza’s Fake A$$ LA Food & Wine Festival
Restaurant: RiceBar; $9-$10
Meal: Pork Longganisa, Bistek Tagalog
Recently, I read multiple articles about the ever growing popularity of RiceBar. Filipino food is the hippest cuisine and I’m so proud! Filipino chefs were even participating at the LA Food and Wine Festival too. I wanted to start my fake LA food tasting tour with Filipino food and I was not disappointed at all. For real, RiceBar takes Filipino classics up a notch. I have never had bistek as good as RiceBar.
Restaurant: Pie Hole; $7
Meal: Coconut Cream Pie, Key Lime Pie
I have been on a serious pie kick lately. As part of my quest to find the perfect Key Lime Pie (a future post), I came across Pie Hole’s Coconut Cream Pie. This pie tastes basically like a Girl Scout Samoa cookie. I didn’t even know creating such a memory at first bite was possible. This pie is delicious.
Restaurant: Tacos Baja Ensenada; $2+
Meal: Fish, Shrimp Taco
My cousin recommended this place for the best fish tacos in LA. Right in East LA, I found my go-to fish taco spot. On Wednesdays, you can get fish tacos for 99 cents (except Ash Wednesday!). The line can get long but it is so worth it- price and taste at perfection.
Restaurant: G&B Coffee; $5-$10
Meal: Latte (just one) and G&B Shake.
G&B Coffee is not cheap by any means but I literally had the best latte ever. Ever. Did I mention, Ever?
Restaurant: Eggslut; $7
While at Grand Central Market, you cannot avoid the long line at Eggslut (again, Filipinos representin’). Since I was on own my fake version of the LA Food and Wine Festival, I had to stop at one of city’s most popular breakfast spots to start my Saturday.
Restaurant: Samosa House; $1.50-$9
Meal: Samosas, combination plate
Samosa House is considered an essential LA vegetarian restaurant. I have wanted to try this spot for a long time but never really had a chance until this weekend. While I don’t think I could ever be a vegetarian, if I had Samosa House near me, I might actually consider the move to eliminate meat in my life (or maybe not).
Restaurant: Top Round; $6-$8
Meal: Original Roast Beef
Forget Arby’s, I know where to find the best roast beef sandwich. Whenever I need an affordable and easy place to visit in the Miracle Mile area, I always stop here. Add this to my fake LA food festival menu.
Restaurant: fonuts; $3.50
Meal: Chocolate Banana Donut
I don’t know if a fonut could be considered anywhere near a donut. The Chocolate Banana donut really is just a chocolate banana cake shaped like a donut. This gluten free, amazing, donut really beats Dunkin’ Donuts or anything else. I heard about these long lines for donuts made with cereal or crazy other toppings, but fonuts should really be one of these places too.
Restaurant: Popdup; $8
Meal: Ginger lemon tea (?)
Since I couldn’t make it out to the LA food festival, I decided that for sure this weekend I was going to visit Smorgasburg LA at ROW DTLA. While I didn’t try any wine this weekend, I did taste this tasty ginger lemon tea (I think this is what I had). Although I cannot remember the exact name of this drink, I do believe this was the perfect drink for a hot day wandering around this collection of interesting food dishes. If you want to save some money, get the drink in a plastic cup instead of the glass jar. However, I did read in the book The Alchemist something along the lines that teas taste better in a glass.
Restaurant: Belly & Snout; $12
Meal: Kare Kare Hot Dog
Of course, I had to try one of the Filipino vendors at the Smorgasburg because I represent all food Filipino these days. I enjoyed this hot dog quite a bit but it did get pretty heavy (weight wise) with hot dog and kare kare combined together. It definitely was different meal but exciting to see how creative Filipinos are getting with food these days.
Restaurant: Wanderlust; $5
Meal: Ube Malted Crunch
One great thing about the Filipino food craze is the accessibility of fancy ube ice cream. While I will always love the Magnolia version, this Wanderlust take on ube was the perfect dessert at the Smorgasburg.
Instead of only one night of fancy wine and small tasting sizes, I ate pretty damn good for the whole entire weekend. Total spent: $85 (approximately)