The LA Times Food Bowl officially kicked off its month-long celebration of Los Angeles’ best food and drink with its launch party at Rossoblu in downtown Los Angeles. The event showcased an all-star lineup of LA chefs creating “Things in a Bowl” dishes at the Italian-inspired restaurant. An array of celebrities from the hospitality world came together to ring in this important month on the culinary calendar.
Guests dined on Rossoblu’s rustic northern Italian crescentines with prosciutto and mortadella, and another downtown Los Angeles restaurant Shibumi served up a wonderfully sweet and earthy beef shin bowl with konbu, shiitake, and sansho. On the other end of the spectrum, Locol presented a down-to-earth “Soul In A Bowl” with red beans, rice, messy greens, and cornbread. Honey’s Kettle echoed a similar heart-warming sentiment with its all-American mac and cheese, maple glaze yams, sweet crispy pepper, drop biscuit, and fried chicken – again proving that quality comfort food will win over any crowd. On the sweeter side of things, Wanderlust Creamery ice cream made food bloggers reach for their phones, capturing the photogenic, and equally tasty, colors of its numerous unique flavors, including fig leaf and pistachio, mango sticky rice, and ube malted crunch.
Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, chefs and owners of Border Grill, were awarded the Gold Award by the LA Times’ food critic, Jonathan Gold, with Feniger openly touched by the accolade. “To get this honor tonight is crazy humbling. It means that all our hard work, as we followed our hearts and our taste buds, was notice and appreciated,” she said as she addressed the crowd. “We were just trying to cook delicious food that we loved. Who knew we’d end up here?”
“I love what I do. And I feel so lucky to still have a passion for food and for this business. I know what an incredible gift I’ve been given in that respect. And for me, this is also a celebration of a truly amazing business partnership that very few people ever get to experience. All the ups and downs, the happy and sad moments. To have had so many wonderful people working with us – they, too, deserve this award.”
The LA Times announced its Restaurant of the Year, with Jonathan Gold presenting the award to Carlos Salgado’s Taco Maria. The understated Californian-Mexican mall restaurant is a shining example of the LA Food Bowl’s ability to showcase a wider spectrum of dining experiences around the city. Chef Carlos Salfado gave a reserved and almost introspective acceptance speech.
“There’s no such thing as a best restaurant,” said a reflective Salfado, upon accepting the coveted award. “We’re not the restaurant of the year. We’re certainly not best restaurant this year. There’s no such thing. But what I think is beautiful is that within every community, there’s a group of restaurants, a group of people, that are trying to work to according to something like a golden rule which is that, if we work with what we have, if we work within our space, and we reach out to others and we’re honest and sincere, maybe we can do good work that is meaningful to other people. Restaurants, at their best, can be like an escape to beauty. A vision of a better world. I guess I’ve done my best to do that.”