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Posted by on Oct 20, 2014 | 3 comments

The Food Event at Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

This year I have had the amazing opportunity to attend various food events throughout the Greater Los Angeles area.  Each event brings new opportunities to learn more about the industry in this booming city. But let me tell you, The Food Event, Los Angeles magazine’s ninth culinary extravaganza, surpassed all my expectations in terms of what this kind of affairs have to offer.

Keep reading to find out why I loved this event so much.

Los Angeles Magazine, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

The Setting

When I was walking around trying to decide what booth to visit first, I heard this girl saying: “I feel like I am on vacation.”

I think that was the perfect way to describe the event venue, Saddlerock Ranch in the Malibu Hills. The ranch, nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains, boasts acres and acres of natural beauty (including awesome rock formations) and rolling hills.  It is also home of a wine tasting room and 60,000 vines scattered around 65 acres. The property has been featured in over 100 movies, commercials and television shows.

Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

To make things more interesting, the estate is home to dozen of horses and exotic animals (llamas, camels, zebras).

In addition, the small details sprinkled around the property were so beautiful.  Imagine walking around wood swings, sheds, old school buses and, even, a colorful carrousel.  It felt truly like we were all on vacation.

Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

 

Carrousel, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

The Food

Now the setting was beyond words but the food was awesome too. The day included samplings from over 40 of LA’s best restaurants and celebrity chefs. All participants were hand selected by the magazine’s James Beard award-winning dine editor.

Here are some of the highlights (I think I did a good job trying almost everything).

The Strand House

Crab with Sweet Corn Puree

Strawberry Shortcake

The Strand House, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

Loteria Grill

Chilaquiles en Salsa Verde

Loteria Grill, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

 

Loteria Grill, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

For some strange reason, I do not have good pictures (all blurred) of the food prepared by Spago (salmon over fried kimchi rice), Cut by Wolfgang Puck and Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air.  Even though I do not have pictures to show, I have to say these restaurants cooked some of the best meals of the day (Spago was my favorite of the entire event).

Spago Decorations, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

 

Spago Preparations, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

The food of Lemonade surprised me.  I wasn’t expecting something so good (arugula,blue cheese and persimmon salad + pulled pork and mac and cheese sandwich + salmon with crème fraise and curried cucumber and pomegranate chutney).

Lemonade, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

 

Lemonade, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

 

Lemonade, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

Saddle Peak Lodge

BLT Gougera (with wild boar bacon and heirloom tomatoes)

Brownies

Saddle Peak Lodge, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

 

Saddle Peak Lodge, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

 

Saddle Peak Lodge, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

Petty Cash Taqueria

Shrimp Aguachile

Petty Cash Taqueria, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

Dia de Campo

Spanish Octopus

Dia de Campo, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

Little Sister

Curried Grilled Shrimp

Little Sister, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

 

Little Sister, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

Sotto

Pulled Pork, Grapes and Walnut Salad

Sotto, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

Bourbon Steak Los Angles

Braised Beef

Bourbon Steak Los Angeles, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

The most unusual dish of the day was served by Black Market Liquor Bar.  It was difficult to determine what it was just by looking at it.  We were able to see a black ball over a plate.  After calling the dish the grilled rat (awful I know) while waiting in line, we discovered it was black cod in some sort of black tempura batter.  It was super good though.

BlackMarket Liquour Bar, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

The Front Yard

Korean Beef Grilled Cheese Sandwich

The Front Yard, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

9021 Pho

Vegan Cabbage Salad

9021 Pho, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

Farmstand

Pumpkin Hummus

Cinnamon Meringues

Farmshop, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

 

Farmshop, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

Malibu Pier Restaurant

Smoked salmon with lemon sauce and brown sugar

Malibu Pier Restaurant, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

Bestia

Octopus with fresh ricotta cheese, peppers and tomatoes

Bestia, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

Barbrix Restaurant

Chinese Caesar Salad

Barbrix Restaurant, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

Manhattan Beach Post

Pork Belly

Manhattan Beach Post, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

Drago Centro

Pasta with Sausage

Drago Centro, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

Faith & Flower

Pumpkin Panna Cotta topped with lemon granita, red peppers, pumpkin seeds and mint

Faith & Flower, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

 

Faith & Flower, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream

McConnell's Ice Cream, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

Bucato Restaurant

Rustic bread topped with ricotta cheese, honey and walnuts

Bucato, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

 

Bucato, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

Crossroads Los Angeles

Candied Squash

Almond cheese

Crossroads, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

 

Crossroads, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

Girasol Restaurant

Beef with apple, raisins and mushrooms

Persimmon pudding

Girasol Restaurant, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

 

Girasol Restaurant, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

Animal

Crispy sweet jumbo shrimp with spicy sauce

IMG_0928

Animal, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

Jitlada Southern Thai

Tamarind Dip

Jitlada, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

Tar & Roses

Oxtail Dumpling

Spiced Popcorn

Tar & Roses, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

 

Tar & Roses, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

The Sunset Malibu

Tuna Tartare

The Sunset Malibu, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

Joe’s Restaurant

Kabocha Cheesecake

Joe's, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

 

Joe's, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

Goldie’s

Fried Chicken

Goldie's, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

Esterel Restaurant

Shrimp Salad

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Esterel Restaurant, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

Grand Avenue

Iced Coffee

Pumpkin Spiced iced Coffee

Grand Coffee, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

The Sponsors

The event was possible thanks to the fantastic sponsors. I have to give a big applause to Infiniti (presented the latest in luxury automotive), Celebrity Cruises (presented gift bags and drinks to attendees, also was giving away a free cruise), Don Julio Tequila, Stella Artois, Lone Mountain Wagyu, Grand Avenue Coffee and Clif Bar (with their Luna Bars too).

Celebrity Cruises Booth, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

 

Celebrity Cruises Booth, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

 

Luna Bars, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

 

Infiniti, The Food Event, Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu

Summary

I am still trying to take in all of the food and sights (some people came to Los Angeles just to eat!).  I have a huge list of restaurants I want to try (good way to go bankrupt).  Proof of all the creative talent we have in Los Angeles.  Make plans to attend next year if you love food. Best event of the season hand down.

Suggestions

If you plan to attend next year, take into consideration the following:

  • Come early to maximize your eating pleasure and decrease the time you have to wait in lines.  The event gets really crowded (there is enough space to move and walk though)
  • Dress casually, bring a hat and sunglasses
  • There are not a lot of seats or tables. I liked the idea of taking a towel and blanket and enjoy the food and drinks picnic style
  • Parking lot is dusty, some areas are muddy and you have to walk a lot over uneven surfaces. Bring the proper pair of shoes to deal with all that
  • Come hungry, really hungry

What is your favorite food festival?

Disclosure: I attended the event with a media pass.  However, all the opinions expressed here, as always, are my own.

3 Comments

    • Lauren,
      I noticed the new Lemonade location on Manhattan Beach but wasn’t attracted to it initially. After tasting their food on the event, I want to go bad. The food they presented was so delicious!

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