Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday Quickies #28: September Foodie Events Extravaganza!

Ok, who's moving up my holiday weight gain by three months? 'Cause with all the food festivals and events going on in September, I'll likely be whipping out my post-New Year's elastic sweat pants and oversized college sweater... and the temperature outside will still be in the high 80s! But hey, what better occasion to enjoy the outdoors and soak up the final sunny days, in loose-fitting clothes, of course.

LA Greek Fest on Sept. 5-7: Enjoy Greek dancing, music and theatrics at the Saint Sophia Cathedral along with plenty of cooking demonstrations and opportunities to taste Greek food and wines. My friend and I are hitting this up on Saturday. If you're interested in festival + food or wine packages; goldstar is selling tickets for those at half-off (+ the service fee). Entries + Zorba's Greek Feast platter for 2 people(with authentic fare such as kebabs, moussaka, tiropita, spanikopita, briami and more!), normally $35, is going for $17.50. Premium Greek wine tasting tickets are also slashed in half, from $15 to $7.50 per person.

Lobster Festival at Long Beach on Sept. 5-7: Enjoy fresh, succulent lobsters flown in fresh daily from icy Atlantic shores of Maine at the Rainbow Lagoon Park in Long Beach, right next to the ocean. There's also live entertainment and a beach bar too! Presale ticket prices are $13/$25/$50 (for general admission, admission + a 1.25-pound lobster meal and admission + 2-pound lobster meal, respectively) and ends on Sept. 4, after which prices go up a bit.

DineLA is back at it again with wine & dineLA promotion going on from Sept. 7-21, with over forty of LA's hottest restaurants, including Citrus at Social, Bashan, AOC, Wilshire and the Foundry on Melrose, offering prix-fixe menus and optional pairings to showcase Californian wines. Number of courses and prices varies widely (from about $50-150 per person), so check out the site for full list of participating restaurants, their offerings and prices.

Hokkaido Fair at Mitsuwa Torrance and Costa Mesa on Sept. 11-14: Celebrating Japan's northernmost region well-known for its dairy products, seafood and good rustic cooking all around, two local Mitsuwa marketplaces are hosting a four-day food fair featuring specialities such as ramen (with different vendors preparing shoyu, shio and miso - plus a curious-sounding "miso butter corn" - versions), curry bread, crab and squid bento boxes, and cream puffs with "freshly-extracted milk" for that "rich and full-flavored taste". My mouth's watering already! From what I can tell, I think the admission is free and you pay for whatever you order from the vendors.

As mentioned in a previous Friday Quickie, LA BBQ Fest at the Santa Monica Beach on Sept. 13-14: With about 10 different food shops, with representation from out-of-state places like L.C.'s from Kansas City and Ubon's "Champion's Chohice" from Mississippi alongside California favorites like Mr. Cecil's and Gus's., this is one event worth bringing lots of friends to so you can taste-test and compare the different styles of 'cue out there! Like the Hokkaido Fair, you pay for food as you go (ranges from $3 for beverages, $4 for sides to $10 for barbecue entrees), but there's also an admission fee - $10 general or $50 VIP (includes 2-day admission, a cozmodeck, event T-shirt and express lane with the vendors). Again, if you know in advance you're going, check out the discounted tix options available at goldstar. (mental note to self: I really should look into a referral associates program with them for all the biz I'm sending their way ;) )

In case you miss Long Beach (or didn't get enough of the lobster), there's another Lobster Festival going on at San Pedro / Port of Los Angeles on Sept. 19-21: Also highlighting fresh lobsters from Maine, as well as lots of fun and entertainment (wenches and pirates, oh my!), pricing model is similar to LA BBQ Fest. $8 for admission ($2 off if you get their coupon here,) and $17 for a 1.25-pound lobster meal (with an option to double up to two of those giant-clawed critters for $31).

For those with poshier, plushier and more charitable wallets, there's Savor the Season on Sept. 21, highlighting trendy, seasonal foods and beverages while also helping Break the Cycle's work in preventing and ending dating/domestic violence. The mix of restaurants and food/beverage vendors is interesting and the list is still growing. Tickets are $150/person or $250 for the premo package with access to the VIP tasting garden for wines, chocolates, cheeses, teas, salts and more.

And the grandest of them all, the 26th American Wine & Food Festival (benefiting Meals on Wheels) taking place on Sept. 25-27, with a slew of the hottest chefs including Joel Robuchon, Michael Mina and Nobu Matsuhisa, mega celeb-chef-business giants Wolfgang Puck and Roy Yamaguchi, and oodles of wine and spirit participants. The weekend starts off with Red Hot Friday ($150/person) at Puck's Red Seven in Pacific Design Center, goes full steam at the Festival itself in Universal Studios Backlot on Saturday ($300/person) and wraps up with a Chef's Grand Tasting Dinner at Spago Beverly Hills on Sunday ($750/person). But if you can afford the main attraction, it'll definitely be a worthwhile epicurean extravaganza, if last year's reports were any indication. (Hmm... wonder if there are any AWFF ticket sweepstakes/giveaways...)

And last but certainly not least, let's not forget the near-monthlong of fried-everythingness you can get at the LA County Fair in Pomona from Sept. 5-28. For a preview of what's to come, take a look back at the offerings of "food" from the OC County Fair a month ago.

But just in case you feel like staying home with nothing more than a carved up take-out rotisserie chicken, LA Times has nice guide on picking the perfect bird and a decent list of eateries to go to for the fantastic fowl complete with crispy skin and juicy meat.


DanGarion said...

Don't forget the 36th annual Orange International Street Fair in the City of Orange! Benefits more then 50 Non Profit organizations!

Anonymous said...

IMHO, the LB Lobster Fest 99% won't worth the $ to go... I went to the LB crawlfish festival and it's .... boooo.

The Hokkaido Fair @ Mitsuwa, those vendor are the same as the Legendary Ramen Fair :-)

H. C. said...

Dan, thanks for the heads-up on that. Was about to post that too, but the fair itself didn't stretch till Sept.

Kelv, good to know - I'm actually heading to Mitsuwa Torrance tomorrow -- can't wait to try the food court offerings!

gourmetpigs said...

Ohh I like your list too ;)
I may be hitting the Greek Fest
and then I'm definitely hitting the Hokkaido fair, probably on Sat 13th, and then maybe the BBQ fest on the 14th (I already bought tix to the Taste of Santa Monica :( )
And then the lobster Fest on the 20th ! :D

If you're going on the same day(s) let me know!!


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