For the past three years, Mike and I have attended The Taste — a weekend long food festival put on by the LA Times. This year we attended all four of the weekend events to collect the best bites of The Taste 2017.
But patterns started to really emerge this year (that we suspected of being true last year) and we realized, we’ve got a bit of insight into how to get the most out of your weekend pass to The Taste…
1. Show up early
You want to be in line before the event starts. That way you’re one of the first groups of people to enter the event, and the food will be all laid out and plentiful, and the lines will be shorter for a little while. But if you go during the day, bring a bottle of water with you in case it’s hot and sunny (as it usually is in LA).
2. Go with a group, or at least one other person
That way one of you can stand in a longer line while your partner fetches food from nearby booths with shorter lines. Then you can eat while you wait. If you have more than one friend, one can even hold down a shady spot at a table, while others go fetch.
3. Lines don’t mean anything
All that advice you hear about judging a food vendor by the length of the line? Ignore that here. Because at The Taste, crowd size means nothing. We’ve seen ridiculous lines for bites that were just okay, while the best thing we’d put in our mouth the entire weekend had a just a few visitors. So don’t jump in a long line just because you think that it indicates the best bite at the festival. Along the same vein…
4. Bad bites don’t = bad restaurants/vice versa
Along the same vein as line length, there’s little correlation between how good the restaurant is at The Taste and how good they are in real life. Some of our very favorite restaurants in LA have offered up some of our least favorite bites at The Taste. And some of our least favorite restaurants have absolutely blown our minds. And sometimes the bites at The Taste are even better than the actual real version of the dish at a restaurant.
5. Don’t wait to eat dessert
If you’re trying to have your sweets after your savouries, DON’T! Mix it up and grab that scoop of ice cream between your Aqui es Texcoco lamb taco and that ceviche from Ricardo Zarate, because that ice cream may run out before the event is over. (It’s happened to me with Jeni‘s this year and Bulgarini Gelato every year!) In fact, Mike and I recommend training this throughout the year by alternating back and forth between fish and dessert courses in your daily life.
Speaking of ice cream…
6. Go during the day if you like sweets and ceviche
While we love going to the evening events — the lights are twinkling and the air is cool(er) — but we find that the best treats are served during the day! Ice cream, cookies, donuts, and pancakes galore! (These are the bites I sorely miss at night.)
It’s also a ceviche-lovers paradise with fresh bites of tuna and halibut, squid and octopus around every corner.
7. Be disciplined about stomach space
Save stomach space by eating less filler: Don’t eat the all bread. Don’t eat the rice on the side. Once you get the idea of a taste of something, just stop eating it.
Don’t worry, if you feel like you missed out, you can always follow this advice…
8. If you really really really love something, have it more than once
My only regrets of The Taste were not having my favorite things twice (or maybe more). Whether it was because of the lack of stomach space or because I wasn’t thinking straight, I do still remember those glorious bites that I only got one shot at.
9. In case of too much spice
Make a note of your nearest Stella station in case you eat something too spicy. In case of no nearby beer, many of the bartenders and wine-slingers are ready and happy to help you out with something special — just run up to them in a blind panic and manage to explain that you’re having a “too much spice” emergency. (This might be based on several real experiences.)
10. Our biggest piece of advice
Ultimately our best advice is: Don’t have any strategy and just eat everything! You can’t go wrong, and you’ll always have a blast.
What are your insider tips for getting the most out of The Taste?