10 tips for getting the most out of your weekend at The Taste

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).

Look at all those glorious booths ready for us to conquer!!!

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…

This was a thousand times better at The Taste than it was at the actual restaurant!

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.

Do as I do, and start with dessert! (Creme brulee donut from Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken)

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.

Oh, savory donut from Restauration Long Beach, why didn’t I go back for you!?

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.)

Cheers from our last night at The Taste 2017.

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?

Heaven on Earth exists, and it’s called The Taste

Our very first time at The Taste in 2015.

It was probably somewhere around hour two of our second night at last year’s The Taste event, when I realized “oh my god this exactly my version of heaven.” It was a perfect crisp Los Angeles evening under the glittering strands of lights that criss-cross the fake city streets of Paramounts‘ backlot…

We were slightly buzzed from free whiskey drinks, and more than halfway to painfully full from all the samples from the best of LA’s food scene. I hadn’t felt like that since, well, our first time at The Taste together — as a couple just falling in love — with oxytocin coursing through our veins and butterflies and food joyfully mixing in our stomachs. Everywhere we looked there were booths full of delicious food and drinks, and the “streets” were filled with awesome people who were also having the time of their lives…

We bumped into Phil Rosenthal and his family in a line for epic BBQ, we caught up with fellow foodies we recognized from Instagram…

…and bonded with total strangers about our favorite bites. For three evenings a year in Los Angeles, everything feels right with the world, and we’re never more happy than when we’re at The Taste.

And we can’t wait to go back to heaven on Earth this Labor Day weekend. Wanna join us?

September 1 – 3, the LA Times Food staff and acclaimed chefs and bartenders from all over Southern California are joining forces for five individual events over three days. Tickets are ON SALE NOW: latimes.com/taste

Go on and get your tickets to heaven on Earth, and if you see us walking around be sure to say “hi!”

Bites, bears, and Badmaash-ups: The Best of The Taste 2016

The Best of The Taste 2016

What happens when you buy a weekend pass to the LA Times’ The Taste food festival? You gorge yourself on some of the best things you’ve ever tasted from some of the best restaurants LA has to offer morning and night.

We spent three dinner times, and two brunch times strolling through ALL the booths of 2016’s Taste of LA, and here’s our roundup of the very best bites…


Top 10: Savory

1. Baldoria‘s Chicken and waffle taco

2. Badmaash + Guisados‘ Carnitas/Vindaloo Mash-up

3. Aqui es Texcoco‘s Lamb barbacoa taco

4. Maple Block Meat Co‘s Brisket

5. Halal Guys‘ Gyro + chicken bowl

6. The Cannibal‘s Pork Pate Chaud

7. MB Post‘s Veal Liver Ragu Toast

8. Public School‘s PBJ slider

9. Chichen Itza‘s Beef and Pork Salbutes

10. Dog Haus‘ “Tiny Swiney” Pork Belly Hot Dog


Top 6: Sweets:

1. Ensaymada Project’s Ensaymadas

WARMTH brings out the best in everything and everyone. #626nightmarket #filipinofoodmovement @betterthanezrakoenig THANK YOU!

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2. Jeni’s Black Cat Espresso Ice Cream

3. Hinoki and the Bird‘s Smore Ice Cream Sandwich

4. Kavalan Whiskey‘s Bear Cake

5. MB Post‘s “The Elvis”

6. LaMill‘s Warm Brioche Donuts


Honorable Mentions:

Spring‘s Vegan Ceviche

Little Pine‘s Broccoli Aroncini

118 Degrees’ Pistachio Pesto with Zucchini Noodles

10e‘s Lamb Chop

Belcampo Meat Co.‘s Beef Tartare

Taco Maria‘s Tostadita de Ceviche

Simbal‘s Chili Grilled Pork Ribs

🐟🐷Delicious chili grilled pork ribs made with fish sauce and caramel from Simbal. #TasteLA

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Terrine‘s Country Terrine

Knead & Co. Pasta Bar‘s Meatballs and Polenta

Lalibela‘s Sambusa

Herringbone‘s Ono Sashimi

Manhattan House‘s Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Toast

Anyone else go to The Taste? What were YOUR top dishes?