Experience LA team was present at the media preview party this week to eat, drink and mingle with a room full of LA's top food enthusiasts. The event took place at the impressive new IOTA Café in Korea Town which is scheduled to open in a week. With a K-Pop soundtrack and plate after plate of savory foods, the presenters showcased a few samples of what will be on the menu at this year's event.
Being a dedicated fan of Japanese cuisine, one of my favorites was the Osaka style okonomiyaki, a type of Japanese pancake made with cabbage, meat and a variety of choice toppings (in this case cheese) under a layer of sauce, mayo and dried bonito flakes. The name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning "what you like" or "what you want", and yaki meaning "grilled" or "cooked". Another cheesy favorite was the crispy pork cutlet topped with cheese infused demi glaze sauce served over a bed of coleslaw. Both items were presented courtesy of IOTA cafe, which is making its debut at this year's LASFF serving an assortment of Korean pastries and pour over coffee.
Nothing went better with my choice Brazilian blend than the exquisite mango cake brought out at the end of the tasting. My new friends and I agreed this would be the ne plus ultra of the evening. But no, we were pleasantly surprised as media coordinator Marcus Beer announced that we would be treated to a traditional Korean tea ceremony performed in the back patio. Making sure to finish off the rest of that delicious mango cake, we headed toward the back where we were greeted with the sound of kayagum, a traditional Korean chordophone instrument similar to a Chinese Qin, and a beautiful mural of cafe inspired pop art. In just a few moments the tea ceremony began and members of the press were invited to enjoy a cup with the presenter.
Although we probably won't be seeing tea ceremonies performed at the LASFF, I cannot wait to try the funtastic food we got to preview this evening. The only passport you need is a ticket to the event, an open mind and a healthy appetite. This is a very affordable option to leaving town for the weekend as we face the inevitable: A DAY WITHOUT THE 405 (horror movie sound). The local Marriot hotel has even extended a discount to LASFF attendees. Make it a staycation! Want to skip the drive all together? Take the metro!LASFF will run a free shuttle service from the Memorial Park Station (on the gold line) to the LA Street Food Fest every 30 minutes from 9:30 am to 9:30 pm, you can even work off those extra calories by riding your bike and leaving it safe with security at the LASFF bike racks.
In addition to the food you will enjoy ice cold beer by Singha, a tequila tasting, chef demos, games, and plenty of space to stretch out. Your ticket purchase, which is only sold pre-sale, will also benefit LASFF's selected charity organization, The Downtown Women's Center. As co-founder of LASFF Shawna Dawson explained, "we are proud to be giving back to the community". "With over 12,500 women homeless each night in Los Angeles County, community involvement is the only way we can really solve this issue." said Lisa Watson, CEO of the Downtown Women's Center. "The proceeds and awareness raised at this exciting event will help the many women suffering from homelessness and extreme poverty."
Eat your heart out, Los Angeles!
Event Details: JULY 17th at The Rose Bowl Brookside Park
10am – 1pm: Picnic in the Park (All Ages, Family Friendly | Just 1500 Attendees)
2pm – 5pm: Family Fun Day (All Ages, Family Friendly | Just 1500 Attendees)
6pm – 9pm: Date Night (21+ | Just 1500 Attendees)
For more information, visit learn more details on ExperienceLA.com.
Marlon Fuentes is a contributing writer for ExperienceLA. Follow Marlon on twitter @bundafunk or facebook.