Gold Standard: post-game analysis
It was only the most mouthwatering -- not to mention the most hyped -- food event in recent Los Angeles history. We're talking about Gold Standard, of course, last weekend's mini food festival organized by LA Weekly food writer Jonathan Gold. Held Saturday afternoon at Smashbox Studios in West Hollywood, the four-hour nosh-fest featured tastings from a roster of 29 local restaurants curated by Gold.
Not so long ago, the thought of a prominent restaurant critic organizing his own tasting event would have raised eyebrows -- not to mention conflict-of-interest questions.
Such issues aside, once eaters survived Gold Standard's parking and ticketing snafus, the lines could be long, but they had their pick of delicacies from Animal, Anisette, Beacon, Clementine, Drago, Hungry Cat, Jitlada, KyoChon, Lou, Mozza, Providence, Renu Nakorn, Sona, Wurstküche and more. As Eating LA notes, "Not surprisingly for an event with J. Gold's stamp on it, pork was in ample supply." Here's the post-game analysis from local food bloggers....
Upside: Sona's caviar shooter; "impressed with the earnest effort of smaller establishments like Jitlada, Akbar, Clementine and Genet"; Animal's pork belly kimchee; Anisette's frisée with quail egg; Kyochon's spicy fried chicken wings; Palate's crispy pork belly with polenta.
Downside: "Kind of a letdown"; insane lines; disappointed that Providence served only desserts.
Upside: "Meltingly luscious chunks of pork belly with kimchee from Animal"; "Jazz's famous rice salad from Jitlada"; "beet risotto cakes with pulled pork at Upstairs 2"; "smoked salmon with dates at the Hungry Cat."
Downside: none mentioned.
Upside: Pulled-pork canapé from Lou; paella with clams and chorizo from Ciudad/Border Grill; superb selection of chili from Chili My Soul; free wine.
Downside: Many of the heavy hitters (Animal, Anisette, Sona, Palate) ran out of food 2.5 hours into the event; cramped location; poor layout; awful parking.
Upside: Babita's shrimp topolobampo and gueritos relleno; Clementine's hot chocolate; "a dream food marathon come true."
Downside: None mentioned.
Upside: Green ceviche from La Casita Mexicana, burrata caprese salad from Mozza; salad with beet gnocchi from Angeli.
Downside: Ungodly long lines; hot enough to be a Bikram yoga studio; Animal running out of food.
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Upside: "Two great champagne vendors (Schramsberg and Piper-Heidsieck)"; Renu Nakorn's "spicy, cold beef salad"; Mozza's generous portions of burrata with pesto and roasted tomatoes; Alcazar's muhamarrah, baba ghanouj and hummus; Sona's "complicated dish with salmon, salmon caviar, a gel of maybe ponzu, seaweed and a radish from Chino Farm"; Anisette's frisée salad with pancetta and a lightly poached quail egg.
Downside: Poorly organized ticketing procedures; LA Mill's cookies; Beacon's snow pea and cheese salad; unremarkable beer.
-- Elina Shatkin
Photos: TOP LEFT: Mango jalapeno chicken sausage with onions at Wurstküche (Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times). TOP RIGHT: Thai food at Jitlada (Coral Von Zumwalt / For The Times). BOTTOM LEFT: Mushroom ravioli with foie gras and black truffle sauce at Enoteca Drago (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times). BOTTOM RIGHT: marinated fluke with hijiki seaweed, edamame and dehydrated blood orange at Sona (Christina House / For The Times).