Los Angeles has no shortage of food festivals and events. And if there is one thing our readers know, it’s that we love to eat! As the official guinea pigs, we’ve compiled our top picks on the best of the best. Our criteria is simple — the more variety (and umm, free samples) the better! Enjoy and happy eating!
LA WEEKLY’S THE ESSENTIALS
Last year, we wrote about our first time checking out LA Weekly’s The Essentials. And it’s coming up once again (Saturday, March 24 – Sunday, March 25 in downtown Los Angeles). LA Weekly’s Essentials issue – outlines their top 99 restaurants in Los Angeles (and surrounding cities) each year. So you’ll find some of the top chefs in the city cooking up their very best. Our top recommendation? Get there early – even before the official start time of 2 PM. Last year the lines were long, but moved efficiently.
There are two ticket options for the Essentials – a VIP ticket ($100 each) with access to the Freshmen 15 showcase at 1 PM, all the free samples, gift bag and lots of other items thrown in. And the other is general admission ($65 a ticket, and what we got) with access starting at 2 PM to all the free samples.
LGBT CENTER’S SIMPLY DIVINE
Simply diVine is the premiere food and wine event happening on Saturday, March 24 in Hollywood. And the proceeds raised will go to a fantastic cause — the LGBT Center of Los Angeles. The event will feature a variety of food and drink from some of Los Angeles’ most popular eateries, wineries, distilleries and breweries. But what could make this event any more unique? It’s being held in the historic Hollywood Forever Cemetery, rain or shine. The $150 foodie ticket includes unlimited free samples as well as beverages running from 6 – 9 PM. And it’s tax deductible. To learn more and buy tickets, check out their Facebook page.
Without a doubt, Foodie Con is our most highly anticipated event coming up in the next few months. This food extravaganza is positioned as a ‘Comic-Con’ for Foodies. How cool is that? Geeking out over food is essentially our dream come true.
The 2-day event, taking place from Saturday, April 7 – Sunday, April 8 in downtown LA, will offer plenty of food samples, shopping and educational events. Attendees will also get to meet culinary purveyors, learn about the newest food trends and try cuisines from their hand-selected vendors.
The event will also have kitchen gadgets (something we can’t get enough of), food trucks, craft breweries, wineries and more. General admission is a mere $10 (or $15 at the door) and includes access to the entire exhibit floor and Main Stage. VIP tickets are $40 each, and includes everything with general admission plus entry to their special VIP lounge and alcohol samples. To purchase tickets and the latest updates, check out their Facebook page.
ON-GOING YEAR ROUND
SMORGASBURG LOS ANGELES
If you missed the other events (or even if you don’t), you should make sure that Smorgasburg LA is on your must-visit food festival list. Smorgasburg LA is open every Sunday (10 am- 4 pm) on the five-acre site of the Alameda Produce Market in Downtown Los Angeles — part of a larger, new development called ROW DTLA.
Each Sunday, you’ll find dozens of food vendors plus great shopping and special events and pop ups. We recently tried out one of their yoga classes held before the market opened… Then ate all the calories we just burned off. Oops! There will be long lines for the Instagram-fave Raindrop Cake, but there are so many other delicious stands to try out.
We personally love the Thai food at the Sticky Rice trailer. And the Indian-inspired Goa Tacos. The best part? There is 2-hour free parking located on-site. What? Are we really in LA? For more info, check out their Yelp page.