y4pcT1JaIwGptQJPO6l_mZmgv34 tiffin unboxed: L.A. Street Food Festival - Favorites

L.A. Street Food Festival - Favorites

Earlier this month, I attended the 2nd Annual Summer Tasting Event, aka the L.A. Street Food Fest. 

Because this year, there were 2 shifts and it took place during 'Carmeggedon' weekend, where many L.A. residents stayed local to avoid traffic jams resulting from a major freeway closure, festival attendees were able to enjoy barely-there lines.

This year, what really drew me there were the Baja Chefs.

Javier Plascencia / Mision 19 - Grilled oyster with short rib chicharron, chili, ponzu butter, lemongrass foam and sea bean.

This elegant oyster dish tasted as wonderful as it looked - my favorite dish and the only one which I immediately asked for seconds (not caring about saving my appetite).

They grilled the oysters fresh in the tent and assembled the dish per order.

The judges voted it Best in Show and it won the People's Choice award as well. 

Manzanilla Restaurante called this dish Manzanilla Surprise. The abalone tostada really stood out, as did the two beef tostadas.

It was a pleasure to chat with Chef Javier Plascencia and let him know how much I enjoyed his dishes and asking when L.A. can have some more of his food.

Javier Plascencia / Casa Plascencia - Mini beef cheek tacos. The beef was tender and smokey. 

Some of the visitors were turning away upon hearing about beef cheeks and oysters, which left more for those who appreciate it.

Sabina Bandera / La Guerrerense won the judges award for Best Original Showmanship. She lined up these multiple bottles of fresh, hot, salsa on the table and served them according to peoples' preferences.

Sabina Bandera / La Guerrerense - Sea Urchin Tostada with Pismo Clam

The uni (sea urchin) was stewed, prepared in a way I had never tasted.

While in seafood mode, I hit Mariscos Chente for a delicious bite of Nayarit shrimp ceviche.

Streets of Thailand offered very good Thai iced tea in these smart carriers. Even after I finished my drink it seemed to stay on my wrist like a purse!

Tiara Cafe put up this eye catching sign and provided quite a show all in cowgirls and Indian outfits. Their food stood up to the show.

Tiara Cafe - Slow Smoked Short Ribs wrapped with mac and cheese and a seasoned crust, with squirt of BBQ sauce.

Naan Stop served delicious, crispy samosas from a family recipe, accompanied with apple tamarind and spicy coconut chutneys. They also introduced themselves and were very friendly. Judges awarded them 3rd place.

Taste of Tunisia had one of the longest lines. Because their food was good but also because they made each tasting fresh and on the spot. Props to them for that.

The tuna Brik contained runny egg, capers and other complementary ingredients.

They heavily decorated their tent and did their best to entertain people with reading material as they waited.

Maggie's Meat & Bread - choripan, tortilla espanola, chimichurri, carbonada

They offered several dishes, but due getting full, I tried this delicious Argentinian sandwich. More American sandwiches should feature potatoes (the tortilla espanola).

Border Grill Truck - quinoa fritters. Mary Sue Milliken 

These coin shaped fritters were so attractive, I really wanted to like them more. Unfortunately they were room temperature when I had them and had stiffened up a bit.

Glowfish's Okonomiyaki, a wheat pancake with cabbage, potato, eggs and tempura flakes sounded so good that I waited 10 minutes to try one. The sauce for me had way too much umami punch and drowned out the other light flavors.

There were a few other bites I tried but didn't photograph due to juggling beverage, plate and camera: 
  • Mariscos de Jalisco's tacos dorado de cameron (2nd place by Judges and my favorite from last year)
  • Mexicali Taco & Co's vampiro
  • King's Row Gastropub's lamb merguez corndog
  • IOTA's Korean pour over coffee
  • Ramen Jinya's shoyu tonkatsu ramen

A couple of places I wanted to try closed shop before I got there, such as the Picca tent, serving Judges' award for Best Nouveau Street Food - Ricardo Zarate - Peruvian Cau Cau . 

By that time I was ready for dessert.

Bulgarini Gelato served my favorite dessert hands down, and also the judges' Sweet Tooth award. They brought so many flavors of their gelato, it was almost as if you were in their shop.

I tasted almond, peach and plum. Their gelato tastes as if they somehow crushed the fresh ingredients into cream and froze it. The plum burst with tart and sweet plum flavor, and they happily served me a second helping of it.

Dan Moody / Relate served Banana Bread Pudding a la Pecan Pie, with a delicious bourbon sauce. A great bite.

There were several Masterchef contestants helping out former attorney Esther Kang with her Batch from Scratch cookie bakery. 

We spoke with Adrien and noticed Alejandra and Tracy working hard. It's great to see how they help each other out. I couldn't ask too much about what they are doing now, since the season is still airing.

Esther served us some lemon lavender and Scoops brown bread ice cream sandwiches. It made me wonder why there were 50+ people in line for Coolhaus next door.

Starry Kitchen's Star Wars themed staff brought a lot of energy to the event, as they always do.

Starry Kitchen served 3 dishes, including their infamous tofu balls, but since I've already tried many of their dishes and was full, it was just the pandan donut holes for me. They tied for 3rd place with the judges.

Gleeka - spanakopita, melomakarona (cookies) and baklava.

Delicious Wishes LA - Bananas Foster Cake Ball (and various flavors)

Basically the time flew by, from this 30-40 wait to get in, to me getting to the car 10 minutes after closing and finding the field almost empty!

I definitely was full and got to try several bites, only making a dent in all the offerings.

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