When we asked readers to share their favorite food moments of 2012 for a chance to win tickets to tomorrow’s LA Street Food Fest, we literally had no idea what to expect. What we came to find was a great survey of the Los Angeles food world, spanning from both near and far and high end and low end: it’s a great illustration of Los Angeles food now. Sadly, we only could pick one winner; however, we did share some of our favorites. Take a look at what is resonating most with Angelenos this year in food culture–and find out our LA Street Food Fest ticket winner!
My favorite food moment of 2012 was finally trying the BBQ at The Park’s Finest. I had been putting it off, but when I tried it, it was great. I love how they treat every customer like friends/family. It truly is a “backyard boogie” BBQ experience.
- Christopher Nathaniel Gomez
My most favorite food moment of 2012 so far has to be the night my best friend and her family came down from San Francisco and we ate through the ENTIRE menu at ink. Three adults and two kids under 10, killing 22 dishes (regular menu–plus the tasting menu) and 3 desserts! It was way too much food for us but every bite was worth it. I’ll never enjoy sugar snap peas, oysters, and Greek yogurt as much as I did that night. It was my second visit and my friends first. Seeing the smiles on their faces after the first bite of every dish was priceless. Michael Voltaggio is a genius. The two kids (age 7 & 8) enjoyed the oysters the most and they NEVER eat oysters. It’ll take a lot to beat that dinner!
- Tracy Cayaban
My favorite food moment or food(gasm) would have to be my discovery of the Lemon Ricotta pancakes at Four Cafe in Eagle Rock. Four Cafe is an absolutely wonderful local, seasonal restaurant in LA that serves fresh, creative, and delicious food and they’re weekend breakfast menu is delectable. But when my eyes grazed over this menu option I was intrigued. I had never heard of ricotta pancakes, especially lemon ricotta pancakes. And these pancakes did not disappoint. They were smooth, creamy, and decadent, and topped with a dusting of powdered sugar and berries. Absolutely to die for! Those pancakes keep me going back to Four Cafe time and time again.
- Devin Weil
I never used to be a foodie. In fact, I used to be that one person who refused to go out to eat, mostly due in part to sheer laziness. All I wanted to was sit at home with my instant ramen noodles and slurp away in front of a TV. This all changed when I moved to Los Angeles. The friends I made in LA began to tell me about wonderful cafes on Melrose they went to last week or the hole-in-wall restaurant that just opened up on Broadway. I didn’t think I would buy into the whole “foodism” craze… but I did, in time. And I can thank my full conversion to a little place in Downtown called Mendocino Farms. On a sunny Tuesday afternoon in 2012, I decided to head over to MF during my lunch break. Knowing that it was in the financial district, I had my doubts. Sure enough, there were businessmen and women buzzing around the area, eating and chatting or typing away at their macs. Would MF’s food follow the same strict and businessy 9 to 5 conduct that these men and women in suits do? I was uneasy, but I went ahead and ordered a Kurobuta Pork Belly sandwich anyway. When I first unwrapped my sandwich and bit into the lovely, oh-so warm ciabatta bread, all my worries vanished. As my teeth sank into the tender (and plentiful!) kurobuta pork belly, the pickled daikon and carrots and the fragrant cilantro, I underwent some sort of fantastic and bizarre foodie existentialist experience. I tittered in my chair with every bite of this magical sandwich until it was all gone. Now I love food. I love food too much. I try to drag people along with me whenever I want to try a place that I have yet to check off on my foodie bucket list, which continues to grow and grow and grow. There are many places I have yet to try that will be attending the LA Street Food Fest and it sure would be a treat if I happened to win a pair of tickets for this Saturday’s event….
- Sara Clayton
My favorite food moment of 2012 was the beginning of lunch service at Chego. I work at UCLA and always bring my lunch as to not be trapped by the awful offerings of campus food. The day they started lunch service at Chego, our lunch crew of co-workers promptly put in our orders. I had never eaten there before (I’m slowly going through all the Roy Choi spots) and was just blown away. A rice bowl with so much going on! I’m easily swayed by anything with fried egg in it but there was so much more. I throughouly enjoyed my hen house bowl for lunch and dinner. Now our co-worker cohort is going through the rest of the Roy Choi spots: we just went to Sunny spot yesterday and I think I could eat the Yucca fries every day. But really the ability to have such a treat for lunch at Chego is fer sure my top food moment of 2012.
- Maddie Brozen
My favorite food moment hasnt happen yet. It will happen this Saturday when I make it to the LA Street Food Fest. This will be my second year attending and this time I am traveling just over 300 miles just for this event. 2011 LA Street Food Fest was my best moment of last year and this year I will make another great moment to remember.
- Anek Monesaath
My favorite food moment this year was discovering the restaurants at Ports O’Call in San Pedro. They have a variety of restaurants there all lined up right by the harbor, from seafood to ice cream and different ethnic food as well. I went there with my family and we all gathered around and enjoyed a family-style meal of fresh-from-the-ocean oysters, fried and crispy shrimp, and spicy shrimp fajitas. I enjoy eating with family and friends because I think it’s one way of bonding and spending quality time together. I also enjoy tasting different kinds of food, so this was my favorite food moment of 2012.
- Jamie Ambros
How great were those? Yes, we wish we could have given everyone tickets and are very bummed we couldn’t give Anek and Sara and Tracy tickets as they are certainly our runners up. That being said, our winner struggled through personal oral adversity to partake in Los Angeles food. The winner is Emily Chang-Chien and here is her story…
In January 2012, I finally got braces at the ripe age of 20, one month after my birthday. Needless to say, the initial month after installment was excruciating. Not only was there foreign material cemented onto my teeth, these little pricks (literally) would be poking, scratching, and stabbing the insides of my mouth! Unfortunately, the pain did not stop there. The pressure from the wires and brackets rendered my gums so tender, one bite of anything would bring tears to my eyes. Eating was nearly impossible, so I resorted to eating pulverized fruits and veggies. My oldest brother, having had braces before, understood the cosmetic pain I was undergoing. My brother and his girlfriend came home one day with leftovers from Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que; they were hosting a catered gathering for friends. Lo and behold, my brother brought home two large trays–one was filled with macaroni and cheese, and the other was filled with roasted garlic mashed potatoes. Best of all, my brother said, “This is for you.” This. THIS was simply a godsend. Both dishes were flavorful, creamy, savory, and most of all: SOFT. For the first time after I got braces, I was able to happily chow down (although, it still hurt). This wasn’t the tastiest moment in 2012, nor was it the most extravagant. But, this was one of the most heartwarming moments for me, as my notoriously jerky big brother did something sweet, thoughtful, and considerate for his baby sister.
What a great brother! And what a great Los Angeles food story, too. We hope Emily (and everyone else who entered!) have a wonderful time at tomorrow’s LA Street Food Fest and we’ll have coverage of the event early next week. See you guys there!