Summer = Food Fests & Ice Cream

Bonjour, mes beaux amis!food gps rib festival 2014, los angeles, bbq, barbecue, ribs, salt and straw, scarpetta, corazon y miel, picnik, spice table, mexicali taco and co, escala, portland, ice cream, summer, summertime food, food festival, In the last ten years, Los Angeles has grown into its own right as a true culinary destination with never-ending choices of cuisine.  Aside from our proud food truck heritage, LA has also become known for its food festivals, and the list of new summer festivals celebrating food keeps growing.  There’s the Grilled Cheese Invitational, the LA Taco Festival, the LA Street Food Festival, and most recently the first annual FoodGPS Rib Festival.

This year in the heart of Chinatown’s Central Plaza, FoodGPS hosted a small but awesome fête celebrating the all-mighty rib.  There were boiled, grilled and smoked ribs, sweet, spicy and juicy ribs, and a few complementary sides and desserts to add even more umami ‘icing to our proverbial cake-rib’ (if that makes any sense… I’m still a little ‘sauced’ 🙂 …).

There were a few standouts among the ribbers and a few who may need to refine their ribbing a bit more.  But among my favorites were Mexicali Taco & Co’s “costillitas al pastor” which were served over fresh guacamole and with a few hot Cheetos on the side (a nice crispy touch), Scarpetta’s spiced and tender spare rib served with a tangy vinegar-ish mustard potato salad, and Escala’s spicy Korean spareribs made pretty with lovely bright edible flowers, and served with Colombian street corn (salad).  The street corn salad could have been a dish of its own – the biggest surprise to sneak up on me was the feta sprinkled on it which gave the perfect amount of saltiness, along with the light spices that rounded out the flavors.  I had another favorite – Corazòn y Miel/Picnik’s smoked pickled rib tips served in a plastic bag with Mexican fruit salad.  The best part of the smoked pickled rib tips was how you could sauce them yourself with a number of spices and sauces they laid out as condiments for each person to customize.  But their bag-o-food was sooo good, I ate it too quickly before taking a picture!  HA!

Fortunately, the great thing about eating ribs in this festival format is that you have to eat a lot of these little tapas-sized plates to really get super full.  So even though I tried nearly every single rib participants’ plates, I still had enough room for a little dessert.  And what could be better with ribs on a hot summer day than ice cream?  Nothing, I tell you, nothing!

Hailing from Portland, Oregon comes an LA newbie – in fact, so new, that their brick-n-mortar hasn’t opened in LA yet!  Salt & Straw have perfected their handmade ice cream recipes not once, not twice but for three different locations in Portlandia.  And they’re even celebrities in their own right, appearing twice in Fred Armisen’s and Carrie Brownstein’s hilariously quirky show about the keeping Portland weird.  Their ice cream is definitely not quirky or weird – it’s straight up DELICIOUS.  I feel that I may have found a new vice… hopefully Salt & Straw offer loyalty rewards.  (HINT-HINT!)salt and straw, ice cream, portland, los angeles, ice cream, larchmont, handmade ice cream, artisan, dessert, rib festival, food gpsWelcome to LA, Portlandians!  Can’t wait to see you in Larchmont in August!salt and straw, ice cream, portland, los angeles, ice cream, larchmont, handmade ice cream, artisan, dessert, rib festival, food gpsBravo to Food GPS for a successful first Rib Festival – can’t wait for next year’s!!

cake monkey, los angeles, desserts, inside out smores, cookies, cakes, food gps, rib festival, food festival, barbecue, bbq, summertime eats, graham cracker, chocolate genache, toasted marshmallowTasty Inside-Out Smores by Cake Monkey!

spice table, lamb ribs, rib festival, food gps, los angeles food festivals, food gps, spiced ribs, ribs, barbecue, bbq, bryan ng, burrataWe were so glad to see The Spice Table and Bryant Ng and team at the festival!  (Please come back to us and re-open somewhere in LA!!)

chi spacca, rib festival, food gps, summertime, summer, los angeles, barbecue, bbq, ribs, pork ribs, trotter beansEven Chi SPACCA’s bullish mascot wasn’t gonna let anyone snatch his pork rib confit with trotter beans – and rightly so, this little plate was delicious!

mexicali taco and co, scarpetta los angeles, escala, seoul sausage, picnik, corazon y miel, rib festival, food gps, summertime, summer, los angeles, barbecue, bbq, ribs, grillingMexicali Taco & Co. were hard at work for festival goers, and the hard work paid off!

♥ – LBH

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