Top 3 Summer Foodie Events in Los Angeles

Brace yourself for two weeks of food posts! I can’t stop. I won’t stop. You’ve been warned.

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One of my goals this summer was to explore my own city a bit more. While I can’t say I’ve completely accomplished that (yet!), I certainly ate my way through the city. Los Angeles is a great foodie city in general but it’s truly at its best in the summertime! Lucky for us.

# 1

In early June, Thrillist hosted its first-ever Culinary Road Trip event in Siren Orange Studios. As you entered, guests were handed a roadmap, laying out each stop of their journey, and a tollbooth card to be punched at each stop. With nine restaurants from six different cities across America being represented, the variety of food was fantastic.

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Generous portions of deep dish pizza, cheesesteak, lobster rolls, and so much more were being served. You really had to pace yourself. If I absolutely had to pick a favorite, it would be the grilled mortadella sandwich from Lardo, located in Portland. I have yet to visit Portland, but when I do, you better believe this will be my first stop.

As for desserts, Philly’s Insomnia cookies and DC’s Georgetown cupcakes were on the menu that day. This was the end of me. The food coma had begun.

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Overall, I really liked how they used the studio space at Siren Orange to make it feel as if you were exploring different parts of a city. The low lights and DJ booth created a very cool, L.A. vibe. Thrillist was the host after all, would you expect anything less? Fingers crossed they make this an annual event! Either way, I really enjoyed the opportunity to try foods from across the country, without having to leave California! I’ll put a list of each restaurant below and what they served. I’d highly recommend ordering these dishes if you happen to be visiting any of these six cities!

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1. Ginos East of Chicago – Meaty Legend, Chicago Fire, or Spnach Margherita deep dish pizza
2. DC’s Georgetown cupcakes – Red velvet, salted caramel, peanut butter fudge, lava fudge, cookies & creme, vanilla birthday cake, and PB banana fudge cupcakes
3. DC’s Sweetgreen – Rad Thai salad
4. New England’s Luke’s Lobster – Maine lobster roll
5. NYC’s Black Seed Bagels – Lox & dill cream cheese and cucumber and caper salad bagels
6. Philly’s Tony Luke’s – Cheesesteak with rib-eye steak and roast pork Italian
7. Portland’s Lardo – Grilled mortadella sandwich
8. Portland’s Stumptown Coffee – Chocolate cold brew coffee
9. Philly’s Insomnia Cookies – Chocolate chunk, M&M, snicker doodle, and double chocolate chunk

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#2

I had about a month to recover from my culinary road trip experience before DineLa’s Restaurant Week began in July. This 14-day dining event takes places twice a year to showcase the city’s delicious array of restaurants. With hundreds of participating restaurants offering specially priced prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus, this event is something locals and visitors should take full advantage of! And as a local, I totally did.

Sometimes, I’m just a terrible food blogger, and completely forget to bring my camera along to each restaurant. Instead, here are a few iPhone photos I managed to snap which will just have to do!

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The next Restaurant Week will be in January so if you’re interested, here are my favorite 3 restaurants to visit during those magical two weeks…

1. Luna Park – Two-course lunch (or brunch) menu for $15. One of those courses is either an appetizer or a dessert of your choice. My friend picked an appetizer and I went with the dessert, and we shared both! It was perfect seeing as the portions are absolutely huge at Luna Park. I HIGHLY recommend ordering the warm goat cheese fondue, breakfast tacos, and the make your own s’mores!

2. Border Grill – Three-course dinner menu for $30. Border Grill offers upscale, modern Mexican food and this Restaurant Week menu is a great way to sample their normal menu without paying top dollar. To start, I chose their plantain empanada and green corn tamale. These were probably my favorite out of the whole meal! You also can’t go wrong with their sautéed shrimp as a main dish and the tres leches cake for dessert.

3. Rock Sugar – Three-course lunch menu for $15. I’ve been to this restaurant for the past three Restaurant Weeks so this is hands down my favorite menu and the best value overall! Pretty much everything is great on their menu but my favorites are the Indian stuffed flatbread, princess chicken, flat rice noodles, and caramelized banana custard cake. GO HERE! That is all.

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#3

Thankfully, my next food event wasn’t until August. Recovery time is essential, especially when you’re preparing for a BACON FESTIVAL. Yes, you read that correctly. The 2nd Annual Big Bite Bacon Fest at The Queen Mary took over Long Beach the first weekend in August. I knew this was the event for me once I started receiving emails from them with sentences such as “Nobody puts bacon in the corner.”

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A $35 general admission tickets gets you unlimited samples from over fifty different local chefs and restaurants. Come hungry, wear stretchy pants, and give yourself all afternoon if you want to get the most out of this event. Yes, there was bacon everywhere, but in general, I had never seen so much food in my life. There were even food trucks to choose from! It was overwhelming in the best way possible.

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PRO TIP: Don’t have the first thing you eat be a maple bacon donut. Start small. Learn from my mistakes. But do I regret the donut? No way.

You can add on to your ticket and get a pass to sample beers from over 40 craft breweries and distilleries. Also, VIP tickets allow you into the event an hour early and entry onto the Queen Mary. It’s a really fun day out for locals, families, and tourists. Thankfully, this is an annual event so be sure to check it out next year!

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Have you attended any of these events before? What are some foodie events that you look forward to in your city? I’d love to know in the comments below!

Happy travels!

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*Note: Big thanks to Thrillist and Big Bite Events for giving my media passes to their events. As always, opinions are entirely my own. I would only ever recommend something that I actually enjoyed and support!

24 comments

    • Lauren Meshkin says:

      I think I know the one you’re talking about at Paramount Studios called Taste L.A. That’s happening around the beginning of September I think. But you’re right, veeerrryyy expensive! Border Grill is waiting for you whenever you travel to Los Angeles 😉

  1. Devra Long says:

    Lauren; you are almost making me miss Los Angeles!!
    When you do go to Portland I hope you will visit the restaurant Levant; my nephew Scott Snyder is the chef/owner and it is amazing. Tell him you are a dear friend of his favorite aunt!!

  2. Dana Carmel @ Time Travel Plans says:

    BACON FESTIVAL?! How in the world did I miss this?! I would’ve been all over it. Everything looks so good – especially the food from the Bacon Festival. I’ve tried Luke’s Lobster before and Georgetown Cupcakes when I was in D.C. Did you know that Georgetown has a location on Robertson? I was driving by and when I saw it, I almost pulled over but made a mental note to come back for a dozen…or two. 🙂

    And you MUST prioritize a trip to Portland, Lauren. And when you do, definitely try the pho food cart where all the food carts are. I think it’s called Mai Pho, and the pho is obscenely good.
    Dana Carmel @ Time Travel Plans recently posted…On a Quest to Find My Go to Mexican Restaurant in L.A.My Profile

    • Lauren Meshkin says:

      DANA! Let’s go next year. You would love it. I only could spend two hours there but I could have easily eaten my way through the entire festival in 4 or 5 hours. Although, you’d probably have to roll me out by the end. I’d love to visit Portland in 2016. I have friends there so I’ll make a trip happen! Thanks for the suggestions 🙂

    • Lauren Meshkin says:

      That was the first time Thrillist hosted that event but it will most likely be an annual event! The Bacon Fest is amazing! Dana and I want to go together next year. You should join us 🙂

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