On Sunday, April 7th, I hit one of my favorite food and wine events of the year – Masters of Taste 2019 at the iconic Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena! I managed to be first in line this year, arriving almost an hour before the flood gates opened because I didn’t want to miss a moment taking in the gourmet afternoon I knew I was in for!
There’s nothing like it – the entire football field is lined with booths by L.A.’s best restaurants offering samples of some of their best dishes – unlimited beer, wine and spirits offerings – sunshine – VIP lounges with special guest chef cooking demonstrations – and, all for a fantastic cause! This year, proceeds of the day benefitted Union Station Homeless Services, the event sponsors were Angelino Magazine, We Like L.A., Pasadena Now, Outlook, and Yelp, and the event was hosted by Chef Michael Hung.
I tasted every dish and tried nearly every glass of rose and white wine offered throughout the day… But a few stand-out dishes and drinks were so delicious that I had to go back for second helpings!
One of my favorite dishes was the orecchiette pasta offered by Pasadena’s “Best Of” 2009 Italian restaurant, Celestino. Top rated by Zagat, Food & Wine, and Chef Calogero Drago served the savory pasta from a giant wheel of parmesan cheese, and personally topped each plate with a truffle mix that smelled and tasted divine. Chef Drago closed the day serving cannoli that attracted one of the longest lines of the day!
Another one of my favorite dishes was the jamon croqueta offered by Santa Barbara’s Spanish tapas restaurant, Loquita. Chef Peter Seung Lee prepared the croqueta with whole grain mustard aoli, and it quite literally melted in my mouth… (Shhh… I might have had more than second helpings of this one!)
Some other favorites included the delicious mac ‘n’ cheese presented by Granville, Marc Dix‘s local restaurant chain that just opened a location near the Beverly Center last year, and the dulce de leche eclair by one of the most iconic bakeries in Los Angeles, Chef Matthieu Chamussy and Chef Christina Mejia‘s Porto’s Bakery & Cafe. The perfect dessert to end the day on a sweet note.
As for the beverages, I particularly enjoyed the Chardonnay by the multiple award-winning team at Golden Star Vineyards in Littlerock, California. This family-owned vineyard and winery follows sustainable farming practices and hand crafts every wine they offer. I also enjoyed a refreshing margarita shot by Buzz Box premium cocktails.
To top off this delicious day, I caught a special cooking demo by Chef Jonathan Aviles of Salazar! The whole afternoon was tasty and memorable, and can’t wait ’till next year!