THE TOP 10 TASTES OF LA’S CULINARY MASTERS
After a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Masters of Taste made its grand return to the Rose Bowl on April 3, 2022 – bigger, better, and tastier than ever before!
Having attended this annual culinary festival for many years, I was anticipating a flavorful Sunday out on Pasadena’s famous field – but never did I expect to find the day to feel like a truly special post-pandemic reunion… It was a celebration of food, drinks, and a return to life, filled with delicious tastes and camaraderie among the foodies of greater Los Angeles.
Plus, the most exciting addition setting this year apart from previous years, was an authentic Thai market installation offering prepared cuisines and take-home Thai bottled spices, sauces, soft drinks, and handmade dried noodles. With games and prizes, lucky winners took home gourmet gift bags complete with all of the essentials to recreate Thailand’s cuisine at home.
It was a day of gourmet feasting and indulgent wine tasting with far too many memorable restaurants and unique dishes to name – so I’ve chosen my top 10 favorite main course, dessert, and beverage offerings to share!
#1. Drago presented a sumptuous garganelli pasta with sausage and wild mushrooms, straight from a cheese wheel that couldn’t stay full because people kept coming back for more! A Beverly Hills staple, Drago never disappoints in authenticity and rich flavor – and my friend and I chatted with Chef Drago about the exciting return to dining out in a post-pandemic world. His smile says it all!
#2. Alexander’s Steakhouse presented a braised short rib that truly melted in everyone’s mouths. It was hearty, tasty, and felt like grandma’s secret recipe you’d enjoy at home, with just the right amount of originality.
#3. Ascension Cellar’s wine pairings were light, refreshing, and a perfect white wine compliment on a Sunday midday. I always love a great rosé, but their grenache blanc and chardonnay were equally bright and fresh.
#4. Mignon’s fondue fountain was a showstopper! This chocolatier offered a few of its finest chocolates for a sweet bite in between courses! I loved the chocolate fondue glazed rice crispy treat as a pre-dessert stop!
#5. Otis Thai Kitchen shared a spicy, perfectly tangy raw seafood dish presented beautifully atop pineapple slices. It was a delicious combination of sweet and savory that everyone was chatting about.
#6. Que Padre created a beautiful, colorful array of offerings, including an original cocktail that was reminiscent of a citrusy, zesty paloma – and the flower petals were gorgeous! The ceviche was divine as well – light, fresh, and also eye catching!
#7. The Raymond shared its famous roasted duck legs and thighs – most definitely worth visiting just to taste! I love roasted duck so I’m critical if it is ever too dry or drenched in too much sauce… But The Raymond got it right! It was crispy, soft, and naturally flavorful.
#8. World Empanadas was a hit, with four fantastic empanada dishes! My favorite was the pinto beans and Monterey Jack cheese combination, but the chicken, vegan, and veggie options were also delicious. They were rich, moist, and plump – every bite flavorful!
#9. La Boheme offered a himache and salmon ceviche that was incredible! The perfect amount of fish and adornments – light, spicy, and hints of sweetness. La Boheme has been a West Hollywood landmark for over a decade, and I’ll surly return just for this dish!
#10. Nostros gave guests a fabulous tequila tasting to top off the day! The tequilas were refreshing and not too heavy, and when paired with the suggested selections of orange slices, strawberries, and watermelon slices – the tequila flavors just popped! For those who enjoy a smokey mezcal, it was perfection.
Masters of Taste 2022 set the bar high – and I know 2023 is sure to top it! Thanks to all chefs, bakers, sommeliers, and cocktail mixologists who participated in the event and made it a remarkable return to restaurants and dining out across LA!