This past weekend, in Santa Monica (which is now 55 mins away from where we live ::sniffles::) was an event called Artisanal LA. This food-filled weekend was to promote small, local businesses in and around the Los Angeles area, and it was fantastic! I’ll provide all the links to the places talked about below, at the bottom of the post, so that you out-of-towners can get your hands on these! Note how awesomely long and in depth this review is; and how much I’m talking up everything – because it’s actually that good! Cathy doesn’t lie, about anything.
Upon entering. So much space, so many booths!:
The BF and I stopped by almost every single booth, some of them twice! Despite the humid muggy weather, and fumes coming off of the freshly painted walls (it was pretty strong) everyone was friendly and eager to chat and share their creations with passers by.
Now all weekend, via Twitter, I had been hearing about this alluring BBQ Pork topped cupcake created by Simone B. So that was the first thing we tried when we got there:
Will someone please give this girl a restaurant? Seriously! This BBQ was tangy and sweet, with just a little heat. There was a lot of love in this cupcake, and I cant wait to have it again sometime!
To wash it all down, we headed off to the Apothecary Bar, which featured Veev Açaí Spirits. The idea was to pick a lemonade base, and add mix-ins (like mint, basil, blackberries, etc…):
Shaken, not stirred:
Veev has such a smooth finish, not fiery or astringent at all. Will be picking up a bottle soon.
There were a lot of sweets at Artisanal LA, but savory lovers had some awesome picks as well. We visited the Bangers & Smashed booth, which sold gourmet mashed potatoes:
With flavors like bourbon and pecan, to goat cheese and sage, to a little more traditional roasted garlic and sour cream. I didn’t want to stop sampling, but I knew that I needed to share with the rest of the crowd.
Also, (not pictured) was All Spice Cafe. We got to sample the award winning hot sauces and WHOA, he had everything from mild to knock-you-socks-off-spicy. We ended up purchasing a bottle of his Caribbean Spice Sauce. I cant wait to put this on everything!
Ok, so after all of that spice, we needed a cool down with more booze… in the form of cake.
You heard me.
Immaculate Confections creates incredibly moist, delicious, and beautiful liquor cakes. No really, these cakes taste exactly as described. The Guinness cake? Yep, the Guinness isn’t shy, he’s there front and center, supported by luscious dark chocolate. Heeeaavvvenn! Look, everyone attempts the Guinness cake (including yours truly) but this is the only one I’ve tasted that got it right! Dear Immaculate Confections, I love thee:
Continuing on, we stopped next-door (or, next-booth) to Laura Ann’s Jams. Three words: Blueberry basil jam. Two more: Hell yeah:
I’m so mad at myself for forgetting to stop by before we left and pick up a few (million) jars of this. Such a fun and friendly person, Laura Ann makes the best jams. I’m dying to use that blueberry basil jam in a dessert… or on my spoon.
What’s a S’muffin? It’s pretty much God. But more specifically, it’s a chocolate dipped base of crushed graham cracker, with a fluffy marshmallow on top:
(Eating some on the ride home…we bought a box full of all the different varieties!)
Time to cleanse the pallet again with something savory. Well, kinda. One of the features at Artisanal LA were the panels. One of the panels today featured a few good lookin’ hunks of meat (and some beef.) Christian Page, chef of Daily Dose, was there to lead the discussion (not pictured.)
Everyone got to ask questions about different cuts, grass-fed vs. not, preparation methods, and more. All the while, we were in awe of this man’s ability to effortlessly butcher these piece of beef:
I took a lot of notes, and learned a lot about what major grocery stores offer, and how important it is to maybe spend a little extra money, to get something a lot better in quality.
Well it was time to go. Wait! Where’s Creme Caramel LA? I had promised that I would stop by! Phew. Found ‘em! Hey girls!:
Let me tell you something: I don’t like flan (which is kind of different from creme caramel, but still similar enough for me to be a little uneasy.) I’ve had one-too-many flans that flunked my taste bud tests, and was skeptical about Creme Caramel LA, and creme caramel in general. Now let me tell you something else: They’ve made me a creme caramel lover! Their creamy, light, dreamy, and sweet creme caramel will be in my dreams tonight, and forever. Really. Really, really. You think you know what it’s going to taste like, but your imagination cant dream up something this good.
And that’s it folks! We took our purchased goods, hopped in our car, and drove away.
Every city should have their own Artisanal LA event, to expose people to local establishments, so we can be a more supportive society. Food is about happiness, sharing, and love… why not pass it around?