The Sriracha Cookbook and Food GPS produced the second annual L.A. Sriracha Festival at Chinatown’s Central Plaza on October 19, featuring top chefs and benefiting Food Forward, a local charity whose mission is to rescue and donate fresh local produce that would otherwise go to waste. Over 5 million pounds of food has been gleaned since 2009, and given to local food pantries, helping feed over 100,000 hungry Southern Californians each month. Thanks to the hard working food and drink pros, volunteers, multi-talented co-producer Randy Clemens, Chinatown Business Improvement District, ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen, Disaronno, Olmeca Altos and more who made the event a success, and to ticket buyers for their support! Scroll the captioned slideshow to see just some of the highlights.
Chinatown’s historic Central Plaza once again served as a great backdrop for a weekend food event.
Food Forward rescues and donates fresh local produce that would otherwise go to waste. The charity feeds a whopping 100,000 people per month.
Guests and vendors showed Sriracha the proper respect.
The L.A. Sriracha Festival allowed guests to choose their own adventure. Wherever they turned, something delicious to eat or drink was easy to find.
I made the rounds with my multi-talented co-producer Randy Clemens, who wore a popular panda-centric Sriracha shirt.
ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen made a big impression by serving two flavorful dishes and by gifting cards for free bowls at their growing concept.
ShopHouse (and Chipotle) executive chef Nate Appleman, a James Beard Award winner, greeted people when he wasn’t bonding with a good luck cat.
ShopHouse served Pork & Chicken Meatballs or Organic Tofu Bites with Tamarind Vinaigrette, Green Papaya Slaw, Herb Salad and Crispy Garlic.
Beachwood BBQ & Brewing was one of two businesses that served both food and beer.
Beachwood’s dish consisted of a Sriracha Braised and Glazed Smoked Spare Rib with Sweet and Spicy Vegetable Slaw.
The Eagle Rock Brewery crew previewed Eagle Rock Brewery Public House.
ERB Public House chef Jerry Su straddled the savory and sweet line, serving Beef Tendon Churrones with Sriracha Sugar & Mexican Chocolate.
Eastside Market Italian Deli has been a neighborhood mainstay since 1929. The Angiuli family rolled their famous meatballs down the hill for the fest.
Eastside Market served Pork Meatballs with Sriracha Cole Slaw.
Eggslut always comes strong at culinary events. Alvin Cailan and Johnny Lee led the charge in Chinatown for a second time this year.
Cailan and Lee served spicy pork tan tan ramen to preview Ramen Champ, a ramen spot that’s coming to Chinatown’s Far East Plaza.
Phillip Frankland Lee’s tight-knit crew showcased vegan cuisine from The Gadarene Swine in Studio City. He also runs Scratch Bar in Beverly Hills.
Crispy Yucca hosted Sriracha bell pepper sauce and rested on avocado puree.
Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese served a “Good and Proper” Grilled Cheese with Bacon, Sriracha, Egg, Red Onion, and a Tomato-Sriracha Soup Dip.
Jitlada is a terrific family-run Thai restaurant. Chef Tui Sungkamee was front and center.
Jitlada served Spicy Fried Rice with Tofu and Sriracha + Tamarind Dip with Chicken.
Komodo, led by chef Erwin Tjahyadi, has become a food fest favorite.
Komodo served Sriracha Marinated Chimichurri Steak on tacos.
The Little Jewel of New Orleans, with Marcus Christiana-Beniger running the kitchen and Eunah Kang out front, has quickly become popular in Chinatown.
The Little Jewel of New Orleans served Sriracha Crawfish Macaroni and Cheese with House Smoked Andouille Sausage.
“Top Chef” Season 12 Cheftestant Mei Lin served Sriracha Deviled Eggs with Chicken Skin Crumble and Sriracha Caramel.
Mendocino Farms brought a huge crew, including outgoing chef Judy Han and their blue cow mascot, Mendo.
Mendocino Farms co-owners Ellen Chen and Mario Del Pero joined new chef Hunter Pritchett.
Mendo is a sandwich shop at its heart, so they served a Peruvian Steak Sandwich with Spicy Aji Amarillo (includes Sriracha), Oaxacan Cheese and more.
Mendo even gave away bottles of Yellow Rooster Sauce.
The Mud Hen Tavern team featured the talents of chef Kajsa Alger.
Mud Hen’s seasonal dish consisted of Sriracha-Braised Pumpkin with Yogurt and Green Sriracha.
SQIRL chef-owner Jessica Koslow was back in Virgil Village, but her capable crew performed admirably at the L.A. Sriracha Festival.
SQIRL served Root Vegetable Crispy Rice Salad with Sriracha-Lemongrass Vinaigrette.
Willy B’s, including Christian Page and Willy Barling, proved they’re about more than just hot sauce.
Willy B’s served Smoked Berkshire Pork Belly with Willy B’s Dehydrated Red Hot Sauce, Honey, Scallions, and Toasted Sesame Seeds.
Bartender Jason Bran (right) created inventive cocktails and received valuable support from colleague Mike Neff and a pair of spirit brands.
Disaronno Spice Sour featured Mango, Lemon, Sriracha and Disaronno, an Italian liqueur flavored with herbs and fruits soaked in apricot kernel oil.
Jalisco Breeze was a cool counterpoint, combining Olmeca Altos Plata Tequila, Jicama, Cucumber, Cilantro, and Lemon.
Olmeca Altos is a 100% Agave Tequila partnership between UK Bartenders Henry Besant and Dre Masso and Olmeca’s own Master Distiller Jesús Hernández.
Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, which just won “Large Brewpub of the Year” at the Great American Beer Festival, poured Neo Pale Ale and Laurel IPA.
Portola Coffee Lab and Seventh Tea Bar served iced coffee and two iced teas on tap: Rose Tuo Cha (China) + Dark Roast Ti Guan Yin (Taiwan).
Los Angeles Ale Works served Ketsara Thai Tea Soda and Phoracha Soda, brewed with Lime, Basil, Anise, Cinnamon, Plum and Sriracha.
Kip Barnes (left) brought a trusted friend to pour craft soda.
McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams scoops Salted Caramel Chip + Pumpkin Pie + Sweet Cream ice cream, which were all available with a topping of Sriracha ganache.
Rose Lawrence of Red Bread balanced two types of Sriracha-fueled pies.
Red Bread’s Sriracha Apple Crumble Pie was a big crowd pleaser, though she also served Whole Wheat Sriracha Black Bottom Meyer Lemon Custard Pie.
Crème Caramel LA’s Holy Petit S’mores combined Sriracha Marshmallow with a Dark Chocolate Brownie Dipped in White Chocolate, and more.
DJ Bryan Davidson once again got people moving with songs from people like Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake.
VIPs included Stacey Sun, Matt Segerdal and Linda Segerdal.
Randy Clemens noted that he saw people’s eyes roll back in pleasure, and photographer Jessica Park captured one such moment.
Yes, people were focused on food, but also having a good time.
Of course Srirachaholics made it to the spicy scene.
In year two, it was good to see all smiles on L.A. Sriracha Festival guests.
We look forward to seeing these same faces, and new ones, in 2015.
Jessica Park Photography