Artisanal LA Rings in the Holidays Downtown

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Food Event Los Angeles

Shawna Dawson curated an impressive culinary roster, ranging from food to apparel, in DTLA.

In October, LA Street Food Fest co-founder Shawna Dawson gathered dozens of local, sustainable and food-forward vendors for the first Artisanal LA. Last weekend, she shifted from the Cooper Design Space on the Cooper Building’s top floor to the DTLA structure’s street level.

Artisanal LA’s smaller, compartmentalized space still featured plenty of compelling options, helping to ease Angelenos (and me) into the holidays.

Hot Sauce Los Angeles

All Spice Café co-owner JD Cowles, he of the state of the art mustache, sells mild to “very hot” chile sauces at 27 Whole Foods stores, in a dozen restaurants and at other assorted L.A. outlets.

Cowles went to school in upstate New York in the ’70s, back when Buffalo wings hit the scene. He was hooked and started experimenting with spices and heat. His Caribbean spice sauce includes nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon, similar to Jerk. Chipotle Garlic is the company’s best seller. He also makes a sauce with the ghost chile, which was the hottest pepper in the world up until last week, when Naga Viper crushed the record by a whopping 300,000 Scoville units.

Business partner John Lesko developed a line of chile-spiked caramel popcorns, including jalapeño, habanero and ghost pepper varieties, with a lingering spice that creeps up on you. They’ve also got a chipotle olive tapenade made with California-grown Kalamata olives, capers, rosemary, garlic and lime juice.

Pickles Los Angeles

Karen Klemens of Mothercluck has been making jams for a year-and-a-half, including the Triple M – Meyer lemon with Myers’s rum marmalade; cranberry pomegranate with hand-seeded pomegranates, which limits sweetness; Paradise Jelly with quince, apples and cranberries; and chestnut jam with vanilla.

For Artisanal LA, Klemens made persimmon bread, smoked almonds and chewy sheets of smoked cheddar spiked with Anaheim chilies. She also had jars of pickles, including Moroccan preserve Meyer lemon and sweet pickled orange, apparently a traditional Christmas morning offering.

Olives Los Angeles

Alessandra Innamorato, she of the provocatively titled Orgasmo de la Boca (Orgasm of the Mouth), specializes in olives that are naturally salt-cured, smoked over applewood and finished with hickory. She also makes a version with chiles, garlic, lemon and a “secret herb and vinegar mix.”

Innamorato got started while living in Barcelona, where she ran an underground supper club by the same name. Now that she’s in Los Angeles, the chef expects to host dinners every two or three months.

Pie Los Angeles

Crust is a relatively new venture from former Westside Tavern pastry chef Stephanie Shaiken. She developed a cracker brittle as a pie topping, then decided it stands on its own, featuring caramel and dark chocolate. She attended college in Missouri, where “ooey gooey butter cake” impressed her, so she created Missouri Butter Pie in deference. She also makes fresh pumpkin with gingerbread crust, Campfire Smore Pie and chocolate fleur de sel tart with caramel.



Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

All Spice Café hot sauce is the business! My favorite is the habanero. However, I once got into trouble with my girlfriend for making chili with his Ghost chile spice rub and it came out too spicy. Oh well more for me!

All Spice Café hot sauce is the business! My favorite is the habanero. However, I once got into trouble with my girlfriend for making chili with his Ghost chile spice rub and it came out too spicy. Oh well more for me!


If you can handle their ghost chile spices, more power to you. Glad to hear you like All Spice.

The Chili Meat Pie was even better than the original I think. Great flavor and a steal at $5


The chili meat pie was better than the original? Sounds like I may have missed out. I liked the Flying Pie Man’s pork belly pie pretty well, but it sounds like you got to taste the grand champion.

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jo, julie Wolfson, All Spice Cafe, All Spice Cafe, Daniela Galarza and others. Daniela Galarza said: I read this and I regret (not attending!) (via @foodgps) […]

Wish I had gone just for that S’more Pie. Oh, and the Missouri Butter Pie. Oh wait, the Orgasmo de la Boca sounds like it’s worth a taste as well…


The Missouri butter pie was pretty awesome, and with a name like Orgasmo de la Boca, it’s impossible not to try a sample, at least. TOTALLY different flavors. You probably wouldn’t want to eat them back to back.

Awesome round-up Josh. Even seeing pics of Creme Caramel and that bacon chutney is making me drool all over again.

A drool-worthy post? That’s quite a compliment. Glad you enjoyed the recap, Vxronica. Thanks.

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