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Taste of the Nation LA: Foodie Heaven and a Great Cause

The annual showcase of Los Angeles' fine dining uses good food Sunday to fight childhood hunger in America.

I could have died from gastronomic bliss as I walked onto the grounds of Culver City’s Media Park on Sunday afternoon. Picture this: A gathering of 46 of Los Angeles hottest chefs, restaurants, bars, mixologists and local craft breweries, and you have Taste of the Nation Los Angeles—a food extravaganza benefiting Share Our Strength’s support of Los Angeles area food banks.

There was enough food to satiate even the hungriest of pregnant women (and there were many there). Paella with chorizo, mussels and chicken; mushroom duxelle with goat cheese; chicken anticucho; a heavenly crème fraiche and buttermilk panna cotta; and scarlet scallops and yellow beets napoleon were only a few of the many choices that the hundreds of attendees had the chance to taste.

Four Culver City restaurants turned out in fine form for the day: featured chicken pops; created a cracked out kettle corn with dried pineapple and fresh shiso; had a lovely torta de lengua; and gave eager eaters grilled pimento cheese, sweet and spicy meatballs, stonefruit and burrata.

“We love that Culver City is growing. There are new people who come in every day,” said Natasha Pham, who is part of the marketing communications team for A-Frame. “It’s important when you’re a chef and introducing new flavors to have a great following.”

Said Ryan Hughes from City Tavern, “Culver City is awesome. I love all the restaurants around here.”

This Patch editor also had the chance to snap pics of some of Culver City’s key stakeholders who couldn’t resist the chance to partake in this event that takes over the downtown area once a year. , , Councilmen Andrew Weissman and Jeff Cooper all made an appearance, blending in with the larger crowd that was consumed with enjoying good food.

“When I was asked to do this, I said, ‘I’m not really into making speeches,’ but they said, ‘Micheal, the stage is right by the beer garden,” said O’Leary with a laugh, as he kicked off the event as well as introduced comedians Randy and Jason Sklar. The two cracked raucous jokes as Top Chef Master Mary Sue Milliken, Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold and comedian Kathy Griffin judged an amateur chef cook-off, sizzling up creations using Creekstone Farms Premium Beef.

Although there was fun and good music galore, the heavier message of the event was evident in the large signs that reminded attendees of Share Our Strength’s mission: ending childhood hunger. In addition to the revenue from the ticket proceeds, games and silent and live auctions helped raise additional funds to feed local children.

In all, it was an afternoon well spent for this Patch editor: good eats, good story, good cause, good company.  

Now all I have to do is find my big-girl pants.

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