Every year Angeleno Magazine celebrates the recipients of its restaurant awards at its Live & Dine LA event at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, and every year it’s one of my most favorite food fests because of the location, the excellent selection of food and drink and its easy breeziness as it’s never uber packed in. This Live and Dine LA 2012 was no exception as about 500 food industry folks and food enthusiasts turned out to partake of the best of the 2012 best.
Even though I was blessed with a hosted VIP ticket which allowed me access to the Kitchit “dining room” area where I always had a seat and flatware waiting for me, I spent most of my time wandering the event, chatting up the cute bartenders at the Blind Barber stand and hanging out with Little Bear’s Ryan Sweeney bemoaning the lack of craft beer at the fest. (Apparently Stella Artois had a monopoly on the “beer garden.” Bew.)
The few bites I willingly weathered lines for were Plan Check‘s award-winning fried chicken (editor Lesley Balla wasn’t kidding when she picked it for “Best New Dish”) and Picca‘s black cod, which I was able to snag moments before it ran out. If I had known that the food items would be the first to go, with an hour left to the event, I would have spent more time collecting vittles instead of cocktails. But world’s smallest violin, I know. Still, I wouldn’t trade sipping on Blind Barber’s Hot Heather cocktail and the Tequila 123 tasting for anything else.
When the Live and Dine LA 2012 was winding down with most of the booths packed up, attendees lined up for Coolhaus ice cream sandwiches and Handsome Roasters‘ cappuccinos before heading off to the valet line. Both really hit the spot, ending things on a warm and fuzzy note.
Here were my favorite bites and sips of Live and Dine LA 2012.
Congrats to this year’s Angeleno Magazine restaurant award winners:
Best New Restaurant: Tar & Roses
Best Chef: Josef Centeno, Bar Amá
Best New Dish: Smokey Fried Chicken from Plan Check Kitchen + Bar
Best New Restaurant Design: Picca Peru
Best New Sommelier: Matthew Kaner, L&E and Covell
Best New Mixologist: Steve Livigni, Pour Vous
Best New Hidden Gem: Papilles
Best Service at a New Restaurant: Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air
Best Atmosphere: Il Covo
Best New Pastry Chef: Roxana Jullapat, Cooks County