Rain was predicted for the day, but it ended up being a picture perfect Saturday. The sun was out, puffy clouds dotted the sky and it was the ideal day to enjoy an outdoor food festival. It was the perfect day for the fifth annual ¡Latin Food Fest! at Santa Monica Beach.
I attended the Gran Tasting segment of the ¡Latin Food Fest! The vendors were laid out in a manner that allowed for good crowd movement; the perimeter had a variety of different types of booths. There was an interior section with chefs preparing food. Best of all, they had a music stage set up with a lot of room in front of it. You could smell the fragrant food cooking as you entered.
Brazilian Steakhouse Fogo de Chão was present and I was surprised that their line were short. The steak was well seasoned, grilled to perfection and topped with chopped tomatoes and a delicious chimichurri sauce. The word among the attendees must have spread because a long line quickly formed.
A long line immediately formed in front of Los Molcajetes. They served pupusas revueltas with Central American style coleslaw. I topped my pupusa with the slaw and thought that the pork, bean, cheese and slaw worked well together. Best of all, it wasn’t greasy.
A pavilion was dedicated towards craft tequila. The ultra premium Ambhar tequila went down extremely smooth. My friend really enjoyed the Dulce Vida’s margaritas. Their handcrafted tequila is organic and made with 100 percent blue agave.
Angel City Brewery was also on-hand. They were nicely positioned in the center of the venue and provided samples of their Honey Grapefruit Lager and their Citrus Wheat Beer. The citrus wheat was a smooth and easy-to-drink beer.
A company named Big Green Egg, occupied a good sized portion of the center of the venue. Representatives were on-hand to demonstrate how their ceramic grill can be used as a grill, a smoker, or like an oven. It can even be used to make a cherry pie.
The Poke Shack didn’t quite fit the Latin theme, but they surprised me by serving an innovative and tasty version of poke. The rice was bamboo infused and it was topped with fried onions. Flavor-wise, this was quite interesting, but it was nothing like traditional Hawaiian poke.
My favorite item that day was the Sisig Tacos from Fiesta Adobo. Hell’s Kitchen contestant, Chef Bev Lazo prepared a modern Filipino version of this. The sisig was prepared like pork carnitas and was crisp on the edges. It was topped with onions and cilantro. The chicharrónes gave it a nice crunch on every bite.
If you haven’t been to this event before, I highly recommend it. Positioned at the beach, you can appreciate the cool temperatures and not feel compelled to keep hydrated. Guests can wander from booth to booth and discover new favorite items to eat and drink. The live music certainly added to the festive mood.
¡Latin Food Fest!