Image courtesy of EastSide Food Festival
Image courtesy of EastSide Food Festival

On a perfect LA Sunday, I was lucky enough to make it down to the 3rd Annual EastSide Food Festival in Silver Lake at Mack Sennett Studios. I arrived a little after 4 pm when the happy hour began, so I would be able to do as much damage to my waistline as possible before too many of my fellow Eastsiders arrived.

The crowd was stylish and relaxed as I plowed my way from one amazing vendor to the next, sampling everything from juices to noodles to oysters – Oh my!

The set up was well conceived – a small scattering of vendors outside with plenty of boxed water and tables to stand around and hobnob with other foodies. Inside the small, stylish studio was where the booze, lounges, and VIP area (with air conditioning!) were set up.  All around were hip locals and so much amazing food that my head was spinning.

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I tried some new spots and was pleasantly surprised.  Whether it was Challah Hub and their variety of flavored vegan challah, the fabulous chorizo nachos from El Condor, or even the surprisingly simple yet delicious queso from Homestate, just the first few bites I tried were so great, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t tried any of these spots before.

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To cool off after running around trying all these spots from the outdoor section, I walked over to farmer’s market regulars Todo Verde for some sweet Aguas Frescas.

One sweet surprise was the newly developed Frankie Lucy Bakeshop coming soon to Silverlake has a kick butt lady running the show, and some fantastic custards serving up traditional Asian flavors. The purple potato custard was a must have!

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Before exploring inside, I had to try to offerings of lobster from Knuckle and Claw and find my crustacean bliss.

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The potato tacos from the Mexican/French brunch spot, Trois Familia were cute, crisp and quite delish.

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The vegan tempeh chili with cornbread from Kitchen Mouse was as tasty as it was dainty.

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Winsome featured two fabulous cocktails for those who wanted a buzz with their food. Their “Prickly in Pink” cocktail featuring Opuntia was sweet and light and “The Forgotten Edge” featuring Wilder Gin was damn near the best martini-like cocktail I’ve ever had.

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The hawker of the delicious and legendary Starry Kitchen Balls made everyone laugh with his reverent demands to put his “balls” in our mouths while wearing a banana suit.

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The raw fish lover in me was well satisfied by the crudo from Kettle Black. With all that amazing-ness, it was hard to narrow down my top picks for the event, but after plenty of sampling and satisfied moaning, I finally decided on my top five offerings:

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No surprise to me, based on my multiple jaunts to Grand Central Market, Sticky Rice’s Green Curry Noodles were one of my favorites of the day.  Prepared fresh to order, the flavors were perfectly balanced and the multiple textures were a treat. fullsizerender_11

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Out of nowhere, the Crispy Rice with Spicy Pork from Same Same completely captivated my taste buds.  Hands down the most interesting, and spicy, sample of the day for me.

fullsizerender_19The Green Lentil Salad from Little Beast was light and refreshing with complex flavors.

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El Cochinito brought the rich flavor of Lechon Asado and represented the amazing flavor of Cuban food well.

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Finally, my favorite was a three-way tie between the three dessert spots that all got repeat visits from me – what can I say, I have a sweet tooth!  The ice cream artistry of Jeni’s Ice Cream featured their Brambleberry Crisp.

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Icy Rush Co. was well represented by Laura Flores, the CEO who brought with her an amazing variety of mini pops – the Sangria and Mexican Chocolate being my favorites.

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And finally, the most surprising favorite of the day was some Lord Jones which is a company that creates and delivers cannabis-infused products to those who enjoy or require THC in their daily lives.  Though I don’t partake myself, I was able to sample some of their medicine free wares – namely the gum drops and the dark chocolate covered sea salt caramels. They were fantastic without any additions, but I’m sure those who partake in edibles will enjoy the tastiness even more.  

All in all, this was a fantastic way to spend an afternoon on the eastside of Los Angeles, getting to know the local businesses better and adding some spots on my “must try” list.  The fact that the event benefited People Assisting the Homeless made it even better, proving that LA people not only care about great food but also about helping others.

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