The Unvegan

Recent Posts

Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame 2017
One and Another Citizen Public House
Media Night at SanTan Brewing Company
Spicy at Sauce

Events

Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame 2017

This Pho King guy.

The James Beard Awards may be a big deal nationwide, but in my years in LA and Pittsburgh, I didn’t feel like there was enough official recognition of local talent. Not so much in Arizona, which just had its Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame Awards. The event was at the snazzy Wrigley Mansion in the Phoenix Biltmore area and had some light apps to go with the awards.

Media Night at SanTan Brewing Company

Who’s ready to get StrataBlasted?

Being in the media has its advantages. Case in point: getting to check out the menu and beers at SanTan Brewing Company in Chandler. For this event, SanTan wanted to highlight beer pairings and the normal menu without any specials, but also showed off the backroom where the brewing is actually done. Unlike other breweries I’ve been to, we were encouraged to bring a beer along for the tour, and that beer was the StrataBlaster IPA, part of the brewery’s pilot series and a great place to start.

Arizona State Fair 2017

Freedom in leg form.

There’s something about state fairs that brings out the best America has to offer in terms of food creativity. Screw molecular gastronomy, I want to know what the latest in fried, bacon-wrapped and Flaming Hot Cheetos is in the world. And while the Arizona State Fair isn’t known as well as some others, there was still room for some interesting bites. One thing I didn’t bite, by the way, was a turkey leg, because, well, booooring.

Arizona Taco Fest 2017

Just look for the guy with the stereotypical Mexican hat.

We can all agree that Phoenix is not LA. Good, now that that’s settled, Phoenix does appear to get an event or two on occasion, and the first since I made the big move was the 8th Annual Arizona Taco Festival, which converged at the Salt River Fields in Scottsdale. While the place is better-known for MLB spring training, the vast field was put to good use in hosting dozens of vendors pushing mostly tacos, but also drinks, desserts and the occasional t-shirt.

The Sandakan Ramadan Market

In-tents.

You know what’s great about being Jewish? No Lent. No Ramadan. Sure, there’s been thousands of years of persecution and an annual fast or two, but nothing that compares to the longevity of the institutionalized pain of those two holidays. Worse still, sometimes Ramadan falls in the summer and you can’t even drink water. With all of these thoughts in mind, I found myself in Malaysia in the summer in the middle of Ramadan. And in Sandakan in Borneo, this meant the nightly Ramadan Market. The most impressive part about it is that observant Muslims somehow manage to walk up and down the market and order food without eating a bite of it until the sun goes down. Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait.

Burgers, Bourbon + Beer 2017

 

Can’t have burgers without beers.

Just like last fall, Los Angeles Magazine decided the world needed Burgers, Bourbon + Beer and thus brought some purveyors of these delicious “B” digestibles to the Victorian in Santa Monica to determine who could win the Burger Battle. Many of the players from the previous edition had changed, and those who hadn’t changed up their burgers anyway, so I dove headfirst into the burgers, with a quick can of beer from Golden Road to lubricate my senses. Highlights below!

Masters of Taste 2017

Slightly different angle than the one I had for the 2004 Rose Bowl Game…

Ah, the fabled Rose Bowl. Host of UCLA football games, THE Rose Bowl, a monthly flea market and now the annual Masters of Taste. As a blogger extraordinaire, I was invited to cover the event, which took place on May 7th and I found it a much easier way to set foot on the Rose Bowl field than winning the Big Ten Championship (and some might say it was much harder than winning the Pac-12 Championship, huzzah!). Food and drink vendors appeared from all over LA to help bring in money for Union Station Homeless Services. It’s a good cause, and surely the now two-year old event is doing a much better job of drawing in money than the annual gala did before it. But enough, let’s talk food.

LA Mag’s Best New Restaurants 2017

Burnin' for you!
Burnin’ for you!

The latest issue of Los Angeles Magazine boasts an impressive list of the 10 Best New Restaurants in LA. But the magazine went one step further and set up a celebration at the Architecture and Design Museum downtown to feature a number of them, as well as a few other restaurants. Thus, I made my way there to see what passes for “best” and “new” these days. Here are the highlights:

The Food Event 2016

Decent scenery.
Decent scenery.

There is, perhaps, no prettier place in the world to host a food event than the Saddlerock Ranch. LA Magazine knows this and that’s why I found myself at Saddlerock in Malibu for The Food Event on October 16th, 2016. I arrived a bit late so a few stalls were already out of food, but I immediately set to work on eating and drinking.

Below are the highlights:

Foodshop Pops Up Tropically

Beats, not beets.
Beats, not beets.

I’ve always been a little wary of meals in which you cannot choose your food. This is, of course, the case with pop up restaurants. Yet, when I saw Foodshop‘s latest menu, filled with the flavors of the Caribbean, I was convinced to give it a shot. Thus, we took the long drive to Venice to grab some food at an undisclosed location.