LA Weekly: The Essentials.

A2‘s final rating:   PASS √


Every year, LA Weekly launches a list of what they determine to be the “99 Essential Restaurants” in LA…and then they throw a party. A Sunday afternoon downtown… eating bottomless bites from these 99 restaurants… with beer, wine and cocktails included.  Sounded like the perfect day to us.  Boy were we in for a RUDE AWAKENING.


Little did we know when they wrote “wear comfy shoes” on every event reminder that we would be standing for 3 hours straight.  And that the lines would be comparable to those at Disneyland (for Space Mountain not the ride no one wants to go on).  And they would run out of food (sorry, we thought we paid for bottomless).   With LA Weekly behind the event and a roster of restaurants that couldn’t get more impressive, the fact that we’ve been using the word “disaster” to describe the day came as a shock to us (especially after such a good experience at BaconFest).

If you show up on-time there will be a LONG line to get in (we’re talking waiting an hour).  If you go late, yes you cut your wait time in half but then they’re out of food by the time you finally walk through the Penthouse doors of the California Market Center DT.  You kind of can’t win.   Not to mention, they give you a wine glass and set of wooden utensils upon entry that you’re supposed to use for each tasting. We’re all for going green but we’re trying to enjoy the food as intended, not eat our thai curry fried rice with leftover bbq sauce from the previous plate.  And have you ever tried to cut something while holding a full wine glass, and your plate and utensils without spilling? We recommend AGAINST it. Get some more tables up in here LA Weekly… were not circus performers, just ordinary girls trying to take advantage of the $70 worth of food that we paid for.

If despite the above this still sounds like an event you just can’t miss, we have some advice for you:  HAVE A GAME PLAN.  With the event lasting only 3 hours and all of the above obstacles, there is no possible way to make it to all 99 stations.  Not like one could have 99 bites, unless you are truly gifted, and in that case send us a note (Alex is single).  Know which restaurants you want to try, (you’ll have plenty of time to find everything in the booklet they give you while you’re waiting in line), make a list, and conquer. And good luck.

We did have some sightings & encounters that made it ALL worth it…


  1. Tasting a bite personally made with the passion and sweat of some of our favorite chefs: Curtis Stone, Ludo Lefebvre, and Michael Voltaggio (How awesome is it that with all of their fame and success they still make time to show up at these events and cook the food themselves — even if some of them know how hot they are – ahem Voltaggio).  And taking a picture with the hotness that is Chef Stone (Alie prevented Alex from telling him that she loves his family…Creepy much?).  And having him personally hand us Fois Gras mousse something (we stopped listening once he said Foie Gras) at the Maude  station.  We were shaking… HELLLO these people are Rock Stars to us.  Do chefs have groupies?
  1. Seeing one of our FAV LA restaurateurs Jazz Sing and Chef Tui, from one of our FAV LA restaurants Jitlada.The way they make everyone feel like a V.I.P. is priceless and Jazz always knows how to put a smile (and some spiciness induced beads of sweat) on your face. After inhaling our portion of the crying tiger, the tiger wasn’t the only one crying.

If you couldn’t already tell, we will NOT be returning to this event. Spending $70 to try 1 out of 3 restaurants you’re excited about only after a long wait is not our idea of worth it or fun. We’d rather make a reservation and be able to have a relaxing and fun day or night. Isn’t that what food and friends should be all about anyway?

Still icing our feet from all the standing,



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