Angeleno's 9th Annual Restaurant Awards had a slow start this year, with empty glasses, hungry stomachs, and a series of less-than-dynamic speeches kicking off the first half-hour of yesterday's "Live and Dine in L.A. Event." Considering big changes in the magazine's food section and the shifting of this event from under The Fairmont Hotel's epic fig tree, audible buzzing was overheard as to whether the tasting event, normally one of L.A.'s best, was taking a turn towards the lackluster. That all changed with the first bite, as the event proved itself to again be one of strongest as far as the food is concerned. The chefs really bring it for this one, like Ray Garcia making tacos from an entire pig and Jordan Kahn holding a tented exhibit around the perfect bite he conceived. Honoring the city's most influential new restaurants, a cross-section of the new and mighty was on hand to feed what appeared a smaller crowd than years past. Take a look at all that was cooking at Angeleno's 9th Annual Restaurant Awards event in our slideshow.
Receiving an Angeleno Restaurant Award for Best New Restaurant Design at Lukshon, from editor-in-chief Lesley McKenzie and company president and publisher Alan Klein.
Won the award for best new restaurant for his work at A-Frame.
Mustard crab salad taco in perilla and butter cabbage leaf with salsa verde and lemongrass cream, one of the day's most popular bites.
Made pork tacos using the whole animal.
Ray Garcia's roasted pork tacos with nectarine and habanero salsa.
We're not sure how this yet-to-open New York import managed to get its way into the event with this tuna tartare with guacamole, dried lime zest, sea salt, and lime jalapeno, but it was very good.
Carslbad Oyster Farm
When we noted how fast oyster sommelier Christophe Happillon is, he replied, "yes, my girlfriend, she always complains about ziss." We meant shucking, of course.
Made fresh squid ink pasta using a mandoline.
Squid ink tonnarelli with Santa Barbara urchin, Calabrian chile, scallion, extra virgin olive oil, and lime.
We probably would have come for Paul Shoemaker's speck-wrapped Rogue River Reserve blue cheese-stuffed dates alone.
First & Hope
Pork 'n bun with peach BBQ sauce and pickled cucumbers.
First & Hope
Fig chocolate donut holes.
Mac and cheese cupcakes.
The famous lasagna cupcakes.
Jordan Kahn, who won "Best New Chef," blew the event out with an interactive booth that featured video of dewy nasturtium on the walls to go with a dish of grapefruit wrapped in trout, placed into test tubes of edible dirt and ash from which guests plucked them out of a nasturtium garden. Inventive and delicious.
"Nasturtium Forest, 2011."
This innocent-looking sweet corn agnolotti rocked the crowd with its buttery explosion of flavor and pure essence of corn.
Chef Kris Morningstar amused the crowd.
Shaved cured Italian pork.
Short rib rendang with Malay spices and red chile lemongrass rempah.
Another favorite, Bryant Ng's beef rendang was served with coconut rice, peas, anchovies, and sambal. Plus, we got to tease their manager about the spicy chicken livers dish that nearly killed us last weekend.
Ice Ice Shavi
The 80's-themed shaved ice cocktails were great and replaced "Live & Die in L.A." with Ice, Ice Baby as the song in our heads all day. Curses!
Uni shooter with quail egg, taro, fish roe, ponzu, and okra at the bottom. If you didn't get one of these, blame us!
Eggplant stuffed with fried shrimp and covered in tempura sauce.
Introduced a little cosplay into the affair.
A wonderful grilled mackerel with cured lemons, buckwheat, cauliflower, and pesto pantescu.
Prepared a fabulous brussel sprout salad.
Nicoise sandwich with Spanish tuna, black olives, tomato, and egg.
Chef Zach Pollack, left.
A beautiful bite of kampachi charentais melon cru with with jasmine rice velvet and radish cocktail.
Night + Market
Grilled isan sour sausage with bird eye chile, ginger, and coconut sticky rice.
Public Kitchen and Bar
Tim Goodell and crew prepared a Moroccan lamb spiced crepinette with heirloom carrots, spring onions, and tzatziki.
Key lime mini-pies.
Offered their sea salt chocolate chip cookies for dessert.
Fittingly, we went out on "Funky Drummer."
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