In the foothills and mountains of Southern California lies a wealth of edible mushrooms just waiting to be plucked for use in the kitchen (or perhaps sold with help from your local mafia). However, even so-called "experts" in the field of mycology sometimes make bad calls, necessitating caution in everyone's foraging. To help you distinguish your sweet Candy Caps from your poisonous Jack-O-Lantern mushrooms, the Los Angeles Mycological Society has been leading 'shroom-searches and fungi-related discussions for over 40 years, all in an attempt to educate the uninitiated and strengthen the fold of local mushroom devotees. While poring over the society's mushroom porn this weekend (as we often do during off-hours), we caught wind of the group's Wild Mushroom Fair in February, featuring one Nancy Silverton as guest-chef.
On Sunday, February 12th, the group will organize its 28th Wild Mushroom Fair at Arcadia's L.A. County Arboretum and Botanic Garden,. The six-hour affair features guided mushroom walks, cultivation workshops, demonstrations for children, mushroom-themed vendors, and sure to please all incurable mycology-heads, a lecture by keynote speaker Gary Lindhoof (dude, Gary 'effing Lindhoff!), who wrote the Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms. Can anyone say "rager?"
The society has Mozza, Short Order, and La Brea Bakery mastermind Nancy SIlverton in as the guest chef for the event. Silverton will offer a mushroom cooking demo and, at least as far as the food crowd is concerned, raise the event from an educational foray into astounding fungi obsession into something considerably cooler.
The cost of entry is simply the cost of a ticket into the arboretum, while watching Lindoff do his thing will be $5 for members, $10 for non-members (Lindhoff t-shirts will naturally be much more). A trip to the two-day Mushroom Camp could be a helpful initiation, but is certainly not required.
February 12th, 10 A.M. -4:00 P.M., at The Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden, 301 North Baldwin Ave. Arcadia.