From a gyoza eating contest to a festival devoted to all things vegetarian, here are three food events you should put on your calendar in Sharpie.
There are few events more suited to the food culture in L.A. than BrunchCon. It’s a two-day festival devoted to all things brunch, something some of us attempt to do daily. The second BrunchCon is Aug. 12 and 13 at the Reef in downtown Los Angeles. The festival is expecting 5,000 attendees this year and brunch dishes from 50 vendors, including Mas Malo, Eveleigh, 424 Main and probably the most exciting of the bunch, Sweet Butter Kitchen in Sherman Oaks, known for its Nutella sandwiches among other things. For the festival, Sweet Butter Kitchen will be making chicken and waffle bites, Eveleigh will be serving breakfast sandwiches and Mas Malo will be making mushroom scrambled egg tacos. There’s an open mimosa bar, an open bloody mary bar and an open vodka soda bar to cover all your basic brunch cocktail needs. General admission tickets are $65 and include one tasting from each of the vendors and the open bar. VIP admission tickets are $95 and also include a gift bag and access to a lounge. Tickets are available on eventbrite.com. The Reef, 1933 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, brunchcon.com.
How many gyoza (Japanese potstickers) can you eat for dinner? Ten? Maybe 15 if you skip the ramen? If your idea of a food party involves watching other people attempt to eat hundreds of gyoza in one sitting, you may want to check out the 11th Day-Lee Foods World Gyoza Eating Championship in downtown L.A. on Aug. 26. It’s part of the 77th Los Angeles Nisei Week Japanese Festival in Little Tokyo. The contest involves eating as many gyoza as possible in 10 minutes. In 2016, Matt Stonie won by eating 323 gyoza. The record holder? That’s reigning hot dog champ Joey Chestnut, who managed 384 gyoza in 2014. This competition is one of Major League Eating’s actual sanctioned events, and the group estimates about 19,000 gyoza have been consumed since the event started 11 years ago. Registration to participate is closed, but you can still go and watch in envy (or dismay) as the competitors eat enough gyoza to fill a small bathtub. Admission to watch the competition is free. The festival takes place over two weekends starting on Aug. 19 with music, entertainment, a parade, food and games. All proceeds will benefit the Nisei Week Foundation, the nonprofit behind the festival. Japanese American Cultural and Community Center Plaza, 244 S. San Pedro St., Los Angeles, (213) 687-7183, www.niseiweek.org.
California Vegetarian Food Festival
Whether you’re a devoted vegetarian or just interested in a plant-based diet, you might want to check out the two-day California Vegetarian Food Festival on Sept. 16 and 17. This is where you can geek out and learn about products and ideas that support a vegetarian and eco-friendly lifestyle. The event was started by Sarah Gross and Nira Paliwoda, founders of U.S. Veg Corp., an event production and marketing brand. Participants will sample plant-based food and products, listen to live music and have the opportunity to participate in fitness and kids activities. There will also be demonstrationss and seminars on everything from plant-based nutrition to a talk on “raising healthy and happy vegan children.” Early bird tickets are $10, one-day general admission tickets are $20 if purchased in advance and $30 at the door. One-day VIP tickets including a goody bag, drink tickets and more and ,are $50, while two-day VIP tickets are $75. Ages 10 and younger get in for free. Raleigh Studios, 5300 Melrose Ave., Hollywood, www.cavegfoodfest.com.
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