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The Hippest Food Event in Town: Photos & Recipes from Taste Talks at Mack Sennett Studios

Last Sunday, some friends and I were lucky to be invited to the legendary Mack Sennett Studios in Silver Lake for Taste Talks: The All-Star BBQ. With delicious food from Delicious Pizza, Ron Duprat of Top Chef, Mainland Poke Co., Belle’s Bagels, Chichen Itza, Maple Block Meat Co., Chef Jude Parra of The Cannibal, and Chef Kelis (whose song “Milkshake” you may know), it was a wonderful and tasty way to spend an afternoon. Inside, take a look at all the appetizing bites, plus a bit of Hollywood history of the silent film studio turned awesome neighborhood event space, and exclusive recipes from celebrity chefs Curtis Stone, Chris Oh, Nyesha Arrington, and more.

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Built as a silent movie studio in 1916 by legendary producer and actor and “King of Comedy” Mack Sennett, Mack Sennett Studios is a Los Angeles landmark and as LA Mayor Eric Garcetti noted, ” This isn’t just a place, it’s really a symbol. This is where it all started… People think Hollywood started in Hollywood, it actually first started a little further east, right here at Mack Sennett Studios.”

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Today, the studios continues the rich legacy of Mack Sennett Studios, now restored and reopened, for a whole new era of photo shoots, parties, and more. Built in 1916, it became the home of the Mabel Normand Feature Film Company after Normand—Sennett’s star actress and onetime fiancée—discovered the producer in a tryst with one of her close friends.

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With a century of Hollywood history I take every opportunity I can to visit the glamorous space. On Sunday the afternoon began with DJ sets from the “Sweet Beats” DJ Truck with DJ Ry Toast and later included tunes from Chily-T and Rick Ross of Delicious Vinyl, an appropriate partner for the festivities to follow.

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We started with the first station we saw when we entered, Top Chef’s Ron Duprat’s and Single Serving’s Manouschka Guerrier’s perfectly cooked deconstructed Haitian Pork, with rice & black mushrooms and pickled cabbage. The picked cabbage was my favorite part of the dish, lightly sweet and totally refreshing for the warm summer-like day (in November!).

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Next up we decided to grab a drink inside the famous studios at the Don Julio bar, set up against one of Mack Sennett’s many glorious vintage 1920s backdrops. The Taste Talks event came with three, yes three!, drink tickets. On offer were two tequila cocktails – Tommy’s Classic Margarita and a Manzanita Mule. There was also a cash bar with beer and wine. Both the margarita and the manzanita mule were on tap but were surprisingly fresh and strong!

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Perhaps our favorite of the day was Chichen Itza’s Mesquite Grilled Yellowtail Fish Taco.

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A slab of Yellowtail! Chichen Itza is a longtime local restaurant located in downtown. It’s one of the best Mexican restaurants in a city full of great ones.

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Their taco was great, and they were kind enough to allow us seconds after one person in our party went a little overboard with their very spicy salsa.

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Dante’s ‘Sock it to Me” Fried Chicken ‘N Waffles Party was an interesting concoction of sweet and savory, with granola fried chicken on a cinnamon-malted waffle topped with crack apricot maple syrup. I had the tofu version which tasted like a nice little combination of breakfast and lunch.

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Culver City’s recently opened The Cannibal were here serving a Veri Veri Teriyaki Chicken Sausage with Grilled Pineapple, Crispy Rice, and Tatsoi.

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Eastside favorite Belle’s Bagels took time away from their pop-up at Highland Park’s The Hi-Hat to serve a Bagel Bite with Smashed Avocado, Chives, Cucumbers, Radishes, and SBEZ Hot Sauce. If you haven’t had a Belle’s Bagel yet, rush out to Highland Park! They may be the Eastside’s best.

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While you know I’m not much of a carnivore, my friends loved Wolfgang Puck’s 72 Hour Short Rib.

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The short rib steak was accompanied by hoison black garlic miso sauce, kimchi, and a radish and cucumber salad.

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A crowd gathered around Maple Block Meat Company and The Glitch Mob’s carving of their Peach Wood Smoked Beef Brisket.

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Simbal and Baroo offered a unique Ddeok-galbi, Banh hoi, Radish pickles, Gochujang fish sauce spread, and Shiso.

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The folks at Delicious Pizza were having a great time serving their very popular Grilled Bacon, Sourdough French Toast Remix pizza with Jam. It was, yes, delicious and seemed more like a fresh salad on a savory piece of delectable sourdough.

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Taste Talks, a six day event, also gave away free recipe cards from some of the industry’s heavy hitters. Check out the recipes and thanks for reading!

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BANANA BREAD WITH TOASTED WALNUTS – CURTIS STONE, MAUDE, GWEN

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350. Spray a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Spread 1 1/2 cups of the walnuts on a large heavy baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes, or until the walnuts are toasted and a nut broken in half is golden brown in the center. Let cool, then coarsely chop.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon together to blend.
  4. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the sugar and eggs for about 8 minutes, or until pale and thick. Gradually beat in the canola oil. Beat in the bananas, yogurt, and vanilla. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture, and mix just until blended. Using a large flexible spatula, fold the toasted walnuts into the batter.
  5. Spread the batter in the loaf pan. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/2 cup walnuts. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the top is browned and a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. If the bread is browned before it tests done, tent the top with aluminum foil. Let cool in the pan on a wire cake rack for 15 minutes.
  6. Invert the banana bread onto the rack and turn right side up. Slice and serve warm, or let cool completely before serving.

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JERK RIBS – KELIS

For the sauce:
Combine the oil, molasses, soy sauce, allspice, garlic, Scotch bonnet pepper, scallions, thyme, and some black pepper in a blender and blend. Transfer to a saucepan and cook until the sauce changes color, 10 to 15 minutes.

For the ribs:
Preheat the oven too 400 degrees F. In a bowl, combine the sugar, caraway seeds, garlic, salt, and cayenne pepper. Coat the ribs evenly on both sides and reserve any remaining rub. Sprinkle the ribs with paprika. Place the ribs in a hotel pan or deep baking dish. Cover tightly with foil. Bake covered completely, about 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Check the ribs for doneness throughout; when the meat separates from the bone, the ribs are done. Coat the ribs evenly with the jerk sauce and cook, covered, for an additional 15 minutes.

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KOREAN BBQ – CHRIS OH, HANJIP, SEOUL SAUSAGE CO

  1. Whisk ingredients until fully mixed.
  2. Place in a glass pyrex or large ziplock and add meat.
  3. Marinate in the fridge for 1 hour.
  4. Remove and discard marinade.
  5. Pat dry and sear quickly on each side on a very hot grill pan, cast iron, or bbq.
  6. Serve over with pickled veggies, garnish with sliced green onions and sesame seeds.

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GRILLED ASPARAGUS PISTOU – NYESHA ARRINGTON, LEONA

Grill asparagus until lightly blackened on leaflets, remove from grill and chill immediately. Dice asparagus finely.

Fold in parmesan cheese, diced tomatoes, crushed red chili flakes, cilantro, oregano, and basil. Cream together with the asparagus mixture with olive oil. Season mixture with salt and espelette pepper.


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