All the Best Food From the EastSide Food Festival (Photos)

The EastSide Food Fest returned to the legendary Mack Sennett Studios in Silver Lake on Sunday, October 22nd. The annual celebration of the East side’s best restaurants and chefs always draws a huge crowd yet remains remarkably easy to try at least one of every thing from the 35+ vendors who attended this year’s event. Guests are able to sample dishes from local restaurants that may not be on their radar, out of their neighborhood, or over their budget. Trust me, you won’t leave hungry.

The festival began at 3pm for VIP ticket holders with a special Las Jaras Wines wine tasting hosted by comedian Eric Wareheim, known best from his roles in Aziz Ansari’s Master of None and the Tim & Eric Show. Las Jaras Wines serve two purposes: having fun and the serious business of perfect food pairing. Co-founder Wareheim was on hand pouring their newly launched and much sought-after Carignan, a “sultry, cloudy, offbeat and unadulterated” natural wine from Mendocino, California.

We started our day of dining at FrankieLucy Bakeshop. FrankieLucy is a bright Filipino-style bakery serving distinctive custards and cappuccino-style drinks.

They served a delicious Demitasse Espresso Custard and an Herbal Iced Tea, which was much needed on this very hot Los Angeles afternoon. FrankieLucy is located on a cute little stretch of Sunset in Silverlake next door to Sweetfin Poké.

The formerly underground and illegal restaurant Starry Kitchen, now operating out of Buttonmash in Echo Park, touted the Starry Kitchen cookbook and served a deep fried, incredibly crunchy, bright green tofu ball. Bland, boring tofu it wasn’t. These tofu balls are on the menu at Buttonmash and are that rare treat that taste incredibly decadent yet are actually quite light and delicate. We could have had seconds.

“Ohana means Family” at  Ohana Poké Co. The Silver Lake location (there’s also one downtown) served a Hawaiian-style Spam Musubi. Delicious. Our only complaint? The Spam Musubi were so tightly held together in plastic wrap that a few of us were unaware it was not part of the dish.

Ohana Poké Co. served that dish alongside their incredible poké with a spicy and non-spicy option – we each had both. The poké was a very popular treat for the festival goers.

A major favorite was Hot Hot Food’s Kale with mushroom, pickled onion, and rice with jalapeno avocado salsa verde topped with a quail egg. I went back for seconds!

Hot Hot Food is a newish ’70s era vintage cafe located on Hoover in East Hollywood /Silver Lake that specializes in American comfort food meets Asian mash-ups over fried rice.

RBTA Highland Park recently opened next door to the Highland Park Bowl on Figueroa in happening Highland Park. Sure to become a popular dining destination before or after bowling. RBTA served a crab, seaweed, and cucumber dish with salmon roe. Invigorating and bright, it was the perfect mid-fest refresher.

Sawyer in Silver Lake served a shrimp and rice dish that wasn’t exactly easy on the eyes, but turned out to be the perfect combination of sweet and savory, crunchy and soft. Perfectly cooked. Their next door neighbor Kettle Black handed out hundreds (maybe thousands?) of Zucchini Noodles.

The zucchini is brined to give it extra crunch, topped with crispy garlic bread crumbs, basil pesto and parmesan. It’s to die for! Find this dish on the menu at the busy modern Italian restaurant.

Red Herring in Eagle Rock served a seemingly simple Olive Tapenade & Ricotta on Ciabatta. Yes, you could make this at home, but, no, it will not taste as elegant and refined as this mixture of fresh Castelvetrano olives and ricotta. Red Herring (whose patio at sunset must be seen to be believed) also served Pork Rillettes on brioche bread with butter pickles.

A mid-fest food break was in order so we visited our friends at Tabula Rasa Bar. Tabula Rasa is a neighborhood spot that just opened in East Hollywood in September of 2016. They had three varieties to choose from.

Amaro Angeleno bitters are a must have for any home mixologist. Here’s their recipe for an Angeleno Spritz or #thenewspritz:

“1.5oz Amaro Angeleno

3oz Prosecco

Splash of soda water

Fill wine glass or tall glass of choice with ice, add ingredients, stir and garnish with an orange wedge. For our fancier folk, add a few sprigs of rosemary.

*warning: this cocktail is addictive and may drive an individual to drink 20 sitting by the pool*”

Back to what we really came for: more food! We Have Noodles served two dishes – a Green Noodle with kale, broccoli, fried shallots and a Chili Garlic Noddle with sous vide chicken.

The wonderful neighborhood favorite of Highland Park, Cafe Birdie, served a divisive Anchovy Toast with smoked tomatoes, marinated white anchovies, herbed aioli on baguette. Hey, you either love or hate anchovies of course.

Melody hasn’t opened yet, but if their sneak preview is anything to go by, they will soon become a destination spot not unlike their nearby neighbor on Virgil in East Hollywood Sqirl.

The difference between the two is Melody will be an evening spot with beer and wine, small plates, on a fantastic patio carved out of a craftsman home. Melody served Gruyere Malakoffs with green tomato cornichon, dijon mustard, and dill and a Smoked Brandade Dip with crispy potato, za’atar, and radish. Deceptively simple bruschetta done to perfection.

Momed Atwater Village brought the goods with their Greek lamb and beef meatballs, with spicy chermoula sauce, feta cheese, pomegranate seeds, and toasted pine nuts.

If only they had been served with a spoon!

The Black Cat impressed with a Beef Cheek Ravioli with pastrami spice, charred cabbage, gruyere Aop, and rye breadcrumbs.

The line for an Our Vodka by Our/Los Angeles cocktail was out the door. But it turned out to be well worth the wait. Our/Los Angeles vodka is partly-distilled, blended and hand-bottled in the micro-distillery according to the same global recipe, but with the use of different, locally-sourced ingredients, giving each vodka its own, unique flavor profile. The small-sized, simple bottle is sealed with a crown-cap containing a vodka that is smooth, fresh and pure with a slight grain and fruity note.

Two cocktails were on offer. The Echo – hibiscus infused Our/Los Angeles Vodka, activated charcoal, apple & ginger juice, dash of All Spice. Headless Horseman of The East – Our/Los Angeles Vodka, cardamom infused brown simple syrup, pomegranate & clementine juice, splash of Topo Chico. We all loved the presentation! Especially the tangerines carved like pumpkins. It’s almost Halloween after all!

Greatest jumpsuit of the afternoon certainly went to lovely lady enjoying We Have Noodles’s Kale.

VIP ticket holders were able to enjoy an open bar of tequila and a private lounge.

As the festival began wrapping up (and as Starry Kitchen’s chef began singing into the studio-wide live microphone) we realized on our way out we had somehow missed the pizza.

Wood Pizza in Silverlake gave us the perfect post-fest delight. A traditional Neapolitan pizza perfect for making sure we left the festival full and happy.

The EastSide Food Festival is an annual event that partners with PATH, a non-profit organization in support of their local programs benefitting homeless individuals and families in the Silver Lake and surrounding EastSide areas of Los Angeles. Each year, our involvement with this event supports the goal in achieving a generous fiscal donation to PATH. So you can enjoy food and spirits while knowing the price of your ticket helps support a great community cause. We hope to see you at the festival next year!

For more information on the EastSide Food Fest go here. And be sure to follow them on Instagram.

For more information on Mack Sennett Studios go here. And follow them on Instagram too!

All photos by me.

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