It seems like all of the good things happen in the Fall: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Football, and food, and thats why it’s my favorite time of year. Something else I have looked forward to since moving to LA is the Taste of Italy, which benefits the IAMLA (Italian American Museum of LA). It’s much more than just a collection of eateries trying to vie for new customers; from food, (yes there is italian food other than pizza), to wine, libations, and a little bit of culture, it’s your one stop shop of everything italian. Set in historic little Italy, its italian overload. Just like St Patty’s Day in March, everyone is Italian in October. I had the pleasure of going in 2012, but unfortunately last year I had just returned from Rome and didn’t get a chance to make it. So I am looking forward to going this year and see how it has grown.. but mainly eat!
This year I have had a first, I was invited to participate in a dinner to inaugurate Italian Heritage Month, including celebrating the Museum and discussing the Taste of Italy. Typically, I am not the type of person who likes to go in as known media or blogger, but it was a compliment to be recognized and it piqued my curiosity. Maybe I could get an inside scoop of the vendors I should be definitely be visiting. And I wasn’t disappointed.
First lets get to my first dinner as a media guest. Since I have never been to anything like this, I will admit, I was not prepared. And off the heels of an accident and moving, I was certainly not dressed for the occasion. Believe me, I was a little self-conscious all night, but anyway. I was in the midst of the IAMLA staff, representatives of Peroni beer, as well as a couple of other bloggers, which made it an interesting evening. All of the food and drinks were made with Peroni beer. I must not be that creative to think of some of these things, but I was definitely impressed with dishes like wheat flour fettuccini with Peroni beer foam, Peroni braised veal cheeks, or even Peroni beer gelato created by Chef Celestino Drago of Drago Centro. I think I have just convinced myself to have a Peroni with lunch. Of course these were just tastes of each dish, but it got me excited, and I recommend going to see Drago Centro at the event this weekend.
Being of Italian heritage from the east coast, I had never thought of myself as a minority, but LA is a completely different animal. With asian and hispanic cultures being the prominent secondary and terciary cultures in this city its sometimes easy to forget that there is an Italian community, that’s why the Taste Of Italy is so important to the Italian community in LA.
If you have never been, the event is set on a ticket based system, your price for general entry includes 6 food and 6 drink tickets that you can spend at each of the vendors. If you think you have enough tickets, you probably don’t, I would recommend purchasing extra. When I went in 2011, there were drink tickets and then there were premium drink tickets. Those premium drinks are rather delicious, so I would recommend at least having enough tickets for one, but remember to be responsible when you drink! The food is always the main attraction, so be prepared to wait in line. If you can, get there early and eat often.
If you do get to go, be sure to stop and say hi if you see me. My sources tell me to visit the following vendors: Valentino, Drago Centro, Verace Pizza, Di Stefano Cheese, Mosby Wine, and Al Bacio.
If you want to know more about the Taste of Italy, the IAMLA, or about the vendors, check out the links below. See you at the Taste!
Taste of Italy Information
Tickets – http://italianhall.org/
Phone – (213) 485-8432
Prices – $55 General/$125 Premiere Admission
Want to know more about the IAMLA? Check out some facts and things you need to know!
IAMLA Fact Sheet – http://www.weekendfoodie.com/downloads/IAMLAFactSheet.pdf
IAMLA Taste of Italy Release – http://www.weekendfoodie.com/downloads/IAMLATasteofItaly2014.pdf
Taste of Italy Homepage – http://italianhall.org/taste-of-italy-los-angeles/
Taste of Italy Participants – http://italianhall.org/taste-of-italy-participants/