While others vow to drink more green juice or stop eating altogether this year, we’re resolving to not miss these January food events. There’s a curry fish ball eating contest we wouldn’t mind winning either.
Pasadena Cheeseburger Week
On the heels of its many rose-themed happenings, comes yet another Pasadena spectacular: Cheeseburger Week. For six meaty days, the city—which claims to be the birthplace of the cheeseburger—celebrates the invention with a Cheeseburger Challenge, which aims to find the best offerings between two buns in 15 different categories. Local spots, from Pie n’ Burger to Beckham Grill, will vie for such titles (determined by public voting) as Best Traditional Cheeseburger and Best Bar Burger. They even have a few crawls mapped out on the website to aid your deliberation.
Dine LA’s winter edition is upon us once again, and you know the deal: over 300 restaurants (including some very, very good ones) around the city will be offering two-course lunches and three-course dinners at set prices. Restaurant Week highlights include Alimento, Birch, Knuckle & Claw, Petrossian, and Pok Pok. Some of the menus are already up and can be perused on the event’s website.
Asian American Expo
Launched way back in 1982, the Asian American expo has grown into a gargantuan two-day early celebration of the Lunar New Year. Along with over 1,000 vendors (yes, there will be plenty of food booths) and eight non-stop performance stages, this year there are plans for three food courts. An Asian Beer Fest is also part of the event, and if you like watching people stuff their faces, eight different eating competitions (including ramen burgers, curry fish ball, and popcorn chicken) are scheduled.
Asian American Expo takes place January 16-17 at Pamona Fairplex, 1101 W. McKinley Ave., Pamona. Tickets are $11 for adults, $9 for kids and seniors. Find out more on the event’s website (there’s an English-language button on the page’s right top corner).
Spartina Then and Now
Chef Stephen Kalt won hearts and critical acclaim back in the ’90s when he opened Spartina in NYC’s Tribeca neighborhood. Since then, he’s helmed kitchens in Atlantic City, Las Vegas, and at Caulfield’s in Beverly Hills. This month, he’s debuting a reincarnation of Spartina on Melrose Avenue, and to mark the occasion food writer Andy Wang (a contributor to The Digest), is curating a one-night-only dinner called “Spartina Then and Now” as part of his new series for Table8. The four-course meal will include some of the Italian restaurant’s greatest hits, including Kalt’s Chestnut Soup with Foie Gras, and new dishes, like pasta with Monterrey Bay squid and bone marrow.
Spartina Then and Now takes place on January 21 at 7505 Melrose Ave. 6:30 and 8:30 seatings available. $55 for Table8 members, $70 for everyone else; optional wine pairing. Make reservations and get more info here.
Coffee Con LA
Round out the month with a jolt at Coffee Con. The self-proclaimed “best coffee festival” that puts the focus on the coffee consumer is an all-day, caffeinated festival that promises tastes of over 100 different coffees, hands-on classes and labs on such subjects as at-home latte making, Japanese pour-over methods, and proper bean grinding. Sounds gloriously geeky! So far the list of exhibitors includes Cafecito Organico, Groundwork, and James Coffee Company. Food trucks, chocolatiers, and bakeries will also be on hand.
Best New Restaurants 2016 Celebration
What’s the point of having a magazine if you can’t plug your own event!?! Head to the Arts District downtown for a night of live music, refreshments, and good-old-fashioned gustatory revelry to honor this year’s crop of esteemed winners. Enjoy gourmet tastings from the chefs at The Bellwether, Birch, Le Comptoir, Redbird, Terrine, and Union, along with handcrafted Bombay Sapphire cocktails, beer, and wine.