A Variety of Stellar Local Dining Awaits at Taste America: LA Edition

Looking to sample restaurants you may not have tried otherwise? On July 27, a James Beard Foundation benefit will give you the opportunity in an open-air setting

If you’ve been holed up at home and are now sick of your own cooking (and the inevitable takeout), July 27 is your chance to revisit or discover nine mostly local and award-winning restaurants at an event on the rooftop of Neuehouse Hollywood. Because of its diverse restaurant community, Los Angeles has been selected as one of 20 U.S. cities to host an event at the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America Culinary series presented by Capital One.

The James Beard Foundation is a nonprofit whose mission is to “celebrate, support, and elevate the people behind America’s food culture.” The $175 ticket helps support the featured culinary businesses and benefits the foundation’s advocacy work in sustainability, women’s leadership, and combating racism. The evening begins at 6 p.m. at Neuehouse Hollywood with nine food and beverage stations arranged on the roof, so you will be able to watch the sunset as you nibble away.

The beloved Mexican restaurant, Casa Vega, which opened in 1956, was the recipient of the James Beard 2022 America’s Classics Award. Owner Christy Vega represents the third generation to run this family enterprise, where celebrities are often seen at lunch and dinner. An early scene with Leonardo DiCaprio and Al Pacino in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood was filmed in the venerable Sherman Oaks restaurant, whose margaritas are said to be among the city’s best.

Margarita Manzke, co-owner of République, will offer her justly famous pastries. The Philippine native is a 2022 James Beard Award nominee for Outstanding Pastry Chef. In a town known for detox diets and fasting, Manzke entices even the skinniest Angelenos to chow down on her sweets—and maybe order two.

Husband and wife team Michael and Kwini Reed created a rooftop oasis in the middle of the downtown Flower District with Poppy + Rose, drawing crowds from the surrounding businesses for breakfast and lunch. They describe their outdoor, picnic-style menu as classic American comfort food with a strong southern accent. They do serve some of the best biscuits in town to crowds of brunch-goers, who then stroll next door for cut flowers.

When Katianna and John Hong conceived their casual Korean deli, they meant it to be a place to eat in or take out. The Yangban Society in the Arts District is designed to be an egalitarian gathering spot; It’s a deli, but so much more—and it’s better than most. Customers can browse the cold food cases, order from a menu of hot entrees, and head upstairs to check out the selection of Asian snacks and beverages. Seating is scattered throughout the space, so you can choose a spot where you will discover modern Korean food.

Konbi, the tiny sandwich shop in Echo Park, may have been praised by Bon Appetit, but the crowds who line up there are a real testament to their food. Famous for its egg salad sandwich, delicate pastries, tea, coffee, and a variety of other lunch choices are also on offer. Husband and wife owners Nick Montgomery and Akira Akuto are now on the cusp of opening a second space in Culver City.

While she was homesick, Natalia Pereira set out to bring the tastes of her Brazilian homeland to downtown L.A. She opened Woodspoon 10 years ago and has been feeding hungry travelers and natives alike with rich, smokey stews and street food delights ever since.

Family taught Vanda and Cathy Asapahu, of Ayara Thai, to replicate the dishes they grew up loving. Two generations of home cooks treat customers like valued friends in their Westchester restaurant; their lunch and dinner menus have been mentioned in the Michelin Guide.

Two out-of-town talents are in the event’s lineup, as well. Visiting Chef Shenarri Freemark, from New York City’s vegan soul food restaurant, Cadence, and Chef Carlos Gaytan, of the multi-starred Mexican restaurant, Tzuco, will be in from Chicago.

Tickets for the Taste America Los Angeles event are now on sale. For more information visit, jamesbeard.org/tasteamerica.

The James Beard Foundation’s
Taste America Culinary Series in L.A.

Neuehouse Hollywood 6121 Sunset Blvd.
Wednesday, July 27, 6 p.m.

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