Ever since launching at L.A. Live five years ago, the mega-luxe Los Angeles Food & Wine extravaganza has incorporated music into the weekend, usually a live concert to go along with one of the walk-around tastings as a sort of grand finale. This year is no exception, but instead of just one final concert, the organizers have enlisted Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson to supply the beats with your eats all weekend long. In addition to DJing at two separate events, he’ll also be performing with his band The Roots. Even if you’re not hungry, that alone is a reason to go.
It’s a no-brainer to have Questlove bopping around LAFW, which takes place Thursday through Sunday (Aug. 27-30): The drummer and Tonight Show band leader is totally and very publicly into food. He had a fried chicken restaurant in New York for a couple years, started a series of food salons in the Lower East Side of Manhattan last year, and even has a secondary food-focused handle, QuestLovesFood, on Instagram and Twitter. The man loves food, loves the people in the business, and is probably as much of chef starhound as any one of us.
So we asked him for his for LAFW highlights for the weekend, what he’s excited to eat and who he’s excited to meet. Here are five picks in Questlove’s own words. And yes, we’re crossing our fingers for that fried chicken cake, too.
1) “I curated a couple of chefs for Thursday night of the festival. The Coolhaus truck has been a favorite of mine since they first popped up in Brooklyn. They have a fried chicken and waffles ice-cream, which I had never seen done in a dessert. That is until I met Bree Miller of Bree’s Cakes who made me a decadent fried chicken cake. I’m also bringing her to LAFW this year. She took the fried chicken thing literally and made a fried chicken dinner with all of the fixings, but turned it into what looks like a layered yellow cake with vanilla icing. You’ve got your corn bread, mashed potatoes, gravy, and mac and cheese. I hope for everyone reading this, the cake makes it to LAFW.”
2) “Many of my favorite restaurants and chefs in Los Angeles will also be at Ultimate Bites of LA on Thursday, including Jessica Koslow of Sqirl (even I have to wait in line at this spot in Silver Lake), Mariah Swan of ICDC, known for their milkshakes and donuts, Nancy Silverton, and Curtis Stone.”
4) “The Roots on Saturday night. I have wanted the Roots to perform at LAFW since my first time coming to the festival four years ago and we were finally able to make it happen.”
5) “Saturday Brunch with Michelle Bernstein before the Roots go on. I love DJing brunches. People will dance to Michael Jackson that early. Trust me.”
Catch DJ Questlove at the Ultimate Bites of LA on Thursday night on Grand Avenue downtown, at the Boozy Brunch on Saturday day in Hollywood, and with The Roots on the Grand Avenue main stage on Saturday night. Tickets range from $150-$350 depending on the event. Get all the info here.