Scene & Heard: Taste of the Nation L.A. 2013

Getting an earful with our mouth full.

Yesterday afternoon, hundreds gathered under the shady trees in downtown Culver City’s media park to wine and dine, hob and nob with L.A.’s best chefs over tiny plates of tasty bites for Taste of the Nation L.A.

BLD, 800° Degrees, FIG, Mo-Chica, Joe’s, Ford’s Filling Station, Plan Check, Night + Market, fonuts, Wilshire, Cliff’s Edge, Border Grill and over a dozen other restaurants came out on a sunny day to raise money for children in need. Barmen from around town shook and stirred cocktails while local craft beer purveyors poured from portable kegs. There was also no shortage of wine.

Our favorite bites of the day included Superba Snack Bar’s s’mores, Valerie Confections Durango cookies, (San Francisco & New York-based) Mission Chinese Food’s uni-laced ramen, the peel-dip-and-eat shrimp at A-Frame, Roadhouse L.A.‘s wraps, and Jimmy Shaw’s pork tinga tacos at Loteria Grill. But sometimes getting an earful is just as fun as a good mouthful. Here’s what we overheard:

“No, one day I just got up and felt like running. It was a Forrest Gump kind of thing.” —Chef Roy Choi, at his A-Frame and Sunny Spot double booths, talking to a guest about why he’s been working out.

“These ladies are going to kill me for saying this, but Mary Sue (Milliken) and Susan (Feniger) have been part of Share Our Strength and Taste of the Nation for 25 years!” —MC Billy Harris on the stage, while giving away a dinner from the two chefs.

“My favorite bite? The burrata from Bucato.” —Nearly every guest that was queried. Bucato, from chef Evan Funke, is set to open in just three weeks.

“We’re so happy to be downtown, the support has been incredible.” —Valerie Gordon, Valerie Confections.

“This event is awesome.” —Chef Jason Neroni, slumped in a chair at the end of the afternoon, exhausted but happy.