Artisanal LA

Great idea, Chris! Everyone - I'm always open to suggestions!
(I know it's not quite fair to talk about a seasonal event, but I think it's OK if my focus here is spent telling you about the things I tried at said event that you can find/try/order online anytime you please! Also, if you're juicing to go, stalk the event on twitter and bookmark it in your calendar for Fall 2011!)

Artisanal LA
Santa Monica Place (3rd Level Dining Deck)
395 Santa Monica Place
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Follow Artisanal LA on TWITTER or FACEBOOK

Type: Seasonal Event
Company: Hipster-Foodie Friends, Dates
Cost: $10/person pre-sale, $15 at the door
Quick-Rec: Go hungry/thirsty with patience...I know, a tough dichotomy
OTC Tip: Try everything once, then go back and buy anything you can't leave without.

This past weekend while half of everyone I know spent their time checking in on facebook at Coachella, I went to Artisanal LA. Much more my scene, no matter how you slice/hear it. Basically the farmers' market indoors with a few demos and panels scheduled here and there (think: butchering, beer making, beekeeping), over two days ALA showcased "nearly 100 local, artisanal & handmade vendors." Yep, think: tastings, food, and more...tastings and food. Sure, there were soaps and clothes and non-edible things to check out for purchase - but let's be real. The closest I got to a non-edible was the photo booth and the beer panel.

Over the two hours we were there, we tasted everything from home-made bbq sauce, habanero jam, and meatballs to cupcake pops, bacon trail-mix, and coconut-water sorbet. Of the many other dips, sauces, meats, organic candies, and confections - there were a few that stood out, but I believe you should know about this one in particular:

Cast Iron Gourmet
Rashida Purifoy (chef/owner)
Follow Cast Iron Gourmet on FACEBOOK and TWITTER

Basically, the entire company is a dedicated ode to bacon. Chef/owner Rashida Purifoy specializes in what we've all known from the first bite: "There's just something about bacon..." - which means she makes "small batch bacon and bacon-inspired goodies." So, as expected, when I came upon her table I experienced a moment that felt something like seeing, for the first time, the embodiment of my heart and stomach's co-dream, finally realized.

I tried everything she had available, short of dipping my finger in to one of the jars of bacon fat. Particularly delightful was the "Couch Mix" which is your everyday, handmade trail mix (fruits, nuts, chocolate) but WITH CARAMELIZED BACON CHUNKS. Yep, I told Rashida that I loved her.

Also notable was the Bacon Bourbon Chutney and the Bacon Mayo Pimento Cheese Spread. For crackers or bread eat straight out of the jar with a spoon? No big deal, just delicious and amazing.

Anyways, keep your eyes open for this Cast Iron Gourmet - and if you don't see her soon, make it a day and go find her!

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