If you did not attend the Food GPS Rib Festival yesterday oh boy did you miss out! It was a perfectly warm and sunny summer afternoon in Downtown LA’s Chinatown.Unlike many other food festivals that occur around the nation, this festival offered a specific cuisine, for all of the rib lovers out there. It is this distinction in cuisine that allowed for a more personal and intimate setting.
The best chefs from restaurants and food trucks around LA showed up to provide some of their featured rib dishes. Minutes after general admission was permitted to enter, the Chinatown walk way with dozens of red lanterns hovering above, filled with hungry festival attendees. About 20 different vendors participated in the event, including some breweries and dessert shops. A few stand out vendors were The Spice Table, Heirloom LA, Cliff’s Edge and Salt & Straw.
The Spice Table, after closing its brick and mortar at the start of this year, made a reappearance at the Rib Festival. They served up Lamb Ribs throughly seasoned with cumin, chile and mustard, complimented by Burrata, a fresh Italian cheese made with mozzarella and cream, topped with sambal-marinated grilled eggplant and breadcrumbs. These tender lamb ribs literally fell off the bone upon consumption, a sure sign of great preparation. We’re looking forward to more appearances from The Spice Table in the future.
Heirloom LA provided a unique sandwich dish composed of , Chicharron Wrapped “McRib” roulade with Sweet Baby Todds BBQ Sauce, Hawaiian Bread, Napa Cabbage and Carrot Slaw. This dish provided all the right factors, sweet, savory and crunchy. They also get an A plus in presentation as they served up samples in metal pans atop wooden pieces, accompanied by chalk boards with hand-written text, all of which gave their booth great character.
Cliff’s Edge, a cafe based in the heart of Silver Lake, seemed to be festival favorite because of the crispy pork ribs they were serving up. Covered with a honey and fish sauce glaze, as well as toasted rice that added a nice crunch to the tender rib. This dish paired with a refreshing watermelon salad, left attendees wanting more.
Though the main focus of this festival was Rib,s one dessert vendor in particular seemed to steal the show. Salt and Straw showed up yet again and intrigued the crowd with its unique flavors. They served up Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons, Stumptown Coffee with Compartes Love Nuts, Tomato Water Olive Oil Sherbet, Black Olive Brittle and Goat Cheese and a personal favorite, Freckled Woodblock Chocolate. The tomato water olive oil sherbet proved to be surprisingly smooth and refreshing and would have been great to pair with the Black Olive Brittle and Goat Cheese ice cream. Be sure to look out for their brick and mortar location that will be opening up in Larchmont Village this summer!
In addition to the delicious rib dishes and delectable dessert vendors a few revitalizing cocktails were being mixed up by Jason Bran and Damian Windsor as well, including a carrot cooler and melon blossom breeze.
Whether you came for the crispy pork ribs or the tender lamb ribs and were surprised by the desserts and cool drinks, all attendees left with a smile and a belly full of ribs.
Cheers to another successful food festival in the books this summer and may there be many more to come!