10 Best Spring Food and Drink Events Around LA

By Lesley Balla  |  April 1, 2014
Credit: Pebble Beach Food & Wine

Even if we don't have a horribly cold winter, that doesn't mean we don't look forward to spring. It's one of the most beautiful times of year in LA and the surrounding areas - and it's also the most delicious. On tap this April and May are food world happenings to travel for - be it to Santa Monica or Pebble Beach - and one ultimate bake sale (really). A list of the 10 Best Spring Food and Drink Events Around LA that you don't want to miss follows.

  • April 10-13: Pebble Beach Food & Wine

    The four-day extravaganza returns for its seventh year: a weekend of food, wine, celebrity chefs, cooking demos and more, all set along the gorgeous Central Coast seaside getaway. The best part is that everything takes place within the picturesque 17 Mile Drive, so you can easily take cabs and shuttles (and Lexus cars, if you pay enough) to get around. That means stumbling around in constant champagne bliss for days on end, and you never have to drive. And there's golf, sometimes with the chefs themselves. This year’s biggest names include Carla Hall, Donatella Arpaia, Guy Fieri and Robert Irvine in one event, Duff Goldman, Michael Symon, a tribute to Charlie Trotter, Andrew Zimmern, plus LA’s top dogs like Jon Shook, Nancy Silverton, Ben Ford, Antonia Lafaso, David LeFevre, Walter Manzke, Ray Garcia and more. Check out some of the fun from last year: It’s worth the drive.

    Details: Some events are already sold out, but tickets range from $100 for a single event to more than $4,500 for a four-day pass. The best bet for the money is always the Grand Tasting ($250 per person), with more than 50 chefs and hundreds of wines.

  • Credit: Tenley Fohl Photography

    April 10-13: Santa Barbara Vintner’s Spring Weekend
    If you can’t make it all the way to Pebble Beach (or feel like making a pit stop on the way to or from), the wineries around Santa Barbara County and the Central Coast celebrate spring at a blowout festival on April 12. There are more than 100 wineries pouring wines, food from local restaurants to nibble on, live music, art and more. But winemakers also get into the spirit at open houses along all of the local wine trails with parties, special tastings and barbecues. It’s a festive time to really explore the local wine country.

    Details: Tickets for the festival start at $95 per person. Check the calendar for other events in the area throughout the weekend.

  • April 11-13 and 18-20: Coachella

    Why is Coachella on this list? Because this year there are restaurant pop-ups with some of LA’s hottest chefs, Outstanding in the Field sit-down dinners in the Rose Garden, better coffee, even better craft beer and Artisanal LA artisans selling tasty treats. And that’s just the tip of the oh-how-we-wish-there-really-was-an-iceberg-in-the-desert news. Here are 10 new things you’ll be eating at the music fest this year.

    Details: Tickets for Coachella have been sold out for months, unless you buy a package with one of the Outstanding in the Field dinners. Get more info here.

  • April 12: The Grilled Cheese Invitational

    The sad news: this is the last GCI ever in the City of Angels. “It will not be the 3rd 10th Annual or the 2nd 11th Annual or even the 12th Annual,” founder Tim Walker announced earlier this year. “It will be the last.” The good news: it will still be the cheesiest. Taking place on National Grilled Cheese Day at the Los Angeles Center Studios, amateur and professional cooks will bring their best bread, cheese, butter and fillings to compete for snazzy statues and tons of glory. It’s a massive party for everyone, including those who sign up to be judges and beg and scream for grilled cheeses, which is half the fun. It’s a crazy, greasy, deliciously hot, melted day of cheesy madness.

    Details: 11 AM-6 PM. General admission tickets are $15-$25. Food, beverages and food trucks are pay-as-you-go.

  • April 13: Bakers Will Bake

    Cooks County co-chef and owner Roxana Jullapat pulls together some of her best pastry chef buddies from around Los Angeles for this annual bake sale to raise money for garden-based education programs in local schools. Taking place at the Sunday Hollywood Farmers Market, look for goodies from Shannon Swindle (Craft), Christine Moore (Little Flower Candy Co.), Na Young Ma (Proof Bakery), Elizabeth Belkind (Cake Monkey), Zoe Nathan (Huckleberry), Valerie Gordon (Valerie), Sherry Yard and more.

    Details: Takes place near the Selma and Ivar intersection of the market from 8 AM-1 PM, but go on the early side - last year a lot of the goods were gone before noon.

  • Credit: Lesley Balla

    April 18-19: Ktown Night Market

    Bulgogi as far as the eye can see, plus tacos, fluff ice and spicy rice balls are just a few of the eats you’ll find at Koreatown’s first night market. There will be more than 40 food vendors, including The Great Food Truck Race winners from all three seasons - Seoul Sausage, Grill ‘Em All and The Lime Truck - plus India Jones Chow Truck, White Rabbit, Coolhaus and more. Included in the weekend fun will be live performances and some sort of K-pop dancing extravaganza.

    Details: 4 PM-midnight on Friday and 2 PM-midnight on Saturday. Admission is free; food is pay-as-you-go. Takes place at 702 South Catalina St.

  • April 23: UCLA’s Science and Food

    The super-interesting and cerebral lecture series kicks off on April 23 with “The Science of Sushi” with Dr. Ole Mouritsen and chef Morihiro Onodera, former owner of Mori Sushi, famed rice grower and potter. In May, Dr. Dana Small, chef Wylie Dufresne and writer Peter Meehan discuss “How We Taste.” And in June, Dave Arnold and chef Lena Kwak discuss “Harnessing Creativity (and the Science of Pie).”

    Details: The Science of Sushi takes place at Schoenberg Hall on the UCLA campus at 7 PM. Find tickets and more info here.

  • May 4: Flavors of Los Angeles

    The Flavors of Los Angeles 2013 brings together LA chefs for a grand tasting at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel to help raise money for the American Liver Foundation. The night begins with a silent auction and wine, cocktails and oysters from the Oyster Gourmet. After, there's a five-course sit-down dinner from chefs Freddy Vargas (Scarpetta), Keith Roberts (Ocean & Vine), Mathew Woolf (Palihouse), Kevin Meehan (Kali Dining) and Mirko Paderno (Oliverio), among others. Chef Shigefumi Tachibe from the Chaya Restaurant Group is this year’s honoree.

    Details: Tickets start at $300. The event begins at 5:30 PM. 

  • May 8-11: Vegas Uncork’d

    Everyone from Thomas Keller and Joel Robuchon to Bobby Flay, Cake Boss Buddy Valastro, Giada De Laurentiis and so many more will be on hand for this Mother’s Day weekend blowout with Bon Appetit. There are lunches, wine and cocktail tastings, cooking demos, luxe dinners and BBQ after-parties at the big resorts on the Strip, and a grand tasting around the Caesars Palace pool.

    Details: Events take place at the MGM, Venetian, Aria, Bellagio and Caesars. Tickets are priced individually, at $85-$400.

  • May 17: Bite at the Beach

    Since the Vegan Food & Beer Fest happening on the same day is already sold out, head to the South Bay for this debut event. Get bites from local restaurants like MB Post, Fishing With Dynamite and Simmzy’s, to name a few, and breweries like Ohana Brewing Company and Alosta. If eating and drinking weren’t enough, there will be panel discussions like “The Art and Craft of Beer Pairing” and “Fun With Beer,” in case you need help with that.

    Details: 2-7 PM at the MBSMedia Campus, 1600 Rosecrans Ave. Tickets are $100 for general admission and $200 for VIP. A portion of proceeds will be donated to the Surfrider Foundation.