That'a Way Maaan
Last week I was lucky enough to get a last minute invite to the Expo Comida Latina and Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo that took place at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The email came on the actual weekend that it was taking place! BUT unlike any other expo that would had only been around for the weekend, this expo stayed around until the food service sabbatical aka as Monday! Bless the dedicated, hard working few who work through those weekends! I was able to make it on Monday.
It Was Crackin'
I will not lie, I found this event quite awesome. This was an event strictly for the movers and shakers of food in the world. There were whole aisles for those things in a restaurant that I--as a foodblogger--never really put much thought into otherwise. Specialized things like those blinking "open" or "closed" signs that hang from windows, things like those touch screens order computers that servers and bartenders use when taking frenzied orders (there was a waterproof one!!!). Even the latest in chef kicks...Birkenstock Clogs?!
Get Yo' Open/Closed Signs Right Heere!
I Mean....Water Was Being Poured All Over It?!
Birkenstock Clogs For The Hippie Chef?: Naaawh!
The Movers and [Salt & Pepper] Shakers Too?
And of course, there were a few aisles exhibiting the latest--and tastiest--in easily purveyed gourmet food. Meaning...free sample buffet!
Tsukiji Express: Straight From The Source
There was everything here, I mean everything. I almost did a back flip when I saw that there was a booth for the Tsukiji Market! They were showcasing some of their newer, premium varieties of fish such as this
Japanese Amber Jack
All the greats were here. Even the people behind Tapatio hot sauce!
There were even the guys from Bolis!!! A latino childhood staple food found in freezers. You have to break these in half on your knee in order to get them open to eat. ha ha. Oh, how I miss those days.
As if that wasn't enough, there were the innovative folk of the legendary Orange Bang! here too. Another food I grew up on. For those of you that are bang virgins out there, this frothy drink is what an orange agua fresca would taste like if a couple of creamsicles fell in there. This drink is pretty much a unmissable staple in one a many East L.A Chinese Food & Donut establishments.
There were some new companies that were trying to break in to the market too. Oh, how happy I was when I saw these guys had a booth here.
Pulque: Never Forgotten
Pulque 1881 is a new company that's trying to bring Pulque back in the alcohol game. Labeled as "Agave Wine" this is my all time favorite alcoholic drink, its made from the fermented sap from Agave plants. Tasting sweet and milky, not too different from the Korean unfiltered rice wine Makgeoli. It actually has a higher alcohol content than a can of light beer, that's right...its a 'creeper-upper' alright. Although I like it slimy, 1881 has to pasteurize their sap that they get from Tlaxcala. I've been a fan of this company since the first time I saw their $2 cans for sale at Ramirez Liquor in Boyle Heights.
There were these guys from SunJewels Organics that are trying to break in AGAVE SWEETENED frozen yogurt. Best of luck to these guys man, I ate that whole swirl and didn't have any sugar crash after at all. No more settling for CLOYogurtland hopefully soon.
Agave Sweetened Frozen Yogurt: Yeeeah
Now for the aisle where I did the most extensive research on...
Karl Strauss Brewery: Reliable 'Ol Red Trolley Ale
The San Diego brewers Karl Strauss were there with their nutty-almost-toffee flavored Red Trolley Ale, a favorite a mine. They also had some unique Imperial Pils beer that was pretty damn good too.
There's A Serrano Chile In My Beer!
The technically-Mexican (100% Mexicali!) brewery Cave Creek were their with a superb "Chilli Beer" that surpassed my gimmicky stereotype of it. Basically, a medium bodied lager with a whole Serrano in each bottle. It was surprisingly pretty damn lip synge-ing and pleasurable, I wouldn't mind putting away a six pack of these with some Tacos de Marlin or something.
But enough tomfoolery, now for the most full bodied beer I've probably ever had.
Marodsous Abbey: Those Belgian Monks Are On To Something...
Actually brewed by monks still. I was taken into a flight of the Maredsous 6 Blonde, the Maredsous 8 Bruin and the Maredsous 10 Tripel. And oh golly, my eyes were nearly rolling to the back of my head with its intense but balanced flavors of hops and caramel. Each one at different ratios with each other, think the the honey-like flavor of the blonde was actually my favorite.
Alas, it was great to peruse both of this years expo and looking forward to coming back to next year and stay in-the-know with both the front--and back--of the house world of restaurants.