Clear your calendar for all of May, Los Angeles. Starting Tuesday, the best food city in America will also be home to chefs from all around the world. The Los Angeles Times Food Bowl runs from May 1-31, with an endless array of dinners, pop-ups, panels, talks, farmer’s market demos and more. It’s the third edition of the festival, and the first year of curation by new LA Times food editor Peter Meehan. There are three weeks of Chinese Restaurant events (May 4-24), a jam-packed Night Market from May 8-12, and enough individual attractions to fill a book (or an entire web page). Here are seven that you especially don’t want to miss, including some of the most exclusive dinners.
Mesamérica LA and DT Fiesta Opening Party
“One priority when I started with the Food section was to deepen our connection to Mexico,” Peter Meehan says, which is why the Food Bowl’s opening night event (which is actually on April 30) is focused on both L.A. and Mexico City.
Mesamérica is Pujol chef Enrique Olvera’s existing symposium, which has previously only taken place in Mexico; the first L.A. edition will include a program put together by Meehan and Olvera to mark the sister cities’ 50th anniversary. “Art, architecture, identity and the meaning of tacos will be explored through talks, video and song,” the program promises.
As for the food, that’s the DFiesta portion, at Grand Central Market. It’s headlined by Olvera and his Cosme colleague Daniela Soto-Innes’ forthcoming LA taqueria Ditroit, in collaboration with China Cafe.
You’ll also find Mexico City restaurants Campobaja and Los Panchos in collaboration with The Oyster Gourmet and Sari Sari Store/Petty Cash, respectively. Plus Guerilla Tacos and Horse Thief BBQ. Complete ticket and a la carte food purchase information (it’s complicated!) can be found here.
The Peruvian chef, whose Central currently ranks sixth on the 50 Best Restaurants List joins Somni chef (and El Bulli alum) Altor Zabala for Somni x Central, a “globally inspired” dinner that will run you $495.
Michael Cimarusti meets Rodolfo Guzman
Providence’s Cimarusti will host another one of South America’s 50 Best: Chilean Rodolfo Guzman, of Borago (which is #42). It’s a $225 seven-course meal ($325 with wine pairings) with a focus on regional and international sustainable seafood.
Jon Yao and Kwang Uh
A more elaborate opportunity to taste the food of Kwang Uh, whose Baroo only recently returned as the more casual, take-out focused Baroo Canteen. Kato x Baroo joins Uh with Kato’s Jon Yao for an affordable tasting menu ($101) built around Yao’s “seafood and Asian American nostalgia” and Uh’s fermented flavors and ambitious bowls.
All The Meats
Barbecue and whole hog lovers at Food Bowl will be, well… in pig (and bovine) heaven.
Adam Perry Lang leads the way at two events: his own APL one-year anniversary celebration May 10, with help from Aaron Franklin (Austin’s Franklin Barbecue), Sam Jones (Skyline and Sam Jones BBQ, North Carolina), Billy Durney (Brooklyn’s Hometown Bar B Que) and Pat Martin (Martin’s BBQ in Nashville). All four pitmasters will also join Perry Lang for the larger All-Star BBQ on May 12, which adds five Californians to the mix.
And at Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica on May 14, Jeremy Fox and Chef de Cuisine Andy Doubrava will host a pig dinner, part of its usual monthly Farmer and Vegetable series. The pigs, from Oliver Woolley of Peads and Barnetts, will be prepared five different ways, including charcuterie, a mixed sausage course, and exotic cuts.
Want to just eat words? Aaron Franklin and Sam Jones will also do an interview (conducted by LA Times food editor Peter Meehan) and book signing on May 11.
Fancy French Fries
Dominique Ansel has been in his post-Cronut phase for a while now; with Dominique Ansel’s Frites Fete, the pastry chef and 189 proprietor is putting on a classic French bistro night, with your choice of steak frites, moules frites or mushroom frites, plus Gruyère gougères, salad and tarte tatins.
Outstanding in the Field
The family-style farm-to-table institution has three different dinners during the final week of Food Bowl.
May 26, in Downtown L.A., will feature Otium’s Tim Hollingsworth and Border Grill’s Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.
May 27, at Weiser Family Farms, will be Alex Weiser and and another appearance by Borago’s Guzman.
And on May 28, somewhere near the Los Angeles River, Neal Fraser (Redbird), Austin Cobb (The Strand House) and Zach Pollack (Alimento) will create a menu in celebration of the revitalized waterway.