Eat Real Festival, Los Angeles

On the bright weekend of July 16, 2011, we made it out to the Eat Real Food Festival, along with about 30,000 other attendees in Culver City, sponsored by Whole Foods and the Helms Bakery District.
With the tag being "Eat it. Make it. Grow it," visitors could readily see a mixture of local community vendors, growers, businesses, artist, musicians, and the occasional rooster or chicken. Granted, I've not been to too many festivals, but this certainly felt like a couple steps above a backyard BBQ or a county fair that may have misplaced its rides. The real difference between either? Small charges for food items (the festival boasted a $5.00 or less menu) and FREE admission. 

Whether you have a favorite food truck or not, you may have found it here, with parking lots and streets lined with options such as Coolhaus Ice Cream, Nom Nom Truck, and the Flat Iron Food Truck, to name just a few. I walked by a few truck vendors wondering what goes into a Planchita, or how I can mimic that addicting grilled cheese at home, or maybe I should start stocking up on fresh coconuts. Not all vendor items suited the individual palette, but with the current food truck fixation, it certainly was a good outlet to increase awareness on just how many there are in this city.

Booths were set up throughout the festival along sunny streets and a covered warehouses, including growers of olives, chicken farmers, butchers, vegan bakeries and makers of Kombucha. Sauces and marinades were abundant, almost as frequent as the samples that accompanied most booths. "Try before you buy", seemed to be the glowing model, as vendor after vendor offered free samples of items they were selling at their booths. Aside from some of the enticing visual displays and the free options, the bulk of their food items were sold at a reduced cost (fitting into the festival model) than their general market prices!
Bread Pudding and Custard
Unique to the food festival, was its focus on local and sustainable ingredients, and the 'how to's in their booth and presentations. Informative food and chat sessions were scheduled throughout the weekend, teaching attendees things like how to make a pretzel, toss a pizza crust, debone a pig, or simply how to make good food. It was a beautiful and warm day in Los Angeles during the event and although spanning only over a few parking lots and streets, hours quickly passed as we learned more about what we eat.

Grilled Cheese on Sourdough
If you're in the area, the next Eat Real Fest will be hosted in Oakland, CA on Sept 23-25th 2011. Check out their website for more information at!