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Food & Fun: A Look at the 2012 L.A. Times The Taste

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Chefs, bartenders, food personalities, and enthusiastic eaters melded amidst the cinematic history that is the Paramount Studios backlot for a three-day weekend packed full of food and fun thanks to the L.A. Times The Taste.

With five separate themed events, there was plenty to see, taste, and sip during the weekend. The daytime events found guests thirsty for shade from the blistering heat, but easily sated with the abundance of tasty morsels presented by a curated selection of local restaurants and chefs. The evening brought out more crowds to enjoy the nighttime cool, and there was (at least at the "Cocktail Confidential" on Saturday night) an almost dangerous amount of booze relative to the fewer booths offering food. Monday's Labor Day "picnic" event brought out the family-friendly fun, at the only all-ages offering of the bunch.

Though we couldn't make it to more than three of the five, we managed to meet, mingle, and take in our fill of the celebration of our vibrant, engaging, and exciting food scene. Despite the heat, the daytime events were our clear favorite, thanks to the balance of food to drink, the relatively shorter lines, and the food-centric focus (though that cocktail mix-off Saturday night was a great way to "shake up"--groaner intended!--the gathering). Curated by L.A. Times Food Editor Russ Parsons, the "Field to Fork" was a joy, thanks to every restaurant on hand proudly knowing and sharing the farms and vendors from which they'd obtained their ingredients, and the "know your farmer" focus of the overall event.

With a very reasonable price tag per event ($65 in advance and $75 at the door), and some significant changes and expansions from previous go-rounds, the Times' The Taste is emerging as one of the premiere food events in Los Angeles these days. If they take the same tack next year, with some tweaks, this is one event you should put on your 2013 calendar.