Taste of Beverly Hills, held over Labor Day weekend, offered an esculent escapade of flavors and textures that sent my taste buds soaring. Highlights during the two sessions I attended included Water Grill Chef David LeFevre personally showing me how to properly shuck an oyster

(crack into the hinge, work the knife around until the shell can be pried off, then slice the muscle and flip over the meat inside, being careful not to lose any of the liquor). Chef Ludo Lefebvre presented a full cooking demonstration for Saturday’s “Date Night” theme.

He grated carrots over a calamari ceviche and garnished the romantic locavore dish with a rainbow of edible flowers. In the tents I grabbed succulent bites such as duck-bacon sausage from Wurstküche, Transmontanus caviar from Petrossian and roasted beet gnocchi served by Evan Kleiman, owner of Angeli Caffe and the famous Father’s Office burger served with an ice cold craft brew.

Sunday, I awoke to “Brunch In the Hills” and ran straight for the blood orange mimosas and Spanish French toast garnished with Harry’s Berries from SAAM at the Bazaar. Then I hit up Chef Eric Greenspan from the Foundry on Melrose who was plating his mouth watering pastrami/turkey Monte Cristo on top of a peach chutney. The Nickel Diner served doughnut holes including their infamous varietal of Maple Bacon, along with chocolate Nutella and strawberry crumble.

After downing the doughnut holes, I headed inside the Hilton to a wine tasting lead by Belinda Chang, wine director at The Modern in New York. She presented six Rhones from Chateauneuf de Pape, also known as “Rhone’s rock star wine.” She paired Usseglio Cuvee Imperiale 2007, Clos St. Jean Vieilles Vignes 2007, Vieux Télégraphe “La Crau” 2007 and a few more with a rap performance by The Modern Captain Justin Warner, who proceeded to break the bar on any wine tasting ever conducted by teaming Chateauneuf de Pape with Snoop Dogg’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot.”

KCRW’s Good Food pie contest topped off the afternoon. 400 people showed up to taste 144 pies in five categories: fruit, nut, savory, cream and interpretive. If there were an award for prettiest pie, Erika Kerekes’ Fig goat cheese pie with rosemary and Meyer lemon (pictured above) would have taken it. Sadly, I did not make it to the table to taste it in time. Yuichiro Sato, a student from Japan won in the savory category with his meat pie and proceeded to take best overall in the contest.

See more photos in our album below!

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