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Following Plan A: Artisanal LA

Pear tart from Tartist

D. GonzalezPear tart from Tartist

In a year full of inaugural [fill in the blank] food festivals, the one thing we've learned is to develop a plan. Before the day of the festival, look over the attendees and prioritize to avoid long waits and 'sold out' heartbreak. The day of the festival, arrive a little early before the start of workshops to snag a seat. And as always, any well-laid plan should have a plan B. Lessons learned, we had a concrete plan set for this past weekend's Artisanal LA, LA's first-of-its-kind event that spotlighted some of the best local food purveyors. But upon entering, we noticed the relaxed vibe flowing through the light streamed penthouse among the crowd and even the vendors, so we loosened up the plan and dove right in.

Not necessarily a food festival, above all, Artisanal LA billed itself as a marketplace. The vendors, a well curated mix including local bakers, butchers and growers, were all willing to sell, but seemed even more eager to talk about their craft. Questions abounded: "Butter or lard?" Yuchiro Sato, aka The Flying Pie Man's crust was so flakey it looked like it would crumble if you stared at it too hard. "Yes, lard," he confirmed. Or, "Habanero or currant?" For that answer Patty Medina from Medina Chocolatier encouraged us to sample of her chocolate truffles and make up our own mind.

Meanwhile, the speaking events were more than just lectures. It was a bit of a sensory overload seeing the team of the soon to open Lindy & Grundy butcher shop breakdown a 70-pound pig in less than 40 minutes. Even the surgeon standing behind us was impressed at their skill and efficiency. And then finding out that they were raffling off portions of the pig at the end of workshop was a win for the audience in every sense of the word.

In-between munching and checking our raffle tickets, we took pictures. See our photo gallery below to help you start planning for the next Artisanal LA, which founder Shawna Dawson told us will probably take place in early 2011, with the ultimate goal of making it a quarterly event.

How you knew you were in the right place...

D. GonzalezHow you knew you were in the right place...

Turn the page for more pictures of the event...

Artisanal LA's vendors and shoppers in the Cooper Building's penthouse

D. GonzalezArtisanal LA's vendors and shoppers in the Cooper Building's penthouse

Nut butter cup samples from Ococoa

D. GonzalezNut butter cup samples from Ococoa

Meat pie from Flying Pie Man at Artisanal LA

D. GonzalezMeat pie from Flying Pie Man at Artisanal LA

Gioia burrata mini with balsamic from Cheese Cave

D. GonzalezGioia burrata mini with balsamic from Cheese Cave

Pickles from Perishable by Chicks with Knives

D. GonzalezPickles from Perishable by Chicks with Knives

Flavored butters from Villebois Kitchen

D. GonzalezFlavored butters from Villebois Kitchen

Stumptown Coffee coffee beans from Cafe de Leche

D. GonzalezStumptown Coffee coffee beans from Cafe de Leche

Produce from Silver Lake Farms

D. GonzalezProduce from Silver Lake Farms

Aprons for everybody from Domestic Doll

D. GonzalezAprons for everybody from Domestic Doll

Sampling Petrossian cavair after sustainable caviar lecture

D. GonzalezSampling Petrossian cavair after sustainable caviar lecture

The audience and the pig at Lindy & Grundy butchering demo

D. GonzalezThe audience and the pig at Lindy & Grundy butchering demo

Erika Nakamura a.k.a. Grundy starting the breakdown

D. GonzalezErika Nakamura a.k.a. Grundy starting the breakdown

Haul!

D. GonzalezHaul!

Artisanal LA: for updates on the next event, follow @artisanala on Twitter.