Round up the usual suspects. Anyone who's been to another seasonal Los Angeles food festival might have felt a certain déjà vu at this weekend's Eat Real Fest, held at the Helms Bakery complex in Culver City. The vendor list read like it was cribbed from Artisanal LA: Cast Iron Gourmet, Creme Caramel LA, Shortnin' Bread, Lindy & Grundy and more.

The nicely laid out and organized event was well attended, considering the media-induced panic about Carmageddon. Aside from a slew of food trucks, Bigmista showed off his newish rolling smokery (while dishing out 900 orders on Saturday alone). There were demos of everything from butchery to pesto-making. Gustavo Arellano, Bricia Lopez and Bill Esparza sat down for a panel discussion about authentic Mexican food. (What, Rick Bayless wasn't invited?)

What were we most impressed by? The helpful volunteers manning the color-coded recycling bins. No, really. We try to throw our junk in the right trunk, but we're always baffled by what's recyclable and what isn't. We applaud Eat Real's rigorous sorting methods, not to mention the secondhand edification of discovering that the straw from our cup of iced coffee went in the trash but the cup could be recycled. It's so efficient, it's almost German.

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