It's that time of year again, when Dwell on Design takes over the aesthetically challenged L.A. Convention Center with many food-centric events during the weekend of June 25th through 27th.

First off, finalists for the sixth annual Restaurant Design Awards sponsored by the AIA Los Angeles are set, and online voting for the People's Choice Awards is under way. Your chance to pick your favorites in the Restaurant, Café, and Bar/Lounge categories ends Monday, June 21st at noon. Both the panel's and the people's choices will be revealed at the RDA discussion and ceremony on Friday, June 25 at the Design Innovation Stage.

This year's jury — Ben Ford of Ford's Filling Station, Lara Deam of Dwell, Clive Piercy of Air Conditioned design, and Joey Shimoda of Shimoda Design Group — selected the twelve contenders, which are national in scope. “We all brought our own backgrounds into it and it was a well balanced panel,” Ben Ford tells us. “It was a nice consensus. There was a lot of thought put into what was the best design this year. We weren't looking for the big 'wow' restaurants.” Cast your vote and help stand up for the locals: Intelligentsia Venice, Las Perlas, The Varnish, Café de Leche, South Beverly Grill, and URBNMRKT.

URBNMRKT designed by esteemed AC Martin Partners.; Credit: Arthur Gray

URBNMRKT designed by esteemed AC Martin Partners.; Credit: Arthur Gray

Then Evan Kleiman will have to fight off the effects of moderator fatigue during Good Food Sunday on the 27th. In addition to curating Sunday's events, she'll manage discussions about sustainable seafood, as well as moderate a panel about food and justice. Kleiman describes the programming process as “being handed a lot of brains on a silver platter. But in a good way.”

Also on the agenda: Christina Perozzi will talk about the craft beer movement with Jeremy and Steve Raub of Eagle Rock Brewery, Ryan Sweeney of the Surly Goat in West Hollywood, and Phil East of Skyscraper Brewery. Landscape architect Glen Dake examines the intersection of urban farming and education at the Feeding the City: School and Community session. Los Angeles Magazine's Lesley Bargar Suter explores the latest in mobile food issues with the Grilled Cheese Truck's Dave Danhi, the Border Grill Truck's Nick Bognar, and Josh Hiller of RoadStoves. Chris Nichols, also of Los Angeles, will shed light on how places such as Ships, Bob's, Scandia, and Pann's informed some of the spaces where Angelenos eat now when he moderates the conversation about Modern Restaurant Design: Mid-Century and Today. We imagine he'll be able to field curveball questions from the audience about restaurant design arcana too. (Be sure to check for schedule updates.)

In the meantime, put your innovating naming and drinking skills to work for Design East of La Brea's cocktail naming competition. The organizers behind the group that knows how to combine design and good times is planning their City Listening II event on June 26 at 7:00 p.m. (after the second day of Dwell on Design wraps up). In keeping with the spirit of cosmopolitan creativity, they've asked for some help naming the three specialty cocktails (Pama pomegranate liqueur, vodka, pink grapefruit juice; Hpnotiq, vodka, pineapple juice; and Pama, vodka, cranberry) that will be served at the gathering. Los Angeles-inspired themes are most welcome, so think outside the avant garde/deconstructed box before you submit suggestions. You might win a ticket to City Listening, in addition to maybe putting a slight smile on the faces of those notoriously serious architecture types.

LA Weekly