Chef Chris Santos of Beauty & Essex Los Angeles, together with guest chef Antonia Lofaso of Dama in downtown, kicked off one of L.A.’s best food events, the Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival with a five-course dinner last week. The unique four-day event offers guests one-on-one time with their favorite chefs.
The one-night-only collaborative culinary evening at the funky Beauty & Essex in the heart of Hollywood included a specialty cocktail hour followed by dinner. The menu included aguachile with kanpachi, red pearl onion, radish, lime, cilantro and chive; a whole snapper with escabeche, lime, pineapple, cilantro, green onion, chili rub; and “carne asada” with iberico secreto, griddled corn tortillas, habanero salsa, green chile crema and tequila scallions. Each course was perfectly paired with wine selections from Lebanon to Chile.
Lofaso brought the second and third courses to the menu, a roasted red snapper with escabeche and carne asada as well as peanut butter cookies and churros for dessert. Santo’s peak of summer salad was a sweet combination of fromage blanc, orange blossom honey, peaches, nectarines, pluots, heirloom tomatoes topped with a crunchy almond hemp seed tuille.
“I’m really familiar with his food having served it for so many years,” Iron Chef Lofaso told L.A. Weekly about working side by side with longtime friend and former boss Santos. “When we threw out the dishes to each other they just matched immediately. All the food looks like it came from the same restaurant.”
Here’s a tour of the evening with photos from Danny Liao.