The 2nd Annual Taste of Abbot Kinney was held this past Sunday to both acclaim and censure in the city of Venice. Labeled as a “walking urban adventure” by the website, the event was an adventure, to say the least.
What started as an overcast, October afternoon stroll down the famed avenue quickly turned into a wet and muggy obstacle course of unexpected and unlikely proportions. My parents and I arrived early and ready to go, picking up our tickets(which, at $2 a pop were sold in minimum groups of 15) and headed out to the stops on the Disneyland-esque map given to us by the volunteers. The map, for people like us that are truly unfamiliar to the area, was key in knowing what vendors were participating and what products/services were being offered at a price of “X” tickets.
One fact to know about the event was that all proceeds were to go to Inside Out, a local charity that according to their website, “promotes healthy interaction among diverse at-risk and undeserved Los Angeles middle-school youth… empowering them to make positive choices as individuals and members of the greater community.”
As early as 5:30pm, (for an event to be run from 3:00pm to 7:00pm with Angelenos coming fashionably late), many were not amused by the trend of signs that simply stated “We’ve Been Tasted!!!!” popping up on the doors of the listed vendors. One of said vendors, The Tasting Kitchen, ran out of their “gourmet sandwiches & bloody mary,” which I really wanted to try. The maps ran out midday as well, causing many customers arriving past the halfway point confusion and frustration. The lines for food trucks, still churning out food and drinks at this point, had ever-growing lines. I did like, however, that there were personal services being offered like 5-minute hand and back massages by NiteSpa and haircuts offered by Floyd’s 99 Barbershop (that I actually got in the middle of a parking lot, see pictures below). Easy to say that the public was not amused.
Enter the rain. Rain to Angelenos is like black ice, a natural phenomena that can create havoc. With over 20 tickets still in my hands, I booked it to the last remaining stops on the map with food to see if there were any “tastes” remaining. I ended up about 3 blocks away from the hot spots to Marla’s Cafe, where an indoor/outdoor patio gave some refuge to my soaking wet shoes and snacks from other vendors. Needless to say, Marla’s was a haven for anyone still out in the rain past 6:00pm on Abbot Kinney and I for one was so happy to have arrived. We spent the remainder of our taste tickets on their mini-sandwiches, fresh-made seasoned chips, corn salad and some guacamole.
Marla told me that last year, the group running the event had wristbands that, to her, were more efficient than the tickets. From what I experienced that day, I do hope they go back to using wristbands instead of paper tickets. Every event gives room for growth and patching up certain mistakes or holes that can make next year’s experience just that much more better. I hope the committee really do take this to heart because I would love to come back next year if improved. After a pleasant rest from the mayhem down Abbot Kinney, I packed up my sandwiches and headed home.
Where I got my 5 ticket haircut from Floyd’s
Favorite food truck of the day Ludo Truck: Honey-Garlic Glazed Chicken Wing w/ Ludo Slaw
Jalapeño Dip & Sour Cream Onion Tornado Potato from the Tornado Potato Truck
Wabi Sabi Sushi‘s Yuzu Sake Cocktail
The outdoor patio of Marla’s Cafe a.k.a. my haven away from the rain.
The rest of my pictures are located here: Taste of Abbot Kinney (also on the sidebar).
– gmangoman a.k.a. Hemang