IN PICTURES: The VIP Food Experience at Music Tastes Good

skull meal

Lambchetta taco created by Eddie Ruiz of Public Beer and Wine & Michael Puglisi of Electric City Butcher. Photo by Adrian Liwanag.

While the live bands from Music Tastes Good blasted their music around downtown Long Beach Saturday night, the taste buds of VIP holders at Padre Restaurant were exploding. They experienced a handful of uniquely created plates by Long Beach’s top chefs and even some international culinary artists in six savory (plus one sweet) courses. 

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The inaugural festival’s “Farm-to-Taste Experience” allowed exclusive guests to stop by at different booths where they were treated to creations such as lambchetta taco by Eddie Ruiz and Michael Puglisi, seared veal tongue by Luis Navarro and Mexican chefs Diego Isunza Kahlo and Emiliano Ayala Barreda, beet pasta lasagnette by Paul Buchanan and David Coleman and tomato tartare cooked by David MacLennan and Japanese chef Makoto Okuwa.

Chef Arthur Gonzalez and his partner Rahm Fama (former host of the Food Network’s “Meat and Potatoes”) were originally scheduled to create spot prawns but that was replaced with seared local albacore and foie.


Seared local albacore and foie by Arthur Gonzalez of Panxa Cocina and Rahm Fama (former host of the Food Network's "Meat and Potatoes"). Photo by Stephanie Rivera. 

Guests also satisfied their sweet tooth with a fantastic fig upside-down cake combined with house-made chamomile ice cream and spice vanilla anglaise. 


Fig upside-down cake and house-made chamomile ice cream by Restauration chefs Philip Pretty and Yesenia Martinez. Photo by Stephanie Rivera. 

Luis Navarro, who is the person behind Lola’s and The Social List, said the seared veal tongue, which was thought up Mexico City chef Diego Isunza Kahlo, was cooked for 22 hours with cloves, orange peels, nutmeg and many other types of sauces. The process for such an exhaustive cooking method is called sous-vide and includes sealing the food in airtight plastic bags and steamed for longer than normal cooking times.

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Seared veal tongue with roasted quajillo chile bone marrow salsa by Luis Navarro of Lola's Mexican Cuisine and Mexico City chefs Diego Isunza Kahlo and Emiliano Ayala Barreda. Photo by Adrian Liwanag. 

“By the time we were done, literally the meat just kind of melted—almost like butter,” Navarro said Saturday night. “We’re really excited.”

Long Beach resident Alondra Anzar’s favorite, however, was the lambchetta taco. The plate combined hongo enchilado, chayote, sweet lady peppers and queso anejo.

“The drinks are all fantastic,” she added.

As part of the food experience, each meal had specially crafted drinks with clever names like the “Long Beach Fling” rum cocktail or “Mexican Firing Squad” tequila mix. Luckily these potent libations were paired with hearty meals.

Despite some initial hourlong serving delays due to late equipment delivery, the energy was definitely high throughout the night as DJ Masseo of De La Soul spinned some classic jams for guests.

Now to wait patiently for next year’s menu.



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