A Night Out

12 Food and Drink Events You Don’t Want to Miss This Month

Special brunches, outdoor food festivals, noshes in a cemetery, and more this April.

Photo courtesy of Masters of Taste

The combination of last season’s rain and this season’s abundant sunshine means everything that comes from the earth is lush and ready to be enjoyed this month. From a pie contest to a Chinese feast, enjoy all the fruits—whether you eat or drink them—at these special events that are not to be missed!

Masters of Taste
Get into the spring spirit at one of the season’s first outdoor food festivals. Set at the Rose Bowl, some of Southern California’s top culinary, sweets, and cocktail masters will serve their best bites and sips to thousands. Look for chefs from restaurants such as Faith & Flower, Gus’s Fried Chicken, Kass Wine Bar + Kitchen, Patina, Rappahannock Oyster Bar, Salazar, and Momed, to name just a few. Tickets are $105 (general admission) and $165 (VIP), and all proceeds directly benefit Union Station Homeless Services. Sunday, April 7; Rose Bowl, 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena

food events los angeles
Photo by Jenni Hwang/Courtesy of Esters Wine Shop & Bar

Guest Chef Burger Night at Esters Wine Shop & Bar
Every month, Esters (sibling to Cassia) invites a chef to create a burger for its wildly popular Tuesday Burger Night. Look for Charles Olalia from Ma’am Sir and Rice Bar this time around. It’s first come, first served, so get there early—there are a limited number of burgers per night, and most sell out early. Tuesday, April 9; 6 p.m.; Esters Wine Shop & Bar, 1314 7th Street, Santa Monica

The Taste of the Valley
There are a lot of reasons to love the Valley, and at least for one day, many of them convene at Westfield Topanga’s garden venue for this annual celebration. Sample food and drinks from more than 45 restaurants, 120 wineries, and microbrews from all over California in one fell swoop. Sorry, families: No strollers (or anyone under 21) allowed. Tickets range from $55 to $80, or really go for it with a cabana for $1,500. Thursday, April 11; 5 p.m.; Westfield Topanga, 6600 Topanga Canyon Boulevard, Canoga Park

Photo by Jamie Pham/Courtesy of Los Angeles Zoo

Sustainable Wine + Dinner Series
Some people like to walk or talk or squawk like the animals, others want to eat and drink with them. The Los Angeles Zoo has partnered with local, environmentally friendly wineries for farm-to-table meals set inside the zoo. Each dinner takes place in a different area around the property—such as the terraces of Mahale Mountains, the Amazonian stilt house within the rain forest, and the Cambodian viewing area of Elephants of Asia—and helps put a spotlight on wildlife conservation. Tickets are $150 per person. Thursday, April 11; 6 p.m. (also Thursday, May 30 and Thursday, June 27); Los Angeles Zoo, 5333 Zoo Drive

food events los angeles
Photo by Greg Fiore/Courtesy of Food Forward

Food Forward’s Spring Melt
Walk around the Jim Henson Studios lot while nibbling on fancy grilled cheese, barbecue bites, tacos, and chocolates, and sipping cocktails, beer, and wine, at Food Forward’s annual fundraiser. Participating restaurants include Friends & Family, Preux & Proper, and Clementine, with drinks from Matthew Biancaniello’s Eat Your Drink, Ventura Spirits, and others. This event helps provide thousands of pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to people in need. Tickets range from $175 to $1,000. Saturday, April 13; 7–10 p.m.; Jim Henson Company, 1416 North La Brea Avenue

food events los angeles
Photo by Jakob Layman/Courtesy of Rustic Canyon

Billy Harris Brunch at Rustic Canyon
This is a brunch with a purpose at Santa Monica’s Rustic Canyon, where chefs Jeremy Fox and Andy Doubrava create a multicourse feast in support of the L.A. Food Bank. After cocktails and passed appetizers, sit for things like Calabrian chicken salad, salt cod with vichyssoise cream and black truffles, corned lengua with sauerkraut, and maple bread pudding with bacon. Wines accompany each course. Tickets ($120 per person) include everything you want to eat, plus a chef meet-and-greet, tax, and tip. Sunday, April 14; 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m.; Rustic Canyon, 1119 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica

food events los angeles
Photo courtesy of Wine L.A.

Chinese Food & Wine Challenge
If you’ve ever wondered what wines go with spicy Szechuan specialties like mapo tofu and dandan noodles, this is the tasting for you. A multicourse feast at Chengdu Impression in Arcadia is accompanied by 20 different wines, everything from Provençal rosé to Rhône red to Portuguese vinho verde. Tickets are $149 per person. Sunday, April 14; 5:30–8:15 p.m.; Chengdu Impression, 21 East Huntington Drive, Arcadia

Wally’s California All-Stars Grand Tasting
Thanks to Wally’s, you can taste more than 100 wines from California without having to leave L.A. (yay, no driving!). Top producers from all over the state convene at the breezy Fairmont Miramar at the beach, all pouring their best wines into your glass. There will be light bites, but the hotel restaurant (Fig) or Wally’s across the street will come in handy for real sustenance. Tickets are $85 per person. Sunday, April 14; 2–4:30 p.m.; Fairmont Miramar, 101 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica

food events los angeles
Photo courtesy of Kismet/Facebook

Simply DiVine
This is one of the largest long-standing food and wine events for LGBTQ folks and allies. Top chefs and restaurants from around L.A. (including Border Grill, Bestia, Gracias Madre, Hinoki & the Bird, Kismet, Otium, and more) take over the iconic Hollywood Forever grounds, serving up delicious dishes, cocktails, wine, beer, and other types of culinary fun. Tickets are $150 ($500 for VIP), and all proceeds support the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s programs and services. Saturday, April 27; 6–9 p.m.; Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Boulevard

Flavors of Los Angeles
Everyone knows the chef’s table is the best seat in the house. At this annual culinary event supporting the American Liver Foundation, chefs from restaurants like BOA Steakhouse and Kali cook a five-course meal table-side. The fun is not knowing which chef you will get. Tickets are $330 per person, with proceeds going to help promote awareness of liver health and raise money for disease prevention, education, and research. Sunday, April 28; 5–9:30 p.m.; Taglyan Complex, 1201 Vine Street

food events los angeles
Photo courtesy of KCRW/Facebook

KCRW’s Good Food Pie Contest
Whether you fancy yourself a good pie baker or pie eater, the annual Good Food Pie Contest is your mecca. Submit a pie in one of the myriad categories, including apple, all other fruits, cooked custard, nut, savory, and others, and let the panel of chefs and food writers judge the best. Nonbakers can show up for sampling pie, listening to music spun by DJs Anne Litt and Garth Trinidad, shopping at an artisan marketplace, and more sweet old-fashioned fun. Bakers pay a nominal entry fee, but it’s free for everyone else. Sunday, April 28; noon–5 p.m.; UCLA’s Royce Quad, 305 Royce Drive

Taste of the Eastside
It doesn’t matter that the real “east side” of L.A. is east of downtown (i.e., Boyle Heights); this annual spring event highlights the best eats and drinks from Eastside-ish neighborhoods Los Feliz, Highland Park, Echo Park, Atwater Village, and Silver Lake. Participants include restaurants Joy, Barbrix, All’Acqua, Momed, and Little Dom’s; ice cream from Jeni’s Splendid and Pazzo Gelato; and beer from Mohawk Bend, Eagle Rock Brewery, and more. Tickets are $50 for unlimited food tastings; $85 for food plus drink tickets, early entry, and a gift bag; and $15 for kids ages 2–12 (under 2 are free). Sunday, April 28; 4–8 p.m.; Los Angeles River Center and Gardens, 570 W Avenue 26