6 Completely Unique SoCal Culinary Experiences You Can’t Miss


All-Star Chef Classic
All-Star Chef Classic

Photo Credit: AEG

On Saturday, the fourth annual Beefsteak event—a meat-centric bacchanalia that caters to Hollywood’s comedy elite—took place at Vibiana downtown. The event, created by The Simpsons executive producer Matt Selman, Eric Wareheim of Tim & Eric, and ABC Studios executive Cort Cass, not only featured 500 pounds of filet mignon prepared by master chef Neal Fraser (with a street market value of $35,000), but also raised funds for the Los Angeles Food Bank. Beefsteak is just one example of the unique culinary experiences that you can find in southern California: here are a few events you simply can’t miss.

Oysters at Pelican Hill's Dinner of the Senses
Oysters at Pelican Hill’s Dinner of the Senses

Photo Credit: Resort at Pelican Hill

The ultimate Valentine’s Day experience is offered at the Resort at Pelican Hill in the way of its intimate and sensational Dinner of the Senses, a meal meant to stimulate each of the five senses: sight, touch, taste, scent, and sound. The seven-course experience provides ‘his and hers’ selections in a private cabana at the luxurious Newport coast resort. The rub: you can’t use your hands! A word to all husbands and boyfriends: when you rent out the poolside cabana for the evening, it’s yours to do as you please. You can decorate, provide specific mood music, or videos of you and your beloved. If you’re lacking inspiration, the resort will help (for a fee, of course).

The Resort at Pelican Hill, 22701 South Pelican Hill Road, Newport Coast, (855) 315-8214

The second annual All-Star Chef Classic is set to be as unique in its second year as its 2014 debut. The event, from AEG and masterminds Krissy Lefebvre and Lucy Lean, is the first of its kind to feature the “restaurant stadium” concept, where 300 fans will watch their favorite chefs ‘kitchen-side’ in an intimate VIP setting, and be as close to the action as possible without being in the heat of the kitchen. Get up close and personal with some of the best chefs in the world, such as Josiah Citrin, Ludo Lefebvre, Jon Shook, Michael Cimarusti, Dominique Crenn, Nancy Silverton, Sherry Yard, Suzanne Goin, Vinny Dotolo and Wylie Dufresne at events including American, British and French Masters series dinners, a Grill & Chill event, Kitchen Kids, and Cuisine for the Cure.

L.A. Live 800 West Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles, California

Marie Antoinette's Head—Let Them Eat Cake at Barton G.
Marie Antoinette’s Head—Let Them Eat Cake at Barton G.

Photo Credit: Barton G.

It’s all about presentation, presentation, presentation at Barton G. Weiss’ spectacular eatery on La Cienega. You’ll ooh, ah, and Instagram every delight from the bar and kitchen, be it a dry-ice cocktail like the Sabrinatini (which comes complete with a nitro-champagne swizzle stick and dangling chocolate monkey), Samurai Tuna—a rice cracker crusted Ahi tuna with spicy peanut soba noodles served with a gigantic samurai sword—or desserts like Marie Antoinette’s Head-Let Them Eat Cake—which, literally, is a chia-like Marie Antoinette head replica stuffed with cotton candy and lights, surrounded by petit cakes. It may just be the most fun meal you’ll ever have in your life.

Barton G. 861 North La Cienega Boulevard, Los Angeles, (310) 388-1888

Forage is totally unique and very LA. This family-owned, local, organic eatery is special because of its Harvest Call program, where patrons can bring in their own home-grown produce and have the restaurant not only make a special dish from it, but have said dish named in their honor.

Forage, 3823 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, (323) 663-6885

Rob Floyd's Cocktail Theatre
Rob Floyd’s Cocktail Theatre

Photo Credit: 41 Ocean


You’ll learn the history of cocktails in a weird and wonderful way at master mixologist Rob Floyd’s theatre-like cocktail show. If you can get tickets, prepare yourself for exquisitely prepared bites, custom-made cocktails, lots of dry ice and waiters dressed like bunnies, chickens, and grumpy angels.

Rob Floyd’s Cocktail Theatre, http://rxliquidchef.com/cocktail-theater/

Dining in the dark became a thing years ago, when it was considered to be the ultimate unusual first date, but it’s still here to stay in L.A. This dining experience literally leaves you in the dark for an hour or two, where you will heighten your senses of taste, smell, touch, and hearing. Pick from a specially prepared three-course menu prepared by a local ‘star’ chef before being personally guided into the darkened dining room. A sensory experience awaits.

Dining in the Dark, V Lounge, 2020 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, (310) 829-1933