LA Weekly is best known as the local guide to Los Angeles’ culture, food, news, events, and music. In line with this essential role, this local weekly newspaper established an event called “LA Weekly’s Sips and Sweets“.
This event attempts to showcase the best bakers, pastry chefs, and even bartenders/mixologists in Los Angeles’ while at the same time, ensuring that attendees of the event have maximum fun, buy gifts and even give to charity.
The inaugural Sips and Sweets event was held on the afternoon of December 7th subsequently ushering in the festive season with a sugar-coated bang.
The event took place at The Majestic and the Reserve Downtown from 2 in the afternoon to 5 pm. The Majestic Downtown, designed and built in 1921 was an ideal location for the event given that it is LA’s premier event venue and therefore has unmatched historic significance in LA.
The event was open to all ages although only those aged 21 and above could partake in the alcoholic cocktails; nonetheless, the event also featured non-alcoholic cocktails.
Tickets went for $30 for attendees over the age of 21 and $15 for those under the age of 21. The tickets covered unlimited food as well as eight different cocktails (including non-alcoholic ones).
In recognition of its social responsibility, LA Weekly donated a portion of the ticket sales to Food Forward, a volunteer-centered group from Southern California that is dedicated to fighting hunger, harvesting food and promoting food justice among others. The organization also received donations from well-wishers and even collected the leftovers.
What Went Down?
The event attracted more than a thousand attendees; a feat that was quite impressive considering it was the first. Right from the minute, they walked in; attendees were welcomed to a wonderland of desserts including pastries and puddings. Attendees were treated to a wide variety of cocktails from some of the best bartenders in LA.
Bakers and pastry chefs from more than 20 of the leading pastry shops in LA were in attendance. The list of participants included;
- Maria Swan from Bld
- Anne Miler from Clementine
- Shanon Swindle from Craft LA
- Nicole Mournian from Gjusta
- McConnell’s Ice Cream
- David Rodriguez from Heirloom LA.
- Na Young Ma from Proof
- Valerie Gordon from Valerie Confections
- Dahlia Narvaez from Mozza
- Rose Lawrence from Red Bread.
In addition to that, more than 15 of the best mixologists in LA attended the event including;
- Pablo Moix from The Chestnut Club
- Adam Nystrom from Harlow Bar
- Ben Scott from Sassafras
- Robin Chopra from Corazon y Miel
- 1866 at The Raymond
- Danielle Crouch from Cana Rum Bar
Attendees also had the opportunity to buy gifts and other artistic works from the vendor village dedicated solely to artisans. Some of them included Amoeba Music, McPaddy Candy Co., and Traci Lynn Jewelry. Also included was a cookbook corner where attendees could purchase the cookbooks of local LA chefs.
Stand Out Desserts And Cocktails
Firstly, every dessert and cocktail that was served at Sips and Sweets 2014 were pleasing to the eye and the tongue as well; particularly for those with a sweet-tooth. However, there were some that stood out from the rest.
1. Huckleberry Café & Bakery is well known for its sweet treats, as well as tasty sandwiches and salads. Zoe Nathan did Huckleberry proud with her chai donuts which were quite popular with the crowds too.
The icing on the cake was, however, the chocolate dipped coconut macaroon and fleur de sel. Most people claimed it was the best they had ever had.
2. David Rodriguez from Heirloom LA went with the season; presenting the cream puff snowmen. These treats feature profiterole stuffed with buttercream and topped with a moist almond financier.
3. Mozza was also not left behind, and Mario Batali served up the tiramisu, one of the best desserts of the afternoon.
4. McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams did not disappoint as it brought to the table several samples of different holiday flavors such as eggnog, peppermint stick. The most interesting flavor of the afternoon was, however, the cardamom and Swedish gingersnap which featured cookie chunks.
5. Hans Rockenwagner, the German bakery presented samples of traditional Christmas cookies that they claimed was designed in the same way as the first ever Christmas Cookie; the lebkuchen. It was heavily spiced and had a communion wafer bottom; truly delightful.
Aside from the desserts mentioned above, others that are worth mentioning include;
- Margarita Manzke (Republique) had some amazing, decadent cookies.
- Valerie Gordon from Valerie Confections awed the crowds with her peppermint bark.
- Gjusta Bakery, which is still quite new came with the coffee and croissant bread pudding which was quite a mouthful.
- Proof Bakery also participated in their special way as they exhibited a table full of all sorts of delicious goodies.
- Scones from Sugarbird Sweets and Teas
- AOC presented the pannacotta which was hands-down one of the top performers of the event. This treat features poached pears and pomegranate gelee.
- Last but not least, there was the smoky treat from Patina Group. The liquid nitrogen peppermint meringues were a hit with the younger audiences because they resulted in smoke shooting out of the mouth and the nose.
The Reserve hosted the sip version of the event. Some of the standouts here included;
1. Christian Rollich mixed up a cocktail of bourbon, IPA, walnut liqueur, and lemon. This was a crowd favorite.
2. Raymond 1886 offered sips of the Southern Sling. This amazing cocktail comprised of Basil Hayden Bourbon mixed up with Meyer lemon, rosemary, infused benedictine, Meyer lemon zest and angostura bitters.
3. One of the best cocktails of the afternoon was, however, the Coquito from Sassafras. This was the result of mixing up a Puerto Rican style eggnog with rum, egg, coconut milk, almond milk and condensed milk. The result was a rich, tasty but at the same time, strong drink.
4. The Shaved Ice from Bar Harlowe also makes it to this list
5. Sonny’s Hideaway also came up with one of the best cocktails of the event. It featured Granny Smith apple, bourbon, lemon, star anise and Vietnamese cinnamon.
All in all, Sips and Sweets was the ultimate way to usher in the festive season. After all, there is no better way to do it than with some sweet treats and some crafty cocktails to wash down the treats.