Phantom Sway

Farewell, Food Festivals

Lately I’ve noticed a disturbing trend, one which has caused me to pass on my favorite food and wine pastime.

I’m a foodie. Gourmand, epicure, gastronome, call it what you will, I’m endlessly fascinated by flavor. The kitchen is my happy place and nothing brings me pleasure like the discovery of deliciousness. Most of the time, that means experimentation in my own kitchen. The process is soothing, the reward sublime. But as an epicure ( I’m now going with this, it sounds fancier), one of my favorite pastimes is going to food festivals. Whether a blocks long night market or a small tasting at a local wine shop, I get to travel via tongue, pioneer by palate. Some people buy Lakers season tickets, I go to food and wine events.

But lately I’ve noticed a disturbing trend, one which has caused me to pass on my favorite pastime: Sticker Shock. I first noticed it when I came across an intriguing event: Fried Chicken and Champagne tasting. Sounds enticing, right? Ok, shell out $140. Per ticket. Yes, you read that correctly. Even considering the vintages being poured, that’s absurdly overpriced -IT’S FRIED CHICKEN, PEOPLE. So I passed, knowing that August would bring the stars of the year’s foodie events: the LA Food and Wine Fest and The Taste of LA, both of which I’ve attended regularly. When the emails hit my in box I hit “buy tickets” so fast I chipped my manicure.

<insert sound of screeching tires, needle pulled off a record>

They want HOW MUCH?!?!?!?

No. I’m not paying $150 per ticket ($175 for VIP!) for the LAFAWF’s night market event (the weekend pass is practically a bargain at $1050!). Nor am I shelling out $150 for The Taste at the Paramount lot. That’s per ticket. Just- no. To add insult to (fiscal) injury, last year both events had fewer named chefs attending and less interesting food offerings. And the lines, oh, don’t get me started on the lines. Yes, by all means, please allow me to pay $150 to stand in each line for almost 20 minutes. In a 3 hour event, that means I can fit in 9 bites. Not 9 dishes, not 9 entrees. 9 bites. Plus a couple of glasses of wine or beer. And that’s if I don’t need to stand in the restroom line. Do you see where I’m going with this? A couple could have a pretty nice dinner at a restaurant for $150. Stretch my budget to $300 and we can afford to go eat at one of those named chef’s pricey locations, with wine!

So this epicure is regretfully declining to spend her hard earned dollars on pricey food fest tickets this year. I’m sorry, but my love of food doesn’t cause temporary insanity. You’ve raised your ticket prices too high, you’ve over sold, over promised, and under delivered. I’ve finally reached my limit and apparently it’s $150 tickets.
Looks like it’s back to my own kitchen. At lease there’s no line for the bathroom