July 16-17: The Weekend of Culinary Desmadre

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Screw Carmageddon. The weekend of culinary desmadre in the Southland is ON. Since the original post, we've discovered that not only will OC be represented at Eat Real, but OC Weekly will--Gustavo is leading panels at 4 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday, and I will be demonstrating preserved lemons and limes on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

If you're nervous about the carpocalypse, do what we're doing: drive the long way (57 and 210) to Pasadena and take the Gold Line to Union Station, then transfer to the #733 Venice Rapid bus. We assume it will be RINO--Rapid In Name Only--but we've got books.

First, locally is the Munchathon in Oak Canyon Park. While we can't confirm that there will be parkour over the luxe loncheras, we also can't rule it out; there will be a 5K fun run from 9-11 a.m., V.I.P. admission to the clustertruck from 10-11 a.m., and the event itself from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. The fee to attend just the clustertruck varies; runners with paid registrations get admission included. Tickets for runners are $55, V.I.P. is $30 and general admission is $16. Children under 6 are free. Purchase tickets (after the ridiculous waiver) at munchathon.com.

If you prefer your food trucks without the race to capture them, the L.A. Street Food Fest will take place at Brookside Park at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday July 16. In order to control the crowds, Sauce LA, the organizers, have broken down the event into three separate sessions, each with a firm cap of 1,500 attendees. Families are invited to the sessions from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2-5 p.m.; the session from 6-9 p.m. is restricted to over-21s. This event is one of the few clustertrucks to invite old-school loncheras such as Antojitos Carmen, Mariscos el Tetos (the best fish tacos in Southern California) and Tamales Elena, as well as brick-and-mortar chefs like Ricardo Zarate (of Mo-Chica and Picca) and chefs from Baja California--applause! More information at lastreetfoodfest.wordpress.com.

Finally, the place to be an Southern California food lover that weekend is at the Helms Bakery complex in Culver City, where the Eat Real Festival will take place Saturday and Sunday. While there will be plenty of food trucks there, the focus of the festival is on food making. There will be masterclasses on preserving, fermenting and pickling; there will be a pig-butchery contest; there will be a community oven and sourdough lessons. Two dozen food trucks will be in attendance, and there will be a marketplace where high-quality products will be on sale.

Orange County will be well represented: Gabbi Patrick of Gabbi's will be making nopales, Dee Nguyen of Break of Dawn will be demoing hot sauce, and Lauryn Chun of MILKimchi will be talking about the art of spicy preservation, while Gustavo's chica is the programming director and Guti will organize one food panel or other. Entrance is free, and there will be remote parking with shuttles and a free valet. (Sadly, Metro have ignored requests to open the Expo Line light rail in time for the event. Hmph.) All the details are at eatrealfest.com.

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