My boyfriend and I decided to check out the Latin Food Fest in Santa Monica. With so many stalls to choose from, we narrowed it down to our top 5 most memorable bites.
Latin Food Fest Breakdown
I ended up purchasing our tickets from Groupon and got a really good deal – $29/person for an earlier admission at 11 am. It totally paid off since it meant less waiting and shorter lineups for the first hour. Your ticket bought you unlimited eats of cuisines all over Latin America and all you can drink wines and spirits. For the next couple of hours, we would…
Walk to a stall – learn something about the food – eat food/drink drinks – critique amongst ourselves – REPEAT
Weirdly enough, despite devouring a number of tacos, my boyfriend’s and I’s favorites didn’t have a single taco joint in it. Not taking away from the other stalls, but the 5 that we picked were all run by people who really loved what they did, proud of their products and willingly shared their passion with us. And in turn, we naturally ended up loving their stuff.
Our Top 5 Standouts from Latin Food Fest
1. Helados Pop’s Ice Cream
Helados Pops Ice Cream is amazing. Honestly, it was really really really good. With the history of ice-cream making dating back to the owner’s great-grandfather, they have kept the original recipe. They use organic fruits from local farmers and natural ingredients. Having Belizean roots, the owner is also looking into using coconut milk from Belize to provide a vegan option for his ice creams. Currently, if you’re looking for a vegan option, they have an assortment of sorbets to choose from.
My boyfriend ended up grabbing the original corn-flavored ice cream and it was incredible – not overly sweet, great texture, and a subtle corn-taste at the end. I opted to try the lucuma ice cream which had a butterscotch-ish/sweet-potato-ish flavor which was something I’ve never tasted before. I’m definitely going to be convincing my boyfriend to drive down to the San Fernando Valley to grab me some pints of Helados Pops’s Ice Cream.
2. Churro Garage
Churro Garage was definitely my favorite bite from all of Latin Fest. These churros were made fresh and came straight from the fryer. It had a nice crunch and every inch was perfectly covered with that awesome cinnamon-sugar. I’m literally salivating right now thinking about it. They use fresh, and all natural ingredients to create their incredible VEGAN Churro batter. You can have them plain or perked up with 3 of their dipping sauces. Choose from chocolate, condensed milk, and cajeta (“Mexican caramel sauce” made from sweetened caramelized goat’s milk). I grew up with condensed milk and naturally this was my favorite out of the three.
3. Stutter Home
In terms of wine, I really enjoyed Stutter Home. Making wine for over three generations, their philosophy has stayed the same through the years- “a great product for a fair price”. Their featured sweet flavors of the season offer a great compliment to the spicy foods in the food fest. The Cabernet and Pinot Noir were booth smooth and had an amazing berry aroma. I personally enjoyed the chilled Rose. It was so refreshing and the hint of strawberries was perfect. You can buy their products at your local liquor store.
4. Joseph Farms
Joseph Farms has been raising their own cows and producing all natural premium quality cheeses since 1946. All their products are naturally produced without the use of any artificial hormones. They are California-based and is nationally and internationally recognized. Their products are sold around the world including in Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia. We sampled their melted Monterey Jack Cheese. Its super fresh, mild flavor and creamy texture offer to be the perfect cheese dip. I wished I had a bowl of it all to myself.
5. Twisted Cotton Candy
Twisted Cotton Candy is as fun and as funky as its name. They have some of the coolest and unique flavors of cotton candy. I was in such a churro mood after Churro Garage that I had to try the Churro Cotton Candy. Topped with churro dust, it tasted exactly like a churro! My boyfriend is a huge fan of watermelon so the choice was easy. That first lick quickly brought him back to some happy childhood memories. You can even add some toppings on it like Tajin which makes it feel more like a watermelon (side note: Tajin is amazing! I recently learned about it and I have been putting it on most fruits and raw veggies that I eat). They offer some cool flavors from cookies n cream, Mexican hot cocoa, horchata, guava, to dulce de leche.
After hours of sampling, tasting, and drinking, Latin Food Fest turned out to be a success!