At the Taste, everyone basks in the cinematic “Golden Hours”. (Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Times)

Go Go’ers, consider this an early intervention for your Labor Day weekend.

You’ve planned out your non-Labor days: sailing, surfing, sunning, sipping adult beverages, and chatting up celebs and/or especially attractive wannabes.

Do you really want to waste that carefully cultivated glow on a backyard BBQ with shriveled weenies and some pickle relish potato salad?

Ms. Go Go doesn’t even need to hear your answer; for the libation-istas among us — you know who you are — the evening destination for Saturday, September 1st and Sunday, September 2nd is the Los Angeles Times the Taste at Paramount Studios.

Hint: you’ll want to book both nights.

Cocktail Confidential

Hosted by Times Food & Night Life Writer Jessica Gelt and Julian Cox, one of L.A.’s top mixologists — you know his tongue pleasers from Playa and Rivera — Saturday night’s Cocktail Confidential is a tribute to all things shaken and stirred. Expect mixology throwdowns judged by Gelt, Cox, and Pulitzer-Prize-winning food writer Jonathan Gold, elite elixirs, and cocktail-worthy nibbles from resto faves like The Roger Room, Rivera, Ammo, Public School 612 and Ray’s & Starck Bar.

Already, you’re sold.

But Go Go’ers, there’s late-breaking news. Alex Day, one of America’s top drawer cocktailians and co-founder of L.A. drinks consultancy Proprietors LLC, will lead a cocktail making demo at Cocktail Confidential. Day helped create Chapter & Verse, the Proprietors’ test kitchen and lab, and open Bar & Kitchen at the O Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

You can bet there won’t be a shriveled hot dog in sight.

Notice that the cocktail icon is first….

Dinner and Drinks

Go Go’ers, there’s really no good reason to stop drinking after the cocktail hour so you’ll want to clear Sunday night as well for Dinner and Drinks, hosted by Times Deputy Food Editor Betty Hallock and the “Beer Chicks” Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune. The Chicks just curated the L.A. Craft Beer Crawl and, in their Times Instagram TasteTakeover, matched brews to three courses of a Thai “hangover cure”: Thom Ka soup, shrimp chips, and sticky rice with banana.

Just in case you ever need a hangover cure.

Signature dishes will be paired with artisanal brews, custom cocktails and wine at the Sunday event; drink-and-dine establishments include Rustic Canyon Wine Bar, Whist at Viceroy Hotel, Salt’s Cure, Stella Rossa Pizza Bar and Red O. All this on Paramount Studio’s fabled lot where the glamour never ends.

Go Go’ers, it’s going to be a good one.

But that’s not all! Fans of the McNuggetini and Ham Daiquiri will be excited to hear that the Cooking Channel’s very own Classy Ladies Alie & Georgia will be demo-ing a cocktail or two.

Given their wild concoctions, you might want to stock up on the Thom Ka and shrimp chips before the weekend.

Ready? U Know U Want 2 Go Go….



Cocktail ConfidentialSat, Sept 21, 8-11pm

Dinner and DrinksSun, Sept 22, 8-11pm

$65 per event in advance; $75 per event at the door; 21+

For tix and more info — including deets on the Taste’s equally swell daytime events — go to

LAT the Taste @ The Studios at Paramount, 5555 Melrose Ave, Hollywood 90038

Win your very own copy of EAT: Los Angeles, the must-have guide to L.A. dining!!!


Here are Ms. Go Go’s absolutes for eating wonderfully and well: a sense of adventure, a determination to include food in every possible activity, and EAT: Los Angeles, the indispensable guide to all things gustatory.     

Whether you need a Great Date Dinner, a Mom ‘n Pop Soda Pop Shop, or a Knowledgeable Knife Sharpener, editor Colleen Dunn Bates  and her talented team of food journalists have scoured L.A. County to find you the best choices in every category, in every part of town.  The  writing is informed, accessible and fun.  The “Good Food Neighborhoods” is an inspired feature that maps out ultimate foodie road trips…in your home town!   The book is impeccably organized (with tabs detailing sections such as “Restaurants”, “Gourmet to Go” and “Services + Events”), compact (despite 56 more pages in the 2010 version), and addictively readable.  (Ms. Go Go’s own copy is stuffed with torn Post-It strips marking Must-Visit and Must-Remember Spots!)   

EAT: Los Angeles is a great gift for mothers, graduates, fathers, friends, or (hint, hint!) yourself!   Go Go buy it now!    

Colleen, who is also publisher/owner of Prospect Park Books and the L.A. Food Critic for Westways Magazine,  gabbed with Ms. Go Go in between publishing, writing and dining.   

(Win your own copy of Eat: Los Angeles!  Details at the end of the interview!)   

Ms. Go Go: In Eat:Los Angeles, you make a passionate case for Los Angeles as an exciting city for food lovers because of “ethnic diversity, prosperity, adventurousness and year-round access to high-quality ingredients.”  So what’s with the lack of Michelin stars?   

Colleen Dunn Bates: Good question! It’s true that we don’t compete on a broad level for the high-end places that typically earn stars, at least compared with New York, London and Paris. I think that’s a function of what our residents are willing to pay for, and perhaps too many Angelenos are willing to pay for scene over food. But we do have some top contenders: Lucques, Melisse, Providence and Spago come to mind. Where we really shine, though, is in the inexpensive and mid-range places, in Asian, Indian and Latin cuisines, and suddenly in what we call Drink & Eat places: wine bars, cocktail bars with food, and gastropubs. And of course now the food trucks!   


Set sail for sin with "Absinthe, Opium & Magic: 1920's Shanghai" at the Ivy Substation May 7 - 29.


Mother’s Day is imminent and whether you have a Mother Mary or a Mommy Dearest, isn’t it best to indulge your love of murder and mayhem before you see la mere ? The following tours, one literal, one theatrical, will  soothe all bloodthirsty inclinations so you can sit down to Sunday brunch with a clear conscience.     

Hollywood may get the most bad press, but the San Gabriel Valley has more than its share of weird wonders and shocking crime.   You can learn all about them this Saturday on Esotouric’s Blood & Dumplings crime bus tour, which digs beneath the deceptively staid surface of the east-of-Pasadena communities to expose a hundred years of secret and unsavory sites from Phil Spector’s Alhambra manse (where B-actress Lana Clarkson met her untimely end) to the El Monte lion farm whose proprietors hosted lion meat BBQ’s “on special occasions” (Ms. Go Go wonders what made guests eligible for THAT A-list?!)   Better yet, you can get a two-for-one deal on the death and depravity thanks to Esotouric’s  May Mania promotion.  (Hint: look for the secret phrase on their tour page.  Link is below.)  BONUS: every ticket is a raffle entry for a  “Pair Pass” so you can bring along a pal on your next Esotouric excursion.    

Since you’ll undoubtedly work up an appetite on the San Gabriel Valley trail of guts and gore, the bus will stop at 101 Noodle Express where you’ll sample deliciously meaty, Shangdong-style dumplings. (If the mention of the lion meat feast quelled your carnivorous cravings, vegie options are available if requested a few days in advance.)    Appropriately, given the morbid tone of the tour, the restaurant’s beef roll was recommended in Jonathan Gold’s L.A. Weekly article “99 Things to Eat in L.A. Before You Die”.   No one knows if any of the late lamented tour subjects were lucky enough to indulge.   

You’ll consume your Chinese fare at La Laguna de San Gabriel amongst the photo-op-friendly snails and sea serpents. (Yes, it’s two Go Go-recommended Saturdays in a row at the Monster Park;   

Guess what?  There’s a sea lion….   

If the Blood & Dumplings tour merely whets your appetite for the macabre, book a “berth” on the Grand Guignolers’ Absinthe, Opium and Magic: 1920’s ShanghaiYour  French, luxury liner “cruise” to Jazz Age Shanghai is an impressively immersive, theatrical spectacle from the pre-sail (pre-show) revelry (tango and Flashlight Follies), refreshments (absinthe and tea tasting), and souvenirs (shipboard photos), to the badly behaved Petit Guignolers (naughty puppets whose performances evoke the company’s Grand Guignol inspiration), to the dangerous dockside encounters with brawling gangsters, a brothel of Sing Song Girls, and the Madame of a deadly opium den.  

 Cocktail/vintage attire is suggested to further evoke the era.   Ms. Go Go recommends red so any blood stains won’t show.   

Your mother won’t suspect a thing….    

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….