As crowds slowly trickled into the second installment of the Music Tastes Good festival on a cool Saturday in Long Beach, the first bands took the stages a little after noon.
While a few people hung around the stages listening to opening bands such as the Halcones on the New Orleans stage and a few more walked to the other side of Marina Park to the Long Beach stage where Spirit Mother put on a passionate show early in the day, the main action was in the Taste Tent.
After a night of partying at Bixby Knolls fixture Lola’s Mexican Cuisine, chefs from New Orleans and Long Beach were busy putting on their own culinary show as they cooked up bite-sized versions of some of their best food.
“We just started, but so far so good. I love this set up. I’m excited to see Digable Planets,” said Philip Pretty, the head chef at Long Beach’s Restauration, who was busy plating sample sizes of his crispy veal sweetbreads spiced with pickled carrots and marinated cucumbers.
In the booth behind him, Gus Sverkos of Kafe Neo in Long Beach served a meaty roasted lamb dish seasoned with sea salt and garlic cloves along a side of braised cinnamon cauliflower.
“People think it’s really, really good, they love the cauliflower and I’ve had some amazing compliments so far,” he said.
Sverkos was one of several chefs who got together at Lola’s the night before the show to eat tacos, drink margaritas and talk food.
“We’re hanging out, swapping stories. We got together last night at Lola’s, we had a couple of drinks, a couple of shots…everybody was there,” he said.
Luis Navarro, owner of Lola’s and a second time MTG participant, happily admitted that the chefs drank him dry last night, but it was a lot of fun and a perfect set up for their weekend of music and food.
“We had a big blowout over there. We can’t really say too much because what happens at Lola’s stays at Lola’s,” Navarro said with a laugh. “The New Orleans chefs, man they can drink,” he added.
Follow along for more Music Tastes Good coverage throughout the weekend.