EEEEEATSCON Excites the Tastebuds of SoCal
Hey Socal!Los Angeles County is home to nearly 25,000 restaurants, many of which were partially or completely closed during quarantine. But now we have had the vax and we’re ready for snacks. So Mike Ciriaco hit up the EEEEEATSCON, a food festival hosted by The Infatuation and Chase Sapphire in Santa Monica, to taste the best of LA’s cuisine culture. Let’s bust a gut, SoCal!
“Eeeeeats Con is a food festival,” explained Brant Cox, the Los Angeles editorial lead for The Infatuation, the media outlet behind EC, “but what makes it different (there’s a lot of food festivals), is it’s in the spirit of a music festival. But, here the restaurants are the headliners. We have over 20 iconic LA vendors, plus restaurants from around the world. We’ve got Cubano sandwiches from Miami, we’ve got Indian food from New York, we’ve got tacos from Austin and Mexico City. It’s a global event.”
Of course, the biggest global event of the past two years was the Covid pandemic, which not only put EC on hiatus since 2019, but also devastated LA’s dining industry. According to the National Restaurant Association, the restaurant industry lost more than $25 billion in sales in March 2020 alone. EC endeavors to support members of SoCal’s culinary community.
“For starters, all the profits go 100% towards the vendors,” said Cox. “I think that’s very important, very equitable. They are making the product, they are the ones getting the money.”
Fortunately for these recovering restaurants, this 3-day culinary Carnaval attracted droves of Southern Californians, including Steezy, an Austin transplant who was waiting for a flight at the neighboring Santa Monica Airport.
“I was actually supposed to catch a flight,” said the mononymic event attendee, “because we’re near an airport, and I smelled food. I saw all these people, so I came down here and had a beef bowl. I missed my flight but…” Steezy just shrugs.
Was the beef bowl so good it was worth missing the flight?
“For sure,” he assured us, “for sure.”
To extend Brant’s music festival metaphor, Steezy was definitely a stan of this Coachella of cuisine. And just like a music festival, EC had its own headliner. No, not skateboard legend Tony Hawk, although he did speak on one of their panels. For Brant, it was a sweeter star attraction: Happy Ice.
“They are LA-based, but [its] Philadelphia water ice,” said Cox, “which is shaved ice, but with a really interesting creamy texture. It’s fun, it’s colorful, there’s a big line out there right now. They’re the fun ones.”
James and Nicole, a SoCal couple in attendance, can attest to the hype of Happy Ice. It’s so good, they were once willing to schlep down to a different city for this tasty treat.
“I learned about them on social media,” said Nicole, standing in front of HI’s iconic candy-colored food truck, “and ended up following their truck to a location in Long Beach last year. The flavors just explode in your mouth. That’s all I can really say. It’s so good.”
After 2 years of quarantine, Southern California has earned a cheat day like EEEEEATSCON.
Bon appetite, SoCal!