Joan Alperin

Writer, Registered Critic

For the past several years, every Labor Day weekend I find myself at Paramount Studios at the LA Times TASTE OF LA. There are three nights of some of the finest delights the restaurants of Los Angeles have to offer.

This year the lineup is stellar. This annual feast is one of the most quintessential Los Angeles food parties given by the LA Times. It's full of restaurants repping our city with some of the best bites you can find anywhere in town.

From August 30 to September 1, this year's The Taste takes over the Paramount back lot for unlimited bites and sips from a daily rotating cast that includes the Bazaar by José Andrés, Rao's, Le Comptoir, Park's BBQ, SLAB, Salazar, Jitlada, Triple Beam Pizza, Employees Only, Freedman's, Ghengis Cohen, Bone Kettle and Izakaya Osen, to name just a few. There's something fo everyone, even us vegetarians and vegans.

Various LA Times editors and writers will be onsite, too, hosting panel discussions and demonstrations on topics from the so-trendy Nashville hot chicken and Tijuana-style tacos to perfect wine pairings. (There'll even be "A Mystery Taste Extravaganza," with food editor Lucas Kwan Peterson, whatever that means, and I can't wait to find out.)

Tickets for each night of The Taste are $115 per person, unless you want to splurge for skip-the-line entry, premium parking, VIP-lounge access, exclusive cocktails, and sushi from Phillip Frankland Lee's Sushi Bar (one of my favorite sushi spots in Los Angeles)- then your ticket will cost $190. Whichever option you pick, all tickets allow full of nibbling privileges and access to the back-lot block party as you check out live entertainment, sample to your stomach's content and soak up knowledge from the esteemed panelists.

Paramount Studios is located at 5555 Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. The event runs Friday August 30th through Sunday September 1st. 7:30-10:30 pm. For tickets and more information go to Events/

Now if you're food tastes run in a different direction there is The Vegan Street Fair On Saturday, August 31st.

The fair runs from 3-10pm at The Federal NoHo located at 5303 Lankershim Blvd in North Hollywood.

Besides delicious vegan food, there will be classic arcades doing live band karaoke, dancing to the stylings of DJ Cali Miles and eating all of this out of control mash ups these vendors have to share.

One of my favorite is there pizza burger Mash-Up created by Swamiji Plant Based and Veggietize Me!

There will be over 30 vendors to satisfy your palette and if it's anything like last year you will not be disappointed.

To order tickets or for more information go to

Now I can't think of a better way to digest all this delicious food then to head over to the WEST ADAMS JAZZ FESTIVAL on Friday through Sunday, August 30th to September 1st, from 6-11pm.

The West Adams Avenues Jazz & Musical Festival 'Under the Stars' started 19 years ago. What began as a culturally diverse gathering of neighbors with picnic baskets and lawn chairs, enjoying local musicians from the community turned into a phenomenal event every Labor Day Weekend.

Last year's event shattered all expectations with more than 5000 attendees, some of them coming from as far as Australia.

Besides great music there are dance contests, activities for children, dancing in the streets, arts, crafts and jewelry from local artisans and fabulous food from local restaurants.

The event is FREE. The West Adams Jazz and Music Festival is located at 2521 7th Avenue.

Whatever you choose to do this weekend, make it a fun one people.

Joan was born in Brooklyn and spent many years working as an actress in New York City. Even though she traveled extensively, Joan couldn't imagine living anywhere else.. Well one day, she met someone at a party who regaled her with stories about living in L. A. specifically Topanga Canyon. A few weeks later she found herself on an airplane bound for Los Angeles. Joan immediately fell in love with the town and has been living here for the last twenty years and yes, she even made it to Topanga Canyon, where she now resides, surrounded by nature, deer, owls and all kinds of extraordinary alien creatures.. Joan continued acting, but for the last several years (besides reviewing plays and film) she has been writing screenplays. Joan was married to a filmmaker who created the cult classic films, (way before she knew him) Faces of Death.