There's only one thing sharper than a garlic lover's wit--but you don't want to provoke it! Especially not Sunday at the fifth annual Los Angeles Garlic Festival.
From 3 to 10 p.m., 15,000 garlic gourmets are expected to pass through the bulb-inspired buffet set up on San Vicente Boulevard, between Melrose Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. Forty of Los Angeles' most popular restaurateurs will present their most unusual finger-fare. And to complete the sensorial celebration, KKGO-FM (105) will broadcast live from the festival with disc jockey Joe Huser and non-stop jazz performances.
For the Lovers of the Stinking Rose, a society of dedicated followers of the savory herb, the festival and ensuing garlic week is an intoxicating coup and sweet-smelling revenge.
"There's something about going somewhere where everyone goes exclusively to eat garlic," said Bob Fleck, a militant Stinking Roser. "There's something wonderfully conspiratorial about it!"
Consider that the original bulbous bash staged five years ago attracted a mere 150 guests, conventionally dressed. These days devotees come dressed up in medieval costumes with garlic wreaths around their necks. But there are plenty of other reasons to nosh through the 40-odd booths at this Knoblauch- fest.
For one thing, all proceeds (there is a $6 admission fee and a $1 to $3 charge per dish) benefit the Community Emergency Services of the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Red Cross. The continuous live entertainment will feature such jazz greats as Papa John Creach at 6:45 p.m., and Ernie Andrews and Rob Mullins at 7:45 p.m.
The menu will include Burek Zelnik, a Yugoslav specialty made of fila dough layered with feta cheese, mint, scallions and spinach and prepared by chef Gary Comella of the Bel Age Hotel. On top, Comella sprinkles vodka and--what else?--garlic.
Claude Alrivy, chef and part owner of Le Chardonnay, will be serving California goat cheese with garlic spread on toast, and pungent portions of ratatouille served in pastry.
For dessert, owner/chef Joe Donahue of Gourmet Gourmet is offering candied elephant garlic dipped in white and dark chocolate. And Catherine Veniero of Nucleus Nuance has slimmed down last year's garlic ice cream to an equally refreshing garlic and grapefruit sorbet.