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Get ready to really ‘eeeeeat’ at this food festival in Santa Monica

Food lovers better be really hungry at this food festival because forget about getting tiny little tasting portions, at EEEEEATSCON Los Angeles, you’re seriously going to eat.

“These aren’t going to be these little cups of food. We really want the chefs from these vendors to serve dishes they’re really proud of, not these tiny little one-bite things,” said Brant Cox, restaurant curator for the festival, which returns to the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica on May 20-21.

The weekend festival will feature food from more than 20 higher end and trendy restaurants from around Los Angeles and across the U.S. serving everything from fancy burgers, to award-winning Native American food to tacos, seafood, Asian fare, deserts and Southern classics.

The portions will not quite be entrêe-size, Cox noted, but will be big enough to share.

“So that’s why we are encouraging people to bring friends and bring family because they are bigger portions,” he said. “These are restaurant quality dishes for sure,” he added.

Plus there are food-centric panels happening throughout the weekend too with famous comics like stand-up star Ali Wong as well as actors known for food-focused shows and others plus Djs spinning music all weekend.

EEEEEATSCON Los Angeles food festival returns to the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica May 20-21. (Photo courtesy the festival)

EEEEATSCON Los Angeles food festival returns to the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica May 20-21. (Photo Courtesy the festival)

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Cox said the food festival, which made its Los Angeles debut in 2017, was created in the spirit of a music festival but with restaurants as the headliners where people can try their favorite local spots, eat from nationally known restaurants and discover new eateries.

“It really is this immersive experience,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to check off bucket-list restaurants not just from L.A. but to try restaurants you probably would never have been able to get to around the country,” he said.

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The $30 ticket price will get people access to the event, but they must purchase food and drinks directly from the restaurants

On the culinary menu are restaurants like the ultra popular Bang Bang Noodles, which will be serving its hand-pulled Chinese noodles plus a couple of small dishes like chili cucumbers and dumplings.  Arizona’s Fry Bread House, a James Beard Award-winning restaurant that focuses on Native American food, is also on the lineup.

Santa Monica’s Crudo E Nudo, which specializes in steamed clams drizzled with fruity olive oil, crudos and oysters decorated with purple flowers, will be there as well along with Seattle’s Hood Famous, makers of Filipino desserts like the purple cheesecake.

But with bigger portions being served rather than small bite size tasting samples, it will be difficult to eat from all the restaurants.

So for Cox his must-try restaurants include Lincoln Heights Moo’s Craft Barbecue.

“It’s Texas style barbecue but with an L.A. spin. I think that’s some of the best barbecue, not just in L.A. or California, but anywhere I’ve ever had,” he said.

Also on his list is New York’s 7th Street Burger, which keeps things simple and delicious with a White Castle-style cheeseburger.

“It’s one of the most talked about burger spots in that city,” Cox said.

He also recommends Flavors from Afar, a restaurant located in Los Angeles’ Little Ethiopia that is an incubator space for rotating chefs who are all refugees from various cultures.

“I think it’s going to be an opportunity to try some really exciting food here,” he said.

Celebrities like Wong meanwhile will take part in panels discussions their passion for food and food’s impact on culture.

Joining Wong as speaker in the panel tent is actor Ayo Edebiri who stars in the FX series “The Bear,” comedian Ramy Youssef, Tom Colicchio, lead judge for Bravo’s “Top Chef,” and others.

“They’re going to be talking about their relationship to food,” Cox said.

“The atmosphere is just going to be a big party,” he added.

EEEEEATSCON Los Angeles

When: Noon-6 p.m. May 20-21

Where: Barker Hangar, Santa Monica, 3021 Airport Ave, Santa Monica

Tickets: $30 at eeeeeatscon.com.

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