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'Burgers and Beer' Kicks Off Food Festival

The Beverly Hills portion of "The Taste" starts with some American favorites Friday night.

People looking for a fun evening filled with delicious food, wine and entertainment attended the opening event of “The Taste” Friday night in Beverly Hills.

The food and wine festival includes nine signature events to be held throughout Beverly Hills, Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles over the Labor Day weekend. After culinary stars including Roy Choi, Claire Robinson and Scott Conant arrived on the red carpet, the Beverly Hills portion of the fete kicked off with “Burgers and Beer” featuring samples from some of Los Angeles’ finest restaurants, breweries and wineries.

Conant, owner of in Beverly Hills, said it was great to be surrounded by so many people excited about food. He looked forward to trying the burgers being offered.

“I don’t usually eat much red meat, but I save it up for nights like tonight,” Conant said. “I’m not sure how my system is going to handle it.”

The key to a great burger is simplicity, according to chef Warren Schwartz of Westside Tavern in Los Angeles.

“The burger is designed to taste the meat and that’s the beauty of this burger—simple,” Schwartz said of his creation. “Plus we cook ours in a cast iron skillet, which makes a big difference instead of grilling it.”

The Yard restaurant in Santa Monica had samples of its chorizo burger, which is served with fired pickled jalapeno, cotija cheese, guacamole and red cabbage.

“People are loving it because it’s very unique at this event,” said Jeff Decker of The Yard. “A lot of people are doing traditional burgers, but we’re doing an item from our late night menu that a lot of people really enjoy.”

The event also featured beer and wine tasting, cooking demonstrations and live music.

Corissa Embro and her two girlfriends were the first in line to get into the Burgers and Beer event.

“We had a whole plan where we would get a burger and each take a bite and not fill up on the bread,” Embro said. “But despite the plan, we were all full 45 minutes after walking in the door.”

Embro and her friends said that although the burger they had from Bru Haus was very good, the best one came from The Counter.

Daniel Wilkins favored the selection from Rustic Canyon restaurant and said it was “the best taste I’ve ever had in a burger.”

“I like food, so this is just a great event,” he added.

To wash down the burgers, beer and wine vendors were on hand to give people a sample of their product.

“People love it,” said Sam Pimba of Chang Beer, a lager brewed in Thailand. “It's a good summer beer.”

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