Brunch Con 2017
First published in Press Pass LA on August 17, 2017
Author: Ariel Landrum
Conventions have branched out in the past decade to embrace more than comics and pop-culture. People who enjoy long-distance biking can attend Interbike International Expo, those obsessed with the current climate in the government attended the nonpartisan Politicon, and anyone part of BDSM made time for DomCom. Attending conventions allows people to experience community and learn more about the passions that bring them joy. This past weekend, August 12-13, 2017, brought to Los Angeles Brunch Con, a convention for those in love with the weekend pastime of celebrating the marriage between breakfast and lunch.
Attendees could purchase a four-hour session to sample from over 50 vendors. Those who purchased VIP tickets had the opportunity to roam the halls a half hour early, getting a sneak peek at the featured shops and hitting the best food booths first. They were also given goodie-bags which featured products from the local chefs, coupons, and swag such as sunglasses or Bumble twisty straws.
Walking into The Reef, where the event was held, it was easy to see how well-organized the setup was. Moving in a circular motion from the outside, first were the food vendors who could be found lining the walls, mapped out in sections from A-F. The next quadrant included local shops, boutiques, and even a professional photography station complete with diva light. In the center was a lawn where brunch time activities like corn hole took place, while the beats of 97.1 AMP Radio prompted dancing.
Anyone venturing into the middle of the hall was welcomed with the perfect atmosphere for mixing and mingling. Admission may have included bottomless mimosas, a brunch time tradition, but that was not the only booze that could be found. The middle area also included bars for Bloody Marys and vodka mixers sponsored by Ketel Vodka.
The event was fairly simple to navigate: show your badge, grab your food, and repeat. Everyone was given a recyclable tray to hold their bites as they walked in each line. There were long tables at the back of the venue and standing tables throughout for people to enjoy the tastes. Though guests weren’t allowed to repeat lines, vendors would walk throughout the hall, providing more samples to snack on.
Other activities participants could sign up for were cooking and cocktail demos with famed chefs, including Caroline Artiss, Roxy Limon, Brett Hoebel, and Liberte Chan. Each influencer taught guests to create brunch staples to level up their food game. At the same time, singles were able to take-on brunch speed dating.
Another popular experience was the Hangover Lounge. A room with dim lighting and comfy seating provided all the necessities for those suffering from drinking aftermath. Magic Bullet was present to provide a magic hangover cure-all. There was also plenty of water for hydration and some greasy food to settle the stomach brought by Cabo Chips.
Of course, the best part of the experience was the food. All in attendance brought their A-game, yet the top contenders for the event came from four distinct brands. Filipino company Serious Eats Catering brought a traditional Filipino tocino (cured pork), lumpia (pork and veggie egg roll), and steamed rice served in a bamboo bowl. The dishes had the tangy goodness found in the Filipino culture, but even better, they were cooked and served fresh on the spot.
Sweet Butter Kitchen, a favored eatery in Sherman Oaks, served an entire meal with buttermilk donut muffins, chocolate donut muffins, buttermilk pancakes, biscuits and sausage gravy, and a bistro breakfast sandwich. They win the award for the most brunch-centric display and dishes.
Waffle Pops brought the fair food flair by serving sprinkled waffles on a stick. Like any good waffle, they were buttery, flakey, with a good crunch, but their Instagram-worthy look set them apart from the others at Brunch Con.
The last dish to take over was a sour cherry liqueur by Ginja 9. With a slightly sweet cherry flavor, this alcoholic drink was served in a teacup-shaped chocolate shot glass. Their brand prides itself on making this liqueur with love, which isn’t hard to believe when they present their drink in a custom edible container.
The convention did have a couple of misses, however. First was that there was no latte bar. Despite having a variety of cold-brew companies present, a trend that has increased for the past couple of years, no one was serving hot espresso – a staple to any brunch. Second, parking was either metered or on-site but for $20. Though Angelenos are used to high prices in parking, they weren’t given fair enough warning to prepare, causing a lot of unnecessary scrambling for those in heels. Lastly, their event was held the same weekend as Beautycon, forcing a large population in both subcultures to compromise. Hopefully, these things will be addressed next year.
Either way, anyone who enjoys adding calories between breakfast and lunch should certainly attend Brunch Con. The amount of food, mimosas, and smiles were plentiful, plus they encouraged attendees to bring Tupperware to take items to go!