Monday, July 18, 2011

Food (and Friend) Makin' Monday at Eat Real Fest

As a healthy living blogger in Los Angeles, I'm always on the lookout for local happenings that encourage Angelenos to eat real food instead of fast/processed/marketed food... or "edible food-like substances," as Michael Pollan is fond of calling them.  So when I heard about Eat Real Fest at Helm's Bakery, I slapped it on my calendar immediately.   I mean, just look at their description and their mission statement:

"Eat Real combines a state fair, a street-food festival, and a block party to create a celebration of good food. At the Eat Real Festival, participants learn where food comes from, who grows and makes it, and how they make it. ...  All food incorporates regionally-sourced, fabulous, and sustainably-produced ingredients.

"Eat Real is a social venture business with an affiliated non-profit focused on promoting and teaching food craft. Eat Real’s mission is to help revitalize regional food systems, build public awareness of and respect for the craft of making good food and to encourage the growth of American food entrepreneurs.

It touches on so much that I care about, and a lot of what I embrace with the changes I've made to my eating, toward the goal of better health.  So Saturday morning, Tom and I hit the road - Carmageddon be damned - and checked it out.

I have much to share about the festival, but that will have to wait until an upcoming Adventure Wednesday.  Today is Friend-Makin' Monday, the perfect time to tell you about the highlight of my day at Eat Real: meeting my favorite Food Network star, Aarti Sequeira. 

Tom and I are avid fans of The Next Food Network Star, and last season was especially compelling to watch - not just because of Aarti's scrumptious-looking Indian dishes, but because of her warm personality. (Plus she had an enviable collection of flower hair clips - something I've been wearing for years, too!)  We cheered out loud when she won, and we've been watching her series ever since.  (We even used her chai and raita recipes for our Indian-themed edition of Supper Club 600!) 

I kept seeing her around the festival, and I was almost too shy to go up to her.  In LA, it's considered good form to smile politely and not approach celebrities... but I always felt such a connection to Aarti, so I mustered my courage and approached her.  She was every bit as warm and sunny as she appears on-screen.  (More, if that's even possible!)  It's a rare opportunity to meet someone who inspires you, and meeting her was a complete joy.  I highly recommend watching Aarti Party on Food Network, or her earlier online food/variety series Aarti Paarti.  Here's my favorite episode, which includes her recipe for Huggy Buggy Bread Pudding (plus some excellent ukelele action.)

All right!  We've got a great week ahead of us, with some recipes, some crazy shoes, some neon-green Ghostbuster ectoplasm, and my thoughts on being healthy at every size.  I hope you'll come back and visit soon - and in the meanwhile, please take care of you!


  1. Epic WIN for you!! :D The joy shows in your face just as plainly as the warmth shows in Aarti's. Fantastic post!

  2. I loved Aarti on Next Food Network Star! She's a doll. I've never seen her show though, so this is a good reminder to get it set on my DVR.

    I can't wait to hear about the festival - sounds fantastic.

  3. Had I known about the Eat Real Fest, I might have tried to make it, even on "carmageddon weekend" (horrors!)...heh. I don't pay enough attention to what's going on around LA. I'm so jealous you got to meet Aarti, too. I'm not a big fan of Food Network's game shows, so I didn't see her win on Food Network Star. But I've seen her cooking show several times and from how she presents on tv, she seems like a warm and genuine person. And I would love to hire her as my personal chef if I could afford one. Her food looks delicious!