A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending The Essentials, a downtown gathering of the city's best restaurants in the California Market Center. Organized by LA Weekly, The Essentials showcases a favorite bite from restaurants such as Spago, Mozza, Ink, Petit Trois, and much, much more. For a set price, you get all of those bites, plus drinks and other goodies, as well as an opportunity to mingle with chefs like Ludo Lefebvre, Michael Voltaggio, and Curtis Stone (*swoon*). The event did not disappoint. Luckily, we were in the first or second wave of attendees to show up, meaning that we skipped a lot of the longer lines that formed later on around some of the more popular picks (like Bestia), and spent hours wandering around, collecting samples from as many places as we could stomach (literally). Though not pictured, some of my favorites included a foie gras parfait from Maude and a Beef Béarnaise from Mélisse!