Food festival offers casual, fine dining

LOS ANGELES "This is a really important time to support our restaurant community and get out there and sit at those tables and order those meals and keep them in business," said dineLA director Carrie Kommers.

When the bottom fell out of our wallets last year, dining out frequently came to a screeching halt, so the Los Angeles Convention Bureau teamed up with restaurant owners to get customers back in the door with dineLA Restaurant Week.

Two-hundred-and-sixty restaurants participate, from Long Beach to the San Fernando Valley.

"You can get fantastic food at a fantastic price all over the city," said celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck.

The event starts Sunday and runs every day, but Saturday, through Oct. 16.

Farmers-market-fresh, seasonal food is the big theme this fall. Three different price levels for three-course lunch and dinner are being offered. The prices range from $16 to $44.

Last year's dineLA served 150,000 meals, giving consumers more bang for their buck. Restaurants got an opportunity to boost business.

"All my employees worked six days a week and eight hours a day," said Maison Akira chef Akira Hirose. "I was so happy to see everybody working together."

Chefs are taking to the streets this week to kick off the food festival. They will be manning food trucks in select area with tasty samples to act as moving billboards for the upcoming food festival.

"For dineLA we try to showcase our specials our signature dish like the Croque Monsieur and all the dishes we are famous for," said Alain Giraud from Anisette.

Giraud doesn't usually cook in a truck but he and other big-name chefs circulated the city with samples of their famous food to get mouths watering. It worked.

"We want people to go out. Try to eat in the restaurant. Forget the recession," said Giraud.

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