The Taste: SoCal Flavors Flower at Paramount Studios

The Taste from the Los Angeles Times fills the Paramount backlot with the best bites from local cuisine-minded smarties.

The Paramount Pictures backlot has seen a lot in its tenure, which makes sense, given that it has reigned as the Moviemaking Wonder of Melrose Avenue for a chunk of a century. (Raleigh and others, you, too, deserve that title -- love all around.)

And while it has seen superheroes dash through its streets, and Austin Powers and Audrey Hepburn, too, finding people dabbing napkins at the corners of their mouths and discussing the piquant nature of the burrito they're trying or the depth of the cocktail they just swished is rather rarer.

But The Taste from the Los Angeles Times doesn't come around all that often. Just once a year, in fact, and it is due again, over Labor Day Weekend, with a pretty darn gourmand-tastic goal in mind: Put the flavorful focus on the cuisine of Southern California, and the cuisine-makers.

Eateries who threw their hats -- or spatulas -- into the Taste's ring include Pedalers Fork, Hamasaku, Hinoki & The Bird, Craig's Restaurant, and literally a pantryful of perfectly SoCal establishments that bring both the local neighborhood love and the adventurous cookery.

Bartender demos, cook-chatty roundtables, wine tastings, live bands creating live music, presentations that are good for the kid chefs who happen to be attending with their grown-ups, and talks of a helpful and illuminating nature.

And there shall be eating, lots of sample-y things, tidbits and bites and edible pop-'em-in-your-mouths that fit well in your palm.

Well, now that we think of it, the food tradition for the backlot was established a half century ago. Weren't scenes from "Breakfast at Tiffany's" filmed right there? If only every film with a food reference in its title could herald a future food event.

Dates are Friday, August 29 through Sunday, Aug. 31. And tickets? Hoo goodness, they go, and are going right now, as fast as you can pop a shrimp or mushroom puff in your mouth. (So: fast.)