Let me take this first post in almost one month to deliver some pertinent upcoming event news. It’s now summer and thus, event season, here in sunny Southern California. Now that I’ve somewhat psychologically recovered from a huge picture-data dump from spilling a homemade cocktail all over my non-backed-up laptop, I’m finally ready to move into this crazy part of the year.
So here’s a rebirth of sorts; it’s an intentional start to the summer by tallying up the essential food events continuing into the fall (L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade is in September). One focuses on cocktails. One focuses on tacos. One focuses on ribs. Three are on the same day; thus, yes – I do wish that these were spread out, more. But practically all of them feature world-class chefs. So without further adieu, here’s where you need to be this summer:
Therefore, it would be cruel of me to rehash that participants include Nancy Silverton (Mozza), Ludo Lefebvre (Trois Mec), Josef Centeno (Bäco Mercat, Bar Ama), Roy Choi (Kogi BBQ, Chego, A-Frame, Sunny Spot), Jordan Kahn (Red Medicine) and Carolynn Spence (Chateau Marmont) as well as Parisian chefs such as Inaki Aizpitarte (Le Chateaubriand), Gregory Marchand (Frenchie), Jean-François Piège (Restaurant Jean-François Piège) and for VIPs, Sven Chartier (Saturne). …And yet!
Hi everyone! It’s been awhile here on the blog. Thanks for being patient while I took the time for a much-needed hiatus while I rested and regrouped my going out and blogging mojo. I’m going to continue to bring you some quality reviews and heads-up on worthy up-coming events on an on-again, regular basis – so let’s get this ball rolling again, shall we?
We’ve got a debuting, community-driven food event on our hands on Sunday at Barnsdall Art Park, featuring eateries that mostly populate, well, the east side of town. Seems as though it’s skewed towards Silver Lake and Eagle Rock in particular, but it can only mean an even wider selection on their sophomore effort, right?
Also taking place at the event will be three separate book signings brought by Skylight BooksÂ (only one of my favorite book stores), including “From Seed to Skillet” by Jimmy Williams & Susan Heeger, “The Sriracha Cookbook” by Randy Clemens and “Los Angeles’s Best Dive Bars: Drinking and Diving in the City of Angels” by Lina Lecaro. Bring the family for Barnsdall Art Sunday’s art workshop from 2-4 PM. If you like to roll in style, VIPs will enjoy a special cocktail tasting by Talmadge Lowe from 1-3 PM. Five percent of proceeds from the silent auction will be donated to Children’s Hospital LA.
Tickets are $25 and include 15 taste coupons. VIP will run you $65 but also get you 5 more (with 20 total) taste coupons and an additional, exclusive hour to the vendors before the event – as well as the cocktail tasting with Talmadge. You can purchase them at The Green Bean in and on Eagle Rock or via Brown Paper Tickets online.
Looks like a promising, inaugural event – especially if you’re local and looking to support your community at large. See you there!
I have to say, I’m burnt out on Halloween. I buckle under the pressure of coming up with The Most Original Costume in the World. It stresses me out. My most original and relevant costume to date (an underaged Chinese gymnast) is two years old and even survived my recent move as a souvenir of brilliance, but alas, its 2008 Olympics relevance hasÂ ceded long ago. It’s not a costume you can “raise from the dead,”Â or the confines of myÂ closet.
Costume stressesÂ areÂ cause to look at a different holiday to celebrate – one, perhaps, that entails one theme. DÃa de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday that occurs on November 2nd every year, the day after Day of the Innocents. Look at it this way:Â There are less grueling (i.e. not dressing up as a sexy something) ways to celebrate the end of October while honoring our ancestors – and do how Mexicans and Mexican Americans do.
And after you emerge from those pages with a new “To Eat” memoÂ in your BlackBerry, you may as well add to that a “To Attend” memo with these DÃa de los Muertos events happening around town over the weekend and thereafter. Dress code? Calaca, if you dare. (See – I need these things decided for me.)Â
Novenario Processions (Night Processions)on Olvera Street – Nightly, now through Tuesday, November 2, 2010: 7 PM
Catch the nightly, sightly pre-ColumbianÂ parade starting at Olvera Street Gallery entrance. After each procession,Â free Pan du Muerto (bread of the dead) and Champurrado (warm, thickÂ chocolate drink with masa) will be served. Free. Metro stop: Union Station. Website
DÃa de los Muertos at Hollywood Forever CemeteryÂ – Saturday, October 30, 2010: 12 PM – 2 AM
Enjoy altar exhibits, processionals, Aztec Dancers, art, BalletÂ Folklorico performances, live music and more in the most appropriate site for a celebration honoring the dead.Â Guelaguetza will be on-site with their awesome Oaxacan food. La Monarca Bakery will be selling their specialty Pan du MuertoÂ Metro as well as organic Oaxacan coffee, Mexican cookies, and bunuelos (Spanish fritters). $10 admission. MetroÂ stop: Red Line – Hollywood/Vine. Website
I’ve been kind of sleeping on this one, because we are already half-way through the first of two weeks of this season‘s restaurant week. But don’t let me be the example, because if there are a couple restaurants in LA you’ve been meaning to check out, now is the time to see if they’re participating in Dine LA. From the Quickfire Challenges that have been held around the city (and culminating last night with Chef Eric GreenspanÂ of The Foundry on MelroseÂ winning the dessert challenge finale) to the incentive to dine at least three times with your American Express (but not before registering your card here), there has been a good amount of hoopla surrounding this fall’s Restaurant Week installment. You get a prix fixe 3 courses for varying price points.
So, if you have an American Express and plan on dining out at least three times, be sure to register it because if you spend at least $21 each time, you’ll get a $20 statement credit.
Of course, not all restaurants nor menus are considered equal. I browsed the list and pulled the ones that I’d be most interested in. Keep in mind there are three different price points each for lunch ($16, $22, $28) and dinner ($26, $34, $44) – and not all restaurants serve a Dine LA prix fixe for both. I also highlighted a menu item that particularly piqued my interest.
The Bazaar by Jose Andres ($$$) – Catalan Pork Sausage Bistro LQ ($$) – Ham Hock District ($$) – Venison Chile Relleno Drago Centro ($$$) – Veal Osso Bucco Eva ($$) – Cod and Caponata FIG Santa Monica ($$) – Red Beet Risotto The Foundry on Melrose ($$$) – Miso Honey Glazed Duck Laxy Ox Canteen ($) – Veal Breast with Pee Wee Potato Salad Locanda del Lago ($$) – Lobster-Dill-Ricotta Ravioli Ortega 120 ($) – Petite Sterling Silver, Pasilla Pepper, Queso Oaxaca, Red Chile Potato Hash Petrossian ($$$) – Crab Risotto Piccolo ($$$) – Pumpkin pasta w/Black Truffle Filling RH Restaurant ($$) – Roasted Boothbay Harbor Lobster Rivera ($$$) – Banana leaf-braised pork shoulder Urban Noodle ($) – Urban Noodle House Special Noodles
I admit, there is no way I’m going to make it out to half on my list so I’m leaving it up to you. They are all restaurants that I’ve had good experiences at so you can call these educated guesses. So get out there and experiment. You’d be remiss to not take the opportunity to try the restaurants you’ve always been curious about.
Last week, the food and restauranteur community of Los Angeles gathered at The Hollywood RooseveltÂ to celebrate the launch of the winter installment of Dine LA – a two-week-long collaborative effort to offer diners three-course lunches and dinners at six specific price points.
$Â Â Â Â Â Â Deluxe DiningÂ Â $16Â $26 $$Â Â Â Deluxe DiningÂ Â $22Â $34 $$$Â Â Fine DiningÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â $28Â $44
The red carpet was out and almost 100 chefs – many donning their white jackets straight from the kitchen – were the stars of the night. Oh – plus Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Writers, journalists, bloggers – what have you – were or weren’t donning our white “PRESS” badges. The purpose was clear: To celebrate food’s imminent role in Los Angeles culture – and the accessibility every man has to fine dining. And why don’t we enjoy some fixins from Dakota Chop House and 25 DegreesÂ with cocktails fromÂ Matt Biancaniello of Library BarÂ to wash them downÂ while we’re at it? Pork belly, tacos, quesadillas, salads, burger sliders and even a shiitake mushroom-infused ManhattanÂ were passed around – but the hits of the night were undeniably the spicy burger sliders and Biancaniello’s arugula gimlet.
If you haven’t already, make your reservations soon; Dine LA runs Jan 24 â€“ 29 and Jan 31 â€“ Feb 5. The bevy of restaurants this round tops 243. Schedule a lunch in there to save a few dollars – it’s a great occasion to take an extended break from work. EvaÂ (lunch or dinner), PalateÂ (dinner), Cube (lunch or dinner)Â and Petrossian (lunch or dinner) rise to the top of my personal list.
And don’t forget to enter the daily contests Dine LA is holding: Starting 10 AM and running all day, answer a trivia question to be entered to win $100 gift certificates to participating restaurants (today’s is Petrossian, lo and behold). Also follow @dine_la on Twitter for updates.
Bonus: If you’re an American Express card holder, all you have to do is “do” Dine LA three times and you get a $20 credit on your statement. Just spend more than $21 per time.
And if you’re interested in the names behind the scene in Los Angeles food, it might interest you to peep the Dine LA Family Tree to see how they – and we – are all interconnected. Food brings us all together, doesn’t it?
Seen Whip-It but stillÂ haven’t gotten your fix? Miss the Thriller-choreographed party in Hollywood a few months back? Wanna celebrate Halloween in style but sick of breaking the bank? Look no further – LA’s Best Party on Wheels is going to be Thriller-themed on Halloween and costs only $5 with RSVP.
Complete with a “How low can you go?” limbo contest, you’ll want to pull out your red motorcycle jacket, ghoul eyes, macabre face paint, masks and torn jeans. Oh – and your roller skates if you got ’em. If not, never “fear” – 200 pairs of skates will be available to rent. The Down & Derby people have also arranged a live performance by Pink Dollaz.
I’m going to New York next week. Though I’m very much a subway girl while there, there will be a lot of taxis – and at that, ones you can hail. I doubt any of us ever instructed anybody to “hail a cab” as a means of getting around Los Angeles. Despite our best efforts, that is. But let’s get serious here. Outside the airport or hotel complete with taxi lanes, we’re most accustomed to calling one if we had planned to use a cab, at all. I don’t know about you, but I’ve experienced many a frustration with operators on the other line while trying to call one.
This Labor Day weekend might be prime time to try a new experiment. I know you’re on your phone texting your dogsitter, anyway!!
I may end up loving where I live even more (the key phrase for that would be, “central to everything”) because I just found out about a new service that makes cab service even more conducive for my friends and I to take around town. You can now text the address of your location to “777222” and GoFastCab will dispatch a cab directly to you, wherever you are in L.A. – even South Bay and Long Beach! Sweet!
After texting your address, you get a confirmation text back to you so you know they received it (and that your text didn’t get lost in outer space). If you change your mind, you can also text “CANCEL” to the same number and that will cancel your cab. If you’re wondering where your cab is before he gets to you, you can text “STATUS” for a status message back.
I think the best part about this, though, is when you’re out at the bar and not exactly sure when to cash out because you want to secure the cab you called – for fear of someone else snatching your cab from you. The service calls you when they’re outside!
If you’re an Eastsider and so much as wanted to have a neighborhood place to crash with a handful of small plates and glass of wine – you’re probably the kinda guy or gal Bill and Charles had in mind while launching their restaurant, Allston Yacht Club. They’re a pair of guys in entertainment who’ve been fulfilled to a good degree in one of their two dreams (the writing side). Allston Yacht Club – named after a Boston neighborhood by this, these couple of Bostonians, is the realization of that second dream. It was first opened last January and from what I understand has undergone significant yet effective growing pains. I had the privilege of a private tasting to learn what their venture was all about. They were super entertaining and a pleasure to share food with.
Yes, yacht club – in Echo Park. It takes no chances with letting you know they don’t take themselves seriously so you shan’t, either. But seriously – these guys are cool. Thank god – because hanging out at The Allston is like hanging out in their living room. And who wants to be in a living room inhabited by uncoolanybody?
The good news is that the vast majority of plates are within the $6-8 range so this is a great place to come here with friends, order a bunch of plates (designated by main meat dishes), snacks (smaller, non-meat plates) and/or sides (greens) and everyone gets to sample a little of everything.
I had the privilege of joining a few others in Glendale at Sidebar for a beer and chocolate tasting featuring brews from Stone Brewing Company, based in Escondido. Yes – we paired chocolates and beer – and I can positively say I’ve never even given the combination a thought. But pair they did, the tastes of which we were all there to experience. Gev Kazanchyan (our host) and Nate Sellergren (Stone’s Los Angeles rep) had paired up five brews with five Mignon chocolates – the identities of which were kept incognito under the doily in each of our individual chocolate boxes.
Fellow bloggers including CarolineOnCrack, FoodGPS and John of Social Domain were on hand to share the sometimes peculiar matchings. As far as the beer itself, I enjoyed the Smoked Porters the most. The Smoked Porters even came in three degrees of “smokiness.” Since porters, however, as dark beers are rich – I had a hard time reconciling the richness in both the chocolate and the brew. This was especially evident in the dark chocolate truffle with Dutch cocoa powder matched with the smokiest Porter.
Not coincidentally, I enjoyed the first pairing the most. It was the lightest beer at 4% content – the Levitation Ale. The pairing with a chocolate-covered orange peel was perfect, I thought. The orange peel highlighted the lightness in the ale with its own citrus zest very nicely.
I enjoyed both Indian Pale Ales but the Ruination IPA had notably more hops in it than the others. It was paired with a dark chocolate piece filled with lavendar ganache which brought a nice, lighter essence to that match.
My least favorite coupling admittedly had to do more with the beer than anything else – and that would be the Arrogant Bastard Ale. My palate doesn’t prefer especially strong ales so the oaked version of the same brew wasn’t cutting it. Still – I was surprised they were both paired with a sweeter, milk chocolate. I’d think that the sweetness might throw off the potency of the Arrogant Bastard (had I preferred it).
Pairing chocolate with beer is evidently a challenging thing to do. There were more combinations in this experience that threw my palate off than I thought worked well or even made sense. But perhaps for those few pairings it was worth it. Now if I could just find some chocolate-covered orange peels and some Stone Levitation ale…
Sidebar 1114 N. Pacific Ave. Glendale, CA 91202 (818) 241-4542