Space Shuttle Endeavour Exhibit Launches Today at California Science Center

Space Shuttle Endeavour

We all remember that magic day last September, when we all climbed onto our work roofs or stepped out onto the street and our porches to see the space shuttle make piggy-backed laps on a NASA 747 around the city. Well, most of us, anyway. We Instagrammed. We Tweeted. We even Facebooked as we ooh’ed and ahh’ed, with some even tracking the red-eye voyage from LAX to its home at the California Science Center.

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Dine LA Restaurant Week Happens Now: My Picks

Duck "Shawarma" With Oven-dried Tomatoes, Fig Confit & Garlic Spread on Homemade Whole Wheat Pita | Momed

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 Greenspan of The Foundry on Melrose 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.

Sunday – Friday

October 3 – 8, 10 15, 2010

Lunch, Dinner (Not all restaurants serve both)

Dine LA List

All over Los Angeles

The 8th Plate By Plate Tasting Benefit: Saturday, August 14, 2010

Plate By Plate, 2009

Credit: Rich Mar Photography – used with permission

This year will be my first time attending Project by Project’s main, annual fundraising event called Plate by Plate – but there are plenty of hot names and a great cause on this ticket to warrant going. Your ticket will directly benefit our Asian American community at large as Project by Project partners with an underserved non-profit each year to help them reach their goals.

The names serving up this year’s delectables that have personally piqued my interest include: Chef Laurent Quenioux of Bistro LQ, Chef Ricardo Zarate of Mo-Chica, Chef Kevin Meehan of Cafe Pinot, Chef Amar Santana of Charlie Palmer at South Coast Plaza, Chef Anthony Zappola and Pastry Chef Shannon Swindle of Craft, Chef Eric Greenspan of The Foundry on Melrose, Thi & Nguyen Tran of Starry Kitchen, Chef Chris Behre of Gonpachi, Chef Suzanne Tracht of Jar, Susina Bakery and Valerie Confections.

Throughout the event, you’ll get to sip wine from 25 different wineries with your food, enjoy a taiko performance and see Aziz Ansari play sous chef. Bid in the silent auction on generous packages from restaurants and vendors all over the city.

Either way, I hope to see you there. I wouldn’t miss this one!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Tickets: Reg $125 ($150 door), VIP $200

6 – 7 PM VIP Reception
7 – 10 PM Main Event

Plate by Plate

California Science Center – Wallis Annenberg Building
700 State Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90037

*Parking entrance is located on Figueroa St. between Exposition Blvd. and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Mo-Chica: A Peruvian Oasis in South L.A.

Ceviche (Market Fish, Seaweed, Peruvian Corn, Leche de Tigre) $5

About a little more than three weeks ago, you may have gotten the Blackboard Eats code for 30% off Mo-Chica. You may have gotten it because you’ve heard about Chef Ricardo Zarate. You may have gotten it because you were curious about Peruvian food. Well if there were a legit Blackboard Eats post that I ever wrote with urgency, let it be this one because your Mo-Chica code is about to expire this weekend.

Causa (Peruvian Potato Salad) $4

To start off, there are few things that will draw me into Trojan Land. No, I don’t harbor Trojan bittnerness as a Westwood-bred Bruin; it’s just like anything else. It better be for something specific. Like soul food. Or Chanos. Or the start of The Great Walk of LA. A Revlon Run-Walk or Nike event. Or yes, now: Mo-Chica. Ask Caroline – she was a little skeeved, though neither of us were familiar with the Mercado Paloma marketplace, a food court of sorts. Nancy, who wrote the Mo-Chica post on Caroline’s blog, was a pro, though, as a Trojan.

Each entree averages around $10 – which, considering the food, is quite a bargain for how much flavor Mo-Chica packs in each dish. I was especially impressed with the range of dishes with not even a consequence of nutrition value guilt. No dish was particularly heavy, and the thought that I was missing out never occurred to me. I was full, all right, while wanting to chase more tastebud titillations if only I had the capacity to digest them, too. The dishes, which centered around seafood, were perfectly executed in flavor and even portion…you wanted just another bite but knew that the next dish lay just around the corner. That’s how good Mo-Chica is. After all, it’s probably no accident that it’s a repeat mention for @thejgold, who also named it as the Best Peruvian Ceviche he’s had outside of Peru. First things first, I need to visit Peru.

Arroz Con Marisco (Peruvian Paella With Mixed Seafood) $13

I’ll take Mo-Chica – the contemporary equivalent – in the meantime.

Because I had read about the Ceviche and the Causa – both of which were indeed mind-blowing. But nothing was to prepare me for the Arroz Con Marisco, which was so packed with seafood in every bite (tiny clams especially), I couldn’t believe how deliciously hearty this rice dish was for the flavor and value. I might have to order this dish every time I return, just so I’m sure not to miss any seafood goodness (I am always a seafood pasta kind of girl when in Italy, too).

Special: Monk Fish and Fava Beans $13

The special that we ordered this night went beyond our expectations – and I never remember ever having liked Fava Beans as much as I did at Mo-Chica. The fish was perfectly cooked and tender and the sauce had a ton of flavor which bordered on a kind of curry. The texture of the dish had a nice gumminess thanks to the beans, and it became clear that this was a main dish, an entree.

Passion Fruit Creme Brulee

For dessert: Get the passion fruit creme brulee. The top layer was thankfully perfectly torched in our rendition, and the consistency of the custard was super creamy, dense and packed a whole lot of passion fruit flavor. Divine.

So don’t let this Blackboard Eats code go to waste. The entrees average about $10 with the appetizers starting at half that; apply the 30% off and you are in contemporary Peruvian heaven at a bargain.

Mo-Chica
3655 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA‎ 90007
213.747.2141‎

@mo_chica

Tillamook Love Loaf Tour Wraps Up Metro LA

Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler With Tillamook Cheddar at Akasha

You may have heard the Tillamook name being touted around food news lately – more specifically as a result of their recent Love Loaf Tour, which actually wraps up their Metro L.A. leg of good will and free cheddar goodness today. Well, that is with exception to the Grilled Cheese Invitational, which they are the official cheese sponsor of.

Tillamook Baby Loaf (yes, they really are small!)

A couple weeks ago I joined the ranks of a few other food bloggers, writers and all-out cheese lovers at the Baby Loaf’s stop at Akasha Restaurant in Culver City. We enjoyed platters of triangle-sliced Tillamook as well as Chef Akasha Richmond’s creative genius in incorporating the cheddar into her recipes. We garnished toasts with her mango chutney and fig-avocado spreads, enjoyed her baked mac ‘n cheese and gobbled up half-baked fingerling potatoes. My favorite bite, however, was definitely the pulled pork sliders which came encased in biscuits and sandwiched with coleslaw. The hands-down most creative usage of Tillamook was the White Tillamook Cheddar melted atop Chef Akasha’s Strawberry-Rhubarb Cobbler! It gave the otherwise sweet dessert a nice cheesy tang and made the dish quite savory. Truly, you can do anything with cheese.

Good thing Angelenos can still get their free samples of Tillamook … today, only. Check out the locations below for the Baby Loaves’ stops for today, only. Looks like if you’re in Mid-City, South L.A. and Century City today, you’ve lucked out.

Food at Akasha Restaurant-Tillamook media event was hosted; pictures of Chef Akasha Richmond’s and my cats were shared.

Further reading:

My Life-Long “Loaf” Affair With Tillamook Cheese – Diana Takes a Bite

Akasha Means “Enlightening One’s Tongue With Joy” – My Last Bite

My Tillamook – Charles at 1HundredMiles

Love Loaf Tour LA concludes today (Monday, April 12, 2010) at:

Food 4 Less
1717 S. Western Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90019
12 – 7 PM

Food 4 Less
1091 S. Hoover Street
Los Angeles, CA 90037
12 – 7 PM

Ralph’s
10309 W. Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
11 AM – 6 PM

@TillamookCheese
@AkashaCC

Super Bowl XLIV Sunday in L.A.: The Round-Up

I may or may not have a Super Bowl favorite (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Got a place to watch the Super Bowl this year? If not, you have a few options around town. These are great if you’re the kind of fan who doesn’t like to clean up afterwards. And there are other great lists which include those I’ve forgotten (see notes) on teh internets LA food pubs so don’t forget to check these out:

Eater LA’s round-up – including The Hungry Cat (Hollywood), Wolfgang Steakhouse (Beverly Hills), The Dugout at X Bar (Century City), POP Champagne & Dessert Bar (an “anti-Super Bowl” party in Pasadena – no TVs!)…

Also, Grub Street LA has a compilation which includes Seven Bar & Grill (DTLA), Locals Sports Bar (Mid-Town) and Morton’s Steakhouse (La Cienega)…

Added: LAist also has suggestions for The Big Game.

The Super Bowl is as good an occasion as any to stock up on cheese. Squid Ink at LA Weekly reports that if you say (scream at the top of your lungs), “Who dat,” at Beverly Hills Cheese Store, you’ll get 10% off your purchase. Store hours have been amended to 10 AM – 2 PM.

And if you can stand the clean-up and are really an entertainer at heart – starting in the kitchen – you can always check out these Super Bowl appetizer recipes from the LA Times.

Pass the nachos…and watch the game at these spots (take-away after the jump):

Added: Big Wang’s (Downtown LA)

According to Blogdowntown on Twitter, Big Wang’s is set to open its new downtown location ON Super Bowl Sunday. No word as to “specials” – my prediction is they won’t need any since South Park residents will be curious enough to stop by as it is. My recommendation? Get the wings. Simple.

Big Wang’s
801 S. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Added: The Spanish Kitchen (La Cienega, West Hollywood)

The Spanish Kitchen is celebrating The Super Bowl by hooking up a massive projector-screen for the game. How does $5 margaritas and $10 bottomless Micheladas (described as “Bloody Mary but with Tecate”) sound? Appetizers are $5 the entire day.

The Spanish Kitchen
826 N. La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA, 90069
310.659.4794‎
@thespanishkitchen

Added: Pourtal (Santa Monica)

Wine with The Super Bowl will never be the same (Pourtal has artisanal beer, too). Take notice of the notes in your wine glass while cheering on your team into the red zone and munching on tater tots. The game will be broadcast on 3 flat screens as you order from their Happy Hour menu, which is available until 7 pm.

$5 Wine & Beer
$4 Appetizers

2 – 7 PM

Pourtal Wine Bar
104 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
310.393.7693
@pourtal

Chaya (Venice)

Chaya has four big-screen TVs located throughout the restaurant so everyone is ensured to have prime view. The entire space will also adopt the Happy Hour Sushi & Bar menu usually exclusive to the lounge area. To sweeten the deal, they’ll also be giving away $25 gift cards at the end of each quarter.

$5 Albacore Sashimi Salads and Chef’s Special Rolls
$3 Domestic Beers
$5 Margaritas

Enjoy bar bites such as Classic Housemade Beer-Battered Onion Rings with Spicy Mayo and Braised Short Ribs with a Red Wine Sauce and Potato Purée.

2 PM

Chaya Venice
110 Navy St.
Venice, CA 90291
310.396.1179
@chayarestaurant

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Dine LA Restaurant Week Launches Sunday

Last week, the food and restauranteur community of Los Angeles gathered at The Hollywood Roosevelt 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.

$      Deluxe Dining   $16  $26
$$    Deluxe Dining   $22  $34
$$$   Fine Dining       $28  $44

Burger Slider

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 Degrees with cocktails from Matt Biancaniello of Library Bar to wash them down while we’re at it? Pork belly, tacos, quesadillas, salads, burger sliders and even a shiitake mushroom-infused Manhattan were passed around – but the hits of the night were undeniably the spicy burger sliders and Biancaniello’s arugula gimlet.

Arugula Gimlet

If you haven’t already, make your reservations soon; Dine LA runs Jan 24 – 29 and Jan 31 – 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. Eva (lunch or dinner), Palate (dinner), Cube (lunch or dinner) 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?

Further reading:

DineLA Flickr Set

Restaurant Deals Ahead: It’s dineLA, the winter version; plus a “family tree” of L.A. chefs & restaurants – LATimes

DineLA Restaurant Week Kicks Off With Celebri-Chef Party – LAist

Dine LA Restaurant  Week Launch Party – ShopEatSleep

Jan 24 – 29 and Jan 31 – Feb 5, 2010

Dine LA Website
Various locations throughout Los Angeles
Call early for reservations

Lindsay, Dawson and Sabrina

4th Annual Great Walk of Los Angeles

H.C. and Siel at Shrine

I’ve a confession. It’s been awhile since this Angeleno and once-Marathoner has clocked even a mile on foot. So when I heard that Michael of Franklin Avenue‘s Great Walk of LA was coming up – I knew it was time to come through. To my relief, I found out Siel of Green LA Girl and H.C. of LA-OC-Foodie would also be there and I’d have my day-long walking partners.

Since Saturday’s walk, I think I’ve averaged about 10 hours of sleep per night. My average is usually 6-7. I am still sore.

We started off in Shrine Auditorium by USC and from estimation it looked like about 250 people were gathered there. Walkers were all ages and of all backgrounds – including USC students, families, couples, single people, bona fide and once-per-year walkers (like myself). Michael got on the blowhorn and handouts on the history of the nearby West Adams district were available.

St. Vincent de Paul Church

Our walk involved a few loops around the historic neighborhood, giving us a real appreciation for an area that would otherwise be easily dismissed. From Numb3rs to Six Feet Under, many shows were filmed in a lot of these huge houses. We also passed by Marvin Gaye’s house in which he was also tragically shot by his father.

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