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.

Asian American Frustration

I rounded the corner from the parking lot along the sidewalked path to Amoeba Records on Cahuenga. There they were, the post-college Asians crowded outside as they were lined up to get into the club. Now, I wasn’t wearing the club gear I usually do the two times per year I even visit a nightclub, so I suspect I looked out of place. Out of place enough to deserve some of what I call, Hoochie Glares. It’s the obligatory stare a female of Asian descent graces another female of Asian descent with, a.k.a. “mad-dogging” – especially in predominantly Asian American settings. It’s meant to counteract the outsider assumption that sweet little Asian girls are just that – sweet. Problem is, nobody inside this sort of insular club scene really thinks that.

Ah, the memories.

It reminds me of a time (*ahem* University of Caucasians Living [amongst] Asians) of never really having to deal with the interracial societal issues at large – or even personal interaction – so long as I didn’t “have” to. It reminds me of the type of camaraderie of being amongst other people who happen to share a continental ethnic origin and desire to get drunk at a club the celebs used to go to, 2 years ago, and will in 3 months undergo another renovation, name and ownership change. (And hey – before you think I’ve handed down a verdict, I’ll tell you first off that I’m not one to judge – I used to put those things together!)

While I won’t contest that it’s superficial racial unity at its best, it baffles if even saddens me that we can come together for this sort of “movement” as an attraction for nightclub promotion dollars, yet we are the ones – the minorities – who aren’t even considered a solid political voting block. I know that on the political side, this speaks to the diversity of the Asian American experience. More varied things brought our parents and ancestors to America so I know that’s a benefit as far as avoiding being pigeon-holed. The problem? Our voices have a much harder time of being acknowledged at all. The “strength in numbers” rule doesn’t even apply.

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“21” And Race

Spoiler-free 🙂

I like to go to movies alone. I figure, I can see exactly what I want to see and I don’t waste any valuable time coordinating a meet-up with someone or some people just to sit there for 2 hours in the dark with them. If I want to get together with someone, I like to spend it enjoying an activity with them, or seeing them face-to-face. Not sitting next to them in the dark.

But I went even further this time. I paid $14 for a movie I had decided was going to be horrible. Predictible. Unchallenging, glossy and all-style-no-substance. Well, 4 out of 5 ain’t bad. So, it wasn’t horrible.

I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t.

That’s my way of coming clean with the bias I had going into “21.” I had heard that this movie was based upon a book (“Bringing Down The House” by Ben Mezrich) written about a group of MIT students who used their mathematical talents to count cards in Vegas. And so I shelled out some lunch money to instead sit there – again, alone – for a good 2 hours so I’d be warranted in fleshing out my frustration at mis-/un-representation in a blog post.

The truth is, the movie that was based upon the book was based upon the real-life experience of a group of mostly Asian kids who indeed went to MIT.

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