Blogger Prom Redux: Hollywood Confidential Glamourous

Blogger Prom Committee - Credit Heather Kincaid

I’ve been kind of busy these past few months. It all culminated a week ago at Yamashiro, atop the Hollywood hill that also hosts The Magic Castle. Indeed, it really was magical. All the hard work really paid off – at least from where we were standing. And it was fun to celebrate a culture that only continues to influence as well as permeate our urban lifestyle in Los Angeles. We tried to celebrate that in the best way we know how.

Credit - Heather Kincaid

With last year being an inaugural success, the Blogger Prom Committee and I had a solid boiler plate to improve upon for this year. While it was fun to recreate the ’80s, we knew that we wanted to keep things interesting and change it up. So, we decided to go even further back in time and a tad more grown-up. OK, maybe a lot more grown-up – as in glamorous Hollywood. We became inspired by a particular Los Angeles-specific movie chronicling crime, press and celebrity in the ’30s and ’40s; our theme was Hollywood Confidential. Fortunately, we also had the setting that would be the perfect backdrop for our theme – Yamashiro. Their team was an absolute dream to work with throughout the entire process, displaying the utmost in professionality and hospitality. I would recommend Yamashiro to anyone looking for a place to hold a high class event.

Chef Brock's tacos

…And the food! Who could forget the food? Chef Brock of Yamashiro brought his famous Garden Market tacos to the event as well as unveiled a brand new one incorporating Brock Family Farms’ sausage. They were delicious and perfectly complemented by his als0-famous wasabi guacamole and chips. Passed YamaBites were plentiful and guests enjoyed Asian-style ribs, albacore with jalapeno on fried crackers and more. We had Barrie Lynn, the Cheese Impresario, return from last year and educate us on the wonders of Wisconsin cheese. It is always a joy to have her and as a cheese fanatic, myself, I couldn’t be happier she was there. We also had amazing chocolates from Chocolate Box Cafe and Coolhaus ice cream sandwiches where you could customize your own sandwich.

Last year, it was an amazing thing to flex our star power and experience first-hand just what muscle L.A. bloggers have as influencers on our city. This year, we wanted to take it to another level and give back not only to bloggers but also to our community. And so, thanks to Blogger Prom Committee for taking on my suggestion of benefiting Operation Frontline Los Angeles. I became inspired by their ground-up approach to cooking and nutrition by providing classes to those who would otherwise not have access to these invaluable tools. (You can still donate to Operation Frontline Los Angeles here.) Admission to our closed event required a $10 donation to OFL, with Goldstar so graciously providing the donation ticketing. We ended up raising $2400 for the program. I’m proud that with all our resources, we could put on such a great event while benefiting a great cause.

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L.A. Times Celebration of Food & Wine: September 5, 2010

L.A. Times Wine & Food Festival at Paramount Pictures Studios | Photo credit to isayx3 on Flickr

It’s another culinary bazaar (we here in Los Angeles know how often these come around) but this time, it’s our city-wide flagship publication pulling out all the stops. It looks like the L.A. Times will live up to their name, too, because there are names to be had at this event held at on New York Street (yeah, pretty funny) in the backlot of Paramount Pictures.

Feelin’ a little indie with your wine? There will also be music, as She & Him are scheduled to headline the event with a full set. Angela McClusky will support.

Demonstrations will be taking place for your pleasure and education, as will panels by the following:

  • Michael Voltaggio – Winner, Top Chef Season 6
  • Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo – Animal Restaurant
  • Mark Peel –Campanile, The Tar Pit, Top Chef Masters Seasons 1 & 2
  • Suzanne Goin –AOC, Lucques, Tavern and The Hungry Cat
  • Jimmy Shaw -Loteria Grill
  • Ludo Lefebvre – LudoBites
  • Betty Fraser – Grub, Top Chef Season 2
  • Chris “C.J.” Jacobsen – The Yard, Top Chef Season 3
  • Alex Reznik – Ivan Kane’s Cafe Was, Top Chef Season 7
  • John Sedlar – Rivera
  • Barrie Lynn – The Cheese Impresario
  • Ricardo Zarate – Mo-chica
  • Russ Parsons – Food Editor, Los Angeles Times
  • Noelle Carter – Manager, Los Angeles Times Test Kitchen
  • Rene Lynch – Assistant Food Editor, Los Angeles Times
  • Jessica Gelt – Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times
  • Betty Hallock – Deputy Food Editor, Los Angeles Times
  • Krista Simmons – Associate Editor, Brand X

And of course, high brow or not, it wouldn’t truly be a Los Angeles food event without food trucks present. Don Chow Tacos, Wahoo’s, The Sweets Truck, The Buttermilk Truck, DosaTruck, Coolhaus will all be there if you so prefer your food off a 4-wheeler.

Wine, sake and spirits from various vendors will help you wash down your bites. Blackheart Spiced Rum, Broc Cellars / Broadside Wines, Conway Family Wines, Dutcher Crossing Winery, Evan Williams Hong Reserve Bourbon, Flora Springs Winery & Vineyards, Gekkeikan Sake, Hook & Ladder Winery, Lunazul 100% Agave Tequila, Kook Soon Dang Beer, Michael David Winery, Rideau Vineyard, Sinatra Family Estates, and Venteux Vineyards will all be present during the event.

If you buy in advance, you’ll save $10. The best part is that general admission attendees also get to enjoy a good number of pours (8 to be exact) with their food. But if VIP is more your speed, you’ll get unlimited pours and in addition, you’ll get to taste bites from these participants. Benefiting from ticket sales are Share Our Strength and the Los Angeles Times Family Fund, so you can feel good that you’ve spent your day also supporting worthy causes.

Seems like a it’ll be a great debut. I’ll see you there.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

12 – 8 PM

$125 VIP Admission ($135 door)
$55 General Admission ($65 door)
$40 Concert Only, advance and door

Tickets

L.A. Times Celebration of Food & Wine at
Paramount Pictures
5555 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038

Pairing of the New Decade: Sake and Wisconsin Cheese

Hook's 10-Year Cheddar

I had first met Barrie Lynn of The Cheese Impresario over planning for Blogger Prom. Our party was so swank, you would bring your cocktail over from the bar to Barrie Lynn – whereby she would taste a straw-full of your cocktail and pair the appropriate cheese to the libation in your glass. If you have cheese in any capacity at your party, you better have Barrie Lynn there.

The other day I was invited to the Learn About Wine loft in Downtown LA … to learn not about wine but about sake and its compatibility with cheese. Sake and Wisconsin cheese has been her recent breakthrough – a proclaimed “culinary epiphany.” I have to say, “Wisconsin cheese” is not a phrase I pass up on, ever. Let’s also say that my entire life I’ve always lived in The Cheese State, whether in the Midwest or on the West Coast.

Mt. Victoria Old Fashioned Vintage Junmai, Legend of the Stars Junmai Diaginjo

Kei Inoue of Banzai Beverage was Barrie Lynn’s partner in crime, the liquid to her solid. He represents not one but many distributors of sake. Since my knowledge of sake was at 0, I was appreciative to get a lesson in what puts a good sake ahead of the others. Since sake is 80% water, water is the most important ingredient and indicative of the different regions of Japan and the quality of sakes that arises from each. Also important is how much the rice grains are polished. The more that is polished, the more amino acids – which taste poor when distilled – are shed from the brew, and the more refined. And right out of the gate, even the little that I knew about sake was thrown out the window when I realized that they gave us a sparkling sake to start. It was delicious and refreshing – and merely a prelude to the eight to come.

I had never had a dark sake before, but that’s exactly what we started with. The Mt. Victoria Old Fashioned Vintage Junmai had caramel and even almond notes due to it having been aged – a really complex sake that served as an aperitif. Or perhaps to contrast with the ultra smooth Junmai Diaginjo sake to come, called Legend of the Stars. About 60% of the rice grain was polished away for this brew (as opposed to 30% of the last, aged sake). It would go well with seafoods, as it was still stimulating – very fresh.

But finally, oh finally – we would get to the cheeses!! Hallelujah.

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