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.
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 asÂ 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 bakedÂ mac ‘n cheese and gobbled up half-baked fingerling potatoes. My favorite bite, however,Â 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.
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.
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.