The Special Olympics’ main fundraiser of the year is coming up in a week and a half, and as with every year, high wattage kitchen star power is showing up with world-class bites for the VIP brunch taking place on the historic and scenic Santa Monica Pier at Pacific Park.
Food events come and go, but when the clout behind a particular function brings out some of the best chefs from inside and outside of Los Angeles, you’ll have a standout. Especially when the resulting total raised amounts to more than $700,00 towards childhood cancer research and patients’ lives and care.
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:
With how often I do dining reviews, I tend to eat out a lot. So much that I will sometimes go for weeks without even visiting the grocery store and my cooking skills eventually become so rusty, I can’t help but wonder just how much I’d embarrass myself when it came time to entertain in my own home, again. (Okay, but seriously, I still have the basics down. I promise.)
And then there’s Kitchensurfing. First launched in New York, the Los Angeles incarnation launched just yesterday. I was provided several, succulent tastes at one Southern media dinner held in Venice last month, just so I could envision how it might play out were I to host something similar at my own place. Continue reading
Summer food events are a dime a dozen, but Angeleno Magazine manages to present a consistently solid line-up year after year at their steady Live and Dine LA event held at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows. This year, there was no award presentation, leaving a core group of favorites to sample their eats in the courtyard surrounding the gorgeous, 130-some-year-old, 80-foot tall Moreton Bay Fig Tree.
Attendees sipped Brugal Summer Hounds, Pavan Sangria Cocktails, Macallan 12 Fine Oak, iced Handsome Coffee brew, Solsticio Wines, 123 Organic Tequila margaritas and more as they savored dishes from some of the most popular restaurants in the city:
Now that it’s summer in Los Angeles, there’s a ton going on all over town. And when it comes to food events, it’s enough to make your head spin. But you want to play it smart with your time and funds, because no one’s got patience for fluff.
Fortunately, I’ve narrowed it down to the best four events you’ll want to attend this month. They’re all on the weekend, so you’ll have enough time to make your trek. Whether it’s raising money to combat childhood hunger, celebrating Fatherhood the best way possible, eating the best tacos in the city or carousing the famous Rose Bowl for the best bites in Los Angeles, June is shaping up to be an exciting time to be in L.A. Let’s get started. Continue reading
You have probably already heard about Le Grand Fooding: Crush, the posse’s upcoming inaugural event in Los Angeles on April 26-27. In fact, tickets went on sale a month ago, and a glance at the event website’s signage would indicate they’ve already sold out the duo of dates.
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!
L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade, for my third year in attendance, remains one of my favorite food events. The original idea of Alex’s Lemonade arose out of a courageous four-year-old’s battle with neuroblastoma and her desire to donate the proceeds of her lemonade stand to doctors who have helped her. Childhood cancer strikes a chord personally, as my first born nephew was diagnosed with Acute lymphocytic leukemia at the age of 1 1/2. Thanks to treatment and some faith, he’s now entering his teen years as a survivor. Of course, more research needs to be done.
Every food enthusiast knows (here in Los Angeles, anyway): Culinary events come and go, each offering its own celebration of chefs, food and wine. But nothing was about to prepare me for the best of that pig fest, Cochon 555. So named because each city it visits brings together five local chefs, five heritage pigs and five winemakers, Cochon 555 held an “all-star” edition with favorites (that is, 10 chefs, 14 pigs and 4 butchers) hailing from cities all over to Vegas, baby, Vegas.
Representing Los Angeles? No chefs, alas (are we snubbed, much?). But a social media-savvy pair of talented butchers with a shop on Fairfax called Lindy & Grundy were there to perform a live butcher demonstration – with projector screen and microphone on the ready – alongside Michael Sullivan of Blackberry Farms.
Favorite bites included an impressive array of charcuterie from Fruition in Denver. With this being my first booth visit, it was good indication that I’d have a very hard time avoiding literally rolling out of the posh, velvety Cosmopolitan convention room by the end of the event.
Another standout was the Swiss Army Pig as presented by Napa’s The French Laundry – with every part of the pig included with the bite prepared with sour morello cherry, red walnuts, Dijon and thyme with a dusting of chicharron. Delicious.
Probably the most impressive presentation at Cochon All-Stars was the Prosciutto cotto tremazzini from New York City’s Del Posto, by which you wrapped a sandwich with a massive sheet of charcuterie. There were a ton of textures delivering unmatched decadence only cut by the two tiny pieces of bread.
My favorite Asian homage at Cochon All-Stars was the Open-faced Banh Mi from Chicago’s Stephanie Izard of Girl and the Goat. All the right Vietnamese flavors were there as was the deliciously crispy pork texture.
And if you ever doubted the concept of pork dessert, John Sundstrom (Lark – Seattle, WA) would prove you wrong. His Tarte Tartin with pork belly, pineapple and soy caramel was perfect. Also served at this booth was a decadentÂ pork-flavored ice cream sandwich made with maracon-ish cookies on the outside. These two made up for the fact that I missed the bacon-caramel milkshake that others had been raving about, but which I forgot toÂ check off the seemingly never-ending list of bites.
In-house (Cosmopolitan) restaurants were also given their due without the requisite of serving up pork. Scarpetta dished out their Short Rib Agnolotti and Blue Ribbon made hand rolls of spicy tuna and uni. Of course, I could always make room for sushi.
Cocktails were presented by Domaine de Canton, Maker’s Mark and No. 3 London Dry Gin. My favorite cocktail had to be the Domaine de Canton’s Masubi – much like a ginger pina colada. Of course, the pineapple-wrapped fried pork with rice had to be the most theme-appropriate garnish in the place.
I’ve been to many a food fest in my day, but Cochon 555 All-Stars definitely takes the cake as one of the most well run with plenty a bite left over. There were no lines and I didn’t see one booth run out of food. Admittedly, this had more to do with the fact that I had to leave 15 – 20 minutes before the end of the event or face total gastro-destruction. Thank goodness my hotel room was just a 14 floors and a tower away so I could sleep away the lethargy.
Just in time for the VIP afterparty. There were more pig bites there, too, but the party was outdoors at Overlook Bar & GrillÂ in 105 degree Las Vegas heat. Ugh. I opted for the mojito and tequila sunrise push-up pops, instead.
VIP Ticket to Cochon 555 All-Stars andÂ Cosmopolitan Hotel accommodationsÂ were hosted.
Today marks another Dine LA Quickfire Challenge – this time, featuring cold noodles. Starry Kitchen, one of the hot spots to hit for Pan-Asian dishes will be hosting, and it’ll be Chef Octavio Beccera from Palate Food & Wine and Chef Brendan Collins from Waterloo & City going head-to-head.
Of course, there will be a surprise ingredient the chefs will have to incorporate in their dish. It’s Starry Kitchen so it’s only fitting that that ingredient will be either Oyster Sauce, Hoisin Sauce or Coconut Milk. Judging this Quickfire will be Thi Tran, Starry Kitchen Executive Chef, Jeff Miller of Thrillst and Krista Simmons from L.A. Times’ Brand X. And, as a prize, the winning dish will be featured on Starry Kitchen’s regular menu throughout Fall 2010 dineLA Restaurant Week.
During the challenge, $5 bites will allow attendees to preview Starry Kitchen’s Dine LA menu:
- Crispy Tofu Balls
- Chicken Wings
- Egg Rolls
- Pandan Flan
- Young Banana and Tapioca in Caramel Coconut Milk
And if you’re still up for more, the official after-party is just across the plaza at CASA Cocina y Cantina with complimentary passed appetizers to preview their own Dine LA menu, including Turduckenizo Albondigas, Tamale de Elote, and Mini Tacos de Camarones Fritos. Drink specials will also be offered.