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.
Tasting events come and go, but Plate By Plate is one of those events that I’ve made sure to frequent every year. The proceeds of Project By Project’s annual benefit go towards a particular partner chosen for that year like this event’s Asian Youth Center. It also doesn’t hurt that the selection of participants is top-notch in comparison to many other events that I’ve attended over time.
Its focus on benefiting Asian non-profits flavor the event with entertainment such as modern dance and singing performances. Club beats pulse between the performances, perforating every bite. The Vibiana, with its high ceilings, is concurrently flooded with pink and white lights. And wherever Plate By Plate is, it’s always the site of the most successfully-executed-yet-unspoken dress code of the year. The chefs are the ones most expected to wear jeans, here.
The good news is that they all seem really amped to be at Plate By Plate. The answer to that age-old (in blogosphere time, anyway) question of “Why Are There So Many Asian Food Bloggers?” – if one were to ask it – lies in this event. The vibe is positive and the camaraderie, despite the pounding soundtrack, is warm.
And then there were many ofÂ my L.A. favorites – allÂ in one room. MyÂ profile on Laurent Quenioux at Vertical Bistro had just run in the Pasadena Sun (yay! I’m in print!), and he brought his delicious sweetbreads and hamachi to serve up to Plate By Plate participants. Gavin Mills, who helms my neighborhood favorite, Wood & Vine, was there to present a wonderful charcuterie spread. I’d be hard-pressed to name one other Hollywood eatery which makes their own pates and rillettes in-house, and Wood & Vine’s are really good.
Picca Peru was on-hand to serve their ultra comforting Chicken Cau Cau. The Royce of Pasadena’s The Langham Hotel, under David Feau, platedÂ pieces of Wagyu “Au Poivre” with a baby pearl onion. It’s pretty hard to argue with wagyu, but there was a certain elegant savoryness to this particular version.
The surprise of the night was The Gorbals’ Beef Tongue with Romesco. It was certainly the most tender – despite beingÂ thick -Â slice of tongue I’ve had. While I’m not a squeamish or picky eater, I can’t say that tongue has ever been a favorite “cut” of mine. But I was pretty shocked at how much I enjoyed this rendition. The delicious romesco sauce, of course, was no detail – so bravo.
Of course, the beautifulÂ Bricia Lopez was in attendance to represent La Guelaguetza. They served up their famous Tamales OaxaqueÃ±os with chicken and mole.
It’s always a festive time at Plate By Plate. The food and drink (complete this year with a mixology demo by Julian Cox) are always prime and the company in full garbÂ is always colorful. If you are keen on taking a break between bites and sips, there are also really impressive silent auction items with low starting bids on the block. It’s pretty much the sleeper event of the year.
See you next time.
Americans on a non-American beach (autumn in Italy)
Wow. There is so much going on this weekend – I can’t wait to tell all of them to you because I won’t be in town to enjoy hardly any of them! (I also can’t wait to be done with the press releases that are coming out of my ears!!) Too bad I can’t pull my weight at the Blogger Beach CleanupÂ - put onÂ by Siel of Green LA Girl and Sara Bayles of The Daily Ocean! The cleanup fun starts at 4 PM on Saturday between lifeguard stations 26 and 27 in Santa Monica – and the best part is, you don’t even have to be a blogger to participate. Also,Â afterwards you’ll even reap rewards beyond your eco-conscience and get to enjoy an awesome happy hour at Pourtal. I mean, who wouldn’t get a chance to hang out with Siel and Caroline on Crack?!?!?!?!?! (You’re crazy.)
I’ll be at a wedding, which is a welcome obligation (yeah – I guess you could call him a “Good friend”) much aided by the fact that it’s at a winery in Paso Robles. That’s north, which means that I will be able to catch The Food Event in Malibu on my way back to LA. Super excited about that! In the meantime, here are the plethora of things to choose from this weekend…
Saturday, October 24, 2009
BevMo! Torrance Grand Opening
There’s a new BevMo! opening in Torrance and the launch party is on Saturday. You’ll have the opportunity to donate $15 to The Boys & Girls Club of South Bay, plus take home a 100th store commemorative wine glass and a goody bag full of miscellaneous … goodies. Complimentary hors d’ouerves will be served as well as Jim Beam BBQ. BevMo! will also be hosting a silent auction and live entertainment. I think it’s a good day to make it to the South Bay as any – especially with a chance to taste $6,000 cognac!
11 – 5 PM
2533 Pacific Coast Highway, Suite A
Torrance, CA 90505