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:
Quickfire Challenges don’t only happen on Top Chef. And in celebration of the upcoming Dine LA weeks, there are themed challenges happening all over the city. Yesterday, Mark Peel of Tar Pit and Campanile defeated Ben Ford (Ford’s Filling Station) and David LeFevre (Water Grill) with a Guinea Hen dish. Fortunately, there are three more challenges and I will have the honor of being a judge of the “cold soup” Quickfire Challenge to take place tomorrow at Petrossian – the caviar boutique and restaurant in West Hollywood on Robertson. The other judges will be Chef Ben Bailly, Petrossian’s chef and Josh Lurie of Food GPS.
In this challenge, we’ll see Chef Akira Hirose, Maison Akira Owner/Executive Chef go up against Chef Celestino Drago, Chef Drago Restaurant Group Owner/Executive Chef. The winner will go up against the other three winners of the other challenges in early October in a finale (TBD).
Of course, it’s not good enough to just watch. You’ll get to participate, too, by taking advantage of some great happy hour prices of Petrossian specialties:
Ortega 120 in Redondo Beach, where you can order LA Weekly’s Best Classic Margarita of 2009, will also be the site for an inaugural “Toma Tequila” Mixology Contest. Amateurs will compete for the grand prize of a $250 gift certificate to the restaurant, an editorial feature in Mutineer Magazine and, of course, have their winning recipe on Ortega 120’s cocktail menu alongside Chef Thomas Ortega’s imaginative dishes.
No professionals allowed – only amateurs are eligible to compete. To enter, submit your best tequila-infused recipe. Judges will narrow it down to a final three, which will have been chosen on a set criteria: taste, creativity, visual presentation and mixology practicality. And you should be excited (or intimidated) to find out who the judges are, including Ortega 120’s Demi Stevens, Mutineer Magazine Editor-in-Chief Alan Kropf, Carole Dixon of FEAST LA, Hadley Tomicky of Grub Street LA and Josh Lurie of Food GPS. Selected finalists will compete live at the restaurant on the evening of May 3rd.
Other events going on at Ortega 120 for that week include:
Sunday, May 2 â€“ Sister Cities International Charity Fundraiser Monday, May 3 â€“ Ortega 120 â€œToma Tequilaâ€ Mixology Competition Finals Tuesday, May 4 â€“ Tequila University Wednesday, May 5 â€“ Cinco de Mayo Grand Fiesta with folklorico dancers