It’s that time, again, to present the essential food events going on the next few weeks around the city. It’s a wonder that I don’t do these more often, because I often want to highlight events that I don’t have time to write about before and after they occur.
So here’s a reminder, then, to check back on the blog whenever you can (on a full size browser, not mobile) for my Google Calendar-ready events list I’ve been maintaining in the right-hand column, underneath my avatar –>.
For the next eight Wednesdays, it will be hoppin’ poolside at The Viceroy. KCRW DJ Garth Trinidad has teamed up with the venue and Chef Tony DiSalvo (Whist) to showcase four international themes with the launch of “Beats and Bites.” Tomorrow, Garth himself will kick things off with reggae, whereby you’ll enjoy a customized, individualÂ plate of Jamaican and Caribbean bites for $25 each. Plan your visit between 6 – 9 PM each Wednesday in August and September, and you’ll be swinging your hips as your tastebuds are tantalized.
Aug 4 & Sept 1: Reggae – Jamaican/Caribbean *Garth Trinidad will host to kick-off series*
black beans, rice and peas, shredded beef, fried plantains, jerk chicken, beef patties, pork curry with rice and beans
Aug 11 & Sept 8: Cajun/Creole â€“ New Orleans
oysters on the half, crawfish etoufee, jambalaya, chicken gumbo, red beans and rice, beignets and iced chicory coffee
Looks like Beverly Hills wants officially mark themselves on the map as a culinary eventÂ destination in Los Angeles – as the first annual Taste of Beverly Hills will take place on September 2 – 5, 2010. With no event legacy, the first thing I’m drawn to is that it spans over 4 days – and over Labor Day Weekend, at that! The second? The price.
Of course, it wouldn’t be L.A., much less Beverly Hills, without all the hot names on the ticket. Names like (Top Chef Season Six winner) Michael Voltaggio, Walter Mazke (formerly of Church & State), Ludo Lefebvre (LudoBites), John Shook and Vinny Dotolo (Animal) all showcasing their work for visitors to the event.
The weekend will commence on Thursday with an ever appropriately named picnic matched to its date, â€œ9.02.10 City of Beverly Hills Celebration.â€ You’llÂ sit under the stars with guests such as Larry King and others while enjoying live musical performances. Remember: This event is separately ticketed and not included in the all-inclusive price.
Enjoy food from over 50 chefs and restauranteurs, beer, wine, cocktail tastings, and chef demos within the Grand Tasting area throughout the weekend. The schedule is curated by KCRWâ€™s â€œGood Foodâ€ Host and Chef Evan Kleiman while the tunes are directed by Jason Bentley, KCRW music director and host of â€œMorning Becomes Eclectic.” The schedule that’s planned in the Grand Tasting area:
â€œThe Art of Mixingâ€ (Friday evening)â€”the cityâ€™s top mixologists and DJs â€œmixâ€ their talents. Ooh, la la!
â€œSecrets From the Kitchen and Cellarâ€ (Saturday afternoon)â€”chefs and master sommeliers showcase the tricks of their trades.
â€œTaste of Something Betterâ€ Cooking Competition (Saturday afternoon)â€”three finalists will vie for the crown of â€œAmericaâ€™s Top Amateur Chefâ€ and compete to represent the United States in the 2010 LG â€œLife Tastes Goodâ€ global cooking competition in Seoul, South Korea, this fall.
â€œDate Nightâ€ (Saturday evening)â€”an evening of good food, wine, music, and one-on-one time with master sommeliers and vintners.
â€œThe Art of Brunchâ€ (Sunday afternoon)â€”free-flowing brunch cocktails, live gospel and jazz performances, a 50-foot grand table featuring the cityâ€™s finest pastries and breads, along with KCRWâ€™s annual pie contest hosted by â€œGood Foodâ€ Host Evan Kleiman.
Okay, Beverly Hills! Show us what you got. Tickets areÂ available today for $125 per person for a day session pass, $150 for an evening session pass and $500 per person for an all-access weekend package. Again, the â€œ90210 City of Beverly Hills Celebrationâ€ on Thursday is an individually ticketed event for $150.
I admit it. I made a huge mistake by missing the first ever L.A. Vendy Awards about a month ago, in May. And to this day, I suffer having never triedÂ a variety of O.G. andÂ N.S. (new school) street foodÂ vendors Â at the site ofÂ one, well-organized event. Of course, the argument of who’s who, we’ll leave out here.
But one thing’s for sure – the vendor I reallyÂ missed out on was Nina’s Pambazos and Quesadillas, originally of Breed Street fame. Nina Garcia is notorious for her Pambazos, which Evan Kleiman, KCRW’s Good Food host and Vendy Awards Judge so vividly describes in this way:
The first bite of her Pambazo was like being hit in the face with a big punch of flavor followed by an incredibly comforting and satisfying textural surprise.Â The torta, soaked in enchillada sauce then griddled became a sort of savory, spicy bread pudding filled with potato, cheese and chorizo.Â Her Quesidillas are justly famous, a pile of cheese on the griddle turning into Queso Fundido thatâ€™s scraped into a corn tortilla made to oder and garnished with your choice of chicharron, zucchini flowers, huitlacoche etc.
The problem is that since her Vendy Awards honor, it has brought on the bad notorietyÂ along with the good.Â The police have had a bit of a time breathing down her back, lately – with her not-exactly-mobile operation being a griddle and tables. And so Evan, along with Erin Glenn, Chief Executive Officer ofÂ AsociaciÃ³n de Loncheros L.A. Familia Unida de California are trying to raise money in order to get Nina into her own truck. Thanks also goes to Bill Esparza who passed along the word to us food bloggers so we could get the word out to you.
The Pambazo-Quesadilla-GorditaÂ Fest fundraiser will be held on Sunday from 11 AM – 3 PM at Angeli Caffe on Melrose just west of La Brea. Buy a Pambazo, Quesadilla and/or Gordita for yourself and everyone’s father. It’ll be the best tasting fundraiser you ever did help support. And you’ll also be helping toÂ sustain an important part of L.A.’s culture.
If you can’t make it and want to make any size donation, please make your check out to Nina Garcia and send it to:
Ninaâ€™s Food c/o Carl Berquist Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles 2533 West 3rd Street, Suite 101 Los Angeles, California 90057
Check the menu for Sunday’s event below:
Pambazo $5 (A roll soaked in Guajillo Chile Sauce filled with Potato and Chorizo and Griddled)
Quesadillas â€“ griddled or fried – cheese only $3.50
Formerly known as the mall kids went to to find rare sneakers, the Culver City Mall shed its Fox Hills image and opened to the public late last week after a $180-Million makeover – the latest Westfield reinvention. Opening week may be a time as good as any to test their experiment out – proof that Korean food in LA now bleeds. Barring a fair shot at the other food court options, you can always make a beeline to KyoChon, a favorite Korean fried chicken joint amongst foodies (or peep for the full list). Well, Hot Dog on a Stick is all it takes to draw me in, but I’ve never even had KyoChon yet so Culver City will be my excuse. I’m also going to at least peep my head inside Manna Korean BBQ to spy on their layout and music selection – just see if they pump out 160 BPM K-Pop on loop while diners wolf down all-you-can-eat poor cuts as in their Olympic Blvd location. Inferring from PR images I’ve peeped, it seems as though the dining layout will be similar to that of the Westfield Century City open dining terrace concept. Other fronts slated to open later on include Yen Sushi & Karaoke and CrÃ¨me de la Crepe.
It’s opening week – so starting today, Monday, October 12 til Sunday, October 18 this Westfield rendition will be celebrating a la Taste & Tunes. KCRW is hosting a Digital Music Lounge where listeners can experience “virtual live sessions from inside KCRW music studios” with Jason Bentley at the helm. Entertainment will be provided during lunch and at happy hour. Also, for the entire week, customers will receive a scratcher card – the prizes for which include free drinks and food from any of the dining options inside Westfield Culver City. Also, don’t forget to stop by the Westfield Gift Shop to enter to win a 50″ Insigna plasma HDTV.
If you’re making a trip of it and bringing the kids, be sure to visit on Wednesday, when Radio Disney will host an “After School Break” concert and Westfield Culver City will kick off their weekly “Kids Eat Free” promotion by participating eating fronts. Saturday, newcomer Mayer Hawthorne of Stones Throw Records will be performing in concert at 3 PM.
Opening Week: Monday, October 12 – Sunday, October 18