Highlights of Plate By Plate, 2011

Hamachi Mole Pressed Sushi, Aji Amarillo Aioli - Haru Kishi for Chaya

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.

Hamachi, Uni Russian Salad, Yuzu Kosho - Laurent Quenioux

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.

Gavin Mills and wife Jessica (Wood & Vine)

And then there were many of my L.A. favorites – all in one room. My 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, plated 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.

Wagyu "Au Poivre" - David Feau of The Royce

The surprise of the night was The Gorbals’ Beef Tongue with Romesco. It was certainly the most tender – despite being thick - 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 beautiful Bricia Lopez was in attendance to represent La Guelaguetza. They served up their famous Tamales Oaxaqueños 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 garb 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.

Plate By Plate
at Vibiana
214 S. Main Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

The 8th Plate By Plate Tasting Benefit: Saturday, August 14, 2010

Plate By Plate, 2009

Credit: Rich Mar Photography – used with permission

This year will be my first time attending Project by Project’s main, annual fundraising event called Plate by Plate – but there are plenty of hot names and a great cause on this ticket to warrant going. Your ticket will directly benefit our Asian American community at large as Project by Project partners with an underserved non-profit each year to help them reach their goals.

The names serving up this year’s delectables that have personally piqued my interest include: Chef Laurent Quenioux of Bistro LQ, Chef Ricardo Zarate of Mo-Chica, Chef Kevin Meehan of Cafe Pinot, Chef Amar Santana of Charlie Palmer at South Coast Plaza, Chef Anthony Zappola and Pastry Chef Shannon Swindle of Craft, Chef Eric Greenspan of The Foundry on Melrose, Thi & Nguyen Tran of Starry Kitchen, Chef Chris Behre of Gonpachi, Chef Suzanne Tracht of Jar, Susina Bakery and Valerie Confections.

Throughout the event, you’ll get to sip wine from 25 different wineries with your food, enjoy a taiko performance and see Aziz Ansari play sous chef. Bid in the silent auction on generous packages from restaurants and vendors all over the city.

Either way, I hope to see you there. I wouldn’t miss this one!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Tickets: Reg $125 ($150 door), VIP $200

6 – 7 PM VIP Reception
7 – 10 PM Main Event

Plate by Plate

California Science Center – Wallis Annenberg Building
700 State Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90037

*Parking entrance is located on Figueroa St. between Exposition Blvd. and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.