Savor Los Angeles Redux Presents “Pairings!” on June 2, 2011

Spicy Crab Cakes from Starry Kitchen

With their debut event occurring last year, Savor Los Angeles will return next week and instead of focusing on the sweet, the emphasis will be on pairings. “BFFs” for the acronymically inclined.

They’ll feature eateries and vendors trending in the Hollywood, Silver Lake and Downtown areas like The Oaks Gourmet, Mas/Malo Restaurants, Starry Kitchen, Reservoir, Bangers and Smashed and Cast Iron Gourmet. Of course, The Farm of Beverly Hills also deserves a mention as the west-most representative of this culinary extravaganza.

Tickets start at $55 plus tax for tastes of all vendors, pre-event cocktails, Veev event cocktails, Zhena’s Gypsy Tea and Duvel beer. VIP will run you $85 and will get you a VIP gift bag, open bar and a special entrance. Fancy.

Proceeds from Savor Los Angeles will benefit CoachArt, which teaches art and athletic classes to children and adolescents with chronic illness. All paper- and plasticware at this event will be reusable or rapid biodegradable.

So there you have it: A tasting event in a posh, intimate Hollywood studio setting. I’ll see you there!

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

7 – 10 PM

Tickets: $55 & $85 (VIP)

Savor Los Angeles
Siren Studios
1050 N. Orange Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90038

LQ @ SK: Laurent Quenioux Nights To Shine at Starry Kitchen

Tai snapper, citruses, zucchini, tomatoes, Kohlrabi, smoked black sea salts

Since Bistro LQ had closed, I had been eagerly awaiting the next opportunity to experience Chef Laurent Quenioux’s food. Apparently, Nguyen and Thi of Starry Kitchen, Chef Quenioux and staff have been working a long time to make this guest appearance happen at their home digs.

Oxtail compote, pickled spring vegetables, Mustard Tapioca

In a couple weeks on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights and for most of the summer, you can experience 5 courses of LQ @ SK for $45. There will be a list of recommended wines that you can get from Domaine LA and enjoy them at your accord with zero corkage. If Laurent wasn’t reason enough to entice you downtown on an early-in-the-week night, the added reasonable price point and BYOB option should.

What I appreciated about all 5 courses was that though I knew Chef Quenioux to take chances, they reinforced that he is creative but not outlandish. No magic foams. Just well-integrated dishes that each express a simple statement.

To start things off, you’ll be treated to a surprise amuse. On the opening preview night, we were treated with Escamoles (ant eggs) smuggled straight from TJ that ran out during our run – complete with Sapporo chaser. Talk about taking “seasonal” to a whole new level – that is, to change by the day. It’s good indication you’re at an exciting place to eat.

Teriyaki rabbit albondigas, teriyaki foie gras, miso, green Garlic tempura

I loved the Oxtail compote, which was accompanied by a pickled cucumber slice and carrot stick, topped off with a dallop of mustard tapioca. It’s no LQ uni tapioca, which is a dish all on its own, but I really liked this sweet and sour flourish to the oxtail. While I tend to think “sated” whenever I think of oxtail, all the stringy, crunchy and ballsy (couldn’t help it) textures were the interpretive bells and whistles on the down-to-earth flavors of this first course. Wonderful!

The Tai snapper was perfectly cooked – its juiciness, tenderness yet mildness further highlighted by the citrus fruits and vegetables. A really simple dish yet pleasant and even refreshing, which served as a good reprieve for the rabbit, foie gras and sweetbread richness to follow.

If Panda Express gave me ill associations with teriyaki sauce or even flavorings, Chef Quenioux may have just reversed those very misgivings. So subtle – and not so sweet – was the “teriyaki” savory albondigas (rabbit meatball), I could enjoy the miso that was poured into the dish at service. The green garlic tempura was delightfully fluffy and crunchy, which was a great contrast to the seared foie gras in taste and texture. The foie gras itself? I don’t really need to talk about it. It was heavenly.

Chocolate chipotle mousse, lime serrano gel, Cinnamon soil

But those gloriously breaded and fried Veal sweetbreads. Morels and chanterelles really brought forth an earthy tone to the dish while the shishito peppers added a subtle spice while the pastiness of the yuzu kosho were a great way to add a kick while keeping up with the breaded texture of the sweetbreads. Were the sweetbreads really sweet, you ask? Almost. But it doesn’t matter – since the dish itself was fantastic.

And what topped the entire night off was no less than the most artful dish, doubling as a splendid dessert. Chocolate chipotle mousse and a churro sat with lime serrano gel (with basil seeds) and cinnamon soil, or crumbs from the churro. This was also the best wine pairing of the night (disclosure: no wines included during the pop-up) with the subtle sweetness of the NV Terres Dorees FRV100 cutting the spice in the mousse yet rounding out the cinnamon quite well.

Anyway. LQ @ SK. You should “pop-in.” This is Chef Quenioux at his most accessible, an opportunity not to be wasted. His dishes are playful, but they also have vision and thanks to the efficient staff, underwent a successful execution even on the very first preview night. Not bad for a test run. All I’m saying is, all systems go on this exciting and sure to be short-lived LQ run. Stay tuned for the official start date, which expects to be June 5th.

Now how about bringing back that cheese selection?

Update:  So it’s been announced that start date IS Sunday, June 5th and there will be two seatings at 6:30 PM and 8:30 PM. Prix fixe stands at $45 per person. Menu is subject to change whenever Chef Quenioux feels like it. Sorry, no substitutions. Parking is validated. Also, reservations are available online only, here, for dates: June 5-7,13-14, 19, 20. More dates will be added later. You are confirmed only when you receive an email stating so. Go, go, go!!

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Starry Kitchen
350 S. Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90071
213.617.3474

Another Dine LA Quickfire Challenge: Starry Kitchen Hosts Cold Noodle Challenge

Starry Kitchen's Japanese Garlic Noodles | Credit to TheHungryHungryHungryHippo on Flickr

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.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

6 – 8 PM

Starry Kitchen (judging) & CASA Cocina y Cantina (afterparty)
350 S Grand Ave. (in California Plaza)
Los Angeles, CA 90071
213.617.3474

Perishable: Everything’s Popping Up Pickles

Soon, you will do this too | Photo credit to sifu_renka on Flickr

Ohhh, I love pickles. I may even love certain vegetables more after being pickled, depending on my cheek puckering mood. Kraut, beets, peppers, onions, radishes – give ’em all to me. It’s one of the preparations that so many ethnicities share while differing in the processes themselves.

Fortunately, it all doesn’t have to be completely lost on us. Chicks with Knives will be hosting a “Pop-Up Pickle Shop” at the one and only Starry Kitchen in Downtown LA this upcoming Sunday, September 12th in the late morning.

It’ll cost you just $5 for entry, which includes a cooking demo at 11 AM by the gals themselves, and you’ll get the opportunity to apply what you’ve learned. Pickling mix ($2) and pickling kits ($20) will be available for purchase. And if learning to better consume pickles is what it’s about (I’m raising my hand here), there are also a variety of pickles for sale ($6-8).

The complimentary apps and drinks that will be available during the Pop-Up Pickle Shop are reason enough:

  • Pickle-Barrel Martini
  • Golden Beet & Goat Cheese Bites
  • Bacon-Jam Tartlettes
  • Curried Asian Pear & Grilled Chicken Skewers
  • Mini Mac n’ Cheese with Fennel/Flower Pickles

Since there are limited quantities, I recommend getting there early. Just remember: These pickles are indeed “perishable” because these veggies aren’t hot-processed nor canned and should be consumed within 2 weeks. Guess the canning workshop will have to wait.

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

10 AM – 1 PM
11 AM Cooking demo

Entry $5
Jars $6 – 8
Cash only

Complimentary appetizers & drinks

Pickle Site

Starry Kitchen
350 S. Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90071

Starry Kitchen Opens For Dinner Thursdays and Fridays

Malaysian Curry Chicken Over Coconut Rice and Glass Noodles (Japchae)

In the case of the downtown hot spot (and once-underground) Starry Kitchen, it would be useless to do a dish-by-dish, plate-by-plate review as is protocol for food blogging, these days. Thank God. Because I would pick a constantly-changing (evolving, if you will) menu that focuses on a few dishes at a time over a huge menu just to leave me indecisively frustrated at all the options, any day. I am a simple girl, after all, having grown up on over-rice dishes interspersed with the occasional Midwest casserole and bratwurst-in-a-bun. Starry Kitchen gives me homespun, Pan-Asian flavors – and done well. It’s what my mother’s cooking would taste like if she were … Pan-Asian, and not just Taiwanese.

If only I worked downtown, I could have more of these flavors to look forward to on a weekly basis.

But no – instead I sit envious in my cubicle as I read tweets from fellow tweeting counterparts about how they’re having Braised Coconut Jackfruit, Crispy Tofu Balls, Lime Vinaigrette- and Ginger Peanut-dressed chopped salad, or Japchae. Oh nice. I’ve actually had that last one.

The hugely ironic thing about it all is that Starry Kitchen is one of the best lunch deals in all of town – while being located downtown. Everything costs less than $10 – and what’s more, try parking for $2 anywhere in Los Angeles, much less right in the heart of the business district. And now – the best news: Starry Kitchen will be open for dinner on Thursdays and Fridays starting this week. No one has to hear me whine about lunch, anymore. And I won’t risk getting in trouble with the boss for taking extended lunches because I drove downtown to eat.

Win-win.

Further reading:

Starry Kitchen Starts Dinner Soon; Free Sodas Monday – Eating LA

Profile: L.A. Luncher Nguyen from Starry Kitchen – Midtown Lunch LA

Validated parking $2 for 2 hrs at Cal Plaza
Enter from Olive

Starry Kitchen
350 S. Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90071
213.617.3474

@starrykitchen

Eat My Blog Redux on June 19 at Tender Greens

The bloggers of the now-semi-annual Eat My Blog bake sale are coming together for the second time on Saturday, June 19, 2010. In one of the most impressive baking efforts in the city, 100% of the proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. This time, Eat My Blog will be held at Tender Greens West Hollywood where over 2,000 goods from over 70 bakers will be on display – all items costing a simple $1 – $4 each. Bring cash!

You can look forward to delicious eats from local baking star power like KCRW Good Food host Evan Kleiman, Chicks with Knives, Debbie Lee, Drago Centro, Starry Kitchen, Bakelab, Cube, Fraiche, Choppe Choppe, Hollywood Corner, Valerie Confections, Plaisir, Scoops Ice Cream, and Tender Greens themselves. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf will be featuring a selection of hot beverages to help wash down all your sweets!

Not enticed, yet? Get there early before everything is gone – including bacon brownies, chocolate whoopie pies and “intriguing debuts [like] Momofuku’s Crack Pie from the Los Angeles Times’ Daily Dish and Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes with Bacon Cream Cheese Frosting from Pat Saperstein of Eating LA,” says Diana Takes a Bite, one of the members on the Eat My Blog committee. What’s more, benefiting the LA Food Bank and fighting hunger should be reason enough to satisfy your sweet tooth; at the last Eat My Blog, over $3,000 was raised! “We are excited to partner with the Foodbank again, especially after visiting the facility this winter to see how the money we raised would be used,” said Cathy Danh, author of Gastronomy and founder of Eat My Blog.

I’ll see you bright and early that Saturday in June. After all - if you wait, all the good things will be gone!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

10 AM – 4 PM

Eat My Blog at Tender Greens
8759 Santa Monica Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA 90069

The Dine LA Chef Roundtable

Joachim Splichal, Josiah Citrin, Karen Hatfield, Susan Feniger, Wolfgang Puck, Mark Peel

At Redcat in downtown on June 8, 2010, there will be a discussion on the Los Angeles food scene by none other than chefs most responsible for shaping the city that we all know and love to eat in, today. Observe the heavyweights wax poetic about their start in the industry, their proteges, and where exactly they think LA’s culinary landscape is headed, next. The panel will take place from 7 – 8 PM with a Q&A by the audience to follow.

What’s more, Starry Kitchen will cater the event afterwards with their delicious home-cooked Thai/Vietnamese-influenced food as chefs and guests mingle. This event is free but space is limited.

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

7PM – 9PM

RSVP

REDCAT Theater
631 W. 2nd Street,
Los Angeles CA 90012

@dine_la

@starrykitchen