Food events come and go, but when the clout behind a particular function brings out some of the best chefs from inside and outside of Los Angeles, you’ll have a standout. Especially when the resulting total raised amounts to more than $700,00 towards childhood cancer research and patients’ lives and care.
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 –>.
Without further ado…
This summer’s dineLA Restaurant Week commences today and lasts 10 days – over two weekday stretches and one weekend. And since we’ve had a few of these by now, it’s probably time we got smart on maneuvering through the multitude of menus. The trick with dineLA prix fixe is that it may get people through the door, but it may or may not be quite the deal you had in mind. The danger is that you might just be stuck with fewer, albeit recommended, choices for about the same price you’d normally pay.
May I propose lunch? They tend to be better deals than dinner – often true between both offerings of the same restaurant – because there’s more incentive to increase lunch traffic with dinner reservations filling up more readily. So whether you’ve got a 9-5 in the area or are in a certain neighborhood for an audition or client appointment, there’s probably a great dineLA power lunch strategy wherever you end up.
As November 6th rolls up, we’re reminded, again and again, that the best reason to vote is to realize our civic duty. We, as a society, have been preparing for next Tuesday for a long time (Californians, with all our propositions, you know what I’m talking about). Decisions will be made as a collective whether or not we decide to personally participate, so why not embrace it?
Whether you take-away a savory dinner to enjoy at home or await the returns in camaraderie at one of the viewing parties, your “I Voted” sticker will score some points with your taste buds and your wallet anywhere around town. If you voted absentee, perhaps you’ll want to carry your stub or some other proof with you so you can make your case. Check below for a deal near you:
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.
There were a lot of events going on over the weekend, but the inaugural LA Loves Alex’s Lemonade at Culver Studios was a culinary extravaganza to hit it out of the park. The backdrop? The famous Gone With the Wind mansion on a beautiful autumn day. Our hosts were Chefs Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne (Lucques, AOC, Tavern) along with Chef David Lentz (Hungry Cat) – and there was a solid showing of chefs from across the country who all offered their live talents to an event whose goal was to fight childhood cancer.
The standouts? Chris Bianco’s Antipasto dish, featuring beautifully seasoned fall vegetables and almost making us forget that it was his pizza we were looking forward to. Celebrity chef Giada of The Food Network was personally on-hand to serve up her Pasta Ponza, topped with a fried prosciutto. Paul Kahan, of The Publican in Chicago, brought forth a delicious house-made chorizo coupled with cured ham and dressed with arugula and apples. Hailing from New Orleans was a dish from Susan Spicer’s Bayona – a delicious grilled rosemary shrimp with artichoke bread pudding. Local Neal Fraser (Grace) had pig on the brain, or “Pig in a Box,” as he called it. We caught him reloading charcoal into his smoking apparatus and appreciated the pork he prepared, dressed with a side of mustard potatoes and brussel sprouts.
With all the dishes at the event making it ever apparent that it was autumn in Los Angeles, the cocktails and beer did not pale in comparison. VIP had access to Craftsman Beer, offering up their Triple Sage, Lavender Sour, Poppy Fields and Firestone brews. Hungry Cat cocktails were also in VIP and out in the common area and were delicious as ever. Of course, we can’t forget the epic dessert table from Tavern and Lucques. S’mores, caramel chocolate macarons, carrot cake – I didn’t even have room for a bite of everything on the table, though I wanted to. Fortunately, I was able to stuff in almost a half-scoop of Mozza’s Meyer Lemon Gelato. ItsÂ lemon zestÂ packed punch in the midst of a goat cheese-like flavor and consistency.
If Caroline on Crack, Lindsay of LAist and I didn’t have somewhere else to be later that day, we would have surely enjoyed basking in the Culver City sun with our perfect cocktails, food, beer and desserts the rest of the afternoon. Overall, it was such a stand-out showing that I do hope the event moves from inaugural to annual.
Held last Sunday, November 7, 2010
12 – 4 PM
9336 Washington Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232-2600
It’s another culinary bazaar (we here in Los Angeles know how often these come around) but this time, it’s our city-wide flagship publication pulling out all the stops. It looks like the L.A. Times will live up to their name, too, because there are names to be had at this event held at on New York Street (yeah, pretty funny) in the backlot of Paramount Pictures.
Demonstrations will be taking place for your pleasure and education, as will panels by the following:
- Michael Voltaggio â€“ Winner, Top Chef Season 6
- Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo – Animal Restaurant
- Mark Peel –Campanile, The Tar Pit, Top Chef Masters Seasons 1 & 2
- Suzanne Goin –AOC, Lucques, Tavern and The Hungry Cat
- Jimmy Shaw -Loteria Grill
- Ludo Lefebvre â€“ LudoBites
- Betty Fraser â€“ Grub, Top Chef Season 2
- Chris â€œC.J.â€ JacobsenÂ – The Yard, Top Chef Season 3
- Alex Reznik â€“ Ivan Kaneâ€™s Cafe Was, Top Chef Season 7
- John Sedlar â€“ Rivera
- Barrie Lynn â€“ The Cheese Impresario
- Ricardo Zarate â€“ Mo-chica
- Russ Parsons â€“ Food Editor, Los Angeles Times
- Noelle Carter â€“ Manager, Los Angeles Times Test Kitchen
- Rene Lynch â€“ Assistant Food Editor, Los Angeles Times
- Jessica Gelt â€“ Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times
- Betty Hallock â€“ Deputy Food Editor, Los Angeles Times
- Krista Simmons â€“ Associate Editor, Brand X
And of course, high brow or not, it wouldn’t truly be a Los Angeles food event without food trucks present. Don Chow Tacos, Wahooâ€™s, The Sweets Truck, The Buttermilk Truck, DosaTruck, Coolhaus will all be there if you so prefer your food off a 4-wheeler.
Wine, sake and spirits from various vendors will help you wash down your bites. Blackheart Spiced Rum, Broc Cellars / Broadside Wines, Conway Family Wines, Dutcher Crossing Winery, Evan Williams Hong Reserve Bourbon, Flora Springs Winery & Vineyards, Gekkeikan Sake, Hook & Ladder Winery, Lunazul 100% Agave Tequila, Kook Soon Dang Beer, Michael David Winery, Rideau Vineyard, Sinatra Family Estates, and Venteux Vineyards will all be present during the event.
If you buy in advance, you’ll save $10. The best part is that general admission attendees also get to enjoy a good number of pours (8 to be exact) with their food. But if VIP is more your speed, you’ll get unlimited pours and in addition, you’ll get to taste bites from these participants. Benefiting from ticket sales are Share Our Strength and the Los Angeles Times Family Fund, so you can feel good that you’ve spent your day also supporting worthy causes.
Seems like a it’ll be a great debut. I’ll see you there.
I’ll be the first to admit I’m not exactly a Westside girl (I blame overload of undergraduate memories in Westwood) but if it’s a sure thing, it’s well worth it for me to make the drive in that direction. You can call it a sure thing because while not new, Tavern is Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne’s (Lucques, AOC) latest venture and I just had to see for myself. Well – in the company of some other foodie bloggers, that is, including Caroline on Crack, Diana Takes a Bite, Maya of ShopEatSleep, Lindsay and Sam of LAist. Brunch is that evasive meal on the weekend, always at the mercy of our discipline or irresponsibility the night before. We managed a no-earlier-than-noon reservation. Brunch, lunch … who are we to say what we can eat, when? Options are good – at least, this option proved a better alternative to Hamburger Hamlet, who had occupied the San Vicente space before.
Of course, we started with cocktails. Caroline and Lindsay ordered the Ginger Rogers – made with Plymouth gin, mint, ginger syrup and soda. It was such a refreshing drink (sharing is caring) – and not too sweet. I hoped mine was just as good.
My wish came true. Since I’ve been on a Bloody Mary kick, I ordered the closest thing; Tavern’s version was royalty, called the Queen Mary. Tavern’s twist on it was Beefeater gin (instead of vodka), cucumber & tomato juice. I was very conflicted because up until then, by far the best Bloody Mary I’ve had was made by Matt Biancaniello over at Library Bar inside the Roosevelt. But the gin pleasantly surprised me, and I think the fresh cucumber and fresh tomato juice played no small part. Since the juices were fresh and no mixes were used, they mixed well with the botanicals in Beefeater gin.