Behind the Scenes Look at LA Opera’s Production of Falstaff

Falstaff Rehearsal, James Conlon, Maestro

Just three more performances of Falstaff at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion remain this year, and if you haven’t seen the brand new production, this is your last chance.

A few days before its opening, I got a chance to go backstage with other media and see the staging, a bit of rehearsal and results of all the effort that goes into the food in the comic opera, which was also Verdi’s last. Yes, the food. A whole turkey is prepared for every single performance of Falstaff – Act II, Scene 1, to be exact – requiring 5 hours of preparation that precede it. Mistress Quickly, played by Ronnita Nicole Miller, also has to deal with taking a bite of a big turkey leg immediately before singing verse.

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Giveaway: Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival – September 16-18, 2011

Photo credit to lizfairhurst on Flickr

Who loves seafood? Or more specifically, lobster?

Time to celebrate that lobster love at the 13th annual Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival happening next Friday through Sunday, September 16 – 18th, 2011. And while festivals come and go, this particular event takes the crustacean as it currently holds the Guiness Book World Record for most seafood served at an outdoor event. Impressive.

So, what’s the deal before and when you get there? You can buy a First Class (VIP) ticket in advance for $41 per person, whereby you secure your lobster feast, one beverage, a poster by artists in The Uprising Creative and priority in the food and bar lines. There’s even a special dining area for First Class ticket-holders and 1/3rd of these ticket proceeds benefit the Harbor Interfaith Services.

Feeling more like a pay-as-you-go program? Admission to the festival is $10 (be sure to print out the $2 off coupon) and Maine lobster meals are $19 each. Thinking you’ll want more than one lobster? You can “double up” and add an extra lobster to your plate for a total 2.50 lbs for $33. Every meal comes with cole slaw, potatoes, sweet bread, lemon wedges and a buttery dipping sauce.

If you’re vegetarian, the Lobster Festival has a great deal going on with the adjacent Ports O’ Call Restaurant, where you can dine on their 50 item salad bar. Take your receipt to the front desk for free admission to the festival.

And, while you’re there, you might as well stay for the fun. There will be bands (flashback to the ’80s, anyone? Berlin!) and even Taiko drummers to keep you entertained once you’ve devoured your lobster dinner. And as the L.A. festival tradition goes, there will also be food trucks there like The Lobstatruck (of course), Rajun Cajun, Coolhaus and Barbie’s Q.

*****

And if you’d like to enjoy lobster for free and think you’ve got good luck, I’ve got a giveaway for tickets to the Lobsterfest. On the giveaway block are one pair of First Class (VIP) tickets and one pair of General Admission tickets. The winner and runner-up must have a mailing address to give me in order to receive your tickets. To enter, you must do all of the following:

  1. “Like” e*starLA on Facebook (yes, friends, I’ve given in to the beast)
  2. Leave a comment below (with email address field complete; this will not be shared with anyone) detailing your favorite lobster dish in memory. Make me salivate. Include your Twitter handle if you’d like to be announced as the winner on Twitter (and can be notified in a timely manner).
  3. Tweet this: “I want to win tickets to @PoLALobsterfest, @estarLA! http://estar.la/e/br”
  4. Be ready to give me your mailing address when I announce the winner at noon on Monday, September 12th and email you. If you don’t respond by 2:30 PM I will be forced to choose another winner and/or runner-up!

I’ll be checking all entries to make sure you’ve done #1, #2 and #3 before I put you in the drawing bucket, so make sure you’re thorough. 😉 Good luck, everyone! And see you next weekend at the Lobsterfest!!

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Friday – Sunday, September 16 – 18, 2011

Friday: 5 – 11 PM
Saturday: 11 AM – 11 PM
Sunday: 11 AM – 7 PM

Free Parking – Cruise Ship Parking Lot

Cash only at the event

Lobsterfest at
The Ports O’ Call Village
1100 Berth
San Pedro, CA 90731
(Harbor Blvd. exit off 110 Fwy)

Giveaway: Tickets To A Fiery Fiesta With Drink Eat Travel

Wednesday, October 27 at LAFD Museum

What better way to support community than attend an event which benefits the Los Angeles Fire Department? Fortunately, the lovely folks over at DrinkEatTravel.com will be holding a fun event this Wednesday at the LA Fire Department Museum – and it so happens that it’s nearby the station which services my jurisdiction. Chipotle tacos will be served as will brews from Firestone Walker. Proceeds from your $12 admission benefit the Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the Los Angeles Fire Department Museum.

The evening will also include a raffle with prizes from Luxor Hotel and Casino, Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, Hugo’s Restaurant, Improv Hollywood and more. Guests will also enjoy an after-dinner cup o’ joe from Don Francisco, a chocolate tasting from The Chocolate Traveler, snacks from Popchips. DJ JJAquino will be spinning the tunes.

See if you’d like to try your hand at scoring a couple of tickets to this benefit and so you can enjoy free chipotle and beer on Wednesday? Go ahead and leave a comment below and RT this if you have Twitter (leave your Twitter handle in the URL box, e.g. “http://twitter.com/estarla”):

RT: @estarla I want to win 2 tickets to @DrinkEatTravel’s Fiery Fiesta http://estar.la/e/8v

Contest is closed tomorrow at 5 PM, which is when I will select the winner and tweet as well as email him/her! Be sure to check your email.

Not so confident in your luck? You can buy tickets, too, and get $2 off with code SPICY. Either way – I’ll see you there!

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

7 – 11 PM
Food served at 7:30 PM

Tickets
Use code SPICY for $2 off

Los Angeles Fire Department Museum
1355 N. Cahuenga Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028

@drinkeattravel

Peninsula Hotel Hosts Taste of Beverly Hills Rooftop Cocktail Hour With Half-Price Tickets: Thursday, August 26, 2010

Speckled Jalapeno Margarita | Patron Reposado, Citrus Juices, Grand Marnier - muddled with Jalapeno

Ever tried out the Peninsula Hotel’s rooftop cocktail hour? Well, tomorrow’s a good time as any to check it out, as from 5 – 7 PM they’ll not only be offering drinks at half-price like every week but also a buy-one-get-one-free deal for tickets to Taste of Beverly Hills. All-weekend passes will be discounted to $350 from $500. (You can take a look at the regular prices here.)

Peninsula Hotel Rooftop Garden Restaurant and Bar

Choose one of their signature cocktails (regularly $16) – like the Kumquat & Citrus Punch (Ketel One, Malibu Rum, muddled kumquats, citrus juices), the Grape Cocktail (Hendricks Gin, Grapes, St. Germain Elderflower, lemon juices, club soda) or the Speckled Jalapeno Margarita (above). Or if beer or wine are more your speed, be glad because those are half-off, too. So before you go, take a peek at the schedule and list of attendees for each session so you know which one(s) you’d like to attend this Memorial Day Weekend (Thursday, September 2 – Sunday, September 5).

And as you’re basking in the sun or shade in the early evening on a rooftop in Beverly Hills, take comfort that your savings on Taste tickets will go towards your half-off happy hour libations. Don’t forget to enjoy your view! (And also don’t forget to bring your valet ticket to the rooftop to validate for discounted parking.)

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

5 – 7 PM

Half-off beer, wine & cocktails
2-for-1 deal or $350 weekend pass to Taste of Beverly Hills

Peninsula Hotel
9882 S. Santa Monica Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
310.551.2888

The Taste of Beverly Hills, Presented by Food & Wine
Adjacent to:
Beverly Hilton
9900 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
877.434.TOBH (8624)

Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation On Sunday, June 6

Credit: Taste of the Nation: Los Angeles 2010 PSA – Spot #3 (Alternate Version) from Jeff Vespa on Vimeo

As is evident in my coverage on this blog, culinary and food events in Los Angeles come and go – but what is probably the most important event all year will happen this coming Sunday. Personally, this has been a long time coming – since I helped host a fashion and foodie event at the Tory Burch boutique back in mid-April to help sell tickets to this event. Share Our Strength‘s Taste of the Nation takes place at Media Park in Culver City from 1 – 4 PM, and 100% of the proceeds from ticket sales to the event go towards ending child hunger in Los Angeles. You will not find an event anywhere with more star chef power, so if the barrage of food events (understandably) overwhelm you, pick Taste of the Nation as your charitable culinary bazaar of choice.

Here’s exactly why:

The 2010 Participating Restaurants, Chefs and featured dishes:

8 OZ, GOVIND ARMSTRONG / JACOB WILDMAN
Tuna melt: albacore confit with a cucumber salad

AKASHA, AKASHA RICHMOND
Pulled Niman pork on pretzel rolls with slaw & pickles
Grilled market vegetable salad

BAR 210, MARCEL VIGNERON
Thai shrimp skewers

BAZAAR / THE SLS HOTEL, JOSE ANDRES / JORGE CHICAS
Liquid nitro margarita
Liquid olives
Watermelon gazpacho shots

BISTRO LQ, LAURENT QUENIOUX
Macedoine salad, uni dressing, Maine lobster
Chilled porcini soup, mirabelle coulis, foie gras chantilly/espuma
Soy milk white chocolat ice cream, american caviar – macarons

BLT STEAK, LAURENT TOURNDEL / BRIAN MOYERS
Shortrib tortelli “caramelles,” sweet corn, chantrelles, summer truffle

BORDER GRILL / CIUDAD, MARY SUE MILLIKEN / SUSAN FENIGER
Cochinita pibil tostaditas
Chilean sea bass ceviche sushi, from St. Joseph Center’s Bread and Roses Café and Culinary Training Program

BOTTEGA LOUIE, SAM MARVIN
Torchon foie gras with organic apple gastrique & marcona almond brittle
Heirloom tomato, watermelon & feta salad

CACHE, JOSIAH CITRIN
Market-driven seasonal creations

CAFÉ WAS, ALEX REZNIK
Bohemian bistro food

CHURCH & STATE, JOSH SMITH
Cervelle de canut
Green chickpea socca with roasted eggplant, Anaheim chilis

COMME CA, DAVID MYERS
Salmon tartare

CULINA, VICTOR CASANOVA
Burrata with peperonata and Manni estra virgin olive oil “Toscano”

EVA, MARK GOLD
Charred beef, grated radish

FIG, RAYMOND GARCIA
FIG dog with bacon habanero marmalade, cheesy comte fondue and fritos

FORD’S FILLING STATION, BEN FORD
Lamb burger with wild arugula, spicy tomato chutney and melted Wisconsin hook’s baby blue
BBQ pork buns with bread & butter pickles and melted Wisconsin pleasant ridge

FRAICHE, ELDEROY ARENDSE
Albacore tuna tartare, harissa aioli, potato chips

GELATO BAR, JOEL GUTMAN / GAIL SILVERTON
Artisan gelato

GRACE / BLD RESTAURANT, NEAL FRASER
Grilled pork sliders, onion & bacon jam, violet mustard

HATFIELD’S, QUINN HATFIELD
Horseradish dusted braised short rib on smoked potatoes

JOE’S RESTAURANT / BAR PINTXO, JOE MILLER
Braised artichoke with buretta cheese and jamon Iberico
Carpaccio of pineapple, pineapple blueberry compote, coconut mousse
House-made ricotta tapas with anchovy, dried tomato, and Jimenez

LOCANDO DE LAGO, ROBERTO MAGGIONI
Gelato di Parmigiano alla Caprese (Housemade Parmesan Gelato with Market Grape Tomatoes “Caprese-Style” and 12-year Balsamic Vinegar)
Lingua in Salsa Verde (Braised Beef Tongue with Fresh Parsley Pesto)

LOTERIA GRILL, JIMMY SHAW
Papa con rajas (Potato with roasted poblano peppers)
Mole poblano con pollo (Chicken mole poblano)
Carne Deshebrada (Shredded beef with fresh guacamole and chipotle sauce)

LUCQUES/AOC/TAVERN, SUZANNE GOIN
Yellow tomato gazpacho with avocado and cilantro
Olive oil cake with citrus and pistachio aillade

M CAFE/CHAYA BRASSERIE, SHIGEFUMI TACHIBE
Tuna tartare and beef skewers, yakitori grilled

MAR’SEL, MICHAEL FIORELLI
Barbequed beef bahn mi with house pickled vegetables and chili aioli
California avocado salad fresh hearts of palm, Persian cucumber, yogurt, lemon and dill

MERCANTILE/DISTRICT, KRIS MORNINGSTAR
Shrimp and grits
Spicy pork meatball soup
Home made “Better Than Oreos”

MOONSHADOWS
Spicy tuna tartare

OSTERIA MOZZA / PIZZARIA MOZZA, NANCY SILVERTON
Panna cotta vaniglia with conserva di frutti & biscotti (Vanilla panna cotta with Mixed Berry Compote and Biscotti)

NAPA VALLEY GRILLE, JOSEPH GILLARD
Sweet Corn Agnolotti with La Quercia Pancetta

NOBU, NOBU MATSUHISA
Miso Marinated Black Cod with Butter Lettuce

PATINA, JOACHIM SPLICHAL / TONY ESNAULT
Marinated Hamachi, Cucumber Vinegar, Avocado, Granny Smith Apple
Crispy chocolate hazelnut, chocolate mousse

PUBLIC / 25 DEGREES AT THE ROOSEVELT HOTEL, TIM GOODELL / JEREMY STRUBEL
Seasonal specialties

RIVERA, JOHN SEDLAR
Tortillas Flor de Calabaza

SIMON LA, KERRY SIMON / MARIUS BLIN
Crab salad

SPRINKLES, CANDACE NELSON
Freshly baked Sprinkles cupcakes

STREET, SUSAN FENIGER / KAJSA ALGER
Burmese melon salad

THE FOUNDRY ON MELROSE, ERIC GREENSPAN
Grilled Cheese

WESTSIDE TAVERN, WARREN SCHWARTZ
California modern tavern cuisine

XIV, MICHAEL MINA / STEVEN FRETZ
Braised and Grilled Piedmontese Beef Cheeks, Lime Hoisin Glaze, Summer Corn Foam, Micro Cilantro
Hamachi Tartare, Nuoc Cham Gelee, Caramelized Lapxuoug, Peanut Carmel Powder, Compressed Cucumber

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The Fusion of Food With Fashion: Taste of the Nation at Tory Burch

Christina, Stephanie, Dena and me | Photo Credit to Mike Tabolsky

As mentioned earlier, I co-hosted an event that took place at Tory Burch on Robertson for a special Taste of the Nation shopping event last Thursday. While holding the honor of being the token food blogger, I joined Dena of Dluxelist and Christina and Stephanie of Paisley Petunia (recap) as hosts. I’m elated to report that the turn-out and the event as a whole were a huge success. Probably every girl there tried on a pair of shoes. I went home with a pair of sunglasses and a clutch while having resisted a black leather tie belt. But the bubbly flowed freely as trays of Susie Cakes cupcakes were being passed by extra tall male models dressed in black.

Inside Tory Burch during TOTNLA event | Photo Credit to Mike Tabolsky

The place was packed and I got to meet a ton of cool gals from the L.A. beauty blogger community. For each 10%-discounted Tory Burch purchase, 10% more was donated to Taste of the Nation. Or, if the attendee bought a ticket to the Taste of the Nation culinary event, she got to save a total 20% off her Tory Burch purchases. Each ticket purchase came with a fabulous gift bag put together by Dena. Taste of the Nation ended up selling more tickets than projected, and became that much closer to ending childhood hunger in Los Angeles.

But there is still a ton of work to be done – leading up to and through the big event on Sunday, June 6. And there are plenty of more opportunities to support Taste of the Nation at an upcoming function while getting your tickets at the $15-discounted rate:

  • Saturday, April 17, 2010: 10 AM – 1 PM
  • All proceeds from the bake sale go to TOTNLA

    Blogger Bake Sale at Morels, The Grove
    189 The Grove Drive
    Los Angeles, CA‎ 90036
    323.965.9595‎

  • Monday, April 26, 2010: 6 PM – 10 PM
  • All proceeds from Greenspan’s Gorditas go to TOTNLA, live Latin Music provided
    Buy a ticket to TOTNLA, get a free gordita and a mojito!

    Happy Hour at The Foundry on Melrose
    7463 Melrose Avenue
    Los Angeles, CA‎ 90046
    323.651.0915‎

  • Thursday, May 20, 2010: 6 PM – 9 PM
  • Happy Hour deals all night, raffles with great Ciudad and Border Grill prizes

    Happy Hour at Ciudad, Downtown LA
    445 S. Figueroa Street
    Los Angeles, CA 90071
    213.486.5171

Hope to see you at one of the Taste of the Nation events! Keep updated on such events with the Taste of the Nation LA blog; you can also follow them on Twitter. You can also peep all of Mike Tabolsky’s wonderful photos from the event in this photo album.

Joy, TOTNLA Chair and super cute daughter Zoe

Tory Burch Teams Up With Taste of the Nation

I’m proud to announce that I’ll be co-hosting a special shopping event at the Los Angeles Tory Burch boutique on Thursday, April 8th along with power fashion and beauty bloggers Dena of Dluxelist and Christina & Stephanie of Paisley Petunia to benefit Share Our Strength!

At the private 6 – 8 PM shopping event, attendees will be able to buy their discounted ticket to the Taste of the Nation culinary event taking place on Sunday, June 6th from 1 – 4 PM in Culver City. Normally, tickets run $100 for regular admission and $150 for VIP, but at our special shopping event, you’ll be able to buy tickets in person for $15 off ($85 and $135, respectively; child tickets remain $25). All proceeds – yes, 100% - from ticket sales benefit Share Our Strength’s efforts to end child hunger. It’s a great way to experience the premier Los Angeles chefs and mixologists and taste great wine in one spot for an afternoon in the beautiful California sun while supporting a great cause. If you are one of the first 50 at the event to buy a ticket at the shopping event, you’ll also receive a luxe gift bag full of a ton of beauty products and other goodies, including Pinky Vodka!

And when fashion and food forces combine, the incentives don’t stop. Make this a night out with the girls – champagne and h’ors doeurves will be served, and you’ll be encouraged to shop the Tory Burch Robertson boutique for 10% off all full-priced merchandise while Tory Burch donates another 10% to Share Our Strength. And if you have bought a Taste of the Nation ticket, you’ll be able to take advantage of the full 20% discount and keep it all yourself!

This is a private event (business hours are only until 6 PM) and the store is only so big – so be sure to RSVP (rsvp.totnla [at] gmail [dot] com) to secure your spot! I hope to see you there – ready to browse & shop Tory’s beautiful designs and prints – and to support a great organization like Share Our Strength!

Further reading:

Taste of the Nation 2009 – MyLastBite

Taste of the Nation 6/14/2009 – Ravenous Couple

Top 8 Tastes from 2009 Taste of the Nation – Food GPS

Share Our Strength Website
Taste of the Nation Website
D~LuxeList
Paisley Petunia
Tory Burch Profile on CNN Money

Thursday, April 8, 2010

6 – 8 PM

$15 discount ($40 on at-the-door price) on TOTNLA tickets

10% off Tory Burch full-priced merchandise or 20% off if you buy TOTNLA ticket

Free gift bag for 1st 50 tickets bought

Tory Burch Boutique
142 N. Robertson Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
310.248.2612

@TOTNLA

Cowboys & Turbans For Indian Street Food

Shrimp burrito

I first stumbled across Cowboys & Turbans after a show at the El Rey. I was with my girlfriend and of course, we needed up to sop up the overpriced vodka tonics in our bellies with some grub. We ended up discovering the joint immediately next door, with lit-up signage labeling it simply, “Diner” and banners adorning Cowboys & Turbans’ correct name.

Diner food it is not, Indian street food it is. Nothing like a little spice to spruce things up before diving into bed. We ended up sharing a shrimp burrito for $9 and at the time, it was worth every penny. There’s a decent amount of shrimp in the burrito (despite what the picture may depict) and they keep a variety of 3 sauces with which to drizzle your tacos or burritos. I could come back to this taco stand.

And during a lunch break at work, I sure did. I ordered the same thing since it was “safe” – and found out the lunch menu on average is $2 less per item than their late-night “show menu.” But now I’m ready for some more. Thank goodness for Twitter; I got recommendations from Abby of PleasurePalate who got to sample more of their menu. The potato samosa, fish taco and apple samosa for dessert are next on my list!!

Know in order to go:

I love KCRW! KCRW members get 10% off which provides even more incentive. Also, the storefront serves as an El Rey box office during its business hours. So if you are feeling wallet-savvy and don’t want to give Ticketbastard any more of your hard-earned money with convenience and venue charges for a show at the El Rey, stop in while you’re getting tacos and buy tickets for any show that’s upcoming.

Lunch menu (11 AM – 6 PM):

Samosas $3
Naanwich (chicken or tofu) $5.99
Chicken tikka $5.99
Masala $5.99
Tofu or spinach Masala $5.99
Tandoori quesadilla (chicken, chicken jalapeño or tofu $5.99; shrimp $6.99)
Tandoori tacos (chicken or tofu $2, fish $2.50, shrimp $3)
Tandoori burritos (chicken, tofu, spinach tofu, breakfast burrito $5.99, shrimp $6.99)
Chips and masala (large $4, small $3)
Basmati rice $2
Naan $2
Masala fries (large $4, small $3)

I want a report back on all the menu items! Enjoy. 🙂

Cowboys & Turbans
5515 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
323.936.6400