Four Los Angeles Food Events in June You Won’t Want to Miss

Picture credits: TOTNLA, @LA_Chefs

Now that it’s summer in Los Angeles, there’s a ton going on all over town. And when it comes to food events, it’s enough to make your head spin. But you want to play it smart with your time and funds, because no one’s got patience for fluff.

Fortunately, I’ve narrowed it down to the best four events you’ll want to attend this month. They’re all on the weekend, so you’ll have enough time to make your trek. Whether it’s raising money to combat childhood hunger, celebrating Fatherhood the best way possible, eating the best tacos in the city or carousing the famous Rose Bowl for the best bites in Los Angeles, June is shaping up to be an exciting time to be in L.A. Let’s get started. Continue reading

This Week: Open House at Valerie Confections

Petit Fours

If there ever was a good time to visit Valerie Confections, this week would be it. Valerie Gordon and Stan Weightman are hosting a week-long open house starting today with different selections being featured each of the five days. Peep below to see which sweets suit your fancy, then go visit the shop! Do note the varying shop hours.

  • Monday, October 31st
    Debut and Sampling of SUPER-CHOC-O-FOOD

Valerie has teamed up with Commune Design to create SUPER-CHOC-O-FOOD, which combines stunning packaging enveloping an over-sized darkened chocolate bar filled with a hint of caramel but loaded with dried pears, apricots, golden raisins, macadamia nuts, cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds and peanuts.

  • Tuesday, November 1st
    Hot Chocolate and Cookie Assortment

Cookie flavors include Gingersnap, Oatmeal Raisin, Matcha White Chocolate Macadamia and the crowd-pleasing milk chocolate and almond filled Durango. Wash it down with some hot chocolate for the perfect combination.

  • Wednesday, November 2nd
    Chocolate Dipped Fruits and Mendiant Assortment

Locally sourced, organic dried figs, pears and oranges are hand-dipped in either bittersweet or darkened milk chocolate. Spices, cocoa nibs, teas, organic nuts, unique salts and dried and dehydrated fruit are blended atop disks of chocolate.

  • Thursday, November 3rd
    Preserves with Cheese and Charcuterie Pairings

I love Valerie Confections’ preserves, and apparently so does Los Angeles Magazine, which named them “Best in LA.” They’re hand-made using locally sourced fruit. Flavors include White Fuji Apple & Vanilla Bean, Blenheim Apricot, Plum Ketchup and Mango Jam. Enjoy them paired with a wide array of fine cheeses and charcuterie at this open house.

  • Friday November 4th
    Mint Petits Fours and the debut of the Valerie Confections Tea Assortment

Specially blended by American Tea Room for Valerie Confections, the new line of premium loose leaf teas are inspired by and meant to complement the line of preserves and treats. Signature flavors include Black & Blue, Moroccan Mint, Blushing Berry, Toasted Fig, Sweet Sencha and Blood Orange & Black tea. Each Mint Petits Fours are a modern take on the classic confection, with three layers of dense chocolate cake and two layers of rich white chocolate mint ganache, all covered in bittersweet chocolate and topped with an organic candied mint leaf

  • Saturday, November 5th
    Seasonal Sweet and Savory Pies from the Market

Seasonal sweet and savory pies are available in full size or hand-sized versions with flavors like Apple & Salted Caramel and Cinderella Pumpkin, Padron Pepper Potato & Fontina and Kabocha Squash & Blue Cheese. All of the pastries are sealed with a buttery, flakey crust.

With holiday season coming up (or is it already here?) – this is a great opportunity to survey really thoughtful gift ideas for your loved ones.

See you at Valerie!

Monday – Tuesday: 10 AM – 6 PM
Wednesday – Friday: 10 AM – 6:30 PM
Saturday: 11 AM – 6 PM
Sunday: CLOSED

Valerie Confections
3360 W. First Street
Los Angeles, CA 90004
213.739.8149

Food Trend Watch: For the Love For Finger Limes

Photo credit to dtpearson1975 on Flickr

Los Angeles loves the Australian finger lime. I’m no expert on the little doodads but I do know a curious fruit with spritely packages when I see one – especially when the cylinders pop up in multiple places across different applications. And I do know how to Google. Citrus australasica, yes, came to the States from Australia over 100 years ago, yet “only in the last six years have disease-tested, legal budwood became available to nurseries for propagating the trees” (LA Times’ Market Watch). They’ve reached my palate only recently – but in a small span of time.

Almost-invisible finger limes on crudo at Cube

The source of inspiration in our local kitchens goes undisputed. In an age where a commonplace gastronomic trend is to make little spheres of everything, these round, dense bursts of flavor are naturally occurring and sold by James Shanley at the Santa Monica farmer’s market. Laura Avery recently talked to him on KCRW’s Market Report and David Karp gives the skinny on the fruit with the “gherkin” exterior in LA Times’ Market Watch.

Personally, it started out with a dinner at Cube on La Brea. The picture doesn’t capture one of my proudest photography moments but what was memorable were the little citrus caviar scattered across the delicate crudo. It was the perfect way to highlight and accent the fresh flavors of the fish.

Valerie Confections' Pomelo Finger Lime Marmalade

Next, came the amuse bouche by Matt Biancaniello at The Roosevelt Hotel’s Library Bar. For the record: If it were anyone’s cocktails that would warrant an amuse, it would certainly be Matt’s. He cut the 2-inch cylindrical fruit in half, injected a bit of cachaça into the vessel and instructed me to squirt it and the little roundlings into my mouth. The sweet-tart combo beautifully awakened my senses and it was extraordinary to experience what an onomatopoeia like “pew pew pew” (in the non-lolcat sense) might literally taste like: Lazrs.

Finally, during my most recent trip to the Sunday Hollywood Farmer’s Market, I stopped by one of my favorite booths – Valerie Confections. The label on one of their preserves caught my eye – a Pomelo & Finger Lime Marmalade. At this point, it was none other than a sign, so I had to pick it up (and it’s already almost gone.)  The sour twists of the pomelo and finger limes brought out more of the peel in the delicious marmalade. Tiny lime finger slices were imbued in the light orange preserves – and with the help of crackers and goat cheese, the marmalade was a delicious way to snack at work.

I have my eye on these marvelous citrons. I can’t wait for more kitchens and bars to creatively incorporate them into more recipes. Oh – and as far as “food trend” – it may have to wait until next year since we’re already past season, which ended in December. Regardless, restauranteurs, artisans and mixologists have a new fruit with which to experiment.

Mentioned in this post:

Cube
615 N. La Brea Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036
323.939.1148

The Library Bar at The Roosevel Hotel
7000 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
323.466.7000

Valerie Confections
3360 W. 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90004
213.739.8149

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.

Happy 6th Birthday, Valerie Confections

Almond Fleur de Sel Toffees

Six years ago, Valerie Gordon and Stan Wrightman, Jr. decided to found an artisanal confectionery. With the finest and natural ingredients comprising delicious chocolates, toffees, petit fours and even jams – the sophisticated palate is further complimented by Valerie Confections’ minimal and artful signature packaging. I’ve found that a great way to give a part of L.A. is to gift a box of Valerie’s toffees or petit fours (and keep one for yourself). It’s guaranteed to leave your giftees with a much better impression of the city than than they had, previously. Only if that diplomacy tip is your thing. Who needs them?

In celebration of their confectionery’s birthday, Valerie and Stan are doing a very special 50% off discount expressly on their very first product – 12-piece Debut Toffee Assortment. Just use code “HBVAL” upon checkout. This code offer is available only through Monday, May 31st. Shipping & handling are not included.

And if you happen to be local, stop by the boutique (on the border of Koreatown and Downtown). You’ll be treated to special birthday samples of those debut toffee flavors! Trust me – they all taste absolutely heavenly.

Mon – Fri: 10 AM – 6PM
Sat: 12 PM – 4 PM
Sun: Closed

Use code “HBVAL” for 50% off 12-pc Debut Assortment
Through May 31, 2010

Valerie Confections
3360 W. First Street
Los Angeles, CA 90004
213.739.8149

@ValerieConfctns

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

Valerie Confections at Hollywood Farmer’s Market

Petit Fours
Never mind Saturday nights in Hollywood. Now there’s a good reason to be in Hollywood on Sunday mornings. Valerie Confections are now bringing their treats to the Hollywood Farmer’s Market.
White Fig & Fuji Apple Jam

Think tea cakes in flavors like Meyer Lemon, Tangerine, and Almond. Or Chocolate Truffle Torte mini cakes. Feeling like herbed shortbread? They come in flavors like Rosemary and Lemon & Thyme.

And what is a farmer’s market without jams and preserves? Visit periodically since Valerie’s flavors will vary seasonally; for now, look for Strawberry Vanilla Bean Jam, Limequat & Kumquat Marmalade, Meyer Lemon Marmalade and Black Fig, Pear & Port Jam. Without them, no morning is complete!
And don’t worry - if that hangover is extra punishing on Sunday morning, you can always visit Valerie’s storefront for your sweets fix.

Every Sunday

8 AM – 1 PM

Hollywood Farmer’s Market
Ivar and Selma
(Valerie’s stand will be on Cosmo Street)

Storefront:
Valerie Confections
3360 West 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90004
213.739.8149