Thursday, December 30, 2010

New York

New York City

Bouley **
Boulud Sud (pre-theatre prix fixe)
Center Cut
Del Posto (lunch prix fixe)
Dessert Truck
Di Fara Pizza (Brooklyn)
Eleven Madison Park *
Gramercy Tavern *
Jean Georges ***
Katz's Deli
La Mar Cebicheria
Le Bernardin ***
M. Wells (Queens/Long Island City)
Marea *
Momofuku Noodle Bar
Russ and Daughters
The Stanton Social
Yakitori Totto


Anchor Bar

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Young Women at the Helm: Nick + Stef's Steakhouse (Downtown Los Angeles)

A recent article in Brand X spotted a trend of young women heading restaurant kitchens. One of them is 29-year-old Megan Logan, who is the new executive chef at Patina's Nick + Stef's Steakhouse.

Chef Megan Logan
Megan externed at Nick + Stef's while at Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Pasadena, CA, which then opened doors for her. After graduating in 2003, Logan continued with Patina Restaurant Group, eventually becoming sous chef at Patina before being promoted to executive chef at Nick + Stef’s in 2010.

I had the opportunity to try her creations myself when I was invited to a blogger dinner back in October.

Our meal kicked off with a Kusshi oyster followed by a beet salad with gorgonzola cheese, toasted hazelnuts.

Beet Salad

We enjoyed our appetizers, but the steak and the sides were the stars of the night.

When our main attraction came, we were served not one but two pieces of steak: Prime Angus Rib eye and New York steak, both cooked to a wonderfully juicy and tender medium rare. The rib-eye steaks at Nick + Stef's are dry-aged for 28 days.

Of course, the steak came with a variety of sides. All of the sides were excellent and we dug into them like mad, especially the cabbage and kale fricassee with bacon lardon.
Mushrooms and creamed spinach.

Nick + Stef's is also doing a nice cheese and craft beer pairing program, which we also tried. Everyone's favorite pairing was the Hook's 10-year cheddar with Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale ale.
Cheese Board

Craft Beer Tasting

The lack of women in the professional kitchens used to be common knowledge, but Megan showed that even a young woman can lead the kitchen of a steakhouse, thought to be male-dominated, and do it well. Here's to all the female chefs out there.

Nick + Stef's Steakhouse
330 S Hope St
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 680-0330
Nick & Stef's Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Sunday, December 26, 2010

New Year's Eve Dining Under $60

There's no need to drain your savings to eat out on New Year's Eve (or opt for AYCE kbbq like I've done in the past 2 years). For a classy night out that won't break the bank, check out these restaurants offering prix fixe menus for under $60:

Border Grill. 4-Course Dinner For $45, $5 wine pairings (half-glasses).
1445 4th St, Santa Monica, CA 90401. (213) 746-0050.
445 S. Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90071. (213) 486-5171

Corkbar. $55 for 4 courses, complimentary glass of sparkling wine included. 6:30 and 9:30 pm seatings.
Optional pairings: $10 beer, $18 wine, $25 champagne/sparkling. Live music from 9 pm.
403 W 12th St, Los Angeles, CA 90015. (213) 746-0050.

District. $45 for 3 courses and includes a glass of bubbly. Menu choices will include oyster, smoked pork, and market fish.
6600 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028. (323) 962-8200

Eva Restaurant. $55 for 4-course dinner (6 pm seating only, 6-course for a higher price for later seating). Chef Mark Gold promises bubblies for diners.
7458 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036. (323) 634-0700

Ford's Filling Station. $55 for 3 courses.
9531 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232. (310) 202-1470

Nick + Stef's Steakhouse. $59 for 3-course dinner. Menu includes lobster and truffle ravioli, venison loin and berry ladyfingers.
330 S Hope St, Los Angeles, CA 90071. (213) 680-0330

Noir Food and Wine. $59 for 4-course dinner for 8:30-9:30 PM (second seating, a la carte menu available earlier).
40 N Mentor Ave, Pasadena, CA 91106. (626) 795-7199

The Yard. $50 for 3 courses + champagne. Menu includes crab bisque, beef wellington, and meringue custard.
119 Broadway Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401. (310) 395-6037.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Scoops Westside is in Business (Congrats!)

Fellow blogger Mattatouille's project, Scoops Westside, is finally in business! The second extension of the famed Scoops ice cream opened its doors on December 1st in a little strip mall in Palms, just down the street from Chego!, serving Tai's beloved ice cream along with Intelligentsia coffee and tea.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

M. Wells Diner: A Real Gem in Queens

As the end of the year nears, it's time that I blog about one of the best things I ate this year. It was inarguably the best dish I had in New York this year, although I had great meals are Lincoln, Marea, Di Fara, and Osteria Morini. It's the mussel hash from M. Wells diner in Queens. A nicely browned stack of hashbrowns is topped with tender braised brisket, fresh, perfectly cooked mussels, and a runny poached egg drizzled with an unusual and exceptional scallion dressing.

Mussel Hash at M Wells

I had the same reaction as my friend whom I asked to accompany me to M. Wells. Going all the way to Queens for a diner?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dine Out this Holiday: Affordable Christmas Eve/Day Menus

We all know most restaurants jack up their prices on holidays, but that doesn't mean you can't dine out in style and still make it under budget. Here are a few options under $50. (PS. Eva's $39 family style dinner is the same price as their normal Sunday family dinners!)

Christmas Eve

Eva Restaurant. $39 Family-style dinner.
On the menu: Salted Prime Rib Roast, Whole Roasted Organic Chicken, Creamed Spinach, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Butterscotch Pudding.
7458 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036. T: (323)634-0700.

Nick + Stef's Steakhouse. $45 for 3 courses.
On the menu: Wild mushroom and mascarpone tortelloni, Roasted black cod with winter truffle sauce, and Bûche simplicity.
330 S Hope Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071. T: (213)680-0330.

Christmas Day

Cauliflower Souffle
Oliverio at the Avalon Hotel. $48 for 4 courses.
Choices include cauliflower souffle, veal ravioli with cheese and truffle fondue, roasted sea bass with cabbage and porcini, and cranberry parfait.
9400 W Olympic Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90212. T: (310) 277-5221.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

La Cachette Bistro Switches to Tapas Menu for the New Year

La Cachette Bistro is switching to a French-Mediterranean tapas menu come the end of this month. In the meantime, though, you can start ordering items from the new menu as well as the current menu.

A couple of weeks ago, Chef Jean Francois Meteigner offered a tasting of about 10 items for $50 per person. I think I got a few extra dishes when I went, but since blogging about all of them would result in a very, very long post, I'll just give you the highlights (which were still almost all of them ...) to let you know what you can expect. A few were paired with wines chosen by their sommelier, who had to be on her feet since this was the first night Chef Meteigner served the new menu items. I'd say she did a good job, though!

Many of the current menu items make an appearance, just in smaller portions.
We started with the Foie gras terrine and duck rillete with fig jam. Paired with Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc, Baron de Rothschild Collection, Bordeaux, 2008.

Foie Gras and Rillette
Foie gras and fig, a match made in heaven.

Bacon wrapped dates
Bacon wrapped dates
Sure, bacon-wrapped dates are everywhere now, but I like how the bacon here is particularly crispy. This was paired with a grenache that I had originally thought to be too young, but in fact paired very nicely with each decadent bite.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

All You Can Eat for $1?! Kopi Klotok (Secang, Central Java, Indonesia)

All you can eat for $1? Am I serious? It's less than $1 actually (Rp.8,500 to be exact). In the small towns of Indonesia, such things are still possible.
If you've never heard of the town Secang in Central Java, you're not the only one. I never heard of it either until this trip and even now it will just be that town we had to drive through to get to my mom's hometown (Magelang) from Semarang (the closest airport unaffected by the erupting Merapi volcano).

None of us were hungry after lunch but when we were told about the AYCE for Rp.8,500 at Kopi Klotok that's supposed to be good, all of us said "why not?" Turns out they had quite a few of traditional Javanese items even I haven't tried before, like this Buntil, made with coconut, anchovies, green chili, wrapped and steamed in papaya leaf.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Taste of FPAC and Manila Machine: My First Tastes of Filipino Food

The 19th Annual Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture kicked off with a reception called Taste of FPAC, which benefited FilAm Arts (The Association for the Advancement of Filipino American Arts and Culture)

The Taste of FPAC was held at Oinkster (the chef/owner Andre Guerrero, is a Filipino) and also featured the first Filipino truck in SoCal, Manila Machine.

Besides some pancit my aunt's friend liked to make, this is the first time I've really had a Filipino meal. Sure, I've tried a couple bites of Manila Machine's pork adobo at the LA Street Food Fest, but this time I got to taste a slew of items.

I first started with Chef Andre Guerrero's plate of Filipino food, complete with BBQed pork skewer, pork bicol express (pork, coconut milk, potato), and inihaw (roast pork).

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"A Dose of Vitamin P" for FoodGPS!

Since FoodGPS had a disappointing week in pork, the bloggers who went down to Tijuana for the Pork 5 ways meal decided to each do A Dose of Vitamin P, dedicated to FoodGPS! (For those of you who didn't know, P here stands for Pork. FoodGPS highlights the best pork dish in his weekly Dose of Vitamin P.)

My Vitamin P was this tosta de cachete con erizo from Chef Jair Téllez of Laja in Valle de Guadalupe. He had run out of food within an hour so I was the only one in the group who had it (sorry!). Here you have uni and avocado on top of a "toast" made with pork cheek. Sweet, creamy uni. Crispy, fatty pork. Mind, blown.

Pork and Uni
Toast? Crostini? BORING. Crisped pork needs to be the new toast. Bruschetta with crispy pork. I'm going to smear foie gras torchon on a piece of toasted pork cheek. Pork rillette on pork, anyone?

For more porkporkpork, check out my fellow adventurers Street Gourmet LA, e*starLA, and My Last Bite who are all supposed to be posting their Dose of Vitamin P today.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Lunch Prix Fixe at The Kitchin (Edinburgh, UK)

The menu read: "Ravioli of game from the border"

I (stupidly) asked: "which border?"
The waiter looked at me. "The England-Scotland border."
Oh, right, silly me. I was in Scotland.

Having survived on grilled sandwiches (sorry, "toasties") for lunch that whole week and dining at bars/pubs with friends (which were awesome) after my conference sessions, I treated myself to one nice lunch: The Kitchin. The Kitchin was opened by husband and wife Tom and Michaela Kitchin in 2006 and six months later, in 2007, won a Michelin star.

Gougere and an assortment of vegetable chips

Their tagline? From Nature to Plate. Meat sourced from a local game-keeper, hand-dived scallops, and mushrooms from around Edinburgh hunted by the Kitchins themselves.

Dining at The Kitchin is pretty expensive, but luckily they have a three-course lunch prix fixe for £24.50. The wine list was also notably expensive. The cheapest glass I could find was £9.50 (almost $15). Regardless, a glass must be had.

As an amuse bouche, I started with a bowl of Langoustine Bisque over tomato. It was cold in Edinburgh, and this bowl warmed my body right up as I hunted for the langoustine pieces.
Langoustine Bisque at The Kitchin

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dec 8: Pig Out in Tijuana, Head to Tail

Mexico? It ain't that far, and this Wednesday is the perfect time to cross the border. How does a pork feast, from head to tail, with paired wines for 350 pesos (about $35) sound? Talk about a deal! Yup, on Wednesday December 8, you can partake in 5 Chefs, 5 pork preparations, 5 Baja wines at Villa Saverios in Tijuana.

Here's the chefs' lineup:
Chef Max Bonacci from The Linkery and El Take it Easy (San Diego,CA)
Chef Benito Molina from Manzanilla and Muelle Tres ( Ensenada)
Chef Jair Tellez from Laja (Valle de Guadalupe) and Mero Toro (Mexico City)
Chef Paul Zamudio from Peacocks(San Jose del Cabo)
Chef Javier Plascencia from Villa Saverios, Casa Plascencia, and Mision 19 (Tijuana)

Paired with wines from Valle de Guadalupe:
Adobe Guadalupe
Sinergi VT
Tres Valles

For reservations, call Villa Saverios, from the US dial 011-52-664-686-6443,ext. 104.

Wednesday, December 8,2010, 7PM.
Villa Saverios
Blvd Sanches Taboada
Esq. Escuadron 201
Zona Rio, Tijuana, Mexico

Friday, December 3, 2010

Tea Tree Tea (Edinburgh, UK): A Solace for Tea Lovers

I thought being in the UK, I would find quality teas around, but going around Edinburgh, I was disappointed to mostly serve Twinings tea bags. Granted I was in Scotland and not England … but really? Just Twinings everywhere?

I was therefore extremely excited when I found Tea Tree Tea, a shop specializing in loose leaf teas, just two blocks away from the conference center (and around the corner from Starbucks). I accidentally discovered it on my walk to the Edinburgh Castle and made a mental note to stop on the way back.

Tea Tree Tea is a charming little shop with friendly people. It's usually pretty quiet and they have free wi-fi to boot!
On my first visit I had a chai latte to warm me up after a long walk around the city and the castle.This lighter version is a nice change from all the sugary, powdery ones you find at chain coffeehouses.

I also like their attitude:

Thursday, December 2, 2010

This Saturday: The Taste of Mexico Bicentenntial and Eat My Blog Bakesale

Here's the plan. On Saturday morning, head to the Eat My Blog Bakesale. This bakesale benefiting the LA Regional Food Bank was first put on my bloggers and now include some bakeries and restaurants around the city as well (its last sale included Bakelab, Angeli Caffe, and more).

Chocolate cloud cookies from Bakelab and other goodies

The deets:
Saturday, Dec 4, 2010, 10am-4pm
Tender Greens (West Hollywood)
8759 Santa Monica Blvd

Since the holiday is near you can expect a lot of eggnog flavors and Yule logs. And since some of the food bloggers are mighty creative you can also apparently expect curry macarons (I'm curious ..) or bacon brownie with bourbon caramel sauce. Oh and I'm buying the Yoda green tea Oreos because it's Yoda!

This time I'm looking forward to Starry Kitchen's durian flan cheesecake! I'm not sure how many people will be buying a durian dessert in WeHo but I'm certainly planning to. Roomies, I apologize in advance about how the fridge will smell.

After you stuff your loot in the fridge, you'll head to The Taste of Mexico Association's Bicentennial Celebration: "200 Years of Mexico's Cuisine." At this event, you can taste regional Mexican specialties from Guelaguetza, La Casita Mexicana, Frida Mexican Cuisine, and La Monarca Bakery. Oh, and lots of tequilas, of course.

The deets:
Saturday, Dec 4, 2010 5-10PM
Cathedral of Saint Vibiana
214 S. Main St. Los Angeles, CA 90012

Ticket proceeds ($75 presale, $100 at the door) will go to benefit Heal the Bay.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

1886 at The Raymond (Pasadena): Reliving the Heydays of Cocktail

The Raymond restaurant in Pasadena is a long-standing restaurant with about 35 years of history. Under its new ownership and management though, The Raymond is getting revitalized with a new chef, and now a new bar featuring hand crafted cocktails that pay homage to how cocktails are classically made.

Honey Nut Old Fashioned at 1886
Honey Nut Old Fashioned

The Raymond had solicited Marcos Tello and Aidan Demarest from Tello Demarest Liquid Assets as consultants of the new cocktail program, which holds true to "how cocktails used to be made": homemade syrups and hand crushed ice and all. The 1886 Bar is named after the year that The Raymond Hotel (which no longer exists) was opened. The building was actually the caretaker's cottage and the historical building is an appropriate stage for these cocktails.

The bar will officially open in early December but it is now in its soft opening stage and was already packed when I visited. The full specialty cocktail list of about 25 isn't fully available currently but you can still choose among about 10 great cocktails.

The cocktail list during the soft opening featured bold flavor and a lot of spices (think mescal with ginger or jalapeno). The honey nut old fashioned strikes strong at first taste but turns into an excellent, well balanced cocktail with a hint of nuttiness.

For the winter months, you can warm up with the Hot Cider Toddy (apple brandy, maple syrup, apple cider).
Hot Apple Cider Toddy at 1886

1886 also has an eclectic menu of bar appetizers. We started with the Hamachi sashimi with cucumber and melon, which I didn't see on the bar menu but was recommended by the manager.
Hamachi Sashimi

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Tap Room at The Langham Pasadena Launch Party

The restaurant and bar at The Langham in Pasadena have undergone a massive revamp of concept. The Dining Room, last manned by Chef Michael Voltaggio, have reopened as The Royce, headed by Chef David Féau, previously of Patina Group's Cafe Pinot. The bar is now reopened as The Tap Room and is one of the few places in Pasadena offering hand crafted cocktails (the list is expanding, thankfully, with 1886 at The Raymond).

I was able to attend their launch party about a month ago and checked out the swanky spot with its plush couches and a cozy patio overlooking the lush lawn.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tasting Spanish Olive Oil at The Bazaar: All the Things I Never Knew

Did you know that Spain is the largest olive oil producer in the world? Spain produces 52% of the worldwide olive oil while Italy produces 21%. There are 2.5 million hectares of olive trees in Spain. That's about as big as the state of Massachusetts!

I was recently invited to a tasting of olive oils from Spain led by Alfonso Fernandez Lopez from the LA trade commissioner of Spain. Different farmers from Spain have put together their resources for this event, where I learned so much about olive oils. We tasted four olive oils and proceeded to partake in a multi-course lunch prepared by the staff of Jose Andres' The Bazaar at the SLS Hotel, with each course centered around olive oil.

I have an open bottle of olive oil in my pantry that's probably been there for months. Little did I know that an open bottle of olive oil will only maintain its full aroma and flavor for 15 days!

Tasting olive oil turns out to be as rigorous as tasting wines and there are many varietals with distinct characteristics.

Monday, November 22, 2010

First Time at My Family's Own Restaurant: Kogyo (Surabaya)

There's definitely a conflict of interest here since I'm actually talking about my family's restaurant. My mom opened Kogyo on the 2nd floor of Sutos (Surabaya Town Square) in January but I haven't gone home to Indonesia since then until very recently. Finally could see and taste it for myself!

I don't want to seem like I'm promoting our own restaurant, but you know, after hearing about it for 10 months, I got excited about finally going there myself.

The whole thing started when I brought blogger friends Mattatouille and Glutster to Indonesia last year, and talking about the Kogi hype to my mom, it seemed natural that with a real Korean and a real Mexican in town, we should try making it ourselves.

It's a small and casual place with mid range prices. My mom tends to say you can't find another place serving US rib eye at our prices in town (the local beef is so much tougher compared to the marbled US beef).

The menu is mostly Korean plus some non-Korean items my mom is proud of (like her niu ru mien aka beef noodle soup which seems to have a small following of its own). There are people who come a couple times a week just to have the beef noodle soup.
Photo by my brother.

Our most popular item is probably the Durian Mochi.
Durian Mochi

The chewy mochi skin is made fresh and the mochi is filled with cream and real durian monthong! I've never had anything like it before and loved it. Props to my mom for thinking up something like this.

I try helping out with the menu by suggesting some items. So far I've contributed Pat Bing Su (aka Korean shaved ice), and soon dubu is not far in the future ..

I never told my mom about the Kyochon/Bonchon hype here, but she must've known about Korean fried chicken from somewhere else, since I found these fried chicken wings with sweet and spicy plum sauce on the menu.

I didn't get to try everything, since we still ate at home or went out to other places to eat while I was there, but I really like their burrito too. Guess I'll have to wait until 2012 to try the rest.

Kogyo BBQ
Surabaya Town Square (SUTOS) unit 1-46 (2nd floor)
Surabaya, Indonesia

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Luggage Room Pizzeria Brings Much-Needed Good Pizza to Pasadena

I’m pretty excited about the new food places that had opened their doors in Pasadena lately, from Cham to Intelligentsia and now: The Luggage Room, the pizzeria attached to La Grande Orange, housed in the old luggage room of the Pasadena train station (hence the name).

I received an email invitation for dinner during the first week they opened. When I went the place was already teeming with customers.

Luggage Room Pizzeria

The menu features a short but varied list of appetizers and pizzas, just enough to please everyone.
We started the bacon wrapped dates ($9) which dangerously came in half-dozens.
Bacon wrapped Dates

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dining (and Drinking) at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (Edinburgh, UK)

Scotch Malt Whisky SocietyThe Scotch Malt Whisky Society is a members-only club where you can enjoy specially bottled and rare whiskies from around the world. While a membership will cost £100, it turns out that the Edinburgh location (their first location) has an attached restaurant that is open to the public. Getting an affirmative answer to whether or not we can get their society whiskies at the restaurant, I booked a table of twelve to celebrate a colleague’s birthday.

Celebrating your birthday in Edinburgh drinking whiskies? Lucky dog.
Our party was big enough to warrant getting their private room (we feel special!)

The food at SMWS is indeed expensive, especially considering the currency conversion, but apparently if you come early enough they have a special 3-course menu that’s reasonably priced. Alas, we didn’t make the cut and had to order a la carte.

We each started with a wee dram our server had recommended: 21 year aged Glenkichie, cask strength.


Then, amuse bouche. Where else would your amuse bouche comes with a glass of whisky?

Edinburgh, UK

Casual Dining
Tea Tree Tea
The Verandah

Ghillie Dhu
Whiski Restaurant and Bar

Fine Dining
The Kitchin
Scotch Malt Whisky Society

Demijohn, The Liquid Deli

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

SUGARFISH: Quality Sushi, "Everyday Luxury"

Emmanuele (Lele) Massimini and his friends were avid fans of Sushi Nozawa and made the trek from Santa Monica to Studio City every week for Chef Kazunori Nozawa's sushi. When Chef Nozawa mentioned his concept of bringing his high quality sushi at a cheaper price to them, the SUGARFISH team was born.

Photo courtesy of SUGARFISH

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Corkbar: Test Kitchen Tuesdays, Gougeres, and Pork Sliders

This warm and spacious downtown wine bar is designed by Ana Henton (who also designed Intelligentsia Venice), with nice touches like the hanging shelves of empty wine bottles.

Corkbar, Downtown Los Angeles

Corkbar's wine list is dedicated to California wines, and so is their beer list for the most part. The food menu changes seasonally with some mainstay items. I was invited by their PR to taste their new Fall menu, although since I have never been, I tried a lot of their somewhat permanent items.

Every Tuesday, Corkbar holds what's called TKT or Test Kitchen Tuesdays, where Chef Albert Aviles will try out and serve a new dish for just $2. Last week it was a bowl of Chile Verde, for which chef Aviles even called his mother for her recipe.
Chile Verde
Chili meets chile verde for a hearty, spicy bowl. For $2, they gave very generous portions.

One don't-miss appetizer is the Cheddar Cheese Gougeres ($7)
Cheddar Gougeres

Thursday, November 4, 2010

An Appeal: Donate to Indonesia Disaster Victims

You may know that Indonesia, my home country, has been hit with three natural disasters in the past month, from earthquake and tsunami to volcano eruption. I'd like to take a page in this blog to raise awareness and hope to get some people to make a donation for the victims of these disasters.

smoke burning
 Villages covered in ash after Merapi volcano eruption
Photo by satria_adi1

The 7.7 magnitude earthquake and 3m (that's 10 feet) tsunami in Mentawai, Sumatra now has a toll of 400 deaths and 300 missing, with hundreds still injured. Six villages were destroyed and about 12,800 people are currently living in camps. Building temporary shelters, feeding and healing the victims, as well as rebuilding what once was a surfer's paradise will require a lot of help and resources.

If you'd like to make a donation to the Mentawai victims, you can do so through SurfAid International
 or Food for the Hungry.


The Merapi volcano in Central Java (one of the most active volcanoes in the world) erupted yet again yesterday, spewing hot smoke all day long. This was the fourth eruption since it first erupted just a little over a week ago. On top of the death and injured tolls, about 20,000 people have been evacuated from their homes which may have been burnt or covered in ash. That's 20,000 people who will need shelter, food, and medicine. Worse yet, they fear Merapi will continue to erupt over the next month.

If you would like to help the injured and evacuated children victims of Merapi, you can donate through Save the Children.

Any of your help would be greatly appreciated by these victims.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Star(Chef)-Studded Iron Chef Dinner at Sashi

This past summer, Chef Makoto Okuwa of Sashi in Manhattan Beach challenged Chef Michael Symon on Food Network's show Iron Chef. This wasn't the first time Chef Okuwa is on the Iron Chef show, as he was actually Iron Chef Morimoto's sous chef before opening Sashi, but this was the first time he's there on his own.

To celebrate his appearance, Sashi set up a special dinner filled with superstar chefs including Iron Chef Morimoto himself, Top Chef Master Michael Voltaggio (who lives nearby and is a big fan of Sashi), Noriyuki Sugie (Ironnori/Breadbar), chef Sonny Sweetman (Exec chef of Wolfgang Puck), and chef Waylynn Lucas (Exec pastry chef of Patina).

Iron Chef Morimoto

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Demijohn, The Liquid Deli (Edinburgh, UK)

Demijohn was an incredible find on Victoria St. While looking for Oink, the Scottish hog roll store, I passed by this storefront with their sign touting “Gooseberry Gin.”

Naturally I walked a little closer, and saw bottles of various shapes on the window, with handwritten labels. Nelson’s Spiced Rum Liqueur? Seville Orange Gin? How could I not check it out?

Friday, October 29, 2010

In The Kitchen with Neal Fraser: On Ad Hoc Cooking and Searing Scallops

Last month I attended Los Angeles Magazine's "In the Kitchen" event held at the Snyder Diamond showroom with Chef Neal Fraser of Grace and BLD.

As usual the night starts with some appetizers made by a chef from Sub Zero/Wolf, Brian Beaudry, including endive bites, mushroom with truffle oil on toast, and smoked salmon-wrapped asparagus.


After we sat down, chef Fraser walked us through his recipe of making Sautéed Day Boat Scallops with Risotto, midnight moon, English peas. It turns out that Chef Fraser is quite a funny guy, and apparently hates measuring ingredients (thus claims to be a bad pastry chef). He had actually forgotten to bring some basil for the recipe, but when you're an experienced chef you know what to substitute to get the right results.
Chef Neal Fraser

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ile de France Camembert: The Cheese for Cheese Lovers

Camembert, with its strong aroma, is not a cheese to be taken lightly. This cheese first originated in Normandy and is made from cow's milk and its surface ripened usually for at least three weeks.

Since Ile de France just came out with a new recipe for their camembert cheese, they offered me a sample for review. It came to my doorstep via overnight delivery.

Now, keep in mind that this, as any other cheese, should be eaten at room temperature, where the camembert will be wonderfully runny. Since I like taking cross section shots I did this one before it's at room temperature and ready to eat:
Ile de France Camembert

It should be even runnier than this:
The camembert may look like brie, and is as smooth and creamy, but a simple sniff will tell you the difference. A strong nutty and musky aroma; no, this is no simple brie. The flavor is more intense as well: earthier and nuttier

So, I decided to do a recipe with the camembert this time around *gasp*. Don't be too surprised though, as I'm no great cook I'm doing a grilled camembert sandwich!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Recipe: Sautéed Day Boat Scallops, Pea, Risotto (Chef Neal Fraser)

At Los Angeles Magazine's "In the Kitchen" event held at the Snyder Diamond showroom, Chef Neal Fraser of Grace and BLD shared his recipe for sautéed day boat scallops, served with risotto and English pea sauce.
(Save the date for Nov 10, where Loteria Grill's Chef Jimmy Shaw will do a cooking demonstration. Details here.)

Sautéed Day Boat Scallops
Risotto, midnight moon, English peas

by Chef Neal Fraser (Grace, BLD) - serves 4 people
Day Boat Scallop

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