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

Monday, October 25, 2010

Blogger Prom 2010: If High School Was ...

Blogger Prom is what your prom might've been like in high school ...
If you were of legal age of drinking during high school and the organizers of your prom secured alcohol sponsors and a signature cocktail.

If said organizers had access to Yamashiro, the restaurant with the best view in the city.

(and when there's a giant screen showing our tweets all night long because we're okay being geeky like that)

If everyone dressed their best and ended up on the LA Times blog!
Nastassia from Let Me Eat Cake and one half of the Manila Machine

If prom came with duck or black cod tacos for dinner!

If no one judged you for stuffing yourselves with truffles from Chocobox and two Coolhaus ice cream sandwiches.

... plus a selection of cheese and dried fruits from Barrie Lynn, The Cheese Impresario, including her infamous "cheese sex" (a 10 year old cheddar from Hook's Creamery).

If prom kept feeding you for the next two weeks with coupons from Manila Machine, Border Grill, Sprinkles, and 7-11 (and kept you smelling good too with all the shampoos and deodorants).

The best part? We all raised $2,400 for Operation Frontline!

Many thanks to the Blogger Prom committee members LA & OC Foodie, Caroline on Crack, e*starLA, Happy Go Marni, Liquid Muse, LAist, ShopEatSleep, and When Tara Met Blog for putting on a great party.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Celebrate Fall: Pumpkin Pinkberry (FREE mini today 4-7 PM)

Today Pinkberry launches their new Fall flavor: Pumpkin Pinkberry!

Pumpkin Pinkberry

They delivered small sized cups of the new flavor to my office this morning so I can sample it with my coworker. The new yogurt, made with real pumpkin puree, was topped with their featured toppings: crunchy honey graham crackers, Pinkberry Swirly Whip and a dusting of cinnamon.

It reminded me of pumpkin pie for obvious reasons, but was much lighter and more refreshing since it still had the sour flavor characteristic of Pinkberry. Bottom line: we all really enjoyed it.

The Pumpkin Pinkberry, as well as graham crackers, cinnamon and pomegranate seeds will be available through the end of the year.
But just for today (Friday, Oct 22), if you go to a Pinkberry between 4-7 PM, you can get a FREE mini pumpkin pinkberry so you can sample the new flavor firsthand!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Table20 Celebrates LA's Best Bartenders

My personal opinions aside, Table20's contest on LA's Best Bartenders certainly brought some of the city's best together at downtown's Elevate Lounge with some mighty rum punches.

The night had started slow and since I overestimated traffic, I arrived 30 minutes early (in LA? Impossible!). I ended up waiting at Takami and had one of their $4 bar snacks, calamari with rice krispies crust. Not a bad portion for $4.

Since the bartenders were still preparing their punch, we first had to wait outside the lounge, but the management graciously provided a drink ticket for the bar at Takami.

Sure, some of my other favorites were missing from the contest, like Julian Cox and Pablo Moix, but 5-6 glasses of punch are enough for a night. I say 5-6 because there were supposed to be 6, but The Edison's Joe Brooke went MIA that night.

A special shoutout to the only female finalist, Dee Ann Quinones from STREET, The Parlour Room, and Philippe Chow.
Dee Ann Quniones

IMG_4013My favorite drink of the night ended up being Cole's bartender Max Diaz's Red Sparrow Punch.

I might have been biased towards this cider-like hot drink as it was raining outside, but it was definitely a great drink regardless!
For this punch Max Diaz combined the Don Q Anejo rum (one of the sponsors) with apple cider, cabernet sauvignon, green chartreuse, and a "secret syrup" that, alas, shall remain a mystery.

At the end of the night, Matt Biancanello was crowned Best Bartender in LA. The skills of Matt Biancanello are already well known in the city from his creative concoctions at the Library Bar such as the Shiitake Manhattan and Arugula Gimlet. Congratulations to Matt, all the other finalists, and the other great bartenders of Los Angeles!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Kōloa: The Rum of Kaua'i

Kōloa Rum is the first rum to be distilled in the island of Kaua'i, combining the best resources in Hawaii (sugar and pure water) in copper pot stills. Founded in 2001, Kōloa started producing unaged rum last year and is currently aging some in bourbon barrels.

They produce four types of rum: white, gold, dark, and spiced. During a recent tasting event, I got to try the first three along with some great cocktails made from them.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

An L.A. Pilgrimage: Langer's Deli

I finally made it to Langer's and one visit was enough to see why everyone loves their pastrami.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Oink (Edinburgh, UK): Scottish Hog Roll and Crackling!

What better way to get customers in the door than a whole roasted pig on the window?

That's exactly what Oink, a little shop on the similarly-little Victoria St, does to get you to try their Scottish hog roll.

Not that the gourmet pig could've passed by a pink pig-shaped sign that says Oink without going in. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Pantry (Santa Fe, NM): Breakfast with the Locals

The Pantry was probably the most memorable breakfast I had in Santa Fe.
The PR for Taste of Santa Fe set us up for breakfast at The Pantry. When we arrived the place was bustling with locals. The Pantry is a Santa Fe institution that first opened its doors in 1948. Since then it has changed ownerships a few times but it seems to be doing quite well under the current owners, the Singley family. The son had just graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Scottsdale and is on track to take over the business.

As most meals in New Mexico, The Pantry provided one big, heavy, breakfast.
After waiting a day and a half, I finally got my sopapillas!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My New Pasadena Lunch Spot: Cham Korean Bistro

I've heard of Cham many times before but it was Jonathan Gold's piece on their sizzling bibimbap that converted me from "a Korean bistro?" to "oh I want to try that." Now it's one of my favorite places to eat lunch in Pasadena.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Second Chance: VIP Tickets to Pasadena Wine Festival Giveaway

Yes, it's another giveaway for Pasadena Wine Festival. This time they're upping the game and giving out TWO PAIRS of VIP tickets (worth $85 each), which gets you all the wine you'd care to drink in both the main and VIP tasting area, plus some food provided by Pala Casino.

The requirements are more demanding this time though. To enter to win, they want you to post on Pasadena Wine Festival's facebook EVENT page the following message:
"Gourmet Pigs, I want VIP tickets to the Pasadena Wine Festival!"

Now, the message has to link to both my facebook page and their facebook page, as above, which means you'd have to "like" both facebook pages if you haven't already and add an @ in front of the page names!
Once you post the message, let me know with a comment here.

The contest will end at midnight Wednesday Oct 6th and I will let the winners know on Thursday. Good luck!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Preview Lunch at Obikà Mozzarella Bar

How much love does Los Angeles have for mozzarella?
First there was Mozzarella Mondays at Jar. Then there was mozzarella tastings and bar at Osteria Mozza. Now welcome Obikà, a mozzarella-centric new restaurant in the Westfield Century City mall.

Friday, October 1, 2010

October Food Events

October is going to be a pretty crazy month filled with not only Restaurant Week but all kinds of food and wine events. That's not even counting all the Oktoberfest goings-on. Hope you're ready!

Saturday, Oct 2. Santa Monica Food and Wine Festival
Sample food from various Santa Monica restaurants all in one place accompanied by some wine. The website is not too clear on how the "food vouchers" work but if it's anything like Taste of Santa Monica I visited 2 years ago, it is technically all you can eat but you have to get stamps from all the restaurants before you can go back for more from a particular vendor.
11:30 AM-7 PM. Barker Hangar. 3021 Airport Avenue #203, Santa Monica, CA.
Tickets are $40 or $65 for VIP.

Sunday, Oct 3 marks the start of DineLA Restaurant Week, which goes on from Oct3-8, and Oct 10-15. The restaurants are divided into three tiers where three course lunches will run $16/$22/$28 and dinners run for $26/$34/$44.
Check out their site for a list of restaurants and don't forget to register your American Express card so you can get $20 cashback when you dine out 3x.

Wednesday, Oct 6. Choctoberfest
LearnAboutWine bring together chocolates from Valrhona and Marche Noir Foods with wines from Spain, Paso Robles to Malibu and beer from The Bruery and more.
7-9 PM. The Grove.
Tickets are $80 at the door or $39 advance purchase (or get it for $35 from Goldstar).

Thursday, Oct 7. Macy's Culinary Council with Takashi Yagihashi
Watch a cooking demo by Chef Takashi Yagihashi, who won the James Beard Award for Best Chef in 2003. Chef Yagihashi opened Okada at the Wynn Las Vegas and now has his namesake restaurant, Takashi, in Chicago.
6:30 PM. Macy's Pasadena (Furniture Dept). 401 S Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101.
Suggested $5 donation to benefit the LA Regional Food Bank. Seating limited to first 200.

Saturday, Oct 9.

History of the Green Fairy, Absinthe
Culinary Historians of SoCal will present Ted Breaux speaking about the history of absinthe. Ted Breaux is Founder and President of Jade Liqueurs, LLC.
10:30 AM. Mark Taper Auditorium, Downtown Central Library. 630 W 5th St.
Free. Reception with themed refreshments will follow at 11:30 AM.

Pasadena Wine Festival
General admission tickets get you inside the Arboretum plus a tram tour where you can sample food from food trucks or buy food from purchase, taste wine for $1, and listen to music. A Deluxe Pass includes tastings of all the wines in the main tasting area.
2-10 PM. Los Angeles County Arboretum. 301 N Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007.
General admission tickets are $28 and Deluxe Passes are $55.

Riboli Family's Winemaker Dinner
This four-course wine-paired dinner is offered once a year and hosted by Anthony Riboli. The menu lists marinated albacore salad with avocado and ginger, grilled five spice marinated quail and bacon fried rice with orange hoi sin sauce, and herb roasted veal strip loin with sautéed porcini mushrooms and baby turnips. Eight wines from the Riboli Family Library will be tasted throughout dinner.
6-9 PM. San Antonio Winery. 737 Lamar St., Los Angeles, CA.
$78 per person. Call (323) 330- 8771 or reserve online.

Sunday, Oct 10.
L. A. Beer Float Showdown
This year the LA Beer Float Showdown returns twice as big. Four teams (Boneyard Bistro, Simmzy's, Tony's Darts Away, and Ladyface Alehouse) will battle their beer floats to benefit Share Our Strength. The Manila Machine and Mandoline Grill trucks will be in attendance to serve your savories.
5:30 PM. Verdugo Bar. 3408 Verdugo Road, Los Angeles 90065.
$25 in advance or $30 at the door.

L. A. Chocolate Salon
This is the event that would put your love of chocolate to the test, with over 35 chocolatiers, confectioners, wineries. How much chocolate can you eat in a few hours? Even when it leaves you feeling chocolated out by the end, you'd want to come back year after year for Amano Artisan Chocolate, Essential Chocolate Desserts, Ococoa Chocoveda, Moonstruck Chocolate and much much more. Here's last year's report.
11am-5pm. The Pasadena Center. 300 Green St, Pasadena, CA
$20 advance purchase, $25 at the door.

Dionicess VII
Gev Kavanchyan and Randy Clemens bring you the 7th Dionicess where food and beer come together. This time, beer from Dogfish Head will be paired with food from Chef Eric Greenspand at The Foundry.
1 PM. The Foundry on Melrose. 7465 Melrose Ave Los Angeles CA 90046
$79 all inclusive.

Savor the Season
This annual event benefits Break the Cycle, a national organization to end teen dating violence. With food and wine to sample all around, the event will feature NINETHIRTY, RH Restaurant+Bar, Reservoir, STREET, Jer-ne, Saltistry, VeeV, DRY Soda. Here's a post from the 2008 event.
6:30-9:30 PM. Global Cuisine by Gary Arabia at The Lot Studios. 1041 N Formosa Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90046.
Tickets are $100 and can be purchased online or by calling (310) 286-3383.

Saturday, Oct 16. 2nd Annual Taste of Italy
Taste of Italy benefits the Italian American Museum of Los Angeles and features Angeleno's
Italian restaurants like Claro's, Il Fornaio, and Porta Via, Ventura Limoncello, Gelato Bar, and Italian wines sponsored by San Antonio Winery,
4-9 PM. 424 N Main St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. General admission ticket is $35 (8 tastes of food, 8 tastes of beverage) and VIP is $75 (unlimited tastes). Contact (213)485-8432 or

Sunday, Oct 17. 2nd Annual LA Beer Week Beer Festival
This festival will cap off LA Beer Week with a bang. Admission will get you unlimited 4oz tasting from over 70 breweries. To soak it all up, there will be food trucks, Mignon Chocolates and Portola Coffee Roaster to keep you awake.
12-4 PM. Union Station.
Tickets are $40 and limited, so get it early.

Saturday-Sunday, Oct 23-24. Artisanal LA

The ladies who brought you the LA Street Food Fest now bring you Artisanal LA, where over 100 local artisans will exhibit their sustainable, handmade edibles. There will also be demos from some great chefs including Chef Ben Bailly of Petrossian Caviar and Chef James Overbaugh from the Peninsula. Attend workshops all the way from pickling to how to deal with a whole hog. There's also a Craft Beer Panel on Sunday and craft beer and spirit tastings are included in your admission ticket.
11am-6pm. The Cooper Design Space Penthouse. 860 S Los Angeles St, Los Angeles, CA. $10 advance purchase or $15 at the door. Partial proceeds benefit LAUSD Edible School Garden Programs.

Sunday, Oct 24. Los Angeles Magazine's The Food Event
This annual event at the beautiful 1000-acre Saddlerock Ranch is always one of my favorites. Sample food from some of the best restaurants in LA like Eva Restaurant, Mo-Chica, Palate, The Foundry, gelato from Bulgarini, and cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery. Taste some wine from Malibu, Paso Robles, and beyond. Watch cooking demos and competitions from celebrity chefs. This year's chef lineup includes Marcel Vigneron from Bar210, Laurent Quenioux from Bistro LQ, Mark Gold from Eva Restaurant, and Susan Feniger from STREET. Here's my coverage from last year's event.
1-4 PM. Saddlerock Ranch. 31727 Mulholland Highway Malibu, CA 90265. Tickets are $95 ($100 if including subscription to LA Mag) advance or $110 at the door.

Disclosure: As thanks for posting about the cooking demo with Takashi Yagahashi, Macy's and Everywhere is sending me a $25 Macy's gift card.

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