Category Archives: Hot Chefs

Pork Love at Cliff’s Edge

Peter and I finally got to Cliff’s Edge (in Silver Lake) to try Chef Vartan Abgaryan‘s cooking last week. We first met Vartan at a local food event, and got to know him better when he volunteered with L.A. Bites Hunger.

Walking into Cliff’s Edge, we were instantly smitten with the romantic, hidden restaurant and still cannot stop talking about the fantastic meal.

In between the poached oysters topped with crispy squid ink  and the salty/sweet caramel custard was, what is now, my very favorite pork dish in Los Angeles.

Suckling Pig dish at Cliff's Edge
Wow. Just WOW! Vartan’s Suckling Pig with Crepinette (pork ball wrapped in caul fat), Pork Loin (right), Pork Belly and savoy cabbage, sweet potato, saison, pork jus.

Suckling Pig at Cliff's Edge
Pork Belly Close-up! Peter called this “Pork Cake”.

Suckling Pig at Cliff's Edge
Pork Loin Close-up!

There were gorgeous vegetables and barbecued octopus too, but I just can’t stop thinking about all the pork love.

My friend Josh Lurie aka @FoodGPS wrote a great piece about the dish here.

All my Cliff’s Edge photos

Cliff’s Edge
3626 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(323) 666-6116
website

Follow Vartan Abgaryan on twitter

Follow Cliff’s Edge on twitter

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Hawaii Food & Food Festival!

The Hawaii Food & Wine Festival is by far one of the best food events I’ve ever attended. Not only did I get to enjoy Hawaii’s best cuisine (prepared by world-renowened chefs), but I also got to soak up some major island culture (surfing, art, local joints!) as well.

If you’re a food lover planning a trip to Hawaii in September (2013), check out all the festival has to offer here. And do NOT miss the Saturday morning farmer’s market at Kapiolani Community College! (Links & Details Below)

Photos below from the 2012 Hawaii Food & Wine Festival:

Enter the MODERN Dragon: Morimoto & Friends (9/6/12):
In Chinese Astrology, 2012 is the year of the Dragon – the most powerful and auspicious of the 12 animal signs, bringing high energy and prosperity.  Led by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, “Enter the MODERN Dragon” showcased foods prepared by twelve of the most esteemed international chefs from Asia and the Pacific.

Oahu 2012
Walking into the event at the Modern.

Oahu 2012
Chef Roy Choi.

Oahu 2012
Roy Choi’s Chubby Pork Belly Squares.

Oahu 2012
Looking down from upper level.

Oahu 2012
Butterfish with Spicy Radish by Sang Yoon.

Oahu 2012
Ginza Sour Cocktail

Oahu 2012
Upper level

Oahu 2012
Chef Ming Tsai

Oahu 2012
With the one and only Iron Chef Morimoto!!!

Oahu 2012
Chef Morimoto’s Shrimp Taco.

Oahu 2012
Dragon pool at night. Note: I was born in 1964, Year of the Dragon. Fit right in!

Oahu 2012
Ming and Morimoto at the “Mix with the Masters” event. Food demos, talks and lunch! (9/7/12)

Oahu 2012
Morimoto’s beautiful sashimi display.

Oahu 2012
Chef Charles Phan (Slanted Door, San Francisco) brought a pho noodle bar.

Oahu 2012
Chef Josiah Citrin’s Kona Abalone, Grilled Cucumber and Sweet Onion & Squid Ink Puree ~ Sea Asparagus, Thai Basil and Chilled Cucumber Broth. From Farm to Table: A Makahiki Festival  (9/8/12)

Ono Kine Malama Farm Berkshire Pork by Chef Ed Kenney
Ono Kine Malama Farm Berkshire Pork by Chef Ed Kenney

Oahu 2012
Beautiful evening for the Makahiki Festival!

Oahu 2012
Dinner at Miso and Ale was a terrific finale to my Honolulu visit! My favorite bite was the braised short rib w Okinawa purple potato!

A few places NOT to miss on your visit to Honolulu:
Rainbow Drive-in for a classic “Plate Lunch”. And yes, it comes with BOTH white rice AND macaroni salad!

Feel like experiencing local culture? Have dinner at Side Street Inn, and definitely order the Pan-Fried Island Pork Chops!

KCC Farmer’s Market. Eat lunch and buy treats to bring back home.

Surfing lessons… by Honolulu Firefighters!

Need a quick bite before surfing? Spam Musubi! Fort Ruger Market, Oahu

Photos from the opening night Rum Fire party here

Honolulu’s Art Scene 2012

All photos from Hawaii Food and Wine Festival 2012

2013 Hawaii Food and Wine Festival is September 1-8!

Oahu 2012

Many thanks to the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau www.gohawaii.com, Oahu Visitors Bureau www.visit-oahu.com, and Hawaii Food & Wine Festival www.hawaiifoodandwinefestival.com for inviting and hosting me on this trip.

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Adam Perry Lang’s Serious Barbecue

Love barbecue? Live in Los Angeles? Mark your calendars for Adam Perry Lang‘s Serious Barbecue, a one-of-a-kind outdoor dining experience on the Jimmy Kimmel Live back lot!

SeriousBarbecueAPLBlog

WHAT: Barbecue and grilling expert Adam Perry Lang introduces the Los Angeles community to his signature style of outdoor cooking, as well as the re-issue of his first best-selling cookbook, Serious Barbecue, through a two month-long, pop-up series taking place on the back lot of Jimmy Kimmel Live! Adam is a rarity – a classically –trained chef who applies techniques learned while cooking at some of the finest restaurants in the world to good old American barbecue. He won Grand Champion honors at the World Pork Expo and first place for his pork shoulder at the Kansas City American Royal, a.k.a. “The World Series of BBQ.” Adam is a consulting partner in Chef Mario Batali’s Carnevino in Las Vegas, partnered with Chef Jamie Oliver to open the wildly-successful Barbecoa in London, and is well-known for founding Daisy May’s BBQ in New York.

Starting July 9th and July 10th, and every following Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from July 16th until September 5th, the public is invited to discover a new meat miracle for lunch, with a pre-order only takeout service in the late afternoon. At night, look for special events and intimate VIP dinners for press, tastemakers and promotional partners, which will include cooking demos, bladesmithing and whiskey and bourbon tastings. Guests will get to try Adam’s signature sliced beef short rib with pickles and sweet onion, pork butt with green apple, crushed hot red pepper and avocado, “Get a Book” beef brisket, the ultimate stacked-high French dip, BBQ double-smoked bacon with waffles, and more. Menu items will range from $15 to $35. The Serious Barbecue Pop-Up series is a community event that will also benefit the L.A.C.E.R. Afterschool Program and P.A.T.H. L.A.C.E.R. provides underserved middle and high school youth with an arts and literacy based after-school program, and P.A.T.H. provides the support that homeless individuals and families need in order to successfully transition from living on the street to thriving in homes of their own.

Adam will be creating a unique, outdoor dining experience in an urban setting that celebrates both great food and American craftsmanship. The Jimmy Kimmel Live! back lot will be transformed into a barbecue and grilling paradise, with a 2-ton, custom-built Texas burn pit, comfortable lawn seating with a beautiful rustic table constructed by Adam, and his new line of personally handcrafted knives on display. Adam will also be living out of an Airstream trailer each night, as making one’s own charcoal takes true dedication. And since everyone knows whiskey and barbecue go hand-in-hand, the winning master craftsman from the new Hulu Raising the Bar original, reality series will construct a custom bar in the VIP lounge, showcasing George Dickel Tennessee Whisky.

The demand amongst barbecue enthusiasts for copies of Serious Barbecue is unprecedented, and now the re-issue is scheduled to hit shelves on July 20th. In his book, Adam teaches his readers all they need to know to achieve the holy grail of barbecuing from meat selection to building flavors through seasoning, glazing and basting to adding sauces strategically throughout the cooking process. With this pop-up series, Los Angeles will be re-introduced to all of Adam’s amazing recipes and barbecue tips, highlighted in Serious Barbecue, which will be available for purchase via www.adamperrylang.com.

WHEN: Starting July 9th and July 10th, and every following Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from July 16th until September 5th

-Lunch open to the public from 11:00 am-2pm
-Take-away barbecue service from 4:00pm-5:00pm
-VIP Dinners and Special Events in the evening to be announced

WHERE: Jimmy Kimmel Live! – Back Lot
6834 Hollywood Blvd., enter from the alley
Hollywood, CA 90028

Adam’s Website

Follow Adam on Twitter

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Whist

Whist Restaurant (view from lobby)

Back in January I was honored to host a wonderful Wild Game dinner by Chris Crary, the Chef de Cusine at Whist Restaurant in Santa Monica. Recently, I returned to taste (gratis) the current menu offered by Executive Chef Tony DiSalvo (Jean Georges, Gramercy Tavern).

Like most of my friends (and family), I’m a big fan of small bites and sharing plates … ESPECIALLY in such a beautiful, relaxing (yet elegant) location.

My brother Greg (who recently moved here from Scotland) joined me for the incredible dinner and we so enjoyed spending some quality brother/sister time together. Needless to say, there was plenty of eye-rolling (it was so good!) and laughing at our table. Just sitting in the beautiful, outdoor dining room… we both appreciated every bit (and bite) of the Whist experience.

NOTE: A new menu will be available after July 9th (some new items have already been added), so go SOON to taste dishes below!

Crostini at Whist
Crostini Heaven (details below)

Crostini at Whist
Uni (Sea Urchin) Crostini, Sea Salt, Lemon & LARDO. Dungeness Crab Crostini w Yuzu Mayo.

Petrossian Caviar, Egg Yolk, Cucumber Dill Crostini at Whist Santa Monica
Petrossian Caviar, Egg Yolk, Cucumber Dill Crostini

Chicken Liver Pancetta Crostini at Whist Santa Monica
Chicken Liver Mousse, Pancetta Crostini

Dungeness Crab Crostini at Whist Santa Monica
Dungeness Crab Crostini w Yuzu Mayo

Roasted Beets
Roasted Beets, House-made Goat Ricotta, Grapes, Endive, Local Pistachios

Japanese Mackerel Escabeche
Japanese Mackerel Escabeche, Tapenade Crostini

Crispy Pork Terrine at Whist
Crispy Pork Terrine, Sour Cherries, Pickled Shallots, Mustard

Lamb Kefta Meatballs at Whist
Lamb Keft Meatballs, Orange, Pistachio, Yogurt. I don’t like lamb but my brother LOVED these.

Sweetbreads, Favas at Whist
Sweetbreads, Favas, Morels, Sherry

Cured Hamachi at Whist
Cured Hamachi, Rhubarb “Ponzu”, Cucumber, Radish, Celery

Torchio Pasta, Rabbit Ragu at Whist, Santa Monica
Torchio Pasta, Rabbit Ragu, Swiss Chard, Olives, Salami, Rosemary (+ extra truffles!)

Soy-Braised Short Ribs at Whist
Soy-Braised Short Ribs, Pickled Radishes + Asian Pear

Chili-Fried Chicken at Whist
Chili-Fried Chicken, Spring Vegetable Kimchee

Potato Gnocchi at Whist
Potato Gnocchi, Asparagus + Morels

Wild Black Sea Bass
Wild Black Sea Bass, Braised Ramps, Tom Yum Broth

Grilled Octopus
Grilled Octopus, Romesco, Potatoes, Charred Wild Leeks

Scallops at Whist
Scallops, Fennel, Celery, Treviso + Bottarga Salad, caper, Lemon + Basil Vinaigrette

Chocolate Tart, Whist
Chocolate Tart, Orange Sorbet

Ephemere Beer at Whist
Ephemere Beer on a warm evening

Rhubarb Tart, Whist
Rhubarb Tart, Walnut Crumble, Vanilla Ice Cream

My brother Greg, Whist Restaurant
My brother Greg. He loves FOOD almost as much as I do!

More photos on Flickr

Whist Restaurant
Viceroy Hotel, Santa Monica
1819 Ocean Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 260-7511
Website

Dining Date: 6/19/12
Many thanks to Tony DiSalvo and Chris Crary!

About Chef Tony DiSalvo

5 Questions for Tony DiSalvo by Betty Hallock, L.A. Times

Chris Crary’s Wild Game Dinner

Follow Tony DiSalvo on Twitter

Follow Chris Crary on Twitter

Whist Chefs on Twitter

Viceroy Hotel on Twitter

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He’s Got Game.

Many thanks to all who came out to Whist Restaurant for Chef De Cuisine Chris Crary‘s special “Wild Game” dinner last week. It was a super fun gathering of carnivore loving pals (sorry vegans!), local chefs (who came to support) and of course Top Chef fans!

Each of his dishes were beautiful, delicious works of art, and I had a hard time deciding on my favorite game meat of the night. Congrats to Chris and his team, for executing the awesome menu.

Amuse
Amuse: Octopus with Potato Gratin

Roasted Rabbit by Chris Crary
First Course: Roasted Rabbit, Carrot Panna Cotta, Thai Spices, Peanut Lime

Roasted Rabbit by Chris Crary
Tiny, Frenched Rabbit Lollipop

Venison Neck Loin
Second Course: Venison Neck & Loin, Coffee, Huckleberry Mustard, Crispy Shallot, Forest Herbs

Boar Belly
Third Course: Boar Belly, Root Vegetable Cassoulet, Truffle, Apple Ephemere (officially my favorite!)

Antelope Osso Buco
Fourth Course: Antelope Osso Buco, Pearled Barley, Acacia Honey, Gremolata, Goji Berry

Duck Egg Flan
Fifth Course: Duck Egg Flan, Wild Turkey, Cardamom Crumble, Cajeta Ice Cream

Chris Crary's Wild Game Menu
The Menu (click for larger)

Wonderful evening at Whist!
Such a fun dinner! Looking forward to MORE SOON!

Location: Whist Restaurant
1819 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA
Reservations> (310) 260-7511

Price was $60 per person

Event Date: January 5th

All photos from the Wild Game Dinner on Flickr

Top Chef Texas

Follow @ChrisCrary on twitter

Follow @WhistChefs on twitter

Follow @ViceroySM on twitter

Check out photos from the evening: By Joann & Grace Park    By Nicole

Many thanks for the press!>> L.A. Times  |  KCET  |  GrubStreet  | Eater

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Ludo Bites Redondo Beach

Peter and I were honored to have Ludo’s mom, Colette (visiting from France) join us for dinner during this taping of Ludo Bites America. Even with the foie gras protesters, camera crew and screaming Ludo (he “expresses” himself loudly), we felt it was one of the best Ludo Bites ever (meaning we loved EVERY dish). Because in the end… it really is ALL ABOUT THE FOOD!

LudoBites Redondo Beach
Ceviche, Cucumber Water, Purslane

LudoBites Redondo Beach
Brocamole & Chips (broccoli dip)

LudoBites Redondo Beach
Foie Gras Quesadilla, Crispy Cabbage, Juniper Berry Oil

LudoBites Redondo Beach
Chilled Red Tomato Soup, Carrot, Smoked Fish

LudoBites Redondo Beach
Monterey Squid, Chorizo, Banana, Honey Clementine

LudoBites Redondo Beach
Brandade Tacos, Dandelion, Creamy Extra Virgin Olive Oil

LudoBites Redondo Beach
Crispy Octopus, Smokey Chipotle, Piquillos Pepper Polenta

LudoBites Redondo Beach
Roasted-Poached Beef in Lard, Squid Ink Risotto, Lemon Confit, Dried Mole

LudoBites Redondo Beach
Ancho Chili Pepper Chocolate Brownie, Caramel Leche, Red Beets & Rhubarb

LudoBites Redondo Beach
Guacamole Sorbet, Catalan Cream, Fruit Salsa, Tequila

LudoBites Redondo Beach
“Salsa-Rita” Salsa Tomato Water, Lime, Cilantro, REAL Reposado Tequila, Sugar Chile Rim

LudoBites Redondo Beach
Foie Gras Protesters setting up on front

LudoBites Redondo Beach
Ludo yelling back at the Foie Gras Protesters

LudoBites Redondo Beach
Krissy on the go!

LudoBites Redondo Beach
Peter with our favorite Ludo Bites server, Jessica

LudoBites Redondo Beach
Our fabulous dinner date… Colette aka Ludo’s mom! And yes, as the tequila flowed… we heard some hilarious stories of a young, rebellious Ludo!

LudoBites Redondo Beach
My friend Bricia Lopez being interviewed by Sundance crew

Ludo Bites Redondo Beach
at Casa Pulido
228 Avenue I
Redondo Beach, CA 90277

Dining Date 6/1/11

Ludo Bites America episodes are available on iTunes

Ludo Bites America website, Sundance Channel

My photos (over 300) of Ludo & his FOOD

LudoLefebvre.com 

Ludo’s Fan Club (yup, I’m the founder)

Follow Ludo on Twitter

Follow Krissy on Twitter

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WolvesMouth

Underground Dinner. Mind Blown.

Wolvesmouth: Burrata & Figs
Upon arrival: Burrata & Figs

Wolvesmouth
Course 1: Potato Soup, Black truffles, Chive Creme Fraiche

Wolvesmouth
Course 2: Crab, Fried Green Tomatoes

Wolvesmouth
Course 3: Ocean Trout, Clam, Squid Ink, Dashi, Tofu, Shiso, Salted Cherry Blossom

Wolvesmouth
Course 4: Asparagus, Risotto, Snails, Morels

Wolvesmouth
Course 5: Rabbit, Mole, Poblano, Rabbit Liver, Rabbit Kidney, Black Beans, Creme Cotija, Pickled Red Onion, Huitlacoche, Jalapeño, Cilantro Flowers

Wolvesmouth
Course 6: Kabosu Elderflower Ice  (palate cleanser)

Wolvesmouth
Course 7: Pork Belly, Soft Shell Crab, Peas, Mint, Young Garlic, Scapes, Pork Jus, Fava

Wolvesmouth
Course 8: Lamb, Sour Black Cherry, Shallot Jam, Purple Basil, Savory Granola, Coffee Yogurt

Wolvesmouth
Course 9: Brioche Ice Cream, Green Apple, Smoked Maple Syrup

Wolvesmouth
Course 10: Wild Strawberry (slightly dehydrated), Strawberry Creme Fraiche, Ice Cream, Pound Cake

Photographed at the Wolves Den 5/18/11

WolvesmouthAbout Chef Craig Thornton by Elina Shatkin

Wolvesmouth Website

Get on the Wolvesmouth email list!

All my Wolvesmouth photos (in the Wolves Den kitchen too!)

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Mo Chica – 6 Courses for Japan

Chef Ricardo Zarate (Food & Wine “People’s Best New Chef”) is originally from Peru, but I’m certain that part of his soul (like mine) belongs to Japan. For years he worked in Japanese restaurants (including Zuma in London) before opening Mo Chica, his contemporary Peruvian restaurant here in Los Angeles.

Ceviche Mixto by Chef Ricardo ZarateI first tasted Zarate’s food at a BreadBar Hatchi dinner last year, and loved the simple beauty of his compositions, as well as the Asian touches he added to his Peruvian cuisine.

Before meeting the chef, I think the only Peruvian food I had tried (besides ceviche) was a post-hangover dish called Lomo Saltado. If you haven’t tried Lomo Saltado, it’s an awesome pile of seasoned beef, tomatoes and onions served with BOTH rice AND french fries.

Ricardo Zarate and I didn’t actually become friends until he and his partners opened Test Kitchen last summer. I LOVED those frenetic months (new chefs & menus every few days) and if my waistline and bank account would’ve allowed it, I’d have dined at Test Kitchen every night. In fact I have so many photos from my visits that I’ve yet to properly blog about it!

Chef Ricardo Zarate @ HatchiRicardo Cooks For Japan

This Thursday (March 31st), Chef Zarate and partner Stephane Bombet will hold a charity dinner for the victims of Japan. I’ll be there supporting my friends, not only because I was born in Japan (I lived in Okinawa until I was eight), but because Zarate’s tasting dinners are always fantastic. Simply put: Great food + Great cause = a grateful heart and belly.

GrubStreetLA wrote:
Zarate will revisit one of his favorite tasting menus at a cost of $45 per diner. With a long history of working in Japanese restaurants, Zarate will donate $10 from every reservation to the country’s relief efforts. As an extra thrill for the town’s food-obsessed, Street Gourmet L.A. blogger and pro saxman Bill Esparza will provide the musical accompaniment with his bossa nova trio Cachaca Nova.

Mo-Chica’s 18th Tasting Dinner
6 Courses for Japan

Thursday, March 31, 2011
6:00-10:00 P.M.
$45
3655 S. Grand Ave. (inside Mercado La Paloma)
(213) 747-2141 (reservations will sell out!)

6 Course Menu

YUQUITAS CON POLLO
stuffed yuccas, manchego cheese, crispy chicken, rocoto sauce

TIRADITO
scallops strips, spicy lemon dressing, salsa criolla

CHILCANO
Peruvian cocktail, ginger juice, ginger ale, pisco brandy

SUDADO
sea bass, tomato stew , crab meat, roasted tomatoes, garbanzos

CHICHARRON
Peruvian-style crispy pork belly, black mint sauce

ALFAJOR
Classic Peruvian dessert made of dulce de leche , and short bread

PHOTOS below: In case you’ve never had the pleasure of eating Zarate’s food, here are some of my favorite bites (these are different from Thursdays menu):

Mo Chica
Arroz Chaufa De Mariscos: Seafood Fried Rice, Mixed seafood, Daikon Pickle

Mo Chica
Causa: Potato Salad, Tiger Prawns, Ocopa Sauce

Mo Chica
Tiradito: Japanese Octopus Carpaccio, Peruvian Botija Olive Sauce

Chef Ricardo Zarate @ Hatchi
Carapulcra: Peruvian Sun Dried Potatoes, Pancetta, Black Cod, Chimichurri

Mo Chica
Mate De Coca Ice Cream: Coca IceCream Cinnamon Sponge Cake

Note: Photos above are from my various Mo Chica / Ricardo Zarate dinners. These are NOT on the 3/31 tasting menu. Just samples of his beautiful food.

Mo Chica Website
3655 South Grand Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 90007
(213) 747-2141

Follow Chef Ricardo Zarate on Twitter

Ricardo Zarate’s Bio (Test Kitchen)

Food & Wine “People’s Best New Chef” (LA Weekly)

With my big sister Janet, MyLastBite.comBreadbar Hatchi

Zarate at Test Kitchen (by Kevin Eats)

Lomo Saltado at Mario’s Peruvian

More Mo Chica photos on flickr

Zuma, London

GrubStreet LA

Street Gourmet L.A

About my early years in Okinawa, Japan

RED CROSS (text donation to help)

Red Cross relief in Japan is more than food and blankets

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Son of a Gun

My First Bites at Shook & Dotolo’s new Son of a Gun Restaurant…

Oysters at Son of a Gun
Oysters on the Half Shell

Cocktails at Son of a Gun
Cocktails: Shaken Pina Colada, Bloody Mary

Shrimp Toast Sandwich at Son of a Gun
Shrimp Toast Sandwich, Herbs, Sriracha Mayo

Fried Chicken Sandwich at Son of a Gun
Fried Chicken Sandwich, Spicy B&B Pickle Slaw, Rooster Aoili

Pink Grouper Pho at Son of a Gun
Pink Grouper, Pho Fumet, Herbs, Lime, Bok Choy

Idaho Trout at Son of a Gun
Idaho Trout, Carrot, Potato, Caper Dill Butter

Frozen Lime Yogurt at Son of a Gun
Frozen Lime Yogurt, Graham Crumble, Toasted Meringue

Cocktails at Son of a Gun
Cocktails: Shaken Pina Colada, Bloody Mary

As chefs Shook & Dotolo recently told Food & Wine Magazine, Son of a Gun will have a primarily seafood-focused menu, and their current ideas include items like bottarga taramasalata; uni with carrot, nettle curry vinaigrette, and apple; pimento cheese fries; and baked clams, “mafia style.” Though there will also be fried chicken, “inspired by Chick-fil-A and Bakesale Betty.” (via LA Weekly)

Front Door close up, at Son of a GunSon of a Gun Restaurant (SOAG)
8370 W. 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 782-9033
Website

Dining Date: 2/28/11 with Peter

Fantastic first dinner at SOAG. My VERY favorites: Shrimp Toast Sandwich, Pink Grouper Pho

Food & Wine

With SOAG Chefs Jon Shook & Vinny Dotolo

Animal Restaurant (their first joint that I LOVE too)

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Firenze Osteria

Bravo’s Top Chef is my very favorite cooking show, and is (in my humble opinion) the BEST chef competition on television. Over the years I’ve been fortunate to get to know a few of the “cheftestants” (links below) and most recently befriended the wonderfully CHARMING Chef Fabio Viviani via twitter.

Firenze Osteria is one of his two Southern California restaurants and is just five minutes away from my house. I’ve had so much fun getting to know Fabio during this current All-Stars season, and can’t wait to see what he’s doing next. I’m personally hoping for some sort of Italian Fusion Burger Bar (Top Chef fans will understand!).

A few of my favorite dishes at Firenze Osteria:

Crostino di Burrata @ Firenze Osteria
Dried Parmesan Bread, Burrata, Brown Butter Sage, Grilled Pancetta

Seared Ahi at Osteria Firenze
Tonno Ahi al Sesamo – Sesame Ahi Tuna Salad: Sesame Encrusted Ahi Tuna Steak, baby Greens, Roasted Asparagus, Roasted Carrots and Cherry Tomatoes, Balsamic Dressing

Pancetta Wrapped Jumbo Shrimp @ Firenze Osteria
Gamberoni in Camicia – Grilled Jumbo Shrimps: Pancetta Wrapped Jumbo Shrimp filled with Gorgonzola over Parmesan Polenta, Garlic Sautéed Spinach

Pan-fried Whitefish at Osteria Firenze
Pan-fried whitefish with fennel, cucumber and farrow slaw

Rib Eye Steak at Osteria Firenze
Bistecca di Bue – Rib Eye: 12 oz Prime Nebraska Rib Eye Steak, Roasted Asparagus & Lemon

Short Rib Ravioli at Osteria Firenze
Ravioli di Brasato – Braised Short Rib Ravioli: Braised Short Rib Ravioli, Melted Taleggio, Aged Moden

 Penne w Spicy Pork Belly at Osteria Firenze
Penne Amatriciana – Penne with Spicy Pork Belly and Onion: Caramelized Cured Pork Belly, Red Onion, White Wine, Tomato, Chilies and Shaved Pecorino Cheese

Desserts @ Firenze Osteria
Desserts! Panna Cotta: Baked Egg-Less Cream with Fresh Strawberries in a Sweet Balsamic Reduction | Limoncello Ricotta Cheesecake: Creamy Ricotta Cheese and Limoncello with a light Graham Cracker Crust | Flourless Chocolate Cake: Warm, Moist Individual Cake, Served with Vanilla Gelato, Chocolate Sauce and Coffee Cream

with 2 SWEETIES @ Firenze Osteria!
With Firenze Osteria Chef Ken Biffar and the fabulous Fabio Viviani

Firenze Osteria
4212 Lankershim Blvd
Toluca Lake, CA 91602
(818) 760-7081
website

Update> “Under $10″ lunch menu

All my Firenze Osteria photos on Flickr

Dishes above shared with: Peter S, Brent V, Nelson C, Dave D, Lisa D, Susan S, Andrew L, Bob M, Paddy C.

Thank you Fabio, Jacopo, Lisa, Ken, Woodrow & Guido!

Top Chef Fabio Viviani (season five & six)

If you’re not familiar with Fabio, check out one of his hilarious video clips (he films himself while watching Top Chef & Tweeting)

Follow Chef Fabio Viviani on Twitter

Follow Firenze Osteria on Twitter

Follow Ken Biffar on Twitter

More Top Chef Photos:
With Chef Michael Voltaggio

With Chef Ludo Lefebvre

With Chef Marcel Vigneron

With Chef Alex Reznik

With Chef José Andrés

With judge Tom Colicchio

With judge Anthony Bourdain

With judge Eric Ripert

With Chef José Andrés

With Chef Rick Bayless

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