Spinning Plates Documentary

spinningplates

Spinning Plates is now available on dvd and digital download. I rented it via iTunes last night and was so moved by the story that I purchased a copy as well. If you’re food-obsessed or just love a great story, definitely take a couple hours out of your day to watch Joseph Levy’s beautiful film. You can watch the trailer here.

About: Spinning Plates is an award winning documentary about three extraordinary restaurants and the incredible people who bring them to life. A world-renowned chef competes for the ultimate restaurant prize in Chicago, while privately battling a life-threatening condition. A 150-year-old restaurant in Iowa is still standing only because of an unbreakable bond with the community. And a fledgling Mexican restaurant in Tucson struggles as its owners risk everything to survive and provide for their young daughter. Their unforgettable stories of family, legacy, passion and survival come together to reveal how meaningful food can be, and the power it has to connect us to one another.

Purchase DVD on Amazon

Rent or Purchase via iTunes

Follow  director Joseph Levy on twitter

Follow Spinning Plates on twitter

Leave a comment

Filed under Little Bites

Trois Mec

Chef Ludo Lefebvre’s Potato Pulp

Trois Mec, 1/27/14

I’ve had the pleasure of eating at Trois Mec restaurant several times, and before each visit I secretly hope the potato pulp is still on the menu. Ludo serves it with brown butter, bonito, onion soubise and salers cheese. Of course brown butter makes anything taste better, but it’s Ludo‘s brilliant use of bonito flakes (aka katsuobushi) that takes the dish to a whole new level. No wonder Jonathan Gold named it one of his 10 best dishes of 2013!

My new favorite (besides the potato) is the luxurious plate of avocado, citrus and crab. Check out the photos from a recent visit here.

Trois Mec
716 N. Highland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
There is no phone for Trois Mec.
For ticket inquiries email info@troismec.com
Website
Note: Trois Mec is an incredibly difficult reservation to get, but absolutely worth the trouble. If you’re interested, review the FAQ page here.

Read Jonathan Gold’s L.A. Times Trois Mec review here.

Follow Chef Ludo on twitter @ChefLudo

Ludo’s personal website

Leave a comment

Filed under Eating Out, Little Bites

Voltaggio’s Monte Cristo Umami Burger

OH YES I DID.

Michael Voltaggio's Monte Cristo Burger
Michael Voltaggio‘s Monte Cristo Burger is made with a beef patty, gruyere fondue, prosciutto and placed on, wait for it… a CUSTARD-SOAKED, DEEP-FRIED BUN. Then it’s topped with powdered sugar and served with a side of maple syrup. Too sweet? Actually, no. I found myself going back to the syrup again and again. The best part? $1 from each burger will go to the Los Angeles Mission!

NOTE: It’s available for a limited time only at Umami Burger (as of 1/28/14) so DON’T MISS IT!

From the press release:
“Michael Voltaggio is one of the best chefs in the nation,” said Adam Fleischman, Founder and Chairman of Umami Restaurant Group. “He’s changed the rules of fine dining in Los Angeles, making it pretty bad-ass.”

The winner of Bravo’s Top Chef Season 6, Michael Voltaggio was named one of Food and Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs in 2013. His flagship restaurant, ink., was named GQ Magazine’s Best New Restaurant in America in 2012. Additionally, Voltaggio’s sandwich shop ink.sack has received widespread acclaim, most recently opening its second outlet inside Los Angeles International Airport’s Tom Bradley International Terminal.

Michael Voltaggio, Chef/Owner ink. & ink.sack said, “I wanted to make a burger that would hit the spot no matter if you’re craving something sweet or savory. This was a fun collaboration with Umami Burger and even better since $1 from every burger sold will benefit the LA Mission. They do a ton of good for people in need and this is a great way to give back.”

4 Comments

Filed under Eating Out, Little Bites

My Old Rice Cooker

My Old Rice Cooker

I’ve been eating a lot of black rice lately, because Dr. Oz said I should.

It’s amazing how a kitchen appliance, like my rice cooker, can bring back so many memories. I purchased it on my Tokyo honeymoon (to ex-hubby) in 1987.

When we split in 1993, I chose the rice cooker and he got the fax machine. My old cooker still makes the most perfect rice.

I wonder how that fax machine is doing?

Leave a comment

Filed under Family Stories, Little Bites

Bacon Potato Chips!

A few years ago I shared photos and a Saveur recipe for delicious Sage Potato Chips. I recently made them again and updated the photos in a set on flickr.

Bacon Potato ChipsWhile trying to come up with a fun snack for the big game on Sunday (Puppy Bowl for me, Super Bowl for Peter), I decided to change-up the recipe with (what else?) BACON.

Before scrolling down, check out the step-by-step Sage Potato Chip photos here. The bacon process is similar.

What you need:

Two large russet potatoes. You should get about 10-15 chips, depending on width of cut.
Five pieces of Bacon.
Oil for frying.
Salt (and thyme if you want).
Mandolin (I use a Kyocera) or use your good knife skills!

Instructions (a few photos below):
1. Clean and dry the potatoes. 

2. Using a mandolin (or sharp knife), make long, even slices of the potato. Make them thick enough so the potato doesn’t tear when inserting the bacon.

3.  Make two cuts (photos below) in the center of the potato to hold the bacon. 

3. Cut five pieces of bacon in half (or maybe in thirds depending on the size of your potato) then pan-fry the bacon until cooked about 50%. Drain and set aside.

4. The potatoes will be cooked TWICE. In a separate pan, heat up oil (just enough to cover the potato slices) to 200 degrees. Fry each potato slice (without the bacon ) for ten seconds each then drain.

5.  After the potato pieces cool down a bit, carefully insert the partially cooked bacon piece into the center cuts.

6. Heat oil to 350 degrees and fry until cooked to your liking.

7. Drain on paper towels and season if you want extra flavor on the potato.

Photos (make sure you’ve looked at these sage potato photos first):

Sage Chips Photo 4 MyLastBite.com
Fry the potato (precut for bacon) in low heat. You want it pliable enough so it doesn’t tear when adding bacon.

Bacon Potato Chips
Insert the partially pre-cooked bacon gently into potato cuts. This is what they look like BEFORE frying the second time.

Bacon Potato Chips
Fry until done to your liking then drain and season (if needed). I also call these “Bacon Sandal Crisps” and served with guacamole.

Chef Dan Barber’s Original Sage Recipe via Saveur

Need MORE bacon?

Bacon on MyLastBite.comHow to make BACON ROSES

Easy BACON ICE CREAM

BACON-Wrapped Baby Potatoes

BACON-Wrapped Breadsticks

How to make a BACON BOWL

Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes

Badmaash Indian Gastropub

I went for the Chicken Tikka Poutine.

Chicken Tikka Poutine at Badmaash

and

Spiced Mango Pork Belly at Badmaash
Spiced Mango Pork Belly

But I loved the traditional Indian dishes too! Badmaash is a fun spot with terrific food and great service. Worth a try the next time you’re in downtown L.A.

More photos here.

BadmaashLA
108 West 2nd Street #104
Los Angeles, California 90012
Telephone: (213) 221-7466

http://badmaashla.com

1 Comment

Filed under Eating Out, Little Bites

AUSTRALIA – Jo Bites Oz, Part Two

Part Two: Atlantic Restaurant – Melbourne, Australia

Part ONE of my Australia adventure here.

This year, the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (MFWF) will celebrate all things water. As noted on the official website, “In 2014 we honour water; soaking, dousing, steaming and fishing our way through a veritable ocean of information from sous vide to sustainability, from the Amazon to the Arctic.”

If you missed my last post, in September I was invited by Tourism Australia to preview some of the festival restaurants, in and around Melbourne. MFWF programs begin on February 28th and run through March 16th. Click here for details.

The Atlantic Restaurant, MelbourneMy first night in Melbourne I attended a dinner at Chef Donovan Cooke’s Atlantic Restaurant, an “ocean to plate” concept that fits in perfectly with the upcoming festival’s water theme. After an early-morning arrival from Los Angeles, plus an afternoon exploring Sichuan food (aka getting lost) in Chinatown… I was ready for an elegant, fine-dining experience.

Yorkshire-born Donovan Cooke has quite a distinguished culinary pedigree, honing his skills under the likes of Marco Pierre White and Michel Roux.

From the Atlantic website:
“He has worked at The Savoy Hotel and the Waterside Inn in London and La Cote St Jacques in Roigny, France. Donovan was Head Chef at the age of 23 at Harvey’s. Donovan came to Melbourne in 1996 where he was co-creator of the influential Est Est Est in 1997. Luxe was next was awarded The Age Good Food Guide three hats in its first year. Ondine followed and it was awarded Best New Restaurant in 2002. From 2004, Donovan was chef de cuisine at Derby Restaurant and Bar at the Hong Kong Jockey Club. In 2005, he was recognized as Honorary Commander, La Commanderie des Cordon bleus de France for outstanding culinary achievements.”

In 2010, Donovan returned to Melbourne to become Executive Chef and partner of The Atlantic. The restaurant theme is inspired by the “hustle and bustle of the fish markets of years gone by, in New York and Chicago.” It’s a beautiful, waterfront location, set on the banks of the Yarra River.

Melbourne Food & Wine describes Donovan as “Intense, earnest and knowledgeable, Donovan Cooke has a reputation for his uncompromising approach to impeccable seafood and the best way to handle it. His Michelin pedigree is undeniable; his skill and technique, faultless.”

And yes, he’s also been on MasterChef Australia!

For this MFWF preview dinner, Chef Scott Pickett (Estelle Bar & Kitchen) was also manning the stoves along with Donovan Cooke. Pickett also has an impressive cooking background, winning Two Chef Hats in the Age Good Food Guide.

Photos – Dinner at The Atlantic Restaurant (9/8/13)

The Atlantic Restaurant, Melbourne
The Atlantic on the banks of the Yarra River.

The Atlantic Restaurant, Melbourne
“Ocean to Plate”. Seafood on display, like a fish market!

The Den (at the Atlantic Restaurant) Melbourne
Cocktails before dinner at the The Den, downstairs from the restaurant. (This photo from Atlantic website)

The Atlantic Restaurant, Melbourne
Wagyu Bresaola, Quail yolk, Heritage Cauliflower by Chef Scott Pickett. You can’t see the quail egg in this photo, but this was such a gorgeous dish. The crunchy chips added a great texture.

The Atlantic Restaurant, Melbourne
Truffled “Chicken Wings”, Hand-Rolled Macaroni, Broccoli Crumbs by Chef Scott Pickett. Pure comfort food. De-boned wings made into sausages. More please.

The Atlantic Restaurant, Melbourne
Olive Oil Confit Ora King Salmon, Spring Vegetables, Diamond Clams, Artichoke Essence, Confit Tomatoes, Soft Herb Emulsion by Chef Donovan Cooke. PERFECTION. He has spent TWO DECADES refining this salmon dish. A fact that’s even posted on his twitter profile.

The Atlantic Restaurant, Melbourne
I had the absolute pleasure of dining (and drinking) next to Coldstream Hills Winemaker, Andrew Fleming. He explained each pairing and made the evening so much fun!
Wine: Coldstream Hills Chardonnay Notes of grapefruit and stone fruit and a creamy mouthfeel.

The Atlantic Restaurant, Melbourne
Wine: Seppelt Chalambar Shiraz  Black fruits with subtle hints of pepper.

The Atlantic Restaurant, Melbourne
Just getting started.

The Atlantic Restaurant, Melbourne
Kitchen Tour (Chef Donovan Cooke at right)

The Atlantic Restaurant, Melbourne
Chef Donovan Cooke (and his tasting spoons)

The Atlantic Restaurant, Melbourne
Hanging out on the line…

The Atlantic Restaurant, Melbourne
Mixed Berry Cheesecake Trifle: Raspberry cheesecake foam, cream cheese ice cream, vanilla cookies, strawberry jelly, berry marmalade by Pastry Chef Rhiannon Voros. Such a shame I only had room for one bite.

The Atlantic Restaurant, Melbourne
More sweets! Nougat, Valrhona White Chocolate, Pistachio Nuts, Cranberries by Pastry Chef Rhiannon Voros. Loved the pistachio.

The Atlantic Restaurant, Melbourne
Scott Pickett (left) and Donovan Cooke. Bad Ass Chefs.

Note: Donovan Cooke will be appearing at the MFWF 2014 Langham Melbourne MasterClass. Info and Tickets

The Atlantic Restaurant
Crown Entertainment Complex
8 Whiteman Street
Southbank VIC 3006
Tel: +61 3 9698 8888
www.theatlantic.com.au

Follow Donovan Cooke on Twitter, FaceBook

Scott Pickett’s Estelle Bar and Kitchen
243 High St, Northcote VIC 3070, Australia
+61 3 9489 4609
www.estellebarkitchen.com.au

Follow Scott Picket on Twitter

Melbourne, Day 1Many thanks to Melbourne Food and WineTourism AustraliaTourism Victoria

If you’re on Instagram, I posted photos every day while in Australia. Just search for #JoBitesOz

Check back soon for more Australia!

Part ONE

Part THREE

Leave a comment

Filed under Eating Out, Travel