My Delicious Summer Read

Ruth Reichl's DELICIOUS
I first read it on my iPad (the moment it was released)…

Ruth Reichl's DELICIOUS
Then again when the hardcover arrived…

Ruth Reichl's DELICIOUS!
At a recent book signing, I picked up another copy as a gift…

Wes Avila's Guerrilla Tacos
Where I inadvertantly discovered my new favorite taco

Ruth Reichl's DELICIOUS!
It was a magical (though scorching) afternoon sipping chilled rosé with the author

Ruth Reichl's DELICIOUS! Book Party
and a few friends

Ruth Reichl's DELICIOUS
I even got to discuss my “fantasy cast” (Emma Stone should play Billie Breslin!)…

Ruth Reichl's DELICIOUS
And talk about how the book hit so close to home…

Ruth Reichl's DELICIOUS
Delicious! A Novel by Ruth Reichl is a wonderful, heartwarming and FUN summer read (and yes, I’m reading it again)!

More photos from the book party.

About the book:

Ruth Reichl's DELICIOUSBillie Breslin has traveled far from her home in California to take a job at Delicious!, New York’s most iconic food magazine. Away from her family, particularly her older sister, Genie, Billie feels like a fish out of water—until she is welcomed by the magazine’s colorful staff. She is also seduced by the vibrant downtown food scene, especially by Fontanari’s, the famous Italian food shop where she works on weekends. Then Delicious! is abruptly shut down, but Billie agrees to stay on in the empty office, maintaining the hotline for reader complaints in order to pay her bills. (more on RuthReichl.com)

Follow @RuthReichl on twitter

Purchase Delicious! the novel

Download on iTunes

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POT

The BOOT KNOCKER (photo below) is a dish made with a long list of ingredients including SPAM, corned beef hash, spicy sausages and instant ramen. It’s POT restaurants’s version of Korean budae jjigae, which means “army stew”.

"Boot Knocker" at Roy Choi's POT RestaurantI know what you’re thinking, that it looks like something you’d eat ONLY when you’re drunk, or possibly to cure that wicked hangover the next morning.

Recently I tried it at lunch, unquestionably sober, and sat gleefully picking out flavors from my childhood.

SPAM always takes me back to my early years in Okinawa, where food was rationed during the Vietnam War. Corned Beef Hash was a regular on my American grandfather’s breakfast table, and I still eat it every once in awhile, cooked almost burnt, with a fried egg on top – just like grandpa made it. And like most, Top Ramen was a life-saver in my early 20s, when I was flat-broke between paychecks. The BOOT KNOCKER tastes like my childhood in a bowl and I loved reliving each bite.

So, which C.I.A.-trained chef would dare serve this on his new L.A. menu? Well, Chef Roy Choi of course. The same genius behind Kogi BBQ, A-Frame, Sunny Spot and Chego. He also wrote “L.A. Son”, a heartfelt immigrant story that I’ve read twice so far.

POT restaurant (named for Korean hot pots and maybe weed) is located at the new, swank LINE HOTEL in Korea-town. Check out a few photos of the hotel here.

Uni Dynamite Rice Bow, Roy Choi's POT Restaurant
If the BOOT KNOCKER isn’t your type of comfort food, there’s always the decadent Uni Dynamite Rice Bowl. My server said they regularly run out of this dish, so grab it when you can.

Noodle of the Day, Roy Choi's POT Restaurant
The NOODLE OF THE DAY was a Chilled Somen Noodle w Various Raw & Pickled Vegetables, Chili Paste, Shredded Beef, Hard Boiled Egg.

BBQ Spicy PORK, Roy Choi's POT Restaurant
If you love pork as much as I do, then a must-order is the SPICY BBQ PORK.

Choi is also a co-producer on Jon Favreau’s new film called (appropriately), “CHEF”. I haven’t seen the movie yet but here’s a link to the trailer. You can also check out details at my friend Eddie Lin’s blog. Warning: SPOILER ALERT.

If you’re a fan of the film and near Korea-town on Thursday May 15th, Roy is hosting a popup at POT (serving Cubano sandwiches) to celebrate the movie.

Roy Choi's POT RestaurantPOT Restaurant
(Inside The Line Hotel)
3515 Wilshire Blvd
Koreatown
Los Angeles
213-381-7411
website

Follow Chef Roy Choi on twitter

Follow POT on twitter

All my POT photos here, including some serious drunk-eats at the Line Hotel Cafe.

 

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Tipple & Brine

My latest Jonathan Gold scouting report is up on L.A. Times! Tipple & Brine is a terrific new spot in Sherman Oaks. Read my report (with photos) here.
My Tipple & Brine scouting report for Jonathan Gold, L.A. Times (5/1/14)

All my Tipple & Brine photos here.

Links to my other scouting reports here.

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SPAGO

It may be a surprise to some, but I don’t attend very many hosted (free) dinners. Like most food writers, I get email invites from restaurant PR firms often, and if I wanted to, I could eat gratis (lunch AND dinner) practically every day of the week.

SPAGO, Beverly HillsThe fact is, Peter and I are happy to pay for good food and love supporting chefs and restaurants, especially here in Los Angeles.

From a local burger joint to the best restaurant in town, we enjoy (and usually pay for) it all. We don’t have children (except our pups of course!), so our disposable income goes towards food and travel.

Throughout the year we’ll attend a few “friends and family” meals (restaurant pre-opening dinners), grand openings and the occasional new menu preview. In exchange for blog coverage (more importantly, twitter coverage), we have the pleasure of sharing a beautiful meal at the courtesy of the restaurant. NOTE: We ALWAYS make sure to leave a hefty tip for the staff.

Wolfgang Puck’s legendary SPAGO restaurant went through a major remodel in 2012, so I was thrilled to get an invite for Peter and myself recently.

About the remodel (from Spago’s website):
Wolfgang Puck and Barbara Lazaroff’s legendary, flagship restaurant features a completely new menu and design. The master chef, along with Executive Chef and Managing Partner Lee Hefter, has re-invented the entire menu with his signature farm-to-table philosophy, heightening the iconic California cuisine Puck catapulted to stardom. Spago’s new design from Waldo Fernandez complements the food with its clean and simple aesthetic, incorporating natural elements to add an organic feel.

The California Tasting Menu was, as expected, quite exquisite. My favorite dish was actually the one I was LEAST excited about when perusing the menu. If you’re dining at SPAGO and see “Savory Oatmeal” listed anywhere, please do not dismiss it like I did. I still can’t stop thinking about the comforting texture (from the wild nettle), the subtle spiciness (from the ‘Nduja) mixed together with the uni’s awesomely, creamy funk.

Hoping to spoil mom for Mother’s Day? Check out the incredible brunch menu (with over 25 choices) here. Dishes include Ricotta-Lemon Blintzes with Wild Huckleberry Compote (for her sweet tooth) and Veal Filet Mignon Tartare with Warm Tarragon Vinaigrette. The cost is $70 per person for three courses (a bargain at SPAGO!), $35 per child (under 9 years).  This is the only brunch scheduled for the entire year and begins at 11am until 2:30pm, Sunday, May 11, 2014.

My photos from SPAGO’s Spring “California Tasting Menu”

Bread Service at SPAGO, Beverly Hills
Bread service includes the lavash cracker with pumpkin seeds.

Sterling Farm's White Sturgeon Caviar, SPAGO
Sterling Farm’s White Sturgeon Caviar with “Sunny side up egg” (egg white caviar, egg yolk jam), Rye Crisp, Potato Chip Espuma.

California Abalone, Nagatoshi Farm's Cucumber Sorbet at SPAGO, Beverly Hills
California Abalone, Nagatoshi Farm’s Cucumber Sorbet with Clarified Gazpacho.

California Abalone, Nagatoshi Farm's Cucumber Sorbet at SPAGO, Beverly Hills
Closeup shot.

White Nettle Savory Oatmeal w Uni  at SPAGO, Beverly Hills
White Nettle Savory Oatmeal w Uni, ‘Nduja Sausage, Mushroom Emulsion, Garlic Flower.

White Nettle Savory Oatmeal w Uni  at SPAGO, Beverly Hills
Another photo of the uni oatmeal.

"Arare" Rice Cracker Crusted Santa Barbara Spot Prawn at SPAGO, Beverly Hills
“Arare” Rice cracker-crusted Santa Barbara Spot Prawns, Thai Red Curry, Coconut Emulsion, Eggplant Compote, Cilantro Blossom, Basil Caviar. 

Hand Made Agnolotti  at SPAGO, Beverly Hills
Hand Made Agnolotti with McGrath Farm’s English Peas, Parmigiana Reggiano.

Genmai Tea Smoked Liberty Duck Breast at SPAGO, Beverly Hills
Genmai Tea Smoked Liberty Duck Breast with Burdock Root, Fava Beans, Wild Flowers, Miso Cured Egg Yolk Powder.

Sonoma Spring Lamb Rack at SPAGO, Beverly Hills
Sonoma Spring Lamb Rack and Braised Bell with Spring Vegetables, Cumin-Carrot Puree.

A few of the wines on Spago's Spring Tasting Menu
A few of the wines on Spago’s Spring Tasting Menu:
Caraccioli Brut Rose paired with abalone.
Wind Gap Trousseau Gris paired with savory oatmeal & uni.
Galerie Sauv Blanc paired with prawn.
Wenzlau Chardonnay paired with agnolotti.
Black Kite Pinot Noir paired with duck.
Araujo Cabernet paired with lamb.

Unfortunately I was too full for sweets! (Lucky Peter!)

SPAGO
176 North Canon Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 385-0880
website

Dining date: 4/23/14

California (April 2014) Tasting Menu $145 pp
California Wine $75 pp

This meal was hosted.

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Gladioli Restaurant – Jo Bites Oz, Part Four

For the past few months I’ve been sharing photos from my wonderful trip to Australia here on the blog. Previous “Jo Bites Oz” posts include a Virgin Australia surprise upgrade (part 1), spectacular salmon in Melbourne (part 2) and a caffeinated Coffee and Café Culture Tour (part 3).

As a guest of Tourism Australia, most of my time was spent in Melbourne (with fellow writers and journalists) previewing the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, which was held in February and March.

An excursion to the Bellarine Peninsula included a beautiful lunch at Gladioli Restaurant, in the sleepy township of Inverleigh. It’s only an hour’s drive from Melbourne (just 20 minutes west of Geelong) and definitely worth experiencing if you’re planning a trip Down Under.

Chef Matt Dempsey’s food at Gladioli is described as “modern Australian” with a “focus on local produce”. He began cooking at seventeen and his lengthy work experience includes a stint at Heston Blumenthal’s renowned Fat Duck in Bray, England. Numerous awards include best new regional restaurant in the 2013 The Age Good Food Guide.

Jo Bites Oz, Part 4
PHOTOS from lunch (5-course tasting menu) at Gladioli Restaurant

Gladioli Restaurant
Gladioli Entrance

Watermelon w Beetroot jelly, chèvre mousse, chicken cracker at Gladioli Restaurant
Watermelon with Beetroot Jelly, Chèvre Mousse, Chicken Cracker

Carrots, Raisin, Olive Oil, Chestnut at Gladioli Restaurant
Carrots, Raisin, Olive Oil Powder, Chestnut

Prawn, Mussel, Radish, Miso, Green Tea at Gladioli Restaurant
Prawn, Mussel, Radish, Miso, Green Tea

Pork, Horseradish, Pear, Mustard at Gladioli Restaurant
Pork, Horseradish, Pear, Mustard

Chickpea Croquettes w Radish and Lentils at Gladioli Restaurant
Chickpea Croquettes with Radish and Lentils

Pumpkin Filo at Gladioli Restaurant
Pumpkin Filo

Apple, Scones, Cream at Gladioli Restaurant
Apple, Scones, Cream

Farrside by Far Pinot Noir (2011) at Gladioli Restaurant
Farrside by Far Pinot Noir (2011) at Gladioli Restaurant

Gladioli Restaurant
Strolling through the beautiful back garden

Gladioli Restaurant

Gladioli
14 High Street
Inverleigh VIC 3321
AUSTRALIA
Tel: +61 3 5265 1111
Website

Follow the chef on twitter @MattDempseyChef

Gladioli on twitter

Gladioli on FaceBook

All my Gladioli photos on flickr

Read about Chef Dempey’s Tulip restaurant here.

Dining date: 9/11/13 (the meal was gratis).

Many thanks to Melbourne Food and WineTourism AustraliaTourism Victoria

Jo Bites Oz: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

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Faith and Flower

Faith and Flower restaurant opens tonight (3/31/14) in downtown L.A. It’s beautiful, quite plush but not too pricey for such a grand space.

Faith & Flower main dining room before openingTwo of my favorite dishes were the Eggs Benedict Pizza topped with Smoked Bacon, Spinach, Hollandaise Sauce and also the Oxtail Agnolotti with Bone Marrow Butter, Tangerine Salsa and Beef Tendon Chicharrones.

I still can’t stop thinking about the English Milk Punch Cocktail. It’s made with a milk clarification, which takes three days to make. Ingredients include Appleton & Bacardi 8 Rums, Bulleit Bourbon, Batavia Arrack, Pernod Absinthe, Pineapple and Sencha Tea. 

Read all about the opening here at L.A. Times.

I’ve posted lots of photos from last night’s preview dinner here. Enjoy!

Faith and Flower website

Follow Faith and Flower on twitter

Faith and Flower on FB

Huge CONGRATS to my friend (and co-owner) Stephane Bombet. You’ve done it again Stephane!

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All-Star Chef Classic 2014

AllStarChefClassicGrillChillSavor Last weekend Peter and I attended the first-ever All-Star Chef Classic in downtown Los Angeles. It was such a spectacular event for chef fans like us, and even though we only made it to two out of four events (having just returned from Scotland), we both had a super, delicious weekend.

Highlights included meeting out-of-town chefs Paul Qui, Wylie Dufresne and Graham Elliot, and watching L.A. legend Josiah Citrin cooking in the enormous restaurant stadium. Tuna with Sesame Tofu

There were (obviously) so many delicious bites, including Jennifer Jasinski’Cardamom Brined Pork BellyLudo Lefebvre’s Beef and Charred Broccoli, Paul Qui’s Cabbage with Crispy Chicken Skin, and Kuniko Yagi’Tuna with Sesame TofuMany more tasty photos here.

Huge CONGRATULATIONS to the event co-founders, Krissy Lefebvre and Lucy Lean!

We are SO looking forward to making it to ALL the events next year!

All-Star Chef Classic website

All my photos from “Grill and Chill” and “Savor The Season”  

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Filed under Food Events (festivals, classes, etc.), Little Bites