Tag Archives: Chefs

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

L.A. Chefs Volunteering at L.A. Food Bank!

Read all about it over at L.A. Bites Hunger!

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Chef Ludo’s New Show!

What a lineup! Ludo stars along with two of my long-time culinary heroes… BOURDAIN and NIGELLA!

TheTasteLudoBourdainNigella

Four culinary masters get down to what really matters, The Taste! Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lefebvre & Brian Malarkey will each coach a team of 4 cooks, consisting of professional chefs and home cooks whom they will hand pick based on a blind taste challenge. Throughout the season, their mentors will prepare them for challenges in creating dishes that will ultimately be judged by the superstar chefs in blind taste tests. One cook will be left standing to take home The Taste trophy along with a new Ford C-Max and $100,000! 

Premieres Tuesday, January 22 at 8|7c on ABC!

LudoBitches will be live-tweeting during each episode. Follow us at @LudoBitches!

The Taste on FaceBook

Follow The Taste on Twitter

Follow Ludo on Twitter

Follow Bourdain on Twitter

Follow Nigella on Twitter

Follow Brian on Twitter

TheTasteFBLudoBourdainNigella

 

Photos via The Taste

My photos with Ludo

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Filed under Little Bites

Thanks HuffPo!

In Huffington Post!

Many thanks to Lien Ta for the Huffington Post interview on “Culinarians Day”!

Article on Huffington Post

Extended article on Lien’s website

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Great Chefs of L.A. 2009

Last year, just a few days before the Great Chefs of L.A. event, I came down with a wretched stomach flu. By the morning of the actual event, I felt good enough to attend but my tummy wasn’t fully recovered yet.

Since my husband Peter was out of town on business, I planned on skipping the event altogether. Our $300 donation ($150 each) would still go to the Southern California National Kidney Cancer Foundation, and that was the most important part anyway.

But then I thought about the FOOD, the restaurants, and ALL the celebrity chefs I’d be missing. Could I really have fun at a food event, in the event that I couldn’t EAT the food?

The answer is yes. I made a quick call to my nephew Cody (who thankfully wasn’t working that morning), and an hour later we were strolling the backlot at CBS studio. I took lots of photos and tried a few bites, while Cody ate like only a fire-fighter-in-training could eat. He happily ate EVERYTHING, which of course made me happy too!

For this year’s Great Chefs of L.A., I was honored with a press pass and more importantly, a very hungry (and healthy) tummy! Peter bought a discounted ticket ($75 instead of $150) on GoldStar.com, and we both skipped breakfast to prepare for an afternoon feast.

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009Basically we tried to have a bite at each restaurant table (starting on the right side of the street) and slowly made our way around the event. We missed a few dishes, but also returned several times to have more of our favorites.

It was fun to run into my friends at the Bazaar. It’s been awhile since I’ve eaten there (since Michael Voltaggio left) but Peter and I will be heading back to the Rojo room this weekend, to try out all the new dishes on the menu.

Chef Marcel Vigneron was also at the event. If you’re not a Top Chef fan (like me), Marcel was runner-up on season two. When I first met him last year at the Bazaar, I told him how much he annoyed me, when I watched him on Top Chef. His confidence came off as arrogance, and he was the “character” that I (as well as most of America) loved to hate.

After I got to know Marcel, I realized that off camera he is NOTHING like how he is portrayed on TV. He’s an absolute sweetheart, and it bugs me that he gets a bad rap. We talked for a bit about current (super exciting but I can’t talk about it) projects he’s working on, and his upcoming guest-chef stint at BreadBar (which of course I can talk about and have linked below).

One of the main reasons I love going to food events (besides donating to charity) is to try out food from eateries I haven’t been to yet. Restaurants that are on my very lengthy “To Do” list, like Saddlepeak Lodge and EAST (which had my absolute favorite bite of the day). The Great Chefs of L.A. event brings together all these things, and it’s one I’ll return to year after year.

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
“Green” Carpet Hostess (ADORABLE, from Top Chef season 1) Chef Candace Kumai (The Stiletto Chef)

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Hungry Crowd!

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Gaspacho Andaluz by Bokado restaurant (Chef Frank Leon).

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Chef Frank Leon of La Loggia and Bokado restaurant.

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Pintxo de Pollo/ Lamb by Frank Leon of La Loggia and Bokado restaurant.

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Short Rib Grilled Cheese w/ Onion Marmalade and Bel Paese Cheese, Truffled Potato Chips by Govind Armstrong, 8 oz Burger

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Border Grill Truck

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Border Grill’s Avocado Taco: chipotle salsa, creamy corn relish, pickled onion.

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Ceviche, Border Grill

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Sushi Poppers (I’m a sucker for ANYTHING on a stick!)

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Peter trying a Sushi Popper.

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
The SUPER FAB Chef Jimmy Shaw of Loteria Grill.

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Chef Neal Fraser’s Braised Veal Shortribs with Polenta

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Chef Celestino Drago’s Duck Sandwich, Butternut Squash Soup

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
SaddlePeak Lodge’s Grilled Nilgai Antelope w/ Cabbage, Bacon, Apple and Black Garlic

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Bottega Louie’s Brie, Blood Orange & Watercress Paninis and Roasted Grape Tomatoes, Burrata & Pesto Salad

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
The lovely Josie (UncouthGourmands) with chef Celestino Drago

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Baked Spaghetti wrapped with Eggplant, served on a bed of tomato basil sauce, topped with mozzarella by chef Giacomino Drago at Il Pastaio

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Mr. Cecils Big Beef Ribs & St. Louis Style Pork Ribs

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
George Lopez, spokesperson for the National Kidney Foundation

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
George Lopez, with Chefs of Honor, Neal Fraser and Mary Sue Milliken

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Akasha’s Beer Braised Niman Ranch Short Ribs, Betty Kennedy’s Plum-Mustard Chutney

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Scallops on the 1/2 shell, Lemongrass sambal, wasabi creme fraiche, shiso dust, micro cilantro by Chef Kevin Alan, East Restaurant (my favorite of the day!)

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Hawaiian Walu: Miso mustard cream, micro wasabi, chive essence, smoked chardonnay sea salt by Chef Kevin Alan, East Restaurant

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Strawberrylicious Cupcakes by Leyna’s Kitchen

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Adorable (and SWEET!) Cupcake Girls

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Making the Liquid Nitrogen Caipirinha from The Bazaar by José Andrés, SLS Hotel.

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Liquid Nitrogen Caipirinha from The Bazaar by José Andrés, SLS Hotel.

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Peter chatting with Marcel

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Me and Marcel

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Auction Goodies

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
The Awesome Gift Bags (including a fresh pomegranate!)

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Contents (including fantastic coupons for wine, hair salons, headshot photo session and margaritas at Border Grill!)

All my photos on Flickr

Mentioned Above:

Great Chefs of L.A. 2008

SoCal Kidney Foundation

Marcel Vigneron

BreadBar Hatchi Series

Goldstar

East Restaurant

Saddlepeak Lodge

UncouthGourmands.com

The Stiletto Chef

Thanks to Nancy Huang, Slife PR

great chefs of L.A. Great Chefs of LA Los Angeles

Details about Great Chefs of LA:

George Lopez Hosts The Great Chefs of Los Angeles
“Go Green, Go Organic” Food & Wine Benefit at CBS Studios

The 23rd Annual Great Chefs of Los Angeles brings together L.A.’s top tastemakers for an afternoon of food, wine, music and auctions to benefit the National Kidney Foundation of Southern California. GCLA draws more than 500 people each year, and has raised more than $4.5 million for the foundation since its inception in 1987. The recently introduced “Go Green, Go Organic” theme promotes eco-conscious living and sustainability, utilizing organic foodstuffs and eco-friendly products throughout the festivities.

WHO: George & Ann Lopez

National Kidney Foundation spokesman George Lopez, a kidney disease survivor, and his wife and kidney donor Ann Lopez, will host the afternoon’s festivities as Honorary Chairs. “Usually I don’t eat, but when I eat, I eat GREEN!” quips George Lopez. The actor/comedian will host Great Chefs just a day before the premiere of his late night show Lopez Tonight,” premiering on Nov. 9 at 11/10c on TBS.

Chefs of Honor Neal Fraser (Grace, BLD) and Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger (Border Grill, Ciudad) lead a stellar lineup of top toques from Los Angeles. The Chefs of Honor will present awards to their fellow participating chefs to spotlight the use of local, organic and sustainable ingredients. Hostess Chef Candice Kumai, The Stiletto Chef of TLC’s “Cook Yourself Thin,” will serve as emcee for the event and auction.

CHEFS:
Featured chefs include:
* Adam Horton, Saddlepeak Lodge
* Akasha Richmond, Akasha
* Andrea Cavaliere, Cecconi’s
* Benjamin Ford, Ford’s Filling Station
* Bob Lynn, La Grande Orange
* Brian Moyers, BLT Steak
* Calogero Drago, Celestino Ristorante & Panzanella
* Celestino Drago, Drago Restaurant, Enoteca Drago, Il Pastaio, Drago Centro
* Chris Moran, Events D’Elegance
* David Linville, Charlie’s Malibu
* Frank Leon, LaLoggia Ristorante & Bokado
* Keven Alan Lee, EAST Restaurant & Lounge
* Giacomino Drago, Il Pastaio
* Govind Armstrong, 8 oz.
* Jason Johnston, Dakota
* Jesse Perez, Fuego at Hotel Maya
* Jimmy Shaw, Loteria Grill
* Joachim Weritz, Moonshadows
* Jonathan Burrows, Mr. Cecil’s California Ribs
* Jorge Chicas, The Bazaar – SLS Hotel
* Josie Le Balch, Josie Restaurant
* Margarito Cid, Harry’s Oklahoma Style Smokehouse BBQ
* Mary Sue Milliken & Susan Feniger, Border Grill & Ciudad Restaurants
* Michael Fiorelli, mar’sel
* Neal Fraser, Grace & BLD
* Paolo Sicuro, Via Alloro
* Roberto Maggioni, Lago
* Sam Marvin & Christopher Goossen, Bottega Louie Restaurant & Gourmet Market
* Simon Dolinky, BLVD 16 at Hotel Palomar
* Steven Fretz, XIV
* Tanino Drago, Tanino Ristorante & Panzanella Ristorante
* Yoji Tajima, SHU – Sushi House Unico
* Leyna’s Kitchen

Wines and beverages will be provided by:
Wines
* Barone Fine Winery
* Buttonwood Farm Winery
* Crossings, New Zealand
* Duckhorn Wine Company
* Frank Family Vineyards
* FIFTYROW
* Golden State Wine Co.
* Grgich Hills Estate
* Jaffe Estate Wine
* Jack Wines
* Jocelyn Lonen Winery
* Kunde Estate Winery
* L’Aventure Winery
* Laetitia Vineyard & Winery
* Loring Wine Co.
* Quinta do Castro
* Regal Wine Co.
* Sterling Organics
* Trefethen Family Vineyards
* Vega Sicilia
* Villa Franttina

Champagnes
* Remy Cointreau USA
* Charles Heidsieck
* Piper-Hiedsieck
Spirits
* VeeV Açai Spirit
* Tequila Ocho
* RIGHT Gin

Beers
* Budweiser American Ale
* Bud Light Wheat
* Fireman’s Brew
* Hoegaarden
* Leffe Blonde
* O’Douls
* Michelob Ultra Light
* Michelob Amber Bock
* Shock Top Belgian White
* Stella Artois

Other Beverages
* Bonadea
* IZZE Beverage Company
* Lupicia Fresh Tea
* POM Wonderful
* Smartwater
* Weaver’s Coffee & Tea

GO GREEN:
Get Hip Get Green, an eco-conscious leader in producing stylish reusable bags, totes and water bottles, sponsor the GCLA “944 Get Hip Get Green” Lounge, outfitted with environmentally friendly lounge furniture provided by Girari Sustainable Furnishing. VeeV Açai Spirit, a leading distiller in promoting social responsibility in the beverage industry, will pour cocktails at the “Go Green Go Organic” Spirits Bar. Guests will use biodegradable utensils by Sysco’s Eco Company line.

Guests will receive Get Hip Get Green’s reusable gift totes stuffed with $250 worth of goodies from leading green and eco-friendly companies, including LaRocca Skincare, Healing Skin, Utter Cream, Eco-Panda, Herbal Water, Nelson J Salon, Alterna, OPI, Explorer’s Bounty, Celtic Sea Salt, Edward & Sons Trading Co., Pop Chips, Robert’s American Gourmet and Little Laura’s Sweets, among many others.

WHEN:
Sunday, November 8, 2009
12 to 3:30 p.m.

WHERE:
CBS Studio Center
4024 Radford Dr.
Studio City, CA 91604

AUCTION:
Featured items for this year’s live auction include a Maurice Lacroix Limited Edition 999 Watch, a private dinner party courtesy of Neal Fraser paired with wine from Frank Family Vineyards, a Border Grill Truck Party for 25, a La Loggia party for 25, two round-trip business class tickets on American Airlines to one of their European destinations, and a five-night stay at Aurelio-Lech, a brand new luxury ski lodge in Austria. The silent auction will include items such as a sports memorabilia, travel packages to international destinations and numerous wine and spirits packages.

About the Kidney Foundation of Southern California
The National Kidney Foundation is the major voluntary health organization dedicated to preventing kidney disease, improving the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by kidney disease and increasing the availability of all organs for transplantation. Through its offices nationwide, the foundation conducts programs in research, professional education, patient and community services, public education and organ donation.

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Taste of the Nation 2009

TasteBanner1

What exactly is Taste of the Nation?

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite“Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation Los Angeles is one of 55 events across America dedicated to ending hunger in America. Each summer, LA’s hottest chefs and mixologists donate their time, talent and passion at the Taste of the Nation event at Media Park in Culver City to raise the critical funds needed to end childhood hunger by supporting our local recipients.” more info

Tickets cost $125 this year. Where does the money go?

“In Los Angeles, 100% of ticket sales will be divided among five charities that are working to end hunger. Among them are Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger & Homelessness.” more info

Was it worth it?

ABSOLUTELY. Besides supporting the wonderful cause, we got to eat some delicious samples from some of L.A.’s top dining spots including (to name a few): Akasha, Angeli Caffe, Animal, The Bazaar, Beso, BLT, Church & State, Craft, Fig, Ford’s Filling Station, Fraiche/Riva, Gelato Bar, Grace/BLD, Jar, Katsuya, Mozza, Rivera, XIV Michael Mina and more!

If you missed it this year, please enjoy these photos… and definitely think about joining the fun in 2010.

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite
The first booth at Taste of the Nation? My pals at the Bazaar!

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
The Bazaar’s Jamon Iberico

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite
The Bazaar’s Felix Meana next to the Liquid Nitrogen!

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite
Lucas Paya making the Nitro Margarita with Salt Air

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite
Nitro Margaritas with Salt Air

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite
Tomatos with Liquid Mozzerella Pipettes, Liquid Olives “Ferran Adria”

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite
The Bazaar’s Chef Jorge Chicas

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite
First row of restaurants at Taste of the Nation

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Ford’s Filling Station’s Booth

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Ford’s Filling Station’s Meyer Angus Beef Sliders with Hook Cheddar Cheese

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Confit Duck with Farro and Cherry by Fig Restaurant

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Locanda Del Lago’s Vitello Tonnato: Roasted and Sliced Veal Tenderloin in Creamy Tuna-Caper Aioli

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite
The always cheerful Chef Walter Manzke (Church at State) with his awesome PIG burgers!!

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Rivera’s BEAUTIFUL Tortillas Florales with Verde Shrimp Salsa by Chef John Sedlar

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
On the grill: Rivera’s Tortillas Florales

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Katsuya’s deep-fried roll of Tuna & Foie Gras with micro greens

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Katsuya’s Tuna Chirashi

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
XIV – Michael Mina’s Sweet Corn Soup (with pork belly)

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Craft’s CRISPY Pork Belly with Summer Corn and Tomato Medley

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Nobu’s Famous Miso Marinated Black Cod with Butter Lettuce

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Lobster with Caviar and Potato Gaufrettes

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Simon LA’s Ahi Tuna with Fava Bean Puree and Tomato Olive sauce

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Gelato Bar’s Allessandro Fontana, Gail Silverton and Joel Gutman (love the Lemon-Basil)

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Akasha Restaurant’s Meyer’s Hanger Steak, Mcgrath Farms Red Butter Lettuce, Heirloom Tomato, Mustard Oil, Shaft Blue Cheese Bacon Dressing

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Chef Akasha Richmond of Akasha Restaurant.

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Jar’s Chef Suzanne Tracht (currently on Top Chef Masters) : Roasted Pork Belly with watermelon salad

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Jar’s Crispy Roasted Pork Belly

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Animal’s Amberjack, Nectarine, Jalapeno, Citrus and Mint

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
My favorite dessert in Los Angeles! Mozza’s Butterscotch Budino (with the rosemary pinenut cookie on the side). It’s sweet, it’s salty and the cookie crunch make it perfection!

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Mozza’s Nancy Silverton in photo.

Event Date: Sunday June 14, 2009

Share Our Strength / Taste of the Nation

Los Angeles Regional Food Bank

Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger & Homelessness

Suzanne Tracht on Top Chef Masters

Akasha  |  Angeli Caffe  |  Animal  |  Bazaar

Beso  |  BLT  |  Church & State (website error)

Craft  |  Fig  |  Ford’s Filling Station

Fraiche  |  Gelato Bar  |  Grace  |  Jar

Katsuya  |  Mozza  |  Rivera  |  XIV Michael Mina

All my Taste of the Nation ’09 Photos on Flickr

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Gourmet Institute (save the date)!

The official dates for the 2009 GOURMET INSTITUTE event in NYC.

SAVE THE DATES: October 23-25, 2009.

Peter and I had a great time when we went, especially mingling with the likes of Eric Ripert and the great Mario Batali!

Peter & Ripert, MyLastBite.com  With Mario Batali, MyLastBite.com

Check out the promo video from last year. I was totally surprised to see myself and Peter featured on the video! Actually, him more than me… I’m standing behind him (tipsy from wine tasting!) when he’s speaking on camera.

Promo Video

Gourmet Institute

I’m definitely going again this year!

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Domenico Ristorante

Finally, Domenico Ristorante in Silver Lake is open!

I first met the restaurant’s executive chef last December, when I attended a molecular gastronomy class he taught at Sur la Table (at the Grove). Chef Michael Young spoke about his passion for Italian cooking, but the various classes I took from him were mostly about making groovy foams and far-out spherifications. I was really looking forward to trying his authentic, Italian FOOD, not just the modern recipes we made together in class. And finally, five months later, I got my first taste.

Domenico Ristorante, MyLastBite.comAfter making the reservation for Saturday night, I suddenly felt a little nervous. What if, by chance, I didn’t like Chef Young’s cooking? Just because I thought he was a great instructor and could make perfect fruit “caviar”, didn’t automatically mean that he’d be a great chef too.

The motto for my blog is: “If I like it, I share it… If I don’t, I don’t!”. Which means, if I don’t like something I’ve tasted on a restaurant’s menu, then I simply don’t write about that particular dish. Someone once told me that I’m “doing a disservice to the public” if I only write about positive experiences, but that’s just who I am, and I want my site to reflect that. I feel so grateful that I get to eat at all these wonderful places, and my favorite part (besides the actual eating) is sharing all the tasty photos. Plus, I figure with so many bloggers writing about the same restaurants in Los Angeles, it’s easy to figure out what dishes NOT to order.

Domenico Ristorante, MyLastBite.comWe had a 7pm reservation on Saturday night, but Peter and I arrived early so I could take a few photos of the restaurant exterior. Our friends Julian and Wendy joined us a few minutes later, and soon we were nibbling on fried olives and sipping glasses of luscious primitivo wine. The restaurant doesn’t have a liquor licence yet, but you can bring in your own wine with no cover charge (for the time being).

A Mano primitivo wine is our favorite Italian red, and we first learned about it from the great Mario Batali himself. He recommended it during a seminar we went to in New York, and it’s been a staple in our home ever since. Not only is it deliciously robust (think zinfandel), but at $10 a bottle we can afford to drink it all the time.

Looking over the menu, I wasn’t sure what to order at first. Domenico Ristorante is so new that I found barely a “yelp” online. One thing I did read about was the “wild boar ragu” so I definitely wanted to try that, but overall I felt lost without my regular “must order” list for the evening. Peter was in worse shape than me, since he never even looks at a menu when we go out. I’ve usually selected what we’re sharing ahead of time, and he actually likes not having the pressure of deciding.

The restaurant’s owner, Domenico Frasca, must have noticed we were a bit perplexed, and asked, “would you like the chef to select dishes for you”? The four of us giggled with anticipation as we handed over the menus. We spent the next three hours happily working our way through Prosciutto Riserva, Fried Parmesan with Balsamic, Crudo of Scottish Halibut, Risotto with Winter Truffle, Rootbeer-braised Kobe Beef, the Wild Boar Ragu and more!

Dinner wasn’t just “great”, the entire evening was exceptional: From the sexy decor (white, leather banquets), to the gorgeous waiters (I only remember Paolo’s name because he wrote it down along with the name of a pasta), to the friendly and cordial Domenico himself. Of course, it’s Chef Michael Young’s cooking that will have me coming back for more, and you can bet I’ll be trying each and every positively delicious bite on the menu!

Domenico Ristorante, MyLastBite.com
Menu

Domenico Ristorante, MyLastBite.com
Charcuterie: Salame Felino, Parmigiano Stravecchio, Prosciutto Riserva,Parma Butter, Horseradish Pesto and Mostarda Mantovana

Domenico Ristorante, MyLastBite.com
Fluke: Crudo of Scottish Halibut, Tuscan Chickpea Salad

Domenico Ristorante, MyLastBite.com
Fried Parmigiano with 30 yr old Balsamic Vinegar

Domenico Ristorante, MyLastBite.com
Pastificio Gragnano Fusilloni with Wild Boar Ragu

Domenico Ristorante, MyLastBite.com
Risotto with Asparagus, Black Winter Truffle and Quail egg

Domenico Ristorante, MyLastBite.com
Rootbeer -braised Kobe Short Rib, Sweet Corn Polenta, Horseradish Foam

Domenico Ristorante, MyLastBite.com
Torta della nonna (Ricotta Pinenut Tart)

Domenico Ristorante, MyLastBite.com
Rasberry chocolate tart, Chantilly cream, Rasberry Sugar

Domenico Ristorante, MyLastBite.com
a peek at the interior

Domenico Ristorante, MyLastBite.com
Chef Michael Young speaking to my husband Peter

Domenico Ristorante, MyLastBite.com
Chef Eliaza

Domenico Ristorante, MyLastBite.com
In the kitchen with Chef Eliazar and Domenico Executive Chef Michael Young

Domenico Ristorante
1637 Silver Lake Blvd. Los Angeles, CA  90026

Website

(323) 661-6166

Dining Date: 5/9/09

More about Chef Michael Young

Molecular Gastronomy Class

Sur la Table Classes (locations & calendar)

A Mano Primitivo Wine 

Mario Batali

On L.A. Times

The Grove

About Silver Lake

Domenico Ristorante on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Eating Out

Akasha

I thought Akasha Restaurant was a vegan restaurant. Looking back in my 2008 calendar, I actually made several dinner reservations, then postponed going because I thought the meal would consist of only organic veggies.

It’s not that I don’t like my vegetables because I do. It’s just that I simply HATE the idea of going to a place that only serves things like portobello mushroom burgers and quinoa pudding.

To be perfectly frank, I think I got confused because I kept reading that Akasha was a “green” restaurant. Some of the amazing “green facts” listed on their website include:

FOOD
Sources: Farms, ranches and fisheries that are guided by the principles of sustainability, local produce whenever possible.

Standards: Natural and organic ingredients with no artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, trans fats, nitrates, hormones or antibiotics.

BEVERAGE
Water: In-house water purified and bottled with the Natura system.

Spirits, Wine & Beer: Many organic, sustainable and bio-dynamic selections on list.

BUILDING AND DÉCOR
Materials: American Clay, no VOC paint, sustainable insulation recycled ceiling material, reclaimed finishes, recycled glass tile, reclaimed barn wood recycled fiberglass insulation, beeswax finishes, local limestone.

Furniture: Organic leather, hemp fabric, sustainable wood.

Bathrooms: Reclaimed wood stalls, waterless urinals, auto shut off sinks, biodegradable soap, high post-consumer toilet paper / paper towels.

UNIFORMS
Jeans: Levis Eco 100% organic cotton jeans

Shirts & Tee Shirts: 100% organic cotton

PAPER GOODS
To-Go Cutlery: Wheatware™, biodegradable, made from wheat (link to complete list below).

Yes, Akasha Restaurant is “green”, and downright beautiful as well. But Akasha restaurant is NOT, and has never been a vegan restaurant. 

They serve BEEF (hell, yes!): The best short-ribs I’ve ever had, cooked “asian-style” with star anise and ginger.

They also serve lamb: Decadent little Niman Ranch lamb sliders topped with feta and tomato chutney. And fyi… I’m not a big lamb fan, but I would order Akasha’s mini lamb burgers again and again.

The two seafood dishes I tried were fantastic. Perfectly seared albacore and wild pepper scallops with forbidden black rice risotto.

Quinoa? Yep, it’s on the menu, but I didn’t order it on my first visit. Maybe next time, but only if I’m having a big, comforting plate of juicy, pork chops as well!

Akasha Restaurant, MyLastBite.com
Awesome Cocktails: 
“Slumdog Passion” (left), tru lemon organic vodka, passion fruit puree, pineapple juice, blood orange & agave. “The Akasha”, made with crop organic cucumber vodka, pineapple & cucumber juice, martini style.

Akasha Restaurant, MyLastBite.com
Deep-fried Chickpeas (very similar to Animal!)

Akasha Restaurant, MyLastBite.com
In photos clockwise from bottom left: La Quercia Prosciutto Pizza (oregonzola, fig, caramelized onions, wild arugula), Asian Style Braised Shortribs (star anise, ginger & pink peppercorns, parsnip-potato puree, baby spinach, scallions), Organic Macaroni and Cheese with toasted bread crumbs, Niman Ranch Lamb Sliders with sheep’s feta, local arugula, tomato chutney . (We were so hungry, I was rushing the camera. I will get BETTER photos on my next visit I promise! ) 

Akasha Restaurant, MyLastBite.com
In photos clockwise from bottom left: Escalavida on a mushroom puree with truffle salt, Togarashi Seared Albacore (bibb lettuce, daikon, carrots, avocado, coconut cashews, spicy sweet chili sauce), House-made Onion Rings (rice flour crusted, smoked paprika dipping sauce), Decadent Chocolate Dessert.

And Finally… Why do my pups love Akasha?

Because she sent home a bag of home-made, delicious doggie biscuits!
Dog Cookies from Akasha! MyLastBite.com
Top left: Harrison (white), Miss Martini (black) and the baby… little (blonde) Maxwell!

Akasha! MyLastBite.comAkasha Restaurant
9543 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 845-1700 

Website (with menu)

OpenTable (free reservations)

Dining Date: 4/19/09 (Dinner with Julian, Wendy and of course, Peter)

Cmplete list of Akasha “Green Facts” here

Akasha on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Eating Out

Saam (Bazaar visit 9, Saam visit 1)

Dining in the new Saam restaurant makes you feel special. It’s located behind a secured, nondescript door near Bar Centro, at the Bazaar by José Andrés. Each of the twenty courses (one or two bites each) are brought out on individual plates, while you sit at one of the exclusive, coveted tables. To me, it feels like a sleek and sexy modern-day speakeasy.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.comThe service? Impeccable. I haven’t been to Alinea yet, but I’m guessing the experience is close, or at least as close as we’re going to get here in Los Angeles! It’s like flying first class, where you’re treated like a celebrity and you know it. Especially true for an early dinner on opening weekend. We were one of the first to be seated for the Saturday evening service, and at times there were four staff members looking after the two of us.

The food? It was my ninth visit to the Bazaar and I knew the menu backwards and forwards, so I was pleasantly surprised to find each dish “kicked up a notch”, and thrilled to try a few new bites as well. I found myself mouthing “wow” to my husband Peter, especially when we were served updated versions of dishes we tried on previous visits.

“Saam: The Chef’s Tasting Menu” is printed on top of each take-home menu (rolled up and tied with a little black ribbon), a great souvenir to remember an elegant evening. But throughout our wonderful dinner, I couldn’t help but feel there was something missing. The food was the best I’d ever had at the Bazaar, so that wasn’t it. Our server Charlie was attentive, engaging and throughly knowledgeable. Carolina was nearby in case we had any needs or questions as well. Managers William and Felix stopped by to ensure that we (and later, each and every table) were enjoying the evening, but my dinner still felt incomplete. Why?

Because “Saam: The Chef’s Tasting Room” was missing the one thing I love most about the Bazaar (besides the food), it was missing the chefs.

My favorite tables at the Bazaar are one of the two “Tron” tables in the Rojo room. They’re not officially called “Tron” tables… that’s just what we call them because they have cool laser-like red lights beneath the surface. The few times I’ve been lucky enough to have a seat facing the open kitchen was at one of the these tables. I loved watching Chef Voltaggio warm up the “smoking” gun to finish off the salmon dishes. And as a fan of the show “Top Chef”, could there be anything better than seeing Chef Marcel Vigneron working the foam? By the way, I think the show portrayed him as an arrogant nitwit, because in person he’s a real sweetheart. 

After we finished our evening at Saam, we made our way to the Rojo kitchen where the kitchen staff was in full swing. It was busy, crowded and the room was filled with the frenetic energy that I missed. It sort of felt like I had been at the wrong party earlier.

Do I recommend Saam? Absolutely. Especially if it’s your first visit to the Bazaar. It’s quieter and more focused than either the Rojo or the Blanca room, and you’ll be carefully guided through a palate pleasing, high-flying experience. Heck, it’s not that I don’t like flying first class (the few times I’ve experienced it), it’s just that I like watching the crew even better.

Tasting Menu is $120 per person.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #1: Salt Air Margarita. Delicious as always.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #2: Sweet Potato Chips and Yogurt Dip. I love the anise flavor in the yogurt.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
 Caviar Steamed Bun. Using the steamed bun makes for a nice twist on a classic.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #4: Olive Oil Bonbon This was such a treat!! I first saw this being made on “Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie” by Chef Andrés and his Minibar Chefs: Ruben Garcia and Katsuya Fukushima. It’s like a candy shell filled with olive oil. Into your mouth and it crumbles. SO AMAZING.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #5: Bagel and Lox Cone. Delicious as always.

Foie Gras Cotton Candy, MyLastBite.com
Course #6: Cotton Candy Foie Gras (foie gras rolled in corn nuts). Still a favorite and so good I forgot to take a photo before eating! (photo from previous visit)

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #7: Olives Ferran Adria. My first love (and why I started taking Molecular Gastronomy classes last year!)

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #8: Jose’s Ham and Cheese.  I LOVED the Jamón Ibérico with the soft La Serena cheese inside the “air bread”. This was one of the “kicked up” dish updates, similar to “Philly Cheesesteak”. La Serena is a creamy, aromatic (aka really stinky which I love!) cheese from Extremadura in Western Spain.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #9: Sea Urchin Conservas. Fantastic flavors AND presentation.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #10: Boneless Chicken Wing. Delicious as always.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #11: Shrimp Cocktail. The updated cocktail sauce was richer, almost creamy.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #12: Nitro Gazpacho. I always love when the Liquid Nitrogen cart rolls up! Gazpacho “cooked” in the nitro.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #13: Blufin Tuna Toro (and Norwegian Lobster). Both AMAZING.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #14: Norwegian Lobster.
Perfection in one bite.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #15: “Smoked” Salmon. Another favorite, the dish is finished using a “smoking gun”.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #16: Not Your Everyday Caprese (top). I recently learned how to make these liquid mozzarella balls!

Course #17: Tournedos Rossinii 2009. Wagyu beef, truffle and foie gras. MORE PLEASE!

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #18: Dragon’s Breath (caramel popcorn “cooked” in liquid nitrogen). Currently only served in the Saam room, we’ve enjoyed it several times before. It’s FUN!

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Felix Meana making Dragon’s Breath

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Coconut in a “Half Shell”. Peter loved all three desserts. I was too full!

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Chocolate Biscuit Coulant Michel Bras (above) and Petit Fours: Tablets, Bonbons

Saam, at the Bazaar by José Andrés, SLS Hotel
 465 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 9004
(310) 246-5555
Dining date: 4/11/09

Mentioned above:

Tron, the movie

Tron, the table

Alinea (someday!)

Top Chef

Smoking Gun

Molecular Gastronomy Classes

Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie

Watch the episode with the Olive Oil Bonbon!

MiniBar

In the kitchen with the chefs

<< Bazaar Visit #8

Bazaar Visit #10 >>

All my Bazaar photos on Flickr

Saam at the Bazaar By José Andrés on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Eating Out, Molecular Cooking