Phil’s Food Fest

One of the joys of writing a food blog is getting positive feedback from readers, friends and family. Naturally, I expect my own family to be supportive and not criticize me (too much) for spending almost all my waking hours consumed with thoughts of food.

Dinner w/ "My Life As A Foodie", MyLastBiteAt first, when complete strangers complimented my writing or photographs, I felt sort of stunned because I couldn’t believe anyone (who wasn’t forced via family ties) would take the time to visit My Last Bite. I thought each visitor HAD to have found my website by accident, and very much appreciated each and every comment left.

I still do, and as a “Twitter Fanatic”, I can appreciate how difficult it is to read a blog post that has more than 140 characters these days. It’s a bit frustrating because I’ve found myself becoming impatient when I click on a link to read a detailed recipe or even a two page food story.

What I’m learning to do now, is to stop myself, shake out of “Twitter Mode”, and force myself to relax. This way I can enjoy the words that someone has taken the time to share with the world.

So to those of you who take the time to visit my blog, I want to say THANK YOU! And a very special appreciation of thanks to my good friend Phil Nigash (aka my most frequent commenter!).

Phil and I first corresponded via email after he commented on a Molecular Gastronomy Class post I wrote last year. He was at that time, just thinking about dabbling in “Modern Cooking” and during that first class, we got to make Ferran Adria’s FAMOUS Pea “Ravioli”.

Phil was downright angry that he didn’t know about the class and even spoke about it on his radio show (audio link below). His blog is called “My Life As A Foodie” and focuses on every part of the food industry… not just the pretty side either! Check below for links and more info.

After I heard that first radio segment, I thought, “Wow, what a really generous and solid guy”, and felt totally thrilled that he even mentioned me on his show. I wanted Phil to be my new best (foodie) pal, but of course I was wary about making friends with a complete MALE stranger.

We continued emailing, FaceBooking and getting to know each other’s spouses through photos. Our daily messages consisted of shared food articles, restaurants we wanted to try, or chefs we dreamed about meeting someday.

With my good buddy Phil, MyLastBite.comIt wasn’t until two months later, that Phil and I actually met in person. In February he drove up from Orange County with a friend to attend another fun Molecular Gastronomy class at Sur la Table. My husband Peter and nephew Cody joined me for the class again, and this time we focused on making groovy “Airs and Spheres”.

Soon after I got to meet Phil’s wife Katrina, and we planned an evening at the Bazaar by José Andrés (molecular cooking heaven!). Ever since then the four of us have shared more and more of our lives with each other, including spending some great evenings with my sister’s family and friends.

Since late Spring, Phil and Kat had been trying to organize a dinner party for us at their home in Irvine. The dinner was not only for myself and Peter, but for my sister Janet, her husband Paul, plus family friends; Afaf, Ray, David and John.

Due to scheduling conflicts, the dinner didn’t happen until last month, and it was so worth the wait! The food was fantastic (Phil is an awesome cook), but more importantly we all enjoyed the warm friendship and delicious fun of the evening.

Less than a year ago we were all complete strangers, and because of that first blog comment by Phil, we now get to share this friendship (plus lots of tasty food!) for the rest of our lives.

To this day, Phil is usually one of the first readers to leave a comment on any of my posts or photos, and each message is so thoughtful and supportive. Thank you Phil for your ongoing encouragement and for being my wonderful food-obsessed friend!

Phil’s Food Fest:

Dinner w/ "My Life As A Foodie", MyLastBite
Photos Top Left: Shrimp Cocktail and Bisque.
Top Right: Poke Tacos
Bottom Right: Calçots and La rouille sauce
Bottom Left: Serrano Ham

Dinner w/ "My Life As A Foodie", MyLastBite
Chorizo Sarta, Green Olive Piquillo Pepper Anchovy, Serrano Ham

Dinner w/ "My Life As A Foodie", MyLastBiteCantimpalos (cocktail chorizos) and Aoli

Dinner w/ "My Life As A Foodie", MyLastBite
Potato Blini, Creme Fraiche and Smoked Salmon

Dinner w/ "My Life As A Foodie", MyLastBite
Savory Lobster Ice Cream w/ Chervil, Horseradish Cream and Caviar

Dinner w/ "My Life As A Foodie", MyLastBite
Phil in the kitchen (Savory Lobster Ice Cream)

Dinner w/ "My Life As A Foodie", MyLastBite
Cassoulet (white bean stew, duck confit and garlic sausage)

All Flickr Photos from Phil’s Food Fest

Dining Date: 8/29/09

Phil’s Blog:

Phil’s first mention of MyLastBite on his radio show

At Molecular Gastronomy Class with Phil

Phil’s radio show on Molecular Gastronomy Class

The first Molecular Gastronomy class

Dinner at the Bazaar with Phil & Kat

Sur La Table Cooking Classes

About Twitter

Follow Phil on Twitter

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Filed under Food Stories (written by me)

19 responses to “Phil’s Food Fest

  1. Jenn Herrington-Stoddard

    How awesome! Not sure how I started following at all even though it was only a few weeks ago. Where are these Molecular Gastronomy classes?

  2. Adela

    Jo, you I N S P I R E M E.
    You are a goddess and a fab writer and photographer.


  3. Feels weird commenting a post about myself, but this particular post is exactly why I feel that your blog is one of the top-tier food blogs period, and definitely my #1 favorite in LA.

    You tell stories like no other. Most are just a couple of short paragraphs, tons of photos and captions, and (maybe a recipe). You dive in. You have soul.

    Thank you, Jo. I’m honored to have my very own post on my favorite blog. 😀 Getting to know you, Peter, your family, your friends, and making new friends I can call mine too (Hey, Afaf!) — it’s made this year spectacular.

    X O


  4. What a wonderful post about a truly great guy! Really enjoyed reading about how you two met. And the food looks just amazing. It’s been so great getting to know all of you – I just love the easy camaraderie. 🙂

  5. I think it’s awesome how a friendship sprung from just one person reaching out and typing in a few words. This is something that would not have been possible 10-15 years ago. 🙂 Look where we are now. Online strangers become real life friends. 😀

  6. I hope to meet that Phil guy some day. You guys are setting the bar pretty high for those who might entertain in the future. The food pics look fantastic!!

  7. Obviously Phil has good taste!

    I am so lucky to have been smashed into that taxi with you and Afaf last May at the Foodista Conference in Seattle. You are so committed and talented I am blessed to call you a friend.

    I am bad about leaving comments, usually because I cannot think of anything clever to say. 😉

    Cheers to you and thanks for introducing Phil to me! That food looks FANTASTIC, poke tacos? huh. I’m gonna have to try that!

  8. Wow, what an amazing post and what an amazing chef! I would never have dreamed of lobster ice cream!

  9. Love… Love this post Jo! It shows the world the AMAZING, KIND, and GENEROUS, people you guys are. I am truly blessed to have every one of you guys as a friend.
    And it is a beautiful recap of our FABULOUS dinner at Phil & Katrina WARM home.
    Thank you and love and hugs to you all!

  10. I’ll lop off a finger for that lobster ice cream.

  11. cynthia

    What a fantastic post, Jo – and what an amazing meal, Phil!

    You know, I’m always talking with people about, what else, food. But it’s really special when that shared love is taken to the next level and new friendships are formed. There is something about breaking bread together.

    I was in NYC last month and the first day there was 90% humidity and, dare I say it, almost too hot to eat. I stumbled into Mary’s Fish Camp and ended up sitting next to a woman who is in the food/wine business. We immediately started talking and during my week long stay, ended up having dinner together and, of all things, meeting other Angeleno’s.

    We have continued to correspond and we are talking about an Animal/Bazaar feeding frenzy when she comes to LA!

    Coincidentally (I was staying down the street from Mary’s in the W. Village), I was walking by Mary’s at the tail end of my trip and who do I see sitting inside waiting for a table but Jon from Animal – apparently Vinny was getting married in NY that weekend. Cue ‘It’s a Small World’ now.

    Needless to say, I thought of you Jo and agree with all of the wonderful comments of and for you. Your enthusiasm is infectious and your warmth and generosity of spirit come through your words and up off the screen. Keep at it!!!


  12. I love your blog and your tweets! Thank YOU for all the lovely writing you do…and for trying out all these food (I’m sure that isn’t too hard! 🙂

    This looks like the most delicious meal! – mary

  13. Thanks for all the wonderful comments about my wonderful friend Phil!

  14. Pingback: A Memorable Summer «

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