Tag Archives: angeles

She Takes The Cake!

Check out the beautiful birthday cake that my sister Janet gave me last week…  
Cake is what you make it! MyLastBite.com

Kindal, Janet, Chace, MyLastBite.comWhen I first opened the cake box, I was sort of stunned because she knows I’m not really into sweets (I like a bite or two), but then her kids (twins, ages 13) started laughing and I realized it wasn’t really a sugary “dessert” cake at all! My very health-conscience, loving, big sister had given me a MEATLOAF and MASHED POTATO birthday cake!

Janet doesn’t like to handle red meat, so of course I asked “where did you have this made”? 

I was absolutely shocked to learn that she mixed up the RAW ground beef herself and spent the whole day baking, molding and decorating it. 

It was the most thoughtful (and delicious) birthday cake I’ve ever had, and it was even better the next day with fried eggs on top! 

I asked Janet for the recipe and she said she pretty much made it up as she went along, but here are her notes in case you want to try it:

“I actually used about 2 1/2 pounds of meat and then added about 1 1/2 cups of  bread crumbs, 3 eggs, sauteed onion (large), about 1/2 cup of heavy cream, salt & pepper & 1 tablespoon of Ranch Dressing dry mix.

I baked the 2 tiers in a greased pan for about an hour…let cool and then placed in fridge overnight…

For the frosting, I first made the mashed potatoes and then let them cool. Then I frosted the white potato base on the meat cake.

Next I mixed yellow food coloring into the white potatoes and added the yellow potatoes to a piping bag. Using a cake decorating tip, I added the yellow potato to the cake, then I mixed in red food coloring to make the orange!”

Meatloaf & Potatoes! MyLastBite.com   Eggs on Meatloaf Cake, MyLastBite.com

Thanks again! Can’t WAIT for next year!

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Filed under Recipes

The Bazaar by José Andrés [5,6]

Friday night at the Bazaar with the guys. No special occasion, just me and three handsome men celebrating the coming weekend with groovy, “new way” cocktails and platters of mostly “modern” tapas.

Joining me was my husband Peter (of course), our friend Julian (an artist and musician in Peter’s band), and photographer extraordinaire Andrew Macpherson. This was Julian and Andrew’s inaugural visit to the Bazaar, and I’ve jokingly started to call these first timers my “Bazaar Virgins” when I check in with the hostess… which pretty much makes me the devoted “Bazaar Courtesan”, I know.

So what’s better than Friday night at the Bazaar with three adventurous, sophisticated and talented men?

The answer of course is, Saturday night at the Bazaar with three adventurous, sophisticated and talented men! That’s right… we went two nights in a row, but understand this is only because we heard that the man himself, the one and only José Andrés, would (possibly) be in town. Indeed he was, and I got serious goose bumps seeing him standing nearby in his sexy white chef coat! On his PBS show, “Made in Spain”, he usually dresses in casual button-down shirts and khaki pants, but watching him command the room in uniform was sort of intoxicating.

At first I was a little nervous for the staff, especially for the crew in the open kitchen. Andrés is a perfectionist and he was definitely inspecting (sometimes photographing) each dish as it went out to diners. I looked at his face and there was something missing. Where was the exuberant smile that he sports on television? Where was his jovial, “everybody’s my pal” demeanor? 

Then I thought, “oh, he’s WORKING… he’s the BOSS”, it’s the “Bazaar by José Andrés” after all! When he took a seat near our table, I began to hear his familiar laugh as he started to relax. Since I was so used to the “happy-go-lucky” chef on television, I had thrown myself into a nervous state when the “real-life, this-is-business” chef emerged. It was pretty funny that I was the one that was flustered, because when I looked back in the kitchen, I realized that the crew (and the entire staff for that matter) were calm and collected… confidently gliding through dinner service. 

As we enjoyed our drinks and tapas, I kept hoping that I’d get a minute with chef Andrés, so I could tell him how much I love his newest restaurant. By that point he had been out of the kitchen for over an hour or so, and was happily holding court in one of the big, black leather booths against the wall.

We had met before, briefly, at Wolfgang Puck’s American Wine and Food Festival last fall. I told him then how I couldn’t stop obsessing over a Spanish blue cheese that I first learned about on “Made in Spain”. He laughed when I blamed him for my creamy addiction and blurted, “Cabrales is like CRACK”! Not my classiest moment, but it was a good one.

After our extended Bazaar dinner, we did get to say hello and I was happily stunned to learn that José Andrés had visited my website. When I introduced myself, he said “I didn’t recognize you at first, without the bread in your mouth”. 

Note to self: From now on, carry a demi-baguette when dining out.

What we ate:

 'Pa amb' tomaquet, Jamones. MyLastBite.com
‘Pa amb’ tomaquet (bread with tomato in Catalan) – Toasted sliced rustic bread brushed with fresh tomatoes AND Jamones (“Flight of all three” platter): Jamón Serrano (literally mountain ham), Jamón Ibérico (Iberian Ham), Jamón Serrano de bellota (higher fat content than Jamón Serrano).

Dragon's Breath! MyLastBite.com
Making the “Dragon’s Breath”, Caramel popcorn bites cooked in liquid nitrogen.

Tres Dragons, MyLastBite.com
Andrew, Peter and Julian experiencing the “Dragon’s Breath”!  What a shame this has been removed from the regular menu (but may be available in the private Saam dining room).

Japanese "Taco", MyLastBite.com
Japanese “Taco”: Grilled eel, shiso, cucumber, wasabi, chicharron.

Above photos taken on Friday 3/13/09
Below photos taken on Saturday 3/14/09

Our Reserved Table at Bar Centro, MyLastBite.com
Our reserved table in Bar Centro

Magic Mojito, MyLastBite.com 
The “Magic Mojito” arrives with a martini glass filled with cotton candy. Then the waiter pours rum (strained over ice) which dissolves into the glass!

At the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Peter and Andrew enjoying from top left: Pa’amb Tomaguet (Cataln Style toasted bread rubbed with tomato), Not Your Everyday Caprese (Tomato and Liquid Mozzarella Pipettes), Sweet Potato Chips with Tamarind Yogurt Dip, Jamón Ibérico. In the middle are the Papas Canarias (Salty, Wrinkled Potatoes, with Mojo Verde Sauce on the side) and a partial view of the Organized Arugula Salad (Raspberries, Corn, Cabrales Blue Cheese)

NOTE: Photographing at the Chef’s table is difficult. We jokingly called it the “TRON Table”!

Potato Foam, Caviar MyLastBite.com
Tortilla de patatas: Potato Foam, egg 63 (cooked at 63 degrees), caramelized onions (served in egg shell). I LOVE this new version of the potato foam. It used to come in a large martini glass and I prefer this smaller portion with more textures. On the right side of photo is the American Caviar Cone.

One Bite Wonder! MyLastBite.com
Foie Gras Cotton Candy! Me, Julian, my husband Peter and Andrew.

Meeting Jose, MyLastBite.com
Julian, Andrew, José Andrés, Peter

With Jose Andres, MyLastBite.com
Jo & José

At the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
With the chefs that keep us coming back for more! Marcel Vigneron, (LUCKY me), Michael Voltaggio and Ruben Garcia

Bites we usually have on every visit:

Foie Gras and Quince on mini Brioche Bun

Organized Caesar Salad with Quail Egg and Parmesan

Boneless Chicken Wings with Green Olive Puree and Ice Plant

Foie Gras rolled in Corn Nuts and wrapped in Cotton Candy

Latas Y Conservas: King Crab and Raspberries

Philly Cheesesteak: Air Bread, Whipped Cheddar and Wagyu Beef 

Bazaar by José Andrés, SLS Hotel
465 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 246-5555
http://www.TheBazaar.com

Mentioned above:

Andrew Macpherson’s Photographs

Julian Hill’s Artwork

Peter’s band, Rubylith

Meeting José the first time

Cabrales Cheese

Made in Spain 

<– Bazaar Visit #4

–> Bazaar Visit #7

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Filed under Eating Out, Molecular Cooking

Canned Joy

Nothin’ says lovin’ like a case of SPAM. I’ve loved it ever since I was a kid in Okinawa, and for my birthday this year, my adoring husband got me a case of assorted (I call it “gourmet”) SPAM. Peter also got me a pair of green, platform sandals that I’d been pining for, but I was more excited about the SPAM. Flavors in the case include: Hot & Spicy, Cheese, Smoked, Garlic, Turkey and BACON. That’s right… bacon flavored SPAM!

Birthday Spam! MyLastBite.com

Most of the expiration dates on the tins read “Mar 2012”, so it’s safe to say I won’t be powering through them anytime soon, and I wouldn’t want to. For me, these are high sodium childhood memories that mustn’t be eaten regularly, only as an occasional treat. I’ve learned my lesson in the past, so moderation (however difficult) is an absolute must.

This morning I set up a “wall of SPAM” behind my huge chopping block in the kitchen. It sort of reminds me of a tiny “Warhol Pop Art” installation and it just makes me smile. Now all I have to do is come up with some new spam-a-licious recipes!

Birthday Spam! MyLastBite.com
After unpacking the case.

My Mini Wall of Spam, MyLastBite.com
Part of my mini wall of SPAM


SPAM in my childhood

SPAM.com

Warhol

Me and Andy (on my birthday in 1986)

Pretty SPAM

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Filed under Little Bites

2009 James Beard Award Nominees

At the Bazaar, MyLastBite.comCongratulations to all the James Beard Award nominees… especially to my friends at the Bazaar!

About:
“The
James Beard Foundation Awards shine a spotlight on the best and brightest talent in the food and beverage industry.”

Best New Restaurant (requirements):
“A restaurant opened in 2008 that already displays excellence in food, beverage, and service and is likely to have a significant impact on the industry in years to come.”

The Nominees:

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.comThe Bazaar by José Andrés L.A.
Chef/Owner: José Andrés
Owners: Sam Narian and Philippe Starck

L2O Chicago
Chef: Laurent Gras
Owner: Richard Melman

Momofuku Ko NYC
Chef/Owner: David Chang

Scarpetta NYC
Chef/Owner: Scott Conant

With Jose Andres, MyLastBite.com

Full List of James Beard Award 2009 Nominees

My fantastic visits to the Bazaar
(with lots of food photos)!

Bazaar Visit #1

Bazaar visit #2

Bazaar Visit #3

Bazaar visit #4

(Visits 5 and 6 posted soon)

Bazaar photos on Flickr

Links to nominated restaurants:

Bazaar by José Andrés

L20

Momofuku Ko

Scarpetta


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Filed under Eating Out, Little Bites

Gjelina

I was in no rush to dine at Gjelina (pronounced “jelina”) when it opened last summer, adding it to my lengthy list of “places to eat”.

To be honest, I just didn’t care about ANOTHER pizzeria opening, so I pretty much just forgot about it. Then I read Patrick Kuh’s review in Los Angeles Magazine (Feb 2009 issue).

Gruyere Arugula Pizza, MyLastBite.comKuh wrote:
The cooking of Travis Lett is the main draw… only 30 years old, he has developed a remarkably sustained culinary style…

That sparked my interest a little because I love supporting our local up-and-coming chefs.

Then I read: 
Back when he was starting out, Lett had an epiphany while eating a meal at Mario Batali’s breakout restaurant, Babbo, shortly after it opened in Greenwich Village. “It wasn’t one thing they did. It was how they did everything,” he recalls of the food’s exacting forthrightness.

With Mario Batali, MyLastBite.comOne of my best dining experiences ever was at BABBO restaurant in New York. Peter and I had dinner there in October 2005, and we still talk about the amazing Bucatini all’Amatriciana. To this day, we’ve never tasted a better pasta dish and Mario Batali is a culinary king in our home. I’ve learned so much about Italian cooking AND culture from his old series, “Molto Mario” and it’s a shame he doesn’t “teach” on television anymore. If Gjelina’s chef was pulling inspiration from BABBO and Batali, then it could only mean good things for the restaurant.

Patrick Kuh ended his review with the following:
Certain restaurant openings are cautious, some careless, and some overproduced. Then there are those that sing. Gjelina is one of them. It has the snap of originality, a little strut. It knows it’s good. It captures a neighborhood.

At this point I opened my “places to eat” list and moved Gjelina up near the top. When our friends Kevin and Tamara (both oenophiles) wanted to meet for brunch in Venice recently, of course it had to be at Gjelina. They brought along a gorgeous bottle of Williams Selyem 2005 Chardonnay, which was a refreshing and crisp companion to our delicious brunch of pizzas, salads and sides.

Niman Ranch Bacon, MyLastBite.com
Niman Ranch Bacon $5. Is there any better way to start off a brunch?

Spinach Salad, MyLastBite.com
Heirloom Spinach Salad with Tomato, Olive, Feta, Pinenuts and Croutons $9. This was devoured within minutes of hitting our table. The large crouton pieces were a terrific crunch mixed with the super fresh vegetables. 

Guanciale Pizza, MyLastBite.com
Guanciale Pizza with Crushed Olive, Fresno Chili, Buffalo Mozzarella & Rosemary, $15
I LOVE guanciale, it’s my favorite type of bacon (the pig’s jowel) which is extra fatty. Notice how THIN the pizza crust is in the upper left of the photo. All the flavors were baked into (and almost through) the crust. I love thin-crust pizza so this wafer-thin heater was my kind of pie (or maybe I should say “cracker bread”!).

Chickpeas & Truffle Potatoes, MyLastBite.com
Two more sides we enjoyed:
Chickpea Stew with Greens, Cous Cous, Spiced Yogurt and Harissa, $12. It was more like a belly-warming soup than a stew and I found myself craving it when I had a cold last week.
Crispy Fingerling Potatoes with Truffle Oil, Herbs and Parmesan, $5. Perfectly crispy on the outside with just a hint of truffle oil.

Gruyere Arugula Pizza, MyLastBite.com
Gruyere, Arugula Pizza topped with Caramelized Onion, Fromage Blanc Pizza and Sunny Eggs, $18. This pizza came after the Guanicale, and we all decided that this one was our favorite. Again, the toppings were almost baked through the thin crust and the runny eggs on top added a creamy-like richness.

View from our table, MyLastBite.com
In the relaxing, sunny back patio area, the view from my seat.

Butterscotch Pot de Creme, MyLastBite.com
Butterscotch pot de creme. Very similar to Mozza’s Butterscotch Budino, (except you don’t get the rosemary cookie here). Gjelina’s version was rich enough that we were happy sharing one together.

Blackberry Crisp, MyLastBite.com
Blackberry and Cornmeal Crisp. I only had one bite (too full!) but my husband said he loved the tartness and crunch.

Beautiful Fixture & Wall, MyLastBite.com
I loved the decor, especially the chocolate brown wall, with what looked like “tooled leather” engravings. The light fixtures were also fun and funky throughout.

Gjelina, MyLastBite.com
From top left: Lighting above bar, Back patio, Vintage glass, Wine bottle chandelier.

I can’t wait to go back!

The L.A. Times writes: Though they’re only a small part of the menu, the pizzas at Gjelina in Venice keep getting better. Six months in, chef-owner Travis Lett has his pizza mojo down. His pies have a graceful aesthetic, beautiful to look at, even better to eat, and farmers market all the way. Like the seductive vegetable dishes here from the wood-burning oven, the eight pizzas on offer shift with the seasons. A pie blanketed in Fontina cheese and bitter greens accented with bacon lardons or one that melds Taleggio cheese with dusky wild mushrooms and pea shoots may give way to a pizza topped with sweet porky guanciale, crushed olives and bufala mozzarella. The crust is very thin, very crisp. Pizza is such a popular item, though, you may have to wait for yours: The oven is only big enough to cook four pies at a time.  Full Article Here

Gjelina
1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 450-1429
(no website as of this writing) 
Dining Date: 3/7/09 

Mentioned Above:

LA Magazine Gjelina Review by Patrick Kuh

BABBO

Mario Batali

Molto Mario

Williams Selyem Chardonnay

Niman Ranch

Gjelina on Urbanspoon

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Corndog Hangover

I woke up with a teenie-tiny hangover this morning. One too many martinis while listening to a friend’s punk band last night. I know classic martinis and punk rock don’t usually mix, but the bar was sort of grungy cool, and to my surprise, they made killer Martinis. I’ll write about the bar and band soon.

Lying in bed this morning, my head wasn’t spinning and my tummy wasn’t upset (signs of a major hangover), but I definitely felt dehydrated and extra hungry. My favorite “hangover cure” meal is Yoshinoya Beef Bowl. I love the thin slices of beef, with starchy white rice and pickled ginger, but sadly we don’t have one nearby. There is a Yoshinoya about 20 minutes away, but that seems like hours when you’re too dizzy to walk across the room. My next choice would be Denny’s country-fried steak and eggs (and a side of grits), but again, even with a to-go order, it’s about a 45 minute wait for food.

The only thing that got my sleepy butt out of bed this morning is when I remembered that today is “National Corndog Day”. I didn’t even know we had a day to celebrate corndogs until I read about it on LATimes.com, and immediately went to the market and bought a box of “State Fair Extra Cheesy Mini Corndogs”.

After this morning’s breakfast of bite-size corndogs, bacon, sausage, oozy cheese, and eggs, I have to say… I actually feel 100% better, so Happy Corndog Day!

Hangover Breakfast, MyLastBite.com
This may be my new favorite hangover breakfast, even though on a regular morning I wouldn’t dare touch it! It looks gross but it was just perfect (and yes I shared it with Peter)!

Corn Dog Bites, MyLastBite.com
I prefer mini corndogs to the original size, crisped in the oven or deep-fried. One Bite Heaven!

Hangover Breakfast, MyLastBite.com

http://www.CorndogDay.com

L.A. Times

Dennys

Yoshinoya

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Filed under Little Bites

Bazaar News

Bazaar News, MyLastBite.comHere’s a terrific look inside the Bazaar restaurant,
including some tasty food shots as well.

Note: The video took a little while to load for me (I think it’s my mac), but it’s totally worth it!

Watch Video Clip


Thanks to Phil, for uploading and sharing it.
Check out Phil at “My Life as a Foodie”

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Filed under Little Bites