Tag Archives: Earthquake Victims

Mo Chica – 6 Courses for Japan

Chef Ricardo Zarate (Food & Wine “People’s Best New Chef”) is originally from Peru, but I’m certain that part of his soul (like mine) belongs to Japan. For years he worked in Japanese restaurants (including Zuma in London) before opening Mo Chica, his contemporary Peruvian restaurant here in Los Angeles.

Ceviche Mixto by Chef Ricardo ZarateI first tasted Zarate’s food at a BreadBar Hatchi dinner last year, and loved the simple beauty of his compositions, as well as the Asian touches he added to his Peruvian cuisine.

Before meeting the chef, I think the only Peruvian food I had tried (besides ceviche) was a post-hangover dish called Lomo Saltado. If you haven’t tried Lomo Saltado, it’s an awesome pile of seasoned beef, tomatoes and onions served with BOTH rice AND french fries.

Ricardo Zarate and I didn’t actually become friends until he and his partners opened Test Kitchen last summer. I LOVED those frenetic months (new chefs & menus every few days) and if my waistline and bank account would’ve allowed it, I’d have dined at Test Kitchen every night. In fact I have so many photos from my visits that I’ve yet to properly blog about it!

Chef Ricardo Zarate @ HatchiRicardo Cooks For Japan

This Thursday (March 31st), Chef Zarate and partner Stephane Bombet will hold a charity dinner for the victims of Japan. I’ll be there supporting my friends, not only because I was born in Japan (I lived in Okinawa until I was eight), but because Zarate’s tasting dinners are always fantastic. Simply put: Great food + Great cause = a grateful heart and belly.

GrubStreetLA wrote:
Zarate will revisit one of his favorite tasting menus at a cost of $45 per diner. With a long history of working in Japanese restaurants, Zarate will donate $10 from every reservation to the country’s relief efforts. As an extra thrill for the town’s food-obsessed, Street Gourmet L.A. blogger and pro saxman Bill Esparza will provide the musical accompaniment with his bossa nova trio Cachaca Nova.

Mo-Chica’s 18th Tasting Dinner
6 Courses for Japan

Thursday, March 31, 2011
6:00-10:00 P.M.
3655 S. Grand Ave. (inside Mercado La Paloma)
(213) 747-2141 (reservations will sell out!)

6 Course Menu

stuffed yuccas, manchego cheese, crispy chicken, rocoto sauce

scallops strips, spicy lemon dressing, salsa criolla

Peruvian cocktail, ginger juice, ginger ale, pisco brandy

sea bass, tomato stew , crab meat, roasted tomatoes, garbanzos

Peruvian-style crispy pork belly, black mint sauce

Classic Peruvian dessert made of dulce de leche , and short bread

PHOTOS below: In case you’ve never had the pleasure of eating Zarate’s food, here are some of my favorite bites (these are different from Thursdays menu):

Mo Chica
Arroz Chaufa De Mariscos: Seafood Fried Rice, Mixed seafood, Daikon Pickle

Mo Chica
Causa: Potato Salad, Tiger Prawns, Ocopa Sauce

Mo Chica
Tiradito: Japanese Octopus Carpaccio, Peruvian Botija Olive Sauce

Chef Ricardo Zarate @ Hatchi
Carapulcra: Peruvian Sun Dried Potatoes, Pancetta, Black Cod, Chimichurri

Mo Chica
Mate De Coca Ice Cream: Coca IceCream Cinnamon Sponge Cake

Note: Photos above are from my various Mo Chica / Ricardo Zarate dinners. These are NOT on the 3/31 tasting menu. Just samples of his beautiful food.

Mo Chica Website
3655 South Grand Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 90007
(213) 747-2141

Follow Chef Ricardo Zarate on Twitter

Ricardo Zarate’s Bio (Test Kitchen)

Food & Wine “People’s Best New Chef” (LA Weekly)

With my big sister Janet, MyLastBite.comBreadbar Hatchi

Zarate at Test Kitchen (by Kevin Eats)

Lomo Saltado at Mario’s Peruvian

More Mo Chica photos on flickr

Zuma, London

GrubStreet LA

Street Gourmet L.A

About my early years in Okinawa, Japan

RED CROSS (text donation to help)

Red Cross relief in Japan is more than food and blankets


Filed under Eating Out, Food Events (festivals, classes, etc.), Hot Chefs

Haiti Fundraiser at TiGeorges’ Chicken

I don’t remember who said it first, but I truly believe that charity is a selfish act. At least for me, there’s no better feeling then reaching out and lending a helping hand. It took me a long time to admit, that although giving through donations or volunteering does a lot of good for those in need, I mostly do it because it’s an absolutely fantastic high.

TiGeorges Haiti Quake FundraiserAfter the recent, horrific earthquake in Haiti, I’m guessing many folks around the world are feeling the post donation glow right now. Modern technology made it so easy to donate this time around. Just by texting the word “Haiti” to 90999, we could donate $10 to the Red Cross in just seconds. And the outcome has been amazing! According to CNN: “Donations via text message raised $7 million for the American Red Cross’s Haiti relief efforts as of 11 p.m. Thursday.”

Last night I was in Echo Park attending a fundraiser for Haitian quake victims. I’d never been to (or even heard of) TiGeorges’ Chicken Restaurant before, but when I learned about the event via Twitter, I immediately cancelled dinner reservations elsewhere. After looking over the menu online, I was really looking forward to not just attending the fundraiser, but also eating one of the “Island Combos: The Haitian Experience.”

TiGeorges Haiti Quake FundraiserSince the TiGeorges event was to begin at 5pm, Peter left the office early and we drove together with our friend and neighbor, Nelson. Fellow foodies (and good friends) Charles & Robert planned to meet us at the restaurant. When we arrived onto Glendale Blvd, it was quite the local news event! News vans took up all the parking on the street (which was a good thing!), but it took us another 15 minutes to find a parking spot a few blocks away.

Making our way into the crowded restaurant, the first thing we saw were cameras and microphones everywhere. A few people were passing trays of brownies and other treats, thanking us for coming and supporting their efforts, while owner (and restaurant namesake) TiGeorges LaGuerre was busy juggling interviews.

Straight ahead was a long line to the counter where we could order food, but we soon realized that actually eating at TiGeorges right then wasn’t the best idea. Standing room only with back-to-back news crews was not the Haitian dining experience I was hoping for.

After a quick group chat, we decided to leave cash donations and come back another time for a full meal. But unlike Nelson, Robert and Charles… Peter and I forgot to bring cash (I figured we would add a donation onto our dinner tab). Thankfully, the nice folks behind the counter agreed to charge us for a small coffee, and my sweet husband left the largest tip I’ve ever seen for a cup of joe!

Walking out front, we all felt good, and there was such a moving electricity in the air. So many of the people in the restaurant were Haitians there to support each other, but many were like us… just regular folks stopping by to drop off a few extra bucks. We felt good and had that “do gooder” high I was writing about earlier.

Doing good to FEEL GOOD is nothing to be ashamed of at all. Because in the end, it’s the actual DOING SOMETHING that counts right?

Photos from last night (where over $14,000 was raised!):

TiGeorges Haiti Quake Fundraiser
Amazing to see all our local news crews covering the event!

TiGeorges Haiti Quake Fundraiser
Photos (clockwise from top left): NBC news, sign for Wyclef Jean’s YELE, TiGeorges LaGuerre, More news cameras.

TiGeorges Haiti Quake Fundraiser
Photos: Waiting in line to donate, the money jar on counter, Peter and I taking it all in…

TiGeorges Haiti Quake Fundraiser
The first fundraiser for Haitian quake victims at TiGeorges in Echo Park.

TiGeorges Haiti Quake Fundraiser
Exterior of TiGeorges’ Chicken

Note: A second TiGeorges fundraiser is planned for TOMORROW, January 16th from 2-7pm

TiGeorges’ Chicken Website
309 Glendale Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 944-1515

TiGeorges Haiti Quake FundraiserDonations via Text:

Red Cross: Text HAITI to 90999 ($10 donation)

Yéle Haiti: Text YELE to 501501 ($5 donation)

United Way: Text HAITI to 864833 ($5 donation)

Intl Medical Corps: Text HAITI to 85944 ($10 donation)

The U.S. State Department has set up a hotline for information on family members who may be in Haiti: (888) 407.4747. This number is for information on U.S. citizens in Haiti only.

More details via CNN

CBS Evening News video of TiGeorges’ Event

Red Cross Newsroom

Wyclef Jean’s Yéle

Text donations raise $7M for Red Cross Haiti effort

More about last night’s fundraiser on L.A. Weekly

Echo Park Haitian restaurant raises $14,000 for quake relief

Fox Video of last night’s event

NY Times list of restaurants helping Haiti

“Even before the earthquake hit Haiti on Tuesday, children in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere ate cookies made of dirt.” via Atlantic Food

Our good friends that joined us last night:

Nelson Coates – website

Charles Thompsons – blog


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