Tag Archives: food writer

N E W… Y O R K… T I M E S!!

WOW. MyLastBite in the New York Times

Wow!

A great big THANK YOU to Foodista for including me in the article! Thanks also to Kim Severson at the New York Times, and the awesome Axel Koester for all the lovely photos he took of me in my kitchen! That’s me (above, right) about to cook a tray of bacon-wrapped breadsticks in the N E W… Y O R K… T I M E S!!

I’ll post more pics from the photo-shoot soon.

Read the New York Times article here

Make Bacon Wrapped Breadsticks!

Kim Severson, New York Times

Photographer, Axel Koester

Bacon Wrapped Breadsticks on Foodista

10 Comments

Filed under Little Bites, Recipes

XIV (now closed)

My first encounter with chef Michael Mina was during a birthday trip last January, for my niece and nephew, twins Kindal and Chace. Since they were about to officially become teenagers, I wanted to plan an extra special celebration dinner with Aunt Jo (that’s me) and Uncle Peter (my husband). Some sort of “grown up” place where we could get all dressed up and use every piece of fine silver on the table.

I’m extremely close with my sister’s kids, and would go to the ends of the world for them, but for their thirteenth birthday, I decided we would fly to San Francisco, and dine at Michelin-starred Michael Mina (the chef’s flagship restaurant). 

Dinner was, of course, incredible, and the fact that chef Mina was in the house that night made it even more special. He oversees multiple restaurants from California to Florida, so we were happily shocked when he stopped by our table for a birthday photo.

XIV Michael Mina, MyLastBite.comMichael Mina’s XIV (“Fourteen”) in Hollywood is much closer to home of course, and we surely would have had the same dinner experience as we did in San Francisco, but I sort of felt like we (especially me) had to dine at Mina’s original outpost first.

Finally, last week I had my first full dinner at XIV (I previously enjoyed a few bites at the bar).

My nephew Cody (the twin’s older brother) is dating one of the sweetest, caring and downright gorgeous girls in all of L.A. That’s a bold statement I know, but Jade’s warmth and down-home personality (she hails from Tennessee), plus the way she cares for our entire family almost outshines her beauty. I said “almost” because there’s no denying her “WOW” factor.

Jade’s family still lives back in Tennessee, so Peter and I both try to be here for her if she needs anything. Last year after her car was totaled (a hit and run while parked in front of her building), she was in our kitchen on her cell phone dealing with her insurance company. The person on the other end must have asked her where she was at that moment, and she answered (in her sweet southern accent): “I’m with the folks that look after me”. Peter and I cracked up laughing. We just loved that she “got” how much we adore her, and how much our entire family loves her.

On September 10th Jade turned twenty-one, so of course we had to take her somewhere special to celebrate that night! I checked with Cody and we decided on XIV. It was perfect, and we had the best time TRYING to get through FOURTEEN delicious courses together. We almost made it (stopped at thirteen) but we’ll always remember it as yet another fun and fabulous, Michael Mina family experience.

What we ate:

XIV Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
Sea Scallops Tempura, Cauliflower, Passion Fruit, Edamame, Almonds $17

XIV Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
Liberty Duck Breast, Seared Fois Gras, Leg Confit, Pineapple, Star Anise $36

XIV Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
Tataki of American Wagyu Skirt Steak, Moroccan Spiced Vegetables $16

XIV Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
Top Left: Beef Carpaccio, Heart of Romaine, Cherry Tomatoes, Horseradish $16
Top Right: Tai Snapper Tapioca-Crusted, Broccoli Rabe, White Soy Vinaigrette $33
Bottom Right: Heirloom Beets, Burrata, Wild Arugula, Aged Balsamic, New Olive Oil $15
Bottom Left: Jidori Chicken “Cobb”, Blue Cheese, Avocado, Baby Gem Lettuce $17

XIV Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
Top Left: XIV Caesar Salad, Classic Dressing, Shaved Parmesan Reggiano $13
Top Right: Kobe Burger, Trio of French Fries, Farmhouse Cheddar, & “Secret Sauce” $27
Bottom Right: Asparagus Risotto, Sqash Blossom, Chervil, Castelmagnno Cheese $25
Bottom Left: Lobster Pot Pie, Baby Summer Veg, Brandied Cream Sauce $59

XIV Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
Sweet Corn Soup: Pork Belly, Apple Cider, Cilantro and Sea Salt $15
Bottom Left: Nutella Custard: Popcorn Ice Cream, Toast Streusel, Passion Fruit $11

XIV Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
Birthday Card from XIV Staff. Jade & my nephew Cody.

XIV Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
Uncle Peter, Jade & Cody.

XIV Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
Happy Birthday Jade!

XIV (restaurant now closed)
8117 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 656-1414

XIV Website

Dining Date: 9/10/09

XIV Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com

Our XIV dinner (with lots of cocktails) was $200 per person, so the DineLA deal is a wonderful way to try out the menu!

Restaurant Week> October 4 – 9 / October 11-16

Mentioned Above:

Meeting Michael Mina, San Francisco with the twins!

Michael Mina’s Website

About Michael Mina

Michelin Guide

XIV on Urbanspoon

21 Comments

Filed under Eating Out

Squash Habañero Chutney

A great big THANK YOU to TasteSpotting, for graciously adding my Squash Habañero Chutney recipe to the Patrón Social Club: “TasteSpotting this summer brings the perfection of Patrón into your kitchen with entertaining tips, ideas, and recipes created especially for Patrón.” (Links below)

Squash + Habañero Chutney, MyLastBite.com

About the recipe:

I like it fiery hot. Whenever I mix up a big batch of my homemade Habañero Chutney, I’m usually the only one who ends up enjoying it. So, for the whole room of dinner guests to eat and enjoy, I make a version that includes apple and squash, which temper the heat of the Habañero.

Making a chutney is really quite simple. It just takes a little bit of patience to stand next to the stove, which just happens to be my favorite spot in the house.

The chutney is the perfect accompaniment to a simple grilled Flat Iron Steak.

My Step-by-Step Photos Recipe on the official Patrón Social Club website

Squash & Habañero Chutney, MyLastBite.com
Ingredients

Squash & Habañero Chutney, MyLastBite.com
Prepped & Ready to Cook!

Squash & Habañero Chutney, MyLastBite.com
Slowly Cooking Chutney. Grilling Flat Iron Steak on Grill

Squash & Habañero Chutney, MyLastBite.com
Grilled Flat Iron, Squash Habañero Chutney

TasteSpotting

About the Habañero Chili

About Flat Iron Steak (my current favorite beef cut)

Recipe posted soon

10 Comments

Filed under Recipes

Thank you Foodista!

Foodista Blog of the Day, MyLastBite.com

Featured Blog of the Day

About Foodista

Bacon Wrapped Breadsticks Recipe

5 Comments

Filed under Little Bites

[CLOSED] Susan Feniger’s Street

I loved watching the recent “Street Food Special” episode of “No Reservations”. It brought together my very favorite Anthony Bourdain clips; the scenes when he’s out and about eating “real food” with the locals, and also recapped Tony-visits to Singapore hawker (food) centers. It really made me wish we had something similar here in Los Angeles.

As Bourdain so eloquently stated: “Whereas in America the food court is the nexus of all things generic and awful, in Singapore these open-to-the-street food centers, coffee shops and hawker centers offer a near limitless variety of Malay, Chinese and Indian dishes”.

In a 1991 LA Times piece, my favorite food writer Jonathan Gold wrote: “The closest thing to a hawker center in Los Angeles is, of course, the Grand Central Market downtown… Among the fruit stalls and the poultry stands, there are 10-odd places where a hungry person can get something to eat”. I haven’t been there in years, and look forward to rediscovering the Grand Central Market again soon, but still it’s not exactly what Bourdain calls, “a ONE chef, ONE dish vast food court”.

It’s true that our multicultural city is filled with delicious strip-mall eats, and I personally plan to spend more time searching them out (hint to my foodie pals). But the large food courts I’ve been to (at various local shopping malls) would never be a destination dining trek of sorts. Well, except for “Hotdog-On-A-Stick”. I’m a sucker for any type of food on a stick.

Susan Feniger’s Street Food

When I first read about Chef Feniger’s new restaurant, I envisioned it to be a sort of miniature hawker center. An enclosed space filled with individual street carts from the around the world. In my mind, I even imagined individual cooks (in traditional attire) selling the dishes at these tiny indoor food stalls. I don’t know WHERE I came up with these ideas, but reading Jonathan Gold’s description in LA Weekly certainly added to my fantasy:

Street, MyLastBite.com“Street is a virtual museum of world street food, snacks and savories from every part of Asia — Korean-style mung bean pancakes studded with bits of anise-braised pork belly; hollow, potato-stuffed Indian ping-pong balls called paani puri, moistened with a bit of spicy broth; a juniper-laced salad of roasted beets and crumbled walnuts; even a take on the classic Singaporean breakfast dish of toast with coconut-jam kaya and a runny egg. There are dense dal fritters, a delicious version of the do-it-yourself Thai bundles of roasted coconut, bird chiles, peanuts, tamarind jam and minced lime, among other things, sensibly wrapped in bits of collard instead of the traditional betel leaf.”

So no, Susan Feniger’s Street is not the culinary “It’s A Small World” experience that I fantasized about, but it is a wonderful, exciting (and fun!) restaurant that brings my dream just a little bit closer.

What we ate:

Street, MyLastBite.com
Amuse-Bouche: A very exotic (savory) version of a Rice Crispy Treat! Millet Seed Puffs, with Marshmallow, Fennel, Curry, Coriander,Cumin and Black Currant

Street, MyLastBite.com
Spinach Varenyky: Ukrainian dumplings stuffed with spinach and cheese. Served with sour cream and lemon marmalade

Street, MyLastBite.com
Paani Puri: Chef Susan Feniger first tried these on a street market in Mumbai, India. Filled with potato, chutney, beans and topped with yogurt cilantro

Street, MyLastBite.com
Cuban Stuffed Potato Cake: Filled with spiced beef, raisins, and capers; with tomato mint salsa and poblano crema

Street, MyLastBite.com
Scandinavian Beet and Apple Salad – Slow roasted beets with apple, black currant, watercress, toasted walnut, and millet croutons in a juniper vinaigrette

Street, MyLastBite.com
My FAVORITE bite: Kaya Toast, a uniquely Singapore experience; toasted bread spread thick with coconut jam; served with a soft poached egg drizzled in dark soy and white pepper (link to recipe below!)

Street, MyLastBite.com
Marinated New York Strip Steak, skewered and roasted in the wood oven, served with Wild Mushroom Spaetzle and Rapini with Creamed Onions and Bacon

Street, MyLastBite.com
Top Photo: Vietnamese Corn – wok cooked medley of fresh corn, spring onion with glazed pork belly.
Bottom: Saag paneer with Kokum Dal and Rice Plate – A South Indian spinach dish stewed with homemade paneer cheese, tomato and spices; served with dried plum dal and yogurt rice.

Street, MyLastBite.comSusan Feniger’s Street [CLOSED]
742 N. Highland
Los AngelesCA 90038
(323) 203-0500
Website

Street on Twitter

Dining Date: 5/30/09
with Peter, Julian & Wendy 

Mentioned Above:

More about Singapore Hawker Centers

Kaya Toast Recipe via LA Times

My love for Kaya Toast (on LA Times)

Jonathan Gold’s LA Weekly Street Article

Jonathan Gold’s L.A. Times Food Stall Article

Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations Official Site

“Down on the Street” (Bourdain street food) episode

Grand Central Market

Hotdog on a Stick


Susan Feniger's Street on Urbanspoon

7 Comments

Filed under Eating Out

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

13 Comments

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

Nobu

Nobu LA, MyLastBite.comPeter and I haven’t been to Nobu IN YEARS, but we used to love going to Matsuhisa (also in the Nobu family) on dates when we first met. As a matter of fact, it was in Matsuhisa’s dining room where my sweet husband proposed to me back in 1994.

While reading a recent issue of Bon Appetit magazine, I was pleasantly surprised to read that Nobu (in Los Angeles) was on a list of America’s Top 10 Sushi Spots. 

Bon Ap’s Andrew Knowlton wrote:

“Twenty-two years after he launched a raw-fish revolution with his restaurant Matsuhisa, pioneering chef Nobu returns to America’s capital of sushi and opens another branch of his empire. Expect all the trademarks—Hollywood A-listers, cutting-edge design, and signature dishes, including yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño, black cod with miso, and rock shrimp tempura with butter ponzu.”

We had a wonderful evening rediscovering why we fell in love with Nobu’s food (way back when), and also reminisced about those precious date nights too!

Nobu LA, MyLastBite.com
Nobu sign (in front), Shishito Peppers and Edamame.

Nobu LA, MyLastBite.com
Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno.

Nobu LA, MyLastBite.com
The famous Miso Glazed Black Cod with hajikami. (I still LOVE this)

Nobu LA, MyLastBite.com
Rib-eye with crispy onion, Lobster Inaniwa salad with spicy lemon dressing.

Nobu LA, MyLastBite.com
Rock Shrimp Tempura w/ Spicy Aioli and Salmon with Yuzu and Sesame.

Nobu
Website
903 North La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90069

(310) 657-5711

Bon Appetit’s Favorite Sushi Spots

Nobu LA, MyLastBite.com
The ever-present TMZ out front of the restaurant!

Paparazzi at Nobu (identities protected) just like TMZ!
Identities protected (thanks Peter!)

Dining date: 3/19/09

Nobu on Urbanspoon

21 Comments

Filed under Eating Out