Tag Archives: foodie

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I photograph my EVERY last bite.

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EatingTheMenu.com

In March 2010 I decided I would try 300 dishes on Jitlada Thai Restaurant’s menu. Goal completed March 16, 2013!

My favorites dishes are on the “Spicy Southern Thai” pages and I usually invite friends to join me for lunch. Sometimes I just go alone and work in my “remote office“, but either way the focus is all about the amazing food.

Of course I’ll be taking photos of each plate during my delectable journey. Check for updates here at http://EatingTheMenu.com

Eating the Menu Jitlada Thai Cuisine
300 Dishes Completed! (updated 3/16/13)

Eating The Menu: Jitlada
(click above for more info on each dish)

3/30/10 I met the cutest couple today, who are WAY ahead of me on this quest. Jan & Ron from Glendale. They’ve tried over 100 dishes and eat at Jitlada every week as well! It was so nice to meet some fellow SUPER Jitlada Fans!!

9/10/10 With the help of friends (Julie, Ed, David & LeAnn), I passed 100 dishes today!  All photos here

More about Jitlada

Thanks Zach for sharing lunch with me!

Below are Completed

It took me twelve visits to the Bazaar, but I eventually ate every one of the 76+ dishes on the original two menus (a personal goal I set for myself). I’m so looking forward to the new spring menu, and will post updated photos here.

Eating the Menu – The Bazaar by José Andrés
Dishes Completed (All on menu, Year 1) – 76

Eating The Menu: Bazaar

More about The Bazaar by José Andrés

More Flickr “Eating the Menu” Groups Coming Soon
Animal
Dining Room
LudoBites
Marche’


In the spirit of “full disclosure”, I just want to note that I manage and update JitladaLA.com but do not receive any compensation from the restaurant. I do it because I love the incredible food so much (and wanted to help promote the restaurant), but mostly because I adore Jazz, Tui and their remarkable family.

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Filed under Eating Out, Little Bites

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

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Filed under Little Bites, Recipes

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

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Filed under Recipes

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

Chimichurri “Air” – Adventures in Molecular Cooking [7]

After learning the simple recipe for making flavored “air” at Molecular Gastronomy Class, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to aerate first. Multiple visits to the the Bazaar by José Andrés had me familiar with Bar Centro’s “salt air” topped margaritas, and my favorite “new way” martini with spherified (Ferran Adria) olive is topped with a tangy brine “air”. 

Peter and I love grilling flatiron steak, and I make homemade chimichurri sauce at least once a week. But in our house it’s not just for beef. We also add it to eggs, quesadillas, pastas, and even tuna salad.

Chimichurri "Air" photo 10 by MyLastBite.comTo make the “air”, there are actually only two ingredients needed: some sort of liquid and the lecite (aka lecithin), a natural soy-based emulsifier (links below).

Traditional chimichurri is usually made with two liquids: olive oil and acids, usually limes or vinegar. To make my chimichurri air, I left OUT the olive oil and just drizzled the oil on the steak directly, BEFORE adding the “air” on top.

I like my chimichurri REALLY spicy and wasn’t sure the heat would remain after straining and aerating, but it did. The light (and well, airy) texture was a refreshing change from the standard sauce. 

I certainly don’t plan on going crazy with the lecite (although I do think a Heinz 57 “air” would be an awesome return to my childhood). To me, it’s simply about learning yet another delicious (and fun!) cooking technique at home.

My Recipe for Chimichurri Air:

Chimichurri "Air" photo 2 by MyLastBite.com9 oz liquified chimichurri sauce (recipe follows)
1.5 g lecithin (aka lecite), food grade
Olive oil (to drizzle on steak) 

To make the chimichurri sauce:
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped cilantro
2 medium jalapeno chilies (or more if you like it spicy)
8 oz of fresh lime juice or red wine vinegar
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
Fleur de sel (or sea salt) 

Place all ingredients in a mini-chop or food processor and blend until liquified.

Chimichurri "Air" photo 3 by MyLastBite.comMeasure 9 oz of liquid (add vinegar or water if needed). 

Then pour the liquid through a fine strainer to remove any large pieces.

Make sure it’s 9 oz of liquid to 1.5 g lecithin (again, add vinegar or water if needed).

Place the chimichurri sauce and lecite into a large bowl and blend with a stick-blender until foaming. Note: I have a large, plastic container that I use for this. It can get pretty messy in a standard bowl, so wear an apron!

Chimichurri "Air" photo 9 by MyLastBite.comPrepare the steak:
Grill steak to desired doneness and let meat rest for at least ten minutes.

Cut and plate then drizzle olive oil directly on steak.

Add salt then scoop out whipped “air” from bowl and gently place on meat.

If the “air” becomes watery, simply blend again (not too long) until foamy. Serve immediately!

Chimichurri "Air" photo 11 by MyLastBite.com

Mentioned Above:

Bazaar’s Martini w/ Brine “Air”

About Texturas (in English)

Albert & Ferran Adria Textura site (spanish)

About Texturas – Lecite (airs)

Where to buy molecular ingredients

Molecular fun at home

My ChimiTuna (tuna salad with chimchurri)

My visits to the Bazaar

Ferran Adria’s “Liquid” Olive

El Torito’s Deep-Fried Ice Cream photo

Adventures in Molecular Cooking 6 (Trisol)

Adventures in Molecular Cooking 5 (Class)

Why I call it “Molecular Cooking”

All my chimichurri “air” photos on Flickr

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Filed under Molecular Cooking, Recipes

Kogi

The Kogi Taco Truck made me miss being in my twenties. Especially over the last couple of months, since I started following their Twitter updates on my cell phone. Late at night I’d be in bed reading a book, and have to stop so I could see the incoming Twitter text: “10PM-2AM@The Brig – Abbot Kinney and Palm in Venice”. I couldn’t stop wondering, “Who ARE these people partying EVERY night of the week, chasing down the Kogi taco truck at 2AM?”

It was sort of depressing, because I wanted to be out there chasing the truck too, but then again, I didn’t want to be OUT THERE chasing the truck (or chasing anything for that matter). The Alibi Room in Culver City actually runs a Kogi kitchen (monday thru saturday), but still, I had no desire to fight rush-hour traffic and wait in a ridiculously long line, just for a TACO. 

I admit it, at 45 years old, I’m definitely more of an OpenTable, “reservations a month in advance” sort of eater these days, but of course, that wasn’t always the case.

Twenty-Something, MyLastBite.com

Shortly after I turned twenty-one, I moved to Pacific Beach in San Diego, then spent the next couple of years partying non-stop with my friends. Our days consisted mostly of working in retail during the day, sunning ourselves on our days off and planning “girls night out” EVERY single night of the week.

Most of us were on pretty tight budgets, but we knew which beach bars served free “happy hour” food (drinks bought by the fellas), and it usually consisted of nachos, taquitos or plates of bacon-topped potato skins. Remember when potato skins were the cool, new appetizers?

Roberto's Taco Shop, MyLastBite.comOur favorite drinking holes back then were places like the Beachcomber or the Pennant, and we never missed a Tuesday $1 Margarita night at Diego’s on Garnet Avenue. Quick trips to Mexico for cheap lobster and margaritas were followed by dancing all night at the local clubs.

These nightly adventures always ended with a trip to Roberto’s Taco Shop in Mission Beach, which was steps from the shore, next to the aging Big Dipper roller coaster. The giant, carne asada burrito was my favorite and I always ordered it with extra guacamole. I can’t recall ever eating there during the day, or going there sober for that matter, but back in the day, Roberto’s Taco Shop was MY Kogi.

All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Event, MyLastBite.comIf you’re not familiar with Kogi BBQ, then you probably don’t live in the Los Angeles area. The first time I read about Kogi was on an EaterLA/Lesley Balla post back in December (boy, do I miss her on Eater these days). Ever since then, Kogi has been the “it” taco truck in the city, offering the flavor of spicy Korean barbecue, conveniently wrapped in a fresh tortilla. Kogi gained even more followers when they started using Twitter to communicate upcoming locations with their customers. It was a simple (and brilliant) way for Kogi to keep in contact with hungry, usually late-night, eaters.

All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Event, MyLastBite.comLast Thursday, I just happened to be reading the Kogi website, when I noticed a post titled, “What 20 Bucks Can Buy You”, and was thrilled to learn that it was for a fundraiser in nearby Burbank the same evening. The Gina Alexander Philanthropy Project partnered with Kogi to offer All-You-Can-Eat Kogi tacos for $20, with the proceeds benefiting the Center of Hope Village (for abused children) in the Philippines.

I called Peter and made sure he could make it home early so we could finally try the now-famous Kogi tacos together. Just last week the Kogi truck had been on the Fox lot where he works and he hoped to try it then, but the line was just too long for a my workaholic husband, who doesn’t like to break for lunch anyway.

We arrived at the event 30 minutes early, and after paying our $20 donation (each), we headed for the Kogi truck line, quite pleased to be very close to the front. It was another hour before the truck actually showed up, but there was plenty of entertainment to keep us occupied (photos below), and we didn’t mind because it was all for a good cause.

Peter and I both ordered two Korean Short Ribs and one Spicy Pork. The All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Taco offer, was limited to three at a time, which made sense because when I looked back at the line behind us, there must have been at least 150 hungry people waiting on the street. 

The tacos were terrific (LOVED the spicy pork), and we were content with the three that we tried. Of course if we didn’t have to get back in line and wait again, we would have definitely made it a furious pig-out session, but mostly it felt good to make the donation (Peter later told me he slipped them another $20), and to FINALLY get a taste of the Kogi phenomenon!

Afterwards we headed home, took our pups for their evening walk, and then I fell asleep next to my husband reading my favorite, new book. And guess what? I was tickled pink, NOT to be in my twenties again.

All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Event, MyLastBite.com
Peter saving our spot in the Kogi line

All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Event, MyLastBite.com
DJ Derek Basco entertaining the kids (and us grown-ups too!)

Wrestling at GAPP Event, MyLastBite.com
Waiting for the wrestling event

All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Event, MyLastBite.com
The Kogi Taco Truck arrives!

All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Event, MyLastBite.com
Peter almost up to order… and check out the line behind him.

All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Event, MyLastBite.com
The Kogi Truck menu

All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Event, MyLastBite.com
Korean Short Ribs and Spicy Pork!

All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Event, MyLastBite.com
GAPP founder (Gina Alexander Philanthropy Project) Gina Alexander, with Kogi owners Caroline Shin-Manguera and Mark Manguera.

Upcoming All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Taco dates: 

Thurs, June 25
Thurs, July 30
Thurs, August 27
You must rsvp for your name to be placed on the list.
Email/RSVP or Get more info by contacting
gapp@ginaalexander.com

More Kogi photos on Flickr

Mentioned Above:

Kogi Website

Gina Alexander Website

Center of Hope Village in Philippines

Kogi on Twitter

About Twitter

The Alibi Room

All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Event Info

Eater L.A. – Lesley Balla on Kogi

Lesley Balla currently writes for Tasting Table

OpenTable

Eater LA

My current, favorite book (that I’m reading again)

With Peter

Our Pups

Roberto’s Taco Photo Courtesy of David C.

The Pennant Bar

The Beachcomber

Dining Date: 4/30/09


Kogi Korean BBQ on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Food Events (festivals, classes, etc.), Food Stories (written by me), Food Trucks

The Flirtini Incident

The last time Peter and I hosted Easter brunch at our house, it was sort of a disaster.

We invited my sister Janet, Peter’s sister Susan and both their families for a late Sunday brunch. I spent a few days getting the back garden perfectly decorated with new flowers, and set up a long dining room table outside with my great aunt’s hand-painted china. I even got out my Scottish (clan Maxwell) grandmother’s antique linen napkins and gently ironed each piece, which wasn’t so easy to do because of the hand-embroidered “M” sticking up on the corners.

It was a gorgeous Easter Sunday and our backyard looked like a page out of House & Garden magazine, especially with the flea-market chandelier hanging above the table. Peter secured the heavy fixture to a large branch on our oak tree, even though we didn’t need the light of course. The glass made the garden so pretty, twinkling in the sun through the leaves.

I always like having a “signature” cocktail when I entertain for a large group (even for brunch!). It makes it easier for the hostess (so I don’t have to set up a full bar) and it makes it fun for the guests, especially if the drink is something new.

A few weeks before the disastrous Easter, I was watching the Sex in the City episode where Samantha befriends the transvestites in her new apartment building. Throughout most of the episode she and the “ladies” were arguing over late-night noise outside her bedroom window and Samantha couldn’t get any sleep. After an ongoing catfight with the “guys”, including throwing water on them from her apartment window, she finally decided it would be better just to make nice, and hosted a roof-top barbecue for the whole gang. The episode ended with Samantha raising a glass, toasting Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and her new “girl friends” with a cocktail called, “Flirtini”.

Samantha’s Flirtini Recipe:
2 oz. Vodka
1/2 oz. Apricot Liquor or Triple Sec
1/2 oz. Pineapple Juice
Splash of Champagne, garnish with a strawberry

I thought it would be so fabulous to serve Flirtinis for Easter lunch. They sounded so “fresh and fruity, like springtime”! It was about noon when our guests arrived and the grown-ups started drinking the first of several pitchers. I had never gotten a buzz so fast before (I’m sure it was the vodka mixed with champagne), and by the time we sat down to eat, we were all stinking DRUNK.

What type of food did I serve for our beautiful Easter brunch? I can’t remember (or maybe I don’t want to remember). I had a hangover by late evening and spent the next two days cleaning and packing up the antique dishes. All that effort setting up the garden, gathering our family together, and the memory of the day is just a painful blur.

I haven’t had a Flirtini since, and only remembered it when I suggested to Peter that we should host Easter at our house this year. But he had a much better idea: How about we treat our family to Easter brunch at the Bazaar?

*Brunch at the Bazaar by José Andrés [visit 10]

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Huevos a la Cubana “Andy Garcia” (12 Tiny Eggs Sunny Side Up), $12. One of the three new brunch items on the menu at the Bazaar by José Andrés. I know this LOOKS like a lot of yolk, but these were small quail eggs. Lightly crispy underneath with a savory tomato sauce on top.

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Eggs Benedict “New Way”, Iberico Ham, $18. So beautiful that I couldn’t stop turning the plate and taking photos! The piece of ham was CRISPY and crackled when I bit into it, and the foam tasted like butter. I’ll never be able to have Eggs Benedict anywhere else again.

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Savory Spanish Torrijas: Iberico Ham, Egg 63 (egg was poached at  63ºF.) and Idiazabal Cheese, $18. This was my favorite new brunch item. It was very similar to french toast under the ham… but so much better of course!

Along with the new brunch items, we shared dishes (that I’ve had several times before) from both the regular Traditional and Modern menus including:

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Tuna Ceviche and Avocado Roll, $12. My sister Janet’s favorite.

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Crab Meat Steamed Buns with Pickled Japanese Cucumbers, $18. Three per order (about two bites per little sandwich), never enough!

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Croquetas de Pollo (Chicken and Bechamel Fritters), $8 This is ALWAYS a favorite at the table. Perfect bites (like large tater tots) of little “chicken pot pies”.

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Bloody Mary: Freshly made tomato juice with a celery-wasabi foam, $16. Definitely could have been a meal in itself! I loved the wasabi foam on top.

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
In front: Tableside “Nitro” Blood Orange Screwdriver: Frozen liquid nitrogen blood orange and vodka, $20. House-made Lemonade (freshly squeezed lemon juice, rosemary syrup), $6. Bloody Mary (back, left).

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Felix Meana making the “Nitro” Blood Orange Screwdriver: Frozen liquid nitrogen blood orange and vodka. I love when the liquid nitrogen cart comes rolling up to the table. This screwdriver was velvety smooth and strong! We all loved it.

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Clockwise from top left: Jade (partial), my nephew Cody, Peter’s niece, Chanel.
Top Right: My niece Kindal and Cody’s girlfriend Jade.
Bottom Right: Peter’s sister Susan and her boyfriend, Jerry.
Bottom Left: Chanel, Peter and Miles (Peter’s nephew).

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Clockwise from top left: Miles and my friend, Laur.
Top Right: Susan, Jerry, my sister, Janet and nephew, Chace.
Bottom Right: Jo (me!) and Peter.
Bottom Left: Cody and Chanel.

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Clockwise from top left: Miles digging into dessert, Chace gets comfy on the Blanco couch. With the twins, Chace and Kindal.

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Peter holding court in the Blanca room! The Rojo room was closed for the restaurant’s first official brunch.

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Chef Marcel Vigneron invited the twins (my sister’s kids, Chace and Kindal) back to see the kitchen. They are both fans of “Top Chef” and have been cooking since they were really little, so this was heaven! Thanks Chef!

Dishes we also shared, that I’ve had on previous visits:

Sweet Potato Chips with Yogurt Tamarind Dip, $10

Philly Cheesesteak Air Bread, $8

‘Pa amb’ tomaquet (bread with tomato in Catalan)

Foie Gras and Quince on mini Brioche Bun, $15

Nitro Coconut Floating Island Dessert, $10

We also shared a pitcher of Sangria Rojo, $42. (no photo)

The Bazaar by José Andrés, SLS Hotel
465 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 9004
(310) 246-5555
Dining date: 4/12/09

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.comAn extra treat for me was meeting Chef Katsuya Fukushima (in photo, at right). I had seen him on an episode of “Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie” and was wowed by his knowledge of “modern” cuisine. Chef Fukushima works closely with José Andrés at MiniBar in Washington D.C.

A very special THANK YOU to Bazaar Manager, Felix Meana (also in photo) for taking such good care of us. You made the day extra special.

Thanks also to William and Audra for organizing our large (table of twelve) reservation!!

All my Bazaar photos on Flickr

Mentioned above:

Sex in the City: Episode 48

Top Chef

The twins cooking

House & Garden

“The Flirtini Incident” originally published April 15, 2009

The Bazaar no longer serves brunch.

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Filed under Eating Out, Food Stories (written by me), Molecular Cooking

“Airs & Spheres” – Adventures in Molecular Cooking [5]

Molecular Gastronomy Class #2 – “Airs and Mozzarella Spheres”

Molecular Gastronomy Class, MyLastBite.com“Laboratory Work” was the title of the second Molecular Gastronomy class I attended in February, and it was so much more fun than the first. Instead of learning just one recipe throughout the afternoon, we were allowed to work on several. My favorites included: Airs, Mozzarella Spheres, “Wine” Caviar, and Hot Ice Cream.

Like the initial class I took back in November, this was also taught by Chef Michael Young at Sur la Table in Los Angeles. I was joined again by husband Peter and food-lovin’ nephew Cody and fellow foodblogger Phil (My Life as a Foodie) and his friend, Jill.

Before coming to class, I was most excited about learning how to make “airs”. Since purchasing Ferran Adria’s el Bulli (molecular gastronomy) mini kit, I hadn’t yet had the courage to try out the Lecite, which is part of the ‘EMULSIFICACIÓN’ Group. Lecite is a natural soy lecithin-based emulsifier, and it’s ideal for making flavored airs (links below).

As it turns out, making foams and airs was easy: add the Lecite and whip until frothy!

Recipe for Carrot Air:

18 oz carrot juice
3g lecithin (aka lecite), food grade

Place the carrot juice and lecite into a large bowl and blend with a stick-blender until foaming. Scoop out whipped “air” from top and serve.

Making Carrot Foam, MyLastBite.com
In photos: Cody and Peter, Carrot air, Phil, Jill, Cody and Peter

I’ve had mozarrella spheres at the Bazaar several times, so I really enjoyed learning how to make them in class!

Molecular Gastronomy Class, MyLastBite.comRecipe for Mozzarella Spheres:

250 g Buffalo Mozzerella
150 g Heavy Cream
5 g Calcium Lactate (1.25%)
Tomato Juice (optional)
1 L. Water
5 g Sodium Alginate (0.5%)

1. Mix mozzarella with cream and calcium lactate.

2. Fill bowl with water and add sodium alginate.

3. Stir until dissolved.

4. Transfer mozzarella mix to alginate bath.

5. Allow 2 minutes for setting

Optional: Inject spheres with tomato juice and serve. Note: We had a difficult time injecting the tomato juice, so I would probably leave that part out if trying for the first time.

Making Mozzarella Spheres, MyLastBite.comIn photos: Trying to inject the mozzarella balls with tomato juice.

Making the apple caviar was easy this time around, since I’ve made it several times myself at home. After our group finished making the caviar, Peter said “to heck with apple juice, where’s the alcohol?” Chef Young overheard and handed Peter an open bottle of wine, and that’s when we REALLY started having fun. The wine caviar was fantastic, and it will make for a whole new twist on “Wine and Cheese” nights for sure!

Making Wine "Caviar", MyLastBite.comRecipe for Apple Caviar

9 oz. Apple Juice (or wine, we used red)
2 g (.07 oz.) Sodium Alginate
18 oz. water
2.5 g (.09 oz.) Calcium Chloride 

1. Mix the sodium alginate with 1/2 of the apple juice and blend until dissolved.

2. Mix in remaining juice, strain and allow to sit to remove any air bubbles.

3. Dissolve the calcium chloride in the water.

4. Fill syringe or squeeze bottle with the juice mixture.

5. Softly expel mixture into calcium chloride bath drop by drop.

6. After a minute, remove gently with a tea strainer and rinse gently in cold water.

Making Apple "Caviar", MyLastBite.com
Apple Caviar

Wine "Caviar", MyLastBite.com
Photo above: Peter’s wine “caviar”!

When Chef Young said he would be demonstrating how to make “Hot Ice Cream”, all I could think about was the deep-fried ice cream balls I used to order at El Torito restaurant, but this was nothing like my favorite high school dinner-date treat! It was also the most difficult “recipe” of the day. So difficult, that we all pretty much just watched our instructor take us through each step over the stove.

Recipe for “Hot Ice Cream”

With my good buddy Phil, MyLastBite.com306 g Whole Milk Yogurt
230 g Cream Cheese
80 g Agave Nectar
154 g Water
1 Vanilla Bean, scraped
1 Pinch of Sea Salt
11.55 g. Methyl Cellulose (1.5%) 
Ice bath 

1. In a blender puree together the yogurt, cream cheese, agave nectar, vanilla and salt. Blend just until the mixture comes together as a smooth puree, but do not aerate.

2. Heat the water to a boil. As soon as it’s boiling remove from heat and whisk in the methyl cellulose.

3. Once the methyl cellulose is dispersed, add it to the blender and puree until the mixture is homogenized, again do not aerate. 

4. Prepare ice bath. Pour mixture into a bowl and chill in ice bath. Set the ice-cold mixture rest in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably overnight before poaching the ice cream.

5. When ready to make hot ice cream, heat a pot of water to a boil. When the water boils, shut off the heat and scoop the ice cream base.

6. As you scoop, wipe the edges of the ice cream scoop and then immerse the scoop and its contents into the hot water. You will see the ice cream set, and then dislodge it from the scoop. The ice cream should poach for about one minute for small scoops and longer for larger scoops. Depending on the size you may have to turn the heat back on to keep the water hot.

7. Once the ice cream is set, remove the scoops and drain briefly on a paper towel and place into serving dishes. As the mixture sits, the ice cream will melt.

Please note: I did not test this recipe myself, but it was fascinating to watch and was delicious. My Cody nephew thought it would be perfect on a freshly-made waffle.

Making "Hot" Ice Cream, MyLastBite.com
Photos: Phil, Chef young, Jill, Cody and Peter. “Hot” Ice Cream made with Methyl Cellulose.

Class Date: 2/22/2009
Sur la Table, Los Angeles (at the Grove)
Cost $89 

Sur la Table Cooking Classes

Mentioned Above:

All photos from this molecular gastronomy class

Where to buy molecular ingredients

Molecular Gastronomy Class, MyLastBite.comMolecular fun at home

About Texturas (in English)

About Texturas Lecite (airs)

Albert & Ferran Adria Textura site (spanish)

All recipes above adapted by Chef Michael Young

Domenico Ristorante (Chef Michael Young)

Why I call it “Molecular Cooking”

The el Bulli kit!

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Adventures in Molecular Cooking 4

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Michael Mina – San Francisco

My niece Kindal and nephew Chace recently turned thirteen, which I think is the very first “milestone” birthday that most of us celebrate. At thirteen we’re “cool” teenagers… at sixteen we get to drive (if we’re lucky)… at eighteen we’re “grown-ups” (although I personally disagree with that one!). Turning twenty-one means cocktails, cheap Happy Hour food and getting a real job…. while thirty means we’re done making the stupid mistakes we made in our twenties (hopefully)!

The Twins, MyLastBite.com

To celebrate the twins 13th birthday, I wanted to do something extra special with my sister’s amazing kids. They have never been on an airplane (except on a film set!), so I figured this was the perfect way to celebrate them becoming bona-fide teenagers.

I first thought about a Las Vegas trip. That would work out well for me because of the long list of restaurants I want to try in “Sin City”. Places I’m dying to eat at are Jet Tila’s Wazuzu, the freshly flown in Mediterranean seafood at Bartolotta (both at the Wynn Encore), and the legendary Joel Robuchon at MGM. But the twins had been to Vegas before, during family boating trips to Lake Mead and I wanted this birthday celebration to be a whole, new experience.

San Francisco sounded perfect. It’s a short flight (just over an hour) and we could fly out of Ontario airport (CA) which is near my sister’s house in San Dimas. I started checking flights online and noticed that the airplanes from Ontario to San Francisco were small (30 seat turboprop) commuter planes. For this, the twins first flying experience, I thought it would be better to board a large, roomy jet where they could do a little exploring in flight… meaning strolls to the back to check out the lavatories (remember, as a kid, when that was fun?). However, this route was more expensive (and a bit of a drive for my sister), but I went ahead and reserved flights from Los Angeles to San Francisco on January 24th.

After I cleared the dates with my sister, and got my husband to agree to step away from his computer for two consecutive days, I booked the trip. Even though the twins thought the “gift” was going to be the airplane ride, I wanted to find a restaurant that would provide a wonderful memory for this special occasion. We had one night in San Francisco, and half of the next day for sightseeing. The only two restaurants that popped in my head were Hubert Keller’s “Fleur De Lys” and Michael Mina’s flagship restaurant “Michael Mina”. Both chefs had guest-starred on previous episodes of “Top Chef” (I’m obsessed with the show), so those were my top choices.

I started doing a little research on both restaurants and came across food blogger, KevinEats posting about his visit to Michael Mina in 2007. The pictures were incredible (his photos always make me drool) and after reading a few more recent reviews, I decided on the Michelin TwoStar Michael Mina.

Flights booked… restaurant booked… now on to finding a hotel.

For years, my favorite San Francisco hotel had always been the Miyako hotel (now called Hotel Kabuki), which is located in Japan Town. I used to love the deep, traditional Japanese bathtubs which always made me feel like I was back in Okinawa. In 1982, my sister was crowned “Nisei Week” Queen here in Los Angeles (a big deal in the local Japanese community). Luckily for me, I got to tag along with her to various Japanese events including the Cherry Blossom Festival in San Francisco. Hanging out with the “Queen” was cool. While she was busy with her official duties (being photographed with every business owner in J-Town), I was off (with a chaperone) eating my way through festival food stalls filled with Yakitori, Udon, Mochi and anything else in site. That was the first time I ever stayed at the Miyako hotel and for years after, it was the only choice… until now.

St. Francis Hotel, San FranciscoWhen I read that Michael Mina restaurant is actually located inside the St. Francis hotel, I figured it was a “no brainer” to stay there just in case our incoming flight was delayed, and to also make sure the twins were comfortable. Driving around San Francisco can be a little scary at first, and rushing from hotel to restaurant, a few hours after their first flight experience, didn’t sound like fun at all. The St. Francis seemed the logical choice.

Our flight left LAX at 12:50pm and I had the best time watching Kindal and Chace take in every moment. They listened carefully to every announcement, checked to make sure they each had their own”barf” bag, and actually read the emergency seatback cards. Just a week before our trip, Captain “Sully” had crash-landed on the Hudson River (everyone survived), so we were all a little more sensitive about the flight.

Air travel has always been a huge part of my life, and I admit that I’m STILL excited when I board a plane, because it means I’m “going somewhere” (and hopefully it’s somewhere for fun!). My sister and I had been flying since we were babies, when our dad was based in Okinawa. Those were incredibly long flights from Okinawa to California (with stops in Tokyo and Hawaii) during the Vietnam War. By the time I was three and Janet was six, we had crossed the Pacific Ocean multiple times to visit family in Los Angeles. That’s probably why this flight to San Francisco felt extra special to me, because I was taking my sister’s kids (who I love like my own) on their first official airplane ride.

Thankfully, every step of the trip went as planned. In less than 24 hours the twins had their first flight, their first Michelin star dinner (which was fantastic), a beautiful hotel room, and an incredible tour of Alcatraz.

I wished we could have fit more in on this trip. We didn’t get to North Beach, China Town or my beloved J-Town, but we did exactly what I had hoped for in the first place… we made a whole new batch of unforgettable memories together!

Our Dinner At Michael Mina
All ready for dinner at Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
Ready for dinner!
Michael Mina Restaurant, MyLastBite.com
There were birthday cards waiting on the table for both Kindal & Chace (from the restaurant). Bottom left (out of focus) is popcorn with shaved truffles. I was happily surprised that the twins loved it!

Trio of Lobster Amuse Bouche at Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
Trio of Lobster, the Amuse Bouche.

Course One at Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com

Trio of Dungeness Crab at Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
Trio of Dungeness Crab (my first course): Poached, Butter-Roasted and in Cioppino soup.
Trio of Pork at Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
Trio of Pork (Peter’s First Course): Terrine with Cornichon Gelee, Pork Belly with Frisee au Lardon and Quail Egg, Bourguignon

Kobe TrioBeef Trio at Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
The twins both ordered the Kobe (Wagyu) Beef Shabu Shabu in Dashi Broth, with Foie Gras.

Kobe TrioBeef Trio at Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
They didn’t like the Foie Gras, but I was proud that they both tried it! Peter and I happily ate it for them. The Wagyu Beef Shabu-Shabu pot was a fun start to the evening. They both LOVED the exquisite beef of course!

Course Two at Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com

Seafood Trio at Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
Peter’s second course: Bouillabaisse “Mina Style” with Barramundi, Scallop & Octopus.

Trio of Duck at Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
For my second course I had Liberty Duck “Three Ways”: Duck Breast with Parsnip Puree, Seared Foie Gras with Laird Brandy Gastrique, Duck Rillette Croquette with Apple Butter. ALL FANTASTIC.

Beef Trio at Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
For their second course, the twins each selected Brandt Farm Beef “Three Ways”: Filet, Short Rib and Rib-Eye. I had a bite of the La Ratte Potatoes and they were the creamiest ever.

Beef Trio at Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
Kindal working her way through the second course… (“hey mom, those Cotillion classes worked!”)

Chace done with Course 2! MyLastBite.com
As you can see, Chace really loves his beef!

Course Three at Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com

Passion Fruit Panna Cotta at Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
For the third course (dessert) Chace selected Panna Cotta with Passion Fruit, Chocolate & Banana.

Citrus Trio Dessert at Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
Peter had Meyer Lemon Marmalade, Lime Curd, Grapefruit Gelee and Tarragon Ice Cream.

Cheese Course at Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
I went for the Cheese Course: Pata de Cabra, Pear Puree, Hazelnuts. Vermont Shepherd, Quince Puree, Marcona Almonds. Persille du Beaujolais, Cocoa nibs, Turbinado Sugar.

Tres Leches Cake at Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
Kindal had Tres Leches Cake with Guava and Cajeta Ice Cream.

Kindal, Michael Mina, Chace, Sammy Mina at Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
An extra treat at the end of dinner, was a personal happy birthday wish from the man himself! Chef Michael Mina and his adorable son, Sammy (who was working too!).

Kindal, Jo, Chace  at Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
A wonderful evening!

Chace, Kindal, Peter after dinner at Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
Leaving the restaurant… “we have NEVER been so full!”.

After Michael Mina "Food Coma!", MyLastBite.com
Back in the hotel room… “oh… this is what a food coma feels like!”

Room Service Breakfast, MyLastBite.com
Early morning room service to get us up and about!

St. Francis Hotel, MyLastBite.com
Checking out and waiting for our rental car.

Boat to Alcatraz, MyLastBite.com
Windy and COLD boat out to Alcatraz (Golden Gate bridge in background).

Alcatraz, MyLastBite.com
Kindal, Chace, Jo at Alcatraz.

Alcatraz, MyLastBite.com
The Audio Tour was fantastic! Chace, Kindal and Peter

Alcatraz Kitchen, MyLastBite.com
The kitchen at Alcatraz.

Alcatraz, MyLastBite.com
Waiting to catch the boat.

SFO Airport Snack, MyLastBite.com
A little snack at San Francisco Airport!

San Francisco Trip, MyLastBite.com
Flying back to L.A.

Michael Mina Menu, MyLastBite.com

Michael Mina
335 Powell Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
415 397-9222

Note: the Restaurant has a new location

Website

Dining Date: 1/24/09
Three Course Prix Fixe Menu $105 each

Mentioned Above:

KevinEats – Review of Michael Mina

Wazuzu Restaurant (Vegas)

Joel Robuchon Restaurant (Vegas)

Bartolotta Restaurant (Vegas)

St. Francis Hotel

Michael Mina Restaurant

Hotel Kabuki

Nisei Week Queens (My sister: Janet Barnes 1982)

About the Twins

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Filed under Eating Out, Food Stories (written by me)