Tag Archives: Marcel Vigneron

Bar210 (two one oh!)

Molecular Gastronomy has been all over the news lately, mostly due to Ferran Adria announcing that he would temporarily be closing his El Bulli restaurant in Roses, Spain. Twitter messaging went into overdrive when a false rumor emerged, quoting that Adria would close the world’s “best restaurant” permanently. But then Time magazine wrote that after a two-year hiatus (2012–2014), “El Bulli will change from a restaurant to a nonprofit foundation, operating as a think tank where talented young chefs will explore new directions in gastronomy.”

Olives Ferran Adrià, MyLastBite.comLike most food lovers, I never had the pleasure of dining at El Bulli, but every year I’d send in my request and every year I’d receive the dreaded rejection email as well. I’ve even gone as far as “faux booking” an entire trip, hoping to manifest a reservation into my lap, but some things are just not meant to be.

It hasn’t really bothered me though, because since the Bazaar restaurant opened in 2008, I’ve been lucky enough to eat everything “molecular” on the menu created by Adria’s protégé, the affable and equally talented José Andrés. My first bites, on Bazaar’s opening day, were “Olives Ferran Adrià”, the very same dish I had dreamt about trying at El Bulli.

At the Bazaar, MyLastBite.comDuring 20 (or so) visits to the Bazaar, I got to know a few of the chefs working in the open kitchen. This tends to happen when one obsessively visits a new restaurant over and over, but this wasn’t “just a hip, new” eatery in town. I felt so grateful that we had our “own little El Bulli” in Los Angeles.

Not only do we have the Bazaar to take in an evening of magic (aka molecular gastronomy), but two of the chefs I admired from the beginning have left to run their own “modern” kitchens as well.

Marcel Vigneron at HatchiMichael Voltaggio went on to win Top Chef last year and he now wows at The Dining Room in Pasadena. His good friend Marcel Vigneron (runner-up on Top Chef season 2) only recently left the Bazaar to pursue several new opportunities. Marcel describes his own cuisine as “Modern Global Tastings” and first showcased his dishes at a guest chef event at Breadbar last December.

Just last week, Marcel became chef of the new Bar210 Lounge and Plush nightclub in Beverly Hills. Saturday night was the official opening night party, and it was a terrific night of whimsical, delicious eats and OH YES… liquid nitrogen cocktails too!

Peter and I arrived early to find the luxuriously beautiful Bar210 lounge very welcoming, especially the platters of food on the long communal table! We had a quick drink before running into Marcel near the bar and he immediately offered a tour of his new kitchen, which is always my favorite part of the evening. Watching a bunch of guys prep food may not be exciting to most, but I could’ve stayed back there all night. There’s nothing sexier than a killer mise en place station and a bunch of talented cooks plating beautiful dishes.

Marcel Vigneron @ Bar210After Marcel let us taste several samples, he slipped us into the Plush nightclub and private V.I.P. room for a quick peek. I got a kick out of how much fun Marcel was having as he was showing us around. Peter and I were honored that he took the time on his opening night to be so attentive to us, and it just made us love him that much more.

Rooting for the good guy always feels good, especially when he’s been so badly misrepresented in the past. I’ll shout it over and over again, Marcel is one of the sweetest and most talented chefs I know. Top Chef made him look like a jerk, and he JUST isn’t.

Back in Bar210 we ran into a friendly face, fellow foodie (and Twitter pal) Ryan Tanaka, and also the gorgeous Laura Jeppson, a good friend of Marcel’s that we had met previously. Opening night’s are always a bit frenzied and unpredictable, but when we left we were happy to see a long line around the building.

Peter and I will definitely be back on a “regular night” to enjoy the menu with friends. Whether you call it modern or molecular gastronomy, whether you think it’s a passing fad or don’t agree with the concept, the most important thing is how FUN it all is, and Marcel Vigneron seems to be having the most fun of all.

Marcel Vigneron @ Bar210
POMEGRANITE SPHERIFICATION filled with fresh blueberry

Marcel Vigneron @ Bar210
WATERMELON & TOMATO: masago & bee pollen ~ nasturtium ~ lemon vinaigrette

Marcel Vigneron @ Bar210
MUSHROOM TART: burrata ~ petite arugula sylvetta ~ caramelized cippolini

Marcel Vigneron @ Bar210
SALTY PEEWEE POTATOES: chlorophyll mayo

Marcel Vigneron @ Bar210
TUNA TARTARE CORNETS: avocado & banana ~ coconut milk powder

Marcel Vigneron @ Bar210
PORK BELLY SLIDERS: green papaya slaw ~ pimenton espelette

Marcel Vigneron @ Bar210
BONELESS CHICKEN WINGS : “fancy sauce” ~ micro celery ~ maytag blue

Marcel Vigneron @ Bar210
Transmontanus Caviar and Cherrywood Smoked Salmon Roe

Marcel Vigneron @ Bar210
Marcel making the Liquid Nitrogen Cocktail: “Brain Freeze” with Tomato Water and Absolut Pepper

Marcel Vigneron @ Bar210
Marcel serving Liquid Nitrogen Cocktail: “Brain Freeze” with Tomato Water and Absolut Pepper

Marcel Vigneron @ Bar210
Liquid Nitrogen Cocktail: “Brain Freeze” with Tomato Water and Absolut Pepper

 

 

UPDATE: Bar21o has CLOSED

Bar210/Plush
9876 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90120

Website

Date: 2/20/10 (opening night)

All my Bar210 Photos on Flickr

Bar210 on LA Weekly

More photos of Bar210 & Plush on BizBash

Marcel’s Guest Chef Event, BreadBar’s Hatchi

Ferran Adria in Time Magazine

Ferran Adria Rumors

The Dining Room (Michael Voltaggio)

My first visit to Bazaar

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Filed under Eating Out, Molecular Cooking

Modern Global Tastings

Marcel Vigneron at BreadBar’s Hatchi Series

Marcel Vigneron at HatchiMy two biggest pet peeves in life are ungratefulness and arrogance. If I meet a person, and he (or she) continually shows signs of either, I’m quick to cut and run.

When I initially met chef Marcel Vigneron in the Bazaar’s kitchen last year, I thought he was full of arrogance. So much so, that the first thing I said to him (after a cocktail or two) was, “I hated you on Top Chef”.

If you’re not familiar with the show, Marcel was the runner-up (to Ilan Hall) on Top Chef season two, and his “character” was the one that I think most viewers loved to hate (including me). He was young, cute, super talented and the other cheftestants on the show didn’t like him much either. On TV, Marcel seemed overly cocky, arrogant and quietly obnoxious.

When I think back to our first meeting, I’m still horrified with my behavior. How could I judge a person by his “performance” on a REALITY show? I told a complete stranger that I HATED him. That’s a powerful word, in real life or not. And to top off my ill-mannered introduction, I asked to take a picture with him (he kindly obliged). Talk about ARROGANCE (on my part)!

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009Thankfully, Marcel and I are now friends, and I’ve apologized for that first meeting several times. He is absolutely one of the sweetest and most accomplished chefs around, and what came off as “arrogance” on TV was simply CONFIDENCE. It’s such a shame that the Bazaar didn’t appreciate his talent or patience. He quit recently and has been busy filming a pilot for SYFY, while also managing his Modern Global Tasting Catering Company.

Luckily, we food lovers got to experience an entire evening of Marcel’s cuisine at BreadBar’s recent December Hatchi event. The menu theme, was not surprisingly, the same as his catering company, “Modern Global Tastings”. Modern techniques included spherifications, sous vide and foams (just for us lucky Top Chef fans perhaps?). Global Tastings took our tastebuds around the world in one evening, and the cost was just $8 for each plate!

Hatchi at BreadBar is a “unique venture featuring a different guest chef every month preparing an original, one-night-only suite of eight plates, including six ’savory’ dishes and two ’sweet’ creations”. Hatchi means number eight in Japanese: 8 Plates offered at $8 each. Quite the bargain for what you get, and I try to attend each one.

Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi, MyLastBiteMarcel’s guest chef Hatchi dinner was rather poignant, because this was one of the few times the general public got to taste HIS FOOD. Our table was filled with fellow foodies and friends including Marcel’s good pal, chef Ben Bailly (of Petrossian). Ben and Marcel previously worked together at Joël Robuchon, and it was hilarious watching them discuss each plate (sometimes whispering) throughout the evening.

As the night came to a close, the exhaustion was apparent on Marcel’s face, but more importantly… so was the pride, because it was all about HIS concept, HIS menu, HIS food (which was all phenomenal). I felt so grateful to be part of the delicious experience, and can’t wait for what’s next!

Modern Global Tastings:

“The edible alchemy presented here is a food movement representation intended to not only express a culinary philosophy but also to evoke a conscious perception of the natural shape and flavor of substances, colors, and textures that exist within the earth and have been interpreted by your sorcerer composer. May your appetite grow and your belly be satisfied.” ~ Marcel Vigneron 

Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi, MyLastBite
Pomegranate Blueberry Spherification (Amuse Bouche)

Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi, MyLastBite
Hamachi Sashimi: Espelette, Momo Chan, Kumquat, Salicornia

Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi, MyLastBite
Dayboat Scallop, Cauliflower Couscous, Kinome, Seaweed

Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi, MyLastBite
Langostine Ravioli: Tom Kai, Avocado Wrapped Mango, Petite Basil, Basil Seeds, Coconut Milk Powder

Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi, MyLastBite
Lyonaise Salad: Frisee, “Nesting” Egg, Bacon, Sherry Vinaigrette, Endive

Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi, MyLastBite
Broth being poured over MisoHoney Black Cod, Nasturtium textures, Sesame oil powder

Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi, MyLastBite
MisoHoney Black Cod, Nasturtium textures, Sesame oil powder

Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi, MyLastBite
Vadouvan Lamb: Flavors of Tzatziki, Lavosh, Pickled Onion, Sumac

Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi, MyLastBite
Grass Fed “Corned Beef”: Sous vide short rib, Textures of Corn, Saul’s Pastrami, Black Trumpets

Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi, MyLastBite
Souffle, Green Chartreuse with Orange Peel ice Cream with Almond Struesel

Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi, MyLastBite
Tiny chocolate curry and passion fruit Macaroons

Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi, MyLastBite
Cubed Vanilla Marshmallows

Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi, MyLastBite
Cocktail: “Coke in Manhattan” Bourbon, Carbonated Coca Cola Spherification (so fun!)

Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi, MyLastBite
Popcorn cooked in liquid nitrogen (aka “Dragon’s Breath”)

BreadBar Century City
10250 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90067
310 277 3770
WebSite

Dining Date: 12/17/09
At our table: Charles from 1HundredMiles, Robert, Andrew, Bob from TheBaubShow, Hanh from HungryHungryHanh, Charles from @EpicureImports, Chef Ben Bailly from Petrossian

Check BreadBar’s website for upcoming Hatchi events

More of my visits to Hatchi dinners


At the Bazaar, MyLastBite.comFollow
@MarcelVigneron on Twitter

Marcel’s Bio on Top Chef

SYFY

Marcel Caters for Exposed Book Launch Event w/ Jessica Alba

Chef Ben Bailly, Petrossian

The Bazaar by Jose Andres

Marcel’s autograph for my niece (& nephew too)

Check back soon for website info & details on Marcel’s Modern Global Catering Company

More Hatchi Photos on Flickr

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

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009

Last year, just a few days before the Great Chefs of L.A. event, I came down with a wretched stomach flu. By the morning of the actual event, I felt good enough to attend but my tummy wasn’t fully recovered yet.

Since my husband Peter was out of town on business, I planned on skipping the event altogether. Our $300 donation ($150 each) would still go to the Southern California National Kidney Cancer Foundation, and that was the most important part anyway.

But then I thought about the FOOD, the restaurants, and ALL the celebrity chefs I’d be missing. Could I really have fun at a food event, in the event that I couldn’t EAT the food?

The answer is yes. I made a quick call to my nephew Cody (who thankfully wasn’t working that morning), and an hour later we were strolling the backlot at CBS studio. I took lots of photos and tried a few bites, while Cody ate like only a fire-fighter-in-training could eat. He happily ate EVERYTHING, which of course made me happy too!

For this year’s Great Chefs of L.A., I was honored with a press pass and more importantly, a very hungry (and healthy) tummy! Peter bought a discounted ticket ($75 instead of $150) on GoldStar.com, and we both skipped breakfast to prepare for an afternoon feast.

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009Basically we tried to have a bite at each restaurant table (starting on the right side of the street) and slowly made our way around the event. We missed a few dishes, but also returned several times to have more of our favorites.

It was fun to run into my friends at the Bazaar. It’s been awhile since I’ve eaten there (since Michael Voltaggio left) but Peter and I will be heading back to the Rojo room this weekend, to try out all the new dishes on the menu.

Chef Marcel Vigneron was also at the event. If you’re not a Top Chef fan (like me), Marcel was runner-up on season two. When I first met him last year at the Bazaar, I told him how much he annoyed me, when I watched him on Top Chef. His confidence came off as arrogance, and he was the “character” that I (as well as most of America) loved to hate.

After I got to know Marcel, I realized that off camera he is NOTHING like how he is portrayed on TV. He’s an absolute sweetheart, and it bugs me that he gets a bad rap. We talked for a bit about current (super exciting but I can’t talk about it) projects he’s working on, and his upcoming guest-chef stint at BreadBar (which of course I can talk about and have linked below).

One of the main reasons I love going to food events (besides donating to charity) is to try out food from eateries I haven’t been to yet. Restaurants that are on my very lengthy “To Do” list, like Saddlepeak Lodge and EAST (which had my absolute favorite bite of the day). The Great Chefs of L.A. event brings together all these things, and it’s one I’ll return to year after year.

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
“Green” Carpet Hostess (ADORABLE, from Top Chef season 1) Chef Candace Kumai (The Stiletto Chef)

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Hungry Crowd!

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Gaspacho Andaluz by Bokado restaurant (Chef Frank Leon).

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Chef Frank Leon of La Loggia and Bokado restaurant.

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Pintxo de Pollo/ Lamb by Frank Leon of La Loggia and Bokado restaurant.

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Short Rib Grilled Cheese w/ Onion Marmalade and Bel Paese Cheese, Truffled Potato Chips by Govind Armstrong, 8 oz Burger

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Border Grill Truck

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Border Grill’s Avocado Taco: chipotle salsa, creamy corn relish, pickled onion.

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Ceviche, Border Grill

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Sushi Poppers (I’m a sucker for ANYTHING on a stick!)

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Peter trying a Sushi Popper.

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
The SUPER FAB Chef Jimmy Shaw of Loteria Grill.

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Chef Neal Fraser’s Braised Veal Shortribs with Polenta

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Chef Celestino Drago’s Duck Sandwich, Butternut Squash Soup

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
SaddlePeak Lodge’s Grilled Nilgai Antelope w/ Cabbage, Bacon, Apple and Black Garlic

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Bottega Louie’s Brie, Blood Orange & Watercress Paninis and Roasted Grape Tomatoes, Burrata & Pesto Salad

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
The lovely Josie (UncouthGourmands) with chef Celestino Drago

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Baked Spaghetti wrapped with Eggplant, served on a bed of tomato basil sauce, topped with mozzarella by chef Giacomino Drago at Il Pastaio

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Mr. Cecils Big Beef Ribs & St. Louis Style Pork Ribs

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
George Lopez, spokesperson for the National Kidney Foundation

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
George Lopez, with Chefs of Honor, Neal Fraser and Mary Sue Milliken

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Akasha’s Beer Braised Niman Ranch Short Ribs, Betty Kennedy’s Plum-Mustard Chutney

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Scallops on the 1/2 shell, Lemongrass sambal, wasabi creme fraiche, shiso dust, micro cilantro by Chef Kevin Alan, East Restaurant (my favorite of the day!)

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Hawaiian Walu: Miso mustard cream, micro wasabi, chive essence, smoked chardonnay sea salt by Chef Kevin Alan, East Restaurant

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Strawberrylicious Cupcakes by Leyna’s Kitchen

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Adorable (and SWEET!) Cupcake Girls

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Making the Liquid Nitrogen Caipirinha from The Bazaar by José Andrés, SLS Hotel.

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Liquid Nitrogen Caipirinha from The Bazaar by José Andrés, SLS Hotel.

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Peter chatting with Marcel

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Me and Marcel

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Auction Goodies

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
The Awesome Gift Bags (including a fresh pomegranate!)

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009
Contents (including fantastic coupons for wine, hair salons, headshot photo session and margaritas at Border Grill!)

All my photos on Flickr

Mentioned Above:

Great Chefs of L.A. 2008

SoCal Kidney Foundation

Marcel Vigneron

BreadBar Hatchi Series

Goldstar

East Restaurant

Saddlepeak Lodge

UncouthGourmands.com

The Stiletto Chef

Thanks to Nancy Huang, Slife PR

great chefs of L.A. Great Chefs of LA Los Angeles

Details about Great Chefs of LA:

George Lopez Hosts The Great Chefs of Los Angeles
“Go Green, Go Organic” Food & Wine Benefit at CBS Studios

The 23rd Annual Great Chefs of Los Angeles brings together L.A.’s top tastemakers for an afternoon of food, wine, music and auctions to benefit the National Kidney Foundation of Southern California. GCLA draws more than 500 people each year, and has raised more than $4.5 million for the foundation since its inception in 1987. The recently introduced “Go Green, Go Organic” theme promotes eco-conscious living and sustainability, utilizing organic foodstuffs and eco-friendly products throughout the festivities.

WHO: George & Ann Lopez

National Kidney Foundation spokesman George Lopez, a kidney disease survivor, and his wife and kidney donor Ann Lopez, will host the afternoon’s festivities as Honorary Chairs. “Usually I don’t eat, but when I eat, I eat GREEN!” quips George Lopez. The actor/comedian will host Great Chefs just a day before the premiere of his late night show Lopez Tonight,” premiering on Nov. 9 at 11/10c on TBS.

Chefs of Honor Neal Fraser (Grace, BLD) and Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger (Border Grill, Ciudad) lead a stellar lineup of top toques from Los Angeles. The Chefs of Honor will present awards to their fellow participating chefs to spotlight the use of local, organic and sustainable ingredients. Hostess Chef Candice Kumai, The Stiletto Chef of TLC’s “Cook Yourself Thin,” will serve as emcee for the event and auction.

CHEFS:
Featured chefs include:
* Adam Horton, Saddlepeak Lodge
* Akasha Richmond, Akasha
* Andrea Cavaliere, Cecconi’s
* Benjamin Ford, Ford’s Filling Station
* Bob Lynn, La Grande Orange
* Brian Moyers, BLT Steak
* Calogero Drago, Celestino Ristorante & Panzanella
* Celestino Drago, Drago Restaurant, Enoteca Drago, Il Pastaio, Drago Centro
* Chris Moran, Events D’Elegance
* David Linville, Charlie’s Malibu
* Frank Leon, LaLoggia Ristorante & Bokado
* Keven Alan Lee, EAST Restaurant & Lounge
* Giacomino Drago, Il Pastaio
* Govind Armstrong, 8 oz.
* Jason Johnston, Dakota
* Jesse Perez, Fuego at Hotel Maya
* Jimmy Shaw, Loteria Grill
* Joachim Weritz, Moonshadows
* Jonathan Burrows, Mr. Cecil’s California Ribs
* Jorge Chicas, The Bazaar – SLS Hotel
* Josie Le Balch, Josie Restaurant
* Margarito Cid, Harry’s Oklahoma Style Smokehouse BBQ
* Mary Sue Milliken & Susan Feniger, Border Grill & Ciudad Restaurants
* Michael Fiorelli, mar’sel
* Neal Fraser, Grace & BLD
* Paolo Sicuro, Via Alloro
* Roberto Maggioni, Lago
* Sam Marvin & Christopher Goossen, Bottega Louie Restaurant & Gourmet Market
* Simon Dolinky, BLVD 16 at Hotel Palomar
* Steven Fretz, XIV
* Tanino Drago, Tanino Ristorante & Panzanella Ristorante
* Yoji Tajima, SHU – Sushi House Unico
* Leyna’s Kitchen

Wines and beverages will be provided by:
Wines
* Barone Fine Winery
* Buttonwood Farm Winery
* Crossings, New Zealand
* Duckhorn Wine Company
* Frank Family Vineyards
* FIFTYROW
* Golden State Wine Co.
* Grgich Hills Estate
* Jaffe Estate Wine
* Jack Wines
* Jocelyn Lonen Winery
* Kunde Estate Winery
* L’Aventure Winery
* Laetitia Vineyard & Winery
* Loring Wine Co.
* Quinta do Castro
* Regal Wine Co.
* Sterling Organics
* Trefethen Family Vineyards
* Vega Sicilia
* Villa Franttina

Champagnes
* Remy Cointreau USA
* Charles Heidsieck
* Piper-Hiedsieck
Spirits
* VeeV Açai Spirit
* Tequila Ocho
* RIGHT Gin

Beers
* Budweiser American Ale
* Bud Light Wheat
* Fireman’s Brew
* Hoegaarden
* Leffe Blonde
* O’Douls
* Michelob Ultra Light
* Michelob Amber Bock
* Shock Top Belgian White
* Stella Artois

Other Beverages
* Bonadea
* IZZE Beverage Company
* Lupicia Fresh Tea
* POM Wonderful
* Smartwater
* Weaver’s Coffee & Tea

GO GREEN:
Get Hip Get Green, an eco-conscious leader in producing stylish reusable bags, totes and water bottles, sponsor the GCLA “944 Get Hip Get Green” Lounge, outfitted with environmentally friendly lounge furniture provided by Girari Sustainable Furnishing. VeeV Açai Spirit, a leading distiller in promoting social responsibility in the beverage industry, will pour cocktails at the “Go Green Go Organic” Spirits Bar. Guests will use biodegradable utensils by Sysco’s Eco Company line.

Guests will receive Get Hip Get Green’s reusable gift totes stuffed with $250 worth of goodies from leading green and eco-friendly companies, including LaRocca Skincare, Healing Skin, Utter Cream, Eco-Panda, Herbal Water, Nelson J Salon, Alterna, OPI, Explorer’s Bounty, Celtic Sea Salt, Edward & Sons Trading Co., Pop Chips, Robert’s American Gourmet and Little Laura’s Sweets, among many others.

WHEN:
Sunday, November 8, 2009
12 to 3:30 p.m.

WHERE:
CBS Studio Center
4024 Radford Dr.
Studio City, CA 91604

AUCTION:
Featured items for this year’s live auction include a Maurice Lacroix Limited Edition 999 Watch, a private dinner party courtesy of Neal Fraser paired with wine from Frank Family Vineyards, a Border Grill Truck Party for 25, a La Loggia party for 25, two round-trip business class tickets on American Airlines to one of their European destinations, and a five-night stay at Aurelio-Lech, a brand new luxury ski lodge in Austria. The silent auction will include items such as a sports memorabilia, travel packages to international destinations and numerous wine and spirits packages.

About the Kidney Foundation of Southern California
The National Kidney Foundation is the major voluntary health organization dedicated to preventing kidney disease, improving the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by kidney disease and increasing the availability of all organs for transplantation. Through its offices nationwide, the foundation conducts programs in research, professional education, patient and community services, public education and organ donation.

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

BREADBAR’s Hatchi Series: 8 for $8

What is Hatchi?

Voltaggio @ Hatchi, MyLastBite.comA little background (by LA Weekly):
“The Hatchi series, a collaboration between Breadbar and chef Noriyuki Sugie, began this past June and showcases a guest chef the last Thursday of each month. The series menu features 8 small plate courses at $8 a dish–“hatchi” means 8 in Japanese–and guests order a minimum of three dishes. The chefs, who are picked for their rising-star talent, are given a budget and must stick within it; Sugie is on hand to mentor, watch, and (one hopes) taste a few dishes. The previous chefs to run the floor were Debbie Lee (The Next Food Network Star, now at Gyenari), Michael Voltaggio (now chef de cuisine at The Langham) and Santa Barbara-based private chef Roberto Cortez.”

I love these “guest chef” dinners, and do my best to attend each one. So far I’ve been to three (links below), and highly recommend it! It’s just a really comfortable and inexpensive way to try out a chef’s new menu.

Michael Voltaggio at Hatchi
Voltaggio @ Hatchi, MyLastBite.com

Robert Cortez at Hatchi
Cortez @ Hatchi, MyLastBite.com

Remi Lauvand at Hatchi
Lauvand @ Hatchi, MyLastBite.com

Waylynn Lucas at Hatchi
Waylynn at Hatchi, MyLastBite.com

Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi
Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi, MyLastBite

Upcoming Events: 1/28/10 Ricardo Zarate
Chef at Mo Chica
Hatchi Theme: Peru Much Gusto

voltaggio top chef

BreadBar Century City
10250 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90067
(310) 277 3770
WebSite (check for upcoming Hatchi dinners)

Follow BreadBar on Twitter @BreadBar_LA

Mentioned above:

LA Weekly

Chef Noriyuki Sugie

BreadBar

Chef Voltaggio – Dining Room at the Langham

Chef Lauvand – Cafe Pierre

Chef Roberto Cortez

Chef Debbie Lee – Gyenari

voltaggio married wife girlfriend michael voltaggio’s top chef

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Filed under Eating Out

Michael Voltaggio – Hatchi Dinner

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Chef Michael Voltaggio. Luckily for me, I also get to call him a friend.

Voltaggio, MyLastBite.comEver since I first tasted Michael’s food at the Bazaar by José Andrés last year, I made sure to keep an eye on the man that chef Andrés selected to open (as Esquire Magazine recently coined), the “Restaurant of the Year”.

The L.A. Times even gave the Bazaar a rare FOUR STAR review, and yes… I understand that the restaurant, menu and concept belong to the great José Andrés (I adore him too). But it was primarily Michael Voltaggio I saw in the kitchen each time I sat down for dinner in the Bazaar’s Roja room.

Michael now runs the kitchen at the Dining Room in Pasadena, which is located in the Langham Hotel. Before starting this most recent gig, he took some “time off” to compete in Bravo’s Top Chef – Season 6 (which is currently airing). He even squeezed in time to helm a one-night-only Hatchi guest chef event at BreadBar Restaurant in Century City, and it was there that I got to taste creations that were finally, truly his own.

Partying with the boys, MyLastBite.comBreadBar describes the Hatchi Series as a “unique venture featuring a different guest chef every month preparing an original, one-night-only suite of eight plates, including six ‘savory’ dishes and two ‘sweet’ creations”. Hatchi means number eight in Japanese: 8 Plates offered at $8 each. I love the Hatchi dinners, and do my best to attend each one!

The best part about Michael Voltaggio’s Hatchi dinner, surprisingly, wasn’t about the food. OF COURSE the food was STELLAR, it’s Michael Voltaggio for goodness sakes, but my favorite part was meeting and getting to know Michael’s mother, Sharon and his stepdad, Bob.

Top Chef 6 hadn’t started airing yet, and there was a lot excitement and anticipation at the restaurant that night. Sharon and I now email each other every Wednesday night after the show has aired, so we can dish about how her TWO sons are doing on the show. In case you don’t watch Top Chef, Bryan Voltaggio (Michael’s equally talented big brother) is also competing for the title this year. Sharon is certainly one proud mom, that’s for sure!

Michael Voltaggio’s incredible Hatchi menu:
An Experience of Texture and Flavor

Voltaggio @ Hatchi, MyLastBite.com
Artichokes “Barigoule” Salmon Belly, Philadelphia Cheese, Smoked Salmon Roe

Voltaggio @ Hatchi, MyLastBite.com
Japanese Tomato Tartare: Green Almonds, Parmesan “Overeasy”, Tapenade

Voltaggio @ Hatchi, MyLastBite.com
Hamachi Crudo: Smoked Egg Yolk, Sea Sponge, Watermelon and Wild Rice

Voltaggio @ Hatchi, MyLastBite.com
Veal Sweetbread, Poached Egg, Coffee Cardamom Soil (before adding Pea Consomme)

Voltaggio @ Hatchi, MyLastBite.com
Veal Sweetbread, Poached Egg, Pea Consomme, Coffee Cardamom Soil

Voltaggio @ Hatchi, MyLastBite.com
Crispy Chicken Thigh: Cuttlefish, Green Garlic, Sweet and Sour Mushrooms

Voltaggio @ Hatchi, MyLastBite.com
Wagyu Beef: Short Rib, Saul’s Pastrami, Tamarind, Broccoli Textures, Horseradish “Styrofoam”

Voltaggio @ Hatchi, MyLastBite.com
Miso Cake: Jasmine “Rice Cream”, Strawberry, Yuzu

Voltaggio @ Hatchi, MyLastBite.com
Fool’s Gold: Hazelnut Praline, Salty Caramel, Nitro Coffee Mousse.
Sommelier Matthew Lathan paired each dish beautifully with wines, sherry and beer!

Voltaggio @ Hatchi, MyLastBite.com
Chefs Michael Voltaggio and Marcel Vigneron (Top Chef Season 2)


Voltaggio @ Hatchi, MyLastBite.comBreadBar Century City
10250 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90067
310 277 3770
WebSite 

Dining Date: 7/30/09
With friends Afaf & Ray.

Hatchi Dinner: 8 Plates for $8
See website (link above) for upcoming Hatchi dinners!

The Dining Room at the Langham

Michael Voltaggio’s Top Chef Bio

Bryan Voltaggio’s Top Chef Bio

Esquire Magazine (Bazaar)

L.A. Times (Bazaar)

All my Michael Voltaggio photos on Flickr

More awesome Voltaggio tattoos (posted with permission)!

Voltaggio, MyLastBite.com
on his hand

Voltaggio, MyLastBite.com
on his arm

Voltaggio, MyLastBite.com
for his mother

Voltaggio @ Hatchi, MyLastBite.com
More about Hatchi

More about Michael Voltaggio

Voltaggio, Voltaggio, Michael Volaggio, Bryan, Top Chef Las Vegas, Voltaggio Brothers Voltaggio, Voltaggio, Michael Volaggio, Bryan, Top Chef Las Vegas, Voltaggio Brothers

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Filed under Eating Out

The Bazaar by José Andrés [7]

You would think after six group dinners at the Bazaar, I’d have tried everything on the menu right? Wrong.

I thought so too until I started ticking off each dish on a contraband menu that I brought home last month. The truth is, I even started forgetting dishes that I had already tried a few months back, like the Butifarra: Catalan Pork sausage, white beans, mushrooms Senator Moynihan. I tried it on my first visit, but didn’t take a photograph of it… so I forgot.

Visit #7 was a Bazaar “Girl’s Night”!
With Ashley, MyLastBite.comA few months ago I “met” Ashley on Facebook. We were always commenting on the same food photos (by mutual friends) or posting notes about restaurants we’d recently tried. After we became Facebook “friends”, I invited her to our Slumdog Oscar Party and we quickly planned a night out at the Bazaar.

Our “Girl’s Night” fell on a Tuesday, and it was the first time I’d been to the Bazaar on a weeknight. I figured it would be slower than the weekend, and was surprised to see every table filled when we sat down in the Rojo (my favorite) Room.

There were several “restaurant celeb” sightings that evening, including Brent Bolthouse tucked into one of the black leather booths. At the table to the left of us was a writer from “Travel and Leisure” Magazine, and we overheard that another great review was on the way. Seated to the right of us in the second leather booth, was none other than Chef Octavio Becerra from Palate Food and Wine. When he got up at the end of his meal, I stopped him to say hello. Peter and I love his “Porkfolio” and Salmon Rillettes!

This was Ashley’s first visit to the Bazaar, so we ordered a few of the “must haves” tapas including the Philly Cheesesteak with Air Bread, Foie Gras Cotton Candy and tender Lamb Loin (links to photos below). When I scanned the menu, I didn’t remember trying the Butifarra and white bean dish so we ordered that as well, and that turned out to be our favorite dish of “Girl’s Night”!

Butifarra, MyLastBite.com
Butifarra: Catalan Pork sausage, white beans, mushrooms Senator Moynihan. The white beans were incredible… soft on the inside with a light crispy topping.

Caesar Salad (photo by Ashley Rosen) MyLastBite.com
Organized Caesar Salad with Quail Egg and Parmesan

Roe Cone (photo by Ashley Rosen) MyLastBite.com
Soy-marinated
Salmon Roe Cones

Bazaar Lollipops (photo by Ashley Rosen) MyLastBite.com
Chocolate Lollipops: Raspberry White Chocolate and Candied Orange Peel Chocolate

Additional Dishes We Shared:
Philly Cheesesteak: Air Bread, Whipped Cheddar and Wagyu Beef 

Foie Gras rolled in Corn Nuts and wrapped in Cotton Candy

Chicken and Béchamel Fritters

Lamb Loin with Mushrooms and Potato

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

Dinner with Ashley, 3/24/09

 

Thanks William! MyLastBite.com
Thank you William!

Mentioned Above:
Facebook

Slumdog Oscar Party

Brent Bolthouse

Travel and Leisure Magazine

Chef Octavio Becerra

Palate Food and Wine

Porkfolio & Salmon Rillettes

<– Bazaar Visits 5 & 6

–> Bazaar Visit 8

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Filed under Eating Out, Molecular Cooking

The Bazaar by José Andrés [3]

My third visit to The Bazaar by José Andrés made me realize what a great deal the restaurant really is. No, seriously… I think it’s an absolute steal.

For the past few months I’ve been learning how to make molecular goodies at home, so I really enjoy seeing different techniques that the chefs are using at Bazaar. Three recipes that I’d love to master are Ferran Adria’s “Liquid Olive”, “Pea Ravioli” and also something called “Dragon’s Breath” Popcorn. 

Olives Ferran Adrià, MyLastBite.comOver the years I had seen the “Liquid Olive” and “Pea Ravioli” on various TV shows including “No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain” and “The Best Recipes in the World with Mark Bittman”. Both of the episodes took place at Albert and Ferran Adria’s world-famous elBulli restaurant, on the Costa Brava in Roses, Spain. 

My husband Peter and I have tried getting reservations at elBulli for many years, and once again we were notified that all spaces were filled for the upcoming 2009 season. (Email from elBulli)

ElBulli receives over 2 million reservation requests each season, and there are “only” 8,000 seats available from June to December. Yet I email the restaurant a few times a month, just reminding them that we are open to any available dates and figure that if it happens, great… if not, then we try again next year (and the year after).

If by some miracle, there is a cancellation this season and we get the much anticipated “we-won-the-elBulli-lottery” email from Luis Garcia (the man in charge of bookings)… there is no doubt that we would dig deep into our savings and try to go. We could only do this if we had enough time to actually book the trip properly… meaning if we got the notice a few days before the reservation date, there would be no way we could swing it. 

elBulli Reservation Online, MyLastBite.comNow just for the fun of it, let’s say we are given a confirmed reservation at elBulli a full thirty days before the actual departure date. How much would it actually cost to eat that one meal at elBulli?

I decided to find out and started researching flights and hotels on Hotels.com, where I “faux-booked” a trip for June 2009.

I began this exercise (in positive thinking) by searching for the following:
– Two round trip tickets from Los Angeles to Barcelona.
– Six nights at a hotel in Spain: Five in Barcelona and one in Roses near the restaurant. (Realistically, if we would make the trip to elBulli, then we would want to at least spend a few extra days sightseeing around Barcelona).
– Transportation from Barcelona to Roses. 

Our faux-itinerary:

elBull By Air, MyLastBite.comAir Travel
Monday 22 June 2009
Depart Los Angeles (LAX) 5:45 pm 
Arrive Barcelona (BCN) 7:30 pm
+1 day
 
Airberlin 3531  / 8564
(Connect in Dusseldorf International Airport)

Monday 29 June 2009
Depart Barcelona (BCN) 8:45 am 
Arrive Los Angeles (LAX) 3:50 pm
airberlin 8937  / 3530

Hotel
5 Nights at Hotel Sidorme Mollet in Bracelona (I chose the most inexpensive hotel offered).

EuropCar, MyLastBite.com

Total for flights and above hotel (price combined on Hotels.com) is
$2,826 (for both of us)

Add in one night at Vistabella hotel in Roses where elBulli is located is $180 per night.

Rental Car (europcar.com)
Barcelona Pickup June 25 / Return June 28, three days for 
$160

Above Subtotal $3166.00

To that, I add on these costs:

The elBulli 30-course tasting menu, which would cost approximately $500 ($250 per person, or more).

It's a "Duvet" life for my dogs!A full-time dog sitter: Our three dogs are like kids to us, so when we go out of town we pay someone to love them, feed them, run them and most importantly… sleep with them. I know… they are spoiled (we call them “duvet” dogs). For a week away we would pay our usual sitter (Jade), $100 per day. Total of $700

TOTAL for this itinerary: $4366.00

I would still need to add in additional meals & entertainment for the week. We can get by on two meals per day, and will definitely want to hit every tapas bar in site. Then there are museums, entertainment, transport around Barcelona and shopping. I’m going to just round it out to $5,000.

I know there are probably much cheaper ways to make the trip, maybe take the bus or train instead of renting a car, or find super cheap airline tickets with ten stops in between. Whatever the actual costs, we are still talking THOUSANDS of dollars for one coveted meal at elBulli.

How about another famous molecularly focused eatery that’s closer to home? MiniBar… José Andrés’ tiny, six-seat-only restaurant in Washington DC? I first learned about MiniBar on Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie (on PBS) and the episode was called “Anatomy of a Meal with José Andrés”. Just last week, MiniBar was featured again on “No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain”. That’s where I first saw the “Dragon’s Breath” popcorn and it was just SO COOL… after cooking the small bites of caramel popcorn in liquid nitrogen, Andrés and Bourdain popped the pieces in their mouths and “smoke” came out of their nostrils.

MiniBar is much easier to get to then Roses, Spain, and if we actually scored reservations, the tasting menu (27 little bites) would cost $120 a person. We could easily fly in for one or two nights and keep the costs down (a little bit). MiniBar’s 8:30pm seating starts at 8:40 and can take up to 2.5 hours, so I would plan to arrive the day before in case of flight delays. Let’s say we have a dinner reservation for March 28, 2009. Here’s the breakdown:

Round/Trip flight to DC (again, using Hotels.com):

Friday 27-Mar-09
Depart 1:10 pm  Los Angeles (LAX)
to Washington DC (IAD) Arrive 8:54 pm

Sunday 29-Mar-09
Depart 5:50 pm Washington DC (IAD)
to Los Angeles (LAX) Arrive 8:20 pm 

Two nights at the Candlewood Suites Herndon

Rental Car: Hertz Economy Car

Total for above (for two people): $687
+ $240
for MiniBar
+ $400 for additional meals, sightseeing & shopping

 A trip to José Andrés MiniBar in Washington DC (Air, Hotel, Car and Meals): $1327.00

I could spend the next few days trying to figure out the costs of visiting restaurants that focus a large part of their menus on molecular, modern treats… Alinea in Chicago, wd~50 in NYC, Mugaritz and Arzak (both in Spain), and the mighty Fat Duck in England… but the point I’m trying to make is… I don’t have to. I can hop in my car and drive the fifteen minutes to the Bazaar by José Andrés and slurp down ten liquid “Olives Ferran Adria” (that’s what they’re called on the menu) and the “Dragon’s Breath” liquid nitro cooked popcorn? Yup, the Bazaar has that too! 

Honestly… the place just makes me happy! Each time I’ve taken someone new to experience it with me, and it’s like we’re all in kindergarten and just visiting the circus for the first time… but with way better concession snacks!

For all the joy and deliciousness I’ve experienced in my three visits to Bazaar … I really believe it’s an absolute bargain.

Our cost for our most recent dinner at The Bazaar was $158 for the two of us. That included 9 dishes, 2 desserts and 2 cocktails. The price also includes entertainment (if sitting near the Rojo kitchen) and education (if you’re into molecular cooking too!).

Finally, in comparison to a night at elBulli, The Bazaar by José Andrés is a steal. I know times are tough and I feel tremendously grateful that I get to eat there at all. To me, it’s worth every penny.

New Dishes We All Enjoyed (we were joined by my sister Janet, her husband Paul and our good friends Afaf and Ray):

Shrimp Cocktail at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
This gorgeous dish (above and below) is called “Just Shrimp Cocktail: Yea Right” $12

Shrimp Cocktail at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
To eat, you put the whole shrimp in your mouth and squeeze the cocktail-sauce filled pipette! 

Sweet Potato Chips at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Sweet Potato Chips with Yogurt, Tamarind, Star Anise $10
Foi Gras Mini Burgers at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Adorable (almost Barbie doll size!) Foie gras and Quince on a Mini Brioche Bun 3 for $12
Uni Mini Buns at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Sea Urchins, Avocado in a Steamed Mini Bun 3 for $12
Hangar Steak at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Beef Hanger Steak and Piquillo Pepper Confit $10
Toro at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Toro (Tuna) “Nigiri”, Wasabi, Watermelon, Soy and Jalapeño $16
Bazaar Dragon's Breath, MyLastBite.com
“Dragon’s Breath” Caramelized Popcorn made with liquid nitrogen. After you pop these treats in your mouth… smoke streams out your nose (like a dragon)! Made by Chef de Cuisine, Michael Voltaggio. Thank you!

Chef Voltaggio at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Chef de Cuisine Michael Voltaggio

Bazaar Coconut Island, MyLastBite.com
“Nitro Coconut Floating Island” with Passion Fruit and Banana. It was soft on the inside and frozen on the outside.
Bazaar Dessert, MyLastBite.com
Beet Meringue with Pistachio Cake and Berries
Bazaar Dessert, MyLastBite.com
Chocolate Cake topped with Gold

Dishes we had on previous visits and enjoyed again:

“Philly Cheesesteak” Air bread, Cheddar Cheese, Wagyu Beef $8 (everyone loved these)
Hilly Cheesesteak Air bread, cheddar Cheese, Mushrooms (instead of beef) $7 (my sister’s favorite)
“Not your everyday Caprese” Cherry tomatoes, liquid mozzarella in pipettes $12 
King Crab with Raspberry Vinegar $16 

Dining Date: 2/1/09
A special thanks to William Douillet and the entire staff for an exceptional evening. 

The Bazaar by José Andrés
SLS Hotel
465 S. La Cienega Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA
(310) 246-5555
thebazaar.com 

Menu for Rojo y Blanca (pdf)

Reservations Available on OpenTable

TV mentioned:

Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie (pbs)

No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain (travel channel)

The Best Recipes in the World with Mark Bittman (pbs)

Restaurants mentioned:

Alinea

Arzak

elBulli

Fat Duck

MiniBar

Mugaritz

wd~50

More reading:

My Adventures in Molecular Cooking

Bazaar visit #1

Bazaar visit #2

Bazaar visit #4

The Bazaar by Jose Andres on Urbanspoon

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