Tag Archives: Michael Voltaggio

Voltaggio’s Monte Cristo Umami Burger

OH YES I DID.

Michael Voltaggio's Monte Cristo Burger
Michael Voltaggio‘s Monte Cristo Burger is made with a beef patty, gruyere fondue, prosciutto and placed on, wait for it… a CUSTARD-SOAKED, DEEP-FRIED BUN. Then it’s topped with powdered sugar and served with a side of maple syrup. Too sweet? Actually, no. I found myself going back to the syrup again and again. The best part? $1 from each burger will go to the Los Angeles Mission!

NOTE: It’s available for a limited time only at Umami Burger (as of 1/28/14) so DON’T MISS IT!

From the press release:
“Michael Voltaggio is one of the best chefs in the nation,” said Adam Fleischman, Founder and Chairman of Umami Restaurant Group. “He’s changed the rules of fine dining in Los Angeles, making it pretty bad-ass.”

The winner of Bravo’s Top Chef Season 6, Michael Voltaggio was named one of Food and Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs in 2013. His flagship restaurant, ink., was named GQ Magazine’s Best New Restaurant in America in 2012. Additionally, Voltaggio’s sandwich shop ink.sack has received widespread acclaim, most recently opening its second outlet inside Los Angeles International Airport’s Tom Bradley International Terminal.

Michael Voltaggio, Chef/Owner ink. & ink.sack said, “I wanted to make a burger that would hit the spot no matter if you’re craving something sweet or savory. This was a fun collaboration with Umami Burger and even better since $1 from every burger sold will benefit the LA Mission. They do a ton of good for people in need and this is a great way to give back.”

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ink sack

BEST SANDWICHES IN TOWN (ok, so these are my favorite sandwiches in town)…

Michael Voltaggio’s ink sack:

ink sack's Spicy Tuna
spicy tuna miso-cured albacore, sriracha mayo

ink sack's Cold Fried Chicken
cold fried chicken house-made ranch cheese, gindo’s spice of life

ink sack's Banh Mi
banh mi pork butt, pork belly, chicharrónes, pickled vegetables

ink sack's Spanish Godfather
the Jose Andres aka “the spanish godfather” serrano, chorizo, lomo, manchego

ink sack's CLT (Chicken Liver Mousse)
c.l.t. chicken liver mousse, curried chicken skin, lettuce, tomato

ink sack's Maple Pepper Turkey
maple-pepper turkey melt camembert, mustarda, arugula

ink sack's Beef Tongue Reuben
“reuben” corned beef tongue, appenzeller cheese, kraut, russian dressing

ink sack's Maryland Crab Chips
maryland crab chips

AJ on the line @ Voltaggio's ink sack
Checking on the ink sack kitchen on opening day! AJ Ramirez on the line, Animal’s Jon Shook on far right.

Ink Sack at Home
Water melon sriracha, lime & pineapple chile y lemon. Great as a side… or take home for cocktails later!

Voltaggio's ink sackAll my photos from ink sack

ink sack
8360 melrose avenue #107
los angeles, california 90069

MENU 

Jonathan Gold on ink sack

All my Michael Voltaggio Photos on Flickr

Follow Michael Voltaggio on Twitter

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ink.

My First Bites at Michael Voltaggio’s ink.

Fish Sticks at ink
Fish Sticks, Smelt, Dill Pickles, Black Olive Mayo

Octopus Popcorn at ink
Octopus Popcorn, Piquillo Pepper, Spinach

Carrots Baked in Salt at ink
Carrots Baked in Salt, Nasturtium, Yogurt, Vadouvan, Spiced Soil

Corned Beef Tongue at ink
Corned Beef Tongue, Appenzeller Churro, Red Onion, Pastrami Syrup

Blue Prawns at ink
Blue Prawns, Green Papaya, Ginger Lime

Seaweed Mashed Potatoes at ink
Seaweed Mashed Potatoes

Crab Toast at ink
Dungeness Crab Toast, Smoked Mayo, House Made Hot Sauce, Celery

Chicken Oysters at ink
Chicken Oysters, Oyster Mushrooms, Oyster Plant, Tomato Coconut

Bay Scallops at ink
Bay Scallops, Cream of Dehydrated Potato, Potato Skins, Buttermilk Shellfish Broth

Squid Spaghetti at ink
Giant Squid Spaghetti, Squash, Hazelnut-ink Pesto, Piment d’espilette

Sea Bass at ink
Sea Bass, Scrambled Cauliflower, Egg Yolk, Caper

Hamachi at ink
Hamachi, Parsnip Cream, Grapefruit, Jalapeno, Sesame Cake

Veal Sweetbreads, Corn Dumplings, Baby Corn, BBQ Caramel at ink
Veal Sweetbreads, Corn Dumplings, Baby Corn, BBQ Caramel

Iberico Pork Loin at ink
Iberico de Belotta Pork Loin, Romesco Almond “beans”, Mushroom Chicharron

Quail, Charred Orange & Onion, Sorrel Cream at ink
Quail, Charred Orange & Onion, Sorrel Cream

Veal Cheek, Red Curry at ink
Veal Cheek, Red Curry, Nante Carrots Baked in Salt, Fried Sticky Rice

Grapefruit Curd Avocado at ink
Grapefruit Curd Avocado, Lime, Cilantro, Sorbet

Apple Caramel, Burnt Wood Ice Cream at ink
Apple Caramel, Burnt Wood Ice Cream

Chocolate, Coffee, Spice at ink
Chocolate, Coffee, Spice

Goat Cheese Ash, Concord Grape Sorbet, Walnut Pralines at ink
Goat Cheese Ash, Concord Grape Sorbet, Walnut Pralines

ink crew
On the line

ink crew (Cole & AJ)
Cole & AJ

ink crew
Tight Ship = Smooth Service (Whitney & Josh on the right)

About Chef Michael Voltaggio & ink.

Pre-Service Meeting (1st night!) at inkink restaurant
8360 melrose ave.
los angeles, ca 90069
323.651.5866
website

Many more ink photos on flickr

All my Michael Voltaggio photos on flickr

Dining Dates:
9/16/11 (with Peter, Sharon & Bob Mangine)
9/22/11 (with Peter)

“Jonathan Gold Recommends Ink” 

Check out photos from ink sack (Voltaggio’s sandwich shop!)

Photos below from from Oct 16, 2011 (dinner with Peter, my brother Greg and our friend Lien)

ink's Hiramasa
Hiramasa, Parsnip Sesame Cream, Grapefruit

ink's Dungeness Crab
Dungeness Crab, Broccoli Mayo, Broccoli “Kimchi”

ink's Skate Wing
Skate Wing, Red Pepper Dashi, Shishito Peppers, Kelp Pasta, Fennes

ink's Veal Cheek
Veal Cheek, Red Curry, Nante Carrots Baked In Salt, Fried Sticky Rice

ink's Wagyu
Wagyu Hanger Steak, Ras El Hanout Yogurt, Black Garlic, Mushroom Chicharron

ink's Apple Dessert
Apple Creme Caramel, Burnt Wood Sabayon, Charred Maple Lime

Dewazakura Sparkling Sake at ink
Dewazakura Sparkling Sake

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GUN PLAY

Smoking GunLast week I attended a private cooking demonstration at Williams-Sonoma in Beverly Hills. Chef Michael Voltaggio and his awesome crew were on hand to whip up some delicious bites using modern cooking equipment, including a few devices I’ve only dreamt about having in my own kitchen.

Back in March 2009, during yet another exquisite meal at the Bazaar, Michael motioned me back to the open kitchen so I could watch him plate a new menu dish. On the counter sat a heavy slate plate with salmon (& cucumber “noodles”) under a clear glass dome. As I eagerly watched, Michael grabbed what looked like a laser price scanner and lifted the dome just a bit, then slipped in a small tube which filled the dome with smoke.

"Smoked" Salmon photo 1, MyLastBite.comBack at my table, the server lifted the dome and a gentle puff of smoke wafted under the lights. The flavors in the salmon were fantastic (yet subtle), especially since the fish was smoked just minutes before being served. That was my first experience with the handheld food smoker aka the “Smoking Gun”, which is made by PolyScience Innovative Culinary Technology.

At the Williams-Sonoma demo, Michael and his team touted the Smoking Gun as well as PolyScience’s Sous Vide Thermal Circulator. I didn’t see the Anti-Griddle (which quickly freezes items) on hand, but was thrilled to see that the Smoking Gun was for sale! After a few glasses of bubbly, Peter gladly bought me one… as well as the additional set of flavored wood chips. My niece and nephew had a BLAST smoking our entire dinner last week, and we were surprised how easy and well the gun worked.

Voltaggio and crew at Williams-Sonoma

Voltaggio @ Williams Sonoma
Foie Gras and Wagyu Shortrib Bahn Mi: Foie gras terrine with shortrib cooked sous vide, pickled daikon and carrot, fresh cilantro and jalapeno on mini french roll.

Voltaggio @ Williams Sonoma
Chef Michael Voltaggio cutting the Wagyu Shortrib

Voltaggio @ Williams Sonoma
Bacon, Egg and Cheese: Slow poached egg with bacon puree and aged white cheddar foam, garnished with mini chives

Voltaggio @ Williams Sonoma
Chef Cole Dickinson making the Bacon, Egg and Cheese (note the Thermal Circulator filled with eggs).

Voltaggio @ Williams Sonoma
Coconut Shrimp (Tom Kha): Poached and smoked shrimp skewered with pipettes filled with tom kha consomme, garnished with puffed wild rice and mini thai basil, lime zest

Voltaggio @ Williams Sonoma
Chef Klein De Bow making the Coconut Shrimp

Voltaggio @ Williams Sonoma
Lox, Bagel and Cream Cheese: Salmon smoked and cooked sous vide, cream cheese snow, red onion puree, bagel struesel, tomato heart, caper powder

Voltaggio @ Williams Sonoma
Chefs Klein De Bow and Adam Cole making the Lox, Bagel and Cream Cheese

Voltaggio @ Williams Sonoma
Love these “tomato hearts” for the Lox, Bagel and Cream Cheese

Voltaggio @ Williams Sonoma
Peaches and Burrata: Fresh market peaches with smoked burrata, wild arugula and aged balsamic air

Voltaggio @ Williams Sonoma
Chef Alexander J. Ramirez making the peaches and burrata

The Smoking Gun!

Smoking Gun
Unpacking the Smoking Gun (cooking dinner with my niece & nephew). I used my old steamer set for the smoking.

Smoking Gun
After reading directions

Smoking Gun
Lighting the Smoking Gun

Smoking Gun
Getting ready to test on tofu

Smoking Gun
Smoking Tofu: We (my niece Kindal above) tried all four wood chip flavors on the tofu (Cherrywood, Applewood, Hickory and Mesquite).

Smoking Gun
My nephew Chace, preparing to smoke grilled vegetables

Smoking Gun
Hickory and Mesquite for the grilled flank steak. The Smoking Gun was so easy to set up, and most of all… it was FUN!

All Photos Here

Williams-Sonoma
339 North Beverly Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 274-9127
WebSite

Williams-Sonoma Event Date: Wed, 9/1/10

Purchase the Smoking Gun at Williams-Sonoma

Chef Voltaggio’s WebSite

Polyscience WebSite

The Anti-Griddle

The Thermal Immersion Circulator (for Sous Vide Cooking)

Follow Michael Voltaggio on Twitter

Follow Williams-Sonoma on Twitter

Follow PolyScience on Twitter

Video: Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie: Inventors (Philip Preston)

The Bazaar by José Andrés

Modern Cookery aka Molecular Gastronomy on MyLastBite

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Tat for Taste

Yet another reason why I adore Chef Michael Voltaggio? Because when he commits to a cause… he makes it permanent! He definitely went above and BEYOND by getting the Taste of the Nation, Share Our Strength logo TATTOOED on his leg last week!

Chef Michael Voltaggio
“Hey Jo… come meet me… I’m getting a new tattoo this morning.” (be right there Michael!)

Chef Michael Voltaggio
The filling-in looked PAINFUL!

Chef Michael Voltaggio
Tattoo Artist Jesse Exquivel

Chef Michael Voltaggio
“Tattoos are permanent… and if we’re not careful, childhood hunger could be a permanent thing too” ~ Chef Michael Voltaggio

Check out the video on E!

Taste of the Nation L.A.

Photos by Jo Stougaard 6/5/10 More on Flickr

More about Michael

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TOP CHEF Michael Voltaggio!

Congratulations Top Chef!
Peter & I were so honored to be with you
and celebrate your win last night!

Top Chef Michael Voltaggio

Photo taken at Michael’s viewing party
Top Chef Season 6 Finale 12/9/09
The Langham in Pasadena

http://VoltaggioBrothers.com

Top Chef

The Dining Room At Langham

Michael Voltaggio

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Cyrus Restaurant

Favorite Bites at Cyrus Restaurant in Healdsburg. An absolutely fabulous once-in-a-lifetime meal! Thanks Kevin & Tamara!!

Cyrus in Healdsburg, MyLastBite
Welcome to Cyrus!

Cyrus in Healdsburg, MyLastBite
HUNGRY!

Cyrus in Healdsburg, MyLastBite
I LOVED this drink! The Upstairs Neighbor calls for vodka, fresh horseradish, lemon juice, black pepper, kosher salt and juice made from heirloom tomatoes.

Cyrus in Healdsburg, MyLastBite
3-tier selection of canapes

Cyrus Restaurant, MyLastBite
Beer Bubble, Pretzel w/ Truffle Cream

Cyrus in Healdsburg, MyLastBite
Amazing bread service

Cyrus in Healdsburg, MyLastBite
Fine wines… thanks to Kevin Kinsella!

Cyrus in Healdsburg, MyLastBite
Spot Prawn with Cucumber and Melon

Cyrus in Healdsburg, MyLastBite
Foie Gras Torchon with Tamarind and Dates

Cyrus in Healdsburg, MyLastBite
Turbot with Corn, Scallions, Shiso Ginger Dashi

Cyrus in Healdsburg, MyLastBite
The TRUFFLE box!

Cyrus in Healdsburg, MyLastBite
Turbot with Corn, Scallions, Shiso Ginger Dashi… WITH Truffles!

Cyrus in Healdsburg, MyLastBite
Duck Breast with Rosti Potatoes, Peppers, Sherry Jus

Cyrus in Healdsburg, MyLastBite
Abalone with Hijiki Noodles

Cyrus Restaurant
421 Healdsburg Avenue
Healdsburg, CA 95448
(707) 433-3311

Website

Again, a great big THANK YOU to Kevin & Tamara Kinsella!

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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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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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Chef Michael Voltaggio, The Dining Room

Last year, when I learned that José Andrés would be opening a restaurant in L.A., it seemed like our town had won the culinary lottery. Being a fan of molecular (modern) cookery, I always felt slighted because we didn’t have the over-the-top kind of magical place that I’d only read about, or seen on television. Places like MiniBar, the six seat experimental José Andrés outpost in Washington DC. Or Alinea (and L2O) in Chicago, Wylie Dufresne’s wd~50 in NY and of course, El Bulli – Ferran Adria’s legendary restaurant in Roses, Spain. For the past few years, I even tried to score a reservation at El Bulli, but always received the dreaded rejection email from Luis Garcia. “I’ll get there SOMEDAY”, I would say to myself.

At the Bazaar, MyLastBite.comMostly I was happy living vicariously through the adventures of Anthony Bourdain. I would even cheer, as I watched him slurp down Ferran Adria’s Liquid Olive on “No Reservations”. And laugh with amusement as he snorted out vapors of José Andrés’ liquid nitro popcorn (aka “Dragon’s Breath”). I was content because I figured I’d get to try it SOMEDAY, if I was lucky.

When I read that the Liquid Olive would be served at The Bazaar by José Andrés, I couldn’t wait to get a reservation, and made sure I was there the very first day of service. As the waiter went through a list of possible appetizers, I stopped him and said “please just bring us THE olives!”. That first olive was so special, and it was sort of a “right of passage” that made me feel one step closer to a seat at El Bulli.

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). The chef de cuisine on each of those evenings was none other than Chef Michael Voltaggio.

Back in February, the LA Times gave the Bazaar “A rare four-star review” and restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila wrote: “In four meals here, I’ve never gotten a bad dish, or really even a boring one — whether Andrés was in town or his chef de cuisine Michael Voltaggio was in charge”.

I just want to note here: Out of my twelve stellar dinners at Bazaar, José Andrés was only there twice, and even on those evenings it was Chef Voltaggio in the kitchen. Don’t get me wrong, I adore José Andrés (his food, his books, especially his PBS show, “Made in Spain”) but let’s be honest… the guy is BUSY… what, with his restaurant empire and all! He had to feel pretty darn comfortable leaving his L.A. baby in the capable hands of Michael.

Chef Voltaggio at Bazaar, MyLastBite.comOne of my favorite moments with Chef Voltaggio came during our third visit. About half way through dinner, he surprised us by setting up a large bowl at the end of our table, and proceeded to “cook” bites of caramel popcorn in a bath of liquid nitrogen. WOW, “Dragon’s Breath”… it was a sweet crunch… then icy cold white smoke came out of our nostrils. Another foodie dream fulfilled.

Last week was the first time in MONTHS that I got to taste Chef Voltaggio’s cooking. He was the guest chef at Breadbar’s Hatchi series in Culver City. I’ll get that piece posted soon (lots of photos), but it was such a joy to taste his creative dishes in a fun, open atmosphere.

Luckily I’ll be able to taste Michael’s cooking anytime, now that’s he taken over the top spot at the The Dining Room at The Langham (a Michelin Star Restaurant). It’s located in the century old Langham Hotel in Pasadena. Beautiful grounds and classic interior, but I can’t wait to see how the restaurant evolves into a showplace for Michael’s food.

The restaurant website notes that “Chef Voltaggio’s menu features a selection of innovative small plates showcasing artfully inspired new American cuisine prepared using classic discipline and modern trends”. Translation: Delicious and FUN.

Last night Peter and I attended a tasting dinner with several other food writers (links below), and he and I are still arguing about our favorite dishes. Nothing disappointed, although I was worried when I saw lamb on the menu. I’m not a fan of lamb, but every once in awhile I’ll actually enjoy the preparation. Michael’s was fantastic and I’ll order again for sure.

One thing that surprised me was that there didn’t seem to be too much “molecular gastronomy” on the plate, and I mentioned that to Michael when we spoke in the kitchen after dinner.

He smiled and said “Well then, we did our job tonight”. Turns out he and his team used several modern techniques, including sous vide and liquid nitrogen, but it wasn’t a full-out evening of “molecular gastronomy in your face”.

The wines (plus one beer!) for the tasting menu were selected by sommelier-extraordinare Matthew Lathan. We first met Matthew at Chef Voltaggio’s Hatchi event, so we knew we were in for quite a ride when saw him at The Dining Room. He does something I rarely experience in fine dining establishments, Matthew makes wine pairings a rollicking good time.

This morning I read about food writer “Amateur Gourmet”‘s recent visit to El Bulli, and for the first time in years I didn’t have the immediate sense of jealousy. Of course I still hope to get there SOMEDAY, but because of Chef Michael Voltaggio… I’m able to experience the delicious things I used to only dream about. And the best part is, I don’t have to fly all the way to Spain to get it. The Dining Room is only twenty minutes away. Can’t wait to go back!

What we ate:

The Dining Room, MyLastBite.com
Top Photo: Our table is ready for wine pairings!
Bottom Photo: Amuse bouche of Powdered Foie Gras, Blue Fin Tuna and Dragon Fruit.

The Dining Room, MyLastBite.com
Pacific Yellowtail, Sashimi Style. Soy-Watermelon, Sea Sponge, Smoked Egg Yolk. Paired with 2008 Crios de Susana Balbo, Torrontes, Cafayate

The Dining Room, MyLastBite.com
Octopus, Buttered Popcorn, Piquillo Confetti, Cilantro. Paired with: 2005 Peter Howland Maxwell Vineyard, Chardonnay, Hunter Valley  (My favorite dish AND pairing)

The Dining Room, MyLastBite.com
Pastrami Pigeon, Rye infused Jus, Brussels-Kraut, Puffed Gruyere Cheese. Paired with: Unibroue 17, Strong Dark Ale

The Dining Room, MyLastBite.com
Turbot, Artichoke, Tomato Granola, Lime & Vanilla. Paired with: 2007 Salwey Henkenberg GG, Pinot Gris Qmp

The Dining Room, MyLastBite.com
Suckling Pig, Pistachio Beans, Onions, OJ, Coriander. Paired with: 2000 August Kesseler “S”, Pinot Noir, Assmannshausen (Peter’s favorite dish and pairing)

The Dining Room, MyLastBite.com
Lamb Chop Confit | Vadouvan, Pickled Tongue, Eggplant-Raisin, Fresh Hummus. Paired with: 2006 Villa Creek Avenger, Syrah/Mourvedre/Grenache, Paso Robles

The Dining Room, MyLastBite.com
Jasmine Rice Sorbet (pre-dessert). Coffee Cake: Bakes Honey, Espresso Mousse, Lemon Curd. Paired with: 2004 Paringa, Individual Vineyard, Sparkling Shiraz

The Dining Room, MyLastBite.com
A look at The Dining Room Menu (in the kitchen!)

Chef Michael Voltaggio (& his brother Bryan) on Top Chef: Season 6!

The Dining Room at The Langham
401 South Oak Knoll Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91106
626.568.3900
Website

NOTE: The restaurant is scheduled to close on Jan. 1, 2010 for renovation. I’ll post more details when I get them!

Dining Date: 8/11/09

Follow the Dining Room on Twitter

Michael’s Bio On Top Chef

All my Michael Voltaggio photos on Flickr

Langham Hotel

Mentioned above:

Dragon’s Breath Video

Such a pleasure to meet everyone at the Tasting last night!
EatingLA
EstarLA
FoodGPS
LAist:
SquashBlossom & Julie Wolfson
TarametBlog A great big thank you for the invitation!

With Jose Andres

Ferran Adria’s Liquid Olives

Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations

Amateur Gourmet at El Bulli

The dreaded Luis Garcia (el Bulli) Rejection email

LA Times: A rare four-star restaurant review: The Bazaar by José Andrés

Restaurants I will visit someday: MiniBar Alinea L2O wd~50 El Bulli

About Sous-Vide

Jose Andres Think Food Group

Jose Andres on Made in Spain

Michelin Star

Dragon’s Breath Note: It’s currently only available in the private Saam room (just fyi).

For beautiful photos of the Dining Room (and rave review) check out KevinEats

The Dining Room, MyLastBite.com

Don’t forget to watch Michael on Top Chef!!

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