Tag Archives: molecular gastronomy

José Andrés Rocks VEGAS

Chef José Andrés opened not one, but TWO new restaurants at the Cosmopolitan Luxury Resort in Las Vegas last week. Being America’s #1 José Andrés fan (in my own “bazaar” mind), of course I had to fly up for the opening night party to help celebrate!

Jaleo (as noted on the hotel’s website) is “a perennial favorite in Washington DC, the restaurant was one of the country’s first successful tapas restaurants, setting the standard for Spanish cuisine in the U.S. for almost two decades.”

China Poblano is “an entirely new concept from the innovative Chef José Andrés created for Las Vegas, showcasing his personal take on Chinese and Mexican cuisines. Noodles and tacos come together in a festive, stylish setting.”

The party was fantastic and I cannot WAIT to go back for a weekend of José delights!

Entrance to Cosmopolitan Vegas
Entering the Cosmopolitan

Chandelier Bar Cosmopolitan Vegas
The spectacular multi-level Chandelier Bar

China Poblano, Vegas
China Poblano Entrance

China Poblano, Vegas
Left window “Chinese Food”, right is “Mexican Food” at China Poblano

China Poblano, Vegas
Ceiling at China Poblano

China Poblano, Vegas
Salt-Air Margaritas (love these at the Bazaar) at China Poblano

China Poblano, Vegas
Waiting for tacos at China Poblano

China Poblano, Vegas
China Poblano Interior

China Poblano, Vegas

China Poblano, Vegas
Making pork tacos on the latin-inspired side of the restaurant of China Poblano

China Poblano, Vegas
Cochinita Pibil at China Poblano

China Poblano, Vegas
Making dumplings on the Chinese-inspired side of China Poblano

China Poblano, Vegas
Dumplings topped with gold at China Poblano

Jaleo, Vegas
Jaleo Entrance

Jaleo, Vegas
Jaleo Interior

Jaleo, Vegas
Paella Master Chef Rafael Vidal on the right at Jaleo

Jaleo, Vegas
With Bazaar friends Felix Meana & Lucas Paya at Jaleo

Jaleo, Vegas
Oh yes… I made Iberico Ham Man my new best friend

Jaleo, Vegas
Croquetas (similar to the ones at Bazaar that I so love!) at Jaleo

Jaleo, Vegas
Time to PARTY Jaleo style!

Jaleo, Vegas
José Andrés greeting his many guests at Jaleo

Jaleo, Vegas
Partying (drinking LOTS) with José. He simply ROCKS!

Jaleo, Vegas
Thank you Michael! (We miss you at Bazaar!)

More Vegas photos on Flickr

Date: 12/15/10

Chandelier Bar Cosmopolitan VegasThe Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
3708 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89109-4312
(702) 698-7000
Website

Jaleo Vegas

China Poblano website

More about China Poblano PDF

Chandelier Bar

About Jose Andres

About Michael Ploetz

About Lucas Paya

About Felix Meana

About Chef Rafael Vidal

All my Bazaar Restaurant photos on Flickr

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Filed under Eating Out, Hot Chefs

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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Filed under Food Events (festivals, classes, etc.), Hot Chefs, Molecular Cooking

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

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

10 Comments

Filed under Hot Chefs, Little Bites

She’s Truly Scrumptious!

Chef Waylynn Lucas at BreadBar’s Hatchi Series

I’m not a huge fan of desserts. I like sweet AND savory dishes, but when it comes to the end of a great meal, I’d rather settle into a daring cheese plate and a few bites of fruit. My husband Peter on the other hand is, in fact, a DESSERT FREAK and he’ll even eat chocolate with his morning coffee if we have it in the house.

I used to eat desserts just because Peter ordered them, but since we dine out so much, I simply had to cut back on something (and it wasn’t going to be cocktails!). It came down to this: If I don’t absolutely LOVE and CRAVE it, I’m not wasting calories just because it’s there.

Cake is what you make it! MyLastBite.comFor my birthday last March, my sister even made me a meatloaf & mashed potato cake. When I first opened the cake box, I thought it was a mistake! My family knows I don’t have a sweet tooth, so I was doubly shocked to see the beautifully decorated dessert. It turned out to be the best birthday meat cake EVER!

So, since I’m not a dessert connoisseur, why in the world would I sit down for an evening of just DESSERTS at BreadBar’s Hatchi? Well… because I happen to be a SUPER fan of pastry chef Waylynn Lucas.

If you dined at the Patisserie at The Bazaar by José Andrés during the first nine months of opening, then you probably tasted Waylynn’s amazing creations. My favorites were the “Nitro Coconut Floating Island”, “Beet Meringue with Berries”, and white chocolate POPROCKS! For these special dinners out, I definitely have at least a taste of the exquisite desserts offered.

Bazaar Coconut Island, MyLastBite.comWaylynn is not only a talented pastry chef, but she’s also an absolute delight to be around. During each visit to the Bazaar (15 when I stopped counting), she always spent a little extra time with my family and friends whenever we ate in the Patisserie. My niece and nephews have even elevated her to “Wonka Status”, because when they speak about Waylynn, it’s like they’re talking about the fictional candy maker. Although I’d personally describe Waylynn as more like “Truly Scrumptious”, the beautiful (and charming) daughter of the candy factory owner in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”!

At a recent BreadBar Hatchi guest-chef event, Waylynn presented a menu titled, “Favorite Childhood Flavors in a Sophisticated New Way”, and it did not disappoint. We invited four, sugar lovin’ friends to join us for the sweet feast and there were “oohs and aahs” all around the table.

Waylynn at Hatchi, MyLastBite.comI tasted each of the eight dishes, and my two favorites (I had seconds!) were the “Lemon Meringue Pie” and “PB and J”.

The best part, for all of us, was that each of Waylynn’s creations took us right back to our childhoods (with even just one bite). It was a wonderful evening of laughing, sharing memories AND great cocktails too!

As a kid I dreamt about having just desserts for dinner (didn’t we all?), so it was a real treat to have the talented and truly scrumptious Waylynn Lucas make this grade-school dream come true.

“Favorite Childhood Flavors in a Sophisticated New Way”
by Chef Waylynn Lucas

Waylynn at Hatchi, MyLastBite.com
Strawberry Shortcake: Nitro Frozen Vanilla Custard, Fresh Strawberries, Vanilla Genoise, Thai Basil

Waylynn at Hatchi, MyLastBite.com
Lemon Meringue Pie: Fresh Berries, Cookie Crumble, Pop Rocks

Waylynn at Hatchi, MyLastBite.com
Creamsicle: Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Mandarin sorbet, Buttermilk Cake

Waylynn at Hatchi, MyLastBite.com
PB&J: Peanut Butter and Jelly Filled Beignets, Milkshake Shooters

Waylynn at Hatchi, MyLastBite.com
Bao Zhong and Kenya Gichathaini (palate cleansers), Molten Chocolate Cake with Banana Brulee Pudding and Hazelnut Praline with Milk Sorbet, Candies.

Waylynn at Hatchi, MyLastBite.com
Fudgesicle: Frozen Chocolate, Mint Sponge, Peppermint Glaciers

Waylynn at Hatchi, MyLastBite.comg
Pudding: Twisted Milk Chocolate, Coffee Ice Cream, Toffee

Waylynn at Hatchi, MyLastBite.com
Candy, Candy, Candy: Lollipops, Caramel, Marshmallow, Pate de Fruit, Bonbon

Waylynn at Hatchi, MyLastBite.com
Old Fashioned: Maker’s Mark, lemon and orange essence, Angostura’s aromatic bitters.

Waylynn at Hatchi, MyLastBite.com
Waylynn at Work

Waylynn at Hatchi, MyLastBite.com
Peter and Waylynn

If you missed Waylynn at Breadbar, you can visit her at the Penthouse, in Santa Monica (in the Huntely Hotel). Website

About Hatchi:
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. Check BreadBar’s website for upcoming Hatchi events (link below). 

Pastry Chef Waylynn Lucas, MyLastBite.comBreadBar Century City
10250 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90067
310 277 3770
WebSite

Dining Date: 11/19/09
Sweet even spent with: Jayson, Devon, Ram, Mark & Noelle! 

All my Hatchi Visits

All my Waylynn Photos on Flickr

Mentioned Above:

The “Truly Scrumptious” Song! 

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Willy Wonka

The Bazaar by José Andrés 

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

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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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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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