Tag Archives: My Life As A Foodie

Phil’s Food Fest

One of the joys of writing a food blog is getting positive feedback from readers, friends and family. Naturally, I expect my own family to be supportive and not criticize me (too much) for spending almost all my waking hours consumed with thoughts of food.

Dinner w/ "My Life As A Foodie", MyLastBiteAt first, when complete strangers complimented my writing or photographs, I felt sort of stunned because I couldn’t believe anyone (who wasn’t forced via family ties) would take the time to visit My Last Bite. I thought each visitor HAD to have found my website by accident, and very much appreciated each and every comment left.

I still do, and as a “Twitter Fanatic”, I can appreciate how difficult it is to read a blog post that has more than 140 characters these days. It’s a bit frustrating because I’ve found myself becoming impatient when I click on a link to read a detailed recipe or even a two page food story.

What I’m learning to do now, is to stop myself, shake out of “Twitter Mode”, and force myself to relax. This way I can enjoy the words that someone has taken the time to share with the world.

So to those of you who take the time to visit my blog, I want to say THANK YOU! And a very special appreciation of thanks to my good friend Phil Nigash (aka my most frequent commenter!).

Phil and I first corresponded via email after he commented on a Molecular Gastronomy Class post I wrote last year. He was at that time, just thinking about dabbling in “Modern Cooking” and during that first class, we got to make Ferran Adria’s FAMOUS Pea “Ravioli”.

Phil was downright angry that he didn’t know about the class and even spoke about it on his radio show (audio link below). His blog is called “My Life As A Foodie” and focuses on every part of the food industry… not just the pretty side either! Check below for links and more info.

After I heard that first radio segment, I thought, “Wow, what a really generous and solid guy”, and felt totally thrilled that he even mentioned me on his show. I wanted Phil to be my new best (foodie) pal, but of course I was wary about making friends with a complete MALE stranger.

We continued emailing, FaceBooking and getting to know each other’s spouses through photos. Our daily messages consisted of shared food articles, restaurants we wanted to try, or chefs we dreamed about meeting someday.

With my good buddy Phil, MyLastBite.comIt wasn’t until two months later, that Phil and I actually met in person. In February he drove up from Orange County with a friend to attend another fun Molecular Gastronomy class at Sur la Table. My husband Peter and nephew Cody joined me for the class again, and this time we focused on making groovy “Airs and Spheres”.

Soon after I got to meet Phil’s wife Katrina, and we planned an evening at the Bazaar by José Andrés (molecular cooking heaven!). Ever since then the four of us have shared more and more of our lives with each other, including spending some great evenings with my sister’s family and friends.

Since late Spring, Phil and Kat had been trying to organize a dinner party for us at their home in Irvine. The dinner was not only for myself and Peter, but for my sister Janet, her husband Paul, plus family friends; Afaf, Ray, David and John.

Due to scheduling conflicts, the dinner didn’t happen until last month, and it was so worth the wait! The food was fantastic (Phil is an awesome cook), but more importantly we all enjoyed the warm friendship and delicious fun of the evening.

Less than a year ago we were all complete strangers, and because of that first blog comment by Phil, we now get to share this friendship (plus lots of tasty food!) for the rest of our lives.

To this day, Phil is usually one of the first readers to leave a comment on any of my posts or photos, and each message is so thoughtful and supportive. Thank you Phil for your ongoing encouragement and for being my wonderful food-obsessed friend!

Phil’s Food Fest:

Dinner w/ "My Life As A Foodie", MyLastBite
Photos Top Left: Shrimp Cocktail and Bisque.
Top Right: Poke Tacos
Bottom Right: Calçots and La rouille sauce
Bottom Left: Serrano Ham

Dinner w/ "My Life As A Foodie", MyLastBite
Chorizo Sarta, Green Olive Piquillo Pepper Anchovy, Serrano Ham

Dinner w/ "My Life As A Foodie", MyLastBiteCantimpalos (cocktail chorizos) and Aoli

Dinner w/ "My Life As A Foodie", MyLastBite
Potato Blini, Creme Fraiche and Smoked Salmon

Dinner w/ "My Life As A Foodie", MyLastBite
Savory Lobster Ice Cream w/ Chervil, Horseradish Cream and Caviar

Dinner w/ "My Life As A Foodie", MyLastBite
Phil in the kitchen (Savory Lobster Ice Cream)

Dinner w/ "My Life As A Foodie", MyLastBite
Cassoulet (white bean stew, duck confit and garlic sausage)

All Flickr Photos from Phil’s Food Fest


Dining Date: 8/29/09


Phil’s Blog: MyLifeAsAFood.com


Phil’s first mention of MyLastBite on his radio show


At Molecular Gastronomy Class with Phil


Phil’s radio show on Molecular Gastronomy Class


The first Molecular Gastronomy class


Dinner at the Bazaar with Phil & Kat


Sur La Table Cooking Classes


About Twitter


Follow Phil on Twitter


Follow Me!

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19 Comments

Filed under Food Stories (written by me)

The Bazaar by José Andrés [8]

Sunday night at the Bazaar with Phil from “My Life As A Foodie”, his wife Katrina, and fellow food-lovers Dean and Stephanie.

When we were seated at the “Chefs Table” in the Rojo Room, Peter and I made sure that he and I were the two diners facing AWAY from the open kitchen. We had four eager “Bazaar Virgins” with us and for them to get the most of the experience, they faced the chefs, giving them first-class seats to the “show”!

We shared many of what I now call “essential” tapas from both the Blanca and Rojo menus. These are dishes we get every visit and include: Jamón Ibérico, Chicken and Béchamel Fritters, Sea Urchin with Avocado in a Steamed Mini Bun and Philly Cheesesteak Air Bread (photo links below).

This was my eighth dinner at Bazaar. Had I tried everything on both the Rojo and Blanco menus? Well no, to be honest there were still a few vegetable dishes I’d been avoiding. It’s not that I don’t like veggies, it’s just that when presented with a choice between plump butifarra (sausage) or brussel sprouts… I’m going to always insist on the meats (or seafood or foie gras) first.

Our evening was made even more delightful when Chef Voltaggio presented a NEW, elegant salmon dish that he wanted us to try. The “Smoked” Salmon was cooked sous vide (French for “under vacuum”), served with cucumber “noodles” and set on top of a small potato blintz. This was all presented under a glass dome and served on a piece of black slate. Before leaving the kitchen, the dome was lifted slightly and Chef Voltaggio “smoked” the salmon with a culinary *smoking gun. When the servers brought the salmon to the table, puffs of smoke gently wafted from under the glass as the domes were removed. It was cool (and tasted heavenly).

General Manager, William Douillet, seemed to always “magically” appear when there was the slightest inquiry.  Thoughtful and courteous, he always makes each visit a “special” occasion. Our four friends, no longer “Bazaar Virgins”, still haven’t stopped talking about the experience.

Tapas we tried on this visit:

Ajo Blanco, MyLastBite.com
Ajo Blanco: White Gazpacho, Tomatoes, Grapes, Raisins, topped with Tomato Granita $5. I loved this savory dish (sort of like a panna cotta), especially the texture of the granita on top.

Cauliflower "Couscous", MyLastBite.com
Sautéed Cauliflower “Couscous”
: Cauliflower puree, harissa, pomegranate $8. The tiny, crunchy bits of cauliflower were terrific mixed with the pomegranate.

Brussel Sprout Leaves, MyLastBite.com
Brussel Sprout Leaves with lemon purée, apricots, grapes and lemon “air” $8. I hated brussel sprouts as a kid, so the fact that I actually liked this was a nice surprise.

Buñuelos, MyLastBite.com
Buñuelos (Codfish Fritters) with Honey Aoli $8. I liked that I could really taste the fish in these fried balls. Usually with deep-fried fish, all I taste is the “fried” part.

Quesos, MyLastBite.com
Cheese from right to left: This was my first taste of 
La Serenaa creamy, aromatic (aka really stinky which I love!) cheese from Extremadura in Western Spain. Valdeón is a rich, creamy, intensely-flavored cow and goat’s milk blue cheese, saltier than Stilton and not as intense as Cabrales. Idiazábal is the national cheese of the Basque country, is made from sheep’s milk and is usually smoked. Served with Picos (Spanish crispy bread) and Quince jam. 3 Quesos $15

"Smoked" Salmon 1, MyLastBite.com
The “Smoked” Salmon arriving at our table…

"Smoked" Salmon 3, MyLastBite.com
The
“Smoked” Salmon, cooked sous vide with Cucumber Noodles, then “smoked” with a smoking gun, served over a small Potato Blintz. The flavors and textures were OUTSTANDING… perfectly cooked salmon, with faux cucumber noodles on crispy potatoes.

Wild Mushroom Rice, MyLastBite.com
Wild Mushroom Rice with Idiazábal Cheese, $10. A creamy, savory tapas version of the rice dish Marcel surprised us with on visit #4 (sans truffles).

“Essential” Bazaar Tapas that we get on every visit:

Sea Urchins, Avocado in a Steamed Mini Bun

Jamón Ibérico (Iberian Ham)

Chicken & Béchamel Fritters

Philly Cheesesteak Air Bread 

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

Mentioned above:

My Life as a Foodie
(with many more Bazaar dinner details)

The Smoking Gun

More about Sous Vide cooking

Chef Michael Voltaggio

Manager William Douillet

My Bazaar Photos on Flickr

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

Dining Date: 3/29/09

<– Bazaar Visit 7

Bazaar Visit 9 –>

4 Comments

Filed under Eating Out, Molecular Cooking