Archive for September, 2010

Blogger Prom 2010

September 30, 2010

Yes. It’s as nerdy as you think. However, bloggers have discerning palates and any event thrown by bloggers for bloggers is an event with great food. The same can’t be said for many other parties in Hollywood.

After working at my day job in the entertainment industry for ten years, I’ve come to enjoy my time with the bloggers more and more. There are no hidden agendas at blogger prom, no positioning for future employment or gossip-mongering. There’s no hidden subtext to the event. It’s just supposed to be fun. And it has been for the past two years.


Photo by Heather Kincaid

The night was successful because of the prom committee’s attention to detail.


Photo by Diana Takes a Bite

The strictly enforced dress code was a major factor in the night’s success.


Photo by Heather Kincaid

As were the fusion tacos.


Photo by Kevin Eats

And Cool Haus, of course.

I already used my Pinkberry gift certificate. Remember Pinkberry?

And it all benefited Operation Frontline.

I think a 90’s theme is the only way to go next year- with a live performance by Bell Biv DeVoe. Who’s in?

$1 Tacos and Night-Long Happy Hour

September 24, 2010

Thursday, September 30th you should go to upstairs at Malo for $1 tacos, free Dry Soda and happy hour drink prices until 10pm. It’s for the Tiny Bandit sample sale where My Shimoda is spinning and you can get 50-75% off clothes from:

Diesel – Men’s + Women’s + Accessories (PreFall Collection)
Kasil – Workshop Men’s + Women’s
Gypsy 05 – Men’s + Women’s
Kova & T
Akiko
Saint Grace
Gregory Quinn
Riviera Club

There’s also a Dry Soda Food Marathon in the works. So stay tuned for that. In the meantime, I’ll see you at Malo on Thursday night.

The Kosher Food Marathon

September 7, 2010

Kosher food is often confusing to people. The rules behind kashrut were written in the bible thousands of years ago. Despite owning refrigerators, many Jews still follow these rules today.


…because Candyland isn’t kosher.

Briefly the rules are:

  • Foods fall into three categories- Meat, Dairy and Parve (neutral, neither meat nor dairy).
    – You can’t mix meat and dairy.
    – You can’t even mix the plates/silverware that were touched by meat/dairy.
  • Animals that chew their cud and have cloven hooves are kosher (cow, sheep, goat). Animals that don’t are not kosher (pig, rabbit, camel). Animals also must be killed by a specifically licensed butcher who kills them in a specifically humane way. For meat to be glatt kosher, in addition to the two above conditions, the meat must also come from an animal with adhesion-free or smooth lungs.
  • Fish must have fins and scales to be kosher (salmon, trout, herring, snapper). Fish that don’t have fins/scales aren’t kosher (shrimp, crab, lobsters, oysters, squid).

There’s more but that’s the gist. Ultimately, there are many reasons why keeping kosher sucks. Many people couldn’t imagine a bacon cheeseburger-less existence. Realistically though, you still can make amazing food and keep kosher.

The Minty is a master of food marathons. She organized this 11-stop beast of a marathon for us, and we set off for the Jewish Pico/Robertson neighborhood.

First stop, Delice Bakery

One of many typical kosher bakeries in the area, Delice is slightly newer and fancier. The crowd included Israelis, Orthodox Jews and people from the neighborhood.

The pastry case was packed with decadent cookies, cakes, pies and other sweets.

This was the first spot of many where service was bad. There’s no warmth and a slight feeling of disarray was pervasive through the process.

We had a bureka and tart, both of which were average at best.

We would find that over and over, kosher restaurants use crappy ingredients. They use Vlasik pickles, Costco sized vats of sauces and corporate fruit. It all looks nice but lacks the flavor that makes it special.

Second stop, Schwartz Bakery

Their pastry case is more old school in terms of content. More sprinkles and chocolate, less macadamia nuts and fig tarts. They also have a salad/sandwich bar and kosher take-out sushi. Service here continued on the bad side. We told the server about the marathon and she didn’t care at all. We asked for one of the pastries but were told we had to buy more than one of that particular type. We went with a boring, dry, basic chocolate danish. Next.

Third stop, Shalom Pizza

This place was empty, and we still were barely acknowledged upon entering.

The crust was fine but the cheese was bad. It tasted like cheap pizza but it was $2.25 a slice. It wouldn’t be the first time that we thought, “I don’t know how this place stays in business.”

A lot of kosher places have a combo of Italian, Mexican and Chinese food which each nationality would cringe upon tasting.

Fourth stop, Pico Kosher Deli

The service here was more lively, however there weren’t any Jewish people actually working behind the counter. I have no problem with that, as anyone can make a corned beef sandwich. It’s just funny to order chopped liver and sweet and sour cabbage soup from a shiksa.

The corned beef was solid- not as good as Brent’s.

The soups were good, the chopped liver was good. Overall, it was good but not great.

The hip Jewish grandparents liked it.

Fifth stop, Got Kosher?

Finally some friendly service. The girls behind the counter were passionate and it came across in the food. The restaurant has a horrible name, given that they serve gourmet Tunisian and Morrocan food and do great bar-b-que.

They were one of the few restaurants of the marathon that actually made their own sauces, using fresh ingredients.

The menu was varied and we chose two sandwiches:

Memphis-style pulled beef brisket with coleslaw. This is a sandwich that no one would guess was kosher. It could stand up to other BBQ places in LA.

The Moroccan Marguez Sausage sandwich was only the beginning of the day’s sausage eating. It was one of the best dishes of the day.

Sixth stop, Jeff’s Gourmet Sausage Factory

This place is the Kosher Peach Pit. It was packed with loud teenagers chomping on sausages. unable to sit still for more than three minutes. I chose the chorizo, which doesn’t match up to its non-kosher counterpart.

The Boerewors was a unique South African sausage, that was ok. Like The Minty said, it doesn’t compare to Wurstkuche or even Brats Brothers.

The veal bratwurst was the best Jeff had to offer. I’ll never argue with a brat…

Seventh stop, Glatt Kosher Subway

We didn’t actually eat here, because it’s the same old Subway ingredients- they just eliminate the non-kosher stuff (pork, cheese) and have shawarma.

Eight stop, Charlie’s Kosher Deli


This place is old school.

The decor is clean vintage.

The food wasn’t spectacular (an old potato knish and mushroom-less barley soup).

The brisket was their specialty, and from the sampling may be worth going back for.

I don’t eat gefilte fish from anyone besides my grandma, so I didn’t try Charlie’s.

Ninth stop, Beverlywood Bakery


This was the best bakery for the day.

From bagels to black and white cookies, cakes to pies and everything in between, Beverlywood is the go-to spot for your Kosher baked needs.

Tenth stop, Labels Deli replaced by Schnitzly

We were planning on going to Labels, but switched it for a modern fast food-ish Kosher spot called Schnitzly.

Schnitzel is basically milanese- boneless pounded meat (usually veal or chicken), coated with breadcrumbs and fried. Schnitzly is like Chipotle or Subway. First you choose from nine different breadcrumb coating combos you’d like your chicken breast to be fried in. There’s crushed garlic, chili peppers, dijon mustard, curry and even falafel seasoning. Then they make a sandwich based on your choice of toppings. As we were on the tenth stop we opted for Schnitzily Nuggets, which were dry.

Eleventh stop, Nagila Kosher Pizza & Salads


Last but not least was one of the best kosher pizza places in LA. Nagila is my grandparents’ restaurant of choice when we need something easy. If they don’t complain about it, that’s good news for everyone… Nagila has a milk side and a meat side, so it’s like two restaurants in one.

We kept it casual for the marathon, but it’s worth mentioning some of the fancier restaurants on Pico.

For kosher fine dining the options are The Milky Way (Steven Spielberg’s mom’s place), Pat’s and Milk n’ Honey.

Compared to non-kosher restaurants they don’t compete. As far as kosher goes, they’re better than you’d expect.

We also didn’t have time for Takosher, the kosher taco truck. The Gorbals also would have been a good ending for the marathon, in its totally unkosher assault on kosher food.

Speaking of assaults. We witnessed our first food marathon police standoff.

That family was watching as police shut down Pico at Robertson where a standoff was taking place. We couldn’t be bothered to find out the details as we were eating.

This was one of the first marathons where a majority of the restaurants were mediocre. It was well worth it, however to find the gem in Got Kosher? Now if they’d only change their name…

Happy Rosh Hashanah!

9.02.10 Celebration at Taste of Beverly Hills

September 3, 2010

Oh Beverly Hills… You live up to the stereotype in every way. From your over sized food festival replete with reality-tv-star-studded red carpet, to your Persian abundance, to your hot-in-the-80’s restaurants- you provide endless fodder for food festival commentary.

I mistakenly thought the first night of your Taste of Beverly Hills event was a celebration of Shannen Doherty, Luke Perry and Tori Spelling. I was pleasantly surprised to find out it actually was highlighting your city’s food.

Like any good meal in Beverly Hills, I started with a cheese plate from your strongest smelling resident, The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills.

They were very generous with their slices.

Recent Napa transplant, Bouchon was one of the most popular tables of the night.

Wolfgang Puck should be your mayor. He was so kind he pulled his whole crew in for a photo instead of taking it alone. He’s a model Beverly Hills citizen.

Terroni had a big display of pastas. Their ragu was good.

As a tourist destination, Beverly Hills has a lot of hotels. The restaurants in these hotels were out in full force last night.

To serve the financial and entertainment capital of LA, there are also a lot of salad restaurants in Beverly Hills. I didn’t come to the Taste of Beverly Hills for salad.

I came for Venezuelan food. Coupa Cafe offered something unique, a sampler of perfectly executed bite sized arepitas, mini cachapas, empanitas and tequenos.

While foie gras should be served on every street corner in Beverly Hills, it shouldn’t be served in mousse form topped with gelatinous goo and a fig.

Something you don’t see enough at food events is non alcoholic iced beverages.

The Bazaar continues to churn out the same old tired gimmicks, with chocolate covered Pop Rocks, again.

Patina was there too.

The night wouldn’t be complete without copious amounts of alcohol. How can one endure the pain of plastic surgery without it… Domaine de Canton was pouring ginger drinks.

Stella had their own beer garden.

Some of the most interesting aspects of the night weren’t food related. The people watching was stellar. The Persian tent, with it’s musicians, decoration, fences and gaudiness, was a shining example of modern day Beverly Hills.

Some of the guests were wearing clothes of questionable taste. Those are knee high boots to reveal a bruised thigh below short shorts and a dog with a shirt on….

That is a wrinkled gold suit with a baseball cap and sneakers.

One of the coolest parts of the event was actually in the valet line at the hotel. This brilliant Shelby Cobra made my night.

The event was fun without question.
The LG monitors displaying restaurant names/menus was very smart.
The trashcans, although sleek, were too small.
I have to say, I’ve never been to a food event where there were so few Asian guests.
Given the higher level of non-Beverly-Hills-based restaurants at The Art of Mixing night, I suspect my next post will have more attention to the food.
See you again tonight, Beverly Hills.

Dublab’s Food and Music Dinner

September 1, 2010

For the last 11 years I’ve listened to dublab. They’re finally throwing a dinner party.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21ST

“CREATIVE CULTIVATION: dublab’s fall fundraiser dinner”

FOOD:
A curated culinary experience from Large Marge Sustainables & Friends: Bleu Sage, Cafecito Organico, Lark, Scoops Ice Cream, Little Spoon, Local Restaurant, Mama’s Hot Tamales, Mandoline Grill, Philip Gaiser Catering, Stuffed Animals Vegetarian and Taste of Pace.

COMPLIMENTARY DRINKS:
Barefoot Bubbly & Wine, Lagunitas Beer and Metl Mezcal & Tequila. Plus teas from New Leaf.

MUSIC:
Flying Lotus (Ambient Dinner Music Set), Los Esotericos (Andres Renteria, Brian Akio Martinez, Mia Doi Todd & Gaby Hernandez), Daedelus and dj sets by the dublab soundsystem.

FILM PROJECTIONS:
John Wyatt (Cinespia) & Alexandra Pelly (dublab/the Masses)

T-SHIRTS:
Your dinner ticket includes a 2K t-shirt custom screen-printed by HIT+RUN.

GIFT BAG ITEMS:
Alpha Pup Records, dublab, Envirosax, Fomato, HIT+RUN, Insight, Kranky, Low End Theory, Nacional Records, Ooga Booga, Plug Research, Poketo, Simballrec, and much more!

RAFFLE PRIZES:
– Original Painting by Teebs.
– One year membership to Cinefamily.
– One year Active + Muse Membership to LACMA.
– One year membership + 1 free admission to Machine Project workshop.
– Two night stay + food & beverage credit + scooter rental at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs.
– One pair of tickets to the Pavement / No Age / Sonic Youth show at the Hollywood Bowl on September 30th + gourmet picnic basket from Large Marge Sustainables.

* Each ticket includes a single inclusion into each raffle. You can increase your chances of winning and support dublab by buying additional raffle tickets below.

LOCATION:
JF CHEN
941 North Highland Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038

TICKETS:
All proceeds benefit dublab, a creative 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization.
DINNER TICKETS are $111 each (Limited to 90 tickets total)
ADDITIONAL RAFFLE TICKETS are $5 each


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