Archive for October, 2009

Costume Ideas for the Food-Minded Pt. 3

October 29, 2009

After the first two costume ideas, here are a few other food related costume ideas for Halloween.

Hate him or love him, he’s earned his place as one of the top food personalities of the year:

Guyclops Fieri

Guyclops Fieri

Although she’s still the most delicious thing on Top Chef, her diva ways have branded her:

Padma “Black Sheep” Lakshmi

Padma "Black Sheep" Lakshmi

His hot temper isn’t very Godfather-like but his past success could have landed him position as…

GorDon Corleone

GorDon Corleone

However these days it’s more:

GorDown and Out in Beverly Hills

GorDown and Out in Beverly Hills


Zeke’s Smokehouse Build Your Own BBQ

October 28, 2009

Zeke's Smokehouse Sign

This recession has caused a shift in restaurant pricing. You have to stretch your dollar and Zeke’s Smokehouse’s new Build Your Own BBQ Special for $9.95 is the epitome of value. It’s not the best BBQ in the world, certainly better than any chain in LA, but today we’re talking about value.

Zeke's Smokehouse Build Your Own Menu

First, “pit boss” and owner Michael Rosen is a passionate BBQ aficionado. He’s researched extensively, bought the right smoker and won awards for his skill.

Zeke's Smoker

Second, Michael and co-owner Leonard Schwartz have pedigrees as professional chefs at esteemed LA restaurants (Maple Drive, 72 Market). Third, Zeke’s location next to Target and Best Buy means you already are nearby all the time (at least that’s what I was told by everyone at dinner). Forth, this isn’t industrial/economy/chain BBQ. Everything from sauces, to sides are made in-house by Zeke’s staff. Last but certainly not least the huge portion size and high quality of food you get for around ten bucks is unbeatable outside of the SGV.

Zeke's Smokehouse Table

The restaurant is clean, the service is on point and there’s an extensive list of specialty sodas. One notable soda is Margo’s Bark Root Beer. The root beer is on the sweet side- much more than the Sprecher which they have on tap (and is from Wisconsin).

Margo's Bark Root Beer at Zeke's Smokehouse

I should note the dog theme (Zeke was the BBQ-loving dog after which the restaurant was named. Margo was the dog of the boy who invented the root beer for his science project).

Margo's Bark Root Beer <-Margo’s Bark . Sprecher-> Sprecher Root Beer

The Frito Misto is a combo platter featuring hush puppies with honey butter, onion rings and sweet potato fries. The hush puppies are reminiscent of latkes- more onion-y and moist than any I’ve had before. The onion rings are one hundred times better than Wood Ranch’s. And speaking of ranch, Zekes’ is phenomenal.

Zeke's Smokehouse Frito Misto

Their fried okra is a good change compared to Baby Blues’ garlic and oil drenched version.

Zeke's Smokehouse Fried Okra

The Build Your Own BBQ options include a choice of two meats (pulled pork, pulled chicken, dark 1/4 chicken, smoked ham and hot links) and two sides (baked beans, collard greens, mashed potatoes, green beans, potato salad, cole slaw, applesauce, kettle chips, fries).

Zeke's Smokehouse Build Your Own Plate

I really liked the hot link. The flavors were well-rounded, the crunch was strong. The idea of a sausage making class came up as well, as it’s hard to do without the right equipment. The pulled pork was tender and smokey. The cole slaw wasn’t great, the rest was solid.

Zeke's Smokehouse Build Your Own Plate

The brisket is serious business at Zeke’s- 10 hours in the smoker, slathered with their home made Longhorn BBQ sauce- it’s not your grandma’s brisket. You can see the ring of flavor.

Zeke's Smokehouse

Zeke's Smoekhouse Brisket

Their sauce never get to vinegary, which is good in my book. They also don’t get spicy enough, which is bad.

Zeke's Smokehouse Sauces

The desserts included pecan pie, brownies and warm bread pudding with bourbon sauce (my favorite of the three). I think I’d actually just do a root beer float next time.

Zeke's Smokehouse Bread Pudding

Overall Zeke’s is solid BBQ.

Costume Ideas for the Food-Minded Pt. 2

October 27, 2009

Last year I presented some food related costume ideas. This time I opted for the scary movie food mashups.

Ferran Adria makes a guest appearance in the breakout hit of the year Ferranormal Adriactivity:

Ferranormal Adriactivity

In her second feature film of the year (after Julie and Julia) see the most famous chef again in Julia Child’s Play:

Julia Child's Play

On the lighter side see Spago’s own Teen Wolfgang:

Teen Wolfgang

And because he’s the chef of the century you can also see Ferran that Rocks the Cradle:

Ferran that Rocks the Cradle

Great Chefs of LA Go Green, Go Organic

October 26, 2009

Kidney disease is no laughing matter. And as much as I want to make a joke about Jitlada’s brilliant spicy fish kidney curry, I know that’s in bad taste (figuratively, not literally). The 23rd Annual Great Chefs of Los Angeles one-stop food marathon is a much better way to do something about kidney disease.

Great Chefs of Los Angeles

On Sunday, November 8th from noon to 3:30 p.m. the National Kidney Foundation of Southern California will be showcasing the cooking talents of LA’s best chefs in an effort to raise money for their foundation.

Great Chefs Los Angeles

Led by Chefs of Honor Mary Sue Milliken, Susan Feniger and Neal Fraser, the event will feature:

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

The Chefs of Honor will present awards to their fellow participating chefs to spotlight the use of local, organic and sustainable ingredients.

Get Hip Go Green Bags

As if all that food wasn’t enough, there will be beverages from:

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


• Remy Cointreau USA
• Charles Heidsieck
• Piper-Hiedsieck


• VeeV Açai Spirit
• Tequila Ocho


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


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


Ticket giveaways and other exclusive promotions for the event will be offered through their Facebook Fan Page and on the Twitter feed.

Although the $150 per person tickets is expensive, you’ll be attending one of the top one-stop food marathons of the year, donating to a wonderful charity and supporting LA’s restaurants that make the decision to go green/organic. And there’s always the gift bag featuring signed copies of Skinny Bastard, the latest book by the authors of Skinny Bitch.

Buy your tickets here.

Hello Kitty Gets Older, Paris Hilton Stays the Same Age

October 23, 2009

What do Paris Hilton, Dave Navarro and Tera Patrick have in common? No, not that you pervs- they love Hello Kitty. I didn’t realize the extent of Hello Kitty’s subversive undertones, but it seems that it goes hand it hand with having a sex tape.

Paris Hilton at Hello Kitty Party

Last night’s party was in honor of Hello Kitty’s 35th birthday. The event kicked off a three week exhibition (10/23-11/15) of all things Kitty at Royal/T in Culver City. Despite its 10,000 square feet, the place was a mob scene.

Hello Kitty's Three Apples Exhibition

“Three Apples” (the title refers to Hello Kitty’s precise weight) is a multi-dimensional exhibition that is open to the public and free of charge.

Three Apples Hello Kitty Party

The Hello Kitty-themed menu offered at the “cosplay” maid café (that’s waitresses dressed in playful Hello Kitty Food Plattermaid uniforms with a Lolita-esque touch for those who haven’t had the pleasure of eating at Royal/T) includes:

Hello Kitty’s Kawaii High Tea $25
An assortment of sweets, savory canapé, and mini sandwiches, including a pot of tea

mmm Delicious Mixed Mushroom & Cheese Tramezzini $8
Toasted white bread pockets filled with mushrooms and cheese, served with organic mixed greens

Say Hello Chicken & Artichoke Tramezzini $8
Toasted white bread pockets filled with artichoke hearts and chicken, served with organic mixed greens

Hello Kitty TramezziniSchool is Fun Ham & Cheese Tramezzini $8

Toasted white bread pockets filled with ham and cheese, served with organic mixed greens

Hello Kitty Tramezzini

Super Yummy Waffles $7
Waffles, mixed berries, whipped cream, and syrup

I ♥ Pancakes $7
Pancakes, bananas, whipped cream, and syrup

Hello Kitty Pancakes Hello Kitty Cookies

Individually wrapped, hand-decorated Sweet Happy Cookies $6

There was no shortage of art, costumes, accessories,

Three Apples Hello Kitty Party

plush toys and alcohol.

Hello Kitty Doll Wall

Hello Kitty Three Apples... or Four

Happy Birthday Kitty- may you keep capturing the hearts of sweet, young girls and older, not-so-sweet adults.

Hello Kitty Cake

Adventurous Marathon-Worthy Links

October 22, 2009

The point of a food marathon is to explore new foods/restaurants/areas. So here are links from a few of LA’s best food bloggers as they try to spread their adventurous spirit:

Bike Bender Extreme Cuising Le Club de Grub

Eat Drink & Be Merry starts Le Club de Grub with his co-workers

Food GPS and Eating L.A. ride their second official biking food marathon

Deep End Dining promotes his new book Extreme Cuisine

The Flying Pig, Cow, Chicken, Duck and More

October 21, 2009

Flying Pig Truck is the newest mobile fusion food purveyor on the block. Joining the traffic of other Asian taco trucks and pork bun slingers, Flying Pig aims to blend Asian and Pacific rim flavors with French technique.

Flying Pig Truck


braised pork belly – red onion escabeche, sesame cucumber     $3

slider – beef & pork, daikon sprout, banana mustard     2 for $5

TACOS     $2.50

grilled beef short rib – oyster mushroom, death sauce

spicy pork – green papaya, cilantro cream

tamarind duck – toasted almond, pickled beet salad

smoked chicken – green curry, napa slaw

crunchy tofu (vegetarian!) – honey-roasted peanut, kimchi

SNACKS     $2

crab ball – cilantro-lime chimichurri

Flying Pig Truck

I tried the Duck Taco, which definitely was flavorful and had a good balance of salty (sauce) /sweet (orange), soft (duck) / crunch (almond).

Flying Pig Truck Taco

I also tried the Spicy Pork Shoulder Taco and Braised Pork Belly Bun. The pork shoulder was a bit dry which could begged more cilantro cream. The pork belly was delicious, but with me it’s hard to screw up pork belly.

Flying Pig Truck Taco and Bun

My food truck experience is pretty limited, so I’m not sure how these stack up to other trucks’ food. On the taco side, they had the wonderful lingering flavor that tacos tend to leave.

Flying Pig Truck

With a brick and mortar location opening soon on Beverly across from CBS, this truck will likely test a lot of recipes. As long as the truck’s by my office, that should be easy.

Cupcakes and Cookies for Halloween

October 20, 2009

For those who feel smokey blue cheese chocolate is too forward thinking, Cookie Casa has some great Halloween specials:

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Decorated Vanilla Sour Cream Topping

Cookie Casa Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Pumpkin Spice Cake-Like Cookies with Icing

Cookie Casa Pumpkin Cookies

And if you haven’t already seen this, Sweet Flour Bake Shop in Toronto let’s you custom-build your cookies which they will bake for you on the spot. Great concept.

Sweet Flour Bake Shop

Bourdain and Chang Star in Disney Film?

October 19, 2009

Eater’s running a contest where you have to write a caption for a photo from Anthony Bourdain and David Chang’s recent romantic Korean food excursion on No Reservations.

For some reason my submission didn’t qualify:

Anthony Bourdain and David Chang in Love

with soundtrack

(thanks Hanh)

The Zócalo Jonathan Gold Food Marathon

October 16, 2009

In terms of one-stop food marathons, the Jonathan Gold Union Station Cocktail Party for Zócalo had one of the longest names and most prolific groups food and drink participants.

Zocalo Jonathan Gold Union Square Cocktail Party

The very quick background is:

Gold Zocalo Cocktail

– Zócalo is an organization that provides a public space for conversation and deliberation about the world today.

– Jonathan Gold is the Thom Yorke of food writing- a rockstar that should be treated as such.

– The cocktail is currently experiencing its shining moment as more than just an important part of nightlife, but in the food scene and resurgence of downtown LA as well.

And now the party…

Just as the cocktail resurgence brings the golden age of Hollywood back into style with a modern twist, so too does discussion of a new high speed train that would run from Los Angeles’ Union Station to San Diego. Union Station is the landmark of downtown LA that best sums up the night. Grand and historic, it signifies the strength and comfort of the old way of life. Rye whiskey, scotch, gin- timeless drinks, that take time to make. The train station in the 1940’s was the place where soldiers went off to war and then returned home. It was the center of community and communication.

The room, with its infinitely high ceilings and giant windows was warm despite being so open. It’s sturdy and well appointed, not unlike a good Manhattan.

Zocalo Jonathan Gold Union Square Cocktail Party

The alcohol was flowing in many forms, with the cocktail menu developed by 213.

213 Zocalo Jonathan Gold Cocktail Menu

Palate’s Octavio Becerra was the first chef I saw.

Palate's Octavio Becerra at Zocalo Jonathan Gold Cocktail Party

His pork terrine with Szechuan pigs ears, yali pears, pickled shiitake and radish, violet mustard was one of the top dishes of the night. No salad is complete without pigs ears… especially when it’s topping pork.

Palate's pork terrine at Zocalo Jonathan Gold Party

My other favorite was from Cut. They had kobe short ribs that were succulent and savory (albeit a bit messy) along side tuna tartare “sandwiches” with wasabi aioli on Togarashi crisps (not pictured because they were in my stomach too fast).

Cut at Zocalo Jonathan Gold Party

Food and Twitter darlings, Ludo and Krissy were there to enjoy the fun. Eater LA, My Last Bite, Street Gourmet LA, The Delicious Life and Tasting Table were all in the station as well.

Krissy and Ludo and Zocalo Jonathan Gold Party

Michael Cimarusti from Providence was in attendance, both to serve delicious clam fritters and to speak on the panel.

Michael Cimarusti at Zocalo Jonathan Gold Party

The clams were sweet and mild, not too greasy. They were tasty on their own and didn’t need the yuzu mayo.

Providence's Clam Fritters

Then came the dish I was most excited for- Ilan Hall’s bacon wrapped matzo balls. As a pig-loving Jew I’ve already expressed my excitement for The Gorbals’ menu. I’ve also written about my love for all things bacon-wrapped.

Ilan Hall from The Gorbals

Just look at the pan of harmonious religious unity.

Bacon wrapped matzo balls from The Gorbals

The final product is tasty, because everything wrapped with bacon is tasty. Whether hordes will flock to eat them by the fistful, I’m not sure.

Bacon wrapped matzo balls from The Gorbals

Chef John Sedlar from Rivera was there as well.

John Sedlar from Rivera

He was serving up his famous tortillas florales.

Frech Guacamole from Rivera

The handmade corn tortillas have a flower pressed into them before hitting the grill. The resulting beauty is the epitome of Rivera’s menu- unique, artful and delicious.

Tortillas florales from Rivera

Mozza sent over some mozzarella- yawn.

Mozza at Jonathan Gold Cocktail Party

Comme Ca made more of an effort but failed with their bland steak tartar sliders.

Comme Ca's steak tartar sliders

The bite sized burgers of choice were Church and State’s. They were perfect sized pork patties, with fantastic buns and rich flavor.

Church and State Sliders

Oh right. The cocktails. The Manhattan from Cole’s was my favorite.

Cole's at Zocalo Jonathan Gold Party

I also love Cole’s habanero pickles but they weren’t serving those.

Cole's Manhattan

The absinthe was a big draw for some, but I’m not a fan.

The Doheny

Champagne was prevalent throughout the party as well.

Zocalo Jonathan Gold Cocktail Party

There was a panel featuring Eric Alperin from The Varnish and Vincenzo Marianella from Copa d’Oro. Vincenzo actually has taken a train from New York to LA, so this wasn’t his first time at Union Station.

Mixologists Vincenzo and Eric

213’s Cedd Moses and Providence’s Michael Cimarusti were featured as well.

Zocalo Jonathan Gold Mixology Panel

The Zocalo girls put together a great party, one of the most fun I’ve been to as a blogger (it had nothing to do with the cocktails…).

Zocalo Team

By the end it turned into a real party with DJ Pajaro spinning dance hits for the few drunks left.

Zocalo Jonathan Gold Party

When it started to resemble a frat party I took my cue to leave.

Zocalo Frat Party

If anyone doubted the impact Jonathan Gold has had on LA, the night was a testament to the scope of his reach. In terms of fund raising for Zócalo, it was a great success. Not to mention it was fun as hell.