Category Archives: Occasion

Artisanal LA 2010, Downtown LA (Savory Edition)

And so man cannot live with desserts alone. After all, the sweets often come after the savory. So as not to saturate and kill my palate and appetite with too much sugar, I also had to make my way towards the salty, bitter, meaty, and even the “hoppy”. At the Artisanal LA Fall 2010, I didn’t need the salt over the shoulder to have good luck, I had no problem finding the best savory had to offer.

Enjoy my sumptuous finds:

I had to buy Damn That’s Good’s curry sauce for a dinner idea I immediately envisioned after I tasted their sample. It was not a simple sauce to make, and the taste showcased its complexity well. It had a perfect amount of spice, very well-balanced with a spicy taste towards the back-end without overpowering the combination. Their risottos were actually okay. I must admit, bias set it when I had to taste it cold, it didn’t really sit well atop my tongue but I’m sure it would have been better received had it been at least a little warm. Their pastas were also cold. But all had a good promise of flavors.

Winner of the KCRW 2nd Annual Pie Contest, The Flying Pie Man shared his savory creation only during this event. Yuichiro Sato unfortunately does not have a means of selling his product yet (store or online), but we were blessed indeed that he has shared and we have tasted. It was more like a Shepherd’s pie or also called Cottage Pie. The seasonings in the ground beef had strong flavor (almost too overpowering for my taste), the mashed potato at the bottom was creamy and buttery, and the vegetables were actually still crunchy despite having been marinating with the juices from the meat, the mashed potato, and steam within.  The pie crust was actually the best part; it was flaky, salty, buttery, and just crunchy delicious. So here’s a plea: get your site together Yuichiro, the line at your table said it all.

This table was packed with visitors so I barely had a chance to take a decent photo, my apologies. I was about to leave when I was asked to go ahead and taste the meat, so over the shoulder of a stranger I reached out for my sample of healthy, grass-fed steak from Open Space Meats. It was decently cooked, I didn’t expect it to be like a restaurant serving me my medium rare cut, but the meat had a much stronger beef flavor. And of course, lower in saturated fat and higher in Omega 3 fatty acids, which means a healthier option for you.

Of course, I wouldn’t think of leaving without visiting a local brewery. Eagle Rock Brewery showcased two of their Artisan brews. Addicted to my caffeine, I had to choose the Stimulus (Belgian Amber with Ethiopian Coffee). It did not have a strong coffee flavor, but it was definitely present in each sip. The citrus created a fine after-taste that it was a little sad that it only came in sample cups.

I had just enough time to peak in at the most popular demo of the event: Pig Butchering by Lindy and Grundy’s Erika Nakamura. Skilled with a knife, Erika wielded with ease and cut down the half-pig in no time at all. Lindy and Grundy will soon serve Los Angeles just like the forgotten times, with a local, sustainable butcher shop selling organic and grass-fed meat.

Whew, the tasting extravaganza ended there. But it was not only the samples that shined during this Artisanal LA event. The owners and chefs that continue to pursue the healthier, organic side of cuisine and produce showed to us that healthier does not necessarily mean tasteless. And that handmade with the finest ingredients are sometimes a much better and not necessarily a more expensive route to take. So don’t deprive and cheat yourself of the finer and healthier things in life, Artisanal LA proves that they are definitely worth it.

Please support our local farmers and business owners. Click on the links to check out their websites and also how to order.





Filed under Alcohol, Artisan, Beef, Event, Occasion, Pork

Aritisanal LA 2010, Downtown LA (Sweets Edition)

Organic. Grass-fed. Sustainable. Hand-made. Local. Healthy. Gourmet. These are just a few words to describe the assembly of the finest artisans in LA at the recent Artisanal LA Fall 2010 at the Cooper Building Downtown last October 24 and 25. With over 100 participants, including chef demos, workshops, and speakers, it was not hard to muster up the strength to come and visit. I didn’t need any encouragement by MultiCultural Cooking Network to cover this event. In fact, my foot was already out the door as soon as I got my tickets a week before.

You can actually divide the room into two obvious sides: the Sweet and the Savory. Here are my finds perfect for those with a serious sweet tooth:

Max Lesser and his Morning Glory confections. Featured on the Cooking Channel’s Foodcrafters, Max presented his handmade and of the finest ingredients brittle in different enticing flavors such as the most popular: Fleur de Sel and peanut.  But what really caught my attention was his New Mexico and Pumpkin seed creation. It had a sweet beginning with a mean, twisted, spicy kick towards the finish. Can you say YUMMY with me?

Cake Suzette, LLC and her unique creations had one my favorite sweet bites for the day (and maybe for the whole year): the Chocolate Peanut Butter Mallomore. It was a chocolate marshmallow with a peanut butter ganache, a milk chocolate crust on the outside and homemade graham crackers, regrets came after the first bite as I only had one square in my possession. She is also famous for her bite size Cake O’s with beckoning combination and coated in different flavor: coconut with a milk chocolate outside, red velvet covered in white chocolate, and cappuccino chocolate with a dense chocolate cake on the inside.

Sweet Dreamery Desserts had more than just your usual cravings. Other than their delicious cupcakes, they also have seasonal and all-occasion bakery baskets filled with different goodies. They can customize your sweets with different toppings such as Tiffany blue cookies, musical notes, pumpkin frosting while filling the basket with table cloths, aprons, decors, and more befitting any special event you may have.

Need a snack fix? Try out P.O.P. Candy and their handmade creations such as the Chai TeaGranola Pecan Bar. They also have a herbed line: Rosemary and Almond, and Thyme, Walnut, and Cherries which were surprisingly well-balanced. I had to keep coming back for more of their Rosemary and Almond brittle which came in small addicting bites. It was so convenient to pop in your mouth that you tend to forget how much you’ve actually consumed, hence the name: POP. They can also custom wrap, label, and serve your choices for any special occasion.

Coupled with such a great story, Welsh Bakers featured one that I haven’t had in a very long time: Welsh Cakes. “Not quite a cookie, not quite a scone”, this bite was long missed. Thank you Denise Carbone, her husband Joe for bringing this ancient Celticrecipe into our century. And thank you to your mother, who still lives in Wales and approved every single flavor prior to production. The Lemon Poppy seed was a great early morning upper with my coffee, which also ironically reminded me that my sweet Artisinal journey just passed.

Don’t get me wrong, there were more Artisans that featured their best desserts forward. All were with unique ideas, combination, and style. In fact I started to have immunity problems. At the end of the day, the sweets started to taste almost the same. So I had to alternate between the sweet and the savory. Well, after all, I would like to give everyone equal opportunity to extract from me the sighs, the OOHH’s, the AAHH’s and the OH MY’s. But, I was never disappointed, I had plenty of other explicit expressions long after I left the building.

Please take your time and read the savory edition, and support our local Artisans.


Filed under Artisan, Cakes, Cupcakes, Dessert, Event, Occasion

Post-Valentine’s Day

I thought I should just share.

February 13- We had a couple’s massage at Barai and it was really, really good. This is not your usual “Burke-Williams” experience. They swing you around, break your bone, bend your body, pop your joints to your limit. Dinner was at AFloat Sushi in Pasadena. It was good. I mean, the sushi was unspectacular but for the price and the fun of it-it was actually worth it. I had a very nice time.

February 14- We had lunch at my favorite hole-CORAL REEF. We may not have had the best lunch conversation but the food was amazing (and cheap) as usual. His fish with black bean sauce and my pork chops were finger licking good as always. Yummy, indeed.

Reviews to follow. I need to get better pictures.

It just goes to show, you really don’t have to spend a lot to make the most out of the day. Sometimes, simple and cheap is as good (or even better) as elaborate and expensive.

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Filed under Chinese Food, Japanese Food, Occasion, Related Article, Sushi

Pre-Valentine’s Day

I  am looking forward to my Valentine’s day. I hope we do get to enjoy our plan. It might be pushing it tight, Joe has school until 12ish and I have a kid’s birthday party to go to, nevertheless we will make it work. I shall have my fill of Filipino food for lunch and IDK for dinner. Yummy.

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Holes for Valentine’s Day

It’s that time of the year again, when all the commercialism and hype rivals that of the holidays. The men work hard to plan one single day that sets the tone for the rest of the romantic year. The ladies get all dressed up and for the rest of the night provide a smile from ear to ear waiting for each romantic moment to happen. Whether it will or not does not necessarily depend on how much you spend on Valentine’s day. Sometimes something simple, comforting, and facile is enough to ignite the necessities of the night.

If you’re still without plans, here are some places you may want to check out:

-Chic Magnolia’s Downtown boasts of a Valentine’s day 3-course menu with homemade short rib ravioli, chocolate pot du creme, and more. It’s delicious and reasonable at only $30/person and the location is both hip and romantic. Magnolia’s: 825 James M Wood LA, T: (213)362-0880.

Melting Pot offers a love day menu for $65/person. Nothing says romantic more than sharing a pot of fondue together, dipping anything from filet mignon to strawberries and pairing it with good champagne. Melting Pot: 88 W Colorado Pasadena, T: (626)792-1941.

-For something different, check out Silverlake Wine for only $12 for a 3 glass tasting. Pair each glass with cheese and olives, generous portions of bread, freshly made pizzas, and more. Wine and dine with less intimidation and more romance. Silverlake Wine: 2395 Glendale Blvd LA, T: (323)662-9024.

-If you want to impress with elegant Japanese food then Sushi Roku is a must try. The ambiance is stylish and romantic. The food is fresh and unique; buckwheat soba noodles, sake sashimi, Ama Ebi fried head, and sweets like Zen smores. Sushi Roku: 8445 W 3rd St LA, T: (323)655-6767.

-Watch a movie at The Grove’s Pacific Theater and head out to the Farmer’s Market after for a less expensive, simple but exquisite comfort food. Farmer’s Market houses Pampa’s for juicy Brazilian meats and yummy sides, Moishe’s for good Mediterranean food, The French Crepe Company for amazing desserts, 326 bar for rare beers, Mr. Marcel Pain Vin Et Fromage for their famous coq au vin, and dozens more of different cuisines for different palates. You can even pick your own wine from World Market, bring it to the tables, and pair it with your dinner. The Grove and Farmer’s Market: 3rd St LA (click on the link for more information).

-Dine at Anarkali Indian Restaurant for their famous Indian food. Hearty, delicious comfort food at $49.95 per couple only on Valentine’s day. Sit down, relax, and enjoy an 8-course meal that includes a bottle of wine or Indian beer. Anarkali’s: 7013 Melrose Ave LA, T: (323)934-6488.

-Pie is a comfort food that’s not only meant for the holidays. If you’re cooking on Valentine’s day, serve some comfort sweets from Marie Callender’s. Each tin is only $6.99 and comes in many sexy offerings such as double chocolate cheesecake, razzleberry, and Kahlua cream cheese. Marie Callender’s Grill: 5773 Wilshire Blvd LA, T: (323)937-7952.

Valentine’s day should break neither your back nor the bank. It’s the day to focus on each other and not on what you can bring to the table. And also this day was not only made for the couples out there. Spend time with friends and family you love. Plan the day and head to these places. It should be about the comforts that your love brings for each other, whether for your special someone or not. After all, love is universal. It is not the sole property of couples, even on Valentine’s day.

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