This edition of “In the Kitchen” is going to take a bit of a turn. Why, you ask? Well, because one of our own is in the middle of her own personal hell – an extremely (and we can’t emphasize extremely enough) limited diet to identify food allergies and sensitivities. We won’t give you all the details, because, well, they’re kinda gross. But here’s a little peek at what happens when you take someone who loves food (and writes about it daily) and take away dairy, grains, gluten, soy, sugar, tomatoes, eggplant, spices, tropical fruit, eggs, shellfish, beans, alcohol (and some other stuff she can’t even remember right now because she’s carb-deprived) for 6 weeks. Spoiler alert: it’s not pretty. (My dog/kitchen helper is awfully cute, though.)
You may notice from that list above that my food choices mostly include meat and green vegetables. So, that’s I’ve been cooking…a lot of. My local Farmer’s Market has become my new best friend. I can get pretty much all my produce there and save the major investment for meat from Whole Foods (and I do mean ‘major investment’). Working long-ish days means I usually have to do all my cooking on the weekend and then reheat leftovers throughout the week. Here’s one such weekend.
So I start by soaking all the green stuff in a vinegar mixture to kill any yucky stuff like E. Coli and agitate everything around to get off the dirt/bugs/other things I don’t want to think about. We’ve got kale, brussels sprouts and some broccoli in there. Fiber, much? Not pictured is all the bacon I cooked while my veggies were in the bath. Now, I don’t normally condone cooking things in bacon fat (despite my solidly Southern roots), but desperate times call for desperate measures. Spoiler alert: that kale is getting cooked in all the bacon pan drippings. Believe it.
Here it is, freshly washed and dried and piled in the dutch oven. With the added bacon-y deliciousness in there, all I add is a little garlic and a sprinkle of pepper. Stir it all together and then let it wilt down to a texture you don’t have to chew for about 3 days (you know what I’m talking about). I keep the kale leaves moving so they all get a nice even coating and don’t burn. Try this. You can thank me later.
While that’s working, I gather and prep all the fixin’s for my chicken. The stuff in the bowl (sage, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper, and olive oil) go on top of the bird. Everything else goes inside. Yes, I feel a little strange taking advantage of a chicken with aromatics. After you taste the finished product, it’ll feel less wrong. A couple garlic cloves, about 1/4 – 1/2 of a sweet onion (depending on the size), some citrus (lemon or lime), and a little bonus basil gets tucked inside, and the oil and herbs get rubbed into the skin. Like so.
(Note: I hate fussing with twine nonsense, so I just cut a small slit through the skin to tuck the legs in and keep them from getting too dry.) Pop that bird in a 425 oven for around an hour ’til it’s lovely, golden and ready to be devoured.
While the oven is occupied, I’ll put the crock pot to use, too. Chop up some onion, more herbs, pour in some chicken stock (for moisture) and top with pork chops, salt, pepper, dry mustard and anything else that would go well. (If I was allowed, there would also be some cumin and maybe a little chipotle in there.) Set that sucker on low for about 8 hours.
Not pictured: the broccoli and Brussels sprouts I roasted with garlic, rosemary-infused olive oil and onion. Also not pictured: the parmesan cheese I would’ve really liked to sprinkle on top of both those vegetables….if I could.
So there you have it, friends. If you’re free to eat whatever your heart desires, have some cheese for me. I’ll be eating my bazillionth salad and sweating meat until this madness ends.
Many of you avid Starbucks fans may have noticed the change in the pastry display at your favorite neighborhood coffee chain. Where are your maple cranberry orange scones? What about the marshmallow dream bars? Gone are the dull baggies used to carry your breakfast, and in are unfamiliar pink paper pockets that oddly complement the famous (if slightly odd) mermaid logo. Everything’s changing. I’m confused. Hold me, Starbucks.
The coffee company has recently partnered with La Boulange – a delightful landmark of a French bakery and café in San Francisco – to bring about a new era of offering fine pastries along with your daily hit of caffeine that keeps you functional and happy. Native Frenchman and founder of the bay area bakery, Pascal Rigo, has been whipping up baked goods for most of his life and is finally expanding his puffy little delicacies across the country. When we heard the news that the partnership was happening and La Boulange’s incredible pastries would be making their debut at our local Starbucks, we knew we had to pick some up to try. It was a good life decision.
Here’s what we daintily sampled with grace and dignity (and definitely did not gluttonously shove into our faces): raspberry passion fruit loaf cake, blueberry yogurt muffin with honey, carrot cake muffin with pecans, ham and cheese croissant, and tomato and cheese croissant. (The chocolate croissant didn’t make an appearance here because they are apparently in such high demand that seeing one is akin to crossing paths with a sasquatch…though hopefully more tasty.)
Not only were the muffins moist and the croissants perfectly flakey, but the flavors were well balanced – no cheap knockoffs here. As someone whose morning tastes skew towards the savory over the sweet, the ham and cheese croissant was the clear winner, mostly because the tomato and cheese reminded me too much of pizza. Unless you’re into that sort of thing. For diehard fans of La Boulange, it’s hard to compare to the just-out-of-the-oven freshness and mind-blowing variety of the real thing, but Starbucks has won a huge victory for their food reputation with these new additions. Our only negative was the bit of despair when you realize a few crumbs on your greedy little fingers are all that’s left of your pastry.
Crenshaw Boulevard, Skid Row, South Vermont: these are places we Angelenos associate with the term “street.” Night + Market’s location on Sunset? Perhaps slightly “street” when Little Wayne is performing down the strip at the Roxy, but even then… not exactly. While the address of the restaurant is somewhat contradictory to its street food concept, I’ll let it slide—Night + Market’s flavors are better fitting for a Thai palace than our pot-holed LA roads anyway.
Step into Night + Market and you get a sense of authenticity right off the bat. With walls full of a mishmash of framed artwork, Thai album covers, sporadic neon signs and a Buddhist homage to one’s ancestors, one could easily forget they’re in West Hollywood. Well, if they didn’t notice the communal tables. Or the ever-so popular Mason jar glasses. Oh, or the mixologist-approved drink list. And once you notice the list, trust me when I say, the Mekong Old-Fashioned with a splash of lychee juice makes the perfect aperitif. In terms of flavor, this is just the beginning…
After a single sip of that drink, I put myself in Chef Kris Yenbamroong’s hands. So when it said the papaya salad “should be enjoyed with sticky or coconut rice” on the menu, I had to oblige. The curried crab and crab fried rice, I swear was made with ingredients straight from Krabi. And the pad thai? Had the perfect amount of spice and tasted like the Thai noodle we all know and love, yet was somehow better than any other—could the dried shrimp have made it that good? Foolishly stuffing myself with their generous portions, I saved no room for dessert, but I have no doubt that the ice cream sandwich would have been mind blowing. Because hell, even the beef grapow sounded mind blowing and I don’t even eat meat.
I can’t quite put my tongue on it, but Night + Market really is the freshest tasting, most flavorful, yet authentically done Thai food sans MSG I’ve ever had… well, ever. But be warned: mentally prepare to wait a bit, as everything takes a bit longer than you’d expect. And the bill you’ll receive in the end is much, much greater than any you’ve paid in Thaitown. Your belly will un-regretfully know exactly why.
I know it’s been a rough week when I start planning what I’ll be baking over the weekend on Friday night. It was one of those weeks. Therapy baking ensued.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s get to the cheesy baked goodness.
As an avid reader of Shutterbean, I owe Tracy a thank you for providing me with lots of new recipes to try, this one included. So here it is:
makes 2 5 x 9 loaves
recipe slightly adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened
- 5 ounces sharp orange cheddar, coarsely shredded
- 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees . Grease two 5-by-9-inch loaf pans. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda. Using your fingers, mix 2 tbsp. butter into the flour mixture until well incorporated (it should look like sand). Add the cheese; toss to coat. Add the buttermilk and stir until the dough just comes together. Divide between the pans; smooth the tops.
Cut a shallow cross all the way across the tops of the loaves. Thinly slice the remaining 1 tbsp. butter. Place the butter in the cuts in each loaf. Bake until the top is browned and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan at least 30 minutes before slicing.
I definitely did not wait the prescribed cooling period before slicing. How can any normal human being resist not one but TWO pans of warm, melty, buttery, fresh-out-of-the-oven-y cheese bread?! They can’t. Or at least I couldn’t. And it was just as dreamy as I had hoped.
Curious how the process looks? Oh, good. Because there are photos to share.
Shred up your cheese. Sneak a few bites. Get your dry ingredients whisked, mix in the cheese, and bring the wet ingredients to the party.
Stir it up until all the liquid is incorporated. It’s gonna be messy. Divide the dough in half and plop it into 2 greased baking dishes.
Now it gets really diabolical. Slash a little cross into the tops and shove some butter in there. Trust me.
Once it comes out of the oven, all golden and buttery and delicious, I dare you to try to wait long enough for it to cool down before you begin shoving pieces in your mouth like an animal.
Can you believe it? The man behind 23 turns 5-0 this Sunday, February 17th. Obviously the occasion needed to be celebrated. And clearly no small gathering was going to cut it.
Michael Jordan’s Steak House is celebrating this milestone event with a five-course wine dinner in Chicago, New York, and Connecticut. Each course features Terlato wines (including some of Michael’s favorites), expertly paired with featured dishes crafted by chefs in MJ’s restaurants (you can see a sample above). The meal follows the course of Jordan’s career, from high school, through his record-shattering basketball career, and to present day as a majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats.
We’re proud to have had a hand in the design celebrating the first 50 years of Michael Jordan and wish him nothing but continued success for the next 50.
If you’re near a Michael Jordan’s Steak House this Sunday, make reservations soon to enjoy this special wine dinner & charity auction. But because he’s just that kind of guy, each table dining that night will receive a complimentary slice of 23 layer cake to celebrate.
Leisure activities can be so inefficient. You gotta go to dinner. THEN the movie (or the other way around if you’re into matinees) and there’s still cocktails afterwards. It’s such a time suck. Thankfully, AMC has found a way to maximize your free time by stacking the meal, the drinks and the entertainment all in one reclining lounge chair of indulgence.
Here’s the skinny: it’s 21+ only, so no poorly behaved children & teenagers (and the poorly behaved adults have no excuse). Seats are assigned, so no line-standing. There’s a full bar in the lobby if you’ve got time to kill, or you can order anything from the bar in the theater (if you’ve had a rough day or really hate your movie). You’ll be seated in an impressively comfy recliner with a swivel tray and a server will stop by to give you instructions and/or take your order. If you want to wait ’til the film gets underway, there’s a call button to push and your server will pop up out of the shadows. We ordered a lobster flatbread and were pleasantly surprised by how good it was. The prices are a little inflated across the board, but it’s hard to argue with on-demand service in the middle of a movie.
Overall, I’d recommend checking it out because I’m not a big movie-goer, but I’d be a much more willing participant with good food and drinks to help pass the time.
See for yourself:
AMC Loews Marina 6
13455 Maxella Ave Ste 270
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
Obviously, we love food. We also love lending our talents to worthy causes. Luckily, we got to combine the two for the local do-gooders at Los Angeles Food Bank. For forty years, the LA Food Bank has provided food, support, and hope to needy individuals and families in the Los Angeles area. So we jumped at the chance to have the honor of designing their 40th anniversary logo.
Just last year, the food bank distributed 60 million pounds of food to over 1 million individuals throughout Los Angeles County, with the help of more than 31,000 volunteers. To learn more about what they do, how to help, or to donate, please visit their website: http://www.lafoodbank.org.
Andrew’s Cheese Shop in Santa Monica is a veritable wonderland for the cheese-obsessed (like Andrew Steiner himself), but a minefield of nightmares for the lactose-intolerant. Thankfully, we fall into the former category. Or at least we’re wannabe cheese-obsessed. We’ve had cheese. We enjoy cheese. So we went to the Cheese Man to delve deeper into dairy. The consensus? That place stinks! In the best way possible.
If you’d like to tag along on this little cheese adventure, read on. Vegans, avert your eyes. This is about to get real.
With a solid four years of press surrounding his successful shop, Andrew’s back story is pretty well known. Back when he was a server at Patina, it all started with a cart, a bunch of books and strong feelings for cheese. Innumerable wheels later, Andrew was named Maitre d’Fromage (Cheese Man for us laypeople), and the rest is history.
Being decidedly on the ‘novice’ side when it comes to cheese, we had some questions for Andrew. And if you’ve got holiday plans that call for fancy cheese, we even have some of his seasonal recommendations and tasting notes below.
When people come in and don’t know anything about cheese, where do you start? What’s a good entry-level cheese?
Well, usually I ask what they like, and most of the time the answer is, “I don’t know,” or they lead off with, “I really don’t like…” which is fine. I mean, it’s funny how many people think they do or don’t like something, but they don’t actually know. So if I’m really starting off with no information, I’ll have them try a mild cheese first, something rich and buttery, because those tend to be crowd-pleasers. It’s fun to get someone excited about something new or different. But it’s important to remember that the whole point is to enjoy what you’re eating. So when people come in and just ask for what my favorites are, I really encourage them to go through some samples. My taste could be totally different from their taste. You try some and find what you like. And then pair it with what appeals to you. It’s really pretty simple.
What about the other side of the coin? How do you deal with the folks who think they know it all?
They’re a little trickier. I’ve had people come in and tell me about some great cheese they had in France and they’re so sad when I tell them they can get that cheese at Von’s. Or someone will come in raving about a cheese and I’ll order a sample to try it, because I love it when I can learn something new. But it comes in and I’ll taste and it’s just terrible. Then these people will call me or come back in asking, “Hey, what did you think of the cheese?” or “So when are you going to start selling it?” and I have to tell them no. ‘No, I did not enjoy that,’ which is really the key factor.
Then what does it take to get you excited about stocking a new cheese? And how often does that happen these days?
There’s definitely a lot of tasting involved – I get samples all the time. I’d say that as far as being surprised by a cheese, it comes down to complexity of flavors and the length – how long it stays with you. And I only find a new great one maybe once or twice a month, so it’s pretty rare. There was a cheese recently that I tried and wasn’t blown away at first, but the flavor just extended and the more it lingered, the more I liked it. I had read a review that really ripped it, and that really sucked, because I don’t think the reviewer knew what he was talking about. But that was a good one. I wrote them a letter saying I disagreed with the review. (laughs)
This is probably like asking you to choose a favorite child, but if you had to pick your favorite cheese-producing animal, is it cow, goat, or sheep?
It’s funny you ask about the favorite child because like parents would probably tell you, it depends on the day. (laughs) But if I really had to choose, I’d probably say sheep. Their milk is higher in protein and fat, so you can really pack a lot of flavor in there. Even more specifically I’d say a certain breed called Lacaune. Their milk is used for Roquefort cheese. It’s really phenomenal.
This time of year tends to involve a lot of hostess gifts and finger food for parties. What are your seasonal recommendations?
This first one is a work of art. It’s a Grevenbroecker from Belgium. It’s really stunning on a platter. It’s made differently than a typical blue cheese, so it develops all these “fingers” going all the way through the cheese. It’s really rich, with some sweetness and a peppery zing. It’s a wonderfully complex treat, but also really accessible for everyone. Definitely one of my top picks.
This next one is Brin d’Amour, from Corsica. It’s a sheep’s milk cheese covered in rosemary, savory, juniper berries and chili peppers. Obviously, it’s really herbaceous, but also a little sour. It’s rich enough so all those herbs really complement the flavor instead of being overpowered by it. As far as wine goes, it’s made to go with big reds, but I prefer a grassy Sauvignon Blanc for a pairing.
Oh man, this Vacherin Mont d’Or is one of the finest achievements of human civilization. It’s made from raw milk way up in the Swiss Alps. It’s this precious, high-altitude winter milk, and they wrap it in the bark of a spruce tree. The flavor is just incredible – scrambled eggs, butter, and wood. So, so good.
Thanks, Andrew for your time and cheese-pertise (exper-cheese? …too much?) After all this cheese talk (and sampling, we’re not gonna lie), we couldn’t walk out without some treats. We picked up 3 cheeses to snack on back at the office and some awesome hard-to-find beers to pair with them. And we got one of these bags to cart our loot off in.
If you get a chance to swing by Andrew’s Cheese Shop in Santa Monica, we strongly suggest you stop in. Just don’t let the smell stop you.
Andrew’s Cheese Shop
Monday – Friday
11:00 AM-7:00 PM
Saturday 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Sunday 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
The long-awaited Georgetown Cupcake found its way to the West Coast. And to make its presence known, they brought rainy weather with them to make Saturday’s grand opening a little more DC-esque. As much as we’d like to say we waited in the two hour line for a free cupcake and to meet the lovely ladies behind the baking tins, we opted to fork out the $2.75 per frosted treat the day after instead. Some of us Angelenos just aren’t cut out for this rain thing.
Despite LA’s cupcake overload, we wanted to check out Georgetown Cupcake to see if we’d miraculously be wowed. Our friends over at Ralph Gentile Architects (hi, guys!) designed the space, a lovely homage to its East Coast roots. The marble, columns and moldings are all classic and clean — unlike the table after eating our goodies, but we wouldn’t call the experience at all crummy. At the first bite, I was wowed! The inch of maple-infused cream cheese frosting was sweet and fluffy and the moist pumpkin cake had just the perfect amount of spice. While the frosting appeared overwhelming at first, I savored every bit of it with its cakey counterpart and was even saddened a little with each fallen crumb on my napkin.
While I don’t have any plans of becoming a cupcake connoisseur in the near future, I now understand a little more about the love of the cupcake. With that being said, I’d like to welcome Georgetown to LA with open arms. (And an open mouth. We’ll gladly accept deliveries.)
If Industriel were really a farm, the farmers would be decked out in Yves Saint Laurent overalls and the chickens would eat truffle-infused feed by hand. Just when I thought I was over the industrial chic restaurants popping up all over Los Angeles, this “Urban Farm” is a refreshing reminder as to how it’s done well. With eye-catching details in every direction and bold artwork anywhere you turn, it’s safe to say the space is equally as fresh as the food.
I found Industriel via Eater before heading downtown to run some errands. En route to FedEx? Check. Good reviews on Yelp? Check. “Local”, “specialty” and “house crafted,” in the menu? Check, check aaand check. Although, I won’t lie—it didn’t take much convincing past the food and interior shots on their website. Industriel was definitely on my Sunday’s list of to-do’s.
And there was nothing chore-like about it. From the enormous farmers’ portraits at the entrance to the honey bear chandelier hanging above a claw-foot tub, your eyes are guaranteed to be stimulated the second you walk in. As will your tongue. Start off with the daily bread. No, it isn’t complimentary, but the focaccia and (what I assume is) house-made butter and olive oil is well worth the $3. If you’re feeling really wild, investing another $3 on Castelvetrano olives is also highly suggested.
For my entrée, I wasn’t feeling particularly adventurous, but the exotic dishes like the rabbit and shiitake pelmeni, cider-brined pork loin and foie gras trio sparked curiosity on even my pescetarian palate. Staying on the “safe side,” I opted for the spring squash risotto, which was served in a dramatic, over-sized dish with a beautiful presentation. And yes, the burrata-stuffed squash blossom tasted as good as it sounds.
If you’re in the mood for some fancy farming, throw on your designer flannel and head to Industriel. Oh, and don’t forget to put “pick up their house-made goodies” on your list.
If you haven’t been by Diablo Tacos, billed as “urban taco fabricator and crafter of fine micheladas”, you’re missing out on a relative newcomer that’s making quite the impression at the crossroads of Silverlake and Echo Park. They serve a selection of six signature tacos and two seasonal tacos daily for lunch and dinner. And don’t think for a second that “signature” is code for “expected”. They range from things like butter roasted Maine lobster with key lime crema, and refried brioche to braised pork belly with caramelized banana and Thai peanut relish to maple fried chicken, with purple kale and Red Rooster vinaigrette. Hungry yet?
We chatted with Summer Stearns of Diablo Tacos about how she’s (along with executive chef Angel Flores) dealing with the haters, surprising the industry, and generally living the American dream. Turns out, the whole thing is far from sinister. In fact, aside from Diablo’s maddeningly addictive twist on the Michelada, we found the place to be downright heavenly.
How did you get into this business and how did it prepare or inspire you to open Diablo Taco?
Well, I started bartending back in college and that’s when I really fell in love with hospitality and all the challenges and logistics that go along with serving people. I was lucky enough to wonderful, passionate mentors at both Patina and Gordon Ramsay, who really challenged me to be the best. After having those experiences, the next logical step seemed to be opening my own restaurant. Working for yourself is the dream, right? So that’s really how it all started.
Ok, so why the taco? Here in LA, taco places are literally everywhere.
We’re native Angelenos! To us, the taco is like a sandwich. It’s casual, it’s comfortable. We were initially attracted to the idea of small plates, but that concept is less accessible to some people. So we spun it. It’s the unique flavors and combinations of small plates, but more approachable. And portable!
Were you met with resistance initially?
Definitely. On the internet, it’s so easy to be negative. We felt some backlash against the idea of “another taco joint”, but we really believed in what we were doing and believed other people would, too. And so far, they have.
How about the hurdles you face as a female restaurateur? How has it been to start out a young entrepreneur in the business as a woman?
You know, it is what it is. There are a lot more men in the industry. And I still get people asking to speak to my supervisor, just because they don’t believe I’m the one in charge. So there are definitely obstacles. It’s a man’s world, but I’ve got big plans, and I’m tough enough and resilient enough to do it. So I just keep plowing through.
That really seems to be going well for you! Tell us how these crazy popsicle Micheladas came to be.
It’s kind of a funny story. I was walking around the flea market at the Rose Bowl in July with friends – it was over 100 degrees and we were dying. I just blurted out that I could really go for a Bloody Mary popsicle, and that was it. Plus, I’m a big beer fan. Putting the two together in a twist on the Michelada just made perfect sense. That’s why we also feature a lot of local and craft beers – I mean, tacos and beer, how can you go wrong? Then we went even further and created another version with Japanese yuzu fruit and fresh lime juice paired with a cherry cider, plus our seasonal option. Right now it’s a blood-orange pop paired with Hefeweizen.
So with all the unique flavors, what’s your go-to meal at Diablo?
You mean, besides the micheladas I just spent 5 minutes talking about? Definitely the maple fried chicken taco and grilled sweet corn. That taco is one of our best sellers and it’s so good. Plus, the corn has this great mix of cheese and creamy citrus and truffle oil. It’s the best.
To check out the menu, see hours, get connected to their social media, or plan a party at Diablo (can we come?), check out their website here.
Did you miss out on Oktoberfest? Did it only whet your proverbial whistle for delicious, seasonal craft(ish) beer? We’re here to fully convert you with some personal favorites to carry you through fall and winter with a delightful beer buzz.
First, a real Oktoberfest. So real, in fact, it’s one of the few beers allowed in the REAL Oktoberfest in Munich. Though Paulaner produces a solid range of beers, this one takes the medal. It’s nutty and not overpowering, with a slight caramel aroma. It’s a great choice for just about any occasion, but the beginning of fall seems as good as any to enjoy some.
This is a year-round favorite for me, though I understand that many beer drinkers have a hard time hitting the serious darks in any season that involves short sleeves. Rich and roasty, it’s full of chocolate and coffee flavors with just the right amount of bitterness. And yes, it’s a big beer. Don’t take the “Black Ale” lightly. But it’s the perfect brew to curl up next to the fire with, or pair with a hearty meal to make the most of the bold flavors. It’ll warm you right up.
Sierra Nevada is a solid go-to brewery for hoppy, drinkable beers. Now, hoppy is not usually what I’m looking for (if the rest of this list was any indication), but this fall seasonal brew is nicely balanced with roasted flavors and a nice depth that conjures all sorts of warm and fuzzy fall flavors. Smooth and malty, this seems like a perfect match for tailgating, visiting a pumpkin patch, or taking a break from raking leaves.
I know what you’re thinking – Sam Adams can hardly be considered a craft beer. And you’re right, but this little pumpkin gem deserves some love, and nothing screams fall like putting pumpkin in your beer. And while Sam is far from an artisanal brewer, pumpkin beer is a uniquely American invention, and (I feel) should be celebrated as such by an iconic American (and I mean that in a good way) brewery. Go get your spice on, courtesy of Boston.
When it comes to craft beer, it may not get any craftier than Dogfish Head. Known as being highly experimental (and highly successful), this brewery consistently produces unique and delicious beers. This particular brew is no different. An homage to the 40th anniversary of the Miles Davis album by the same name, this beer fuses 3 key flavors to create something altogether different (much like Miles did). Find out more of the story, direct from Dogfish Head here. Or just go pick some up and enjoy a hearty and truly special seasonal treat.
What? You didn’t know it was our new website launch day? Were you also blissfully unaware that last week was National Fig Week? Or that November 7 is National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day? (I wish I was making this up.)
At any rate, we would be thrilled if you’d celebrate with us. Just cruise on over to www.sixdegreesla.com and enjoy. If you’re feeling extra jubilant, you could do so while enjoying a lovely glass of champagne or a piece of cake or something, but no pressure.
And don’t forget to tell your friends. Everyone loves a totally obscure Day. Especially if it involves bubbly drinks.
This recurring column will feature chefs, farmers, food writers, caterers, sommeliers, cheese mongers, and all manner of food-obsessed characters sharing what they know, love, and do best. Check back regularly for recipes, behind-the-scenes looks at events, tips and a growing community for those driven by taste.
We’re hungry to bring the colorful, the flavorful, and the irrepressible food enthusiasts together for an unprecedented interactive digital neighborhood of sharing. Determined to discover the cutting edge, the underground, and the fringe of the next big thing in food, we are on a quest to bring it all to you with this OFF MENU experience.
In a city endlessly obsessed with what’s new and trendy, The Little Door on West 3rd St. continues to happily defy that notion as it approaches its 16th anniversary. We sat down with Chef Nicolas to hear his take on success, seasonality, and what makes his toes wiggle.
Coming up on 16 years, that’s an impressive milestone in LA. How has The Little Door evolved?
Well, we started out mostly Provençal, with a very small menu and there was no sign, no advertising. The first wave of customers were mostly industry people. And I was looking for great dishes to add to the menu, so it changed frequently! Slowly we became more Mediterranean with Moroccan influences, as it is today. The Little Next Door came after about 10 years, serving all day long – breakfast through dinner, full catering menu, plus all the homemade jams and sauces, baskets, etc. And we only added liquor this summer at The Little Door. That brought in a whole new clientele.
How often does the menu change now?
About every month. I love working with seasons because it gives you a very distinct sense of time and place. I’m at the farmer’s markets twice a week, looking over everything, picking and choosing what I want to work with. We’ve got a core group of farmers we buy from, but it still comes down to the highest quality ingredients. Personally, one of my favorite things to eat is an amazing piece of fruit, perfectly ripe or a fresh vegetable. All the flavor is there.
What are your go-to dishes to cook for yourself or your family?
I love comfort food, food that makes sense. Lately, it seems like everyone wants to reinvent the wheel in food all the time. You don’t need something fancy, just the food that makes your toes wiggle. Something like a great grilled fish and in-season vegetables and rice or potatoes. It’s homey, it’s spontaneous – you open the refrigerator and see what can be created from what you have.
How does that approach to food in general influence The Little Door?
You know, I’m old school. I believe that consistency is the key. I believe in serving great food that makes you feel good after you’ve eaten it. It’s very straightforward. Here, most of my kitchen staff has been here for over 14 years. I think if you keep people happy at work, they become family. And it’s the consistency that holds everything together. At The Little Door, what you see is what you get. I’m just being myself, and I’m not here to impress, I just like keeping a low profile. Look, I don’t have any tattoos like so many chefs now! This is what I love, and I’m so happy we stay busy with people who love it, too.
Now that we’re finally getting into some fall weather, what ingredients are you excited to work with this season?
It’s funny, years ago no one did anything with figs. I could go to the markets and be the only one buying them. Now, figs are everywhere! So I really like quince. Growing up in the south of France, we had a tree in our backyard. You can use them for the fragrance, in closets and around the house because they have a very strong perfume. But they’re not great to eat raw until they’re very ripe, so people don’t mess with them much. I love to cook quince down for jams and jellies or for tarts or a salad. It’s interesting, the fruit is yellow, but once you cook it for a while, it turns this bright red. It’s great for autumn – a wonderful unique flavor.
Speaking of quince, Chef Nicolas also gave us this recipe for a great fall salad, starring the intriguing little fruit.
To poached the quinces:
- 2 quinces peeled, cored and quartered
- 1 ounce of lemon juice
- 2 rind of lemon
- 2 ounces of honey
In a sauce pan, poache the quinces with the lemond, rind, honey and enough water to cover.
Cook until the quinces are cooked but still a little firm.
Set aside to cool.
For the vinaigrette:
In a stainless bowl, whisk together:
- 1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon of mustard (dijon)
- ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
- Salt, white pepper and cayenne to taste
- Drain and wedge the quartered quinces in three pieces each
- 5 slices of prosciutto, cut crosswise in ribbons
- 16 slices onetik cheese with vegetable peeler (1″ x 2″)
- 3 bunches of wild arugula, washed
- ½ cup fresh pomegranate
- ¼ cup of roughly chopped marcona almonds
- 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons of fine diced shallots
In a serving bowl mix all ingredients together, add the dressing to coat to your liking.
What do you do when you’re craving fall, possess an urgent desire to bake, and hungry coworkers are freely dropping hints about their favorite cookie? Obviously, you make pumpkin snickerdoodles. Or maybe that’s just me.
The fact that the weather here in LA is still arguably too warm to be considered autumn and the thought of turning on an oven for a half hour gives you anxiety (and actual) sweats is a minor consideration. There were cookies to be baked!
(Full disclosure: I made the recipe straight from Annie’s Eats for the first batch, but I found they were missing a little something, so I made a fresh batch with the following recipe.)
Pumpkin Snickerdoodles (adapted from Annie’s Eats)
Yield: about 3-4 dozen cookies
For the cookies:
- 3¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree
- 1 large egg
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
For the coating:
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk to blend and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and both sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Blend in the pumpkin puree. Beat in the egg and vanilla until incorporated. With the mixer on low speed add in the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Cover and chill the dough for at least 1 hour (I did it overnight, and it really helped the rolling and sugar/spice coating.)
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine the sugar and spices for the coating in a bowl and mix to blend. Scoop the dough (about 2 tablespoons) and roll into a ball. Coat the dough ball in the sugar-spice mixture and place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough to fill the sheets, spacing the dough balls 2-3 inches apart. Using your fingers, flatten down the tops of your dough balls a little to make small discs. These cookies are definitely on the cake-y side, so they won’t spread much.
Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until just set and baked through. Let cool on the baking sheets about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough. Store in an airtight container. Or devour immediately. Whichever appeals to you most.
If you’re looking for a chic brunch spot, desserts to blow your sweet tooth’s mind, or an interesting cocktail, we’ve got a place that covers all three bases—and we can understand why it’s the talk of the towne.
I found Towne on a Sunday when in search of a new downtown restaurant to impress a couple girlfriends visiting from San Francisco. I’ll admit, I was a little skeptical making reservations fearing Towne would lack some LA edge, but after walking into the elegantly modern space with a friendly, attentive staff, my doubts were left by the mints and business cards at the hostess stand. In retrospect, it was silly to expect anything less than memorable from the owner of Mi Piace in Pasadena and Bottega Louie’s former pastry chef.
And everything was memorable, indeed. The salt and pepper shakers that made us giggle. The service. The Phil Collin’s inspired drink list. The fresh burrata and squash blossoms on my scramble. The dramatic pour of the strawberry consommé on the Nutella French Toast at our table. Even the French pressed, after-brunch coffees and lattes left a lasting impression. Oh, and the original banana and red velvet twinkies—we wouldn’t dare forget about those!
In the end, we were completely satisfied with our trip to Towne. We were wow’ed by each bite and we savored every sip… it all tasted as good as it looked! If I had to come up with a complaint, it would be not saving enough room to try a PB&J macaron, but there’s always next time.
The Ecology Center is San Juan Capistrano has a mission to teach mindfulness in order to preserve, sustain, and transform our global community. They also host a delicious benefit called Green Feast, and we love activism you can eat.
Billed as an annual dinner celebrating connection to local food, Green Feast just wrapped its fourth event. Teamed up with Southern California chefs, farmers, fishermen, ranchers and winemakers, the event became a destination for nature-lovers and food-lovers alike.
Over 200 hungry and environmentally-conscious folks participated in the four-course family-style smorgasbord. The event began with the Eco App Off, a competition pitting 12 reknown chefs against each other in a diner-determined battle for the best appetizer.
Then everyone settled around 200-foot long communal tables for the rich, responsible, and delicious main event, featuring the fare of five notable local chefs. Lit by twinkling lights and flickering candles on a lush expanse of an eco-conscious landscape, we say that there’s no shortage of south and romance in the sustainable food movement.
And if you don’t believe in the magic of farm-to-table dining, mark your calendars for next year’s Green Feast.
Oh, him? That’s just Wolfgang Puck. Mega-chef. And one of our clients. No big deal.
Seriously, though, we love collaborating with the Wolfgang Puck team. And how could we not when it gives us the privilege of creating such lovely work? We wanted to create simple pieces that capture the sophistication of Wolfgang Puck’s design with the energy and motion found in his airport cafés. Next time you’re traveling, stop in at a WP concept and enjoy.
Don’t get us wrong, we love a great cocktail. But is there any better liquor than tequila when it comes to really getting people into the partying spirit? Add to that the summer heat and the immensely snackable nature of chips and salsa and our dear friend tequila reigns supreme. So, in advance of National Tequila Day tomorrow, we thought we’d share some yummy cocktail recipes to get everyone excited. At least until tomorrow, then it’s up to the tequila to keep you excited.
The Paloma Cooler recipe comes from the undisputed queen of entertaining herself, Ms. Martha Stewart.
- 1 lime wedge, for garnish
- Coarse salt, for rim
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 1 ounce platinum tequila
- 1 bottle Mexican grapefruit soda
- Rub rim of a highball glass with lime wedge; invert glass in a small dish of coarse salt, twisting to coat rim. Fill glass halfway with ice, 1 teaspoon lime juice, and 1 ounce platinum tequila, then top with Mexican grapefruit soda. Stir. Place cored-out lime half in drink and fill with tequila (try a reposado for added flavor).
See the original post here.
This next one was created by Bobby Flay, proving that the man not only knows his way around a grill, but also behind a bar. Here’s the Watermelon Plata Tequila Cocktail.
- 6 cups seedless watermelon chunks
- 1/4 cup simple syrup*
- 2 limes, cut into chunks
- 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
- 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
- 1 cup plata (silver) tequila
- Crushed ice
Puree the watermelon in a food processor until smooth. Strain the juice into a bowl pressing on the pulp, then discard the solids.
Put the simple syrup, lime chunks, berries and mint in a pitcher and muddle until the berries are slightly crushed. Add the tequila and watermelon juice and stir to combine. Refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour. Serve over crushed ice, garnished with mint sprigs.
*Put a 1/2 cup of water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Whisk in the sugar and cook until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let cool.
See the original post here.
And finally the Tropical Fizz, courtesy of Rachael Ray.
Makes 10 servings.
- 32 ounces pineapple juice, chilled
- 12 ounces silver tequila, chilled
- 1 club soda
- Fresh pineapple chunks, for garnish
- In a large pitcher, combine the pineapple juice and tequila.
- Pour the pineapple mixture into rocks glasses filled with ice. Top with a splash of club soda and the pineapple chunks.
See the original post here.
Here’s to a festive National Tequila Day. Cheers!