wine

Los Angeles Magazine’s The Food Event 2013

by Franklin on October 31, 2013

On Sunday, October 20, The Food Event took place at Saddlerock Ranch in the Malibu Hills. The weather was perfect, a bit hot, but not enough to keep away all the hungry and thirsty Angelinos. Entering the winding vineyard, I was accompanied with llamas, zebras, horses, ostriches, and peacocks. With all these exotic animals on this secluded property, the event was intimate.

It was great checking out the chef demonstrations. My favorite was Chef David Lefevre’s demo. He deconstructed fresh sea urchin and a whole dungeness crab. Surely, Fishing with Dynamite showcases some of the freshes seafood in Los Los Angeles. Chef Kris Morningstar of Ray and Stark’s grilled some awesome octopus. Sang Yoon of Father’s Office and Lukshon stuffed some baby squid. Everyone was fun to watch and learn little tricks here and there.

Interestingly, my first bite, and my favorite bite of the day was the burrata from Bucatto. It was so creamy and delicious! Not to say it was all downhill from there, all the chefs brought their best to the event. Some honorable mentions are Black Market Liquor Bar’s goulash and Bestia’s salad. Judges for the event chose Son of a Gun’s Hamachi crudo topped with galbi vinaigrette. When things started to die down and people started to leave, I ended things with The Ice Cream Lab’s amazing concoction. It was some of the best ice cream I ever had.

It was my first time going to a vineyard, and having LA Magazine’s The Food Event at Saddle Ranch was perfect. All of the food the chefs made was delicious. Basking in the sun of the Malibu Hills, drinking some of the best wines from California, and eating the best food Los Angeles has to offer isn’t a bad way to spend a Sunday. You can’t ask for more.

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The LA Wine Fest on June 8 & 9 was a pleasure to attend. Taking place at Hollywood’s Historic Raleigh Studios, the event venue was expansive and fun. Dr. Joel M. Fisher founded the LA Wine Fest in 2005. This marks the 8th Annual LA Wine Fest, serving over 500 wines and spirits. If unlimited wine wasn’t enough, the array of small food bites and vendors from anything you can think of made it worth while. A lot of vineyards and wine companies were pouring that day. Click here for an extensive list of what they were pouring. My favorite, and the star of the LA Wine Fest was the Venetian’s Carnavale exhibit. They had people in elaborate costumes and masks celebrating and promoting Carnevale in the Summer at the Venetian. They were giving out tasty macarons too! After a trip to the Lobsta Truck and having burgers and fries from Hot’s Kitchen, we were tipsy and stuffed.

My favorite part was watching Chang Sivilay of Asia de Cuba do a cooking demonstration. He cooked some amazing octopus, sea bass, and some of the largest shrimp I have ever seen. All of the dishes, of those that I could get my hands on were delicious and fresh from the kitchen. I was sad that I missed celebrity chef Eric Greenspan from The Foundary do a cooking demonstration. The cooking demonstration was a nice shade from the sun and a break from drinking. What’s a better break from drinking than eating?

It was a fun time in the sun. We went home with our wine glasses and Stella chalice. We opened up our goody bags and found awesome chocolates, snacks, cook books, and coupons galore. The whole event was awesome and I can’t wait to attend the Malibu event later this year.

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La Cave (Wynn) – Wine and Food Hideaway

by Franklin on May 3, 2013

The Wynn and Encore are some of my favorite properties in Las Vegas. Their elegant styling with classic and luxurious design cues all make for a perfect resort. Walking into SW Steakhouse with no reservation, I realized I was being too optimistic. Reservations is a must at SW — lesson learned. Scratching that idea, our dinner plans turned into something more casual but elegant at the same time. La Cave at the Wynn is a wine bar, tapas bar, and hideaway all in one. I don’t know what a food hideaway is exactly, but that’s what it is. Their classic tapas items paired with some interesting wine tastings made for an incredible dinner service. SW steakhouse surely wasn’t on the back of our minds.

We started thngs off with the La Cave Caesar salad. With the Romaine lettuce left whole, we cut into it like a steak. Wrapped in the most delectable, yet really salty prosciutto, I was all smiles. Mixed all together with their lemon anchovy dressing, the salad was a great ice breaker for our meal. The addition of fried anchovy made this Caesar salad a legit one.

Who orders soup at a restaurant, let alone, a tapas bar? This guy! Their onion soup really looked good with the puff pastry “poofed” up on top. With gruyere cheese mixed up all in the puff pastry, the dough had a great toasted cheese taste. The broth in it was rich and addicting. I just didn’t want it to end. Mixing the broth with the cheesy puff pastry made for a perfect bite.

It was time for wine! I opted to try the Spanish wine tasting selection. With four different kinds from specific regions, I was bound to find at least one that I like.

I find myself ordering bacon wrapped dates at every tapas joint I go to. The salty and sweet combo is done all the time and I like to try them all and compare. Most of the restaurants prepare them similarly, but they are never the same. At La Cave, the dates were huge. This meant really big sweet flavors. The bacon’s saltiness wasn’t enough to counter balance the sweet dates, so the help of blue cheese fondue did the trick.

Just as the bacon wrapped dates, every tapas needs to have good flatbread options. Their chicken flatbread was a good option. With Thai basil, chili sauce, and garlic aioli, the flatbread had lots of flavor. For what it was, the dough and crust was decent as well. Possibly, any of the classic flat breads on the menu would have been good as well.

I love a perfectly cooked shrimp, and theirs was just that. Mixed in with chopped piquillo peppers, fingerling potatoes, and roasted garlic, the flavors popped in your mouth. The piquillo peppers made this dish as it was all I could really taste. I think a better crust on the shrimp with the addition of extra salt would have perfected this dish nicely.

Not eating at SW Steakhouse meant we had to find our beef elsewhere. We found it in their beef filet. Siting on top of crostini with some blue cheese melted on top, this was a perfect filet. I felt the beef could have been cooked a little more on the rare. The slightly over cooked meat was forgiven with the 2 sauces that came with it. One was a thickened onion based sauce, and the other was a mushroom/truffle reduced cream sauce. Both were exceptional with this beef, but the white mushroom/truffle cream reduction was just heavenly. I shamelessly just lathered this stuff on each bite.

After seeing the bill, I realized I probably would have spent this much at SW. The only difference is, and it’s a big difference, I would have only eaten beef and some side item of starch. Granted, that beef would have been quite nice, and the bread and butter would have perfect, I had diversity. That is the beauty of tapas. Where other restaurants are all about doing one thing and doing it right, tapas is all about trying new things and repeating that over and over. La Cave was an awesome detour for dinner. The place was busy and the crowd was young and hip. It was dark in there though, hence the crappy pictures. I mean, it is a “hideaway” afterall.

La Cave on Urbanspoon

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If it weren’t for my most winnningest of prizes on the radio girlfriend, I would have been left to enjoy the LA Food & Wine festival only from pictures online. When I found out that we won tickets to the LAFW grand tasting on KOST 103.5, I was elated. We have been on a roll with food events in LA, with the whole Pancake Breakfast and all, going for free just makes the event that much more fun. Los Angeles Food and Wine is probably the biggest food event in this city. Having over 300 wines from 200 of the world’s most prestigious wineries, this event was one to remember.

Nearly 30 celebrity chefs showed off as they displayed their cooking skills and fed thousands. The event was held at the Event Deck at LA Live. Walking upstairs, I was so glad to see a huge tent with air conditioning inside. It was a hot day and having the event out in the sun would have been unpleasant. Walking around in this “bubble” was an amazing experience. Chefs from a lot of my favorite restaurants showcased their cuisine. My favorites were the John Cox’s (Post Ranch Inn) Wagyu beef, Celestino Drago and Jennifer Robles’ summer truffle topped ravioli — those were the top 3. Campanile’s bacon ice cream was also a treat. The whole event had the most amazing food, and the wine selection seemed endless. The 2nd annual Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival was a success, and I cannot wait until the one next year comes around.

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The night was a bit warm, but that didn’t stop the thousands from enojoying food and wine at LA Live’s Nokia Plaza. Upon events held on Friday, August 10, 2012, one was the Asian Night Market hosted by Andrew Zimmern. It brought tasted from Asian with a California twist. With 30 different chefts dishing out plates and with twice as many wineries, the event was filled with all the great food and wine you can have. It was good to see and meet Andrew Zimmern who was quite down to earth. A glimpse of Wolfgang Puck made the night! Other famous faces include Ming Tsai, Sam Choy, Roy Yamaguchi, and Duff Goldman. The event was amazing, with Staples Center on one side, Nokia Theatre on the other, Chick Hearn Court turned into an all things food and wine extravaganza. Check out the speech Zimmern made in the middle of the event. His view on food is amazing, and we all know that he tried it all. This was my first LA Food and Wine event and it was a blast. Seeing famous people in the food world, eating some of the best food LA has, and drinking some amazing wines was a great way to spend a Friday night.

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Second Annual Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival

by Franklin on August 9, 2012

Last years first ever LAFW was a suceess. Raising over $400,000 for Meals on Wheels last year, the food/charity event was a complete success. The second annual LAFW should be just the same. Running throughout all of Los Angeles — Downtown/LA Live, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, every corner is taken care of. From Celebrity chefs like Wolfgang Puck and TV hosts like Andrew Zimmern, the event is going to be glamorous. The event starts today, August 9 and runs all the way through Sunday, August 12. Sadly, I cannot make it to the opening night — The founder’s dinner alone is $2,000. No thanks. Fortunately, we will be there Friday and Sunday enjoying some of the best of Los Angeles, food and wine! Check back in the following week to check for the blog post. For tickets and event details, check out their website. www.lafw.com

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