Before flying home to Los Angeles, The Astronomer and I made one final stop in Brookline, Massachusetts for a behind the scenes look at America’s Test Kitchen. I have been a huge fan of the Test Kitchen’s cookbooks ever since I began feeding myself after college. As a nervous home cook with little experience, I trusted these rigorously tested recipes to hold my hand as I tackled everything from roasted beets to roasted turkey. Using recipes that guaranteed a delicious end product not only kept The Astronomer and me extremely well fed, but it also served to build up my culinary confidence.
To this day, the America’s Test Kitchen’s Family Cookbook remains my kitchen bible. It is the most beaten up, abused, dogeared, and stained tome in my vast collection, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Bright and early on the morning following Memorial Day, The Astronomer and I met up with the Test Kitchen’s Social Media Manager Steph Yiu for an informal tour. After years of using the Test Kitchen’s recipes, it was surreal to see exactly where the magic happens. Everything from editorial to photography to recipe development takes place in this unassuming walk up in suburban Boston. Even the PBS show is taped here.
From the reception area, Steph led us to the Test Kitchen’s library and tasting table. The first step in developing a “perfect” recipe is preparing various versions that have already been published. I spied a copy of Modernist Cuisine and wondered if molecular techniques would make their way into future recipes.
Since all photography for the cookbooks and magazines is completed in-house, a tremendous collection of props and “photo only” equipment line various shelves, nooks, and crannies throughout the building. I was excited to learn that one-hundred percent of their photos are taken using natural Bostonian light.
Continue reading ‘America’s Test Kitchen: Where the Magic Happens’
The Roy Choi Express made a special stop at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in downtown Los Angeles earlier this week for a sneak peek of Transmission LA: A/V Club, a 17-day festival featuring the work of 16 contemporary artists, musicians, designers, filmmakers, and chefs curated by Mike D of the Beastie Boys.
“A/V Club,” which is free to the public and runs from now until May 6, seeks to illustrate how audio and visual art forms complement and influence each other through concerts, performances, and installations. In addition to its audio and visual components, the exhibit also includes an edible element designed by Chef Roy Choi and the Kogi Team.
A rainbow splashed “mess hall” in the spirit of A-Frame has been built just for the event. I loved how the colorful tables had built-in troughs fit for various sauces and condiments. I can’t wait to see how this baby lights up at night.
The Kogi Truck will be dishing up its famous tacos, burritos, and quesadillas for dinner on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, as well as for lunch on Saturdays, throughout the exhibit’s run.
Additionally, Chef is going to dream up weekly specials based on what inspires him at the farmers market. As a nod to Mike D’s vegetarianism, the special will always be meat-free.
Continue reading ‘See | Hear | Taste | Transmission LA: A/V Club’
For our second evening in fabulous Las Vegas, The Astronomer and I attended a wine dinner in Bellagio‘s Tuscany Kitchen as part of the Epicurean Epicenter series. This event featured a parade of California pinot noirs from producers Pisoni, Siduri, and ROAR and a four-course menu designed by Sensi Executive Chef Royden Ellamar.
Jason Smith, master sommelier and Bellagio’s Director of Wine, not only selected the participating wineries and orchestrated the pairings, but he also served as our host this evening. Also on hand were all three winemakers. Each one was invited to speak at various points during the event to provide insights into the wine making and wine drinking process.
What made this event stand out from other wine dinners I’ve attended was the interactive live cooking component. Attendees were encouraged to ask Chef Ellamar questions about everything from ingredients to technique. The Astronomer was tempted to ask Chef why he was cooking with Malibu. I had to keep my tipsy guest in check.
Continue reading ‘Epicurean Epicenter at Bellagio Featuring Pinot Noirs from Pisoni, Siduri, & ROAR Wineries’
Pssst! Can you keep a secret? From now until March 31, Playa and Rivera are offering a special three-course menu as part of Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980, the hugely ambitious initiative that tells the story of the birth of the Los Angeles art scene.
“Art as an Appetizer,” a collaboration between chef John Sedlar, artist Ron Cooper, and mixologist Julian Cox, is a one-of-a-kind menu inspired by artworks featured in Pacific Standard Time.
The secret menu is available for $34 at Playa and at $44 at Rivera during dinner to customers who show proof of admission to any Pacific Standard Time engagement or ask for the “Pacific Standard Time Secret Menu.” I was able to test run the menu this past weekend at a media event held at Playa.
Master mixologist Julian Cox has designed three unique cocktails for this special affair. All cocktails are priced at $12. The “47 Chevy in Wilmington, CA,” a crisp, tart, and refreshing sip, is comprised of mezcal, agave nectar, St. Vincent Orgeat, passion fruit, fresh lemon, and lavender foam.
It was inspired by Oscar Castilloʼs “47 Chevy in Wilmington, CA” (1972), which is featured in “Icons of the Invisible: Oscar Castillo” at the Fowler Museum, UCLA.
Continue reading ‘Pacific Standard Timeʼs “Art As An Appetizer” (a.k.a. Secret Menu at Playa and Rivera)’
It used to be that citrus fruits were my favorite wintertime bounty, but that was before I tasted my first white truffle. Only available October through December and priced in the neighborhood of $300 an ounce, this precious tuber is the ultimate indulgence during the cooler months of the year.
I was recently invited to an incredible dinner at Valentino Ristorante featuring an abundance of white truffles. In celebration of Piero Selvaggio‘s 40 years of successful restauranteering in Los Angeles, the finest Italian white truffles were flown in for the event, as well as wines from Beni di Batasiolo, the world’s leading producer of Barolo. Needless to say, it was an enchanting evening of food and wine.
I was greeted by an army of glasses as I sat down at the table. Stefano Poggi, the export manager at Beni di Batasiolo, was on hand this evening to pair each of chefs Luicano Pellegrini and Nico Chessa’s creations with a handsome wine. The carefully marked placemats upon which the wines rested kept diners properly organized throughout the meal.
Continue reading ‘White Truffle Dinner at Valentino Ristorante – Los Angeles (Santa Monica)’