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’
The Astronomer and I didn’t plan on checking out any of Chef Rick Bayless‘ restaurants while in Chicago because we have plenty of amazing regional Mexican food here in Los Angeles (despite what Señor Bayless believes).
Alas, when hunger pangs hit an hour before take off, I was forced to find a bite to eat inside O’Hare. While the smells emanating from Manchu Wok were damn enticing, my curiosity got the best of me and I lined up for a taste of Tortas Frontera. Lo siento, mi amigo Bill!
In addition to its namesake tortas (griddle-baked Mexican sandwiches with a variety of fillings), Tortas Frontera also dishes up molletes (warm, open-faced sandwiches), guacamole, soups, salads, and a “yogurt bar.” To the right of the kitchen and food preparation area is a full bar with plenty of tequila and margaritas to go around.
The food here is made using locally sourced ingredients wherever possible. There’s even a list of all the farmers and purveyors whose fruits, vegetables, and meats are employed by the restaurant prominently on display. I see this kind of name dropping at restaurants all the time, but this was a first for an airport eatery.
Continue reading ‘Tortas Frontera by Rick Bayless – Chicago O’Hare’
Last spring, a wonderful woman named Renuka moved into the apartment across from mine. She and her husband arrived from Madras, India to spend six months with their son Raga, a graduate student at Caltech. The moment Renuka stepped into her temporary home on East Del Mar Boulevard, she whipped out the pots, pans, and spices that she had carried with her from India, fired up the stove, and began cooking non-stop. Raga had been without proper home cooked meals for over a year, and as his coddling mother, she felt compelled to remedy the situation immediately.
Before I met Renuka face to face, I was seduced by the smells emanating from her kitchen. Whenever I stepped into the hallway that our apartments shared, I was smacked in the face by an intoxicating blend of chilies and spices. It was torturous to say the least.
I remember the first time I met Renuka vividly. It was early afternoon and I was preparing to grill a pork tenderloin. As I was carrying the meat from my apartment to the barbecue set up in the back lot, I noticed Renuka peeking her head out from her kitchen. I said hello and explained to her that I was working on a pork-intensive food photography project. She made a bit of a funny face and told me she was vegetarian. While holding the bloody hunk of pork in my hands, I tried my best to convince her that my regular diet was mostly meat-free. I’m not sure she believed me.
From that day forward, we spent time together on a regular basis. At first it was just hellos and how are yous, but it eventually evolved into a solid friendship—I’d never had such a lovely neighbor.
The first time Renuka invited me into her kitchen, she prepared one of her specialties. Dosa, a typical dish in South Indian cuisine, is a thin and crispy fermented crepe made from rice flour and lentils. I was hoping to witness the entire process from start to finish, but Renuka had already prepared the batter and the accompanying chutney by the time I arrived. All that was left to do was a little frying on the stove.
Continue reading ‘Love Thy Neighbor: Making Dosas with Renuka’
Given my great love of restaurants and their hardly healthful fare, it’s really important that my meals at home provide nutrients that otherwise go missing from my diet. Whenever I’m not painting the town red, I prepare recipes that make tasty use of whole grains, legumes, and vegetables. My subscription to Cooking Light magazine has been a great source of inspiration, and of course, the internet is chock full of solid ideas on how to balance the excess in my life.
The majority of the healthy dishes that I prepare serve their nutritional purpose and taste mostly decent, but they’re usually not outstanding enough to be featured on the site. This vegetarian three bean chili is a rare exception. In addition to being a fiberfull powerhouse, this meatless stew is also immensely satisfying. The heat from the chipotles combined with the smoky chili powder makes for an exciting and spicy flavor profile. The trio of beans provide just enough heft to fill one up nicely. Paired with some old fashioned cornbread, it’s impossible to feel deprived when one is eating this well.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 onions, chopped fine
- 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
- 1 cup water
- 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced
- 4 (15.5 ounce) cans of kidney, pinto, or black beans, rinsed
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions, bell pepper, chili powder, and cumin. Cook until the vegetables have softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 15 seconds.
Stir in the tomatoes with their juice, water, chilies, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.
Continue reading ‘America’s Test Kitchen Vegetarian Chili’