Feb 2018

Wildair – New York City

Wildair - New York City

I high-tailed it to New York City for a whirlwind work trip at the start of 2018. In under 48 hours, I grabbed drinks with an old friend, peeped a new-to-me Brooklyn bakery, had a fancy dinner with my brother and sister-in-law, produced a short documentary, and enjoyed a splendid late-night feast at Wildair. I can’t say I caught much shuteye during this jaunt, but I guess that’s fitting for a visit to the city that never sleeps.

Wildair - New York City

As soon as the plane landed on J.F.K. soil, my colleague Lisa and I headed to our hotel, dropped off our bags, and headed to chefs Jeremiah Stone and Fabian von Hauske’s Wildair for dinner. The wine bar’s low-key vibe had us feeling like we fit right in—two seats peering into the kitchen, please.

Wildair - New York City

I was in the mood for an alcohol-forward cocktail rather than a glass of wine this evening, and a negroni ($14) sounded perfect. The one served here, made with Vago Espadin mezcal, was strong and perfectly smooth.

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Feb 2018

Cosa Buona – Los Angeles (Echo Park)

Cosa Buona - Los Angeles (Echo Park)

With the Year of the Dog days away, I’m finally wrapping up restaurant reviews from the Year of the Rooster. This blog operates on the lunar calendar at this time of year 😉.

Cosa Buona - Los Angeles (Echo Park)

As mentioned previously, Los Angeles experienced a “Modern Italian Dining Renaissance” last year. One of the most anticipated openings was Cosa Buona, Chef Zach Pollack’s American-Italian followup to his Northern-Italian focused Alimento.

Reservations aren’t accepted, so Sarah and I met up on the early side for dinner. We were seated straightaway.

Cosa Buona - Los Angeles (Echo Park)

The one dish that we were both certain had to grace our table this evening was the “Smokey Mozzarella Sticks” with marinara ($10). The battered and deep-fried cheese sticks did not disappoint. Crisp-golden on the outside and gooey-rich within, these mozzarella sticks were the platonic ideal.

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Feb 2018

Tết 2018: Not Your Grandma’s Bánh Chưng (Recipe Perfected Edition)

Tet 2018 | Banh Chung Collective

With the Year of the Dog around the corner, my friends and I (the newly anointed Bánh Chưng Collective) gathered this past weekend to make bánh chưng. For those who are unfamiliar with the tradition, bánh chưng are banana leaf-wrapped sticky rice parcels filled with pork belly and mung beans that are an essential part of Tết (Vietnamese New Year).

Tet 2018 | Banh Chung Collective

After five years of trial and error (check out our highlight reel: 2013, 2015, 2017), The Collective Chef Diep Tran truly perfected the recipe. Compared to years past, our ingredients were streamlined and our techniques refined. I’d venture to call us a well-oiled bánh chưng-making machine.

Tet 2018 | Banh Chung Collective

The sweet scent of shallots sautéing in butter wafted through the air as The Astronomer, June, and I pulled up to the Eagle Rock compound, the site of this year’s festivities.

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