Saturday, February 28, 2015

Giveaway! Temecula Valley's World of Wine 2015 (March 7-8, 2015)

Love wine? You can spend a whole weekend touring and tasting the wineries in Temecula Valley during next weekend's World of Wine weekend!

With this 2-day event you get a passport that you can use for barrel tasting and food pairing at more than 30 participating wineries along Rancho California and DePortola Roads. It's taking place next weekend on March 7-March 8, 2015 and the participating wineries will be open from 10am-4:30pm.
It's a self-drive tour and you get the wineries to stamp your passport along the way! This winter barrel tasting gives people a sneak peek of the upcoming spring releases.

The 2-day passport is $99 or you can also purchase a Sunday-only passport for $79. You can purchase tickets or find out more information here. Or go here for more information on lodging or wine tour packages.

Now, on to the good stuff, though. A giveaway! Maybe all this sounds great to you - wandering around Temecula Valley while drinking wine, but you need a little push to go there ... well, from now until midnight on Wednesday you can enter to win two Sunday-only passports ($158 value)! Just follow the instructions below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

How to Make Duck Rillette. Recipe from Cafe Pinot's Art of Charcuterie Class

Patina's Cafe Pinot is holding a monthly Art of Charcuterie class with Chef Joe Vasiloff. Each month's class is different, and last month we learned how to make duck breast prosciutto and duck rillette. Here's the recipe for the duck rillette!

INGREDIENTS
4 duck legs to make confit
1 cup green salt:

Ingredients for green salt (makes approximately 2 cups)
1 ½ cups kosher salt
1 cup picked parsley (packed)
¼ cup picked thyme leaves
3 fresh bay leaf
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
3 cloves of garlic (sliced)

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse to a super fine consistency, so it resembles the texture of white sand.
Art of Charcuterie
4 cups duck fat for confit 3/4-1 cup duck fat for rillette Freshly ground pepper MATERIALS
1 medium size glass dish, such as Pyrex for curing duck legs 1 high-sided saucepan for melting duck fat for confit 1 high-sided, oven-proof baking pan or dish 1 boning knife 1 pair of scissors (optional)

DIRECTIONS FOR DUCK CONFIT
Step 1: Trim the duck legs of any excess fat that that extends beyond the flesh. Optional and as learned in class: around the base of the shank, cut around the shank, through the skin and tendons until you reach the bone.
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Monday, February 23, 2015

The Art of Charcuterie Class at Cafe Pinot

Ever wonder how to make prosciutto? Or what exactly a rillette is? Wonder no more, because Patina's Cafe Pinot in downtown Los Angeles is holding a monthly charcuterie class with their chef, Joe Vasiloff. Every month's class is different and I attended the one in February where we made duck breast prosciutto and duck rillette.

Making charcuterie means curing meat. And curing means you need curing salt. Vasiloff uses this salt recipe full of herbs that he learned from Chef Thomas Keller when he worked at Bouchon in Las Vegas and Beverly Hills.

Art of Charcuterie
Duck legs are cured in the salt for hours then confit-ed for the duck rillette. This is a hands-on class where you'd have to trim duck fat and learn how to wrap meats for hanging.
Art of Charcuterie

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Hello and Adieu, East by Northeast in Inman Square (Cambridge, MA)

I tried East by Northeast in Inman Square not too long ago, but it seems I already have to say goodbye. The restaurant will close on March 8 (they invite you to come in and have drinks and they will send out food until they run out, according to Eater).

East by Northeast says they serve contemporary Chinese cuisine, but their menu is actually more diverse than that. This small restaurant has often been named one of the best restaurants in Boston.
I had a pretty good meal there, starting with the Braised lamb bun, sesame peppercorn sauce, broccoli rabe, pickled golden beets ($5 each)

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This is a nice change from the typical pork belly buns. I actually prefer the texture of the lamb better and the sauce was quite flavorful. Th pickles added a nice texture contrast and cleanses your palate for the next bite. Overall a great bun.

Ramen (smoked pork confit, miso pork broth, soft poached egg, xo sauce, toasted nori, $16)
Ramen
I was debating whether or not I should order a $16 ramen but I figured I have to try all the ramen in Boston at some point.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Prova Pizza, West Hollywood's Newest Italian Pies

Pizza lovers in West Hollywood should rejoice with the opening of Prova Pizza, serving up Italian style pies at a reasonable price. Prova is the new restaurant from Vito Iacopelli, who was head chef of Michael's Pizzeria in Long Beach.

Prova Pizza

Now, he's bringing his 100-year old recipes to the wood burning oven in West Hollywood (he also has an oven for his catering trailer, in case you're planning a party soon)
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The signature pie at Prova is the "Vesuvio" (salame di Napoli, fresh ricotta, mozzarella, ground pepper, San Marzano tomato, fresh basil, olive oil, $18)
Prova Pizza

After placing the toppings, a thin layer of dough is placed at the top before baking in the oven again. This makes the top layer puffs up. He then pokes a hole in the middle after taking it out of the oven, letting the hot air escapes through a hole, sort of imitating a smoking volcano.

Iacopelli also brought the most beloved pie from Michael's, dubbed "La Vito" (mortadella, pistachio, oregano, stracciatella, $14)
Prova Pizza
Mortadella sits atop the pie, and stracciatella (shredded burrata) is layered over them, and pistachio crumbs is scattered throughout. The chef, who hails from Puglia, either makes the stracciatella in house or gets it made by a fellow Puglian. I really liked the fresh cheese, which I think makes the whole pie.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Shojo: Asian Fusion and Craft Cocktails in Boston's Chinatown

Chinatown in Boston doesn't only have hole-in-the-wall Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants like Gourmet Dumpling House or Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe, but you can also find a hip Asian-fusion restaurant with solid cocktails at Shojo.

You'll find dishes like Chicken and Waffle v3.0 (five spice butter, syrup $13)
Their chicken and waffle is made using Hong Kong style waffles. Egg puffs!

Shojo
While I don't think it makes that big of a difference in taste, I still like the fact that they use Hong Kong waffles. They also make the chicken boneless for the dish.

Charred Eggplant Ttukbokki (Korean rice cake, red chili, mozzarella, $8)
Shojo

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sushi Rolls at KazuNori (Downtown LA)

I'm already a fan of Sugarfish since it gives you access to good, affordable sushi. Even there, the hand rolls have a special place of their own since Nozawa uses a special seaweed that's really crispy - they always tell you to eat it immediately since the seaweed gets soggy fast. Now, the same company opened up KazuNori in downtown LA, specializing just in these hand rolls.

Just like Sugarfish, the menu is more or less set - you can get a set of 3, 4, or 5 hand rolls. Hand rolls are even cheaper, and the set of 5 hand rolls are only $17.50! I thought I'd be hungry after, so I ordered an extra one, but honestly I was quite full ...

KazuNori

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Where to Drink Cocktails in New Orleans

Being the home of Tales of the Cocktails and where quite a few classic cocktails were invented, New Orleans is obviously a promising place to grab some cocktails! Thanks to the recent Chowzter North American Awards, which was held in NOLA, I was able to hit up a few bars in this great city.

Now, this is not a comprehensive list by any means, but it's a good place to start!

The first bar I had to try was of course the new tiki bar from the prolific cocktail writer, Beachbum Berry:

Latitude 29
321 N Peters St
latitude29nola.com
Untitled A tiki bar, naturally, and one of the best. The cocktail menu is divided into short, long, and communal drinks. Professor Remsberg's Punch came highly recommended, made with "fine old Guadeloupe rum", lime, and "a Caribbean spiced syrup discovered over 30 years ago in San Juan by the Professor himself". Beloved tiki classics like Mai Tai and Missionary's Downfall are obviously on there, as well.
They also serve food like loco moco and dumplings, but I didn't get a chance to try any. They serve food until 10pm and cocktails until 11pm nightly, which is pretty early for NOLA.

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by the way, don't you love that rowing Moai stirrer?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

All Star Chef Classic: March 11-14, 2015

There are a ton of food events and festivals in Los Angeles, but the All Star Chef Classic plays it a bit different? Ever wanted to watch a cooking show or competition in real life? You can with their events at the Restaurant Stadium, built just for this 4-day affair.

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There are a total of six events where you can watch master chefs cook and compete in the stadium - while enjoying some great food, of course.
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At the Master Dinners (they are holding French, British, and American Master Dinners) you'll watch the chefs prepare your multi-course meal that you will then enjoy paired with wines. At some of the other events like Grill & Chill, 20 chefs will prepare bites that you can enjoy in the "Tasting Arena".
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Last year's cabbage with crispy chicken skin from Paul Qui

Monday, February 9, 2015

HelloFresh Meal Kit Delivery Review

I've written about Plated's meal kit delivery service before, but lately I've been using HelloFresh more. The reason is simple: it's cheaper. Plated runs about $12 per meal while HelloFresh runs about $10.75 per meal (both of those prices include shipping). Plus, you can get $40 off your first box when you use code 72CQCJ.
With these snowstorms in Boston, it's always a relief to you know you've still got plenty of food to cook at home!

Just like Plated, you can choose the exact menu items you want from that week's selection. The only difference is while you can order 2 meals for 2 people at Plated, with HelloFresh you need to order 3 meals with 2 people. That might be how they can charge a cheaper price.

I've ordered three times now and tried quite a few things, but I always try to order the simpler recipes like this beef and brussel sprouts stir fry.

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Teriyaki meatballs with carrot and pea salad. This was my first time making meatballs! I had to roll up the ground beef by hand, but hey, I did pretty well if I do say so myself ..
Hello Fresh


Saturday, February 7, 2015

$1 Tapas Blitz at Estragon (Boston, MA)

Did I tell you how bummed I was when I found out there's no happy hour in Boston? Yeah, happy hour deals on alcohol is illegal here. Sucks! But on the other hand, some of the restaurants here have great happy hour food deals. One such place is Estragon, a Spanish restaurant in the South End. On Mondays-Thursdays from 5-7pm is Tapas Blitz, where you can get tapas starting from $1 if you sit at the bar.

Among the $1 selections, the best choice is the Solomillo de cerdo (Seared Pork Tenderloin, Caramelized Onions, Mojo Picon)

Estragon
This is a really tender pork tenderloin on toast, and the mojo picon sauce is quite flavorful as well. For $1? I'll have three.

There are also selections of $3 and $5 tapas. The $3 ones include two jamon croquettes or a bowl of Fried pork belly ($3)
Estragon

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Chowzter North American Awards at Commander's Palace in New Orleans

So last month I was in New Orleans for the Chowzter North American Awards. The award ceremony was held in the historic Commander's Palace! The restaurant was established in the 1880s and is an institution in this city. It was my first time there so I was pretty excited.

Commander's Palace

During the award, Boston's Rino's Place took home the Best Pasta award for their ricotta ravioli. Yay! You can check out the list of winners through the link above.
Chowzter trophy

Now, on to the dinner at Commander's Palace. The dining room was very elegant, white tablecloth and chandeliers are, of course, to be expected. We headed upstairs for our awards ceremony and dinner.
Commander's Palace

Before dinner started, we had some passed appetizers that included some great fried oysters.
Commander's Palace


Monday, February 2, 2015

Corazon y Miel (Bell, CA)

I don't venture out to East LA much, but there are a few great restaurants there worth traveling to. One of them is Corazon y Miel. This is an unusual restaurant to find in Bell, as it serves a more modern/non traditional Latin American food and craft cocktails to boot.

For appetizers you'd find things like marinated chicken hearts or Bacon wrapped dates with whipped cotija cheese, mustard seed cider ($5)

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One of my favorites was the Wild Boar Chilaquiles (guajillo, roasted carrot crema, queso casera, fried egg, $14)
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I love chilaquiles to begin with but the wild boar in the bold guajillo sauce and the runny egg just made it even better.

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