Monday, February 25, 2013

Planned Parenthood's Cocktail Pairing at The Corner Door

Planned Parenthood is one of the more controversial nonprofit organizations, sadly. Each year, PPLA Food Fare receives their share of anti-abortion protesters in front of their event, even though the majority of PPLA's services (97%) include cancer screenings, STD treatments and testings, and contraceptive services.

PPLA Food Fare is the organization's biggest fundraiser of the year. It started 34 years ago with a simple cooking demo from Julia Child but now draws 1500 attendees to partake in good food and wine from over 100 vendors (see my recap of the 2011 Food Fare). The Food Fare is returning to Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on Thursday March 7th. There are two sessions. The daytime session rungs from 10:30am-2pm ($150) and the evening session, which usually have more restaurants participating than the daytime one, runs from 6:30-9:30pm ($225). You can buy tickets on their website or by calling (213) 284-3200x3700.

There are many great restaurants participating including Angelini Osteria, Drago Centro, the new Hart and The Hunter, Joe's Restaurant, and The Corner Door. Libations will be offered by The Beer Chicks, La Fenetre Winery, and more. To promote the PPLA Food Fare, I was invited to a cocktail paired meal at The Corner Door in Culver City. This new restaurant has become a very popular destination in Culver City, with waits up to an hour for a table at dinner time.

The chef at The Corner Door is Luke Reyes, who moved from from Massachussetts to work for Ludo Lefebvre. Since then he had been Chef de Cuisine at Gorbals, then Michael Mina, and most recently, Tasting Kitchen.

Behind the bar program is Beau du Bois. Beau has opened a few bars in the LA area, including MB Post.

The restaurant doesn't want to call itself gastropub because the term has been misused in LA lately. Instead, they emphasize that they offer a "laid back", ingredient driven menu.
olives and rosemary
Bread is made in house, including the foccacia with olive, red onion, rosemary

We started our pairing with Lettuces and Avocado, Bayley Hazen blue cheese, watermelon radish, peppercorn.
The salad has a citrus dressing and was paired with King's Assassin (gin, blanc sweet vermouth, Salers, Cocchi Americano, Cointreau).

The King's Assassin is a play on Negroni with a light, bright, vegetal quality from the Salers, which pairs well with the citrus in the salad. This cocktail is nicely balanced, strong but easy to drink.

Slow cooked ribs, orange fennel glaze, lentils.
Paired with Old Havana Mistress (Matusalem 15 year rum, dry vermouth, dry curacao, PX sherry)
The ribs were fall-off-the-bone tender! Chef Reyes also has a special way with beans and lentils. He purees half of them first and then throws the puree back in with the rest to create more creaminess and flavor.

Agnolotti, grilled cauliflower, fontina, currants, breadcrumbs
With French 75 (gin, lemon, lillet rose, sugar, peach bitters, prosecco)

This was a twist on the traditional French 75 and Beau wanted to pair the acid and crispness of this drink with the rich butter sauce of the pasta.

The Corner Door has an "immortal cocktails" list made up of cocktails that sell so well that they permanently stay on this special menu. This cocktail was one that stayed on from the original Summer opening menu.

Roasted Halibut from Mexico, cannellini beans, anchovy aioli.
This was paired with the Mezcallin (a play on Penicillin with mezcal, lemon, ginger, pineapple gomme)
Chef Reyes purees half the beans with golden balsamic. The skin of the halibut was nice and crispy. The Mezcallin is actually Chef Reyes' favorite cocktail. It's smoky with a spicy undertone and emphasizes instead of hides the qualities of mezcal.

Slow braised beef, potato puree, carrot, cipollini, horseradish
Short Rib
The short rib had been cooked for 16 hours and was very tender.

Paired with Lumberjack Liquor Cabinet (bourbon, apple brandy, maple syrup, cinnamon smoke)
Beau was very happy that this cocktail was the top seller on their Fall menu, as stirred dark spirit cocktail usually doesn't sell as well as the fruitier shaken drinks in LA. I love the smoky nose that came from a spray of a 16 year scotch.

For dessert: Warm chocolate chip cookies, bourbon milk horchata, Handsome Roasters Coffee ice cream

OK, the bourbon horchata was great and interesting but the best part of the dessert for me was the Handsome Roasters Coffee ice cream! I wanted a whole pint of it!

Beau paired the dessert with Grandma's Pack of Cigarettes (rye, Punt e Mes, creme de cacao, and housemade coffee Thai chili bitters).

This was my second visit to The Corner Door and I was impressed both times. The early hours here are packed with locals coming in after work while the later hours are filled with people coming in from other areas. It's almost always busy and there can be a wait, but The Corner Door has become one of the best destinations in Culver City!

Don't forget: The Corner Door is only one of many great restaurants participating in PPLA Food Fare on March 7th!

The Corner Door
Washington Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90066
(310) 313-5810
The Corner Door on Urbanspoon


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