Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Pappy's Smokehouse
Ted Drewes Frozen Custard
Trattoria Marsella

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Culinary College at Snyder Diamond I: Chef Patrick Healy

Los Angeles Magazine has partnered up with Snyder Diamond to host a series of cooking classes called Culinary College. I was invited to attend their first class featuring Chef Patrick Healy from the Buffalo Club in Santa Monica.

The event is held at the Snyder Diamond store in Santa Monica.

The night starts off with a selection of wines from LearnAboutWine. Ian Blackburn was there pouring the wines himself. We started with a nice chilled 2008 Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc, Marlorough, New Zealand and a 2004 Semler Cabernet Sauvignon, Malibu Mountain Estate.

The rest of the wine during the cocktail hour was paired with three hors d'oeuvres that Chef Bridget Bueche of Sub-Zero/Wolf was cooking in the showroom kitchen.
Two of the three hors d'oeuvres focused on mushrooms:

King Trumpet Mushroom
Paired with a 2007 Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon "Rose" Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Shrimp paired with a 2007 Gerhard Riesling, Kabinett, Rheingau, Germany.
The Riesling was very sweet, perfect for a dessert wine. I noted to myself to find a bottle of this since I love sweet, dessert wines.

Brown Beech Mushrooms
Paired with 2007 Domaine La Garrigue "Cuvee Romaine", Cotes du Rhone, France.

The cooking class itself was set up in a back room at Snyder Diamond, where the tables for attendants have been beautifully set.
This isn't a hands-on class but the recipes are provided as you follow chef Healy cooking at the mock kitchen.

Here's what chef Patrick Healy has to say about picking the right corn:

The first dish chef Healy made that night was this Summer Corn Pudding with Rock Shrimp Salsa w/ tomatillo sauce, paired with a 2006 Leasingham Dry Riesling "Magnus", Clare Valley.
The corn pudding was dense and creamy, and it was great with the nicely spiced (but not spicy) rock shrimp in tomatillo sauce. I do love corn, so although I was late for my dinner, I waited to taste this dish and it was worth the wait.

Vanilla pudding with caramel was coming up next, but I had to leave in order to make it to dinner.

All attendants also received a nice swag bag containing 1 bottle of 2004 Semler Cabernet Sauvignon (wine in a goody bag! That's a first for me!), Paulette macaroons (arguably one of the best in LA), the newest issue of the L.A. Mag, lip balms, etc.

The Culinary College series will resume on July 15 featuring chef Andrew Kirschner of the Wilshire Restaurant, and on August 19th featuring chef Jason Travi from Fraiche and Riva. Each class costs $50 and if the first class is any indication, is well worth the education, food, wine, and swag.

Please call Estrellita Dacanay at Los Angeles magazine 323-801-0034 to purchase.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

CUT: 100% Wagyu Beef and a $200 Meal

I was coaxed by the 100% Japanese wagyu beef! By a reservation that suddenly becomes available. At any rate I found myself at what is purported to be the best steakhouse in LA, Wolfgang Puck's CUT, with fellow bloggers Pepsi Monster, KevinEats, and tangbro1.

We started with a variety of bread including these Gougeres,
and a bottle of champagne: 2002 Jose Dhondt Champagne Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Mes Vieilles Vignes.

We pretty much dined family style, sharing everything from appetizers to steaks. We ordered a series of appetizers according to CUT veterans Kevineats and tangbro1.

Prime Sirloin "Steak Tartare", Herb Aioli, Mustard ($22)
A classic but well-done preparation of steak tartare, with high quality meat. This was delicious and rich with the addition of the quail egg.

#1 Grade Blue Fin "Toro" Tartare, Wasabi Aioli, Ginger, Togarashi Crisps, Tosa Soy ($32)
This was a good quality tuna and a well-done dish, but quite the "classic" preparation - in other words, rather boring.

Kobe Steak Sashimi, Spicy Radishes ($22)
I enjoyed this dish quite a bit and wished I could have more. The meat tasted fresh and had a nice flavor and texture.

Warm Veal Tongue, Marinated Artichokes, Cannellini Beans, "Salsa Verde" ($17)
Perhaps my favorite appetizer of the night, tender flavorful tongue and delicious tomatoes. This was the most interesting of the appetizers. The tongue was gamey which might put off others but I personally love.

Maple Glazed Pork Belly, Asian Spices, Watercress, Sesame-Orange Dressing, Rhubarb Compote ($16)

Since we couldn't decide on a red wine, I chose a 1997 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape, because I've never had a Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This one was not particularly smooth - I thought it was okay.

We also shared 2 non-steak entrees:

Kobe Beef Short Ribs "Indian Spiced", Curried Sweet Pea Purée, Garam Masala, Slowly Cooked For Eight Hours ($39)
Sashimi Quality Big Eye Tuna Steak ($42)
Surprisingly, the tuna takes the win in this competition. The short ribs were quite tender but a bit too sweet. The tuna was excellent - high quality fish and seared just right. The middle rare part was delicious.

As for the steak, we decided to get each one and divided it evenly among everyone (6 people total). These are the 4 steaks, in the order of least favorite:

4. U.S.D.A. Prime, Illinois Corn Fed, Aged 21 Days; Bone In New York Sirloin 20 Oz ($56)
The cheapest, and weakest, of all the steaks. It's probably good by itself, but after having the other three, I'd stick with one of the other three no doubt.

3. American Wagyu / Angus "Kobe Style" Beef From Snake River Farms, Idaho; New York Sirloin 8 Oz ($75)
Before trying the 100% wagyu, I quite liked this. After a while though, it isn't as meaty as the dry aged, but not as amazingly-fatty as the wagyu. Feels like it's just stuck in the middle for me.

2.U.S.D.A. Prime, Nebraska Corn Fed, Dry Aged 35 Days; New York Sirloin 14 Oz ($59)
Flavorful, juicy, and meaty. If I had to eat more than 2 oz, this would be my favorite any day as the 100% wagyu would just be too fatty. An excellent piece of steak.

1.True Japanese 100% Wagyu Beef From Saga Prefecture, Kyushu, Japan; New York Sirloin 6 Oz ($120)
What we came for. Let's take a look:
In the middle is the American Wagyu while to the right is the 100% Wagyu. The difference in marbling is strikingly noticeable (pardon the flash, but I had to capture it). And aye, it's that fatty. Yes, it is delicious. If you're eating 2 oz or less. Anything more and I would have a heart attack :P (Well, I may be able to handle 3 oz).

Indulgence does not end there. It's time for some dessert!

We started our dessert courses with a Brooke Cherry Toasted Almond Crumble, Tahitian Vanilla Ice Cream ($14)
They scoop the crumble onto the bowl tableside. I'm very much partial to berry cobbler/crumble and thus really enjoyed this.

Dark Chocolate Soufflé, Whipped Crème Fraîche, Gianduja Ice Cream ($14)
I've heard about the Valrhona chocolate souffle at CUT and thus have been looking forward to this dessert. A well done souffle with a rich chocolate flavor.

Warm Brioche Doughnuts, Huckleberry Compote, Butter Pecan Ice Cream ($14)
The simplest turned out to be the table's favorite. The doughnuts were warm and fluffy, they were perfect with a bite of the nutty, creamy ice cream.

To finish the meal were three types of dessert bars: lemon, caramel, and chocolate.
I liked the lemon bar the best, though I've always been against caramel because it sticks to your teeth ...

Kevin says that this was the weakest of his CUT visits thus far, which was unfortunate since it was my first. I still had a good impression overall, though, and would probably come back another time. This meal cost $184 including tax and tips. At first I was proud for spending less than $200, but then I went to pay the valet .... which cost another $16 :P
So there you go, $200 even for a grand tasting at CUT.

9500 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 276-8500
Cut (Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons) on Urbanspoon

Cut in Los Angeles

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