Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Quickies #16: Explosively Delish Truffle, Veggie Trials and Foodie Events Galore

Spark-inducing truffle - San Diego-based Chuao chocolatier definitely WOW'd me with their Firecracker truffle (which I bought and tried when I swung down to the OC to check out Izakaya Zero). The slightly-spicy chipotle caramel center was intriguing, but what really surprised me was that there were pop rocks embedded in the chocolate, and the fizzy pops it made while the chocolate melt away definitely made this a very fun piece of candy. I am not sure if this is limited edition truffle for Valeintine's but if it is, I sure look forward to its return. (Other edgy bonbons I've enjoyed there include the Olivet with a distinctively fragrant olive oil, sundried tomato & orange peel ganache and the Modena with tangy sweet strawberry-balsamic vinegar caramel interior.)

More vegetarian foodventures - Haven't had a chance to explore vegetarian-geared places yet, though given other blogger insights, M Chaya de Cafe & Real Food Daily are pretty high up on the list. However, I was tested with two dinners that I had no control in planning ~ Cheesecake Factory & Black Angus, both proving to be a bit of a challenge to order something meatless & palatable. Thankfully, I got away with their giant tamale corn cakes appetizer at the former, and grudgingly poked away at a soup & salad combo at the latter. This weekend, I am paying a visit to the revamped Violet for another birthday dinner, though their menu seemed to have quite a few delicious animal-free options (heck, I'd be happy just noshing on their Za'tar spiced fries with honey-curry aioli & ketchup).

Oodles of fun foodie events coming up - What perfect timing for me to go veggie, eh? But for you omnivores/carnivores, there are quite a few delightful foodventures for you to explore . . .

1) CITY Night @ Ciudad, tonight - Too Hot Tamale's Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger are bringing back the global menu from their former restaurant CITY for Leap Day at their downtown Ciudad. Let your tastebuds travel the globe in one night with foods from Thai pork dumplings and noodles to a traditional Greek moussaka, and save room afterwards for their caramel walnut tart. A menu of tonight's offerings

2) Friday Night Flights @ Campanile - Ok, it's a recurring weekly event - but tonight's 3-course small-plate, wine-paired meal looked particularly sumptuous, especially the "Margaux" flight with three
Bordeaux sub-region wines paired with rich & hearty wild mushroom arancini, seared foie gras, and buttered noodles with bacon and parmesan cheese. Other menus offered tonight include a light, refreshing seafood "Tropicana" flight and a "Riesling" set merging the floral white wines with Central European cuisines. Not bad for $38/person.

3) Margarita Tasting Menu @ Border Grill Santa Monica on March 6 - co-sponsored with
Tequila Corralejo, the dinner features a fairly diverse Latin-fusion menu, with courses such as scallop and grapefuit ceviche and seared rainbow trout with curried veggies served up with creative variations of the traditional south-of-the-border drink - think chai margarita with cardamom infused honey, a meyer lemon meringue margarita that's "shaken until light and fluffy" and a whimsical tequila milkshake duo. Full menu here.

4) Farmer's Market Dinner at Auntie Em's Kitchen on March 11 and 12 - you may know them from their hearty breakfasts or their red velvet cakes, but by popular demand they're bringing back their Farmer's Market dinner for two nights, with a wicked menu created around in-season produce available at the farmer's market. Offerings include braised beef ribs with creme fraiche mashed potatoes and a Moroccan lamb stew with garbanzo beans, baby carrots and baby turnips. And with their vegetarian wild mushroom lasagna with white sauce offering, this is an event I can actually attend! Full information
here and call/email quick to get your rezzie down! And much thanks to Pat from Eating L.A. for the heads up!

5) Eat, Drink & Be Merry Three-Course Prix-Fixe @ Napa Valley Grille during March - following the success of their participation in DineLA, which I had the pleasure of tasting, the Westwood restaurant is doing a $39 prix-fixe, and an additional $12 for wine pairing, till the end of March. I'm guessing the offerings will be switched up since their newsletter asked interested patrons to call for further details on the menu, but there will always be a choice between two options for apps, mains & sweets. And $51 for three dishes & wine is definitely a substantial discount from their
regular prices.

6) UPDATE: The Hungry Cat turns 3-years-old on March 8 - and that means wine specials and half-priced draught beers and their signature cocktails from 11PM to 2AM. Git yer drinkin' hats on. :)

Here's to good eatins' to all of you!


Anonymous said...

Hi! I'm a big Chuao Chocolatier fan and recently found out that the firecracker was such a big hit that they have decided to keep it as an everyday bonbon! I'm really excited!

teenage glutster said...


thank you, it took me forever to make that and was afraid it was too much, but now, I know that at least one person appreciated it :)

anyways for vegetarian/vegan on the eastside, try:

1) Bahn Cuon Tai Ho (one of my all time favorites, stick to their "vegetarian stuff)

2) Fatty's and Co.

3) Orean's Health Express

4) Oh Happy Days
2283 Lake Ave
Altadena, CA 91001
(626) 797-0383

Chubbypanda said...

If I'm eating meatless that day, I can make an entire meal out of one of those gi-normous cheesecakes from the Cheesecake Factory. I just have deal with the butterfat guilt. ... Done. =D

H. C. said...

Anon, good to know, especially since I only got one firecracker in my assortment. Guess I'll have to make a roundtrip to Chuao soon :)

TG, Oooh, thanks for all the recs!

CP, Haha, would've done that if I wasn't gonna eat a birthday cake later that evening. My pancreas would appreciate to live to see another sugary day.


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