Friday, August 07, 2009

Friday Quickies #69: August Awesomeness Edition

Gazpacho Blanco w Eagle Rock Brewery's Witbier

Summer wind-down, lack of national holidays; yep folks, it's officially August -- but rather than pining and whining (or calling for the month's abolishment altogether), why not enjoy and savor the rest of the season and go out with a bang? Here's a few events that'll help you do just that!

For every August Fri-Sat starting tonight, Rush Street is doing a series of themed feasts with assorted food specials to please every fancy - from a cowboy cookout with chicken-fried-steak sliders (today-tomorrow) to Havana nights on Aug. 21-22 w arrozo con pollo (chicken & rice) with fried plantains and a cajun shrimp and crawdad boil on Aug. 28-29. And of course, feel free to celebrate with a cocktail or a few.

Tomorrow, the Korean American Coalition and Yelp are throwing the first L.A. Korean BBQ cookoff from noon to 8 p.m.; with 10 Korean restaurants (including Beverly Soon Tofu, Park's BBQ, Ham Ji park) showing off what they've got and competing for the inaugural title of L.A.'s best, as judged by LA Times Food section editor Russ Parsons, LA Weekly's J Gold, Evan Kleiman of KCRW-FM's good food and more. Other events include cooking demonstrations, a eating contest with "mystery ingredient" and of course, a beer garden. Admission is free but you'll have to pay for food (approx. $10-15/plate) so be sure to have some cash handy.

This and next Sunday, phenom vegan (+ the occasional cheese) cooks Hot Knives will be doing a "Gnosh Pit" vegan BBQ at Verdugo Bar 2 - 7 p.m.with specialties like pulled "pork" sandwiches, curry seitan banh mi and, because it is at the Verdugo afterall, beer popsicles. Be prepared to be pleasantly surprised, especially if you don't think you're into vegan food -- I certainly am when I attended their cheese course & beer paired event (hosted by Citysearch) a few weeks back with Esther, Tony and others. Oh yeah, also cash only for the food, though you can use plastic to buy your beers at the bar.

Ok, so I've had cheese paired with wines, beers and even vodka, but this Thursday Colorado Wine Company is going to push the envelope a little further East with a sake & cheese pairing event from 7 to 9 p.m. Sake specialist Joel Porter will show you how, with some wonderful chilled specimens matched against cheese from Auntie Em's. They claim "it works even better than sushi" since "both are created through mold and fermentation," only one way to find out. $18/person and RSVP required.

And closer to the O.C., La Mirada's Cabo Taco Baja Grill will having an Angel City Thirsty Thursday with $3 pints from local brewery Angel City (with owner/brewer Michael Bowe in attendance) along with beer-inspired menu creations such as dunkel enchiladas with a beer-enhanced mole sauce, beer cheese nachos with a pale ale and cheese sauce, vitzen salmon salad with a citrus vinaigrette, and vanilla-stout float.

Finally, once again, my fave summer reads this week:

A SeriousEats writer went on a corn-free diet for a week (that includes animals fed/finished on corn, which is pretty much 99% of them) showing how ubiquitous and prevalent this vegetable/grain is.

In the NY Times, Michael Pollan ponders on the increasing popularity of cooking shows and its inverted relationship without our reduced time actually cooking in the kitchen.

Meanwhile, holds a best chain coffee contest between Starbucks, McCafe and Dunkin -- you may be surprised by the results.

Being no stranger to food festivals and tasting events, I found LA Weekly Squid Ink's guide to surviving at one quite helpful (I'd also throw in a tip to arrive REALLY early and/or linger late to maximize enjoyability of these events, the middle times tend to be a lotta clusterfreakage.)

And finally, another NY Times piece on how professional foodies (including Top Chef's Padma) get and stay fit; I can say from personal experience that it's no easy task.



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