Friday, October 09, 2009

Friday Quickies #77: Tricks... and Treats!

S'mores Set
"S'mores" with chocolate marshmallows and cocoa-infused toast at a chocolatey dinner w ChocoVivo at Breadbar Century City.

Of course, the biggest food news this week was the sudden announcement of nearly-seven-decades old Gourmet folding, so for the past few days there's been no shortage of stories, message threads and discussion with sappy obituaries, autopsying its sixtysomething-year-old corpse and trying solve the murder mystery (i.e. blame the editorial direction, blame the recession, blame the extravagant budget, blame publisher Conde Nast or sister pub Bon Appetit, even blame the bloggers!)

In any case, while it is sad to see Gourmet go -- it's a sign of the times and the changing face of food media and dialogue, and there are still plenty of traditional media outlets that help fill the hole Gourmet left behind--Saveur, Food & Wine, even BA--just to name a few. So check 'em out in print or online and give them kudos where appropriate: click on an ad, buy a copy or even subscribe.

Moving on to the coming week's going ons (in addition to the fantastic Taste of Abbot Kinney this Sunday, where I gave two batches of tickets away recently).

Saturday, Oct. 10, starts 10 a.m. - Upscale Latin-American resto Rosa Mexicano (in L.A. Live) is celebrating all things chocolate for October, and tomorrow they are doing a $35pp (including tax & tip) cooking demo and luncheon with creative chocolatey dishes such as cocoa-cured smoked duck leg salad with roasted apples, pecans and guava-chipotle dressing; steamed halibut with habanero onions, shiitake mushrooms in a spicy chocolate diablo sauce finished off with a Mexican chocolate cupcake filled with hazelnut mousse, topped with creme fraiche whipped cream alongside an espresso-chocolate-piloncillo sauce. To make the deal even sweeter, first 15 peeps to reserve for this event gets a $25 GC for future use at the restaurant. I can certainly "Ole!" to that. Advanced reservations and payment online are required, more info on that (and a five-course, $55pp Chocolate Festival dinner on Wed., Oct. 14) here.

Sunday, Oct. 11, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. - It's back and it's bigger, the 3rd L.A. Luxury Chocolate Salon is coming to the Pasadena Convention Center. With every imaginable kind of chocolatiers from all over the world participating, this is *the* cocoaphile event to check out. For the sweet price of $20pp (or $25 at the door), you can taste samples, meet the makers, and even learn a thing or two with the assorted demos and seminars taking place. Here's my experience from their first annual event two years ago.

Tuesday, Oct. 13, starts 6 p.m. - Watch, listen, learn and taste as two whisk(e)y experts duke it out in the Great Whisk(e)y Debate at Rembrandt's in Placentia. With a Bourbon advocate on one corner and a Scotch malt master on the other, attendees will not only hear the two compare, contrast and debate in words, they'll also have a chance to try out a few examples of each too (Basil Hayden's, Knob Creek, Ardmore and Laphroaig will be served there) and decide for themselves which they like best. Tickets are $30pp, RSVP required by calling 714.528.6222.

Tuesday, Oct. 13, starts 7:30 p.m. - just in case you haven't been adequately chocolated out (or need another cocoa fix before withdrawal symptoms set in) - Pourtal Wine Bar will be partnering with ChocoVivo for a wine & chocolate pairing event. Taste artisanal chocolates made by creator Patricia Tsai (which I've thoroughly enjoyed at a previous tasting) alongside wines chosen by Pourtal's sommelier Rachel Bryan. The $30pp (including tax & tip) will showcase 6 pairings in all. Seating limited so RSVPs are recommended.

And my not-so-chocolatey (but nonetheless interesting) reads of the week: interviews a husband-and-wife menu design team and provides a peek at all the work and thought processes involved

LA Weekly's Squid Ink blog highlights top 10 free samples around town, from the obvious (Costco, farmer's market) to the more obscure (SusieCakes, Koreatown Galleria Market)

LA Times' Daily Dish celebrates Vegan Month of Food by posting a delicious vegan recipe every day

Meanwhile, their Food section chooses an eclectic array of American and European whites to enjoy with your autumn meals

Finally, the serious eaters chime in on the best foods to eat when drunk; my current vote goes to Wurstkuche fries, chipotle aioli or bleu cheese-walnut-bacon dip. And maaaybe a beer, to help wash it down and start the cycle anew... (ramen, wonton noodle soup, or pho would be close runner-ups tho)



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