Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Quickies #44: Cheap-Chic, Inauguration, Mocktails and Detox

Individual red velvet bundt cake from Kiss My Bundt

'09 Food Trend - Cheap-Chic: Thanks to Abby of PleasurePalate for sparking this idea in my head, but one '09 trend I definitely expect to see on the uptick are cheap-chic food, namely foods utilizing gussied-up ingredients and creative recipes while still remaining on the cheap (single-digit prices), it satisfies both diners' need to try something new and edgy and not spend a whole lot. Some of the better local examples include the Kogi's Korean BBQ tacos, the Let's Be Frank gourmet hot dogs, Wurstkuche's assorted exotic sausages, the filet mignon pho phenomenon sprouting up in S. El Monte and elsewhere, plus Fulfilled and their eccentric imagawayakis and Kiss My Bundt's unique cakes.

And of course, I expect folks to be a lot more value-savvy with their food and drinks in the recession, not necessarily a bad thing since they may be more adventurous than they otherwise would've. Instead of going for that ubiquitous bottle of Champagne to celebrate, maybe they'll pick up that bottle of Cava or Prosseco or even learn to make a few sparkling cocktails to stretch the wine.

Obviously, there's still a time and place for the high-end, fine-wine-paired tasting menus and such -- but competition will definitely be tougher; again, I don't see this as bad, since expensive doesn't necessarily equate to high-quality and hopefully the downturn will sort out the good from the bad; I for one don't like the "rip-off" feeling if I am making that sort of investment!

Inauguration Day Events: Are local places really excited about the presidential pass off are they just capitalizing on the event for a financial change of their own? You decide. Nevertheless, there's quite a few potentially fun events going on (provided they're not sardine-can-packed, as I anticipate L.A. Live's all day viewing party to be.) 55 Degree Wine will be doing a eight-sparkling-wine tasting (six of them Champagnes) for a not-too-shabby $32/person, while South and Akasha will both have an Obama-themed menu with their own take on his fave shrimp and grits and cocktails too. Of course, there's always the official gala at the J Restaurant Lounge with packages ranging from $25/person to $2,000 (and bottle service) for a party of 16.

As for me, that evening I already have reservations to check out Tradition by Pascal for their Newport Beach Restaurant Week. The actual menu has tasty choices such as roasted beet salad with lemon scented goat cheese // roasted quail stuffed with chicken sausage in cognac sauce // salmon with quick sauerkraut in mushroom-tarragon-tomato jus // creme caramel with roasted pistachios. Not very American, I know, but maybe I'll get a glass of Californian wine there to compensate ;)

Another going-on of note, blogging friend and mixologist mistress extraordinaire Natalie of the Liquid Muse will be at Silver Lake's Bar Keeper this Sunday from 6 to 8 p.m. to sign copies of her book Preggatinis, a book with dozens of creative, delicious "mocktails" for the mom-to-be utilizing mixology techniques and creative ingredients (like the Preggie Provence with fresh rosemary sprigs and lavender soda) with options to "de-virginize" for dads who could use a little alcohol. In addition to the signing, samples of her preggatinis (even de-virginized ones) will be available, as well as snacks from Amy's Culinary Adventures. To RSVP, email

Finally, poor Mary Melton of Los Angeles magazine has been "volunteered" to go on the Gwyneth Paltrow detox plan that she blogged about on; let's just say it's not been a pretty past few days for Mary as she sucks down periwinkle-colored smoothies and other liquid and semi-solid oddities. Catch the entire hilarious / painful "Gwyneth Cleanse" series through LA Mag's Eat blogfeed here.

Oh yea, speaking of Kogi's -- chill out, folks! Yes, they're appreciative of all the love they've gotten (in media and customers) but they can't help it when lines are out of control, when they run out of ingredients or when cops intervene! They're going above-and-beyond the call of the duty and I think this highlights it best from their blogpost: "I can’t speak for others, but there were times when I almost lost a finger chopping up meat in the truck while one the freeway just because we didn’t want to be any more later to Silverlake than we already were. And let me tell you — those knives are sharp and sudden turns can prove to be quite deadly."


Anonymous said...

Oh Man!
sound Great!

Exile Kiss said...

Hi H.C.,

Great topic (about the cheap but chic eats). I enjoyed my visit to Fulfilled and surprisingly have visited most of the Pho restaurants (dragged there by my SGV Hounds) in J. Gold's article. Hope all is well. :)

Wandering Chopsticks said...

The economy is why McD's is doing so well. So if we can't afford fine dining, adding cheap fine dining it is!

H. C. said...

@Exile, thanks -- I have yet to check out Fulfilled (was invited to their grand opening event, but the drive is a little far for a weekday just for imagawayakis) - glad you got dragged out to check out some SGV pho faves!

@WC, indeed, hopefully this will be a boon for many ethnic cuisines in L.A. too (many of which are at a less expensive price-point).


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