Friday, March 06, 2009

Friday Quickies #50: Must-reads and almost-must-dos

Wondering if Shojin will be serving these amazing avocado-mushroom-veganaise brown rice sushi at the March 29 matsuri?

Wow, this week has been great in terms of fun food reads and oodles of wicked events coming up. And of course, sharing is caring ;)

It's nice knowing that LA Times' Food staff is only human too, that's certainly how I felt when I read editor Russ Parson's account of botching up his vegetable soup for a dinner party, followed by a sitcom-like-sequence of attempts to repair the bitter and salty concoction before doing a decent fix job at the end. The chaotic frenzy sounds like my usual cooking style in the kitchen and yea, I don't entertain often.

I also quite enjoy Mike Steinberger's essay at about the American obsession with the health benefits of wine. A Puritanical guilt trip for imbibing something so pleasurable? The ever elusive quest to justify the French paradox? (Let's not even go into all those medical recommendations on exactly how many glasses to drink a day/week/etc. to thwart cancers and heart diseases) Whatever the case, I'm in pretty good alignment with Mike, drink the stuff 'cause it taste good and enjoy it in moderation and just let the good times roll.

Also, The Knife comes back with vengeance with a nice blogpost about food writers and bloggers dining for free and, more importantly, the etiquette of tipping at these events. She pretty much blows all the usual excuses out of the water and frankly, I agree, it's a bit tacky to just assume management will take care of the gratuity or that the staff expects no extras, and besides, isn't tipping a nice thing to do after scoring all that free food and beverages? In any case, my general M.O. is to guesstimate how much the comp'd food/drinks would otherwise cost and tip my usual ~20% based on that. It's bad enough that I can be considered a shill (even if I do disclose my freebie blogposts) I don't need cheapskate as a personal modifier too.

But onto happier things with a few delicioso events down the turnpike . . .

March 8: If the Gold Standard isn't taking place on the same date, I really would've considered checking out Hungry Cat's 4th Anniversary event from noon to 10 p.m. that day. The hostess was a little hush-hush about the details when I called, but I was told a giant clambake is in the works, along with special prices on their delicious, market-inspired cocktails and their primo raw oysters. Reservations are recommended, but they're prepared for walk-ins as well.

March 12: West Hollywood's Trust Beauty Salon is holding a kickin' party from 8 p.m. to midnight with music, art and fashions with food from downtown's Tapas & Wine Bar C and Venice's new vegan spot Seed Kitchen and Marani vodka cocktails and swanky goodie bags with lots of chic hair- and skincare products. The admission price? A large bag full of non-perishable foods for the Westside Food Bank to help feed the city's less fortunate. For those who don't want to be shlepping bags up and down WeHo, I was told pre-assembled bags will also be available for purchase there.

All March long: One of my favorite vegan joints, Shojin, is celebrating their 1st year anniversary with a special five-course dinner every night for $19.95! Additionally, they'll be having their anniversary festival on March 29, with live music and all-you-can-eat vegan goodness buffet (including vegan sushi, which I'm a big fan of over there!) for $20. Tasty, wholesome and wallet-friendly.

March 29: 18 cakeries will be squaring off at The Cupcake Challenge at Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, with lots of mini-cupcakes for attendees to taste and judge to determine the city's best. This year's contender list include a mix of old and new from SusieCakes to Kiss My Bundt. Oh yea, free coffee and Nesquik will be served to stave off that sugar crash. $40/person.


gourmetpigs said...

Nesquik on top of cupcakes eh?
Sounds like an uber-sugar-high.
Are you going to that?

Oh and thanks for the Shojin tipoff! I've had ppl asking me for vegan recs (usually to their disappointment. I dunno many ...)

Kat said...

Haha now I am up to date on all the events in LA for this month ^_^ I am sad that I didn't get tickets to the Gold Standard event. I hope you guys have tons of fun!

The cupcake event sounds tempting! I agree with Burumun about the sugar high! lol... I don't like Susie's Cakes though I must say... still working on my post from 4 months ago haha

Kirby! said...

Thanks for passing on that L.A. Times article... and here I thought that I was the only one who cooked like that....

H. C. said...

@burumun, cupcake challenge is very likely. Great seeing you at Gold Standard (if only briefly, it was a madhouse in there!)

Hope you can make it to Shojin!

@Kat, it was a pretty cool event, esp. at the beginning before all the lines at the end when it chilled out and we hanged with the chefs. But crazy-busy and packed in the 2 hours in between.

@Kirby!, definitely!

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for the Shojin tip! I just came back from dinner there with a friend and even though we're hardcore omnivores we both loved dinner. I especially loved the sushi and the pumpkin croquettes (pumpkin-loving friend couldn't resist). While we might not make it to the festival, we're already planning a second trip!

H. C. said...

@Kelly, glad you liked -- and yea, being a omnivore I totally love that spot. I too hope that I can make the matsuri!


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