When I first heard of Los Angeles Times and Food & Wine magazine’s THE TASTE I didn’t know what to expect. I knew it kicked off with their Burgers & Beer event and...well, really, how can you go wrong with an event named after the two things that have made this country great? But the name was actually a bit misleading. It probably should have been called, Burgers & Beer & Every Other Wonderful Thing You Would Ever Want To Devour Extravaganza. From foie gras to fine cheeses to wine to decadent chocolates and assorted baked goods, the Burgers & Beer event was enough to make you think you had died and gone to culinary heaven. The only clue that you might not have reached an ethereal plane is that your human body simply doesn’t have the ability to eat everything being offered. Seriously, by the end of that event my eyes were still lusting after Wilshire Restaurant’s Roasted Pork Slider (complete with apple chutney, arugula, Dijon and aioli) and STK’s BBQ short rib sliders (served with sour cream, chives, roasted corn salad and their house made BBQ sauce). And although I knew that, in order to save room, I should only have had one taste of Waterloo & City’s chicken liver foie gras, stopping at one bite proved to be a fairly impossible task. The drinks from Cupcake Wine, Justin Vineyards and Peroni helped me forget about how far off my normal diet plan I had gone.
STK's BBQ'd Shortrib Slider
Cider & Pork Slider from Wilshire Restaurant
Foie Gras from Waterloo & City
Kobe Burger from Simon LA
Food Fashionista hearts Burgers
Green & Black's Organic Chocolate
The Cake Mama's Chocolate & Beer Cupcakes
And even if the beer and wine served at the Burgers & Beer event weren’t enough to help me throw caution to the wind the spirits served at the second event of the night, appropriately titled The Art of Mixing, would have done the trick. Anyone who knows me or who has ever read my books knows I have a fondness for vodka and this festival, hosted at the gorgeous Paramount Studios Backlot, was serving some of the most amazing vodka I’ve ever tasted. Beluga Vodka was one of my favorites, served with Lounge Attire Cranberries which are naturally sweet, dark red in color and grown exclusively in the Northwest. Normally I don’t wax poetic about cranberries but honestly, these were the perfect enhancement to the miniature Beluga vodka shots they were serving, making the drink flavorful, slightly sweet and not even a little syrupy. But there were lots of other drinks to get excited about, including the martinis served by Chopin, the wine served by Herzog Wine Cellars and the Skinny Girl Cocktails (relatively low calorie drinks that I like to pretend make up for everything I tasted at Essential Chocolate Desserts and The Cake Mamas booths). And the band, Mariachi El Bronx just made everything all the more festive and fun.
Beluga Vodka from Russia
Mariachi El Bronx photo credit: tiffany rose
The Studios at Paramount Lot
Karlsson's Potatoes + Vodka
Cafe Hoy's Assorted Agua Frescas at Art of Mixing Bar Pintxo's Seafood Paella
And what’s the perfect finish for a night of total decadence? Shaved ice, flavored perfectly with gin, lemon, blackberry and basil (a flavor combination otherwise known as Bramble). How can you not LOVE that?
All in all it was worth every wonderfully sinful bite. I can’t wait until the next event.
Celebrate the premier of another Top Chef spin-off, Just Desserts with a free sweet course with purchase of entree. All you have to do is book your reservation on OpenTable for one of the participating restaurants offering a complimentary dessert and the rest is history. As if you needed another reason to dine out tonight. Just think, dessert is included. Now that is icing on the cake!
Inspired by his first appearance on Top Chef Masters, Chef Rick Moonen of Las Vegas' rm Seafood at Mandalay Bay will debut his tempting Moon ‘N Doggie creation, an all natural shrimp hot dog with Asian slaw and toga chips today at the US Open in Flushling, New York. The creative comfort dish will be served on atoasted, all-natural roll, and comes with a variety of optional toppings including Chipotle Dude, Horseradish Hell and Honey Ginger Goo. We like the sound of that.
Chef Moonen initially created the Moondoggie (a shrimp-based corn dog ) during one of Top Chef's “Quickfire” Challenges and will be collaborating with fellow Top Chef Master's contestant Tony Mantuano on this dish's official US Open debut. Mantuano is a Chef/Partner of James Beard award-winning Spiaggia, which is part of the Levy Restaurants family - a Chicago-based restaurant company and the official restaurateurs of the US Open.
If you are lucky enough to be at this year's Grand Slam tournament, we envy you. Not only do we dig a fierce tennis match featuring Federer, Roddick or Nadal, but to be in such close proximity to multiple Moon n' Doggie visits on a Summer day just amped the value of your already sought-after ticket price even more.
For more info on Chef Rick Moonen & rm Seafood, visit HERE
For more info on Chef Tony Mantuano & Spaggia, visit HERE
Here are pics of the Chefs from SF Chefs. Food. Wine event held in San Francisco's Union Square. During this food filled weekend oasis, many of the top Bay Area chefs were on hand serving the most delectable bites at the Opening Night Rising Star Chefs Reunion, the Grand Tastings, and the Urban BBQ which were all held in the tents at Union Square. For FOOD pics, visit SF CHEFS FOOD PICS.
I will be posting the Mixologist/Wine Pics next...
Chef Mattin Noblia of Iluna Basque
Chef Jenn Puccio of Cortez w/Bruleed Fig with Kaffir Lime Oil and Vanilla Salt
Scala's Executive Chef Jenn Biesty and Team
Chef Gregory Short of Masas
Executive Chef Tom Rhodes & Charles Modzelewski of Asia de Cuba
Ryan Scott w/his Roasted Red Grape & White Bean Crostini
Luce's Juan Contreras & Kristoffer Toliao w/ Delfina's Craig Stoll
Oola Chefs w/their famous Baby Back Ribs
Chef David Bazirgan of Chez Papa
Perbacco's Umberto Gibin w/ House Cured Local Sardine w/Salsa Verde
Piperade and Bocadillo Chefs
Christopher Kostow of The Restaurant at Meadowood
Pastry Chef & Sous Chef at RN74
Chef Rodrigo da Silva of Corso w/ Baby Burrata Stuffed w/Figs
Chef Michelle Mah of Midi
Murray Circle's Chef Joseph Humphrey
Corey Lee's Team prepping his divine Potato Soup
DJ/Chef Hubert Keller bringing down the house at SF Chefs Urban BBQ
After 21 years in a 1920's brownstone on the Upper East Side, Charlie Palmer's landmark restaurant Aureole has a new home on the ground level of the "most eco friendly" building in the world at 1 Bryant Park. Offering a sleeker, yet cozy contemporary design by designer Adam D. Tihany, Aureole carries on the tradition of catering to their devoted clientele while welcoming the new.
Behind the kitchen is the power duo of Executive Chef Christopher Lee and Pastry Chef Jennifer Yee. From Yee's savory bread creations offered at the beginning of the meal, to her petit fours at the end of the meal, Aureole strikes a home run from start to finish. Chef Christopher Lee's menu is inventive and whimsical while still carrying on the tradition of Charlie Palmer's seasonal and modern American cuisine. His skills in the kitchen and creative use of ingredients are a god send to the palate. Sommelier Justin Lorenz does an exceptional task of pairing the wines exquisitely with the various courses.
Next time you are in New York and in the mood to treat yourself to a classic world class New York dining experience with stellar service and world class cuisine, head over to Aureole in Manhattan. You won't be disappointed.
Amuse – Scallop Sashimi
Marc Hebrart, Premier Cru Brut Rosé, Champagne, France
Previously posted in 2009 before Fleur de Lys Vegas closed for remodel. It has since reopened as Fleur. A Burger Bar has also since opened in San Francisco.
Chef Hubert Keller is founder/restaurateur of the acclaimed Fleur de Lys (San Francisco and Las Vegas), the Burger Bar (Las Vegas and St. Louis) and recently opened Sleek Steakhouse and Ultra Lounge (St. Louis).
Keller's Fleur Burger (above) is made with Kobe beef and is adorned with black truffles and foie gras. It is sold at Fleur de Lys in Vegas' Mandalay Bay for $5,000 and is accompanied by a bottle of 1995 Chateau Petrus. Keller's burger is the most expensive in the U.S..
Now you can impress your guests by creating one of these ultra luxe Fleur Burgers at home with the following recipe:
Hubert Keller's - The Fleur Burger recipe Makes 4 servings
1 tsp. cornstarch 1 cup brown Chicken Stock 1 Tbsp. olive oil 2 lbs. coarsely ground beef 2 Tbsp. Madeira or port 4 Fleur Buns 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 oz. black Perigord truffle, very thinly sliced (about 5 slices per person) 8 to 10 oz duck foie gras Fleur de sel 1 bunch watercress, washed and picked over.
For burgers, shape meat into 4 8- oz. patties about 1 inch thick. Handle lightly to keep texture and juicy. In small bowl, stir together cornstarch and about 2 Tbsp. of stock until well blended. Set aside. Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Generously season meat on both sides with salt and pepper. Cook meat on 1 side until brown, about 1 minute. Then turn and brown second side about 3 minutes. With large spoon, baste burgers several times with fat in pan. Turn again and cook another 3 minutes, basting occasionally, for medium rare. Remove burgers to warm platter and reserve cooking skillet. Keep burgers warm and let rest several minutes before serving.
Working quickly so skillet is still hot, pour out remaining fat, and return pan to medium-high heat. Deglaze with Madeira: cook until reduced to 1 tsp. Add remaining stock and bring to boil. Cook until reduced by about a third, about 2 minutes. Add cornstarch mixture and stir until sauce has thickened, about 1 minute.
Split bun and lightly toast. Spread 2 Tbsp. of butter on cut side of buns. Set aside.
While burgers are resting, place dry skillet over medium heat until hot. Remove foie gras from refrigerator and put directly into hot pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until browned, about 30 seconds, and turn again. Turn again and cook 30 seconds and repeat. Foie gras should be brown and crusty on both sides. Be careful not to burn foie gras or fat remaining in pan. Drain foie gras on paper towels. Set aside and keep warm. Pour fat from pan into Madeira sauce (if desired).
Heat remaining butter in skillet over medium heat until butter begins to bubble. Add truffle slices and cook until warm through, about 30 seconds. Set aside and keep warm.
To assemble burgers, put bottom half of the bun on plate. Arrange burger on bun and drizzle with sauce. Top each with slice of foie gras and slices of truffle. Sprinkle lightly with fleur de sel. Balance top of each bun against burger and add a few sprigs of watercress between bun and burger. Serve immediately.
For more info on Gourmet Burgers in Las Vegas, visit here
For more information on chef Hubert Keller and his restaurants, visit Hubert Keller
Despite the slowdown in the economy, the turn out of food and wine lovers was in full effect at this year's Sobe Wine and Food Festival presented by the Food Network. Every event attended was packed with revelers enjoying a variety of beverage and cuisine from many of the top names in the industry. Big name chefs in attendance included Pedro Subijana, Daniel Boulud, Michelle Bernstein, Jose Andres, Norman Van Aken, Charlie Trotter, Eric Ripert, Gordon Maybury, Alfred Portale, Rick Moonen, Neal Fraser, Paul Bartolotta, Floyd Cardoz, David Walzog, Roy Yamaguchi and Francisco Torreblanca amongst many others. What makes the Sobe Wine and Food Festival so unique, is that it is a 4 day event spread throughout locations in the Miami area that offers a taste of something for everyone and anyone.
Mika w/ master mixologist, Tony Abou-Ganim
For serious wine lovers and a $1,000 per head, there was the Screaming Eagle event held at the Miami Convention center. For those who follow this Oakville vintner, they will say the price was a mere bargain. For those who had mixology on the brain rather than vino, there was the Latin Libations seminar hosted by master mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim (above) and Roberto Santibanez.
chef Emeril Lagasse book signing
For foodies who preferred a more playful hands on approach, the days were filled with cooking demonstrations and luncheons including a Barilla pasta interactive lunch hosted by Food Network dude, Guy Fieri and former Top Chef winner's Ilan Hall and Hung Huynh. The Whole Foods Grand Tasting Village held over the weekend is always a festival favorite and this year was no exception with jam packed crowds enjoying unlimited food, wine samplings and demonstrations from Food Network's celeb chefs.
Stanton Social's offerings at Patron party
The evenings were filled with popular events including Rachael Ray's Burger Bash, Perrier-Jouet's BubbleQ hosted by Tom Colicchio, and Wine Spectator's Best of the Best event held at the gorgeous and newly renovated Fountainbleau hotel. If a sit down dinner and no sand in the shoes is more your kind of thing, the Tribute Dinner honoring Emeril Lagasse or the Viva Espana event featuring the wines and foods of Spain would have definitely called your name. The late night party crowd enjoyed shindigs such as the Modern Luxury event hosted by Tyler Florence, Paula Deen's Harrah's Casino Night and the Patron South Beach Soiree.
Kimber and Mika w/ chef Todd English
In addition the the official festival events, there were the many industry fetes including the Mario Batali Ernst Benz watch soiree at the Tides Hotel, the Seven Daughter's Winemaker's Blend event hosted by Rachael Ray with a performance by the Cringe, and the new Laurent Tourondel BLT Steak preview. For those lucky few in the know, there were also super private VIP after hour parties held for the who's who of the culinary world.
Here are some other highlights/details of this past week's events:
Cruzan Rum After-Party hosted by Tyler Florence and Modern Luxury
Day 1 of 2009's South Beach Wine and Food Festival ended with a Cruzan Rum after- party hosted by Food Network star Tyler Florence and presented by Modern Luxury Media. Food Fashionista was in the house enjoying delicacies including a refreshing Tuna, Salmon, Ponzu and Jalapeno "Crudo de Vito" prepared by Danny DeVito's, DeVito's South Beach and Oysters on the rocks by the Raleigh Hotel Restaurant and Bar on South Beach where the party was held. Uber chef Todd English and his new Ft. Laurderdale restaurant, da Campo Osteria at IL Lugano Hotel and were also on hand delighting guest's palates. We also loved the Truffle Orecchiette, Skake Salad, with Gorgonzola and Carmelized White Chocolate Marble from Chef Kurtiz Jantz of Trump International Resorts.
Check out all the photos from Tyler Florence Modern Luxury event:
Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village
It's no wonder why this is a Sobe Wine and Food Festival crowd favorite.Held during both weekend days right on the beach off of Ocean drive, this event features food, wine and liquor from hundreds of wine and spirit purveyors, restaurants and caterers, and confectioners. The majority of the event is held under huge white tents while the rest has you strolling along the white sand beach in the South Beach sunshine. All throughout the day were demos hosted by Celebrity chefs and food personalities such as "Wagyu Truth" by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, "Modern Africa" by Marcus Samuelsson, "Fun in the Sun" by Iron Chef Cat Cora, "Crab Love" by Bobby Flay, " Chicalicious" with Ingrid Hoffmann, "West Coast Seafood Feast" by Tyler Florence, and "Martha Stewart's Cooking School" by Martha herself. There was also a book signing tent which had crowds waiting for autographs and photo opps with their favorite Food Network stars such as Rocco DiSpirito and Emeril Lagasse. As for cuisine, the Barilla tent was continuously packed with hungry crowds lining up for executive chef Lorenzo Boni and team's Cellentani with artichokes and Parmigiano with peppers pasta. The Barilla booth served over 12,000 pasta samples during the Grand Tasting which included 720 lbs of pasta, 550 lbs of artichokes, 60 lbs of onions, 160 lbs of Pecorino cheese from Tuscany, 80 lbs of smoked pancetta, and 15 lbs of pinenuts. The Puerto Rico booth was also rockin' with the country's top chefs including Robert Trevino of Budatai, Augusto Schreiner, and Mario Pagan. Michelle Bernstein's sweet corn and cheese empanadas from the Sargento booth were also popular with the hungry festival attendees.
Check out all the fabulous photos from the Grand Tasting:
Harrah's Casino Night hosted by Paula Deen
The queen of comfort food Paula Deen hosted a Vegas style late night party equipped with Sin City style gambling, Ketel One Vodka cocktails and all the Southern Cuisine your heart and stomach desired. This was definitely a party you wouldn't be leaving hungry. There were corn bread muffins, creamed spinach, po boy sandwiches, crab cake sliders, funnel cakes, mac and cheese, and deep fried chocolate dipped donuts with all the fixings. The crowd was devouring, dancing, and playing the night away. Paula looked stunning in a royal blue and white flowy blouse with chic white pants while she mingled with the crowd and danced with hubby Michael Groover on stage alongside Food Network star's Sunny Anderson, Pat and Gina Neely, and Guy Fieri. Katie Lee Joel was also spotted at this festive event.
Check out all the photos from Harrah's Casino Night by Paula Deen:
Patron South Beach Soiree
This spicy hot after-hours party featured passed hors d'hoeuvres by chef Chris Santos of NYC's Stanton Social including an Avocado and Shrimp Shooter, and a delicious Kobe Beef Tartare on Crispy Rice. Patron hosted the open bar which included creative cocktails such as the Patron Margarita Sno-Cone and a Ice-Cold Hot Chocolate with Patron Silver and Spicy Dulce de leche.
Check out all the photos from the Patron party:
Cocktail Time with Sandra Lee
A gorgeous sunset setting, with metallic human model sculptures was the backdrop for Sandra Lee's cocktail soiree at the Standard Hotel. Food Network star Sandra was looking svelte and stylish in her vintage 70's black strapless jumper while posing for pics and signing autographs with the Cuervo margarita drinking crowd. Along with the throng of Sandra Lee followers was James Beard award winning chef Art Smith of Table Fifty-Two and Art and Soul who was in attendance at this poolside affair.
Check out all the photos from Cocktail Time w/Sandra Lee:
Mario Batali Ernst Benz Event at Tides South Beach
Mario was sporting his signature orange Crocs while he mingled with friends and guests who were celebrating his collaboration with luxury watch maker Ernst Benz. There were passed hors d'oeuvres, cocktails by Hendricks, and a music set list hand selected by chef Batali himself. Spotted in the intimate, hand picked crowd wereGuy Fieri, Tony Abou-Ganim, Jose Andres, and Emeril Lagasse. Also in the crowd were Jim and Pam Webster whoe had previously won a contest called "Marios Ultimate Grilling Challenge" in which Jim prepared the award winning dish Pig-wrapped, Pig-stuffed Pig - an orange-fennel sausage, stuffed in a butterflied pork tenderloin, wrapped in pancetta, then grilled with an orange marmalade glaze. Sounds Delicious! For winning the challenge, Jim and Pam went to a Nascar race in Texas where Mario Batali and Rachael Ray threw a tailgating party for them.
The Ernst Benz limited edition Mario Batali watches come in both black and you guessed it....Orange! Although the night was chilly, the crowd stayed toasty with the heat lamps, vino, and special Hendrick's drinks including the Batali Rocks with Hendrick's Gin, muddled tangerine, pineapple, fresh lime and a splash of aperol.
Check out all the fab photos from Mario Batali Ernst Benz event: