Saturday, August 14, 2010

Plate by Plate 2010 (Los Angeles, CA)

Plate by Plate 2010
700 Exposition Park Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90037
Sat 08/14/2010, 07:00p-11:00p

Plate by Plate 2010

On Saturday, August 14, at the California Science Center's Wallis Annenberg Building, Project by Project hosted its eighth Annual Tasting Benefit, Plate by Plate. Project by Project is a national tax-exempt volunteer organization centered around issues relating to the Asian American community. Each year, PbP chooses a charitable organization to partner with, and this year, it was the Health Justice Network, a non-profit group focused on addressing health disparities and access to quality healthcare services. As always, this event showcased the gastronomic talents of some of LA's most popular restaurants, as well as alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages from a bevy of leading purveyors.

California Science Center Wallis Annenberg Building Checking In Checking In Checking In

Fellow foodies in attendance included: Bill of Street Gourmet LA, Elise Thompson from LAist, Esther of e*star LA, Fiona of Gourmet Pigs, Helen of I'm Hungry and Proud of It (PbP Restaurant Relations crew), Hong and Kim of Ravenous Couple, Javier of Teenage Glutster, the generically-named Jen Lee, Jessica Ritz from LA Weekly and Ritz Bites, Jin of Love Me...Hate Me...Feed Me... (PbP Director of Events), actress Lynn Chen of The Actor's Diet, Nathan of The Chocolate of Meats, Oanh of It's More Than Just Eating (PbP Restaurant Relations crew), Tony of SinoSoul, and Vegas and Food.

Now on to the food...

Junior Sous Chef Daniel Bistro LQ Kalyn Hemphill
Sweet Pea Tapioca with Smoked Salmon Assorted Macarons
Tuile Cones with White Chocolate Ice Cream and American Caviar Tuile Cones with White Chocolate Ice Cream and American Caviar Tuile Cones with White Chocolate Ice Cream and American Caviar
Sweet Pea Tapioca with Smoked Salmon / Assorted Macarons / Tuile Cones with White Chocolate Ice Cream and American Caviar | Bistro LQ
The first table I hit up was Bistro LQ, a restaurant that also participated in Angeleno magazine's Chefs Night Out tasting two weeks back. At that event, LQ served up a duet of tapiocas: one with oyster, and one with uni and lobster. Here, we had smoked salmon and smoked haddock instead, paired with a pea-dill-mint-cream tapioca. I actually liked these better, with the bright, vegetal flavors of the pudding balancing the smoky brine of the fish beautifully. Sweet endings included a lovely trio of macarons (black sesame, strawberry, and green tea with red bean), as well as the infamous white chocolate ice cream cone topped with caviar.

Akira Hirose
Maison Akira chef/owner Akira Hirose laughs it up with a Bistro LQ staffer.

Oanh models the PbP staff member earpiece.

Kevin Meehan Pepper Crusted Yellow Fin Tuna, Sweet and Spicy Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes with Star Anise Essence
Pepper Crusted Yellow Fin Tuna, Sweet and Spicy Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes with Star Anise Essence | Café Pinot
Executive Chef Kevin Meehan from Café Pinot served up eminently spicy (I was still tasting the dish minutes later!) slices of lightly seared tuna, perked up by the inclusion of some sweetish cherry tomatoes. Nice!

Eater Eater

Erik Palmer Green Chili Burger Sliders, Roasted Poblano Chilies, Grated Sharp Cheddar
Green Chili Burger Sliders, Roasted Poblano Chilies, Grated Sharp Cheddar | La Grande Orange
La Grande Orange's Erik Palmer regaled us to no end with his American angus sliders, of which he prepared nearly 600 servings, apparently. Yet, they still sold out, and with good reason: juicy, succulent, savory beef, augmented by gooey cheddar, and countervailed by tart cuts of poblano chile and crisp lettuce. Simple, but effective.

Hong & Kim
The Ravenous Couple: I'd run into Hong before at the Angeleno event, but this was my first time meeting Kim.

Steven Christopher Liu
Stephen Christopher Liu, who heads up the invite-only travel site Privy, as well as the China-based embroidered patch manufacturer HPI Emblem Inc.

Chicken and Spicy Tuna Causas Mo-Chica Chica
Ricardo Zarate Anticucho
Causa / Anticuchos | Mo-Chica
Mo-Chica's Ricardo Zarate provided a trio of causas, which are a sort of Peruvian potato salad. Scallop, chicken, and spicy tuna versions were made, but by the time I rolled around, only the latter two were left. The tuna causa was about what you'd expect, with the spice of the fish tempered by the application of potato. The bird was more interesting; it was almost like a chicken salad--light, but with a marked chicken flavor, tempered by the application of microgreens. In addition, many of you will know that Zarate is planning another restaurant, once focused on skewered meats, or anticuchos. Tonight, he gave us a preview, delivering a delectable beef skewer, paired with a piquant, peppery sauce. In addition, the Chef will be rolling out a larger preview on August 24th at his pop-up concept Test Kitchen--better make your reservations soon!

Fiona enjoying some balls.

Please Enjoy Our Balls Hot As Balls Pandan Flan
Please Enjoy Our Balls Crispy Tofu Balls
Crispy Tofu Balls / Mini Pandan Flan | Starry Kitchen
One of the more popular booths was Starry Kitchen, perhaps due to the somewhat "unconventional" advertising antics of frontman Nguyen Tran (wife Thi Tran was back running the restaurant). Their tofu balls, though, did speak for themselves. Made of marinated ground corn and tofu, they're coated with buttermilk, rolled in naturally green glutinous rice, fried, topped with a spicy mayo sauce, and served with some shredded pickled veggies. They showed off a surprising interplay of spicy and savory flavors, with a lovely textural component as well.

Maison Akira Maison Akira
Crab Flan with Lobster Sauce Seared Albacore Tuna Sashimi with Soy Glaze, Japanese Eggplant Caviar and Mozuku Aspic
Seared Albacore Tuna Sashimi with Soy Glaze, Japanese Eggplant Caviar and Mozuku Aspic / Crab Flan with Lobster Sauce | Maison Akira
Maison Akira's crab flan was teeming with the sweet, briny essence of crab and lobster, though the dish was a bit heavy for me. The tuna sashimi, heightened by the application of mozuku (a type of seaweed), was more to my liking.

Nobu Miso Black Cod on Butter Lettuce
Miso Black Cod on Butter Lettuce | Nobu
Not unexpectedly, Nobu showcased its signature miso black cod. The fish was tasty as expected, with its weight nicely moderated by its lettuce wrap. Meanwhile, things were mixed up texturally by the crispy bits of rice.

Pomegranate Glazed Duck Meatballs, Parsnip Puree, Orange Essence
Pomegranate Glazed Duck Meatballs, Parsnip Puree, Orange Essence | Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale's
Amar Santana was serving some delectable duck meatballs. Awash in dark, duck-y savor, the meatball was nicely counterbalanced by the parsnip purée, though the orange essence had to be used in moderation, lest its sweetness overwhelm the duck.

Brent, Tracy
At this point, I ran into Brent Chuck, winner of my PbP ticket giveaway. He was accompanied by Tracy Lee, who just happens to be a friend of one of my USC classmates, DJ Cham. Small world!

New Style Hamachi Poke Forbidden Black Thai Rice Pudding
New Style Hamachi Poke / Forbidden Black Thai Rice Pudding | Roy's
I rather liked the yellowtail poke from Roy's, which had a great zest and acidity that superbly complemented the fish. Their rice pudding, which possessed an almost cloying sweetness, was less to my liking however.

La Cachette Bistro Volunteers
Chef James Endive Salad
Endive Salad / Provencal Tarts | La Cachette Bistro
Unfortunately, La Cachette had already run out of their Provençal tarts, though I did get to try their endive salad. Walnuts gave the salad a pleasant crunch and nutty relish, while the use of blue cheese added a certain weightiness to the dish.

Green Curry Chicken / Mitaki Vegetable with Tofu / Crying Tiger Beef Jitlada Volunteers
Green Curry Chicken / Mitaki Vegetable with Tofu / Crying Tiger Beef | Jitlada
Jitlada was hidden in a dark corner of the room, but managed to light things up with its bright, bold Thai flavors. The green curry was a nice mix of spicy, sweet, and creamy elements, all over a base of chicken, while the mitaki was light, crisp, and refreshing. Crying Tiger was much weightier dish, with tender cuts of beef drenched in a zesty marinade.

Oanh, Kevin, Helen
With Oanh and Helen, half of the PbP Restaurant Relations crew.

Grace, Taku Suzuki
Kushi Kara Spicy Tuna Dip on Crispy Rice Cracker
Kushi Kara / Spicy Tuna Dip on Crispy Rice Cracker | Musha
Taku Suzuki and PbP volunteer Grace were manning the Musha table. I tried their sake-, soy-, and apple juice-marinated tofu, flavored with kelp, shiitake, ginger, mirin, and garlic. I was getting a bit full by this point, so I didn't go for their spicy tuna, which I'd already had at my Halloween meal at Musha.

Char Siu Pork Croissant
Suzanne Tracht Lamb Curry Puff
Char Siu Pork Croissant / Lamb Curry Puff | Jar
Suzanne Tracht was serving her char siu pork croissants from Chefs Night Out, so I skipped them to save my appetite. I did, however, try her lamb curry puffs, which demonstrated a marked lamby relish, accented by strong, pungent notes of curry.

PbP Ice Sculpture
The requisite ice sculpture.

Moose, Eric Greenspan Albacore Tartare
Albacore Tartare | The Foundry on Melrose
Chef Eric Greenspan (the guy on the right--I was confused at first!) had a very "beefy" tasting albacore tartar...which turned out not to be albacore at all. Turns out the Chef was serving both tuna and beef tartars, but neglected to mention the latter on his placard--sneaky! Confusion notwithstanding, the meat was deftly offset by its multitude of tangy accoutrements, while the crisp chip provided some textural variation. Nice.

Damon Wise, Shannon Swindle, Anthony Zappola Peach Tart Tatin and Sauternes Sabayon
Liberty Farm Duck and Heirloom Melon Salad / Peach Tart Tatin and Sauternes Sabayon | Craft
The Craft table was helmed by Chef de Cuisine Anthony Zappola, Pastry Chef Shannon Swindle, as well as Corporate Executive Chef Damon Wise ("Tom Colicchio's right hand man"). I'd missed out on the duck, but I did get to try Swindle's peach tart tatin. We're talking classic flavors, but well executed; the unabashed sugariness of the peach was nicely foiled by the pastry, while the sabayon added a creamy counterpoint.

Fraiche Chefs Panna Cotta with Watermelon Soup
Salmon Tartare on a Potato Chip / Panna Cotta with Watermelon Soup | Fraiche
Unfortunately, I forgot to snap a photo of Fraiche's savory dish, a delightfully acidic salmon tartar. This, however, was made up for by their light, almost ethereal panna cotta, beautifully complemented by a watermelon soup.

Happy Guy, Brian Redzikowski Spot Prawn 'Cuban Style'
Spot Prawn "Cuban Style" | Thompson Beverly Hills
BondSt is no longer BondSt, but just the Thompson, though the hotel is working on a new name and concept. Swirl notwithstanding, Chef Brian Redzikowski provided a lovely presentation of spot prawn, paired with what I believe was a sweet corn soup.

Anthony Frunzi, Perfecto Rocher Perfecto Rocher Kampachi with Apple Arugula Avocado Foam and Shiso Flowers
Kampachi with Apple Arugula Avocado Foam and Shiso Flowers | The Blvd
Head Chef Perfecto Rocher and Restaurant Manager Anthony Frunzi were at the Blvd booth. Chef Rocher, who notably cooked at El Bulli, served up fresh and clean cuts of kampachi, which were beautifully dressed by a sweet-tangy apple-arugula-avocado foam.

One World Chefs Vegan Shrimp Spring Rolls & Vegan BBQ Drumsticks
Vegan Shrimp Spring Rolls & Vegan BBQ Drumsticks / One World Teriyaki Kabobs / Mini Vegan Cupcakes (Vanilla, Chocolate, Carrot) | One World
One World's vegetarian kabobs had been cleaned out when I got there. Their "shrimp" rolls, however, were a surprisingly good imitation of the real thing, as were the cupcakes. Unfortunately, their drumsticks weren't nearly as effective.

wilafur Tony
That's Chowhound's wilafur and Tony enjoying their veggie spring rolls.

Jimmy Wang
Confit Pork Belly / Maui Onion Mascarpone / Miso Scallop Mouse Profiteroles | Hot Stuff Cafe
Hot Stuff's chef/owner Jimmy Wang had very clearly run out of all three of his offerings. He did do a good job standing and looking pretty though!

Wokcano Chefs
Crispy Softshell Crab Hand Rolls | Wokcano
Wokcano was clean out, too. I heard that their crab rolls were good, though.

PbP Panoramic

And that's it for the food. Now for some miscellany:

Perfecto Rocher, Kalyn Hemphill, Anthony Frunzi Erik Palmer, Helen
Left: Blvd's Chef Perfecto Rocher and GM Anthony Frunzi with model Kalyn Hemphill. Right: LGO's Chef Erik Palmer with Helen.

Balls Balls
Brian Redzikowski and company take over the Starry Kitchen table.

Helen, Jin Esther, Kevin, Bill, Helen
PbP Director of Events Jin, PbP Restaurant Relations team member Helen, Esther, Bill, and yours truly.

Lina, Daniel, Helen Belle Hsu
Left: Lina, Bistro LQ Junior Sous Chef Daniel, Helen. Right: PbP Director of Marketing Belle Hsu.


Blogger gourmetpigs said...

I missed LGO's green chili burger, bummer! Though I've had it there before, so oh well. I also didn't try any of Jitlada's for fear I would need to down a pitcher of water after. No coverage of the after party that I missed?

Monday, August 16, 2010 1:19:00 AM  
Blogger terramassu said...

Your pictures capture the event well! Looking forward to reading more of your blog.

Monday, August 16, 2010 6:44:00 AM  
Blogger Ravenous Couple said...

now this is 360 degree coverage of the event! great panaramic shots.

Monday, August 16, 2010 9:10:00 AM  
Blogger nelehelen said...

Thanks for the great review and pictures! I barely ate anything, but I sure did drink a lot! :) I hope you had fun at the event AND the after-party.

Oh and the last picture, her name is not Lynn, it's Lina and she's just a friend of mine and not a PbP Steering Committee member.

Monday, August 16, 2010 9:13:00 AM  
Blogger stuffycheaks said...

Looks like a classy event, everyones dressed up! I'm intersested in trying Tracht's asian inspired dishes, still waiting for her to open Supreez..

Monday, August 16, 2010 9:39:00 AM  
Blogger sygyzy said...

Great post and photos as always. Two things I need to know

1. Is LA's food(ie) scene completely dominated by Asians?

2. That guy's name is really Brent Chuck? LOL.

Monday, August 16, 2010 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Fiona: Jitlada actually wasn't bad at all; they probably served some of their milder dishes, given the environment. As the for the afterparty, the activities there would not be suitable for this blog!

terramassu: Thanks! You were there I take it?

RC: More like 180-degree coverage. ;) Are you planning to write about the event?

Helen: Funny, cuz I barely drank anything, but I sure did eat a lot! I've updated the caption for Lina.

Stephanie: Definitely a classy event, which is a nice change of pace from the usual tasting events here in LA. I also found it interesting that Tracht was going Asian, but hopefully we'll here about Suzpree soon.

sygyzy: (1) Yes, you should know that by now. ;) (2) Brenton, actually, but Brent for short. ;)

Monday, August 16, 2010 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger EatTravelEat said...

Good to hear the tofu balls weren;t artifically colored which I thought so before! Other places should substitute green food coloring for Starry Kitchen's naturally green glutinous rice.

Haha...only place I've been to you mentioned in this post was Roys and that experience was so-so. Probably will visit Maison Akira someday...

Monday, August 16, 2010 2:22:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan Hazard said...

Great photos! Finally got my review up, was hoping to meet you there!

Monday, August 16, 2010 5:20:00 PM  
Blogger lynn said...

man, i thought i ate everything there but after seeing your post i realize there's some stuff i missed. i didn't get a chance to have any of craft's duck, either, and i sous chef'ed for them!

Monday, August 16, 2010 5:28:00 PM  
Blogger Charlie Fu said...

that's a whole lot of asians. I must be going to the wrong Charity food and wine events :D

Monday, August 16, 2010 5:53:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

nice report. i go to this event in LA and NYC every year when i'm in town. sad i couldn't make it this year.

Monday, August 16, 2010 6:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's not wilafur on your picture....

Monday, August 16, 2010 11:52:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

ETE: Maison Akira's not a bad choice in the Pasadena area; I actually went many years ago, when I was a budding foodie, before I even thought about blogging.

Nathan: Thanks--I thought that you were going to beat me to the punch on this one! BTW, Greenspan was serving both albacore and beef, though I must wonder why the beef wasn't mentioned on the sign.

Lynn: You couldn't have snuck a little bite of duck? ;)

Charlie: Seriously, I hadn't seen that many Asian hotties in a while.

David: This was my first time. Judging from the photos, how does the 2010 PbP compare to years' past?

Anon: That's what I was told by Tony (SinoSoul). I'll look into it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010 12:06:00 AM  
Blogger bagnatic said...

great looking event. *tears* to have missed it. looks like no one can escape your camera.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010 10:56:00 PM  
Blogger The Thirsty Pig said...

Excellent and complete post. Very nice pictures. Too bad I missed this year's event. Hopefully I can make it to next year.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010 9:30:00 AM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Amy: That's why they call me the paparazzi. ;)

Jimmy: Have you attended previous PbPs? Based on what you've seen here, how does this one compare?

Thursday, August 19, 2010 9:22:00 PM  

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