Sunday, December 08, 2013

LALovesPI (West Hollywood, CA)

#LALovesPI Tasting Benefit
8730 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Sun 12/08/2013, 05:10p-09:30p

This past Sunday, a number of the City's movers and shakers in the culinary and cocktail scenes convened at the newly-opened Church Key to support Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) relief efforts, raising funds for the Philippines-based anti-poverty organization Gawad Kalinga and its US subsidiary. Participants donated their time and product for the event, and thus 100% of the proceeds (over $10,000) went toward GK's Operation Walang Iwanan ("no one left behind"), which focuses on the provisioning of food and supplies, reconstruction of damaged areas, and relocation of displaced persons affected by the disaster. The event was the brainchild of Marian Bacol-Uba, Ken Baranda, Devon Espinosa, and Cari Hah, who put together the fundraiser in just a few weeks time.

Nate Oliver, Josh Goldman Joshua Goldman
Schlitz-ologist Nathaniel "Nate" Oliver (Harvard & Stone) does his best Asian impression, while Josh Goldman (Soigné Group) is clearly working on a beard of ZZ Top proportions.

Trilla for Manila #1
Josh made the highly aromatic Trilla for Manila (Altos reposado, Templeton rye, maraschino, Angostura), while Nate presented the only beer cocktail in the group, the prosaically-named, yet refreshing #1 (Schlitz, pineapple, Bénédictine, bitters, Becherovka).

Parmesan Dumplings in Broth Oxtail Stew Croquette with Peanut Butter Sauce
My first bites were Parmesan Dumplings in Broth from Steve Samson (Sotto) and a kare-kare-inspired Oxtail Stew Croquette with Peanut Butter Sauce from Kevin Luzande (Acabar).

Joey Bernardo, Jaymee Mandeville Joey Bernardo, Jaymee Mandeville
Joey Bernardo (Harvard & Stone) mixes it up with Jaymee Mandeville (Bacardi).

Jaquiri Honey Cebu-Boo Child
Both of 'em were rockin' Bacardi tonight, Jaymee with her tropical Jaquiri (Bacardi, jackfruit purée, lime) and Joey with his Honey Cebu-Boo Child (Bacardi, honey syrup, lemon juice, cherry bitters, mango/calamansi foam), which made great use of the bittersweet maraschino but which also should've just been named Honey Cebu Boo.

Lamb Belly Pork and Radish Mapo
Lamb Belly was probably the heartiest dish of the evening, while the Pork and Radish Mapo from Micah Wexler (Wexler's Deli) was a crowd-pleaser as well.

Ben Leipzig Scott, Andrei Kissin Noynoy's Last Drag
Assisted here by Ben Leipzig Scott (MessHall), Andrei Kissin (Rivera) created the very autumnal Noynoy's Last Drag (coconut palm sugar, tiki bitters, Evan Williams, atomized Batavia arrack, scorched cinnamon), named after President Benigno Aquino III of the Philippines.

Nick Meyer, Kiowa Bryan
Calamansi Love Ube-Bee I Like It Raw
Nick Meyer (all of Bill Chait's places basically) teamed up with Kiowa Bryan (Eveleigh) and gave us two drinks. First was the super citrus-y Calamansi Love (calamansi, lemon, Aviation gin, Thai chili, pamplemousse, dried mango), which was followed up by the almost dessert-y (think halo-halo) Ube-Bee I Like It Raw (ube, black peppercorn, falernum, Aviation gin, dry curaçao, egg white).

Coconut-Crusted Scallop Nitro Green Mango Shake
Ray Garcia (Fig) served up a dish of Coconut-Crusted Scallop, which I accompanied with the Nitro Green Mango Shake (Grey Goose La Poire, agave, lime, green mango, nutmeg) from Devon Espinosa (The Church Key).

In the kitchen
At this point, I was beckoned into the kitchen. Kris Morningstar (Ray's & Stark Bar) certainly looks content.

Devon Espinosa, Anabelle Espinosa, Kevin Luzande, Marian Bacol-Uba Bloggers (Aaron Tell)
Left: Devon and mom Anabelle Espinosa, along with event PR rep and co-organizer Marian Bacol-Uba.
Right: Gotta pose for the bloggers (conspicuously absent tonight: CoC).

Micah Wexler, Eric Greenspan Kevin Luzande, Marian Bacol-Uba
Left: Micah and Eric Greenspan (The Foundry) behind the pass.
Right: Kevin, looking gangsta with Marian.

Steven Fretz Pig Ear Cheetos with Avocado Mousse
Steven Fretz (The Church Key, Top Round) gleefully presented an order of his much bandied about Pig Ear Cheetos with Avocado Mousse.

Cari Hah, Dan Bayha Strawberry Kalamansi Caipirinha
Dan Bayha (The Church Key) backs up Cari Hah (Peking Tavern), adorable as ever with her Strawberry Kalamansi Caipirinha (Leblon cachaça, Giffard Fraises des Bois, kalamansi juice, lime juice, simple syrup, liquid nitro).

Marian Bacol-Uba Tony Olaes
At this point, we broke for a bit so that the participants could say a few words. Joined on stage by actor and co-MC James Kyson, Marian kicked things off by channeling her inner Mariah, then passed the mic over to Tony Olaes, Gawad Kalinga USA Chairman & CEO, who assured us that we were all Filipino tonight.

Steven Fretz Perry Cheung
Next up: Steven and Perry Cheung (Phorage).

Sally Camacho Mueller Kevin Luzande
The newly-married Sally Camacho Mueller (Pastry Chef, Jonathan Club) and Chef Kevin.

Eric Greenspan Ian Opina
Chef Greeny, raising an eyebrow The Rock style, alongside Ian Opina (Pastry Chef, The Church Key).

Devon Espinosa Andrei Kissin
One and a Half Filipinos: Devon and Andrei.

Silent Auction Leblon Gift Baskets
Some solid action over at the silent auction (which featured alotta booze); I ended up taking home a pair of Leblon gift baskets.

Sally Camacho Pandan Ice Cream, Dulcey Sweet Corn Pudding, Puffed Black Rice, Cashew Nougatine
Sally, semi-photobombed by Greeny, presents her Pandan Ice Cream, Dulcey Sweet Corn Pudding, Puffed Black Rice, Cashew Nougatine.

Nick Meyer
Caught purple-handed: Nick's sticky fingers were from working with ube, not getting busy with Grimace.

Ensaymada Sugar-Glazed Purple Potato Puffs
More desserts: a cheesy Ensaymada and some Sugar-Glazed Purple Potato Puffs.

The Church Key Dining Room
Back in the dining room...

Bottarga, Burrata, and Shiro Ebi
Bottarga, Burrata, and Shiro Ebi from Anthony Carron (800 Degrees), perhaps the most unconventional bites of the night.

Nathaniel Oliver, Josh Goldman Rachel Bennett, Cari Hah
Left: Nate and Josh in happier times.
Right: Cari and Leblon rep Rachel Bennett slangin'.

Devon Espinosa Marian Bacol-Uba
Left: Devon thanks the team for a job well done--all the people in the black shirts (donated by Pro Club Inc) were volunteers.
Right: A few final words from MC Marian (drop the mic).


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