Thursday, September 23, 2010

Blogger Prom 2010 at Yamashiro

Faithful readers may be wondering where Kiki Maraschino has been lately. Just the usual really, living a life of glamour and intrigue. Last night we attended the Blogger Prom soiree at Yamashiro above the glittering lights of Hollywood. Yamashiro, set on the hill above The Magic Castle is so glam The L Word used it for Jenny's movie premiere, and we all know what a diva she was.

I wore a metallic knee-length dress and my favorite long burgundy smoking jacket. Bob told me I looked like movie theater curtains. I had my hair done in waves at Frenchy's salon. It was serendipitous that I had found a top hat at It's a Wrap the week before made with a fur felt, such a score. I returned for a cummerbund and white tux scarf later. Super dapper.

I chose to bring my little point-and-shoot and not to bring my heavy camera. It seems that there was a ghost following me around all night jumping into all of my pictures, so thank goodness for ace photographer Heather Kincaid, who took all of these gorgeous black and white pics. This is the Committee, who put on one hell of a party. Shout out Lindsay! Caroline! HC! Esther! And all the Superbloggers!

Passed hors d' ouvres and a taco station were provided by Yamashiro's Chef Brock, whose fish is just slammin'.

They offered our favorite, ahi sashimi on a tortilla chip as well as charred albacore on a crisp. Also passed were ribs, chicken skewers coated in crushed rice cakes, and salad on a skewer. Figure that one out. Too bad the ghost got in the way.

The tacos were Cabernet and soy-braised short rib, a very meaty Miso-sake black cod, Hoison smoked duck confit with black plum salsa, and the special, Klewno Farms with maple-black pepper aioli. smoked sausage.

But have we mentioned the drinks? We started out with Dalmore Whisky. The bar served up a variety of drinks, including Pinky Vodka's  Pinky Confidential created by Natalie (a.k.a The Liquid Muse).

Pinky Confidential

2 ounces Pinky vodka

1 ounce Chambord

1 ounce fresh lemon juice

½ ounce simple syrup

½ ounce egg white (optional & NOT used in the bloggerprom version)

Powdered sugar (for garnish)
Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Dry shake for 15 seconds. Add ice, shake again. Strain into a powder sugar-rimmed martini glass.Then there was Cabana Cachaca, used to make caprinhas, which is where I went astray.

The Cheese Godess, umm I mean, The Cheese Impresario (she is a goddess to meeee) was there, but I missed out on Cheese SEX!!!! Grrr. I chatted her up and may just follow her around one day. Seriously, this woman knows her cheese.

Coolhaus was on hand, and there is nothing more VIP than eating Coolhaus without waiting in line! I tried the green tea and went bonkers for the salted caramel.

There were also yummy Sprinkles cupcakes!

The set-up was well thought-out, with tables scattered around the space. It seemed like we were always in transit. There were a lot of people I wanted to chat with, but we were being pulled this way and that way as everyone alternately craved ice cream, tacos or more drinks. Fun to hang with Joz, trying to get her name projected on her face...

The ultracool Julie and ice man Michel

Real women aren't aghast at wearing similar dresses. They celebrate it!

What else? There was a table for Beer Chicks, Y Drive LA, an amazing idea finally here from Europe where sober drivers arrive on fold-up scooters, stick them in your trunk, and drive you home. Lots of people push it and don't call taxis because they don't want to leave their cars behind. Y Drive leaves your car safely at home and gets you safely to bed! There was also a raffle table and a display for the official charity, Operation Frontline, for which Blogger Prom raised over $2,000,

The official prom queen (ahem) leading lady was JozJozJoz, and the "leading man" was Neil of "Food Marathon".

I apologize to everyone who was obliterated by the ghost.

...AND it was a full moon! well, a waxing gibbous moon anyways...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cacao: Are You Game?

With beloved eateries like Casa Bianca Pizzaria and Oinkster, Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock is quickly becoming "home to all things delicious." One restaurant at East LA Meets Napa had served wild boar tacos -- and I missed it. So it was like instant karma when I met a friend for lunch at CaCao in Eagle Rock. What was that on the menu? Wild boar! This was the place. Colorado Boulevard scores again.

Other exciting items on the menu are duck confit, venison, and huitlacoche. For those new to huitlacoche, it it commonly referred to as "corn smut". It is a fungus that grows on corn and is a delicacy, like truffles. Some diners may turn up their nose at something called "smut", but remember where mushrooms grow compared to pristine corn cobs.

Cacao's duck confit is defined by Jonathan Gold and more of a confit-carnitas hybrid. The rich meat is succulent, and probably makes for the best taco. The boar chorizo is ground, dark and nicely charred. The char mixes with an intense flavor that only vaguely hints at pork. Tacos are also an ideal vehicle for venison. The combination of gaminess and sweetness in the meat can be slightly offputting. But the smoky salsa dominates any funkiness.

CaCao allows you to choose your vehicle, and I also chose quesedillas for the huitlacoche. It was a perfect match. The cheese softened the earthiness of the smut without overwhelming the smoky corn flavor. In a taco, served with green salsa and cotija cheese, the woodsiness is more pronounced.

If duck confit is too intense for a burrito, try the chicharron de pato, or fried duck skin. Mixed in with a bean and rice burrito, the rich, crunchy bits are sublime. Other intriguing house specialties are cochinita pibil, "smoked pork in achiote and citrus", and tocino enchochocolatado "house cured bacon, salsa de cacao, crema, bean puree, serrano chiles with a handmade flour tortilla". That's right, bacon and chocolate.

Vegetarians are not ignored, but are pampered. Besides the usual cheese dishes plus calabacitas and nopales, CaCao offers squash blossoms, hibiscus blossoms, portobello mushrooms and the swoon-worthy huitlacoche.

In addition to their regular menu, CaCao offers happy hour and weekly specials. This week the special was rabbit in a sauce of orange and pomegranite. The fruit brought out the sweetness in the meat and made it very juicy.

The CaCao comes into play with their hot chocolates, with ingredients like cinnamon, almonds, chiles and chamomile. The menu runs the gamut from street food like our favorite bacon-wrapped hot dogs, to modern snacks like mole fries all the way uptown with filet mignon. In spite of the exotic and the upscale, I will probably return for the pinches nachos. With a name like that, they must be good.

The room is brightly painted and casual. Order at the counter and grab a table. They also have a deli where you can grab some chile rellenos to go, and a small selection of Mexican imports.

They are closed Mondays. Check out their website for hours, which vary throughout the week.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Chicken in a Can

We eat chicken in a can, just like tuna, but for some reason I found this can really disturbing. ONE WHOLE chicken. Do you open it up and pull out a whole chicken? If it said entire chicken it would have a different meaning. This implies you get beak, feet and all. Well, except for the giblets.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Oreo Pancakes!!!

Burbank is rife with coffee shops, yet somehow good food manages to elude them. At least Frank's makes real milkshakes from real ice cream, but I'm still pissed off that the attached motel tore down the zigzag Googie roof. And don't even get me started on the Coral Cafe and Lancers, where the customers all look like Ralph Steadman drawings.

Then Bea Bea's opened this year to save our mornings. There is no other place to hit for breakfast brunch, or even lunch anymore. Sure, we still go to Porto's for takeout, but for a delicious and comfortable sit-down breakfast, Bea Bea's has stolen our hearts away.

Service runs the gamut from shy and unobtrosive to friendly and flamboyant, but always competent.In spite of its location next to the pet shop, Bea Bea's manages to eke out a little style with its hip 70s surf color palette and geometric chairs. In fact, the chairs are so simple and square they kind of remind me of Barbie or Lego chairs blown up to human proportions. 

The extensive menu hits on the usual morning fare, scrambles, omelettes, and pancakes. And then Bea Bea's takes it one step beyond. The "Volcano Scramble" mixes in chicken-tequila sausage, ortega chiles, jalapenos, cilantro, tomato, tortilla strips, avocado, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, sour cream and tomatillo sauce. The make-your-own omelettes can be made with dozens of fillings, and the pancakes are lip-smacking, tooth-rotting sweet.

Be careful bringing children here because they will be bouncing around the room all day after one of these concoctions. The "Piggie Delight" crepe combines ham and chocolate chips. Yes, really. The enormous "Going Bananas" waffle include bananas, Oreos and peanut butter with chocolate chips and vanilla ice cream. The "Crunchy Cornflakes" is french toast dipped in cornflakes and almonds.

But the breakfast that makes me scream for it in the night is the "Just for You Pumpkin" pancakes topped with a pumpkin cream cheese marmalade and whipped cream. Another favorite is "Jacinda's First Blush", eggs any style with strawberry french toast, bacon and breakfast potatoes. 

 The french toast is very thick and could be improved by being soaked a little longer to moisten deeper inside. Eaten cold out of the fridge in the middle of the night, though, the french toast seems just right.

The benedicts are another area where Bea Bea excels. The ham is thicker than thick. Only once did a dining partner send back their eggs because they felt the white was runny. "The Crab Cake Benedict" and "Eggs Florentine" were also popular amongst fellow diners. Seriously, check out how thick this ham is.

The restaurant is open until 4pm and also has a complete lunch menu. Besides your wraps, salads and sandwiches, Bea Bea's also served pastas and burritos. The burgers are massive and you can even order them rare. The tuna salad is popular. The spicy tuna wrap is seriously spicy.

There are a number of veggie items and lots of tofu on the menu. Whether or not they are vegan friendly is unclear, but probably so. They do have three different kinds of iced tea, so they seem to be all about promoting choice.

Be prepared for sticker shock. The average price is $10, averaging around $35 for two after drinks and tip, a bit much for breakfast. But considering the massive servings, you can always split a dish or take half home for later. Once you have eaten their pancakes, no price is too high.

The whimsical names on the menu, the ultra-clean hotel style restrooms and fine decor hint at a feminine hand. True to the subtle hints, there is a Bea Bea who runs the coffeeshop. She got her experience at her sister's popular restaurant, CiCi's Cafe in Tarzana. There are more sisters in the family, so let's keep our fingers crossed.

Oh, and don't forget to order a honey latte.