Monday, August 30, 2010

Spam Spam Spam Spam

Tired of your Spam not falling into into lovely, even slices like you see in the ads? Sick of the hassle of pushing around that rusty old Spam knife? Well, have we got an answer for you! Worry no more! Call now to take advantage of this one-time offer!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Cake Divas Sugar Coats Rachel Rosenthal's Birthday

At performance art legend Rachel Rosenthal's birthday, Cake Divas set up a sugar-coated wonderland of candy and miniature goodies.

The red velvet mini-cupcakes were popular, but the teensy eclairs and chocolate petit-fours were swoon-worthy.

The cake was so perfect at first we thought it was a decoration. It was vegan for animal-lover Rachel.

Candy apples brought a lot of whimsy to the event

No one could keep their fingers out of the goodies

Pink champagne

Sexy cupcakes

Random chef

The birthday girl

Saturday, August 21, 2010

John and Elise's Wedding

A giant old Craftsman in Echo Park made a beautiful setting for John and Elise's wedding reception. Her dress was simple and elegant, the weather was beautiful and fun won out over stuffiness.

Inside the dining hall, the linens were gorgeous and reminiscent of New Orleans ironwork, as was the entertainment later in the evening.

A simple salad of mixed greens and edible flowers was topped with deep-fried goat cheese.

Then I stopped photographing food because it was a buffet, which never turns out pretty and I was having too much fun!

The March 4th Marching Band rocked the party

Friday, August 20, 2010

Chef Marilyn's Soul Food Express

It’s easy to find Chef Marilyn’s Soul Food. Just head south off the 10 at Crenshaw and look for the line that stretches out the door from 10:30am to 9pm. It’s easy to be tempted away by the smoke from Phillips Bar-B-Que, but Chef Marilyn’s has a line for a reason. Advertising “99-cents and up”, the tiny cafeteria-style eatery sells food a la carte (or a la Chinese buffet). The prices range from 99 cents for dishes like lima beans, neck bones and links to $8 for oxtails. There is also a location on Pico.

The menu rotates, with check marks on the chalkboard next to items in that day's hot buffet. Know what you want and don’t dawdle. Service is friendly, but there are 15 people behind you. You pay the cashier at the end, just like at a cafeteria. The next thing you know, the line moves you right on out the door. This is a place to pick up your plate and go home, or enjoy it on the hood of your car. Remember, there is no shame in eating on your bumper.

Chef Marilyn was brought up in Louisiana on creole and Cajun food. It especially shows in her cornmeal-crusted catfish, perhaps their best dish. With main dishes, you can't go wrong with anything smothered or fried. Some people go crazy for the meatloaf, but I haven't tried it myself. I always order the catfish; it's so good I could eat myself to death like a goldfish and float up to the top of the fishbowl.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pizza Fries!!!!

Unbeknownst to many Angelenos, the East coast has been holding out on us. Philly, Jersey and New York all enjoy the wonder of Pizza Fries. Why didn't we think of it? It seems so obvious now. I have hunted for Pizza Fries here in LA to no avail. Philly's Best just poured Cheese Wiz on the fries, which made me very sad.

South Street on Victory in Burbank (the Westwood location is now closed, though they are sold at Dodger Stadium) doesn't have Pizza Fries on the menu, but they do have a "top your own fries" option and are willing to go off the list and give you whatever you want. Finally, Pizza Fries are mine!

Local entertainment moguls Mitchell Goldman and Robert "Smitty" Smith used to commiserate over the lack of decent cheesesteaks in LA. They finally decided to stop complaining and open up South Street, which is admittedly authentic. Besides Philly steaks, pizza, and hoagies, they also sell "Water Ice", a kind of Italian ice slushee, and Tastycakes.

The Amoroso rolls are flash-frozen in Philly and finished in South Street's oven. They come out soft and a little chewy, just like in Philadelphia. They use rib-eye and chop the meat, two more of my criteria.

The only place they veer off the standard is that they use a blend of white American and Provolone. A strict Wiz vs. Provolone is the usual policy (Wiz is offered for an additional buck). But you can't really taste the difference in the Provolone mix with the meat, onions and peppers fist-pumping in your mouth.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Top Five from LA Food Fest

Better late than never...

1. Ta Bom's croquettes coxinha, filled with chicken and cream cheese

2. Jalisco's shrimp tacos, a crowd and judge favorite - deep-fried and flavorful. it's the only thing that made me eat two

3. Crepe'n Around's short rib crepes

4. The eternal favorite, the grilled cheese truck's short rib and mac n cheese sandwich

5. Last but not least, the amazing roti with beef randang, which I haven't had outside of Toronto

6. OK, I had to add one especially for newcomer Rosa's arancini

Oh, and Manila Machine's pork belly adobo, and Gastrobus' fruit salad..and...and

Sunday, August 8, 2010

LA Food Fest Winners!

 The LAFF event at the Rose Bowl wasn't just a foodie wonderland, it was also a contest! Judges included Susan Feniger, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Chef Walter Manzke, Jesse Williams, Rene Lynch of the LA Times, and blogger Bill Esparza. I saw some of the judges picking around station to station, and others collecting big boxes of food to take back to the judge's table. 

Susan was doing double duty, with a booth for Border Grill. But she is always happy to smile for me. I must have more pictures of her now than some people have of their grandchildren.

Best Nouveau - Sedthee Thai's Pork Sparerib
Sedhee had at least three offerings - when I hit their table they were serving up noodles in a delicious peanut sauce, some with shrimp, or sans meat. They definitely went all out with the decorations, beautiful serving ware, and delicious food. Big thumbs up!

Runner Up - Manila Machine's Pork Adobo
I have to admit that I thought the pork belly adobo and stunningly greaseless lumpia were my top bites. I hope my sister-in-law doesn't read this, but they were the best lumpia I have ever eaten.

Best Old School - Chef Robert Dahni's Explosive Thai Bites
Sadly, I missed out on these. Sometimes you just can't eat everything.

Runner Up - Tamales Elena
This was a delicious surprise, since I always hear about these tamales at the Tamale Festival in El Indio (But it's too damn hot in Indio to actually go there, even if they do have camel races). Elena's tamale did not have a filling; it was like a sweet corn tamale with a light strawberry flavor. The texture was light and fluffy with no trace of grittiness.

The Sweet Tooth - Munchie Machine's PB&J S'Mores
There was a point in the day when I was trying to rush out by sneaking behind the booths. I was handed one of their veggie sandwiches out the back of the booth, and it was delicious. Next time on the S'mores.

Runners Up - Scoops Westside & Vintage Longboards
Again, I missed Scoops. I did hang out a little bit with the Longboards guys as they celebrated selling out their whole inventory. The chocolate-covered ice cream on popsicle sticks did look amazing.

Best in Show - Mariscos Jalisco's Shrimp Tacos
These old-school deep-fried tacos were delicious. It was the only thing that made me eat two. I think the shrmp inside were breaded and deep-fried before being sealed in a tortilla like an empenada and deep-fried. They were then topped with salsa and avocado slices at the perfect stage of ripeness.

Best Original Showmanship - Starry Kitchen's Crispy Tofu Balls
This category was added at the last minute especially for Nguyen Tran from Starry Kitchen. He told me his house is even listed on Yelp!

The People's Choice Award goes to...Starry Kitchen & Mariscos Jalisco!

So the judges weren't far off the people's palates. But I have a few more favorites of my own to talk about next time...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Photographing the LA Food Fest: The LIST

Oh my God! LA Food Fest was car-a-zay! Imagine the length of a football field length of food. Twice. It was seriously an entire football field! The Rose Bowl, which is seriously hard to find for such a famous place, was filled with food, food, food.

I suppose they couldn't drive the trucks onto the field, but it had a side-effect of them being able to fit way more food into the Bowl. The LAisters were there, Lindsay, Zach, Koga and Julie. Plus my other blog pals. I missed Tien, unfortunately. But I was on a mission. I was going to get my pictures if it killed me. Instead of flitting around drinking and chatting, I was going to get photos of every single booth on the West side of the field. If it killed me.

Val, from

When I work a big event, I have a secret list I need to fulfill before I can relax. A list of photos that I think makes for a complete event. After the food, which is the most important, I want pictures of pretty girls.

Second, cute kids (and I always ask the parents for permission to post the pic, even when I have to chase them all the way across the field)

Famous chefs

Susan Feniger

Fred Eric? Shenanigans! You don't have a truck!

Then my secondary goals are:

People serving the food

Cooking the food

And enjoying the food.

Reallyyyyy enjoying the food

And if there is liquor, an attractive bartender either shaking or pouring. Especially if his name is Julian or Michel

Done! Everything else is just cake, but I try to get the ambiance, people hamming it up, and other random activities

Longboards celebrating their sell-out

And if I can manage it, a sneaky picture of the breast of a certain friend who shall remain nameless

 Of course there is always one fatal flaw, like this delicious finger sandwich

So how was the rest of the food? Where is all the delicious food porn? Just you wait!