Just a quick correction.. When I mentioned courgette/zucchini shavings in the salad below, I meant ribbons. Same concept with the veg peeler but resulting in thin, beautiful strips. Will post photos soon. Otherwise check out the link to Giada’s recipe below!
Archive for June, 2010
This is a very delayed post, but (as I was reminded by my good friend Ana) I have forgotten to mention the last adventure in Arizona. Ana came to visit me there in the beginning of May before we drove to LA (where I flew to the UK, and she flew back to NY). We didn’t have too much time to explore, so we decided Scottsdale was the main area she needed to see.
We started off in Chandler and took some back routes up through the Arcadia area and ended up by the Scottsdale Waterfront. We were getting a little hungry, so we decided to stop for a ‘snack’ at The Culinary Dropout. We needed to kill some time before we attempted to hike up Camelback Mountain and give ourselves a little fuel as well. We ended up sharing a light salad and some ridiculous pork ribs. I’m really sad we didn’t have the time/appetite to stay for a full meal because this place did not disappoint. Culinary Dropout is actually one of the new concepts started by the Fox Restaurant Group. It’s the first gastropub in Arizona whose food scene is slowly becoming more well known. There’s even a celebrity chef on Food Network who is an executive chef in Arizona! (Beau MacMillan, co-judge on Worst Cooks in America, Exec Chef at Elements at the Sanctuary in Scottsdale)
But back to the food! We started with the Artichoke Salad with asparagus, endive and parmesan. This salad turned out to be one of the most refreshing salads I have ever had. As you can see in the photo, it included artichoke hearts, frisee, a little radicchio, zucchini/courgette shavings, chives, parmesan and it was dressed in a very light lemon vinaigrette. Of course, this salad was especially perfect sitting in the hot Arizona sun. But I recreated a version of it here in England and it was just as refreshing. When I did my version, I blanched some fresh (in season) asparagus, made courgette shavings (super easy with a veg peeler) and served it on a bed of mixed greens. For the dressing, I just mixed fresh lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and finished it all off with fresh parmesan. You will LOVE this salad I promise!
The funny thing is I just remembered a Giada (Food Network) episode I saw once where she made zucchini shavings, and I’ve just found the recipe. And guess what – it’s almost exactly what you see/read above. Here’s the recipe link anyway!
Now the ribs… So as you’ve read before, my Dad is quite the grill master/cook. He’s also in love with his giant smoker. Not only are my Dad’s steaks amazing, but his ribs.. mmm.. crispy, moist, tangy. As much as I love my Dad’s ribs, the ribs at Culinary Dropout were THE best I have.ever.had. They even beat what I had at the BBQ Festival! Maybe it was the jalapeno, molasses marinade/sauce. Or maybe they just cooked it for longer. All I know is that this meat not only fell off the bone instantly but was also flaky and moist. The flavor was the perfect balance of sweetness, spicy-ness, tangy-ness. Now I am no girly-girl when it comes to eating ribs. I have no shame in getting in there and licking my fingers throughout. But the meat was SO tender on these, it all came off in one bite! Mmm I can’t think about them for too long because I’m pretty certain I won’t be able to find anything like that in the UK. That means it will be a very long time before I get ribs like these again. But here’s a photo for you to enjoy!
I have some serious backlog of posts I have to sort, so stay tuned for lots more to come!
As promised, below are photos from the Fashion Feast Gala in Vegas on May 8th – the final evening event of the 4th Annual Vegas Uncork’d (presented by Bon Appetit). As a “delicious evening of style and taste”, Fendi provided the style and Bellagio restaurants provided the taste. The restaurants represented at the event included:
- Olives – provided oyster hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. Chef Owner Todd English and Executive Chef Jaime Mendoza were on hand as well.
- Picasso – served the first course of Maine Lobster Salad Salpicón with tropical fruit, green apple and champagne vinaigrette. AAA Five Diamond Award winner and Executive Chef Julian Serrano introduced his dish on stage. When we said hello to him before dinner started, he insisted I take a photo of him and my mother
- Le Cirque – served the second course of Diver Sea Scallops “Black Tie” with Périgourdine sauce. Also a AAA Five Diamond Award winner, Executive Chef David Werly took the stage to speak about his dish.
- Michael Mina – provided the third course of Poached Breast of Squab “Bastilla” with spring peas, carrots and spiced jus. As a AAA Four Diamond Award Winner, Executive Chef Marc St. Jacques introduced his dish.
- Prime Steakhouse – finished with the final course of Kobe Strip Steak. Also a AAA Four Diamond Award Winner, Executive Chef Sean Griffin wrapped up the evening.
- The host for the evening was Bon Appetit‘s Editor-in-Chief Barbara Fairchild. The co-Masters of Ceremony were Bon Appetit‘s Executive Chef Cat Cora and Olympian American figure skater Johnny Weir.
- Sadly we didn’t make it to the dessert reception, but there were Fendi bags made entirely of chocolate!
Overall it was a beautiful event in one of the Bellagio ballrooms. However, I think I prefer events like The Grand Tasting where it’s more informal and you have such a wide variety of food and restaurants to try. Below are photos from the evening. Hope you enjoy!(CLICK FOR MORE…)
This is a very delayed post, but over Mother’s Day weekend last month I was fortunate enough to attend the Vegas Uncork’d event in Las Vegas, hosted by Bon Appetit Magazine. I attended the Grand Tasting on the Friday eve at Caesar’s and the Fashion Feast Gala Saturday eve at the Bellagio. Both events were so impressive but also very different.
The Grand Tasting, as you can probably guess from its name, was a very large spread at the Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis at Caesar’s. There were over 75 chefs representing more than 50 of the famous restaurants in Las Vegas plus over 100 wines and spirits from around the world. I’m sorry to say but it definitely kicked Arizona/New York/and London’s food festivals out of the water. Here’s a list of the highlights from the event that made it such an unforgettable experience:
- THE SET-UP : The organizers for this event did such a great job ensuring that the many restaurant booths and lounges were spread out and accessible to everyone. There weren’t that many places to sit or tables to stand at, but it didn’t feel like an issue. Also, it was great that food and beverages were mixed so the lines were spread out.
- THE FEE : In addition, the event had a flat fee which meant you did not have to buy additional ‘food or beverage’ tickets like many food festivals do. Even though the entrance fee was much higher, it meant the lines were much shorter and you were therefore able to visit more booths.
- THE CHEFS : Bon Appetit really delivered and there were several famous chefs actually making and/or serving food at their booths including Cat Cora (Exec Chef for Bon Appetit), Bobby Flay, Charlie Palmer, Jean-Philippe Maury and many more. As the event began to wind down, I saw many of the chefs going around to other restaurants and sampling their competition. It was really fun to see them socializing and also the camaraderie/respect shown amongst the chefs. Every chef we spoke to was extremely nice and enthusiastic about the event (especially Cat Cora!).
- THE DRINKS : Again Bon Appetit delivered in regards to the variety of wine, beer, champagne and spirits at the event. The only downside was that when they gave you your plastic wine glass at the entrance, they failed to tell you that you had to hold on to that glass. After awhile it was a fight to find clean glasses, but we managed.
- THE FOOD : The most important point of course! The food was, of course, delicious. It was such a treat to have samples from some of my favorite Vegas restaurants and also to try ones I’ve never been to. I tried my best to keep track of what I was eating from where, but it was excitement overload for me as you can imagine. Some highlights include the miso-glazed cod from Nobu, the signature Artichoke and Black Truffle Soup from Guy Savoy and the brown-sugar brined pork chop with Black Mission fig-Bourbon barbecue sauce from Country Club.
Now here are some photos from the Grand Tasting for you to enjoy. Apologies for some of the blurriness and poor lighting. I tried my best to take photos and eat at the same time!
(CLICK FOR MORE…)
An article was published over the weekend on NYTimes.com regarding recent campaigns on salt –
As you may have noticed over the past few years, there has been lots of buzz over “newly discovered” super foods. Coincidentally, availability of these super foods has dramatically increased. Of course there are foods that were already available like blueberries, but now things like acai and goji berries are more widely known. It’s not just the occasional infomercial selling them either. They’re in smoothies (ex: Jamba Juice) or Starbucks stores or trail mixes and of course health shops (ex: GNC).
Alternatively, there’s also been news on what’s harmful to us as well. Trans fats have become enemy #1 to the extent that many US cities now ban all use of trans fat. This especially hit the fast food industry although I’m not sure what the financial impact has been. Another public enemy has become salt which studies have linked to high blood pressure. Of course the expectation is that there would be pressure on food producers and restaurants to reduce their use of salt. But it’s not as simple as, for example, reducing sugar usage by replacing it with artificial sweeteners. The article discusses this point in more detail, but what I find interesting is the difference between countries regarding food campaigns such as this.(CLICK FOR MORE…)