Planned Parenthood LA 2013 – March 7, 2013 – Santa Monica Civic Auditorium – Go!

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Leave it to my favorite food event in Los Angeles to get me to blog for myself again!

Anyways, yup, it’s about that time of year again. This is one of the few food events that I actually endorse. Why? Because well, there are A LOT of people that depend on Planned Parenthood for their free or low-cost birth control. At least, in the part of town that I grew up in where that kinda was the only option. Though, even though their services help so many, they are still demonized somehow and need all the support they can get.

As always, this lineup of restaurant and chefs that are participating is bad ass, including AOC, Craft, Rivera and the rising star, Superba Snack Bar.

I’ll be there covering the event. They’re having two sessions, an afternoon session and an evening one, so no excuses!

For ticket information, check out their website.

Get full and faded at East L.A. Meets Napa 2012! (Union Station, July 20, 2012 6:00 PM)

It’s about that time of year! Yup, East L.A. Meets Napa is this Friday and the tickets are going fast, well, I’m guessing they are, the event always runs out of food early every year.

It’s definitely among the most unique food events in Los Angeles, it sounds exactly as the title implies: East L.A. (the Chicano elite and the restaurants in the Eastern Los Angeles where they like to eat at) meets Napa (Latino-owned vineyards in North California).

It takes place in the pretty cool, low-pro courtyard outside of Union Station and there is usually a “Latin” band to accompany, complete with a waxed dance floor. If anything, just go to witness the spectacle of buzzed veteranos in guayaberas at a food event.

I’ve been covering the event for the last few years, here are some past links on Teenage Glutster so you can know what to expect.

East L.A. Meets Napa 2011

East L.A. Meets Napa 2010

East L.A. Meets Napa 2009

Ahí nos vemos!

Eater Young Guns 2012 Event at The London Hotel Rooftop

Eater revealed their “Eater Young Guns Class of 2012” yesterday, a selection of “the most promising newbies in food, wine and hospitality, as selected by industry leaders.”

Wow, it’s about damn time an event like this happened.

young guns in L.A.
editor in chief of eater national

“We often hear of the successes of José Andrés and Michael Voltaggio but we never hear of the younger cooks who work alongside them, this event celebrates them” said Raphael Brion, editor of Eater National. The 2012 Eater Young Guns Official Selection Committee was pretty fierce, consisting of such big hitters as José Andrés actually and Suzanne Goin. There were 50 finalists but only 16 winners.

And it was pretty cool, Eater celebrates in style, as apparent by their selection of the freaking rooftop at The London as the official venue for the event. I guess the extreme luxury lifestyle phenomena associated in modern youth culture (looking at you YOUNG MONEY CASH MONEY BILLIONAIRES) is also pretty big in the food industry, YOUNG MONEY CASH MONEY CHEFS?

Some of the winning chefs were flown in from around the country to share their fresh techniques and chaste egos. In particular, Angela Majko of Uchiko in Austin, Jeremiah Langhorne of McCrady’s in Charleston, Matthew Rudofker of Momofuku Ssam Bar NYC and some other guy with a beard who was serving a salty ass vegetable tart.

shrimp on a stick
Pickled shrimp on a stick by Jeremiah Langhorne at Mccrady’s
wild forested mushrooms
Morels, foraged in Charleston North Carolina and prepared by Jeremiah Langhorne

Of course, there were some home grown budding cooks and food people properly representin’ too.

jamon de bellota
dazzling cheese board

Alex Brown, General Manager at Gourmet Imports was rolling deep with some hardcore cheese and meat bling, his cheeseboard was probably worth more than my scooter and my rent for the next half-year. Complete with a whole fucken shoulder of Jamón ibérico de Bellota and five nameless cheeses whose smell I still can’t wash off from my hands.

ink's salmon

Cole Dickinson of Ink showed up with his interpretation of BBQ salmon, meaning cured salmon with BBQ powder and corn chips that required five different steps to make. Complicatedness seemed to be the prevailing element through out the event, there was a sous vide machine tucked away at a corner of Jeremiah Langhorne Mccrady’s booth, god bless that competitive youthful spirit.

All in all, the event was a success, despite the selective invite list that excluded the usual L.A. food communicator suspects but rich in L.A. restaurant P.R. peeps, meaning mostly L.A. stereotype-standard blondes and people in designer clothing.

A nameless cook from Ink said it best as most of the beautiful people walked straight by their welcoming booth without even looking at their offering, “Yeah, it seems like everyone is coming just to hang out and not actually eat.”

I did find it kind of odd that this was also the first food event that still had food flowing until the last minute too. And then people wonder why the L.A. dining scene is never taken as serious as other U.S. food metropolises.

Nonetheless, congrats to all the young guns! Perhaps one day there will be a Young Guns “Food Writing Edition” or something…be still my heart, that day will come soon.

33rd Annual Planned Parenthood Los Angeles Food Fare 2012 happening this Thursday

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Living in East Los Angeles for the later half of my life, I’ve seen a lot of my friends unexpectedly become baby daddies. At the same time, I have also seen a lot of my friends benefit from the free services at Planned Parenthood and not become baby daddies. It sucks that current conservative politicians want to cut funding to the organization because they say that no tax money should go to an organization that “perform abortions.” Although, by law, federal funding can not be allocated for abortions. Planned Parenthood sources its funding for abortions by private donors such as The Justice Fund and The Abortion Fund (as stated on their website).

With this nonsense controversy, such event is an important fundraiser for this organization. Join some of the best restaurants in L.A. support this cause too.

(taken from PPLA Food Fare 2012 press release)

More than 150 of Los Angeles’ best restaurants, caterers, wineries, florists and entertainers will gather at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on Thursday, March 8th for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles’ (PPLA) renowned annual Food Fare event.

What began in 1979 with a cooking demonstration by Julia Child, has become the oldest and most celebrated
culinary event in Los Angeles. Food Fare 2012 offers guests a rare opportunity to sample the finest food and drink
the city has to offer, all in one place. Some of the participating restaurants include: A.O.C., Ammo, Waterloo and
City, Angelini Osteria, Church and State, Salt’s Cure, Drago Central, Clementine, Public Kitchen and Bar, Tavern, Craft and Lucques as well as some of the city’s most popular Food Trucks, including The Border Grill Truck and The Grilled Cheese Truck. Food Fare is an opportunity for food-lovers, Planned Parenthood supporters and the general public to sample the finest food and drink that L.A. has to offer, all in one place.

Food Fare will also feature a raffle, wine, online and live auction with items ranging from dream vacations to Paris and Telluride to unique entertainment experiences, plus much more.

For the third year, Food Fare is honoring one of its participating chefs as Planned Parenthood’s Chef of the
Year. This year, PPLA is pleased to announce Suzanne Goin, chef and owner of AOC, Lucques and Tavern as
PPLA’s Chef of the Year. “It is truly an honor to be named as Chef of the Year! Planned Parenthood provides an
invaluable service to the people of Los Angeles and I am so proud to once again be part of this wonderful event”, said Suzanne Goin.

In addition to gourmet delectables and unique offerings at Food Fare, fantastic libations participants like The Beer
Chicks’ Beer Garden hosted by Beer Sommeliers Christina Perozzi & Hallie Beaune, Rosenthal Vineyards and
Summerland Winery will be pouring their latest bottles. VeeV Açai Spirit and Champagne Piper Heidsieck will also
be pouring as the exclusive VIP spirit and champagne sponsors. In addition, Food Fare attendees will find an
astounding array of culinary gifts, home accessories, jewelry, handbags, cashmere wraps, throws, and pillows all for purchase, many of which cannot be found in traditional stores.

In honor of Food Fare 2012, Velvet by Graham and Spencer has created three limited edition tee shirts
(available in women’s, men’s, and kid’s sizes) that feature a custom design utilizing the Planned Parenthood slogan, “Love Carefully,” and will be sold exclusively at the event. “It’s an honor to be part of such an important cause as Planned Parenthood,” said Velvet designers, Jenny Graham and Toni Spencer, “We hope the design we created will bring in much needed support for an organization that helps so many.”

Advanced tickets for Food Fare are $150 for the daytime session (10:30 am to 2:00 pm) and $225 for the evening
session (6:30 pm to 9:30 pm). Tickets are available for sale online at www.pplafoodfare.com or by calling
(213) 284-3316. Tickets can also be purchased at the door, the day of the event for $175 for the daytime session
and $250 for the evening session. For additional information about the event and sponsorship opportunities, please visit www.pplafoodfare.com. Follow us on twitter at www.twitter.com/PPLA_FOODFARE or become a fan of the PPLA Food Fare fan page on Facebook.

Food Fare is produced by the Planned Parenthood Guild, a group of 200 women dedicated to providing financial and volunteer support for Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles (PPLA). Planned Parenthood Los Angeles’ 18 health
centers provide care to over 120,000 women, men, and teens each year. Over 93% of the care Planned Parenthood
provides is preventative, including life-saving cancer screenings, birth control, annual exams, and STD testing and
treatment.


Check out my coverage of the event back in 2009 to see what’s up!

I know the price for this food event is kinda high but if you could spare the cash and have time then come down. I you can’t make it, feel free to donate to them here.

Six Upcoming Day of The Dead Events Happening in Los Angeles & A Post in Remembrance of The 6th Annual Dia de los Muertos Festival in Uptown Whittier

I didn’t realize it until I heard Lalo Alcaraz say it himself. I sat down in the dreary KPFK waiting room and listened quietly while I waited for my turn to come up on The Pocho Hour of Power, “Day of the Dead is the new Christmas, it comes earlier every year.”

He was damn right.

walking death

Three weeks before the actual Dia De Los Muertos holiday (November 2), the lovely Eastside rockabilly metropolis of Uptown Whittier held their festivities. From 11 AM to 5 PM, they blocked off Greanleaf Ave, one of Uptowns most busiest streets. It was an effort of Yolanda Garcia of Casita Del Pueblo, “a community store that hopes to provide a welcoming environment and an interesting collection of items that reflect a positive image of Latino culture” according to their website. The event was free to the public. I liked that the site also reinforced the merry connotation of the traditional Mexican holiday as being “a day of joyous remembrance, not sadness.”

I was made aware of this specific muertos event on Lalo’s show too. He was going to be there himself selling and signing some of his original prints. And on Sunday morning, I decided to get my lazy Sunday ass up and go check it out. By some miraculous muerto baby Jesus miracle, even my dear mother, father and little sister decided to come along. So, for the first time since last Christmas actually, the Cabral’s had a lovely day out on the town–as a family.

family day finall
Mom and Pops In their Sunday Best

Sure enough, the event was maaaaad cracking with the humble locals, a mix of rockabilly families and the evolved Chicano bourgeoisie. I sometimes take for granted how awesome it is to live on the east side of Los Angeles. The event held live rockabilly performances, peaceful low riders and there were lots of motorcycles parked on the road. The block must had been sprawling with over fifty artisan booths and four hundred face-painted heads, at least.

cara pintada!
little dead girl
father son lowrider

The were altars were beautiful. The traditional mediums that the faithful use to express their gratitude and love towards their loved ones who have passed on were filled with everything you can imagine. I saw one stacked high with Conchitas and toasted peanut-butter sandwiches that were cut in half perfectly, the creamy peanut butter Speleothem still shimmering between the spaced pieces of bread. I saw another one that was built on the bed of a classic custom jet-black truck and had a single unopened tall boy of PBR next to a framed portrait of La Patrona herself, the Virgin Mary.

altar #1
truck altar

Amidst the blissful ghoulishness of it all, my family and I got the monstrous munchies and decided to hit up one of the local food booths to see what was up.

red oak bbq
smokers happy
turkey leg

Red Oak BBQ was recommended to me by Lalo himself, he’s a local so whatever he says to eat, I will. The place has been open in Uptown Whittier and for a few years and specialize in Santa Maria style BBQ, a style known to BBQ trekkies for their notorious dry rubs and the gossamery use of a non-sweet BBQ sauce. They smoke all of their meats using only natural red oak wood which I found to be way lighter in smoke flavor than any smoke I’ve tasted before. For $9 you got an obscenely large smoked limb, a tiny amount of stewed Pintito beans and an even tinier scoop of dry potato salad. But the point here was the meat, smoked medium rare, mine was still juicy while my sister’s had charred a bit. I love struggling physically to eat my food so this was a winner for me, I think I got it from my mom.

mama loves turkey

The delicious L-tryptophan laced meat hit us hard and we left shortly after. Sucks too because the home grown East L.A. band favorite, Upground, started playing right after we took off.

I’ll be back next year, I think I actually liked it better than the one they hold every year in East L.A. actually.

Wanna jump on the Dia de Los Muertos celebratory death bandwagon? Here are a few other celebrations happening around town during the next couple of weeks!

If you have any more muerto events, feel free to add to the list on my comment board.

The 12th annual “Dia de Los Muertos” at Hollywood Forever Cemetary
6000 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90038
October 22, 2011
12pm-12am
General Admission: $10 per person, children 6 years & under free
(please bring exact change)

Dia de los Muertos at Olvera Street
Olvera Street
Los Angeles St. at Alameda St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
10/25/2009 – 11/2/2009
7:00PM

Festival de La Muerte at the Historic Santa Fe Hospital (Linda Vista)
610 S. St. Louis St.
Los Angeles
90023
Saturday Oct. 29, 2011 11 AM to 12 AM
Sunday Oct. 30, 2011 11 AM to 6 PM
Bands: Quinto Sol, Calle Placer, Guerilla Queenz + more


La Muerte Vive

Wednesday, Nov 2 3:00p
at Million Dollar Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
307 S. Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Gregorio Luke Day of the Dead
Wednesday, Nov 2
8:30p to 9:30p
East Los Angeles Civic Center
4801 E. Third St.
Los Angeles, CA 90022
(323) 881-6444

DAY OF THE DEAD 2011 in Boyle Heights 38th Annual Día de Los Muertos Celebration: Revival 2011
Self Help Graphics
New Location at
1300 East 1st Street, Los Angeles, CA 90033
November 2, 2011
5 -11 PM

Baja California Culinary Fest: A 10 course multi-chef dinner at Mision 19

Probably half of L.A.’s food writing media was in Tijuana over the weekend as part of the Baja Culinary Fest 2011, “an international event that will allow the projection of Baja California [as] an important culinary venue with first class cuisine and innovative proposals” according to their website.

Fellow Mexican food reconquista writer Bill Esparza of Street Gourmet L.A. organized this whole trip for Angeleno “foodbloggers and friends of them”; he’s been the underestimated food city’s main food writing advocate for the last couple of years. The $205 ticket included this dinner, a two-nights stay at The Gran Tijuana hotel, access and almost unlimited food at the food festival component of the event, and a three stop street food crawl with Bill and Javier themselves. With the seafood intensiveness of the meals, free flowing booze and transportation, the ticket was a steal. It was obvious this was an event not really made up to make money but instead to really just spread the word that Tijuana’s “Baja-Med” exclusive cuisine and food community is if not the most bad ass of all of Mexico, then definitely comparable to it…

We arrived in Tijuana at around 7:30 PM and drove directly to Mision 19, the latest and hippest new restaurant of Chef Javier Plascencia, the city’s local food superhero. He organized this whole event and this particular dinner was the hottest ticket in town, combining the efforts of three different regional Mexican chefs, two different sommeliers and Julian Cox, the Mexican-inspired mixologist extraordinaire from Los Angeles. Amongst some of the high profile attendees were Lesley Barger Suter of L.A. Magazine, Barbara Hanson of Table Conversations, Garrett Snyder of Los Angeles Magazine and Search and Devour, Joshua Lurie of Food GPS, Matthew Kang of Mattatouille, Fiona Chandra of Gourmet Pigs, Esther Tseng of EstarLA, Caroline on Crack, Elina Shatkin of LA Weekly, Dave Lieberman of OC Weekly, Pat Saperstein of Eating L.A. and many, many others that I am too lazy to type out.

Mision 19
hungry foodies

Everyone was pretty freaking famished. It took five long bus hours to get to Tijuana from Los Angeles on a Friday afternoon during peak rush hour. We waited around half an hour to eat once seated. My randomly chosen table mates and I were even starting to think of ways to cut and eat the centerpiece! A huevo!

nopal centerpiece

Eventually, the food started to come out. I won’t poetically bullshit too much about each course as the food-writing norm goes, but I will share some thoughts on the dishes.

Primer Tiempo: Chef Angel Vazquez (Chef from Puebla)
tiradito
Tiradito de Hamachi: Rabanos/charales/chicharron/limon en conserva/habanero/sal

Wine pairing: JC Bravo-Palomino 2010.

Raw fish is always awesome as a first course, especially when the fish is local, fresh and as high quality as the hamachi on our plate. You can tell it was fresh because of that sinewy chew fresh sashimi has. I liked the fried charales as garnish, the little white fish were crispy and addictive like chips. Habanero was cool too.

Segundo Tiempo: Javier Plascencia
tuetanaso!
Tuetano de Res Rostizado: Atun Aleta Amarilla/Tobiko/aire de serrano

Cocktail pairing: “Negrito Sandia” (Julian Cox)

The cow bone was split lengthwise, roasted and propped on a bed of coarse salt; it was topped with chunks of fresh Yellowfin tuna, micro cilantro greens and ultra-thin slivers of toasted baguette. I liked it, somehow the fish lightened up the beef fat. It could have been a little more roasted though; some of the luscious beef fat still had the texture of a fat looogie. Nonetheless, the cilantro was fucking brilliant with the marrow The best part was Cox’s cocktail that tasted like a fresh watermelon with Tajin sprinkled on it. I’m pretty sure that was everyone else’s favorite of the night too.

Tercer Tiempo: Pablo Salas (Chef from Toluca)
ensalada de barros
Ensalada de Berros con Vinagreta de Piloncillo: Queso de Rancho Alegria

Wine pairing: Paralelo Emblema (2010)

The salad course couldn’t have come at a better time. The full flavored watercress greens paired with the toasted-amaranth-grain infused piloncillo vinaigrette was pretty awesome. The cheese was a standard stiff-curdle pressed farm cheese, known as a “cuajo” to Mexican cheese people.

Cuarto tiempo: John Rivera Sedlar
flan
Sardineria: Flan de Elote/quinoa Negra/flor de calabaza

Wine pairing: Pijoan Dominica 2009

Classic Sedlar! The popular chef brought his signature New Mexican-Los Angeles fangled dishes to Baja for this event. The corn flan was creamy and buttery as always, topped with chewy black quinoa and served alongside a piece of mystery fish that resembled cod in texture. The sauce underneath was a madras curry one, mmmm Indian flavored Mexican-esque food.
Quinto Tiempo: Sedlar
Chile Relleno
Codorniz de Valle Guadalupe: Chile verde/duxelle de champiñones

Wine pairing: Pijoan Dominica

Classic Sedlar again! The best part of this dish was definitely the chilito relleno, it was stuffed with a meaty ground mushrooms paste. The tiny local Cornish game hen was a tad underdone and still pink inside. I loved it actually, “Salmonella-risk is flavor!” I always say, but others seem bothered with it.

Sexto Tiempo: Salas
Cerdo Almendrado
Cerdo Almendrado: Papa Cambray/aceitunas (sorry for raping the dish with flash; I was pretty buzzed)

Wine pairing: Vino Shimul-Yumano 2009

The almond sauce smothering this was bomb, like a “vanilla” equivalent option to traditional Mole if there were such a thing. It was way lighter and easier on the palate than any Poblano or Negro. As the Mexican usual, the overcooked meat only served as vehicle for the minimalist, chunky almond sauce.

Septimo Tiempo: Vasquez
pork belly
Pork Belly: Platano/vainilla/naranja/relish de tomate verde con frijol de olla/reduccion de cocoa

Wine pairing: Estacion porvenir-textura 3 2009

Despite the dessert like sweetness of this and undercooked beans (a turn-off…especially for beaners!), I actually really liked this dish. But then again it was properly cooked pork belly and chocolate on a plate, so when isn’t that going to be amazing?

Octavo Tiempo: Plascencia
pato en seco
Pato añejado en seco: Persimo Fuyu/granada/col de bruselas/Mazapan

Wine pairing: Viñas Pijoan-Leonora2009

The duck was the last savory course of the evening and was traditionally served with a bunch of sweet stuff to contrast the rich duck fat. Duck is one of my favorite animal proteins and I grew up on the crumbly peanut candy known as Masapan, so, the pairing of these two things worked finely for me. The persimmon was on the ripe side too, which was a plus.

Noveno Tiempo
queso
Quesos Artesanales: Miel de Abeja/mermelada artesanal

The cheeses in this cheese course were all locally sourced from Valle de Guadalupe, Baja’s own wine country down by Ensenada. They were arranged from youngest to oldest, in other words, from least funkiest to most! The first one was like Monterey Jack, the middle one was a little more cakey and more nuanced, but the last one was the winner for the average cheesehead. The honey and guava jam underneath rounded out the creaminess of each. The añejo was some serious stuff, it was the cakiest of all and had a thick rubbery rind like a pair of super old, dirty Chuck Taylor’s, a little too funky for me but the camarada Garrett was all up in that shiiit!

Decimo Tiempo
dessert
Calabaza de Otoño: Cacahuate salado/chocolate amargo

I received the sweet component of this tasting meal with open arms after the savory onslaught. No one got credit for the dish but they should have. It was artfully presented and rationally thought out, each ingredient was served in paste form except for the Butterfinger-like crunchy salted peanuts. The calabaza de otoño paste had a camote-like flavor, the traditional Mexican dessert of yams cooked in brown sugar. It was described to be “like those chocolate bars that would melt in your pocket and accidentally make it better” by Garrett.

I came in buzzed off three Mexican craft beers and a tequila shot before the dinner and by the end of this wine-o dinner, I was pretty plastered. That still didn’t stop me from going upstairs and taking advantage of our open bar wristband, a Tamarind-Coffee Margarita and couple of Agavia tequila shots later, I was officially annihilated. Garrett and I ended up eating oysters at 3 AM somewhere in Tijuana and I woke up in my room’s hallway at 5 AM but one thing was for sure, this was certainly an “once-in-a-lifetime” type of collaborative dinner that I will never forget. It brought together skilled chefs from both sides of the border.

To Javier Plascencia for organizing this epic event and Bill Esparza for making the trip happen and deal with fifty hungry, impatient food-minded Angelenos who don’t know how hard it to make an event of this caliber run so smoothly as it did. I know next year’s will be even better and smoother.

Mision 19 cockails
Tamarind-Coffee Cocktails at Bar 20: Part of Mision 19

Salud!

Mision 19 “Cocina de Autor”
Misión San Javier 10643
Piso 2, VIA Corporativo
Zona Urbana Río
Tijuana, B.C., México
Tel: (664) 634.2493

My Big Fat Recap of the Pasadena Greek Fest 2011 at Santa Anita Park: PURO PINCHE PARI GRIEGO

OK, so I’ve never actually seen the movie where the pun to my title came from yet per se, but I did go to the Pasadena Greek Fest 2011 this last Friday night!

opa!
Opa!: La Culebra Greca?

This last weekend marked the 53rd annual celebration of the Pasadena Greek Fest fundraiser at Santa Anita Park. The event kicked off its OPAAA!!-intensive festivities Friday night and went on till’ Sunday night. Naah! Who am I? A legit reporter all of a sudden! Haha.

No but seriously, the event was pretty sweet. It attracted over ten thousand visitors last year, and then I saw why when I was there. Well, it probably doesn’t hurt that It only costs $5 to get in and most of the food once inside was affordable too.

lamb chops
Greeks love lamb: Marinated and grilled baby lamb chops with crispy fries.

metaxa
flamin cheese
flamin cheese money shot
Saganaki: Greek aged brandy tastes all the better when flamed with a chunk of cheese!

My favorite of the night was–without a doubt–the Octapodi, plate. Octopus is chopped and marinated in the famed Greek Anise liquor,Ouzo, then seared until crispy in a pan. It’s served with olive bread and marinated olives.

octopus

Joining me this evening in my gluttonous debauchery was the young, food-writing blood brother, Garrett Snyder of the Los Angelicious Times foodblog and L.A. Magazine hood. Professional hedonism warrants an almost-insatiable thirst, we were pretty damn thirsty and were treated to a couple of Greek brew-skies.

hillas beer
A couple of nice n’ frosty Hillas for ya’ boys?

Being modeled here by the beer booth’s attendant, April Kamar. The beer was a solid lager. The main flavor profile is toastiness, similar to any other international good lager. It was very easy-to-drink and hella refreshing, perfect to wash down the rich Greek offerings of the night.

greek dinner
The Greek dinner plate

Of the many food booths there, the dinner plate was the one with the longest line. The styrofoam box order came generously packed with just about everything, including my favorite Greek creation of all time, the flaky spinach pie known as Spanakopita! The bulging plate also came with some Pastitsio (kinda like the Greek version of Lasagna with ground beef, pasta and bechamel sauce, the eggplant version of that dish, Mousakka, some tomato sauce braised green beans, a beef shish kebob, long-grain rice pilaf, another little cheese flaky pastry, a nice Greek Salad and some Dolmathes, the Greek version of grape-leaves that are served warm instead of cold. Mmmm.

honey cake
pasta flora
There is ALWAYS room for dessert

As if my buddy and I weren’t about to burst already, we were quickly escorted to the pastry section of the event and schooled in the bad ass, buttery, delicate world of Greek pastries. My favorite was the Floyer, basically a big fat baklava blunt. The Pasta Flora was bomb too, a shortbread with a thin layer of apricot paste.

greek tray of pastries

And to wash down all the butter and sugar?

Nothing other than a traditional Greek Frappé!

Nescafe
Greek Frappe
greek Frappe

These is the authentic precursor to the modern day capitalistic–and oversweetened as hell–Starbucks “Frappuccino” according to my Greek friend Ted, it dates back to the post war late 1950’s. It’s basically a tablespoon of Nescafe instant coffee in water whipped up with a hand blender with some a little condensed milk, a tablespoon or two of sugar and ice thrown in after for flavor. The thing is literally like drinking coffee flavored air, by the third sip you have drank all the liquid and just sucking the foam. I loved it but then again everyone in Mexico drinks Nescafe too! haha.

A big thank you to Ted Tarazi for inviting me out and treating Garrett and I to everything that evening man! Ted is a master preparer of Greek lamb himself and grew up in the church in which the event was fund raising for, Saint Anthony Greek Orthodox Church in Pasadena.

DSC07244
Thanks Ted, I owe you a six pack next time man!

This is an annual event and I am already looking forward to next year’s…opa cabron!