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.

Ask The Glutster: Where does a prospective starving student eat near USC?

Gluster,

I saw your site last year and I have been saving it, so I can pick the best lunch spot. I don’t get to LA often because I am far to the North. I have to go to USC tommorow. Any advice on restuarants within 10 min drive from USC.

Thanks,

Anthony

A fan of your site.

Anthony,

First of all, thanks for reading and keeping it old school, means a lot, gonna try to write more exclusive theglutster.com stuff.

Well, I might be seeing you there in the near future man, I just applied and am waiting to hear from them soon.

Foodwise, I hear that Manna’s is the shit for starving student dining, in particular their lunch buffet. It’s an Indian food joint so you can pretty much forget about dinner that night if you eat according to your “growing body,” haha.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/manas-indian-cuisine-los-angeles-2

But if you really want something awesome and different, drive a little farther south until you hit The Pelican, a Belizean food joint. I was supposed to do a few review for the CRA-LA until they were put on the cutting block. So now, it’s all yours, and anyone else that still reads this old blog.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-pelican-belizean-cuisine-los-angeles

I’ve been there once, they have some interesting stuff, like red snapper steamed almost Jerk-style with onions, except with a hell of a lot more clove. Or some really Mexican-like things, like fried tacos stuffed with ground fish and eaten with slightly fermented onions. Also, pretty cheap, less than $10. Although, from what I remember, there was only one guy working the place and he had a little attitude, but fuck it, you’re here for the food.

Lates! Let me know where you end up and how it went.

Cheers, and more beers.

Photo by Paola Briseño

ADDENDUM:

(Taken from commenter Jin because she is awesome)

“Don’t forget the mercado la paloma where mochica and chichen itza live. they’re not too expensive and very worth it! also, there is a juice bar there as well as affordable thai food. there is lemonade at the usc campus that’s pretty legit, and across the street is health hut in the uv where the juices are cheaper than jamba juice. their salads and sandwiches aren’t bad either. bacaro has great happy hour at 5pm where all the food is $5. the burger there is amazing. just up hoover and olympic is the olympic cheonggukjang, which is my fave korean restaurant”

The Great American Al Pastor Taco myth busted at El Carboncito and a walk along El Malecón (Puerto Vallarta)

My poor little blog, it got me tv shows and writing gigs and now — I have neglected it. My bad, to any Glutster readers, if there are are still any out there. The problem has been an internal one for me, trying to juggle and take school seriously while trying to hustle in the paid food writing world. To write and make some gas money or write for myself (SANS-EDITING) and feel awesome about it?

Well, what ended up happening was just me pretty much half-assing everything and not coming through successfully on any front, nor academic or writing. I failed math my math class yet again and fell behind in writing. But thanks to a recent “WTF” epiphany, I’ve realized my lazy ass ways and will now strive to change them. Yes, Gustavo Arellano, if you are reading this, your wish has come true for more Chicano bloggers as you and I type!

El Malecón
El Malecón” in Puerto Vallarta, bustling

That being said, I’m going to base my next series of posts on my recent discoveries of awesome food in Mexico, San Francisco, Portland and wherever else the tasty will take me. In other words the pitches and stories about food, booze and music that Saveur didn’t buy, haha. Oh, the joys to write so freely and with so many grammar and syntax mistakes. Now, if I go broke, that is all your guys’ fault!

For all the right reasons, I found myself in the lovely city of Puerto Vallarta this last new years eve. I was introduced to the local people, food and traditions of such an underestimated part of Mexico. Vallarta is not as corporate as Cancun, at all and in terms of regional authentic foods and drinks, it’s pretty much undiscovered as fuck with some pretty eccentric street foods readily available. Even at El Malecón, the city’s Universal Citywalk of sorts complete with a Bubba Gump Shrimp Factory and all, you will find drinks such as Tuba, a fermented coconut fizzy drink sprinkled with pecan and apple pieces that made its way from the Philippines during the Spanish conquest — now accustomed in the costeño tradition because of all the dang coconuts that grow everywhere.

tuba nayarit
refreshing Tuba

Walk a little deeper into La Zona Romántica and ask for the locals price on such things as local oysters from the neighboring coastal state of Nayarit or Ceviche de Calamar, local calamari treated with ketchup paste, lime and cilantro. The ceviche, in Vallarta fashion, is made with tons of shredded carrot and finely ground fish, although no Tilapia here, think Dorado or Red Snapper fish caught earlier that day. Yup, tis’ all common street food in the city of Bugambilias flowers blossom pridefully. As a matter of fact, there is a small CANIRAC walk of fame dedicated to Puerto Vallarta for it’s awesome hospitality and local cuisine

canirac ode
local ostiones
Local oysters from Nayarit for about $6 US for half about a dozen
tostadas combo
Tostadas de ceviche: Street Food in Vallarta

But as the night gets deeper and the beer and tequila munchies start to creep in, there is really only one place you need to know about. El Carboncito in the north end of downtown on Honduras street. This place changed my life, ie. my beliefs in the al pastor taco system.

Tacos del Al Pastor at El Carboncito in Puerto Vallarta

The tacos I grew up in Los Angeles, the city of Mexicans of every generation a’ plenty — was not this. In Los Angeles there are trompo’s, the prized vertical spits in the Lebanese Shwarma style that every self proclaimed taco expert swears by. But they are seldom ever sliced directly off the spit into a tortilla to eat directly as is. No, they are usually finished off in a pan, just like any other standard taco meat, right? As long as there is plenty of caramelized onion, achiote and citrus flavor?

Well, not really, a real taco de al pastor is three or four paper-thin slivers of pork on a tiny tortilla with a squirt of salsa, dash of cilantro, onions and lime. They are less flavorful things in this world that can be engulfed in a single bite and in dangerously large amount like this. But the most important part of the taco is a tiny one; the tiny chunk of cooked fresh pineapple atop each corn cake. It might be the meat-tenderizing/digestion enhancing bromelain in the fruit or just the same pineapple-pork phenomena that occurs in Hawaiian pizzas, whatever it is. There is no way to have an al pastor taco ever again.

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

Photobucket

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.

La Pulkata: Drinking Against The Grain in Guadalajara, Mexico

El Mariachi Loko
El Mariachi Loko

Of course, my first post after a two-month hiatus is going to be about drinking pulque in Guadalajara.

Is there a better way to decompress after finally applying to transfer to a university and finally (somewhat) writing for a living? I think not. OK, perhaps drinking some Tesqüino, corn booze, from Raramuri natives in Chihuahua? One day. For now, I’ll settle for this.

Although Guadalajara has contributed to perhaps the most popular craft brew in all of Mexico with its prideful “Minerva” beer. There are still some local pulqueria’s if you look hard enough. Google “pulqueria” and “Guadalajara” and one of the first hits you will see is a message on Yahoo Mexico Respuestas stating “no creo porque en guadalajara no son pulqueros, son cerveceros y tequileros.” Well, while that is undoubtedly true. There are still a proud few available to those who choose to chug the luscious fermented sap of the Maguey plant instead.

La Pulkata is a chill pulqueria in Guadalajara, one of two left in the whole city according to the guy who was serving us. La Pulkata located in a suburban part of town, on two small streets named Pedro Loza & Eulogio Parra. It’s still hard as hell to find with the nearest metro stop being a couple of miles away. But as soon as you spot an old toilet that has been transformed into a pot with a flowering Blue Agave plant with a hand brushed sign that reads “La Pulkata” in opaque paint – you’re there.

Padre Nuestro Pulquero
El Padre Nuestro Pulquero

La Pulkata not so much a bar or place to drink alcohol than it is a café to meet a friend and chat. The room is small, with a few tables and a sofa set before the main counter. The walls are adorned with those popular black and white portraits of thick-mustached Mexican revolutionaries like Pancho Villa sipping pulque, you know, those that make you wonder why pulque is almost extinct?

Some pleasantly fast Mexican Ska-core music will probably be bumping loudly on one of those old-school, blocky wooden consoles in the middle of the drinking area. Sit down anywhere, the easygoing young dude with sagged pants and frizzled hair will come to you and take your order.

The menu for “curaditos,” the cutesy name given to pulque that is blended with fruits, veggies and grains is hand written and is rather extensive. It includes flavors like carrot, peanut, oatmeal, jicama, cucumber, guava or just “blanco,” the pure milky sap served as is without anything added; sour, my favorite.

My lovely girlfriend and her friend acting as my drinking mates for the evening ask nicely if there is a way we can taste a little of all of them. A minute later, tiny “probadita” sized shot cups arrive to the table in pairs and sometimes trio’s. They show up as fast as the bar’s small blender in the back could whip them up. Each curado is blended only moments before so the fruit sediment is still floating around the inside of your cup when you receive it.

The server and one-man kitchen staff started me off with a blanco “na-tu-ral.” The sap tastes just like it did when I sucked it out of the Maguey myself in my tio’s rancho in El El Jagüey, Hidalgo. The taste? Hmm…well, something like the Indian probiotic drink, kefir but mixed with the acidic tinge of G.T. Dave’s “Green Algae” Kombucha then add the texture of the Korean, unfiltered rice wine, Magkoli? Even then, the flavor and texture is completely unique of all these things.

Next to the blanco is the unfermented counterpart of pulque called Aguamiel, the sweet, translucent juice before the sugar is turned alcoholic. Then the guayaba (guava), tasting more like a Mexican licuado or thicker version of an Agua Fresca made with the aromatic fruit. Then the cacahuate, thick and extra milky with blended roasted peanuts that tastes like a drinkable version of the Mexican candy, Mazapan. Every other curado followed this delicious pattern of tasting just like the fruit or vegetable or grain it was blended with right after after.

As per Mexican tradition when out drinking, a complimentary “botana” or snack is always available if you ask for it. The botana for this particular evening at La Pulkata was a plate of sliced crisp jicama and slivered cucumber with a tiny bowl filled with Chile con Gusanito, the dried chili powder mixture enlivened with the earthiness of Agave wormies.

curadito de cacahuate

After trying each of the pulque’s. I ordered a full cup (similar to the traditional “tornillo” size cup of the drink) of the peanut one followed by a cup of the natural, white one, extra sour.

Like beer, pulque is pretty damn filling. After tasting all of them and drinking two full tornillo sized portions, I was pretty full. Although, not really buzzed at all. Fortunately though, someone had just brought in some local raicilla for the bar to try. Raicilla is the other agave liquor made from the non-blue wild agave’s that grow around the Jalisco Mountains. In Mexico, we don’t have digestif’s but we do have sharp tasting agave spirits “para el desempanse.” Literally translating to “de-gut” your belly after eating a lot of food or drinking a lot of liquids.

Mezcal Sierra Mascota

And the raicilla did just that. It was called “Sierra Mascota” and it was the best I have ever sipped, tasting elatedly of tropical fruits like cherimoya and pineapple; not aggressive at all. I would of bought a bottle if it wasn’t the bar’s only one they had.

I liked the light curados and thin blanco’s here a lot more than the thick-as-hell, slimy ones that I had at Pulqueria “Las Duelistas” in Mexico City. But no matter what, there is nothing like sucking it out of the Maguey itself and drinking it at room temperature a few hours later.

Nonetheless, I’ll take pulque over beer, any day and any way.

La Pulkata
Pedro Loza 719,
Guadalajara, Mexico
44100
tel. 33306825
cel. 3310978086
mail. pulquimia@gmail.com

5 PM to 11 PM Monday through Thursday
5 PM to 1 AM Friday and Saturday

http://www.pulquimia.org/

A Glutster double header Thursday: Health food in East L.A. for Zocalo Public Square and The Bouncing Souls for LA Weekly Music

(top image from wearyourimage.com)

I woke up yesterday to find a couple of my stories published for two different publications.

East L.A.health food city

One was a painstaking thousand worder on the up and coming East LA health food consciousness for Zocalo Public Square. It took a couple of weeks to research and finish, who knows how many homework-eating hours…

bouncing souls header

The other was a five hundred word quickie punk rock show review on The Bouncing Souls show for LA Weekly. Show reviews usually require me to stay up ’til 4:30 AM to finish, the latest has been 6:30 AM (deadline for show reviews are 8 AM the same day for most daily entertainment blogs). I had class at 11:30 AM the next morning.

This was the first time two of my stories were published on the same day — it was kind of a trip. To see the type of stuff I am writing now and the sheer amount of time I dedicate to them (regardless of the often insubstantial pay) and how it is so different than the simple stuff I started out with almost six years ago when I was sixteen.

It has made me realize that if I really do want to make it in this career and finish school anytime soon, I’m going to have to let go of my love for sleep and many coming of aging memory milestones usually associated with mindless youth (aka. getting too stoned/drunk, acting gay with the homiez, etc.) I already don’t sleep enough and don’t catch as many gay bluff’s with as I once did so it’s not that bad.

Like Henry Rollins, a dear role model and now fellow LA Weekly Music writer colleague said in his column, “sleep is the cousin of death.”

Extra, extra! The Glutster gets his first food-caused allergic reaction! Is this the end?!

Is this the end the Glutster as we know it?!

Hell no!

But, let me tell you that it did, indeed, suck–very much so. I actually had to go the E.R. (AGAIN) and wolf down fourteen chalky Prednosine (aka STEROIDS) tablets to control my unbearably itchy, spazzed out skin. And even after that, it took my body three weeks to get better. To make matters even more grim, I accidentally spilled hot pu-erh tea on my keyboard and was forced to use my older brother’s old school PC he uses to play Casino all day long.

And of all possible things in this world, can anyone guess what caused it?!

“Funny beer.”

Well, according to the doctor at the E.R. and his half-assed diagnosis.

I knoooow, right? Nooooooo! Well, it could of been a number of things but let’s just say that I got a little too crazy during that last Friday night of LA Beer Week.

I won’t lie and will admit that I did get a little scared at first and think of the worst.

“What if I can’t drink any more?”

“Fuck! Am I allergic to wheat?”

“Maaaaan, am I going to have to start writing about actual news now? Or worse, write about stuff not having to do with food or music?!”

Aaaaaaaaaah!

I decided to take the matter into my own hands and administer a a little self-proctored D.I.Y. allergen test as soon as I was able to go out and buy beer again. I bought several varieties of “funny beer” and drank them all. I probably didn’t have to drink the entire bottles but I did, just to make sure you know?

And the results are in! My body is 100% beer-tolerant! Must of been something in the air or something as I rode home that on my scooter or something else I ate, the world may never know.

Introducing..
Pheeew!

Cheers! To no more career-questioning hellacious allergy reactions!