Bouncing Back!

Hello, hello!

First of all, I wanted to say from the bottom of my heart that I’m sorry for my longer-than-anticipated absence. I’m honored to know (from what many of you told me, thank you!) that my writing presence was missed. I missed you guys, too!

So what happened, you ask? I’d been meaning to post an update on what’s been going on for the longest time, but life got the best of me, starting with the sickness and loss of my 17-year-old Dachshund Jellybean. He was my fur baby for more than half my life, and it broke my heart to lose him. That, coupled with the remnants of the exhaustion from everything I’d gone through with losing my mom before that, I felt like I didn’t know what to do with myself after the storm(s).

You see, my mom was Jellybean’s main caretaker, especially in his old age, as I had begged my parents for a dog ever since I knew what a dog was, eventually convinced them to get me one, then promptly moved out for college and grad school a handful of years later (yes, I know, classic kid move). I’d visit home very often, as I’m super close with my family, but since I knew my mom took amazing care of my fur baby, I could live my life as a normal (relatively) carefree 20-something, too.

That all changed when my mom got sick a few years ago, as you may have read in my previous post. My life went from a carefree 20-something to wanting to spend as much time with Mom as possible, and trying my best to be strong for her (while internally crumbling AND simultaneously being in fight-or-flight mode for those harrowing 15 months). I’m so grateful I could be there with her, yet after she passed away, I wondered what to do about work again.

I had cut down on the regular 14-hour workdays, and eventually left my job in PR to be closer to my mom, and it was the best decision I had ever made, from a personal standpoint. And truth be told, it’s what got me started on this blog, which has now grown into a full-scale, multi-faceted brand and consulting service. So I can’t say I regret it from a career standpoint, either!

I’d always told myself I’d go back to the public relations agency world after things settled down, but I’m so grateful that the opportunities kept coming with writing, digital content creation, event hosting, consulting, and food blogging. Initially, however, the main factor in not returning to the “safety” of the corporate world was my dear little Jellybean, who was growing older (15 in human years at the time, to be exact). He went partially blind, developed a bit of dementia, and would get stuck in all kinds of places all over the house and bark continuously in panic. He would also need to be carried outside every few hours.

Thus, for the next two-ish years, I barely ever left the house for more than a few hours at a time, with a constant worry for Jellybean in the back of my mind (and heart). I also knew no one could caregive for him the way I did, nor did I want to burden them, with his 14+ medications and supplements per day and many other constant needs. So constant that as soon as I’d sit down to work at home (including writing for the blog), he would start barking, in need of something else. Still, I was so thankful that he was still an overall happy dog with an voracious appetite and a strong bark, and we went on regular walks (where he would run full-force… on the way back home) up until his final couple weeks.

When Jellybean suffered a stroke and the vet misdiagnosed it at first, it led to irreversible damage, and ultimately his decline. It breaks my heart all over again as I write this, but I find solace in knowing what an amazing, full life he had up until the ripe old doggie age of 17.

In the wake of Jellybean’s passing, I felt empty and purposeless. I felt like unneeded, and it actually felt foreign to not be a caregiver anymore. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was having an identity crisis. For the past 3+ years, I’d been so focused on keeping it together for my mom and Jellybean, that I’d forgotten what it’s like to live a “normal” life for a 20-something in this part of the world. And when I realized this, I consciously embarked on the path to getting myself back.

Unfortunately, in this process of getting myself back, I dropped the ball with blogging and staying connected to you all here. I went within a lot more, spending time on my own and slowly learning to prioritize myself and my well-being again. I went from being mothered (and boy was I blessed with an incredible mom for the time I got to have her), to “mothering,” to realizing I needed to mother myself now, since I no longer had a mother, nor my fur baby to mother. I never realized how tied these aspects are to the well-being of our very souls in this world, the exchange of unconditional love at its purest.

In this time I also embraced the freedom of being out of the house for longer periods of time, a luxury I didn’t have for years, and thus fully appreciated. At that point, things started flowing more with my work, as I was able to do more dynamic things and fully focus again on my professional and social life out in the world.

This led to exciting opportunities that I’d love to share with you all, if you’re willing to still stick with me on this journey. What I wrote here is not an excuse, as I’ll be the first to take responsibility for my drop-off and to apologize for it — I truly am sorry, you guys! I just wanted to share a simplified version of the most transformative phase of my life that I don’t talk about often, besides to the people closest to me, and hope that it may resonate with some… so you know that it’s never too late to get bounce back from a big life blow (or series of blows), and get yourself back.

And I have a pretty strong feeling that it’s never too late to get back to blogging, as I’m looking forward to sharing with you all my other projects that have been keeping me super busy lately! I promise you it will be exciting (new clients, hosted events, press trips & foodie travel, teaching at workshops and on speaker panels, and my photography going viral and getting printed in magazines… to name a few!), and that there are lots of fun perks for you guys — my reader VIPs — like ticket, restaurant and product giveaways, sneak peeks, first announcements for events around LA & Orange County, special discount codes, and behind-the-scenes footage and coverage of the hottest events and happenings around town… and the world. Because I plan on doing a lot more travel writing, and video content as well!

So THANK YOU so much to each one of you for your unwavering support, and for choosing to continue on this journey with me. Until the next update (which will be much sooner, I promise!), please follow me on my new Tanaya’s Table Facebook Page, my Twitter, and on Instagram @tanayas.table for more up-to-the-minute foodie sneak peeks and other deliciously exciting new content. Love you guys lots, and I’m excited to get back to writing here for you all again!

❤ T

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Modern Fusion Bites Paired With Chef Inspiration

by Tanaya Ghosh | TanayasTable.com

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Marinated Grilled Octopus (all photos by Tanaya Ghosh)

These days, the novelty and excitement when the words “modern American” and “fusion food” come to mind have pretty much worn off, at least compared to a few years ago. However, let me tell you about a great spot in Brea, CA doing something very different from your average New American restaurant. Something that’s worth getting excited about again.

Tempo Urban Kitchen does New American fusion food on shareable plates, using modern techniques and interesting flavor combinations. At the Gigasavvy Social Club dinner, we enjoyed a tasting menu of memorable bites prepared for us by accomplished Chefs Chris Tzorin, Charlie Medina & Salvador Carrillo, all age 30 and under.

Chef Chris Tzorin, a recent winner of Food Network’s Guy’s Grocery Games, is a friend of mine whose story inspires me and many others to keep striving for success, despite the cards you are dealt in life.

Chef Chris grew up in the fine dining industry, as his dad was a chef. “My dad would cook at home, my mom too, and we would sit together at the table and talk about how the week was together as a family,” he reminisced.

“My dad always told me I’d be better than him one day, and now I tell Armani (his young son) the same thing, so he can take it to the next level when he grows up. He hangs out with me in the kitchen.” Indeed, Armani was right there with his dad that night at the tasting, wearing his own little personalized chef’s coat!

However, when the accomplished chef lost his other son, Chris, it changed him forever. He teared up as he spoke of little Chris, and said that after going through such a dark and trying time, “That’s why you hardly see me upset. Life could be so much worse. I want to be able to experience a lot in life, and meet as many people (as I can) and inspire them.”

I suppose I especially wanted to share Chef Chris’s story because I see a lot of myself in the way he’s grown from his personal tragedies, and how he’s transformed it into something that drives him every day to do the most with the life he’s been given. And although the two losses are not comparable, as no two losses are, I share a similar outlook on life after losing my best friend, my mother, much too early. Chef Chris’s story inspires me, as I hope it will inspire many of you, to always keep pushing forward with the best attitude possible, to accomplish great things.

Chef Chris explained that it was his two boys for whom he brought his A game to win Guy’s Grocery Games on Food Network. “(After) two divorces and losing a child, after all the things I’ve been through… the blood, pain and tears, I’m still here.” And thank goodness, since he not only inspires people now, but makes amazing food in the kitchen, day in and day out.

Now that Chef Chris’s expansive career has led him to Tempo Urban Kitchen, he says he’s open to learning some newer techniques from the two younger chefs, Chef Salvador & Chef Charlie, who are big on molecular gastronomy.

“Here, we’re bringing more urban-style, outside-the-box food. Some will say, ‘No, you’re not supposed to do that,’ I’m gonna do it anyway…. I just want people to recognize me for who I am, and why I cook. It’s my life on a plate,” he concluded.

And with that, here’s what Chef Chris, Chef Charlie and Chef Salvador created for us at the coursed dinner:

Upon arrival, after a tour of the kitchen, we took a seat with fellow influencers who were also invited to this delightful dining experience. We started off with an Old Fashioned and a refreshing Mango Serrano Margarita with a Tajin rim.

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Then, it was time to eat! The first course was Marinated Grilled Octopus, made by Chef Chris Tzorin. The octopus was plated on a wooden plank, as were all the dishes. The menu items are meant to be shared, to encourage more social interaction at the table, as Chef Chris explained. The tender, charred octopus was served with guajillo chili oil, creamy serrano chili sauce, lime cream and chipotle mayo, along with a garnish of fresh microgreens. All the different sauces made for a customized experience, as we could choose which bit of sauce to dip our octopus into.

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Next up was a Korean-inspired, succulent Slow Roasted Pork Belly by Chef Charlie Medina. The soy lime glaze imparted a great tangy, savory flavor, and the tortilla puree it rested on was a unique element that brought the dish together as a “deconstructed Korean taco,” as Chef Charlie described it. The red cabbage kimchi and crema sauce completed the dish, along with a thin slice of rolled mango for a bit of sweet freshness. What made the pork extra juicy was its slow cooking in a traditional Caja China roasting box.

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Our last savory dish was the Slow-Cooked Short Rib by Chef Salvador Carrillo. This brightly colored dish was created with yellow mustard seeds (what they called “vegan caviar”), pickled carrots wrapped in thin New York-style ham, and a bold brush of beet sauce across the plate. When Chef Salvador said “slow-cooked,” he really meant slow, as the cooking of the short rib for 28 hours made it extra tender.

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After the drinks and three shared protein dishes, a cart rolled out for tableside ice cream! We watched in anticipation as the ice cream fully froze right before our eyes. Minutes later, as wisps of liquid nitrogen lifted, vanilla ginger ice cream emerged! The liquid nitrogen technique made the ice cream extra creamy in texture, and the mini cones they rested in gave a great crunch to the dessert. What a fun way to end a great dining experience!

Thanks to Tempo Urban Kitchen and Gigasavvy Social Club for having us. Go here for more information on visiting for a unique and memorable dining experience!

Until next time, let’s connect on social media!

Instagram: @tanayas.table

Twitter: @TanayasTable

TanayasTable.com

Cheers!

VIDEO: Let’s Make Sushi!

Tanayas Table Sushi

The delicious sushi we made in class. Yup, that sushi flower is my creation! 😉

 

It had been a while since my friend Dani gave me a lesson in sushi making, so when I had the opportunity to take a class with Chef Eric Crowley of Chef Eric’s Culinary Classroom in West LA, I was excited to get an official refresher and learn some new techniques along the way!

A major key to sushi success is making sure the rice is perfect. Flavoring it with kombu (edible kelp that imparts an umami flavor), fanning it out for the perfect stickiness level, and flavoring it with rice vinegar are a few tips to keep in mind.

We also learned to cut the fresh fish against the muscle fibers to maximize the delicate, soft textures, and how to roll the sushi in mats, forming tight and perfect little circles of deliciousness. The video below has Chef Eric teaching me the ways!

Chef Eric was patient and informative, and helped us all out in a hands-on manner during the class so we could get the most out of it. We toasted the nori (seaweed sheets) over the stove flame to allow for crispiness, and gleaned other helpful hints along the way… all culminating in the ultimate sushi party, where we made and enjoyed nigiri, sashimi and sushi rolls.

We got creative, cutting and adding different fish (yellowtail, salmon and tuna being a few options) and other fillings (avocado, sprouts, fish roe, carrots, cucumbers and more) to customize our rolls. I decided to get artsy and made the flower in this video:

Chef Eric and his team are so friendly and welcoming that I’d definitely recommend trying out his class if you’re a sushi fan, or just love learning new skills in the kitchen. Heads up: the next sushi class will be on Friday, 4/29!

If you’re interested in learning how to make your own sushi, or want to take your pick from array of other classes offered (knife skills, grilling, wine pairing, professional programs, 4, 10 and 18-week cooking series and more!) sign up at Chef Eric’s Culinary Classroom. Happy cooking! ❤

SNEAK PEEK: Dodgers Home Opener NEW Eats

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Growing up in SoCal in a sports-loving household, you bet I was excited when the Los Angeles Dodgers invited me back again this year for a private media preview and exclusive, in-depth tour of Dodger Stadium!

Thanks to Steve Brener, Yvonne Carrasco, Jon Weisman and Daisuke Sugiura of the Dodgers Communications Department, we got a chance to get a first taste of the new stadium offerings. I had an especially great time with my foodie friends Kristie Hang (to whom credit goes for the Boomerang video above of my bobblehead buddy and me) and Chef Jay.

The tour was incredible (I Snapchatted it all at MsTanayaG… follow along for future access!), as we got a behind-the-scenes look at everything from the Commissioner’s (championship) Trophies and Golden Glove Awards, to the actual Dodgers dugout and field, the press box, and the old Dodgers clubhouse, which MLB legends of visiting teams have used during seasons past.

FUN FACT: The Dodgers jacket I’m wearing belonged to my great aunt, who was a dedicated Dodgers fan and wore this very jacket to the final 1988 World Series Championship game, which the Dodgers won!

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Before our stadium tour, we got to taste the food and chat with Dodger Stadium Executive Chef Jason Tingley, who did an awesome job not only creating the new bites, but also explaining them to us all.

Today is the home opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and here are some new bites you can expect to track down, whether you’re going to the game today or plan on visiting Dodger Stadium anytime this season:

King’s Hawaiian Dog (pictured above): All-beef quarter pound dog topped with pineapple salsa, on a King’s Hawaiian bun // Where to find it: Extreme Loaded Dogs

Gouda Kobe Burger: 1/3 lb. premium Wagyu burger topped with caramelized onions, pickles & Thousand Island dressing // Where to find it: Elysian Park Grill

Chicken Verde Sandwich: Chicken breast on Telera bread with jalapeno aioli, lettuce, tomato & tomatillo verde sauce // Where to find it: Healthy Cart, Marketplace, Tony’s Stand

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Shock Top Bratwurst: Pork bratwurst sausage link infused with Shock Top beer, served on a buttery grilled lobster roll with caramelized onions & spicy brown mustard // As Chef Tingley explained, “It is made with Shock Top beer and comes two different ways: There’s going to be a spicy and a regular bratwurst.” // Where to find it: Think Blue BBQ

Specialty Nachos Verde: Crispy tortilla chips with tomatillo verde sauce, pickled jalapenos, fresco cotija queso // Where to find it: TBD

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Smoked BBQ Wings Bundle: 15 smoked chicken wings tossed in BBQ sauce, served with fries, veggie sticks and two soft drinks // Where to find it: Think Blue BBQ

I really liked the Nachos Verde and the King’s Hawaiian Dog the best, but the wings were definitely finger-licking good as well!

Also, here’s a video from last year’s media preview as a little Throwback Tuesday! 😉

In addition to subscribing to my blog and YouTube channel, feel free follow me on Snapchat: MsTanayaG to get realtime behind-the-scenes scoop on stadium tours, chef interviews, new restaurant sneak peeks, inside food influencer events and more… and connect with me on Instagram (@tanayas.table) to get the scoop on all the newest and hottest places to go and what to try!

And now, as Vin Scully is about to say, “It’s time for Dodger baseball!”

Palm Desert Food & Wine GIVEAWAY + Crab Cakes With SideChef & Cat Cora

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Crab and Avocado Sandwiches with Mango Coulis

 

When the Palm Desert Food & Wine asked to pair me up with one of five headlining chefs doing demos at the festival to re-create their recipe using the SideChef app, I was very curious as to whom they would pair me with. When I got Cat Cora, I was ecstatic!

Not only is she insanely talented in the kitchen, but she was the first female Iron Chef on Iron Chef America. That’s definitely someone to look up to, as a female culinary enthusiast!

I was anxious to see what recipe I would be making, and boy was I shocked when I got a huge bag of Whole Foods ingredients, hand delivered fresh to my doorstep thanks to SideChef. When I peeked into the bag (while Snapchatting it all live at MsTanayaG), I was definitely surprised, in both a good way and a kind of sad way initially. You see, it was all the ingredients for Cat Cora’s Crab and Avocado Sandwiches with Mango Coulis.

SideChef Ingredients Cat Cora

While that sounds pretty incredible, the only problem was that I wouldn’t be able to taste any of it! You see, a few years back, I developed a slight (and VERY unfortunate) allergy to crustaceans, including crab! Quite the ironic bummer, right?

Still, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to work with an ingredient I normally wouldn’t choose to cook, for obvious reasons. So I got prepping, and followed the super simple step-by-step instructions with crisp visuals and audio cues on the SideChef app to create the full dish with all three components!

Here’s a quick video of some of the steps that went into making the dish:

In the end, I had essentially created a slider made with warm, crispy crab cake buns, cool, refreshing avocado salsa, and a tangy-sweet mango coulis to bring it all together. I can only imagine how it all tasted together (I definitely tried the avocado salsa & mango coulis!), but according to my family for whom I cooked the meal, it turned out “incredibly delicious!”

What I love just as much as eating, is making something with my own hands to feed the people I love. So that worked out well, allergy or not! Also, shoutout to Cat Cora for sharing this post with her awesome followers… I hope I did your recipe justice! 😉

So what’s the deal with the giveaway, you ask? Well, I’m giving away TWO PAIRS of tickets to the Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival happening all of next weekend! AND, the grand prize winner will receive VIP tickets! To win, do ONE or BOTH of the following by 11:59 p.m. PST tonight:

  1. Follow @tanayas.table on Instagram and tag 3 friends in the comments of my crab cake slider photo.
  2. Subscribe to my Nom channel at Nom.com/TanayasTable and pop in to say hi on my live show tonight from Hollywood at 7:30 p.m. PST! It’s interactive, so you can ask us questions and more. 🙂

Winners will be announced tomorrow on those platforms! GOOD LUCK!!

For the full recipe to make these crab cakes at home, download the SideChef app. They’re celebrating a whopping 1 million meals made through the app by donating 1,000 meals to charity… and they will donate 3,000 if they make it into the top 10 in the app store! So let’s make it happen to feed more people who really need it, guys.

If you do make this recipe by Cat Cora through SideChef, please do let me know how they turn out for you! Big thank you to PDFW, SideChef and Iron Chef Cat Cora for the fun collaboration.

Until next time, cheers! ❤