VIDEO: Celebrating My 100th Episode At Ox And Son

Unique dessertsoy

As many of you know, I’ve enjoyed working alongside Tastemade for a while now, and love being part of this ever growing community that has quickly become like family to me through the ups and downs of life.

In about 6 months of starting out, I somehow reached over 100 videos on my Tanaya’s Table channel!

I don’t know how it happened so fast, but I do know that I had a lot of fun meeting so many great chefs and fellow food lovers along the way.

I feel blessed to have tasted and shared with you so many amazing dishes — everything from street food, hidden gems and fine dining to special events, new openings and pop-up dinners.

Through the countless hours (which would add up to multiple weeks of my life!) filming, hosting, arranging, editing and getting creative with my clips, it’s been a learning process that has given me the opportunity to hone my skills in video content production.

I’m so excited to say that — with a lot of encouragement and requests from my amazing followers — I’m working on launching my Tanaya’s Table YouTube channel as well!

Without further ado… here’s how my friends Nitar and Taylor from Tastemade, and Tastemade itself, showed me some love: They took me out to a magnificent three-course meal at Ox & Son, a new modern American restaurant by FNA Hospitality Group in Santa Monica. 😀

For starters (along with some great wines), we had amazingly fluffy Uni & Eggs with truffle salt & molasses bread with caraway seeds, Kusshi Oysters harvested from fjords in glaciers (see video to hear Chef Brad’s awesome description) and Yellowtail Crudo.

I loved all of them, but the Uni & Eggs (pictured above) really blew my mind and tastebuds! It’s a definite must-try, as the moist, fluffy eggs with crème fraîche and chives go so surprisingly well with the buttery Santa Barbara uni and slightly sweet, soft, deeply flavored bread.

Uni and Eggs

As for main courses, we got the Prime Charcrust Hanger Steak with a crisp cheddar panisse, broccolini, charred onion and black garlic & miso lime béarnaise; Chicken Fried Duck Confit with shaved pickled vegetables, house kimchi slaw and red chili & local honey sauce; and Sticky Pig Cheeks with black vinegar glaze, roasted turnip, coconut black rice and charred leek.

We all sampled from one another’s plates. The Sticky Pig Cheeks that Taylor got were my favorite, with the thick, sweet-tart glaze going so well with the succulent meat. Plus, the black rice with coconut milk took me right back to my travels to Bali a couple years ago!

For dessert — not sure how we had room, but we (okay, especially Nitar and I) always have room for dessert, I suppose! — we got the rich coffee cake & butterscotch deconstructed dessert, as well as the refreshing lemon & strawberry malt deconstructed cake. Peep the one-minute video above for all the visuals and action shots!

If you’re looking for innovative American food with a touch of global flair, I definitely recommend checking out Ox & Son in Santa Monica. Thanks again to Tastemade for making me feel part of the family, and to showing me appreciation in such a delicious and special way. ‘Til next time, on the road to the next hundred videos… Cheers from Tanaya’s Table!

Ordering New Menu Items Off iPads At STACKED: Food Well Built

Tanayas Table Stacked iPad Pink Cocktail

I still remember the time I got to treat my family and friends to a dinner out after landing a new job. We decided to keep it local, opting to go to STACKED: Food Well Built.

I was excited to show them how they could customize their own dishes on the nifty iPads at this hi-tech spot by the Cerritos mall. A few years ago, it was an even newer concept, so it was extra fun to see our culinary creations come to life.

My family loved the experience, and ever since that day I’ve had an extra special association with the STACKED in Cerritos. Thus, you can imagine how enthusiastic I was about getting an invite to a media dinner they were hosting, with new menu items.

Tanayas Table Stacked Burger

The new Short Rib Sandwich, with an egg on it.

I tried the short rib sandwich with horseradish aioli off their new sandwich section of the menu, and even added an egg to it… because you can do that at a place like this.

The food is so customizable that co-owner Paul Motenko told me they even have 139 gluten-free options, across all categories of their menu! There really is something for everyone here.

It’s quite the thrill to build your own mac ‘n cheese burger, top your pizza with pastrami, or even put potato chips on your pasta… or include all the superfoods you want in your nutritious and delicious salad.

Heck, you can even customize your own milkshake or ice cream sandwich on that iPad! Then, it comes to life when they bring it out of the kitchen on onto your table… and it’s every bit as good as you imagined it would be when you were creating it!

Check out all the items I tried here, including candied bacon and a Cadbury Egg seasonal milkshake:

Check out new menu items in this one-minute video inside our media dinner!

Check out the new menu items in this one-minute video inside our media dinner!

To visit STACKED: Food Well Built, you can find all the info on their website. Stay tuned for a lot more foodie finds to come. Cheers!

Behind The Scenes: Haché LA Now Serving Sirloin Steak Burgers In Silver Lake

Hache LA Header

As I’ve been away doing some research through Halloween weekend exploring Vegas to scout some of the best eats to bring to you all (anything for research!), my first meal out when I got back to L.A. was also an amazing one.

It was a juicy sirloin steak burger in Silver Lake at Haché LA, to be exact… with my fellow Tastemakers (see video below)! Could it get any better? I think not.

Chef and owner Mick Schepers from Mick’s Karma Bar is behind this new L.A. burger spot, and although the menu here at Haché LA is similar to his Irvine location, there’s a lot more he can do in this Silver Lake space.

He plans to serve a vegetarian patty soon, as well as bring back his liquid nitrogen-frozen ice cream made from a rich, creamy custard base.

Check out below to find out what makes these juicy burgers so unique, and get a peek into the kitchen to see how they make their all-sirloin patties:

Watch as chef & owner Mick shows us the secret to his amazing ground sirloin burgers!

Watch as chef & owner Mick shows us the secret to his amazing ground sirloin burgers!

Interesting fact from the man himself: The original Mick’s Karma Bar in Irvine used to be a coffee joint, and then they transitioned to juice. However, the burger they also served there went viral on social media to the point that they scrapped everything else on the menu to only serve a handful of his famous burgers with thick-cut fries, as well as some refreshing drinks like their strawberry basil lemonade (see video above).

You can taste Haché LA’s ground sirloin burgers with all the trimmings at 3319 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles.

Stay tuned for more L.A. eats as well as part one of a Las Vegas dining series!

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh 2014

An In-Depth Look at ChocoChicken

Chocolate plus chicken? At the time of ChocoChicken’s recent soft opening in Downtown L.A., I didn’t really know what that would equal. What thoughts does one conjure up in their mind when they hear of chocolate and chicken, and not in the mole sense? Wonder no longer, because if you haven’t gotten a chance to try it for yourself, here’s what the ChocoChicken experience is like:

Walking in, you’re greeted and get seated at a table (or at the bar) in the expansive space right in the heart of downtown. The fork and knife sit criss-crossed on a napkin, and the menu, which is minimal and focused is presented to you. Here it is, in all its glory– food on left, drinks on right– since they haven’t posted the menu on their website yet (and possibly may modify it before the grand opening):

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh 2014

ChcoChicken Menu 2

From there, I chose to order the chocolate breast piece combo, and chose the caramelized bacon biscuit and duck fat fries as my sides (of the two days I had visited, they didn’t have the white chocolate mashed potatoes nor the stuffed peppers available, morning nor evening… bummer).

ChcoChicken Combo

As you can see below, there is a dusting of the ChocoChicken cocoa spice on the duck fat fries, which were quite rich and on the softer side (vs. crunchy). Although the chicken itself was a bit small for the price (the combo is $13), the sides are quite heavy and make it a hearty meal, at least for me. The chocolate ketchup that comes with the fries is also tasty, and tangier than you may expect. It really does taste like a thick ketchup with unsweetened chocolate melted into it! Other sauces include a habanero-honey sauce, a miso-ranch sauce, and a more traditional gravy.

ChcoChicken Fries

The bacon biscuit had buttery layers, and these are especially known to have copious amounts of Paula Deen’s favorite ingredient to create the golden, uniquely moist interior. The bacon was not super noticeable, and if anything it was on the subtler side. I’d have loved to see a little more bacon in there, but it was still delicious, with a very slight sweetness. The honey butter it came with aso complemented the biscuit nicely.

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh 2014

On to the main event… the chocolate chicken! Although the name suggests that it would be quite sweet and chocolaty, the only hint of chocolate I got was from the deep cocoa flavor, and a very subtle sweetness. There are quite a few spices– 20, to be exact– in the crunchy coating, which add a nice depth of flavor to the chicken. The chicken itself is also super moist, as the Jidori chicken is brined for 36 hours. So, although I don’t think you’d immediately think of chocolate if you were to blindly taste it, it’s a craveable, unique and overall solid piece of chicken.

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh 2014

Although it makes sense once you taste ChocoChicken, to open such a seemingly outrageous concept with so much initial buzz takes guts… and Umami Burger founder Adam Fleischman’s credibility definitely helps. Fleischman’s partner, Keith Previte, gave me a little sneak peek into what’s in store for ChocoChicken. They plan to stick to their signature protein, but will be expanding the ways that the flavors of chocolate and chicken play off one another. Additionally, Previte revealed that “during football season, ChocoChicken will open at 9 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and we also plan to add seasonal drinks and food items to the menu.”

With TVs inside and an L.A. Kings flag waving just as the city’s NHL team was about to win the NHL Stanley Cup, it’s clear that they’re excited to reach a sports-loving audience with their casual concept.

ChcoChicken Kings

With an innovative and solidly executed new concept, ChocoChicken represents what Tanaya’s Table stands for, in a sense. Taking seemingly eccentric flavor combinations and opening people’s minds to the harmonious possibilities that take the taste buds to another level. Taking something classic, like hearty comfort food, and elevating it to create something complex and unique is actually an art and a science. Which is a big part of why I personally love food, classic techniques and reinvention so much. Perhaps this is another step towards opening people’s minds to the positively unthinkable, in food and in life!

Recipe: Jalapeño Popper Mac and Cheese from Our New L.A. Food Bloggers Cookbook for Charity!

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh

Welcome to Tanaya’s Table! What better way to kick off the blog than by giving a preview taste of the goodies inside a cookbook I was fortunate to be part of? Thirty Los Angeles food bloggers (including myself!) have come together for charity to create 30 creative versions of macaroni and cheese for our new ebook, Mo’ Macaroni and Cheese: 30 Mouthwatering Recipes for America’s Favorite Comfort Food.

As a member of the Food Bloggers Los Angeles group, we were challenged to re-imagine mac and cheese and elevate it from a childhood favorite to include a bit of something for everyone. The recipes are likely to satisfy all types of palates, from decadent to healthy tastes. In addition to indulgent twists on the American comfort food, there are even gluten-free and vegan versions in there! My recipe, however, is unabashedly one of the more indulgent renditions of the classic dish… and it manifests itself in the form of Jalapeño Popper Mac and Cheese!

The fruits of our digital cookbook labor, Mo’ Macaroni and Cheese officially launches today, and is available on Amazon’s Kindle store, as well as on Google Play, Scrib’d, Nook and other platforms for under two bucks– $1.99, to be exact! Categories include classic recipes, international variations, lightened-up dishes, and mac and cheese with a twist.

The best part– and the reason we embarked on this ebook project in the first place– is that all proceeds benefit the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, which feeds more than 1 million Los Angeles County residents annually! Talk about feeling good about doing good, while cooking some really good food!

One thing I especially like about an ebook recipe is that I can put the reader in a protective sleeve and never worry about losing the recipe, spilling on the pages or accidentally tearing out part of the recipe while I do my thing in the kitchen. I also like that I can search the ebook for recipes using ingredients I already have on hand.

As a thank you for visiting Tanaya’s Table and for your support as I embark on this adventure, below is the recipe I created for the ebook.

I wanted to create a recipe that brings a comfort food classic and a fun go-to appetizer together, and I also love anything with a little kick. The secret ingredient here is actually garlic. It adds a depth to the flavor, while the extra bread crumbs give the crunch that comes from biting into a jalapeño popper. I love creating food with a twist, and pushing people to try something slightly out of their comfort zone. My hope is that you enjoy this fun dish with a kick as much as those whom I tested multiple versions on did (thank you to my family and friends, a.k.a. loving guinea pigs!):

Jalapeno Popper Mac N Cheese Recipe - Copyright 2014 Tanaya Ghosh

Jalapeño Popper Mac and Cheese
Recipe created by Tanaya Ghosh to benefit the L.A. Regional Food Bank

Serves 4-6

Ingredients
8 ounces large elbow macaroni
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
2 large jalapeño peppers, 1 diced and 1 sliced into rings (de-seed for less heat)
1 1/4 cups milk, at room temperature
8 ounces grated pepper jack cheese
4 ounces plain cream cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs or Panko bread crumbs

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Cook pasta according to package directions, to just al dente. Drain and set the pasta aside in the pot.

While the pasta cooks, heat a medium sauce pan over medium heat. As the butter melts, whisk in the flour. Add the garlic and diced jalapeños. Keep whisking until the mixture thickens. Gradually add milk, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth, bringing to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and add sea salt to taste. Gradually whisk in pepper jack and cream cheese, stirring until the cheese is melted smoothly into a thicker sauce.

Fold sauce into cooked pasta, coating thoroughly. Spread into a 9-inch-square greased baking dish. Sprinkle with sharp cheddar cheese and bread crumbs. Arrange jalapeño slices over the top and bake for about 15 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and top forms a crust. Enjoy!

If you’d like to help the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and its mission by supporting our ebook, please let me know what you think! If you love it, please do share it. It would mean the world! Plus, I’d love to see your macaroni and cheese creations on social media by tagging @TanayaG on Twitter or @mstanayag on Instagram, and using the hashtag #30macncheese. I’d be glad to share your creative photos, and I’d love to see how your recipe renditions turned out!

Next up: I’ve got an interview with the CEO and founder of Coolhaus Ice Cream, as well as a behind-the-scenes tour of an organic farm opening its doors (bushes?) to the public for DIY blueberry picking! Until next time….

~T

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