Treatoberfest 2 With L.A. Foodie At Angel City Brewery

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh 2014

Video: Crazy costumes, silly dancing with Sam & the L.A. Foodie guys, plus my dog Jellybean’s cameo in a rainbow wig.

This past weekend, my friend Sam and I spent the day hopping to 4 different Halloween events. This means we spent the day drawing weird looks from people since we walked around in costume all day.

If you’re wondering what we dressed as, here it is, plus you can see some dorky costumed dancing in the video above. It also goes with the theme of some other posts I’ve been doing, with the Sriracha Series!

Jelly Tanaya Sriracha Halloween costumes 2014

Our costumes. A clown and a bottle of Sriracha!

After visiting the Grand Central Market in costume to receive free small treats from an array of eateries such as Sticky Rice, Las Morelianas, Berlin Currywurst, Olio Pizzeria, Horse Thief BBQ and DTLA Cheese, we headed over to Treatoberfest 2, L.A. Foodie’s Halloween event featuring sweet treats from a variety of vendors. The video captures fun highlights, and here are the details:

One of my favorites was the sweet & spicy limited edition popcorn from Popsalot Gourmet Popcorn, called The Screamsicle. It had a unique flavor combination of blood orange, vanilla bean and ghost pepper, and really did taste like a spicy creamsicle in popcorn form. I also appreciated the festive references to Halloween in the ingredients. Blood orange, ghost pepper… so cheeky and clever!

The Screamsicle gourmet popcorn flavor from Popsalot. Complete with googly eyes!

The Screamsicle gourmet popcorn flavor from Popsalot… complete with googly eyes!

Other unique bites came from Chocolatier Blue, a gourmet chocolate maker all the way from Berkeley. They incorporated pumpkin, sage, root beer, rosemary and more into their various chocolate confections with creamy centers. Popsicle Culture had interesting flavors such as the L.A. spicy pineapple and the margarita pops.

Peddler’s Creamery also scooped frozen treats in the form of their bicycle-churned ice cream, whereas Sweet Spils ran out way early but we managed to snag a a couple of mini pumpkin chocolate cupcakes. The Kandy Jar served samples of their toffee and Angel City Brewery debuted their new seasonal beers on tap, for purchase.

We tried the Rum-Aged Mexican Cola, a medium-bodied brew with citrus peel, tamarind, vanilla bean and Mexican Coca-Cola aged six-months in a rum barrel. You can check it out, along all the other treats (plus dorky dancing courtesy of me, Sam and Ben & Drew from L.A. Foodie… and a cameo by my dog, Jellybean… in a rainbow wig) above.

Happy Halloween week from (15-year-old) Jellybean and me!

Jelly Tanaya Halloween Costumes 2014

Jellybean the Halloweenie dog!

More Halloween fun to come, including DIY projects straight from the set of Home & Family on the Universal Studios lot, and a couple of new opening sneak previews… of Steak ‘N Shake’s first California location and Ice Cream Lab’s Pasadena opening, to be exact! Stay tuned 🙂

 

Sriracha Series, Part 1: Sriracha Festival Brings The Heat to L.A.

This post is Part 1 of a three-part series dedicated to the modern holy grail of hot sauces, sriracha. Stay tuned for a Halloween-themed post and a behind-the-scenes look inside the sriracha factory!

Copyright 2014 Tanaya Ghosh

See the stellar spicy sweet & savory foods in action at the 2nd Annual Sriracha Festival!

The 2nd Annual Sriracha Festival hosted by Josh Lurie of Food GPS & Randy Clemens, author of The Sriracha Cookbook was by far the hottest event to hit Los Angeles this past weekend, taking place at the historic Chinatown Central Plaza. As an avid heat seeker, this was an event I especially looked forward to this month, even with a total of three events to attend that very same day!

By far, the Sriracha Festival showcased some incredibly unique and impressive eats. Chefs and mixologists alike highlighted the versatility of the most trendy chili sauce to date with creative uses in savory and sweet dishes, as well as in cocktail form.

Beachwood BBQ Sriracha Ribs

Beachwood BBQ’s sriracha-glazed smoked ribs

The Mexican chocolate fountain you see in the video above is to dip crispy, sriracha sugar-dusted churrones (similar to chicharrones) courtesy of Eagle Rock Brewery, whose beer on tap included Witbier and IPA. And those meaty smoked ribs being doused in sriracha BBQ sauce come from Beachwood BBQ.

The deviled eggs also featured are not your mama’s deviled eggs. They’ve got a chicken skin crumble and sriracha caramel on ’em, thanks to “Top Chef” contender Mei Lin. Speaking of a great sauce, Willy B’s pork belly had some great flavors from their hot sauce.

That pork belly though.

That pork belly though.

Mud Hen Tavern’s Kajsa Alger served a smooth, creamy sriracha-braised pumpkin purée with white chocolate yogurt and basil oil, along with some fresh greens for texture… and the flavors came together beautifully. Meanwhile, “Next Iron Chef” & “Chopped” alum Nate Appleman of Shophouse served a moist and flavorful pork and chicken meatball with tamarind vinaigrette and green papaya slaw, along with a Thai basil and cilantro salad with crispy garlic.

Crawfish mac 'n cheese with house smoked Andouille sausage by Little Jewel of New Orleans

Crawfish mac ‘n cheese with house-smoked Andouille sausage by Little Jewel of New Orleans

Newcomers on the scene such as The Gadarene Swine and Little Jewel of New Orleans served diverse dishes such as a vegan crispy yucca with sriracha and avocado mousse, and a not-at-all-vegan crawfish mac ‘n cheese with house smoked Andouille sausage, respectively.

Last but not least, you know Eggslut brought the heat (and the longest lines!). Chef Alvin Cailan dished out his spicy pork tan tan men and explained (see video above) that the dish, topped with a seasoned soft-boiled egg, togarashi and bacon, symbolized the debut to their new Ramen Champ concept, set to open in Chinatown by the end of the year. You heard it here first, straight from Alvin!

Eggslut debuted their tan tan noodles from their new concept, Ramen Champ opening soon.

Eggslut debuted delectable tan tan noodles from their new concept, Ramen Champ opening soon.

The smoky bacon, tan tan noodles with a bite, the spicy kick from the togarashi, and the perfectly cooked egg with a soft yolk made for a splendid symphony of flavors in each sizeable bowl.

I also appreciated that there were plenty of cocktails and ice cream to cool palates down for another round of spicy goodness. There were frozen treats such as McConnell’s sweet cream and salted caramel chip ice creams, as well as cooling drinks like a cucumber jicama beverage by Hollywood bartender Jason Bran. However, being the sriracha fanatic that I am, my cocktail and ice cream of choice still incorporated sriracha… in very innovative ways!

Amaretto Sours with a Mango and Sriracha twist

Amaretto Sours with a Mango and Sriracha twist

Jason Bran mixed up a DiSaronno cocktail with mango, lemon and sriracha (see video), while Santa Barbara-to-L.A. transplant McConnell’s Ice Cream scooped pumpkin pie ice cream with a generous drizzle of thick, crave-worthy sriracha caramel. So simple, yet brilliant when paired with the pumpkin ice cream!

Pumpkin pie ice cream topped with sriracha caramel

Pumpkin pie ice cream topped with sriracha caramel

Crème Caramel LA brought their “Holy Petit S’mores” to the party. Want to know what those are? Buckle up before you read this: A sriracha marshmallow layered on a dark chocolate fudge brownie, dipped in white chocolate, rolled in graham cracker crumbs and sprinkled with sriracha honeycomb dust! The marshmallow had just a little kick, and complemented the chocolatey goodness of the brownie.

Yup, there is sriracha in there too!

Yup, there is sriracha in there too!

My absolute favorite dessert of the night, however, came from Red Bread. They served up plates of their (deep breath…) Whole Wheat Crusted Sriracha Black Bottom Meyer Lemon Custard Pie! It was heaven in a pie slice. They also served a Sriracha Apple Crumble Pie, which was a great sriracha-fied version of the classic American dessert. But I can’t deny that it was love at first bite with the Meyer lemon pie! That layer of sriracha-chocolate bliss on the bottom was superb, and I could eat it anytime, any place I tell you!

Thanks to the L.A. Sriracha Festival for a delicious experience. From what I heard while chatting with repeat attendees, last year was great… and this year was even better. I have no doubts that the Sriracha Festival will continue to impress in the years to come. Also, props to the fest for donating a portion of the proceeds to Food Forward.

Extra sriracha on that Greenspans Grilled Cheese, please!

Extra sriracha on that Greenspans Grilled Cheese, please!

Stay tuned for more heat in the next two installments of the Sriracha Series, right here on Tanaya’s Table!

Weekend Fun: Taste of Italy Coming to L.A.

Taste of Italy Los Angeles

Looking for something fun to do with family or friends this Saturday? The 6th annual Taste of Italy is coming to downtown L.A. and it looks like it’s going to be another fantastic night.

I covered the event back in 2012 for Neon Tommy, and it was a wonderful time! It almost felt like I was back in the streets of Florence at night, under the lights.

This year, participating restaurants will include Valentino, Drago Centro, Locanda Del Lago, Il Fornaio, GROM and Celestino. I’ve tried a few of these restaurants, such as Celestino, located in Pasadena. It had the most authentic Italian food I’ve had outside of Italy, and the service made me feel like I was dining at a warm and inviting Italian home.

In fact, I tried Chef Calogero Drago’s food at the L.A. Zoo’s Beastly Ball media preview first, then again at a special dinner with my good friend and fellow blogger Rachael. They had the most sumptuous, delicate pappardelle pasta (with pheasant and morels) I’ve ever had! I’ve also been to the other talented Drago brother’s restaurant, Drago Centro, for DineLA Week and even did a Tastemade video there:

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh 2014

Here’s a video throwback to Drago Centro’s DineLA week menu!

Bottom line: these are some quality Italian places serving up some of their best bites. Wineries that will be pouring include Casa Torelli, Le Vigne, Mazzocco, Ventura Limoncello and more. Proceeds from the event will support the Italian American Museum’s exhibitions and the preservation of the Italian Hall (the building in which the Museum is located).

The event, filled with authentic Italian food, drink and entertainment will be held at the Italian American Museum of Los Angeles (424 N Main St. Los Angeles, CA 90012) this Saturday, October 11 from 5 to 10 p.m.

Tickets start at $55 and include tastings from more than 50 of L.A.’s top Italian restaurants, over 100 wines, plus live entertainment and cooking demos in the heart of downtown L.A. If I can’t make it back to Italy anytime soon, I can at least get my Italian staycation fix at this great event right here in the City of Angels! (More on my trip to Italy and other travel adventures to come soon, by the way…)

For event information and tickets, check out the Taste of Italy website. See you there… because after all, as the Italian saying goes, ‘Chi mangia bene, vive bene‘ (one who eats well, lives well)!

An Update From L.A. Food & Wine

Well hello there! So I’m in the midst of 6 (yes, SIX!) different food events this weekend, and I’ve got two down so far. Talk about a blissful food coma!

Here are some of the fun highlights from L.A. Food & Wine’s Asian Night Market. Cameos include talented chef personalities Jet Tila, Aarti Sequeira and Nguyen Tran… plus I eat coconut curry snails. Yes, SNAILS! Check it out here:

Copyright 2014 Tanaya Ghosh

Click above to see my favorite moments of L.A. Food & Wine Asian Night Market… and to see how the snails were!

Phew! More highlights and photos of all the innovative food and creative cocktails to come (peanut butter matcha sesame oil cocktails, say what?!). Alright, I’ll be priming my stomach for more food now, because I’m off to the Lexus Grand Tasting and will be reporting back shortly!

For realtime updates, you can always follow me on Instagram and Twitter for some other fun, exclusive tidbits from each of the events… and my crazy, unpredictable foodie life in general. I’d love to connect with you guys and see what you’re eating and experience, too… Cheers!

Top Picks For An Epic Foodie Weekend

Copyright 2014 Tanaya Ghosh

Summer is still in full swing, with tastings and fun activities to suit everyone’s palates, from the fancy foodie to the laid-back luncher. This weekend alone happens to be gastronomically pleasing beyond belief!

Here are my picks for where to go and what to taste this weekend, from L.A. to the O.C.:

L.A. Food & Wine – The premiere foodie event– or actually, a series of events over four days… starting tonight! Renowned chefs from all over L.A. and the nation will convene to give us mouthwatering bites exploding with innovation and flavor through unique events such as Iron Chef Morimoto’s Asian Night Market, and Graham Elliot & Fabio Viviani’s Ultimate Bites of L.A. soiree. (Side note: I’m a big fan of Fabio Viviani since his Top Chef days, and he’s such a sweetheart each time I’ve met him, too. He even gave a shoutout to Tanaya’s Table last year! Who else is a Fabio Viviani fan??)

This is a can’t-miss shindig in the heart of downtown, if you’re willing to invest (quite) a bit more to get pampered at a luxe food event. I will say from the past few years covering L.A. Food & Wine that the experience you get is unparalleled, and you will have a memorable time!

Thes past posts here may help to show you the evolution of the event since 2011 (I was working & living in Hong Kong the summer 0f 2012 — the only way you can keep me away from this event is to send me to another country!):

L.A. Weekly Pancake Breakfast – I’m quite excited for this one, since brunch is my all-time favorite meal. Curated by KCRW’s Evan Kleiman, top restaurants around Los Angeles will serve their unique renditions of a classic brunch. Plus, there will be mimosas and more. Yum!

K-Town Night Market OC Block Party – Held at Angel Stadium in Orange County. Music and masses of people, plus traditional and Asian-inspired food will be served. With SIX (yes, six!) consecutive food events to cover over the course of these next four days, I’m still bummed I’ll be missing this one!

If you’re missing them but wish you weren’t, I will be covering a good portion of these, and will take you with me through the videos, photos and stories to come! It’ll be like you were right there with me, minus the calories ;).

BONUS: L.A. Times’ The Taste is the very next weekend, so pace yourselves, people! It’s yet another series of food events you don’t want to miss, right in L.A. From “Field to Fork” to “Sunday Brunch,” there are a ton of good eats that await! Get your tickets while you can, and prime your tastebuds for some serious fun ahead.