VIDEO: Celebrity Chefs + Highlights from LA Weekly’s “The Essentials”

Tanayas Table LA Weekly The Essentials Logo Wine

Where do you go to interview top-tier LA chefs of celebrity status, all in the same room? How about the likes of Curtis Stone, Roy Choi, Michael Voltaggio and Sang Yoon?

Well, this past weekend, LA Weekly hosted The Essentials, an annual food event produced in honor of the recently unveiled 99 Essential LA Restaurants list. This is where I got to chat with all of the aforementioned immensely talented chefs!

Check it out here, along with some of the amazing bites offered by 50 of the 99 restaurants honored on the list:

Here are some of the highlights from what we tried at the event:

Roy Choi’s Kogi served its classic short rib tacos, while Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio of Ink served a bagels & lox-inspired dish featuring rye pasta with smoked trout roe, bagel crumbs and dashi brown butter.

Michael Voltaggio of Ink served up a pasta play on bagels & lox

Michael Voltaggio of Ink served up a pasta play on bagels & lox

Plan Check served their famous (and heavenly!) cruller donut holes with caramelized goat cheese, coconut sugar, almond sauce, white chocolate and candied rosemary.

Plan Check's all-star cruller donut with candied rosemary, caramelized goat cheese

Plan Check’s all-star cruller donut with candied rosemary, caramelized goat cheese

This little ball of rich complexity was definitely one of my ultimate favorite bites, as the donuts were crispy on the outside and light, airy and slightly custardy on the inside. The caramelized goat cheese was the perfect balance of sweet and savory, and the candied rosemary added the right amount of aromatic essence.

A savory favorite of mine had to be Little Sister’s banh hoi with chili braised beef shank and tendon, herbs, sprouts and fried peanuts. Great balance of hot and cold, sweet and salty, and the perfect amount of heat and acid.

Little Sister's banh hoi getting some finishing touches

Little Sister’s banh hoi getting some finishing touches

Alimento’s escolar crudo was also excellent, plated with eggplant, wild fennel and mollica. The succulent yet firm white fish absolutely melted in the mouth along with its Mediterranean-inspired components. It was a very cohesive plate indeed, with deep flavors.

One last donut that stood out was Hinoki & The Bird’s miso donut with honey caramel. It was a perfect umami and sweet combination in one fluffy bite!

Spago served an interesting “Vietnamese style banh mi” with pork belly, but somehow it didn’t taste as good as it looked for me. Still, it was pretty to look at, with all its brightly colored veggies.

Spago's take on the banh mi

Spago’s take on the banh mi

Tar & Roses’ steak tartare was delectable, as was its popcorn with bacon, brown sugar and aleppo pepper. Petit Trois also served a steak tartare, while Park’s BBQ served the flavors of Korean BBQ in one bite. There was also some great Ethiopian food, and a lot of deep-flavored moles served at the event.

Korean BBQ in one bite, by Park's BBQ

Korean BBQ in one bite, by Park’s BBQ

I only heard that chef Curtis Stone of Maude’s white asparagus pain perdu with foie gras mousse, pickled pearl onions & mustard seed was amazing, since we didn’t get to try before they ran out. Still, he talks to us about it in the video above… which kind of makes up for it!

Here’s Roy Choi cracking jokes and plugging Kogi, by the way:

Joking around with Roy Choi

Instagram video: Joking around with Roy Choi

Szechuan Impression’s spicy noodles were hot and flavorful, and had just the right bite. The variety of food, from authentic international street fare to refined European-inspired dishes was a pretty accurate reflection of so much that LA has to offer.

Spicy noodles by Szechuan Impression

Spicy noodles by Szechuan Impression

Although they didn’t exhibit at the event, I was pretty proud to learn that Surati Farsan Mart was recognized as one of the 99 Essential Restaurants!

Wine, cocktails and spirits also flowed at the event, and there was even vodka made from sweet potatoes. Oh, and how could I forget shouting out Philippe The Original and their OG French dip sandwich? There was so much food and drink to try, such little time!

The original French dip by Philippe The Original

The original French dip by Philippe The Original

I do wish some of the fine dining restaurants hadn’t run out by the time we got to them, but overall we definitely left stuffed and satiated with some of the most essential bites LA has to offer.

It was a good time talking food with some very well-respected chefs, as well.

Roy Choi & Tanaya's Table talking food

Cheers from Roy Choi & Tanaya’s Table… peace out!

Check out the full list of stellar vendors here. Until next time, cheers!

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VIDEO New Opening: 4th Street Market, SoCal’s Most Epic Food Hall

Watch the video for a taste of the good eats you can find at this hip new food hall!

Check out the 1-minute video for a taste of the good eats you can find at downtown Santa Ana’s new food hall!

There’s a hip new food hall in town, and it’s the best one I’ve seen yet! Located in downtown Santa Ana, this new hub of cutting-edge eateries and small food businesses just opened and is ready to please palates.

My wonderful foodie friend Kelli and I ventured over to the new space over the weekend, and we were impressed at how it exceeded our expectations for design, variety, and innovation in their food offerings.

Tanayas Table 4th Street Market Food Hall

I started off with a Radical Botanicals rawktail, which is a raw (non-alcoholic) cocktail made with citrus and coconut milk. It was so delicious, and really settled my stomach to prepare my body for all the awesome food we were about to consume.

Tanayas Table 4th Street Market Radical Botanicals Pressed Juice Raw

Although there are 15 highly select food and drink vendors (there’s even a bar called Recess, by the Playground folks!), we finally settled on the Thai “khao soi” noodles from Jason Quinn’s Noodle Tramp, and the tater tot pork poutine from Stockyard Sandwich Company.

The noodles had a perfect bite and chew to them, and the sauce was rich in flavor and complexity. The tater tot poutine had juicy pork, plus a fried egg on it… so in other words, it was also amazing! The video above has more on these dishes.

Tanayas Table 4th Street Market Khao Soi Noodle Tramp Poutine Stockyard

After enjoying our food in the outdoor patio decorated with bold, colorful graffiti art and planters, we went back inside for some dessert.

Chunk-N-Chip really stood out to us, and what caught my eye the most was their champagne cookies and their French toast with bacon ice cream! I had to get it in sandwich form, I tell you. Who doesn’t want a little libation AND breakfast in their dessert, right? Ha.

The storefront is the ice cream sandwich maker’s first brick-and-mortar, as it started as a food truck. Claudia, the lovely owner, told us they are expanding their flavors and cone options. For now, they have brownie and red velvet waffle cones, but they will soon be rolling out at gluten-free, vegan cone.

I also went behind the scenes to create this video for the making of their brownie batter cones. Trust me, you need to try it for yourself!

Tanayas Table 4th Street Market Chunk N Chip Ice Cream

There is so much more to try at the newly opened 4th Street Market, and I can’t wait to be back soon for the rest.

Check out the video above for the food in action, as well as some shots of the awesome decor. LOVED the quotes from famous foodies on the ceiling!

To find out more on the 4th Street Market, and for hours and directions, go here. Until next time, cheers!

VIDEO: Inside Koala Tapioca, Westwood’s Newest Eatery + Boba Spot

TT Koala Tapioca Jasmine Sea Salt Green Tea Boba

The Taiwanese-Vietnamese fusion café concept that started as a food truck just opened in brick and mortar form, right in Westwood.

I decided to take my fellow Bruin friend Anshu along with me to our old stomping grounds to check out the media preview event for the new joint, Koala Tapioca.

Looking back on our four years at UCLA (and plenty of excursions in Westwood), it’s crazy to think how much has changed in the area. However, with the addition of Koala Tapioca to the Westwood Village scene, it’s safe to say that this place is a valuable addition.

Check out the one-minute video for the inside scoop (and sip!) on the hottest new cafe in Westwood.

Check out the one-minute video for the inside scoop (and sip!) on the hottest new cafe in Westwood.

Koala Tapioca was founded by recent UCLA graduates David and Vincent, who had a solid business strategy coming straight out of college.

While their brick and mortar location was in the works with construction and permits, the duo used that time to get a food truck going to do some market testing with their product.

TT Koala Tapioca  Popcorn Chicken

Popcorn Chicken with Fried Sweet Basil

They perfected their food with low overhead costs, while also building a solid social media following in the meantime.

The truck, previously called Koala Tea, was a hit… and now they’re ready to open their doors, with great momentum behind them in the form of loyal foodie fans and Twitter followers.

Banh Mi

Banh Mi

Koala Tapioca offers a variety of unique and traditional coffee and tea drinks (with boba, if you’d like!) as well as Taiwanese and Vietnamese food. The fact that they have free Wi-Fi and board games is just the cherry on top! All I can say is I wish we had this place when I was at UCLA.

Check out the video above for a peek at the tasty snacks and drinks that this awesome little spot in the heart of Westwood has to offer.

TT Koala Tapioca  Snacks Drinks Spread

You can find more information on visiting Koala Tapioca here. Stay tuned for a Dine LA Restaurant Week new opening post coming soon. Cheers 🙂

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh 2014

VIDEO: How Chicken And Waffle Cones Are Made – Behind The Scenes Of A Food Truck Pop-Up

So here it is, the insider coverage + video exclusive on this highly anticipated chicken & waffle cone pop-up event!

Update to the previous post alerting you to the amazing chicken & waffle cones pop-up from Carb & Nation: Due to such high demand and continuous long lines, Carb & Nation will be serving both versions of their savory chicken & waffle cones for one more night– next Saturday night (10/4/14) to be exact, on the second night of their Tested LA Saturday night residency!

A common question that may come to mind is, how does one eat a savory waffle cone full of chicken and layers of other good stuff? Well, the guys offer forks with the cones, but from our experience we could just bite into the cone without it breaking apart.

The cone is sturdier and less sweet than your traditional waffle cone, as a result of the chefs’ unique recipe to cut the sugar in half without losing the crispiness of the cone. It’s amazing, actually!

So nope, no problems eating it straight out of the cone, and it’s actually quite delicious as you bite it and get layer by layer of complementary flavor. You can see the layers detailed in the photos below.

Check out the one-minute pre-opening video of their first (and epic) chicken and waffles pop-up yesterday. We even got to get a sneak peek of how they make their chicken & waffle cones (both American & Indonesian versions!) thanks to Chefs Fata Wijaya and Kevin Micheli.

Reporting straight from inside the food truck as they prepped to serve the gigantic line outside, Tanaya’s Table brings you the scoop on a new kind of food in a cone!

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh 2014

Tanaya’s Table brings you an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at how these innovative chefs make their savory cones… right from inside the food truck!

Here’s a photo of the American Cone, which has figs three ways. Fresh, dried… and in a Guinness beer reduction. Oh yes:

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh 2014

The American Cone, right before we devoured it.

And as promised, here is a breakdown of each cone and its layers of flavor and textures that all work so well together:

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh 2014

The Chicken and Waffle Cone Pop-Up Menu: The American Cone and Indonesian Cone

I highly recommend checking them out at Tested LA next weekend, as Oct. 4 will be your last chance to get your hands on these special cones! You can go anytime between 5-11 p.m. but I would suggest going early, as they ran out due to such large crowds on their first (and only, as originally planned) day of cone service.

One cone is definitely a meal in itself, costs $9 each and is totally worth the wait in line, judging from the reaction of the people I spoke with. We were fortunate to get the first cones of the day, as a result of filming them being built (woo hoo!), and I felt just a wee bit guilty walking by, biting into my cone while people in line fawned over it.

I assured them the wait was worth it, though… and it definitely was.

More photos and location details can be found in the preview post. Go get ’em while you can!

Food Protip: Chicken And Waffles. In A Cone. One Night Only!

Fried chicken cone indonesian

UPDATE 9/27: Due to such high demand and continuous long lines, Carb & Nation will be serving both versions of their savory chicken & waffle cones next Saturday night (10/4/14) on the second night of their Tested LA residency!

Fried chicken nestled in a waffle cone, in two globally inspired flavors. Who could possibly be the mastermind behind this fascinating food creation coming to Los Angeles this weekend?

That would be chef innovators Fata Wijaya and Kevin Micheli of the Carb & Nation food truck. The event will mark the kickoff to their Saturday night residency at Tested LA, and therefore although the chicken & waffle cones will be a pop-up event, Carb & Nation will actually be back with new goodies every Saturday night.

Here are all the details you need to get your hands on this extremely limited time– and extremely delicious– fusion fare:

Who: Carb & Nation

Where: Tested LA – 3329 Division St. Los Angeles 90065

When: Saturday, Sept. 27 ~ 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.

I had the pleasure of meeting Carb & Nation chef Kevin Micheli at the ROAM Food Truck Academy seminar as part of the Western Foodservice Expo last month, and I’m excited to say that if you are unable to make it to the Glassell Park location, you can still partake in the hype via exclusive coverage right here, as I will be doing a pre-event collaboration with the chefs prior to their opening!

Stay tuned for the post, along with behind-the-scenes video coverage. I will also be posting live updates along with other foodie news as usual, on the Tanaya’s Table Twitter (@TanayaG) & Instagram accounts (@MsTanayaG). Connect with me on those social media handles to get the scoop firsthand, as always. On each platform I share exclusive food tips and content, and love having foodie conversations with all of you!

In the meantime, I present you with a visual sneak peek to get your tastebuds primed and ready for this Saturday night:

The American Waffle Cone

fried chicken cone modern american

Fried chicken, roasted sweet potatoes, goat cheese fondue, fig syrup and an apple slaw with lemon-coriander dressing. Tip: ask to add the housemade buttery habanero hot sauce if you like heat! (source: Carb & Nation)

 

The Indonesian Style Waffle Cone

Fried chicken cone indonesian

Indonesian fried chicken, coconut rice, pickled vegetables, coconut-kaffir lime syrup and sambal chili sauce. (source: Carb & Nation)

Other cities, be jealous. Or, just stay tuned for the Tanaya’s Table exclusive inside Carb & Nation’s chicken & waffle cone pop-up! 😉