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.
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 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!
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
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
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
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
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
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:
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
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
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.
Cheers from Roy Choi & Tanaya’s Table… peace out!
Check out the full list of stellar vendors here. Until next time, cheers!