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!

New Restaurant Sneak Peek: SoCal Gets Its First Steak ‘N Shake

Get the inside scoop before anyone else on the first Steak 'n Shake to arrive in Cali. Dancing waiters, DIY eggnog-beer floats and more!

Get the inside scoop before anyone else in this video recap of the first Steak ‘n Shake to arrive in Cali. Dancing waiters, DIY eggnog-beer floats and more!

Midwest-to-L.A. transplants — or just about anyone who’s had the privilege of trying Steak ‘n Shake — will be happy to know that you don’t have to drive to Vegas to get your Steakburger and milkshake fix. There’s a new burger joint in town opening tomorrow, and it will mark the long-awaited arrival of the legendary 80-year-old burger chain from the Midwest.

I had the chance to attend the pre-opening party for Steak ‘n Shake earlier tonight, and we got to order anything and everything off their full menu while a DJ spun party tunes loud enough for the waiters and guests to break out into impromptu dance (see video above).

Having been to the Steak ‘n Shake located inside the Las Vegas South Point Hotel & Casino once before and enjoying it, I have to say that this Third Street Promenade location is a great one. It’s sleek and modern (with LED screens and a couple of those fancy billion-choice soda machines), but also retains that nostalgic diner vibe. The servers are friendly and fun-loving, and seem to really enjoy accommodating guests.

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh 2014

You can also dine al fresco, as the eatery occupies a prime corner location with patio seating on both sides. It’s a nice view of the Third Street Promenade and the iconic string lights in its trees.

Upon entering, you order at the counter and take a seat, then sit back and wait for them to bring your meal to you. It’s fast-casual, with the right amount of attentive service and do-it-yourself ordering.

We tried the Frisco Melt (my personal favorite!), Signature Steakburger and the Original Double ‘n Cheese. All of them were juicy and tasted fresh, from the vegetables to the bread.

We also tasted the chili cheese fries, parmesan herb and salt & vinegar fries, wine, beer and a cool, creamy seasonal eggnog milkshake. Talk about food coma!

Check it all out here (or in the one-minute video above):

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh 2014

The Steak ‘n Shake full menu with pricing, wine selection and beer on tap (click to enlarge)

 

Tanayas Table Steak n Shake Steakburger

The Signature Steakburger with grilled onions and parmesan & herb fries

 

Tanayas Table Steak n Shake Meal

Eggnog seasonal milkshake (it’s a winner!), red wine, Santa Monica Brew Works local beer, chili cheese fries and the Original Double ‘n Cheese burger

 

Tanayas Table Steak n Shake Steakburger inside

Inside the Signature Steakburger

Oh, by the way… the first 100 guests in line will get free Steak ‘n Shake for a year. The only Steak ‘n Shake in California opens its doors for its Grand Opening at 11 a.m. on 10/28 and is located at 1455 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica, CA.

There may be a lot of great burger places in L.A. and even Santa Monica, but Steak ‘n Shake brings a friendly vibe and delicious, hearty yet fresh food in a modern yet nostalgic diner setting. It’s just more proof that all good things eventually come to Cali!

Check out the video above for all the action and stay tuned for a sneak peek at Ice Cream Lab, opening its doors later this week in Pasadena. Cheers!

Weekend Fun: Special Olympics Pier Del Sol Event + Tanaya’s Table on KTLA 5

Pier del Sol KTLA 5It’s a widely known fact that the weekend is an insanely short amount of time. Much too short. Two days, to be exact, and on Sunday you can either laze around like any other Sunday and run mundane errands while dreading Monday, or you can seize the second half of that glorious time away from the office to go do something memorable to make the most of it. So, what do to?

Well, there are a few things I can suggest. Perhaps going to brunch? Or maybe the Santa Monica Pier for a beach view on a sunny day? Or maybe an amusement park with rides and games… Or perhaps just tasting a bunch of top notch food around L.A. and meeting your favorite chefs? OR maybe doing something meaningful for a good cause? Good news is, the Special Olympics’ premier annual Pier del Sol event allows you the opportunity to do all that and more!

You can meet top chefs from around Los Angeles and taste their finest bites, enjoy all-access status to the rides at Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier, and the best part would be that you’re helping a great cause, which is the Special Olympics of Southern California. I got a chance to meet some of the athletes this past week at a live KTLA morning news segment (or 5 segments, to be accurate) with Gayle Anderson, and it was a great time getting to know them. More on that below!

The VIP brunch features the aforementioned top quality cuisine from 38 of LA’s top restaurants, including Chef Michael Cimarusti of Providence, Chef Olivier Rousselle of On Sunset, Chef Tanino Drago of Tanino Ristorante, and Chef Ermando Robles of Porto Via.

VIP Tickets are $150 each, and include the VIP Brunch, unlimited rides, plus 12 game tickets. General Admission is $45 and include unlimited rides, eight game tickets and a meal coupon for Pacific Park’s food plaza… but come on now, you know you want to try all the top food from all over L.A!

While generatl admission tickets are available on the day of the event, there area only a limited number of VIP tickets still available, so it’s best to get your tickets now. Another great thing about this one-of-a-kind special event is that proceeds go straight to the non-profit, so it is tax-deductible. Can’t complain about that!

Here we are on the KTLA 5 morning news with Gayle Anderson, right onsite of where Pier del Sol will take place! Totally worth waking up extra early for, as I got to meet wonderful Special Olympics athletes, staff, plus fellow blogger e*star LA, Pacific Park executives and great chefs. We also got to eat on camera… the first step in my dream of eating on camera as a career! 😉

Thanks to my friend Dani for snapping & sending me this!

Thanks to my wonderful friend (since preschool!) Dani for snapping & sending me this in realtime! Click above for all the segments.

On camera, we tasted the 62-degree egg on a beef cheek hash with housemade sriracha aioli prepared by Chef Joisah Citrin, and boy was it good! I hadn’t seen Josiah Citrin since his cooking demo last year, which I had also covered. He’s still just as friendly and witty! Chef Erik of the Daily Grill was also onsite, preparing his seared ahi tuna salad. These were just two of the bites, but you can get all 38 bites this Sunday, October 12 starting at 10 a.m. right on the Santa Monica Pier, complete with sun and surf.

What better way to spend a Sunday than with good food for a great cause, in sunny SoCal? Whether with family or friends, it’s the perfect way to spend a Sunday, and hopefully I see you there!

Since 1997, Pier del Sol has raised nearly $8 million, benefiting and changing the lives of more than 17,000 Special Olympic Southern California athletes. For more information and to get your tickets, visit the Special Olympics of Southern California’s Pier del Sol event website.

Happy weekend, all! 🙂

VIDEO: Dunkin’ Donuts Opens In Santa Monica. Worth The Hype?

 

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh 2014

Flavors: Chocolate Frosted, Blueberry Cake, Oreo Crumb, Pumpkin Pie

Although summer is ending, it doesn’t look like food events in L.A. are slowing down one bit! As my friend and I happened to be in Santa Monica for a group taping of the Epic Meal Empire show by the guys of Epic Meal Time, we figured we’d also check out Dunkin’ Donuts.

We were curious to see how crazy the line was, as the grand opening was just a day ago. Since the line didn’t look as long as we’d expected and we had some time on our hands, we figured let’s wait in the line and see whether this long-awaited opening is worth the hype. For the sake of food journalism, of course!

In case you didn’t know (despite the frenzy here in Los Angeles), DD has opened its first location in Southern California in decades. You see, Dunkin’ Donuts was actually around until the late 90’s. However, all that’s existed in SoCal since then are a couple smaller locations such as the one in Barstow, on the way to Las Vegas. However, this is the first full-service store to open in recent times, and people are going ga-ga over it.

Once we arrived on scene with a healthy dose of skepticism in tow (so much hype!), we waited in the line that didn’t seem too crazy for Day 2, but did move quite slowly. However, shooting the video below to share with you guys did help the time go by more quickly. Forty-five minutes of our time, to be exact!

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh 2014

Was it worth it? Here are some tips and candid thoughts, along with a video review of the experience so you can decide for yourself whether it’s worth the trek and the wait:

  • If you absolutely must try a new place as soon as it opens, try to wait until at least Day 2. This will save you hours of your life versus braving the crowds, lines and general madness of opening day. The excitement will be there, minus (most of) the crazy. If you love camping out and scoring free stuff for being first in line on opening day that much though, more power to you!
  • Service was good, as they tried to be as efficient as possible by taking orders for 6 or more while customers stood in line. That way, they’re ready for you when you get to the front. However, not all options are listed on those glossy menu sheets!
  • The cake donuts are pretty solid. Moist, a bit fluffy on the inside, and not overly sweet. If you enjoy filled donuts, the Boston Cream is probably your best bet, unless you enjoy the artificial-tasting, extra sugary “cream” filling in the other donuts. Another one I really wanted to love, but at least the Boston Cream was a winner.
  • I tried Dunkin’ on the East Coast years ago. Was underwhelmed by the yeast donuts. I’m sad to say these were no different, tasting dense, a bit dry, and not very fresh. The chocolate frosting on the donut with sprinkles (see video below) was on point though. Still, Dunkin’s donuts pale in comparison to the glorious, pillowy, freshly fried rings of dough found at most mom & pop shops around town. Which basically come up every few blocks in most areas. Check them out sometime, trust me!
  • While I know many people rave hardcore about the coffee and not the donuts, I must say that I didn’t really enjoy the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Disclaimer: I’m not a regular coffee drinker, but I do enjoy an occasional ice coffee… and I know a good one when I sip one! This one even had an extra pump of pumpkin spice (cashier’s suggestion), but it still didn’t taste anything like pumpkin to me, and just tasted weirdly artificial. I wanted to like it, I really did!
  • “Pumpkin pie” donut didn’t have any taste of pumpkin nor pie, and seemed to be choc full of artificial flavoring and unnatural orange color. The texture was also not how it looks in the ads, tasting again like the sugary frosting of a storebought cupcake. However, the pumpkin pie spice cake donut was quite tasty! One out of three pumpkin flavored items nailed it, in our opinion.
  • Parking can be hard to find with all the permit-parking-only side streets, but there are lots around for $1 an hour. Not too bad on that front!
  • Sorry if I’ve offended you and your love of Dunkin’ Donuts. As a native Californian and donut lover (from small shops to gourmet eateries), I think there are a ton of specialty donut places around these days that offer far better quality, using better ingredients and innovative flavors. DD’s price is not bad at all, however.
  • If I go back, I do want to try their breakfast sandwiches. Wonder how good those are, because they look great! I just don’t want to get my hopes up ’til I try it, since you can’t trust the hype, it looks like. I still don’t understand the obsession, unless you grew up on Dunkin’. Sorry guys! I will try again sometime, though.

The overall experience was a good one, and I think they’ve done a fantastic job branding and creating a cultlike obsession over not necessarily the product itself (besides maybe the coffee, depending on whom you talk to), but the entire experience, which leaves you feeling happy you visited.

The Video:

Tanaya's Table - Dunkin Donuts Santa Monica Opening Video

Check out the one-minute video for highlights from Day 2 of the Dunkin’ Donuts opening!

Although East Coasters may have grown up on Dunkin’, I wonder how Californians will keep loving Dunkin’ in the long run, with all the other great donut and coffee places around. Perhaps Dunkin’ Donuts should be called Dunkin’ Coffee? It will also be interesting to see if local donut businesses and cafes (as we have a lot of mom & pop shops!) will take a hit as more Dunkin’ Donuts stores descend on Southern California. Personally, the DD experience was nice overall, but I’m all for the local mom & pop shops who have amazing donuts and a neighborhood feel!

Try it for the collective experience, and feel free to share your thoughts once you have been. Hope you enjoy it if you do decide to check it out. More summer food highlights to come!