The delicious sushi we made in class. Yup, that sushi flower is my creation! 😉
It had been a while since my friend Dani gave me a lesson in sushi making, so when I had the opportunity to take a class with Chef Eric Crowley of Chef Eric’s Culinary Classroom in West LA, I was excited to get an official refresher and learn some new techniques along the way!
A major key to sushi success is making sure the rice is perfect. Flavoring it with kombu (edible kelp that imparts an umami flavor), fanning it out for the perfect stickiness level, and flavoring it with rice vinegar are a few tips to keep in mind.
We also learned to cut the fresh fish against the muscle fibers to maximize the delicate, soft textures, and how to roll the sushi in mats, forming tight and perfect little circles of deliciousness. The video below has Chef Eric teaching me the ways!
Chef Eric was patient and informative, and helped us all out in a hands-on manner during the class so we could get the most out of it. We toasted the nori (seaweed sheets) over the stove flame to allow for crispiness, and gleaned other helpful hints along the way… all culminating in the ultimate sushi party, where we made and enjoyed nigiri, sashimi and sushi rolls.
We got creative, cutting and adding different fish (yellowtail, salmon and tuna being a few options) and other fillings (avocado, sprouts, fish roe, carrots, cucumbers and more) to customize our rolls. I decided to get artsy and made the flower in this video:
Chef Eric and his team are so friendly and welcoming that I’d definitely recommend trying out his class if you’re a sushi fan, or just love learning new skills in the kitchen. Heads up: the next sushi class will be on Friday, 4/29!
If you’re interested in learning how to make your own sushi, or want to take your pick from array of other classes offered (knife skills, grilling, wine pairing, professional programs, 4, 10 and 18-week cooking series and more!) sign up at Chef Eric’s Culinary Classroom. Happy cooking! ❤
Growing up in SoCal in a sports-loving household, you bet I was excited when the Los Angeles Dodgers invited me back again this year for a private media preview and exclusive, in-depth tour of Dodger Stadium!
Thanks to Steve Brener, Yvonne Carrasco, Jon Weisman and Daisuke Sugiura of the Dodgers Communications Department, we got a chance to get a first taste of the new stadium offerings. I had an especially great time with my foodie friends Kristie Hang (to whom credit goes for the Boomerang video above of my bobblehead buddy and me) and Chef Jay.
The tour was incredible (I Snapchatted it all at MsTanayaG… follow along for future access!), as we got a behind-the-scenes look at everything from the Commissioner’s (championship) Trophies and Golden Glove Awards, to the actual Dodgers dugout and field, the press box, and the old Dodgers clubhouse, which MLB legends of visiting teams have used during seasons past.
FUN FACT: The Dodgers jacket I’m wearing belonged to my great aunt, who was a dedicated Dodgers fan and wore this very jacket to the final 1988 World Series Championship game, which the Dodgers won!
Before our stadium tour, we got to taste the food and chat with Dodger Stadium Executive Chef Jason Tingley, who did an awesome job not only creating the new bites, but also explaining them to us all.
Today is the home opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and here are some new bites you can expect to track down, whether you’re going to the game today or plan on visiting Dodger Stadium anytime this season:
King’s Hawaiian Dog (pictured above): All-beef quarter pound dog topped with pineapple salsa, on a King’s Hawaiian bun // Where to find it: Extreme Loaded Dogs
Gouda Kobe Burger: 1/3 lb. premium Wagyu burger topped with caramelized onions, pickles & Thousand Island dressing // Where to find it: Elysian Park Grill
Chicken Verde Sandwich: Chicken breast on Telera bread with jalapeno aioli, lettuce, tomato & tomatillo verde sauce // Where to find it: Healthy Cart, Marketplace, Tony’s Stand
Shock Top Bratwurst: Pork bratwurst sausage link infused with Shock Top beer, served on a buttery grilled lobster roll with caramelized onions & spicy brown mustard // As Chef Tingley explained, “It is made with Shock Top beer and comes two different ways: There’s going to be a spicy and a regular bratwurst.” // Where to find it: Think Blue BBQ
Specialty Nachos Verde: Crispy tortilla chips with tomatillo verde sauce, pickled jalapenos, fresco cotija queso // Where to find it: TBD
Smoked BBQ Wings Bundle: 15 smoked chicken wings tossed in BBQ sauce, served with fries, veggie sticks and two soft drinks // Where to find it: Think Blue BBQ
I really liked the Nachos Verde and the King’s Hawaiian Dog the best, but the wings were definitely finger-licking good as well!
Also, here’s a video from last year’s media preview as a little Throwback Tuesday! 😉
In addition to subscribing to my blog and YouTube channel, feel free follow me on Snapchat: MsTanayaG to get realtime behind-the-scenes scoop on stadium tours, chef interviews, new restaurant sneak peeks, inside food influencer events and more… and connect with me on Instagram (@tanayas.table) to get the scoop on all the newest and hottest places to go and what to try!
And now, as Vin Scully is about to say, “It’s time for Dodger baseball!”
You know the main reason I was so excited to attend the Knott’s Berry Farm media preview a couple days ago? It’s because I pass it on my way to the gym EVERY DAY. Well, every day I go to the gym, that is ;).
Although I really love my MMA kickboxing class, every time I pass by Knott’s I kind of secretly wish I were going there instead. I mean, who wouldn’t pick a theme park over the gym, right? What a tease.
I was also excited because I LOVE boysenberry, and I geek out over creative ways to incorporate a particular ingredient into a variety of sweet and savory dishes. The chefs at Knott’s executed that concept very well, with over 70 boysenberry-infused bites of theme park gastronomical glee. Here’s a glimpse into some of the bites you can expect to taste, along with more in this video:
So yes, that Fun Bun is indeed a gigantic cinnamon roll dipped in funnel cake batter and deep fried… then slathered in boysenberry cream cheese! It was absolutely gooey and delicious on the inside, with a nice tanginess to the cream smothered on the outside. I highly recommend getting one and sharing… or not!
Whether you love roller coaster thrills or not, if you’re a foodie thrill-seeker you’ll appreciate the crispy alligator bites with a creamy boysenberry aioli to dip your reptile nuggets into. Check them out in the video, and shoutout to my buddy Nick of @grubfiend for being my alligator hand model and dropping some funnel cake “knowledge” in there.
I decided to try the gator bites on Snapchat (find me at TanayasTable) with a couple of my foodie friends, Yohana of @foodnvibes and Naomi of @xodaydreamers, with Brenda filming! The conclusion we came to is that it does taste like chicken, but it has a chewier texture. So I suppose you could say it tastes like if a chicken and a squid had a baby… and then you ate that baby?! Ah, never mind! Well you know what I mean, right? 😉
Other bites we tried (ALL in the video above) include boysenberry BBQ short ribs, boysenberry BBQ meatballs on a stick, pulled pork sandwich with boysenberry bread & BBQ sauce, and the Fun Stick… which is a slice of creamy boysenberry cheesecake on a stick, dipped in funnel cake batter and slathered with boysenberry sauce. SO GOOD!
Meet the Fun Stick: Funnel-cake battered boysenberry cheesecake on a stick. How adorable is that Snoopy topiary in the back??
In addition to food, we also got to taste boysenberry beer, wine and other libations. If you decide to go, please let me know what you think of all the berry-infused drinks and bites. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Not only did I have a blast photographing, filming and tasting all the boysenberry things, but I enjoyed doing all of the above with my foodie friends.
To find out more and to attend the Boysenberry Festival this year, go here. Wishing you a *berry* wonderful spring season… ha ha. Stay tuned for lots more food adventures to come!
With all the The Oscars buzz going on, I must admit something. As much as I admire all the actors’ talents for their craft, what really gets me excited is knowing what the stars will be eating after Hollywood’s biggest night.
That’s why when Wolfgang Puck invited me in for a very special behind-the-scenes look at his incredible catering operation from the prep kitchens at Hollywood & Highland, I was over the moon.
Upon getting our exclusive credentials, we got our very own Press Guide to take us through The 88th Oscars construction and setup to get to Wolfgang Puck Catering’s massive prep kitchen. As soon as the doors opened and I peeked in, I saw a virtually endless array of edible art, in the form of brightly colored hors-d’oeuvres, dishes and desserts. Check out the video for some colorful glimpses!
When I arrived, Chef Wolfgang’s all-star team was working away diligently on filling thousands of fresh artichoke-truffle agnolotti pasta, spraying 24-karat gold onto intricate, mini chocolate replicas of the Oscar statuette, and so much more. It really was a well-oiled machine, with meticulous care put into every detail.
After wandering around and chatting with the chefs, we gathered around the one and only Chef Wolfgang Puck for a very warm, intimate cooking demonstration from the legend himself. Despite his renowned stature, he spoke with us as if he knew us personally, like he was cooking for us out of his own kitchen.
As he told stories of how his children help him in the kitchen, and which famous friends of his like which types of his dishes, he cooked up a shrimp, crab and scallop dish with a flavorful Chinese sauce. Check out the video for a shot of him flambée-ing!
Some of the cool tidbits I learned through conversation with him include the fact that although Wolfgang enjoys food with bold flavors, he understands that there are many guests at these large-scale events who still enjoy his truffle chicken pot pie, baked mac and cheese, and other comfort classics. Thus, he makes sure to include something for every palate in the 50+ items he creates for the Governors Ball, which he’s catered for the past 22 years!
Wolfgang also mentioned that not as many celebrities have gone vegan or gluten-free as one might think (although he does have options of each on the vast menu). He explained that after weeks of not eating too much in order to prepare for the awards show, “They tell me, ‘Wolfgang, give me all the food!'”
Included among “all the food” will be mini crispy bibimbap, a poke bar, stone crab claws and oysters at the seafood bar, baked potatoes with caviar (pictured), white grape and almond gazpacho, and wagyu short rib. Talk about edible opulence!
Now, if you know me, you know my sweet tooth jumped for joy when I saw the mini setup of the Chocolate Buffet they’ll have at the Governors Ball. Among the 30+ types of desserts to be served, a few include: Caramel-filled Oscars statuette lollipops, a macaron tower, sweet tacos with pistachio lady fingers and market cherries, mini yuzu tarts, chocolate peanut butter ring dings, raspberry panna cotta with champagne caviar, and lemon meringue tart lollipops. There really will be something for everyone, from celebs who prefer familiar classics, to those who enjoy a little extra elegance and flair!
I also learned that Wolfgang Puck also caters international awards shows all over the world! I love that when we asked how he chooses the menu for each prestigious event, he said he chooses based on what’s seasonal, local, and what his carefully curated suppliers have available for him.
Even for The Oscars, the team has been going on multiple trips to the local farmer’s market, and has sourced ingredients from local farms, orchards, dairies and ranches.
To give you an idea of the scale of the operation (of which you can start to get an idea through the video), The Oscars Governors Ball will have 1500 guests, with a whopping 950 staff to cater to their wants and needs. The culinary staff consists of 350 talented people. To name a few ingredients, they will be working with 10 kilos of American farm-raised caviar and 350 pounds of Atlantic Bigeye tuna.
Heck, there will even be 15 pounds of winter black truffles straight from Burgundy, France and 300 pounds of Snake River Wagyu short rib. There will also be 6,500 wood-fired, Oscar-shaped flatbread!
As for dessert, 3o pounds of edible real gold dust will be used, as well as 100,000 pieces of dark chocolate Couverture pistoles and 2400 bottles of Piper Heidsieck champagne. The coolest part is that there are 3,000 custom Oscar boxes to house the infamous gold-covered chocolates, and Wolfgang Puck personally handed me one as a parting gift! Guess there’s only 2,999 of them left now!
Thanks to Chef Wolfgang Puck and his catering team for a special behind-the-scenes experience I’ll never forget… and for handing me this 24-karat gold covered, solid chocolate Oscar statuette!
If you’re hosting an Oscars watch party, check out some of the recipes you can make, straight from Wolfgang Puck… that way, you’ll be dining like the stars during Hollywood’s biggest night! Check out the recipes on the Wolfgang Puck Catering official page.
This year more than ever, I will be immersed in all things Oscars… especially because I’m grateful to have gotten a taste of what the stars will be gorging on after the show ends. 😉 Cheers!
When you think of the perks of stardom, you really have no idea just how many mindblowing treats they get… especially when they’re performing or presenting at the GRAMMY Awards®.
Having been invited to get an insider tour of the 58th Annual GRAMMY® Gift Lounge, I’m happy to give you a little taste of what it’s like to be pampered for your musical talents (or journalistic talents, in my case… ha ha).
Over the course of GRAMMY weekend, presenters and performers such as Adele, Justin Bieber, Pitbull, Sam Hunt, Carrie Underwood, The Weeknd, Lionel Richie, Johnny Depp and Little Big Town experienced the interactive lounge in which they received thank you gifts in acknowledgment of their participation in “Music’s Biggest Night.”
Rapper LL Cool J eyeing those chocolates (WireImage)
The day I visited the cushy lounge set up next to Staples Center (where the GRAMMYs would be held) a couple days before the awards show, tons of talent like 5-time host LL Cool J, Diplo and Bow Wow also dropped by to check out the goods curated by Lash Fary and Distinctive Assets.
The LA-based entertainment marketing company is known for starting the celebrity swag bag craze 16 years ago, so I guess we have them to thank in part for the ironic concept that the more rich and famous you get, the more free stuff you get. I mean, each gift bag was apparently worth a whopping $22,000 with all the curated goodies inside!
Musical artists Bow Wow and Diplo (WireImage)
So without further ado, I present you with the scoop on some of the coolest toys, tools and treats I found inside the exclusive star-studded GRAMMYs gift lounge:
Tools By Gina – Pure infrared professional blow dryers and flat irons from hair expert Gina Rivera. The infrared technology is the first of its kind, steaming the hair instead of applying direct heat, thus restoring natural shine.
Phillip Ashley Chocolates’ Luxe Collection – Chocolate covered caramels infused with Louis XIII cognac, with each piece weighing 30 grams and hand-gilded with 23k gold leaf. It costs $3,000 for one seven-piece box, making it one of the top ten most expensive chocolates in the world. Insane, right?
Louis XIII Cognac-infused, 23k gold leaf $3,000 chocolates
FitClubTV: Live in Fitness retreat + Fit Culture Threads designer workout apparel + Fit Culture Fuel health & performance supplements – Loved the passion behind all of these lines geared towards fitness, and especially loved that they’re giving back with a ton of free workout videos and more with the launch of FitClubTV.
Loved this Flos Floris snapback hat
Flos Floris snapback hats from Milan, Italy – Universal appeal, cool design, comfy to wear. What more can you ask for?
The Price of Love cocktail
Custom cocktails & mixology from The Natural Mixologist – I really liked The Price of Love cocktail made with Penthouse The Scarlet Sparkling Shiraz, organic orange elixir, strawberries, cherries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and orange liqueur. I especially loved that it was garnished with tiny heart-shaped rose petals.
LL Cool J sipping the cocktails I just tried! (WireImage)
NOON VR headsets – Loved the realistic smooth-panning, 360-degree visuals!
Trying out NOON Virtual Reality
SCUF Gaming Infinity 1 professional customized controllers and accessories – Gamers will geek out over how insanely customizable and comfortable these controllers are. I personally loved the red and black one! Check out all the specs if you’re into gaming.
SIS by Simone I. Smith jewelry – Created by LL Cool J’s wife after she won the battle with cancer, she started this line in partnership with the American Cancer Society. Find out more on these adorable candy-esque trinkets for a good cause here.
Candy SIS by Simone I. Smith jewelry to help fight cancer (WireImage)
truth x Vans by Kevin Lyons one-of-a-kind sneakers that encourage everyone to use their voices and creativity to end smoking for good – I absolutely LOVED the concept of their newest #CATmageddon campaign, with the main message being that you are harming your pets and increasing their risk of cancer if you smoke.
Secondhand smoke harms your pets, too. So PLEASE STOP!
They even had truth Treats for pets so that celebs’ furry friends waiting for them at home wouldn’t feel left outwhile their owners were out performing or presenting GRAMMYs! Find out how you can snag the statement shoes for a great cause, and see what they actually look like right here.
“It is a true honor to be even a very small part of (The GRAMMYs),” said Distinctive Assets’ founder Lash Fary. “The GRAMMY Gift Lounge has become one of the most lauded gift events in the world, which seems fitting based on the incomparable stature of the show itself.” Lash Fary was joined by longtime event producer Pam Morrison, who oversaw all elements of the lounge design.
I’m definitely very grateful for the opportunity to get a taste of what kind of star treatment the GRAMMYs talent gets in the Gift Lounge, and to experience a lot of it for myself… especially since the GRAMMYs are one of my favorite awards shows every year! Until next time, cheers! 🙂