Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Gratitude 2010

As I reflect on my 2010 year's journey I must respectfully acknowledge the support of;

Linda Goldberg, MFT, whose continued wisdom has kept me moving forward since 1991.  

Elizabeth James-Berberich, esteemed food stylist & dear friend who has respected my knowledge.

Cheryl Dent & Jenny Brown, friends first & great food styling assistants.

Lincoln Snyder who took my Dad's 1930 Model A Truck off my hands and restored it to the vehicle Al  would have been proud of.

Ryan Beck, commercial photographer whose talents and generosity has allowed me to stretch and painfully grow as an food artist.

Helen Richards, neighbor and Los Angeles Tinseltown Rose Society partner in crime, thanks for all the fun.  

Chef Joel Robuchon and his Las Vegas restaurant chefs / staff;  you understand my/our passion, laborious, hard work of French cuisine and respect my culinary roots.  Merci.

Virginia Brooks, friend of 36 years from Paris days, always there for me, thank you.

Ellie Burnett, kindergarten pal who this year I reconnected with.  

I thank all my friends, colleagues, Facebook readers & fellow bloggers for their support.

And finally, deep love and appreciation to Jean-George, Andy & Marie Bernhart, Albert & Evelyn Hart whose sacrifice and gifts will never be forgotten.

Happy New Year, Good Health and Prosperity to All.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Coffee College? I'm going to Jones Coffee Roasters, Pasadena CA

Nestled in a warehouse at 693 S. Raymond Ave (back entrance off Edmondson alley) rests a artisanal coffee lover's dream come true.   The family Jones Coffee Roasters is just that.  In 1994 a passionate family started the wholesale roasting biz (family owns 100 year old coffee farm, Finca Dos Marias in Guatemala) then added a retail sales and hippy-dippy cool hang out for caffeine addicts (connoisseurs) like me.

green coffee beans
The flagship green beans come from the family coffee farm in Guatemala (yes, they have escorted tours) and other sustainable farms around the world.   I was there when Rafael Batiz was roasting 21 pounds of Columbian Decaf.    After tumbling in the roaster 15-18 minutes he pulls a small sample of roasted beans to smell the aroma and check the bean color.  Too long in the roaster, the beans are burnt and bitter.

Rafael Batiz smells the sample beans
It takes experience to know when to release the hopper of perfectly roasted coffee beans. The aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans is a sensual experience and envelopes the entire warehouse.  Ahhhhh......

Rafael Batiz releases the roasted coffee to cool 
Jones Coffee Roasters is open 7 days a week, all coffee drinks made to order, even decaf drip.  Pastries and Friday tamales are good.  Plenty of spots to sip, talk, hang out, open mike and art shows rotate.   Retail bean bar offering 25+ coffee varieties from high to low acid, dark to medium roast, blends and flavor complexity a-go-go.   They have it all and want to educate the art of roasting, brewing and pleasures of drinking handcrafted, top shelf coffee.   There is also a choice of tea for you T-total-lers.   Baristas are really nice and knowledgeable.   Not the corporate *$'s vibe and crappy java.   So delightful, refreshing and fun.

Coffee brewing devices for sale along with my favorite Chemex Classic drip.   They offer Coffee College aka workshops in basic brewing, cupping (proper coffee tasting), and fancier barista artistic blending.

coffee bean sales bar
I introduced myself to one of the owners, Larry Jones.   He gave me the tour, showed me the cool neon hotel sign and I felt right at home (even though it's a 25 minute drive from my home).   Jones Coffee Roasters is worth the time and gas for the perfect cup of Joe.........I mean Jones!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

DineLA Chefs QuickFire Sweet Finale

Finalist Chefs Mark Peel of Campanile/The Tar Pit, Akira Hirose of Maison Akira, Octavio Becerra of Palate Food + Wine and Eric Greenspan of The Foundry on Melrose gathered at Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill L.A. LIVE for the Dessert Finale showdown & bragging rites to DineLA.

Judges Evan, Russ, Sherry
Judges including Wolfgang Puck Worldwide Executive Pastry Chef Sherry Yard, Los Angeles Times Food Editor Russ Parsons, and Chef and Owner of Angeli Caffe and Host of KCRW's Good Food, Evan Kleiman.
Chef Eric's Peanut Butter Cookie with Banana Bacon Marshmallow Filling
Chef Octavio's Baked Grape & Cheese Clafoutie
Chef Akira's Ice Cream with Red Wine Poached Figs
Chef Peel's UpsideDown Peach Cake

And the Grand Prize Winner is........Chef Eric Greenspan of The Foundry on Melrose.

Please visit a Los Angeles restaurant on DineLA's list during these 2 weeks.  Now is the perfect time to explore LA's vast selection of multicultural flavors, culinary styles & food artistry.   Go meet the chefs, they won't bite!  

Thursday, September 30, 2010

DineLA Quickfire Challenge @ Loteria Grill! in Hollywood

DineLA Restaurant Week, October 3-8 and October 10-15, has engaged participating restaurants (special lunch/dinner menus with great value prices) and their amazing chefs with a Los Angeles Quickfire Challenge.  Tonight was round 4 with two Celebrity Chefs going head to head, using a secret ingredient (fresh poblano chilies) and just 15 minutes to create a special "taco".   The winner tonight moves to the final round, October 5 from 5-7 pm at Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill in L.A. Live for the finale & title win.  They'll be competing against Chefs Mark Peel, Octavo Becerra, & Akira Hirose.

Chef Jimmy Shaw and Poblano Chilies
Our gracious host Jimmy Shaw, chef owner of Loteria Grill! at 6627 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028 held the competition between Chef Eric Greenspan of The Foundry on Melrose and Chef Akasha Richmond of AKASHA
Chefs Akasha Richmond & Eric Greenspan

Chef Akasha's Indian Style Tacos

Chef Eric's Pork Belly Tacos

Judges Chef Jimmy Shaw, Harriett Ells and Heather John

And the winner was...Chef Eric Greenspan of The Foundry on Melrose

These Quickfire Challenges are a teasy-tangy Amuse-Bouche to wet our dining-out appetite.   A great opportunity to try a different type or cuisine style restaurant at great prices.   Life's too short not to treat yourself.   Be adventuresome and experience something new, the prices are certainly right!  Restaurant list and details found at DineLA.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Coke Zero® Rolls New Fall Football Ads

Check out the new Coke Zero® football ads I styled.    Bubbles and water droplets strategically placed on the bottle and can for a cold, thirst-quenching look.

Tim Tadder Photography®
Tim Tadder Photography®

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bon Appetit leaving L.A. for NYC; Fairchild out as editor. And My Comments.

Longtime Bon Appétit editor Barbara Fairchild is leaving the magazine and the Los Angeles-based publication is moving to New York, parent company Condé Nast announced Monday morning.
Fairchild started with the magazine as an editorial assistant 32 years ago and worked her way up the masthead, including being editor in chief for the last decade. According to the announcement, after helping oversee the transition, she will be pursuing other opportunities, “including future projects for Condé Nast.”
According to Condé Nast spokesperson Maurie Perl, when Fairchild was told of the plan to relocate the magazine to New York, “she told us she was not prepared to make a full-time commitment to New York, as she has a lot of family in California.”
The magazine has been based in Los Angeles since its founding in 1975, currently operating out of offices on Wilshire Boulevard near the L.A. County Art Museum.
Historically, it served as the West Coast alternative to New York-based Gourmet, which Condé Nast shuttered in October 2009. Bon Appétit claims a readership of nearly 8 million and an advertising rate base of 1.5 million, making it one of the largest culinary magazines in the United States.
“The move of Bon Appétit’s editorial headquarters to New York is part of the company’s continuing efforts to strategically align our brands for future growth and to enhance efficiencies and coordination by consolidating our assets,” says Charles H. Townsend, chief executive of Condé Nast.
Perle says the fate of the current staff is still being worked out. “Discussions are just beginning about the transition and moving to New York, etc. As to the specifics of who will be moving, they were just told this morning and it is going to take some time to work out the details.”
[Updated:] Contacted at her Los Angeles office, Fairchild sounded remarkably upbeat. “I just couldn’t wrap my head around the whole concept of me moving to New York. I really like living bi-coastally and when I started thinking about it, there are a lot of different things I can do besides edit the magazine. So I may just take some time to do some of those different things. And who knows, maybe some of them will be things I really want to do, like live in Paris for two months.”
She says she isn’t sure how many of the Los Angeles staff will be interested in relocating, either. “The first news was this morning, so it’s really early.”
Of the decision, Fairchild says: “I wasn’t involved in those upper level meetings [at Condé Nast], so I can’t say for sure what the process was, but I think part of it is just sort of a natural consolidation of all of their assets in one place. From a business standpoint, I can certainly see how that would make sense.”
As for her immediate future, Fairchild says she’s staying on task, putting out the next several months'  worth of magazines. But then, she says, she’ll take some time to explore exactly what she wants to do. “I don’t intend to sit in either home -– New York or Los Angeles -– and let grass grow under my feet. I could teach journalism, I could write, I could edit, I could help chefs with their books … basically everything that I’m doing now, but without having to worry about the next month’s budget.
“At some point after the holidays, I’m sure I’ll wake up one morning and realize that I don’t have to go in to work. Maybe I’ll go to Palm Springs and visit my sister for a couple of weeks. Or go to Monterey and visit my family there. Or maybe I’ll go to a villa in Tuscany.”
-- Russ Parsons
Alice's take:    I worked as a free-lance Food Stylist for BA in the late 1970's & early 80's for great editors Natalie Schram, Rita Leinwand, & Jan Weimer  and with wonderful food photographers.  It was a grand era with style, good journalism, well written recipes, visually appetising photographs and a good budget!    Things changed with a crazy, hard-to-work-for art director, irrational reshoots with no pay for stylist or photographer and too much control for my interest.  I had what I wanted for my portfolio and refused countless shoots when the "young food stylists" couldn't re-create the recipe due to inexperience, etc.    I predicted BA's decline in readership years ago when the internet surfaced and their visual sense of style became "relaxed, distressed, over cooked, burnt,  pulled out of a trashcan" and  totally un-appetising.   Sorry to see them go, however I'm frankly not surprised.   -Alice M. Hart

Sunday, September 5, 2010

California Admission Day September 9, 1850. You're 160 years young!

Betcha thought I was wishing myself a happy birthday today, September 9!    It's Admission Day here in the Golden State of California.

In February of 1848, Mexico and the United States signed a treaty which ended the Mexican War and yielded a vast portion of the Southwest, including present-day California, to the United States. Several days earlier, gold had been discovered on the American River near Sacramento, and the ensuing gold rush hastened California's admittance to the Union. California became the 31st state on September 9, 1850. The Golden State's rich history has since been shaped by people of every ethnic background who traveled here seeking economic, social and educational opportunity, and a life of quality and breathtaking beauty. With a reputation for excellence and innovation in industries ranging from agriculture to entertainment, science and technology, our great state is home to one of the most diverse and dynamic populations anywhere in the world. On Admission Day, we observe the anniversary of California's statehood and celebrate the many valuable contributions Californians have made to the fortune and fortitude of our great nation.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mrs. Cubbison's New Restaurant Style Croutons Have Arrived!

Well, I can now reveal a secret.  Mrs. Cubbison's has officially released 5 new Restaurant Style Crouton flavors to their line of delicious products.   Ryan Beck, photographer genius and myself, as his talented Food Stylist teamed this project several months ago.    We are both very pleased and proud with the colorful packaging and current crouton salad images.  Ryan & I look forward to seeing them along with Mrs. Cubbison's 3 new Stuffing packages on the grocery shelves for many years to come.  

Classic Seasoned
Fat Free Seasoned
Cheese and Garlic
Caesar Salad
Garlic & Butter

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

San Antonio Winery Los Angeles

One month ago I had the privilege of attending the Helen Mossler Family party at famous, downtown Los Angeles San Antonio Winery.  This historic winery has been Riboli family owned since 1917 and owns vineyards in Rutherford, Napa Valley.  

A great retail wine store & tasting bar plus boutique greet you at the entrance.   Tours and history are available plus a nice cafe dining experience (with their wines, of course) in the winery are the best part. 
Talk about scenery!!

Open 7 days a week:  San Antonio Winery   737 Lamar Street, Los Angeles, CA 90031    
A great place to enjoy California wine with family and friends.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

L'Auberge Carmel

Getting away for a "change of scenery" recharges the soul.  I took a 4-day driving trip thru our bountiful central valley to arrive at a coastal town called Carmel-by-the Sea.  Stayed at Relais et Chateaux branded abode called L'Auberge Carmel.  

What a delightful and welcoming inn.   Well worth the fare as 5-star luxury accommodations, European breakfast and service fees included.   The staff couldn't have been more helpful with any whims or wants.  Now to the cuisine at their intimate restaurant, Aubergine.

Brilliant young, charming chef, Christophe Grosjean prepared 2 different tasting menus as if he had just picked the produce from his garden and stepped off local sea boat with the daily catch.   Fresh, fresh, fresh is his middle name.   Creative cuisine, well balanced flavors with color and textures, artifully plated and so refreshing I can't say enough.  Elegant simplicity.  I felt like he was just cooking for me!   Perfect service from the staff.  Lovely wine list, I chose paired wine tasting and champagne.  5-Stars.  Chef Christophe invited me to shop with him at daily Farmer's Market on my next trip!   So cool.

Took time to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium, an absolute must see.   And finally the scenic Pacific ocean drive down Highway 1 to Big Sur.   I'm so relaxed and mellow..........Ahhhhhh.

Got reconnected with Carmel therapist, Dr. Anne Marie Power who's family (living in Paris) emotionally supported me 35 years ago while attending Le Cordon Bleu, Paris.   A charming lady who's support contributed to my culinary success.  A wonderful vacation and memorable reunion.  Thanks Annie.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Robuchon's Chef Claude Le Tohic, James Beard Foundation 2010 Las Vegas Winner!

Congratulations to Executive Chef, Claude Le Tohic of Joel Robuchon at The Mansion, MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas for James Beard 2010 Best Southwest Chef Award.

 This award is so well deserved.  Chill the Champagne because I'll toast to you all on Thursday.

Click link for a complete list of 2010 James Beard Foundation Award winners 

Friday, April 30, 2010

Chef Robuchon returns to Las Vegas!

I'll be dining at both L'Atelier and The Mansion (MGM Grand Hotel & Casino) with my friend and culinary mentor, Mr. Robuchon next week.   Mr. Robuchon & his team of extraordinary chefs represent the finest dining experience in the USA & for that matter, the world!   We are so lucky to have this innovative culinary genius in residence.  Bon Appetit Magazine sponsored Vegas Uncork'd events begin May 6-9, a delicious and educational culinary adventure not to be missed!   Look me up and say Bonjour...

Fingers are crossed that Robuchon's executive chef de cuisine, Claude La Tohic and executive pastry chef, Kamel Guichida will be awarded 2010 James Beard Foundation recognition.   We'll know results from New York next week.   Start chilling the champagne.......