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dineLA Restaurant Week is a 2-week dining event created by the Los Angeles Convention and Visitor Bureau (aka LA, inc) to introduce diners to hundreds of neighborhood restaurants throughout Los Angeles County.

:: Check out my dineLA Vegetarian Roundup – my top 10 picks for restaurants who have vegetarian and even vegan items on their dineLA menus.

To celebrate, dineLA hosted a party at the W Hotel in Westwood last week on Jan 11th, 2012 with flowing scotch, champagne, beer, and wine. Though I’ve taken a break from drinking, I had to have just one scotch because it was Highland Park 12 year, neat with one ice cubes on the side please.

Chef Jason Fullilove from The Tar Pit has the best last name ever! He may look familiar because he was on the 1st episode of Chef Hunter on Food Network last month. Keep a look out, as he’ll soon be on Cooking Channel too. Finally, diversity on TV, yeah! Chef Jason’s food is yummy. For dineLA, you will find 2 vegan dishes on his vegetarian menu including a Roasted Vegetable TerrineWinter Root Vegetable Pasta, and a choice of 3 decadent desserts.

Executive Chef Chris Morningstar from Ray’s and Stark Bar, hailed by Esquire Magazine as “One of the best new restaurants of 2011″. Bravo Chef Chris! Chris and I first met while we were both preparing for our Test Kitchen dinners as Chris’ dinner was the night following my 2-nights of Ani Phyo’s Gastrawnomique. His menu was completely opposite mine….all animal products vs. my vegan raw. I get a kick out of the fact his last name, Morningstar….it’s the brand name of popular vegan and vegetarian breakfast sausages….though Chris’ expertise is with meat. Ray’s and Stark Bar is a Patina group restaurant, and I was super stoked when Chris told me his boss and Master Chef Joachim Splichal had given him a copy of Ani’s Raw Food Essentials to use while creating menus and recipes for Google campus.

Exec Chef and owner Kerry Simon from Simon L.A. is offering several vegetarian items on his lunch and dinner dineLA menus including Market Roasted Vegetable Kale Salad, Fennel Pollen, Sherry Vinaigrette (I love kale!), Spinach Salad with Dates and Persimmon, plus desserts that look amazing like a House Made Kit Kat. Yum! Chef Kerry is very accommodating, is happy to let you order items from the dineLA menu, plus is fine with you making substitutions and requests. So just ask, and you shall receive!

dineLA asked artist Phil Lumbang to illustrate chef characters that were being silk screened onto canvas dineLA bags for everyone. What a fun idea, and very cool bag. Chef Chris Morningstar had a character screened onto his chef jacket, super cute!

Shana Wong (LA Magazine), William Karz (LA, inc), Shelley Leopold (LA Weekly), and I watching the screening of characters onto the canvas bags.

Our hostess Stacey Sun is red. She makes dineLA happen. Thanks Stacey! Excited to check out new restaurants beginning next week!

Join our discussion on my Facebook page and at Twitter.
Watch my award-winning cooking shows on YouTube.

Download my free 2012 Healthy Jumpstart report with tips for recharging your immune system, nourishing your body, and boosting your metabolism at www.RawFoodRockStar.com.

Today was Day 3 of food prep at the Test Kitchen. My GastRAWnomique molecular gastronomy inspired dinner is just days away. Chris Ochs and Josh from SunFood personally delivered a ton of superfoods. Diane Paylor and I were elbow deep in cacao. And Top Chef Alex Reznik was cold smoking my cashews for me.

To cold smoke, Alex uses a smoking gun packed with chips to push smoke into a sealed container of raw cashews. The cashews absorb the aroma of the smoke, but stay raw. Pretty cool. No pun intended.

Restaurant Mo-Chica’s Ricardo Zarate and I making Cheddar Kale Chips.

Richi helping me set up 8 Excalibur Dehydrators. These are my favorite dehydrators, and they come with Paraflexx reusable non-stick sheets. Thanks for sending them over to me Excalibur! So much love from the community, sponsors have been super generous and include: Excalibur, Sambazon, Earth Circle Organics, Sunfood, Gold Mine Natural Food, Frontier Natural Products Co-Op, Big Tree Farms.

Chef Seth Greenburg at the Huntley Hotel Penthouse Restaurant invited me into his kitchen where he shared with me some of his favorite molecular gastronomy techniques.

Chef Seth and I compressed melons and cucumbers, and put chemicals into water and fruit puree to create popular spheres or ‘caviar’. We even made ‘noodles’. See what could be done using chemicals got my creative juices flowing thinking about ways to create similar effects without chemicals, and instead 100% natural and raw.

Test Kitchen brings together the best Chefs in LA, and has become much like a think tank where Chefs share their creativity, ideas, and time. Great energy in this space! Chef Christian Page, a locavore sourcing his ingredients locally and seasonally, is to the left of the photo, and is about to open Daily Dose Restaurant in downtown LA in mid Dec.

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