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 Terrine, Winter 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!
Last week’s dinner at the Test Kitchen was a chance for me to introduce my latest Raw Food 3.0, inspired by molecular gastronomy without the chemicals, vegan and raw. My 6 courses were presented to a main stream foodie audience in a fine dining atmosphere. And it RAWked!
Smoked Anaheim Chili
Lapsang Souschong Wild Mushroom
Molten Cookie Dough
It was so much fun to get to feed everyone my new style of Gastrawnomique cuisine in such a beautiful setting with amazing staff. It was a packed house both nights. Celebrities who came to dine included Frances Fisher, John Salley, Jarad Butler, and Diane Warren.
In the kitchen were some of the most amazing chefs assisting me and making sure my dinners were successful both nights including Bravo Top Chef Alex Reznik and Next Food Network Stars Doreen Fang and DAS. I’ll post up more behind the scenes and kitchen photos next….
Generous sponsors included Excalibur Dehydrators, Earth Circle Organic, Big Tree Farms, Sunfood, Gold Mine Natural Foods, and Sambazon.
These photos were all taken by Maria Loewenstein, except for the Lapsang Souschong Wild Mushroom which was taken by Rogelio Marhx.
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.
Top Chef Alex Reznik (from Bravo’s popular cooking show) invited me, a raw vegan chef, into the Top Chef kitchen to assist with a celebrity chef dinner made along side Top Chef Betty Fraser and Top Chef CJ Jacobson. This event was at the Test Kitchen here in Los Angeles, where I’ll be hosting a Raw Vegan Fine Dining experience on November 17 + 18, 2010 called Ani Phyo’s Gastrawnomique. I’ll be presenting molecular gastronomy inspired techniques, without the chemicals. All natural, of course! Please rsvp asap if you can join us for this ground breaking event.
Top Chef Betty Fraser was on Bravo’s hit show season 2. She has a cute restaurant in Hollywood called Grub.
Top Chef CJ Jacobson was on season 3, and Top Chef Alex Reznik season 7. TV may make these chefs seem mean, but they’re all super cool in real life. TV=drama.
Michelin-starred Chef Ricardo Zarate had to show me how to deep fry super thinly sliced leeks so they stay green in color. The night before, Chef Alex put me on deep fryer duty (me, a raw chef…it was my first time using a deep fryer!). I found out later the oil was too hot, so my leeks turned brown. But Chef Alex didn’t say anything about my burnt leeks garnishing his dishes because he didn’t want to hurt my feelings. What a sweetheart!
Chef Alex and I plating the dish he called Cow. It was made up of beef, bone marrow, liver, and tongue.
You can see the burnt leeks…oops! This dish was inspired by Chef Alex’s Russian heritage. At least he was using every part of the cow. Definitely tested my boundaries, but I grew tons….and Kanga my dog loved the way I smelled when I got home.
There was even a bit of vegan raw on the plate….me laying down a strand of cucumber with beautiful beet puree.
A few days prior to the Top Chef Test Kitchen event at Test Kitchen LA, I got to meet celebrity Top Chef Marcel Vigneron, who was on season 2 showing off his molecular gastronomy skills. What a cutie pie.
Test Kitchen is chock full of celebrity chefs. Here I am with Chef Walter Manzke.
I’m stoked for my raw vegan dinner on November 17 + 18th, 2010. So far, Top Chef Alex Reznik and Next Food Network Star Doreen Fang have confirmed they’ll be assisting me in my un-cook kitchen creating vegan raw foods for their first time. This will be a star studded event with a Green Carpet on the first night, and we’re going to have so much fun! Hope you’ll join us for 6-courses of raw food presented in a brand new way ($55 fixe prix). Make sure to rsvp for Ani Phyo’s Gastrawnomique soon because it’s filling up fast, and space is limited.
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