With its unique style of Korean shaved ice shaped into the finest art sculptures and fruit-inspired creations, Oakobing in the heart of Koreatown is one of the coolest dessert cafes to beat the heat. Ice flakes are shaved to order in everything from fresh mango and melon to chocolate, green tea and coffee, and combined with warm breads and traditional Korean toppings.
There are plenty of things to celebrate this Labor Day weekend, including World Coconut on Saturday, Sept. 2. You can’t make a piña colada or decent curry without it, the water is a favorite thirst quencher, and nothing tastes better toasted.
The fifth annual Stu and the Kids fundraiser, a Thai-inspired food and wine festival hosted by chef Stuart Skversky and Redbird’s Neal and Amy Fraser, returned to Vibiana downtown on Sunday, Aug. 5, with proceeds benefiting the Hill Tribe kids in Chaing Mai, Thailand.
More than 25 participating restaurants including Jitlada, Chao Krung Thai, Nightshade, Redbird, Same Same Thai and Sinners & Saints gathered inside and on the courtyard of Vibiana for a food fest celebrating the many regions of Thai cuisine.
In 2009, Stuart Skversky, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and a rising star chef, shifted gears and gave up a promising career in Los Angeles to move to Chiang Mai, where he became a full-time volunteer at the Wat Dan Chan local Buddhist temple.
He taught the high-risk local children English, cooking and baking. He founded Stu and the Kids to better prepare them for adulthood after graduation and give them tools for an independent future. Skversky has raised more than $500,000 for the kids so far.
Chefs and restaurants from assorted neighborhoods and cuisines gave their personal interpretations using traditional Thai ingredients, all uniquely different.
Jitlada was serving up its kan om jeen namya (Thai southern curry noodles with fish balls) alongside Native’s kimchi latkes. Chao Krung, L.A.’s oldest Thai restaurant, was in the forefront with my personal favorite, Amanda Kuntee’s sour Isaan pork sausage, which literally bursts with lemongrass and garlic flavor when you bite into it.
Same Same had some traditional papaya salad and mango with sticky rice, and there were lots of shrimp options — grilled with corn Thai curry and peanuts from République and peel & eat from Bar Amá.
Even more dessert options than savory dishes filled the inside of the former cathedral and spilled out onto the patio. Among them were mango coconut Jello and black sesame cannolis from Restaurant 917, Thai green tea macarons and spicy eclairs from Sinners & Saints and Patina’s coconut tapioca with tropical fruit salad and super seed brittle.
Here’s a tour of Thailand inspired by some of L.A.’s most seasoned chefs…
L.A. Dessert Fest in downtown Los Angeles had some of the sweetest people — and food, too. With wares from more than 20 local confectioners available for sampling and buying, the Dessert Fest, #dessertgoals, at the Cooper Building was a Willy Wonka delight.—
Some of the most popular items were the Star Sign cotton candy being given out by Twisted for Sugar, outrageously decadent ice cream cones for $6 by Chelò Creamery and the super cute marzipan cookies were selling like — well, marzipan artisanal delights at Honey and Butter.
Sparkling ice and Boxed Water gave eventgoers some much-needed hydration and Popchips sponsored a Salt Bar for that relief from sweet we all need when scarfing down a s'mores cake from Gotta Have S'more in one hand and a pie from Glorious Pies in the other.
all photos by Star Foreman
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Uli Nasibova's frozen case is a combination of three influences — standard flavors like stracciatella, chocolate, California pistachio and espresso made in the traditional Italian way; seasonal ingredients; and tastes from various neighborhoods. Nasibova puts her own spin on the handmade gelato that comes out of the small kitchens with just one refrigerator and one batch freezer.
From the brilliant minds behind Beetle House comes the Electric Pussycat Bar. Located in Glendale by that In N Out that isn't a drive-through but your GPS doesn't know that so at 11 p.m. you're hungry and outside a closed burger joint, the Electric Pussycat brings its menu of gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and awesome shakes to a city we all visit but have never had somewhere amazing to eat in till now. It officially opens on Saturday, April 14.
All photos by Star Foreman.