Food & Events
Black metal has long held a reputation for being the most abrasive, proudly underground corner of the heavy metal spectrum. Those with only a passing knowledge of the genre may be familiar with the sordid tales of '90s Norwegian acts such as Mayhem. The modern grouping of bands that are considered black metal is much more expansive, with dozens of bands adding layers of progressive musicianship and atmospheric shoe-gaze to the existing genre blueprint.
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…
Danielle Chang, founder and CEO of LuckyRice, the annual festival offering a smorgasbord of Asian tastings, decided the theme for this ninth year would be “Breaking Bao: Intergenerational Asian Culinary Experience.”
The term “farm-to-table” jumped the shark a while ago. Still, while most of us probably don’t want to know the name of the chicken we’re eating, à la Portlandia’s “Is it local?” sketch, chef and restaurateur Kristina Evans believes “you have to know who’s growing your food.” So Evans partnered her Montrose restaurant, Rest Farmhouse Inspired, with tiny Pasadena home farm the Urban Homestead to create genuinely farm-to-table fare.
Hatchet Hall in Culver City is celebrating its third anniversary with an enchanting “Fuss and Feathers” dinner series, which takes place every Thursday evening through Aug. 30.
Chef Brian Dunsmoor is offering an extensive 13-course tasting menu and beverage pairings by candlelight in the restaurant’s 12-person rustic private family room. The recipes and techniques are inspired by the early years of the country.
The food is made by hand in the wood-burning hearth, with no assistance from any modern technologies.
“We believe that we can look further into the future of American food by first looking to the past,” Dunsmoor says. “What is American food? Where did it come from? And why? Beverage pairings will follow the same tack, focusing on the tastes of the colonial era, forgotten spirits and indigenous varietals. Above all else, each will be produced using minimal intervention, a sense of place, and the aim to elevate each dish with which it is paired.”
"Old Fuss & Feathers" was the name given to General Winfield Scott, the longest-serving officer in American history and an infamous gourmet. In a letter reassigning another officer to Chesapeake Bay, he famously wrote, "You are very fortunate ... it is just the season for soft-shell crabs, and hogfish have just come in, and they are the most delicious pan fish you ever ate."
As luck would have it, our menu included a delicate soft-shell crab with wild sour plum in the fashion of beach plum. As for pan fish, Dunsmoor served a local sand dab meunière amandine roasted on the bone, which was eaten by hand and delightfully doused in brown butter.
There was an oyster roasted and served in tinder, with an intoxicating smoky aroma, topped with cured mullet roe. Course four featured a wispy prawn head topped with sturgeon caviar, easily eaten whole. In fact, utensils made a very rare appearance throughout the evening.
But the most dramatic moment of the evening was presentation of the whole roast suckling pig, which even impressed our tablemates, Dina and Steve Samson. The Rossolbu and Sotto owners were having a date night out from the twins and dished all about their newest venture, Superfine Pizza, which launched downtown this week.
The three- to four-hour experience comes in at $150, which includes food, tax and tip. For $225, dinner will be all-inclusive including a pre-dinner cocktail hour, wine pairings and an after-dinner drink in the restaurant’s Old Man Bar, with tax and gratuity included.
Hatchet Hall, 12517 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City; (310) 391-4222, hatchethallla.com/fuss-feathers/
Los Angeles has a wealth of tacos, from trucks to gourmet. But how many people take time to focus on the tortilla, the very foundation of a taco? Cue the Tortilla Awards, an event that pits some of the best tortilla makers in the area against each other to see who brings home the gold — seriously, there are golden tortilla plaques involved.