The first ever LA Food Bowl, presented by the LA Times, kicks off May 1st and runs all month long! This is an incredible celebration of food and chefs not only based in Los Angeles, but from all over the world! I had the opportunity to hear about some of the events from the LA Times Test Kitchen Director, Noelle Carter. Check out the interview below and if you are interested in attending, which you should be, visit www.lafoodbowl.com.
If you are an honest-to-goodness traveler with a place in your heart for old charm and a habit for delicious food that doesn’t cost a fortune, then Loreto, also referred to as "magic town" may be worth visiting on your next adventure. Located on the Eastern shore of Baja California Sur, Loreto has been a point of cultural intersection since the it’s founding in 1697. It was the site of the first Mission in Baja and where the colonization of Baja California began. You will not see anything incredibly fussy in the town center, the buildings are modest - which is why they are so incredibly welcoming. There are restaurants the tourists frequent, but also special gems off the beaten path that are more than worth trying. The dress-code is casual, but the food is luxurious and most impressively, more than affordable. An average dish will cost you no more than five American dollars. In less than two hours from LAX, you can be enjoying the gentle hospitality and quality cuisine of Loreto.
Asadero Super Burro
Even before you walk through the doorway, which is always open during business hours, you will be greeted by the scent meats grilling. The ladies behind the counter and grill know what they’re doing. They’re making damn good burros, tacos and papas rellenos. Here in the states, all things wrapped in big flour tortillas are called burritos, but in Mexico they are called burros. A burrito in Mexico is actually very small, like the size of a taco tortilla. When you order a burro here, believe me, it is super. Most people can only eat half at a time they’re so huge!
I tried the tacos and the papas rellenos, another specialty. My two-taco order included one steak and one chicken melted with fresh cheese. They were fantastic. The steak was my favorite, but both meats had that slight smokiness you can only get from the grill, which really enhanced the flavors. The papas rellenos, potatoes stuffed with meat and cheese, were also quite good…and could have fed and entire family!
Address: Blvd. Salvatierra, Obrera, Loreto, B.C.S., Mexico
Phone:+52 613 135 1243
For the best chilaquiles and hot cakes, Hotel Oasis is a must. It sits quietly at the very end of Loreto’s malécon. Dine outside in the morning sun staring at the calm Sea of Cortez while you sip coffee and fresh squeezed orange juice. If you had a care, it will disappear when you sit down and are greeted by one of the kind and comedic waitstaff.
The menu contains traditional breakfast items; omelettes, cereal, toast, but it’s the chilaquiles that will leave you stunned because they are so perfect. The sauce floods the chips, but doesn’t drowned them. They are a little chewy but have a crisp edge. Swirled with egg yolk, cheese and refried beans on your fork, it’s what you’ve been searching for even though you didn’t know it.
The hot cakes are also something special. They are incredibly moist, buttery and fluffy. Then there’s the way they soak up the syrup, which even though is served in a packet, is great!
If you’re in the mood for something lighter, the fruit platter with yogurt and granola is also quite satisfying. It is piled with fresh seasonal fruits, melons and pineapple.
Address: Calle Baja California S/N, Centro, 23880 Loreto, B.C.S., Mexico
Phone: +52 613 135 0211
On the other side of town is La Fuente, home of mind-blowing chile rellenos among other classics. Indoor and outdoor seating is available. I like to sit outside with a view of the street for people watching. Most of the restaurants in town will bring a tray of salsas when you order for topping your own tacos, but La Fuente likes to do this themselves in the kitchen. Don’t expect your food to come out quickly, it takes time for your order to be prepared, but it’s very worthwhile.
The Chile Rellenos come two on a plate with rice, beans and tortillas. The chiles aren’t overly cooked and mushy, but still slightly firm around the melting cheese inside. The red sauce is smokey, sweet and a little spicy. When your fork slices into it for a bite, you can see the bright green layer inside and it’s beautiful.
Also up for mention are the shrimp tacos. As you wait patiently, you can hear the whisking of the batter from the kitchen before each order, that’s when you know you’re eating something special. The shrimp are encased in a yellow, creamy, and slightly crisp shell of the fried batter, it’s a little sweet and is sensational topped with lime and salsa.
*Address and number unlisted
For incredible clams, shrimp and fish ceviches and tacos, welcome to Almejas Concho. This casual restaurant is a few blocks from the town center. The tables sit under a thatch roof and it’s usually quiet during the day. After you place your order, like many of the eateries in town, a large salsa tray is delivered to your table. At Almejas Concho, you also get naked tostada shells.
I don’t order ceviche very often, but for me this was truly an order to remember. The shrimp and fish were equally flavorful with lime, onion and cilantro. The meat was so fresh too. Each serving was clean and great tasting.
The shrimp taco…I couldn’t get enough. After topping it with fresh chopped cabbage, pico de gallo, and fresh squeezed lime juice from the tray it was one of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth. I didn’t want the last bite to ever come.
Address: Francisco I. Madero, esquina con Atanasio Carrillo, Colonia Centro, 23880 Loreto, B.C.S., Mexico
Phone: +52 613 135 1452
El Rey del Taco
El Rey is for tacos and tacos only. This is a go-to for locals. You will see workers on break, families and maybe one or two tourists. It is incredibly authentic. The menu changes but usually there are always two tacos: carne asada and fish. The open kitchen lets you witness the entire process of the meat preparation.
Sorry for more good news, but best carne asada I’ve ever tasted. I watched as the red meat was grilled to brown, then diced up and loaded onto a tortilla. Then it was my turn to do the dressing honors. A counter full of condiments rests against the back wall - cabbage, pico de gallo, salsa verde and lime were my choices. My first bite was documented on film and engrained in my palate memory. All of the flavors came together in that huge bite. The meat wasn’t chewy, but tender and light seasonings could be detected but not specified which didn’t matter because of how pleasing the taste was.
Address: Calle 8 1, Renovación, 09209 Col México, CDMX, Mexico
Prueba lo Bueno
While anywhere in Mexico, you cannot ignore the lure of a paleteria. Paletas are frozen ice cream or juice bars usually made by hand and very fresh ingredients. They are similar to a popsicle. Paleterias usually offer a large variety of bright colors and flavors for you to try. Most of them also carry snacks and serve ice cream as well. Prueba lo Bueno is a classic paleteria in the heart of Loreto. I highly recommend stopping in for dessert and trying any of the delicious flavors. My personal favorite is mint chocolate chip!
*Address and number unlisted
For traveler’s who love great food, Loreto is absolutely an easy and affordable adventure. The best months to visit are between November and March when the weather isn't too hot. For more information please visist: Travel Baja California Sur.
The Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, presented by Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, returns for its 7th year this March 24th - 26th. This is a food event that I have heard a lot about and this year, I am finally going! Not only is the chef talent going to be epic, but who doesn't love an excuse to go to Palm Desert? This week I attended a special preview event with some of the chefs; Brooke Williamson, Stuart O'Keefe and Casey Thompson and it absolutely got me excited for March.
The evening started with poké samplers from The Venue, a sushi bar in Palm Desert run by Chef Engin Onural who will be participating in the event. All were delicious!
After our mouths were nice and juicy from the poké, we got to watch two recipe demos! The first was from Irish Chef and Cookbook Author Stuart O'Keefe, who you might have seen on the Food Network. His new book, The Quick Six Fix, features healthy, delicious recipes that take no more than six minutes to prep. He prepared Angel Hair Pasta with Tomato, Lemon, and Large Shrimp...don't you find that the simplest meals are often the best tasting? Great recipe...and it was not at all hard to watch him work if you know what I'm saying (wink).
Up next was Chef Brooke Williamson, LA restaurant empress and Top Chef contestant. Her restaurants include Hudson House, The Tripel, Playa Provisions and the recently opened Da Kikokiko. It's a good thing I like poké because that's also what Chef Brooke prepared for us! She wanted to share the signature flavors of Da Kikokiko, which pays homage to Hawaiian street food. Poké shops are turning up all over Los Angeles, this was definitely one of the best bowls I've tried.
Chef Casey Thomas, also a contestant on Top Chef, wasn't able to perform a demo, but she did show her support for the other chefs and got us all excited for March!
If you need more convincing for attendance here are some of the events that will be going on.
*Tickets are on sale now, individual events range from $35-200, with additional package and VIP options. Please continue to visit palmdesertfoodandwine.com for updates and details on full programming of events, chefs, wineries, sommeliers, and breweries participating at the 7th Annual Palm Desert Food & Wine presented by Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa.
Bonus, Palm Desert Food & Wine will donate 35 meals for every festival ticket purchased to Coachella Valley’s FIND Food Bank, which provides food and essentials to those in need throughout the community.
I hope to see you there!
When Chef Scott Conant's Scarpetta, left Beverly Hills last year, I was devastated! Where was I going to get that magical Spaghetti Pomodoro? It doesn't matter now because Conant is back! He has partnered with Stephane Bombet, of Bombet Hospitality Group (Faith & Flower, Hanjip), to transform the recently closed Terrine into The Ponte, a modern Italian restaurant with the classic technique Conant is known for. After uncoupling with all Scarpetta Italian Restaurants last year, he was ready for a new project.
“Scott has had such an impact on modern Italian cuisine throughout his career, and I am honored to be a part of this project with him,” says Bombet. “His signature dishes have made a lasting impression in L.A., and exemplify what we’re striving for at The Ponte—just good Italian food with warm Italian hospitality that keeps you coming back. The fact that Marc was able to collaborate with us is serendipitous—his roots in both France and Italy could not be more perfect for designing this restaurant.”
Inspired by the tight-knit community of Pontelandolfo expats—nicknamed Pontes—in Conant's hometown of Waterbury, Connecticut, The Ponte will offer guests a relaxed and sophisticated experience complemented by Conant’s soulful Italian cuisine.
"I love the spirit and energy of L.A., so I was thrilled for the opportunity to get back behind the line in one of my favorite cities," says Conant. "Stephane and I have known each other for years and I've always admired his thoughtful approach to hospitality; you feel like you're among friends when you walk through his doors. That sense of conviviality, of warmth and comfort that comes with community, is exactly the vibe I wanted to create with The Ponte. I hope L.A. enjoys it!"
Conant's menu will offer a wide selection of charcuterie, antipasti, and pasta, including Spaghetti Pomodoro with his signature ragu. Assorted vegetables and pizza from the kitchen’s wood-burning oven will also be served, along with dishes that celebrate the best of local California ingredients, including Roasted Lamb Neck with raisins, smoked eggplant, goat cheese & pine nut crumble; and Prawns with celery root purée, salmoriglio & crispy sunchokes.
The Ponte’s beverage program, helmed by BHG fixture, Ryan Wainwright, will feature classic yet bespoke Italian aperitivo- and digestivo-themed cocktails to pair with Conant’s cuisine. Best enjoyed in the restaurant’s spacious bar and lounge, The Ponte’s bar will celebrate California citrus and Italian herbs and bitters, in addition to housing an impressive collection of amaro and several varieties of housemade limoncello.
Wainwright’s bar menu will feature six classic and six house drinks, all in the spirit of the aperitivo tradition: an Old Fashioned with caramelized Fernet; bitter lemon tonic and grappa; and a Negroni flight with classic Camparinette, white Negroni, and mezcal variations; among many others.
I am salivating like crazy over here and can barely wait to take a seat when the restaurant officially opens it's doors toward the end of this month.
The Ponte Ristorante
8265 Beverly Blvd. in Los Angeles, CA.
When some friends and I stumbled upon Vernetti in Larchmont Village we were unaware of the delights that were to come to our table. After reading the menu posted outside we walked in. It was a Saturday at noon, the peak of brunch-rush in LA, but there was a windowside table open - score! I was immediately charmed by the bar and dining room decor - modern, classic and clean with tall white walls and plenty of natural light. I don't know how this restaurant slipped under my radar - but regardless, I was happy to be introduced finally!
Okay, a darling Italian restaurant, ordering a cappuccino was a must. Ever since my trip to Italy last year I have become obsessed with finding the most authentic Italian cappuccinos in LA. Some have failed miserably and some have come very close, but the cappuccino at Vernetti has nailed it. An Italian cappuccino is all about the milk foam to espresso ratio, the perfect balance. I truly felt like I was back in Rome just looking at it. Then of course, it tasted amazing.
For a starter we ordered the cinnamon roll, since the rest of our orders were savory - something sweet was needed...also we were very hungry. I had never seen a cinnamon roll like this before, it was made of flaky pastry dough and lacking in thick icing. It was delicious. Sweet cinnamon and butter clung to the walls of the dough - it didn't need icing! Also, it looked like a piece of art.
We also ordered the Avocado Toast, Morning Carbonara and Crispy Polenta Cake. The Avo Toast was served on delicioius multigrain bread drizzled with balsamic which was a new twist to the usual LA avocado toasts! I loved the sweet and tangy flavor in contrast to the salty egg.
The carbonara was overall a great order. There was no shortage of crispy guanciale or grated cheese, that's for sure! I only wished that the noodles had been bathed in slightly more egg yolk, they were a little dry for my taste. They didn't leave much lip-licking post bite.
The Crispy Polenta Cake was a sweet potato polenta served with soft scrambled eggs, sautéed chantrelles and sage. Basic, but satisfying and they certainly made the most of the mushroom serving. The key was to line up all three on the fork for one special bite. The sweet potato was unexpected and turned out to be incredibly delicious.
I would love to visit again and try other menu items; Caramelized French Toast with candied citrus, whipped mascarpone, the Semolina Waffle and the House Cured Lox Plate with tomato, capers, red onion, cream cheese, toasted ciabatta. I would also love to come in for dinner and sit at the bar and swirl a glass or two of wine!
For more info visit: www.vernetti.la
It's pink, layered with whipped cream, rainbow sprinkles and pastel marshmallows -- say hello to the world's prettiest white hot chocolate fantasy, Unicorn Hot Chocolate. I'm a little disappointed that my mind didn't come up with it first, but the woman who beat me to it is Joanna Czikalla and now I worship her.
Czikalla started serving cakes, ice cream, coffee and specialty beverages last year at her dessert café, Créme & Sugar in Anaheim Hills, California. Her Lavender Latte was the most popular beverage--until now. The Unicorn Hot Chocolate, which is a secret menu item, has quickly become the biggest seller and an instagram superstar leading to recent features on The Huffington Post and Cosmopolitan.
So, I bet you're dying to know what it's like! After your tongue swirls through the dense cream, chewy mallows and crisp sprinkles, the first sip hits you with the very forward flavor of white chocolate, it floats down your throat, wrapping it in a warm, soft blanket and you realize you have tasted peace on Earth. You don't even care that it's dripping down the side of your mug and coating your fingers. This is not an order you would want everyday, but on special occasions, I don't know if there is anything better. Beware, you will experience a severe sugar coma if you decide to finish your entire mad-hatter sized mug.
If you want to contine down the Unicorn road, Créme & Sugar also offers Unicorn Cake, a Unicorn Milkshake and Unicorn Bark (A rainbow swirled white chocolate bar). The cake looks like it came straight from a My Little Pony's birthday party -- three layers of colorful vanilla cake dressed in sparkly rainbow frosting. It is the best vanilla cake I have ever tasted. The texture is dense and wholesome. It is clear that Czikalla has sourced the best flour, eggs, butter and sugar for her creation. I tasted a hint of cornmeal, though I don't think there is any in the recipe, but I liked it!
For a complete menu listing and information visit: www.cremensugar.com
December is an interesting month, for one, it’s my birthday month (thanks), also it’s the end of the year - the last hurrah before it starts all over again. I nicknamed December “f*ck it” month. Seriously, just have fun in December and be comfortable. The best way to do that is to eat all of the comfort food that you want! I have decided to make a list of my Top Five favorite LA comfort food spots!
I’ve been coming here for a few years. Thank you Michael Voltaggio for having a concept for sandwiches that is always delicious and always consistent. Any sandwich here is awesome, but recently I have fallen in love with the “Frenchy” - turkey, brie, fruit chutney, arugula and mayo. It’s the bread that really makes these sandwiches special. Soft, bot not too soft. It’s an easy and always satisfying go-to for me.
8360 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90069
33 Taps Silverlake
This is a new one, but I recently had their nachos and buffalo cauliflower and was very into it! Nachos are one of my very favorite comfort meals, but I rarely think to order them! These ones are dressed up classically in cheddar, pico de gallo, beans, jalapeños, enchilada sauce, guacamole and sour cream and the serving is huge. The buffalo cauliflower, which we have seen as a trend here in LA, is by far the best of any other version I’ve had. Yes, even Mohawk Bend has nothing on the 33 Taps version! The skin was perfectly fried and crispy, I didn’t feel like I was eating cauliflower at all! Last note, they have wine ON TAP and it’s great. (They also have a Hollywood location FYI)
3725 W. Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Blue Star Donuts
Like this one needs a lot of explaining…Blue Star is batsh*t crazy delicious. I take great pride in the fact that it was founded in my home state of Oregon, but thank God they opened shop down here! Doughnuts have always been one of most reliable pick-me ups. Had a bad day? An amazing doughnut will make things better, always! Sometimes it’s hard to choose which flavor to get because they are all incredible, so I say get a few, but you have to get their signature Blueberry Bourbon Basil. (They also have a Manhattan Beach location)
1142 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291
The Oaks Gourmet Market
Because Cheeseburgers. That was not an actual sentence, but it’s true. I’ve been eating cheeseburgers all over LA for 10 years now and the one at The Oaks Gourmet is especially endearing to me and yes, makes me feel incredibly comforted! Go in, order the Dry Aged Burger. It’s a half pound dry aged beef patty with bacon, baby arugula, red onion, tomato, jalepeño and pineapple compote, taleggio cheese served on a toasted brioche bun. I know you just had a fantasy in your mind and it was goooooood.
1915 North Bronson Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90068
Public School on Tap 213
I have said it before and I will say it again, this is a PMS-ing woman’s paradise, also great for dudes any day of the month! Tons of fried, gooey, cheesy, meaty, sweet and salty things to choose from. The shrimp and grits is my favorite entree, but what really soothes my soul is the Nutella Cookie Sandwich with bacon brittle, chocolate chunk cookies and vanilla bean ice cream. It’s everything naughty and is really fun to try shoving in your mouth. I recommend sharing with a friend. (They also have locations in Culver City, Sherman Oaks and Thousand Oaks)
612 Flower St.
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Believe me when I say, making this list was very difficult, there are definitely more favorites of mine, but I feel good about sharing these with you. What are your favorite comfort food go-to's??
Tomatoes as red as my lipstick. Octopus as tender as deep sleep. Herbs as aromatic as the air moments after a downpour. These are measly attempts at describing the vibrancy of the foods consumed on this culinary tour throughout Greece and Southern Italy. On and off Oceania's Riviera ship, incredible meals were devoured during a seven-day journey through one of the greatest food epicenters on earth - the Mediterranean. Traveling from Athens to Rome, making stops along the way, we experienced guided chef tours, multi-course dinners, and the soul of the land through scenic views and historical landmarks. Many thanks to our incredible Oceania hosts, Franck Garanger: Fleet Corporate Chef/Culinary Development, Alban Gjoka: Senior Executive Chef and Kellie Evans: Culinary Education Program Instructor, for leading us through the expansive culinary landscape and for dining with us at each of the Riviera’s seven restaurants. Losing my cruise ship virginity was nothing short of thrilling and to make it even more significant, I did it with my best friend, GiGi Dubois (GiGi Eats Celebrities).
We first dined in Athens the evening before our ocean departure. It’s clear the city has felt the effects of the country's economic crisis - building after building is polluted with graffiti. It's a little sad to see, but dinner at Varoulko Seaside offers some grace and heightens hopes. This waterfront restaurant showcases the culinary soul that is still thriving in Ancient Greece. Chef Lefteris Lazarou opened the restaurant in 1987. "Lazarou was the first chef in Greece to cook a seafood menu at a fine dining restaurant and to introduce the public to less known and previously neglected types of fish." - USA Today
The restaurant merges into the harbor, creating a very intimate setting for diners and a pleasing guarantee that the coming meal will be incredibly fresh. Bread rolls were served warm. They were perfect. The quality of bread abroad always astounds me. Next came a four-course dinner of sea-based dishes; Fish Soup with Vegetables and Rockfish Broth, Grilled Cuttlefish with Caramelized Lentils and Orange Sauce, Orzo Cooked with Prawns, Limnio Wine, Dried Hot Red Pepper Flakes and Parmesan Cheese and finally the Catch of the Day with Baby Grilled Vegetables. The Cuttlefish and Orzo were my personal favorites. These dishes had a few simple and delicious ingredients, but the overall integrity to showcase the seafood itself was achieved.
In the morning, we had time to see some of the famous sites of Athens before heading to the port. The Acropolis is the most obvious landmark, sitting high on the hill overlooking the city. We did not have time for a full tour sadly, but we did visit the Acropolis Museum and got as close to the Acropolis as possible. We also got to explore the temple of Zeus before our afternoon embarkment.
Once aboard The Riviera, our new home, something inside of me moved. It wasn’t because of the ever-so-slight feel of the Mediterranean’s current beneath me, it was something that danced through my head, heart and gut warning that after this voyage I would never be the same. It was something cosmic. The reality knocked loudly in my face -- we would spend our days exploring new cities and our evenings enjoying incredible restaurants while gliding through solid aqua clouds. How was I so lucky to be gifted this? I didn’t know, but whatever the reason, I was extremely grateful.
During our first night, just as the sun was epically setting, we dined at Toscana. I smiled at the beautiful Versace dish wear in front of me. The meal began with the olive oil trolley — a cart filled with olive oils from various regions of Greece and Italy to be sampled with bread. Don’t mind if I do! The menu offered a variety of traditional dishes, Lasagna Bolagnese, Osso Buco, Risotto — but I went with the evening’s special for my main course, Gnocchi with Porcini Mushroom and Truffle. To get my juices flowing, I started with the Minestrone Soup and Beef Carpaccio. Two simple offerings, but if done right, there are few things better.
The Minestrone was the best I had ever had. This age-old peasant soup had the richest broth complete with the flavors of the garden, carrots, onions and tomatoes. It was laced with fresh pesto and also had cubes of soft boiled potato. It’s thin broth was hearty and infused my veins.
The Carpaccio, crowned with aged Parmigiano Reggiano, Arugula and Lemon-Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil, was as it should be, pink in color and soft as white sand as it hit my tongue, disintegrating into sweet, saltiness.
The Gnocchi, was rich, as to be expected. It nearly sent me over the deck’s edge just after the first bite. Creamy and decadent, the truffles romanced me as they always do.
I must also point out that I had the best bottle of red wine I have ever had in my life at this dinner. Not another glass during the whole trip could knock it from the pedestal. What really lit me up, was that it was from Argentina! The 2013 bottle of Enamore Bodega Renacer was the smoothest tasting red wine I had ever experienced. Everyone at the table was moaning about it, not just me. It was an epic blend of Malbec, Merlot, Bonarda and Cabernet Franc produced in the Amarone style. This means that the grapes are partially dry when they are vinified. It was exquisite and paired perfectly with the creamy parmesan, truffle and earthy mushroom in my Gnocchi.
www.thefoodpervert.com/videos.htmlI had to end with a classic Italian dessert, Tiramisu. It’s not one of my favorite go-to desserts, but when I dine at an Italian restaurant, I always like to taste it. It was served in a perfect circle of sweet Mascarpone Cream and layers of espresso soaked cake, sprinkled with fine dark cocoa. If only every day of my life ended on this lovely a note!
More to come next week! You can also see the "Munching the Med" videos on my video page!
I just tried Lamill Coffee's chicken sandwich for the first time last week and it totally satisfied my craving for a crisp, juicy, fried chicken sandwich! Served on a buttery brioche bun, it was perfect. I also tried the fattoush salad, fries and a cappuccino, duh! Watch below for some epic food porn and happy National Sandwich Day!
I couldn't have chosen a more perfect time to come home to Central Oregon for a visit. All month long, the High Desert Food & Farm Alliance (HDFFA) has been promoting local farmers and ingredients with the Local Food Challenge campaign and Taste Local Thursdays Restaurant Series. Every Thursday, through the rest of September and October, a different restaurant will host a Taste Local night. They will create a few specials incorporating ingredients from Central Oregon farmers. The point is to get the community excited about how fresh and delicious local food tastes! I was able to snag a seat at Jackson's Corner East, in Bend for their turn at sourcing local ingredients for their evening menu. It was so fun to participate in this important awareness program and to taste some of Central Oregon's tastiest ingredients!
Jackson's Corner East not only had a great menu for Taste Local night, but also in general! The restaurant aims to source as many local ingredients as they can all year round, not just when it's asked of them. I loved the open space and "market" feel. It reminded me of one of my favorite LA destinations, Joan's on 3rd. It's casual enough that you order at the counter, but the food is crafted with heart and style. Maybe we can call it fancy fast-casual dining?
My favorite dishes were the Local Heirloom Tomatoes with Stone Fruit, Fresh Mozzarella, Basil, Balsamic Vinaigrette, Jocobsen's Sea Salt and the House-made Meatballs in Marinara topped with Romano Cheese and Fresh Basil. I also ordered the Havana Sandwich and the Local Radicchio Salad. Another one of the local specials, which sadly I was too full to try was a beautiful Pizza with Zucchini, Ricotta, Mozzarella, Garlic, Lemon, Thyme and Basil. I can imagine how delicious it must have been!
Participating farms included: Radical Roots Farm, Rainshadow Organics and Juniper Jungle Permaculture Farm. Not only was it comforting to know that I was eating fresh and local ingredients, but it was also fun to see what the chef had come up with using these specific ingredients. Even though LA is where I live, Central Oregon will always be home to me. There are so many farms here, including the one I grew up on and that's why it's so important that they get your support! I promise you will taste the difference!
Upcoming Taste Local Thursdays #tastelocalthursdays
Enter the local food photo contest and share the local food love! Take photos of Central Oregon inspired food and local fare during the month of September. Snap and share images of local food from vendors, restaurants, farmers markets, and gardens. Post photos with #HDFFA and #TasteCentralOregon to Facebook or Instagram. HDFFA will select a winner in each of the following categories: Best Restaurant Photo, Weirdest Looking Vegetable, Best Dish featuring local food.
*HDFFA is a 501(c)3 non-profit serving Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson Counties. Their mission is to support a community-based food system in Central Oregon to increase access to fresh healthy food, support sustainable farm land use, and foster relationships among farmers and consumers.
For more information on how you can support Central Oregon farms and ranches visit http://www.hdffa.org/
For past blog posts (2011-2013), please visit The Food Pervert Wordpress Blog.