I had the best time at The 23rd Annual Great Chefs of Los Angeles.
Awesome food galore? Check.
Bountiful wine? Check.
Good cause? Check (National Kidney Foundation of Southern California).
Fabulous foodie friends? Check (CurryClaire) and check (insomniac).
I had a press pass today, but, as insomniac and CurryClaire will attest, this event was well worth attending, especially at the reduced Goldstar rate. I was very impressed by the excellent management -- ample covered parking, no lines, frequent clearing of tables, and generally a smooth and problem-free afternoon -- unlike the Gold Standard that Mr. Monkey and I attended earlier this year.
To post every single thing we tried would take too long. Here are my faves in no particular order.
Akasha Richmond's (Akasha) beer-braised Niman Ranch short ribs on a pretzel roll.
A meaty savory sensation. This was the first thing I ate, and I still remembered it at the end of the event. Thumbs up!
Frank Leon's (La Loggia and Bokado) gazpacho andaluz, langostino kataife, and mini burger with bleu cheese.
CurryClaire and I loved it sooooo much. Juicy and amazing. I really want to try Chef Leon's restaurants now!
Govind Armstrong's (8oz. Burger Bar) short rib grilled cheese with onion marmalade and Bel Paese cheese truffled potato chips.
Insanely scrumptious. And, yes, I'm a total chefarazzi. There's the beautiful man behind the beautiful sandwich, chatting it up with his fans.
Brian Moyers' (BLT Steak) grilled hanger steak with kabocha squash and brussel and bacon marmalade.
Charred goodness. Luscious love at first bite.
Neal Fraser's (BLD and Grace) braised veal short ribs with polenta.
The short ribs were delicious, but I was also enamored with the polenta.
Celestino Drago's (the entire Drago restaurant empire) duck sandwich with butternut squash soup.
I am always a sucker for duck -- I wish the the duck-to-bread ratio had been higher This made my faves list because I appreciated the thought behind the pairing. Even in the heat, the soup was mighty tasty.
Andrea Cavaliere's (Cecconi's) wild mushroom and black truffle risotto.
I don't like mushrooms, but I do enjoy truffles. Weird, I know. But, hey, don't you like some of your cousins more than your other cousins? When I saw that truffles were being shaved directly onto this, I said, "Yes, please!" I'm glad I did. Rich. Creamy. Dreamy.
Keven Alan Lee's (East Restaurant and Lounge) scallops on the halfshell, lemongrass sambal, wasabi crème fraîche, shiso dust, micro cilantro.
This is sort of a cheat for me. I was so full that I couldn't shove any more food into my face, but both CurryClaire and insomniac were delighted by this. Among other things, I was told it was "awesome" and very "slurpable."
Jorge Chicas' (The Bazaar by Jose Andres) tomato mozzarella pipettes, guacamole cone, bonbons, and liquid nitrogen caipirinha.
What can I say? I'm like a groupie for The Bazaar. Always whimsical. Always delicious. We were definitely groupies for Mr. Nitro Tattoo.
Food that didn't make my faves list but sure looked pretty.
Wine, wine, and a little tequila.
Yummy non-alcoholic drinks.
Things that defy classification.
The auction, chefs of honor, celebs, quasi-celebs, and bidders.
My thin partners in overeating crime.
Surprisingly, this is not CurryClaire's reaction after documenting insomniac's fierce smizing. CurryClaire was afraid of insomniac's large camera.
Finally...swag bag! Not pictured are lots and lots of schmancy coupons, including some for free haircuts at swanky salons. Woohoo!
Special thanks to tinynancer and sinosoul for this opportunity. For more event photos than you can shake a stick at, go here. Can't wait until next year!