Archive for the 'Culinary Events' Category

Holiday Recipes (4) Atole/Champurrado @MuyBuenoCooking @lacocinasf Gift Bazaar 12/7

December 1, 2012

Let’s start first with the food in recipes, then explore the intersection of discovery with La Cocina, a Bay Area nonprofit cultivating food entrepreneurs.


Atole is a traditional masa-based Mexican and Central hot drink. Chocolate atole is known as Champurrado or atole. It is typically accompanied with tamales, and very popular during the Christmas holiday season (Las Posadas).



  • 1/3 cup masa harina blended with 1/4 cup warm water in blender
  • 3 cups water
  • 5 tablespoons brown sugar or piloncillo
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla or one one vanilla bean


Heat all ingredients (except for any toppings you may be using) in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat while stirring. Bring to a simmer and continue to stir frequently for 20-25 minutes until thickened. If used, remove the cinnamon stick and/or vanilla bean. Pour into mugs or thick glasses. Warm fruit puree in a small saucepan and drizzle on top of Atole. Serves 2-3

Champurrado (Mexican Hot Chocolate)

Yield: 6 (4-ounce) servings


  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 anise star
  • ¼ cup masa harina
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ disk Mexican chocolate, chopped (Abuelita or Ibarra chocolate)
  • 3 ounces piloncillo, chopped or 1/2 cup packed brown sugar


In a large saucepan boil water with the two cinnamon sticks and anise star. Remove from the heat, cover and let the cinnamon sticks and anise star steep for about 10 minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks and anise star, return to low heat and slowly add the masa harina to the warm water, whisking until combined. Add milk, chocolate, and piloncillo.

Heat over medium heat just until boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until chocolate is completely melted and sugar is dissolved, whisking occasionally. Serve immediately.

(Thanks to

And here’s the Discovery…

La Cocina, Cultivating Food Entrepreneurs


This holiday, give the gift of food with Holiday Gift Boxes or a gift certificate for classes Your purchase does create opportunity and contribute to the success of local aspiring entrepreneurs in the Bay Area.

Don’t miss December 7, 2012 Holiday Gift Bazaar in Crocker Plaza in Downtown San Francisco (50 Post Street)


The mission of La Cocina is to cultivate low-income food entrepreneurs as they formalize and grow their businesses by providing affordable commercial kitchen space, industry-specific technical assistance and access to market and capital opportunities. We focus primarily on women from communities of color and immigrant communities. Our vision is that entrepreneurs will become economically self-sufficient and contribute to a vibrant economy doing what they love to do.

San Francisco’s First Incubator Kitchen

La Cocina is a ground-breaking business incubator designed to reduce the obstacles that often prevent entrepreneurs from creating successful and sustainable small businesses.  By providing shared resources and an array of industry-specific services, business incubators ensure small businesses can succeed. La Cocina follows this model by providing commercial kitchen space and technical assistance focusing on low-income women and immigrant entrepreneurs who are launching, growing and formalizing food businesses.

Breaking Down Barriers

The food industry has a notoriously high cost of entry: the fees for licensed and insured commercial kitchen space, the start-up costs to open a restaurant, the standards set to compete for shelf space at specialty stores and large retailers. Such restrictive barriers to entry often discourage burgeoning food entrepreneurs from launching a business. Those who do, face an uphill battle for success in an overwhelming and incredibly crowded marketplace.

La Cocina provides a platform for these motivated entrepreneurs to hone their skills and successfully transition into the highly regulated and competitive food industry.

The Story of La Cocina

La Cocina (pronounced la co-see-nah, meaning “The Kitchen” in Spanish) was inspired by its current home, San Francisco’s Mission District. (2011 La Cocina 2948 Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA 94110 | 415-824-2729 | | It is located in an ethnically diverse and economically vulnerable neighborhood that thrives in part due to the many small informal businesses that serve the community. As is the case in many cities, food lies at the heart of this community, and you don’t have to look far to find hidden entrepreneurs in the kitchens of many homes.

Recognizing a need to formalize these food businesses and the opportunity created when you turn inconsistent and illegal home restaurants into sustainable legal businesses, organizations like Arriba Juntos, The Women’s Initiative for Self-Employment and The Women’s Foundation of California and one very special and visionary anonymous donor created La Cocina. La Cocina is both the space-a modern building and commercial kitchen that has been featured in Metropolis Magazine—and the program—an innovative business incubator that supports a growing roster of small businesses, including:

El Pilipa

The Fine Art of Fine Dining at @Alinea

November 27, 2012

After you view the video of a dessert being created by Chef Grant Achatz, please read more about Alinea Restaurant where you purchase tickets rather than schedule a reservation.

Visit their site at www., or better still, visit the restaurant, located in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago, 1723 North Halsted. No walk-in dining options. All dining must be ticketed. Although tickets are transferrable, they are nonrefundable. Chicago, home to many fine restaurants including Henri, EL Ideas, Acadia, Everest, L20, Moto, Naha, and Schwa among others, is a destination where chefs and foodies pilgrimage. Even aspiring locations, like Goosefoot, make their mark with innovative combinations and redefining American (new) cuisine. Alinea brings the dining experience to a new level as artform/performance.

If you can’t secure your New Year’s reservation… TICKETING – which opened Nov 7 – you can still purchase the cookbook, Alinea on Amazon. Since dining, food, and art are fused at this restaurant, it would make sense that it is more suited for coffee table than kitchen as a cookbook.

“A pioneer in American cuisine, chef Grant Achatz represents the best of the molecular gastronomy movement–brilliant fundamentals and exquisite taste paired with a groundbreaking approach to new techniques and equipment. ALINEA showcases Achatz’s cuisine with more than 100 dishes (totaling 600 recipes) and 600 photographs presented in a deluxe volume. Three feature pieces frame the book: Michael Ruhlman considers Alinea’s role in the global dining scene, Jeffrey Steingarten offers his distinctive take on dining at the restaurant, and Mark McClusky explores the role of technology in the Alinea kitchen. Buyers of the book will receive access to a website featuring video demonstrations, interviews, and an online forum that allows readers to interact with Achatz and his team.”


If visiting Alinea’s website to buy tickets for your first dining “event” at Alinea proves to be fruitless, I can share some online advice from fellow California foodie, Kim T. of Tustin, CA:

“Tip:  Stalk their facebook page for “day-of” openings.  We were able to snag a 2-seater for prime-time that night.  Btw, our table could have easily seated 4 people so it depends on the luck of the draw.  I guess we were really lucky.”

Here’s to discovery!

@Patina Patina Celebrates 22 Years With All-Star Alumni Dinner

October 31, 2011




Patina Celebrates 22 Years With All-Star Alumni Dinner.

From GrubStreet:

“To honor its 22nd birthday, Patina plans to pack its Downtown kitchen full of its former executive chefs, a group of alumni that includes Walter Manzke, Octavio Becerra, Eric Greenspan, David Feau, Michael Otsuka, and Theo Schoenegger, cooking alongside Patina chefs Tony Esnault, Sarah Koechling, and the empire’s founder, Joachim Splichal. The eight chefs will each produce part of a nine-course dinner with options for wine pairings ($199 with wine, $150 without). David Féau will offer his John Dory, Manzke will be on duck duty, and Greenspan will make a grilled cheese.

“Just kidding, Greenspan will be working with lobster for the affair, while Becerra will produce a fall terrine. After the dinner, there will be a separate after-party starting at 10:00 P.M. held over oysters and “pigs and pinot.” If the grand dinner is out of your price range, this might be the best bet to come mingle with the chefs, with a cost of $30.

“While the full dinner menu his yet to be released, we have a bit of a sketch of which ingredient or dish each chef will be working with, below. So if taking a trip back in time with one of L.A.’s few surviving, and still thriving, fine-dining experiences is up your alley, you can make reservations directly with Patina.”

Patina Alumni Dinner
November 2nd, 2011
6:30 P.M. Cocktails
7:15 P.M. Dinner


Joachim Splichal

Michael Otsuka
Porcini and Rabbit

Octavio Becerra
Fall Terrine

Tony Esnault
Vegetable Mosaic

Theo Schoenegger
Egg Ravioli

David Féau
Saint Pierre

Eric Greenspan

Walter Manzke

Sarah Koechling

@SoBayFoodFest on Oct 15 in Carson, with 30 top Gourmet Food Trucks

October 15, 2011

Join in the Inaugural South Bay Food Fest at the Home Depot Center in Carson on Saturday October 15, 1:00-7:00 p.m.

VIP tickets priced at $40 and include one-hour early admission (12:00 noon), access to the VIP Lounge in the American Express Stadium Club and a South Bay Food Fest commemorative T-Shirt.

The ultimate foodie fan destination, featuring over 30 of the top gourmet food trucks along with the best restaurants in the South Bay including @BorderGrill, @LATruckWagon, @MeSoHungryTruck, @rebelbite, @LudoTruck, @ButtermilkTruck, @BOLLYWOOD_BITES, @WhiteRabbitTruk, and more.
Don’t miss Chef appearances at Side Stage:
2:00 Alejandra Schrader (cooking demo), from Master Chef Season 2
5:00 Michael Shafer (cooking demo), owner and executive Chef at The Depot and Buffalo Fire Department

General admission $12. Daily Breeze subscribers receive discount ($2 online coupon)?

$8 w/ Student ID. $5 w/ Military ID (4 tix max).

RT from @SoBayFoodFest: “Bring an unwrapped toy worth $5 & get a $8 voucher. Kids under 6 free.” The South Bay Food Fest is proud to partner with the Boys & Girls Club of Carson. A portion of the ticket proceeds will be donated to the organization. Sponsors include: @LBGazetteNews

Free Parking (no reply to request) 18400 Avalon Blvd., Carson, CA 90746

@dine_LA is here! Oct 2-7 & Oct 9-14

October 2, 2011

dineLA Restaurant Week is a two-week dining event established to introduce diners to the vast array of restaurants in neighborhoods throughout LA County. Local foodies and visitors to LA will have the opportunity to enjoy a selection of specially priced three-course meals from some of LA’s best restaurants during this dining event.

Participating restaurants will opt into one of three dining categories and present a specially priced three-course meal for lunch and/or dinner. Diners will be able to choose from three choices for each course including appetizer, entrée and dessert. These dineLA Restaurant Week menus will be viewable online at Prices and meal periods vary by restaurant and exclude beverages, tax and gratuity.


Deluxe Dining: $16*
Premier Dining: $22*
Fine Dining: $28*


Deluxe Dining: $26*
Premier Dining: $34*
Fine Dining: $44*

*Prices and meal periods vary by restaurant and exclude beverages, tax and gratuity.

Make your reservations on:

Cheers to Kate’s and her many visionaries who celebrate 25 years

September 9, 2011

Landmark Kate Mantilini in Beverly Hills is getting ready to toast its 25th anniversary next year. Opened in 1987 as an original concept of the Lewis family who owned Hamburger Hamlet (1950-1987) and Hamlet Gardens, Kate’s on Wilshire Blvd. at Doheny makes an ideal spot to grab a happy hour bite before film screenings. You remember Hamburger Hamlet where you could have a reliably satisfying meal with friends and not take out a bank loan?

Back to Kate’s. Before becoming a restauranteur, Harry Lewis was a contract player with Warner Bros. during the ‘40’s and acted in many films like the classic “Key Largo” with Humphrey Bogart and Edward G Robinson.  When they sold the Hamlet chain, they kept Kate Mantilini and operate it with distinction.  Today, Kate’s is run by sons David, the Executive Chef, and Adam who is in charge of all operations.  “They hold their family’s standards as sacred.” The website, a blog, portioned and sectioned is very much like the restaurant’s architecture.

The distinctive building on Wilshire Boulevard at Doheny was designed and built by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne of Morphosis. includes the following description of Kate Mantilini project: “The open hall-like space becomes a theater for observing the swank and swagger of the local glitterati. The murals and images adorning the walls tend to underscore this cult of personality, part of a strategy that unites the discrete elements of the building, fresco, and sculpture into a single framework.” Mayne founded SciArc, Southern California Institute of Architecture where he serves as a Trustee.

According to Grub Street on September 9 :

“There are big, boozy developments going on over at Kate Mantilini these days, as a source reveals that none other than superstar mixologists Marcos Tello and Aidan Demarest are working on a new cocktail menu and overhaul of the bar program before the restaurant has its 25th birthday in 2012. The duo, who united last year under the consulting firm Tello/Demarest Liquid Assets, will likely debut the new drink selection next month. In addition, the restaurant plans a new catering division, an outdoor patio, new eats on the menu, and will re-introduce its late-night hours. Nothing like a milestone birthday to push an L.A. legend towards a little nip and tuck.”

Cheers to Kate’s and the many visionaries that contributed to make it one of the more satisfying places to dine in Los Angeles!

Taste of Beverly Hills event overlooks L.A. Foodbank as worthy beneficiary

September 3, 2011

Nothing to divert you on this three-day holiday weekend? In L.A. with an extra $150 to spend, try the Taste of Beverly Hills: a 4 day culinary spectacular which has kicked into full gear. The Los Angeles Times is the mastermind behind this restaurant and wine marketing extravaganza.

From Rodeo Drive to The Studios at Paramount to Downtown L.A., The Taste is a four-day food and wine extravaganza, celebrating all things epicurean. This unprecedented event will showcase a star-studded cast of celebrity chefs at nine signature events over Labor Day weekend. Event tickets are all-inclusive and offer everything from unlimited tastings of delectable chef creations from 40 of L.A.’s best restaurants plus unlimited tastings from some of the top wineries, breweries and distilleries, to amazing demos by celebrity chefs, live musical entertainment, fascinating panel discussions and much more.

The celebrities include Susan Feniger (Border Grill, Two Hot Tamales), Giada de Laurentiis, Duff Goldman, Roy Choi (Korean BBQ Taco Truck King). I would love to go out to Beverly Hills, be willing to brave parking challenges and just walk around to see which restaurants were there but this does not appear to be a street fair but rather an expensive fundraiser.

While it might be a fundraiser, I was not convinced that the named beneficiaries were the best ones served in Los Angeles – where our programs to help the hungry are the leading ones in the nation. Ticket prices include a donation to benefit the following “charities”: Beverly Hills Education Foundation (supporting 6 schools all in already richly endowed Beverly Hills), LA Conservancy, Collins College of Hospitality Management- Cal Poly Pomona, Share Our Strength (a national culinary fundraising organization) and Los Angeles Times Family Fund (which doesn’t list any volunteer opportunities, any individual results, or any facilities where people can go for help).

I love food festivals, I love the visionary chefs who inspire and delight me, and I also am disappointed in the Los Angeles Times for not going the extra step to name community-based organizations in Los Angeles – who are really helping others against all odds – as the event beneficiaries. For shame!

Where is the L.A. Regional Foodbank?

They offer volunteer opportunities and spend very little of their donation funding on publicity, or management salaries. If you really want to help the hunger program in a community-based program, forgo the Taste of Beverly Hills and give to the L.A. Regional Foodbank.

Where is P.A.T.H. (People Assisting the Homeless)?

Started in Los Angeles to give people in need a hand up, not a hand out, P.A.T.H. is helping answer the needs of those who may otherwise be dumpster diving in those alleys of Beverly Hills. They also have volunteer opportunities.

dineLA Restaurant Week Jan 23-28, Jan 30-Feb 4

January 30, 2011

For those who are curious about restaurants and/or creative chefs you haven’t yet discovered in L.A. – dineLA Restaurant Week is here. Enjoy special three-course, prix-fixe menus for lunch or dinner at participating restaurants. This is a great opportunity to revisit favorite haunts and enjoy a lunch or dinner out. Introduce a friend to a restaurant, save a little money and keep the restaurant culture here thriving.

January 23 – 28 & January 30 – February 4, 2011
$16, $22 or $28 Lunches
$26, $34 or $44 Dinners is a free nation-wide online reservation system that works like a frequent flyer program where you can earn 100 or 1,000 points for eating out. After 2,000 points, you can redeem those for a $20 check towards your next reservation bill. Making a reservation through for dineLA instantly connects you with participating restaurants

Start today: