Top 5 Tastes from 2009 Plate by Plate
On August 1, Project by Project held their annual “Plate by Plate” fundraiser in the California Science Center’s Wallis Annenberg Building, and I was invited. The volunteer organization drew over 500 people to a room with shimmering walls to benefit the Asian Pacific Islander Small Business Program (API SBP), a non-profit that’s dedicated to developing small businesses. Here are five of my favorite tastes, in order of consumption:
Scoops/The Golden State – Beer Float
Ordering a beer float seemed strange after the previous week’s L.A. Beer Float Showdown, but since the champs were on-site and touting a new gelato, it was impossible to resist. During the competition at Blue Palms, The Golden State’s Jason Bernstein and Scoops’ Tai Kim paired The Bruery’s Berliner Weisse with Raspbery & Yuzu Sorbet. They had that on hand, but I opted for the lemon lychee, which paired particularly well with The Bruery’s tart, low ABV Berliner Weisse.
Mendocino Farms – Heirloom TBL + Kurobuta Pork Belly Banh Mi
Mario del Pero and Judy Han’s glass-fronted, seasonally inspired eatery in California Plaza produces some of the best sandwiches in L.A. At Plate By Plate, Chef Han paired cuts of two unique sandwiches. Mendocino Farms’ signature Kurobuta Pork Belly Banh Mi featured house-pickled daikon and carrots, which cut the richness of the caramelized pork belly. The cool-spicy dynamic continued with crispy cucumbers, jalapenos and chile aioli. The finishing touch, a soft ciabatta. In the Heirloom TBL, she filled fresh buckwheat bread with lush Tutti Fruiti Farm’s Heirloom Tomatoes, Fine Herbs Mascarpone Spread, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Arugula, Balsamic Vinegar and cracked Black Pepper.
La Fenêtre – 2007 Bien Nacido Vineyard Chardonnay
In late July, La Fenêtre winemaker Joshua Klapper e-mailed to introduce himself. For the past six years, the former Sona Wine Director and current “garagiste” has been producing small production wines at Au Bon Climat and Qupé in the Santa Maria Valley, sourcing his grapes from the best possible Central Coast vineyards. Klapper invited me to a tasting at K&L Wines. I wasn’t able to attend, but had the good fortune to run into Klapper at Plate By Plate, where he was pouring his 2006 Pinot Noir and 2007 Chardonnay, both very good wines. Still, it was his smooth, citrusy Chardonnay that stood out on a warm night.
The Bruery – Trade Winds Tripel
In just over a year, Orange County native Patrick Rue has earned a solid reputation within the beer community for producing inventive Belgian-style beers in his Placentia facility. Rue’s refreshing summer release – Trade Winds Tripel – was brewed with rice and spicy Thai basil and featured a great golden color. The Bruery releases Autumn Maple in September, brewed with yams.
Mo-Chica – Sea Bass Ceviche
Ricardo Zarate has earned justifiable acclaim for his Peruvian ceviche at nearby Mercado La Paloma. At Plate by Plate, he marinated California sea bass with leche de tigre – a mix of lime juice, garlic, ginger and celery – and plated the tangy fish with sweet yam slices, steamed hominy-like choclo and blistered corn kernels (cancha).