When Lisa and I were generously invited to LA’s GotKosher Cafe and Catering to explore how they elevated kosher cuisine to the realm of the sublime, we were very intrigued and brought some friends along!
On Sunday, April 28th, 20 Melting Pot Food Tours guests joined us for a very special afternoon with GotKosher owner Alain Cohen.
Alain landed in our City of Angels from Tunisia, by way of Paris, back in the 1980s. When he discovered that kosher cuisine in LA was a product of Eastern European immigrants’ mesh of a few bland ingredients like carrots, potatoes, salt and pepper, he ... well, cringed.
In keeping with this new theme of enlightening the masses ;-), here is a short and sweet post about three more favorite dining haunts that LA foodies and visitors really deserve to know about. This post’s focus is on the diverse community of Long Beach, and these places are all in three different neighborhoods.
If you’re in the mood for some of the best authentic Italian or Thai/Cambodian in town, you’re in for a treat. If you just want to go home (you Americans, or other weary travelers), please keep reading!
Our “Merchants We Love” series appreciates those who generously contribute to the success of our tours, by hosting our wonderful guests week after week. We feel they give special meaning to “City of Angels”, and we hope you enjoy getting to know them better.
Anoush Ter Poghossian is the lovely, third-generation owner of Mignon Chocolate which her family founded originally as a bakery in 1910, in Ukraine. Since the 1970s, Mignon has been known as “The King of Chocolate”, since their sweets were the favorites of the King of Iran and his family. Our Old Pasadena tour guests are now among those who enjoy the royal treatment, as Mignon is very much one of our sweetest tour stops.
Our favorite lady chocolatier was born in Iran of Armenian heritage. She moved with her family to the US in 2000, for the joy of freedom and to pursue higher education. Today, her warmth and hospitality make every visit (1st, 31st, 101st) to Migon Chocolate incredibly special. I loved our conversation recently which - yes - was accented with chocolate samples!
Last summer, when poking around to find the perfect recipes when I took the reins as Tapas Chef at BarComida, one of my most refreshing and popular experiments turned out to be Green Gazpacho.
This summer, my guests report a similar experience as they did last summer. While it always renders rave reviews, they notice that it tastes slightly different each time they enjoy it.
Not surprisingly, it is a very forgiving recipe, and lends itself beautifully to adding your own signature and switching it up each time. When using simple base ingredients to begin, it will always be OK to add (and if you insist, subtract) seasonal green vegetables and related condiments that you love and/or have handy. You can trust that it will always refresh and please palates, regardless of how you choose to prepare it.
Inspired by our own Melting Pot Food Tours guide extraordinaire and Green Globetrotter Kendall Tuchkova, with her contribution to this month’s newsletter regarding safe and green keeping of herbs&spices, I tracked down some further research about summer seasonings. I write our curious “Did you know” segment each issue, and here is an encore of July’s epicurean trivia:
According to traditional Indian medicine, Ayurveda, it is important to use cooling herbs and spices during the summer months, to avoid excess internal heat in the body. This 5,000-year-old philosophy recommends organic mint, fennel seed, dill, cumin, turmeric, ginger, cardamon, fresh cilantro, and fresh basil, to help you cool off this summer ...
My little paragraph went on to link readers to this brilliant wisdom by “Dr. G” (Dr. Edward Group) of the Global Healing Center, regarding his favorite nine “cooling herbs” for summer. Not wanting to steal the good doctor’s thunder, I won’t reiterate his points or useful ideas. Instead, I thought it would be fun to offer a couple quick simple summer recipes that incorporate some of his suggestions.
As leading experts of LA food tours (as we like to humbly consider ourselves), Lisa and I took our call very seriously to attend International Pow Wow 2012 (IPW 2012) last month. This is the largest international travel conference held annually in the US, with over 6,000 attendees (“delegates” and press) from over 70 countries.
The LA Convention Center housed the vast selection of destinations and attractions that America was showcasing to world travel representatives. What tremendous fun it was to be part of what LA has to offer!
When asked by Michael Franks of Chez Melange, back in December, if I'd like to be part of an “Undiscovered Chefs” event at Palos Verdes' spectacular Terranea Resortin March 2012, I said yes.
Did I know, at that hour, that the entire week before and after the event actually took place, my schedule would be crammed nonstop? I did not. As usual, I asked The Universe to show me the gold in this one. I wasn’t seein’ it.
All I could see were back-to-back engagements, then schedule changes, now requiring me to be somewhere all day Sunday, other than in my typical at-home zombie-like setting. Monday and the following week were scheduled to hit the ground running. I was very concerned that my state of being underslept wasn’t going to be - or equally important, look - pretty.
Our “Merchants We Love” series appreciates those who generously contribute to the success of our tours by hosting our wonderful guests week after week. We feel they give special meaning to “City of Angels”, and we hope you enjoy getting to know them better.
Since its launch about one year ago, our East LA Latin Flavors Tour has blessed many lives with myriad of color, culture, and especially joy. One player who has touched not only our lives, but those of his entire neighborhood and beyond, is Carlos Ortez. His Un Solo Sol Kitchen is the most ethnically-eclectic restaurant along Boyle Heights’ First Street Corridor at Mariachi Plaza.
Having studied as a young man in El Salvador with Jesuit priests, Carlos is a naturopathic practitioner, an environmental engineer by day, a lifelong activist and modern-day peacemaker. His authentic passion for the unity of community, and the arts and culture that beautify his world, is truly inspiring.
Enjoy this story from my very enjoyable Saturday morning conversation with Carlos!