Tag Archives: Roy Choi

I am going to Los Angeles!!!!!  To EAT!!! The Food Experience at the #LBNC15…

17 Feb

For years I’ve been meaning to travel again to California.  I have been there several times – once with my family when I was about 15 years old and then a few more times in Los Angeles and San Francisco for work.  But the last time I set foot in Cali soil was almost 10 years ago… and it’s just been way too long.

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For a few years now, California has been calling my name.  Reading magazine articles about the farmer’s markets in Los Angeles, looking at pictures on Pinterest on the latest and greatest veggie-centric restaurants in San Francisco, watching on TV about the vegetarian food trucks, chatting to other Cali-based bloggers on how many vegan options are there in menus and how knowledgeable the chefs and servers are about what a vegetarian is…  all those things and a few more is what has been luring me to visit.

When I learned about the Lifestyle Bloggers National Conference (#LLBNC15) in Los Angeles, organized by my online friend and blogger, Ana Lydia Ochoa-Monaco, I knew it was the perfect excuse to do some blog-related work, networking  and to live, even if for 10 days at least, the California experience.  And like I said to my friend Diana, now living in Sonoma Wine Country…  I am coming to California TO EAT!!!!  So let me tell you a little bit about the experience I am going into at the conference specifically:

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The Corner Bakery Café will supply the breakfast…  I am very much looking forward to trying their Chilled Oatmeal, or as they call it in Europe, Muesli. And I like that on their menu it’s labeled as Vegetarian, Gluten-Free and Low Fat.  Three pluses!!!

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Fresh Brother’s Pizza will be providing our lunch… and in true California fashion, their menu includes a MegaGrain Crust Pizza, which I am interpreting as an ultra, heavy duty whole grains crust; not the usual white, semolina flour crust here. And they also have a gluten-free crust made from rice, tapioca and potato crust.   Hello!!?!?!  Which pizzeria in Puerto Rico advertises openly they have gluten-free crust and are actually proud of it!?!?  They even have vegan cheese and sausages available… although I have a feeling, I will go for the real cheese one.  I am very much looking forward to this…

For the cocktail parties, Anepalco’s Café will be sharing their creations on the appetizer front.  Looking in advance at their menu, I hope they come up with some true vegetarian (as in no fish or seafood) options for me.  If they can bring an appetizer version of their salads – like the Colorada Beets or the Snow Arugula – I’ll be a happy camper.  Besides, I’ll be too busy talking and networking to be eating… NOT!! There’s always time to taste test!

I am also looking forward to visiting a few spots in LA, Sonoma and Napa:

I want to try chef Roy Choi’s new veggie-centric restaurant Commissary where my Puerto Rican friend Monti works sometimes…  maybe all the time.  I’ll learn more about it when we actually meet in person for a bite or two in the next few days.

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I was also dreaming to sit down and enjoy the fabulous Vegetable Tasting Menu at the French Laundry by chef Thomas Keller, but unfortunately for now, the kitchen is currently under renovation.  Chef Keller and I will have our rendez-vous on a future trip to Cali or maybe at Per Sé in NYC.  Time will tell… in the meantime, I’ll continue salivating over their menus online.

The rest… I am not planning too much.  I decided this would be a trip to “go with the flow”.  I will be in Los Angeles during the Oscars, so I may or may not be able to meet any celebrities or even a vegetarian/vegan Academy-Award winner. You know who you are…   It’s all up to Karma and the Universe.  But be certain, I will share as much as I can with you all.  Deal??

Are you familiar with Los Angeles and San Francisco and would like to recommend your favorite vegetarian fare or restaurant???  Please share with me in the comments section or on Facebook or Twitter.  Gracias!!!

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Make My Food Famous – a new culinary competition featuring Puerto Rican hostess, Monti Carlo

29 Aug

Monti from MasterChef Season 3 fame is at it again in the kitchen… this time she’s helping other home cooks, just like herself, to get their signature dishes be part of a Michelin-starred restaurant menu.

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In the new show Make my Food Famous, Monti hosts and judges 3 home cooks get their food be part of the menu at David LeFavre restaurant, MB Post… in Manhattan Beach, California.  This is a BIG DEAL…  for Monti herself and the 3 home cooks participating.

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Photos courtesy of MB Post Restaurant http://www.eatmbpost.com

Monti, a fellow Puerto Rican, a self-proclaimed home cook who made her living as a radio-show host came to fame because of her culinary talent in a TV show and now she gets to provide support and advice to these aspiring home cooks.  “Working in a commercial kitchen is NOT the same as working in your own home space.  I’m there to provide these people some support – because it can be really emotional and tough to be fighting for your dream.” candidly shares Monti.

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According to Monti, “This is a very rewarding process for all these home cooks.  Win it or not, all these people will have a much better idea of what they want and how to get there.” And Monti knows a little about how to fight for her dreams because after her participation on MasterChef Season 3, she came home to an eviction notice and little planning on what to do next.  But the Universe works in mysterious ways and now she’s back on TV with a series on the FYI network.

I asked Monti if someone vegetarian competing with a vegetarian dish would have a chance to win in Make my Food Famous and she gave me a resounding YES!!!!  Even though she’s not a vegetarian, she knows and believes a great dish can be vegetable-based.  For the last few months, Monti has also worked at Roy Choi’s new roof-top greenhouse restaurant, Commisary.  “If the work and thoughtfulness is put on a dish, any vegetable or fruit can certainly be the star.” says Monti with pride.  This new vegetable and fruit based restaurant is so popular that recently well-known vegan Natalie Portman and also singer John Mayer have been among its celebrity guests.

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Photo courtesy of Commissary Restaurant

Make My Food Famous premieres on the FYI network this Sunday, August 31 @ 10PM.  Stay tuned to see if maybe one day I can try to make some of my signatures dishes into one of these vegetable-based restaurants too.  I am throwing that out into the Universe…

In the meantime, I wish Monti all the success in the world and to celebrate her new show I asked her what was the foods she missed most from our Puerto Rico and she mentioned quenepas, dulces de coco, pan sobao and chicharrones. I am not sure if I support the chicharrones part, but Monti, stay tuned to the mailbox because you may receive a nice little surprise in the mail – a care package courtesy of KarmaFree Cooking.

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