Friday, June 23, 2017

Astro Doughnuts: Southern Fried Hip Hop Style in Doughnut Form


 Photo Credit Rachel Lyn Photography
A week ago Edible Skinny was lucky enough to check out Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken while in hubbub of DTLA and they are Super (with a capital letter S) Fab (with a capital letter F)!  Now Stop!  I know that every Angeleno rolls their eyes at the idea of another sweet shop in LA; I mean, once Sprinkles premiered its Cupcake ATM we thought everything had been done…   But Astro does some Darn Fine missing hole sweetmeats!  

Scott Suchman Photography
And the originally from DC Astro, which opened its LA outpost in April of this year, has the confectionary street credit to back it out.  The shop was called by TimeOut an “exemplary fryery” and one of the top-21 best fried chicken restaurants in America.  Thrillist named Astro among the “21 best donut shops in America,” and the Washington Post crowned the Crème Brûlée doughnut “the city’s best.”  Let’s drop the mic for some sucré accolades!

Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken offers a combination of four classic daily doughnut flavors (Vanilla Glazed, Maple Bacon, PB&J, and Crème Brûlée) along with a rotating selection of specials.  When Edible Skinny was there choices included: Birthday Cake, Cherry Pie, Blueberry Lemon Thyme and Root Beer Float made with Boylan Root Beer.  The newest class of doughnuts are available for a few weeks before they disappear like the cast of Brigadoon after their contracts haven’t been renewed.  My absolute favorite of this group was the Birthday Cake, moist chocolate cake topped with a sweet (but not too sweet) white cream and sprinkles!

For the Carnivores (read not me) Astro offers fried chicken with all the classic fixins’; if your idea of classic fixins’ include Buns such as doughnuts or their cheddar biscuit (BTW: one of the best biscuits of my life, and I absolutely scrutinize biscuits!), Sauces such as Sriracha Buffalo and Blue Cheese, and Add-Ons such as Kimchi Cole Slaw and Pickled Jalapenos.  I decided to rock all these options with an egg sandwich and it was simply Fab Fab (a big shout out to D. Lo and Marta for the suggestions!).  The whole dining experience has a fast paced Chose Your Own Adventure feel to it, as if the energy of hip hop came in doughnut form. 
Rachel Lyn Photography

This was finished by some of absolutely best tater-tots in my life!  They were a perfection of crispy outside igloo-ing the perfect amount of warm potato goodness housed within.  I’m tell you head over and drop the $2.95 (less than a cup of coffee at Starbucks) to rock them with some Sriracha Buffalo!  
A bit of history, the first Astro Doughnuts opened in DC in 2013, when childhood friends Elliot Spaisman and Jeff Halpern, the first native Washingtonians to play for the Washington Capitals, bonded over a love of all things missing a hole.  Halpern and Spaisman grew up playing the sport together in Montgomery County, MD, often meeting for a post-game doughnut off the ice.  As adults, the two food lovers forged their childhood pastime into a local eatery offering lighthearted interpretations of two comfort food favorites: doughnuts and fried chicken. 

Leveraging Spaisman’s experience at Balducci’s (formerly Sutton Place Gourmet), the duo found ways to add a modern spin to classic recipes with inventive seasonal flavors, culturally relevant releases, and sandwiches combining both items for a new take on the traditional southern combo of waffles and fried chicken. 

Something to take note about the LA Astro Doughnuts, a lot of people work there… which means that they’re really busy… which means they’ve got a lot of customers… which means they’re making money.  According to James Brice, Executive Chef of the LA location, Astro is are already actively seeking to open a second location in the City of Angeles and acquire a food truck (because what would a doughnut shop be in LA without a food truck… LOST, that’s what!).   
Alen Lin Photography

So if you’re looking for doughnuts, fried chicken, and the best tatter tots of your life head over to Astro Doughnuts!

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at http://www.thiswayadventures.com

Monday, June 5, 2017

Vegas Uncork'd, an Epicurean Whirlwind and a Wall of Donuts

 "I don't know how many Michelin stars are on stage, but it's a lot."
--Andrew Knowlton, Deputy Editor Bon Appétit

A few weeks ago Edible Skinny was lucky enough to enjoy the foodie high life at the 11th Annual Vegas Uncork'd, a four day long food extravaganza held by Bon Appétit.
Vegas Uncork'd is the premier culinary and wine event in Las Vegas, offering exclusive one-of-a-kind experiences with celebrity chefs. The weekend was quite the epicurean whirlwind full of high living hors d'oeuvres to champagne connoisseur-ing. Here's our recap of the indulgence of great wines, tasty morsels, and seeing all our favorite celebrity chefs IRL (aka In Real Life).

Our first foray into this world of bites of bliss was Celebrate Spago, a 25th Anniversary Lunch with Wolfgang Puck at Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. The event, hosted by the darling Andrew Knowlton, the Deputy Editor of Bon Appétit, was a Candyland experience for the taste buds. It marked the 25th anniversary of Wolfgang Puck in Las Vegas, who unfortunately wasn't able to attend because of an emergency. Because I was a Veg many aspects of the original menu was redone for me, but the original four course menu included a simply fabulous Carrot dish! Topped with miso carrot puree that had been fermented for eight months and finished with a carrot infused oil the dish was divinity in vegetable form. Perfect for everyone from a high dining Bugs Bunny to a standard operating carnivore on Meatless Monday! It was paired perfectly with a Grgich-Hills Chardonnay from Napa Valley, a bottle, like many, distributed by wine sponsor Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits of Nevada. The delectable dessert of this event was the White Chocolate Rhubarb with Citrus Cake and Fennel, a unique submission in a world saturated by. The sucré morsel was paired with the fantastic finishing wine of Alois Kracher Cuvée Beerenaslese from Burgenland, Austria (and to celebrate one of the most successful Austrian chefs in Vegas)!
 
Immediately after our delights at Spago I swung over to Mandalay Bay's Libertine Social for their Fireside Chats to a meet, and greet, and eat with Chef Shawn McClain. Libertine Social is a next-generation gastropub with a variety of experiences ranging from an uber-social center bar to a more secluded classic cocktail room. With an "Arcade Bar" (which is their version of an alcoholic set of Russian nesting dolls with a bar within a bar) full of "libation and parlor tricks." I was in brown bar heaven (I'm a totally Bourbon girl!). This is a "'Bar' Bar" with drinks categorized into Daisies and Fixes, Cobblers and Cups, and Juleps and Smashes. In honor of the impending Kentucky Derby we imbibed Prescription Juleps composed of Piere Ferrand 1840 Cognac, Rittendhouse Rye Whiskey, Fresh Sprearmint, Demerara Syrup, and Appleton Jamaican Rum. This was paired expertly with the fantastic Caviar "Fried Egg" made with Kaluga Caviar (but not for the Veggie), Corn Pudding, and Brioche. The dish was created as an "approachable caviar dish," and I have to say that the presentation made this Veg question whether or not she might want to approach it! Another standout dish was the Roasted Cauliflower with Hazelnuts, Romesco, Dates and Toasted Breadcrumbs. Crafted by Chef Shawn himself behind the grill (who also has restaurants Five50 and Sage in Vegas) the dish was the perfect balance of vegetables to remind me of the glories of greens!
Edible Skinny's third event (that's right three food events in one day!) was the Grand Tasting at the Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis at Caesars Palace. The Grand Tasting is the signature event of Vegas Uncork'd, where over 2,500 food enthusiasts enjoy a staggering variety of signature dishes prepared by some of the world's most celebrated chefs. The dramatic five-acre Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis at Caesars Palace Las Vegas Hotel & Casino featured more than 50 award-winning chefs and over 100 of the best wines and spirits from around the world. The best dish hands down was Eggslut's "The Slut," a Cage-Free Coddled Egg on top of House made Potato Puree with Chive and Gray Salt. It was absolute warm heaven in a cup as the night was particularly chilly windy! Here's to celebrating the Slut, the Eggslut that is! ;-)

But there was no rest for the foodie as the next day I headed over to Picnic in The Park, a delightful picnic at The Park, located between Monte Carlo and New York-New York featuring some of MGM Resorts' most notable chefs including including Alain Ducasse, Charlie Palmer, Michael Mina, Julian Serrano, Rick Moonen, Tom Colicchio, Shawn McClain, Roy Ellamar, Akira Back, and David Werly. It was an event that was so pretty, it should have its own Pinterest page! Picnic in The Park offered creative twists on classic picnic dishes, Edible Gardens and champagne provided by Veuve Clicquot.
There was giant Jenga, corn hole, and croquet for your inner-child, personalized flower rings created by Miss Daisy, and The Photo Bus, a vintage VW Bus, which has been transformed into a photo booth for the occasion. While there I got to chat it up with Chef Bryce Shuman who will be opening up Primrose at the soon to be transformed Park MGM from the Monte Carlo. Shuman made the best dish of the event a scrumptious Veggie Burger all while having a deep discussion about his musical side projects

But I was in a city that never sleeps, especially for foodies, so I dashed over the next event Sweet Escape, which was an Evening of Buddy, Beignets, Bonbons & Booze at The Venetian. Hosted by TV personality Buddy "Cake Boss" Valastro this poolside reception was the ultimate decadent evening to surrender to the sweet side of life, featuring a number of world-renowned chefs of The Venetian and The Palazzo, each preparing a unique take on confectionaries such as beignets or bonbons. There were Oreo Beignets (from LaVo, and they were Auh-Mazing!), Vanilla Vodka Cream Soda drinks, a 30 foot donut wall, and coffee drinks crafted with your favorite chef's profile in latté art!

My final foray into this epicurean marathon meal at Rao's at Caesars Palace. A traditional Sunday Brunch to close out Vegas Uncork'd by Bon Appétit, the event featured the actual Rao's Family. Rao's partners Frank Pellegrino Jr. and Ron Straci hosted "Little Italy From City to Strip" which has been one of the festival's most beloved event for several years.

The sold out brunch was not only a feast of Rao's time-honored dishes, but was also interactive, as guests were walked through how to make pan-seared steak and Zeppoles. First course, I partook in the Roasted Red Peppers with Tossed Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts. This was paired with a Rotari Talento Trento Brut Rose Trentino Alto Adige, Italy. The second course featured Lobster Oreganato of Lobster Grilled and Toasted with Oregano Bread Crumbs. Pan-Seared Steak with Sautéed Mushrooms and Onions. Sides included some simply fabulous Baked Beefsteak Tomatoes and Asparagus and Parmigiano Reggiano.

This was paired with the delightful Luigi Righetti, Valpolicellla Classico Superiore Campolieti, Veneto Italy. And can I say Yumm (with 3 Ms!!!) Dessert consisted of fresh made Zeppoles, aka deep-fried dough balls for those who didn't grow up in the Italian populated New Jersey, with Blackberry Gelato. This was paired with Mezzacorona, Moscato, Vigneti Delle Dolomiti, Trentino Alto Adige, Italy. Boun Appetito!!!

But all good eats must come to an end and so until next year the kitchen is closed on Vegas Uncork'd! 

Here's to life being delicious and every day being an epicurean whirlwind!

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at http://www.thiswayadventures.com

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Viva Las Vegas Music Festival Will Put a Tiger In Your Tank


Viva Las Vegas Music Festival Will Put a Tiger In Your Tank

Edible Skinny was cruzin' last month when we attended Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend, the world's largest rockabilly event at the Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas over Easter weekend! 

For those needing the skinny, rockabilly is one of the earliest styles of rock and roll music, dating back to the early 1950s in the United States. As genre it blends the sound of Western musical styles such as country with that of rhythm and blues, leading to what is considered "classic" rock and roll. Viva Las Vegas, which celebrated its 20 anniversary this year, is the longest running music festival in Las Vegas (rockabilly or not).

The festival was a real blast with its four day festivities included VLV fans from around the globe and featured 85+ bands a huge classic car show, Tiki Pool Parties, Rockabilly Dancing, Burlesque Bingo, and the Miss Viva Las Vegas burlesque competitions.

From classic pompadour greasers to pinups coiffed to perfection, VLV attracts the most eye-catching, stylish, head-turning people you will ever see in one place. Its red hot rockabilly has grown from the first year's 1,200 people in attendance, to selling out in advance 10 years in a row, with over 9,000 attending the four-day festival and 18,000 for the Saturday Car Show. It is promoted by Tom Ingram, who has been actively involved in the Rockabilly scene for 40 years.

Made in the shade! On hand was the WW2 burlesque and vintage variety show Pin-Ups on Tour, which recently celebrated its two year anniversary and has toured to 40 states nationwide (and of which this writer is a member of), along with burlesque legends such as Dita Von Teese and Tempest Storm. This year Miss Von Teese was featured in Viva Las Vegas' burlesque showcase, an event that had 4,000 people waiting in line for tickets.

Fast cars are about was about as cool as it got with the Viva Las Vegas car show on Sat Apr 15th which featured 800 –1,000 vintage cars, (which must be period correct, and pre 1964). It was a sea of tatted up Sailor Jerry guys proudly displaying their classic cars with the bravado of James Dean. As they say... "Put a Tiger in Your Tank!"

This year the car show was musically headlined by Brenda Lee, who has been inducted into both the Rock n Roll and Country Music Halls of Fame. Miss Lee is known for her hits "I'm Sorry" and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" which has been a US holiday Standard for over 50 years. Miss Lee won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and is the only female performer to chart songs in all genres: pop, blues, rock, gospel and country. Along with Brenda Lee, featured bands included Reverend Horton Heat, James Intveld, Lee Rocker of the Stray Cats & Los Straight Jackets.

Great ways to spend your bread! Along with the car show there was a variety of vending happening on Saturday. Brands of note were the ever expanding Avalon Meat Candy, a veteran owned Las Vegas based jerky company with the charming slogan of "Country First... Then Jerky!" Another great company featured at the event was the High Life Pomade Company, a high-end men's grooming product line that offers a range of purposes, holds, shines, and scents for the sophisticated greaser (so that Dudes can use as much products as the Dames attending VLV...) Another shining star was the clothing line Heart of Haute, specializing in vintage Inspired fashion from the 1950's and 60's such as ladies pinup dresses, rockabilly dresses, and Mod dresses. Heart of Haute's mission is to provide adorable, high quality products without the use of sweatshop labor (as their slogan says... "Made in the USA, baby.").

Glamour and glitz were up front and center, as this year's burlesque competition for the title of Miss Viva Las Vegas Burlesque Competition was won by Miss Frankie Fictitious. Inspired by old Hollywood glamor, Frankie Fictitious is a San Francisco burlesque performer who dances with the Fishnet Follies & Hubba Hubba Revue. The competition was sponsored by the lingerie company Secrets In Lace, the world's premier supplier of authentic 100% nylon stockings, retro chic lingerie, garter belts, girdles and bullet bras. Inspired by designs from the 1950's, Secrets In Lace has been creating and selling high quality nostalgic lingerie and stockings since 1984. They are the exclusive designer and manufacture of the Dita Von Teese Stocking Collection. Just the perfect invitation for some backseat bingo with your sweetie! ;-)

Right-O, Daddy-O.

Here's to life being delicious and glamour and glitz being up front and center!

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at http://www.thiswayadventures.com

Monday, May 15, 2017

Nightlife Industry Learns to Party with Cannabis at the Nightclub & Bar Convention

Monetizing Cannabis, Once a Taboo Topic, Was the most talked about convention theme.

Edible Skinny has taken note that as cannabis steps into the world of legal respectability with recreational sales commencing in Las Vegas as of July 1st (as long as everything goes according to plan...) more "reputable" vice industries are starting to take note. Especially considering the state of Colorado made a Billion dollars on this "illicit" industry last year alone!

Such was the case at last month's Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show, which was attended by over 30,000 international nightspot owners, operators, and industry professionals. Held March 27-29 at the Las Vegas Convention, the 32nd annual convention set an unprecedented tone embracing this once taboo industry as one of the most talked about keynote panel discussions was "Monetizing Cannabis."

The recent legalization of marijuana use in Nevada and other states reflects the growing development of more states following suit and even changes at the federal level. Audience members at "Monetizing Cannabis" gained insight on the emerging marijuana trends, as the commercial potential is huge but the legal, regulatory, and operational landscape is complex. Questions such as how to recognize money-making opportunities, cannabis mixology, new concept ventures and current regulatory and operational landscape were volleyed around by the green wisdom of multiple successful ganja-preneurers.

Moderated by Ricardo Baca, contributing editor of the Denver Post.  Baca was appointed The Denver Post's first marijuana editor in November 2013 and spearheaded the formation of The Cannabist, a division of the Post. Fortune magazine ranked Baca as one of the most powerful people in American cannabis.

His panel included Sheriff Joe DiSalvo, infamous in Colorado for going from "Ski Bum to Sheriff." DiSalvo joined the Aspen Police in 1985, three years later the Pitkin County Sheriff's office, of which he is now a 29 year veteran of the force he overseas.  In 2013 Sheriff DiSalvo founded the Valley Marijuana Council, which consisted of community stakeholders from law enforcement, health care professionals, schools, dispensary owners, hotel operators, and others.

Another person of interest onstage was Tripp Keber, CEO of Dixie Brands, Colorado's premiere license marijuana infused products manufacturer (MIPS). Tripp Keber now serves as the Chief Executive Office of Dixie Brands Inc. He is also a founder member and current Board Member of the National Cannabis Industry Association.

Rounding out the panel was Freddie Wyatt, an event marketing, promotions, and business development expert with more than 30 years' experience in event management, event production, branding, marketing, entertainment, and nightlife.  Founder of Munch & Co., Wyatt has been instrumental in directing the cannabis business development thru event programming nationally and now moving it into hospitality sector.

The session explored from the unique bar and nightclub perspective, how to capitalize on the opportunities while mitigating the risks. Almost all the panel agreed that cannabis and alcohol were not the best of drinking buddies, at least not directly at the same location. It was recommended that "crossfading," the act of combing alcohol and cannabis, is a market concept not best pursued by Las Vegas bar and nightclub owners.

Denver, Colorado, where weed has been recreationally legal for years now, passed a first-of-its-kind limited social use initiate last year. Initiative 300 is in the process of creating a pilot program that will let Denver bar and restaurant owners and other business owners to apply for permits allowing for "bring-your-own" social marijuana use at their establishments. The permit would require neighborhood approval, by a city-registered group or a business district.

Almost all the panel agreed that cannabis and alcohol were not the best of drinking buddies, at least not directly at the same location. It was recommended that "crossfading," the act of combing alcohol and cannabis, is a market concept not best pursued by Las Vegas bar and nightclub owners.

Separate but equal was highlighted numerous times by these pioneers of the Green Rush. This is true for both the guests attending cannabis events, but also those not present at these Maryjane related parties. Wyatt noted that a large portion of the security hired at Munch & Co. events end up protecting their cannabis patrons from the bar crowd when the local bars close at 2am."The different between these two patrons is night and day; the more time you spend at a bar, the better the chances you might get into a fight... the more time you spend at a cannabis event, the better the chances you might end up in a cuddle puddle."

But with more and more states approving recreational use with every ballot measure, the chances of alcohol and weed crossing paths is becoming more commonplace. It's a brave new world for both the nightclub and cannabis industry, and somehow they'll find a way to be green bedfellows!
Here's to life being delicious and the green wisdom of ganja-preneurers.

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at http://www.thiswayadventures.com

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Edible Skinny presents NorCal Explored: Of Mystery Mansions, Breathtaking Views, and Fine Dining (Vegetarian) Tasting Menus





Edible Skinny presents NorCal Explored: Of Mystery Mansions, Breathtaking Views, and Fine Dining (Vegetarian) Tasting Menus 
Edible Skinny loves a road trip like nobody’s fool so last month were delighted to hop in our ride towards the Bay area! There we explored Mysterious Mansions, dined on extravagant (and veggie friendly) tasting menus and at a hotel that has one of the most breathtaking views this country has to offer!

The Winchester Mystery House
Our first stop was something for our inner Nancy Drew had been dying to do for years: a tour of the world famous Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California!  San Jose's #1 attraction, this “Mystery House” is the former home of Sarah Winchester, a widow of the Winchester Rifle fortune.  The house is an extravagant maze of Victorian craftsmanship and eerie eccentricity.  
Informed by a Boston Medium she haunted by the spirits of those who had been killed by the guns that created her fortune she was also advised to moved westward and build a house until she died.   
And so, Winchester constructed her house with equal parts of money and crazy. 

Her additions to the original eight room structure started around 1884 and continued for nearly 38 years round the clock.  The mansion now has 160 rooms spanning 24,000 square feet over six acres.  There are 2,000 doors, 10,000 windows, 47 fireplaces, 40 stairways, 13 bathrooms, six kitchens, three elevators, and two basements.  Legend has it that Walt Disney used the Winchester house as inspiration for Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion. 

With stairs that lead to nowhere, corridors that loop back on themselves, and doors that open into nothing, this is definitely a house to be explored at least once! 

Hyatt Carmel Highlands
After our spooky tour we drove down the coastline to spend the night at the majestic Hyatt Carmel Highlands.   This oceanfront retreat, which opened on July 28, 1917, recently celebrated a birthday turning 100 years old.  Both the grounds and the view at the Hyatt are histrionic, focusing on what NorCal vistas do best: the drama of the ocean. 

Things may have changed over the hotels 100 years, the hotel has undergone major renovations in the past two years (with the opening of a new restaurant, a new lounge, new menus, and a new deck), but its mission remains the same: to offer an exemplary guest experience with impeccable service, world-class dining and breath-taking views in a hotel that seamlessly blends the amenities of a large hotel with the refined charm of a boutique hideaway.

The Hyatt Carmel Highlands staff knows hospitality inside and out.  Upon our arrival we were bestowed with complimentary glasses of champagne before being golf carted and umbrella-ed (it’s always on the edge of raining in Carmel) away to our expansive room with an even more expansive balcony view. 
 
Overnight guests of the Hyatt Carmel Highlands enjoy one of the 48 non-smoking guestrooms that include 11 suites, 32 Ocean View rooms and five Garden View rooms.  The rooms come with free Wi-Fi, 42-inch flat screen TVs and fully equipped kitchens.  Upgraded suites add private balconies and tubs.  Guests can also enjoy hotel amenities, like a heated outdoor pool, three outdoor garden spas, and a 24-hour fitness center.  The Hyatt Carmel Highland offers live entertainment three nights a week and Happy Hour Monday through Friday.

The room was dusted with the perfect details: fantastically fluffy towels, high tech coffee maker with local Carmel Coffee Roasting Company products, and a Hyatt Grand Bed, that was one of the most comfortable things I’ve slept on in months. 

And my favorite part: a natural wood-burning fireplace for that perfect end of the night fire.   Kindling, newspapers, matches, and tons of different types of logs were provided, for that perfect snuggling opportunity on a cold rainy night (which is almost every night in Carmel). 

Pacific’s Edge Restaurant
And even though the temptation of cozy fire was calling we headed out to partake in all that the Hyatt Carmel Highlands had to offer in award-winning dining at the newly merged the California Market at Pacific’s Edge.

The fusion of the Hyatt Carmel Highlands' two popular and award-winning restaurants, the casual bistro California Market and the fine dining Pacific's Edge.  This renovation created a new 1,200-square-foot deck, featuring louvered roof and glass-panel walls with dramatic views of the Pacific Ocean and the Big Sur coast.

But the thing that made my eyes sparkle like the sea spray of the Pacific Ocean was Pacific Edge’s Plant-Based Tasting Menu!

Because the menu is curated by Executive Chef Chad Minton (a Vegan) it offers a four course locally sourced menu for “you people,” as my dining companion refers to vegetarians as (she’s my token meat eater when traveling for work…)

It was as if Gracias Madre had migrated to Big Sur…  My first course appetizer was Almond Yogurt with root vegetables, pistachio granola, and cilantro oil.  It looked like a desert, but was wonderfully savory in taste.   The dish was expertly complimented by a glass of the M. Chapoutier Belleruche Rose from the Cotes de Rhone.  My dining companion had the Brussel Sprouts featuring crispy Brussel sprouts, kimchi toasted hazelnuts, and dulse seaweed.  Another perfect cozy plant based dish for a rain soaked night!

And it should be noted how fabulous our waiter, David Bindel, was.  This food specialist had been working at the restaurant for 12 years and he knew every element of the menu, pairing, and service in and out.   He was present at our meal, but not overwhelming.  And when Bindel needed to be scarce, he was practically invisible.
 
My second appetizer was Squash Tom Yum (as dish I adored in my fish eating days, but never get these days because of the use of Fish Sauce in Thai dishes..).  Composed of charred vegetables, local mushrooms, and coconut squash broth, it was the favorite dish of the evening for both myself and my meat eating dining companion.  This was paired with a Dr. Loosen Riesling from Mosel, Germany.  
My dining companion’s second course with Pacific Edge’s famous Octopus featuring octopus braised in olive oil and then finished on the grill.  Peppered with local heirloom baby potatoes, black garlic emulsion and sorrel it was an unsuspectingly tempting dish, so tender it could be cut with a spoon.
And I should note the fantastic price point to boot on the Vegetarian Tasting Menu!  For a tasting menu at a restaurant with a breath taking view this meal is fabulously priced at $50 per person without wine pairing and $80 with 4 glasses of paired wine!  Quite the delight to your pocketbook!

My entrée was a Smoked Mushroom dish comprised of king trumpet mushrooms, heirloom cauliflower, Romesco sauce and pickled mustard seeds.   This dish is the vegetarian version of the restaurant’s famous scallop dish.  Chewy yet tender, the dish utilized liquid smoke for the perfect taste of the woodsy seaside hamlet of Carmel.  My dining companion had a similarly crafted meal although instead of Veg friendly mushrooms, it was highlighted by scallops.  The meal was paired with the fantabulous Stolpman Vineyard Syrah from Santa Barbara County.  The wine was an absolute delight of earthiness! 

I finished off my four course meal with a Chocolate Hazelnut Tart with burnt marshmallows, wild huckleberry granite and whipped coconut cream paired with a Tawny from Portugal.  The ultimate bite of sweetness to savory while listening to the raindrops above.
After our dinner we huddled towards our room under a massive hotel umbrella, honing in on that finishing fire.   When we arrived there was a bottle of Monterey red begging to be uncorked in front of the flames. 

And naturally we had to comply for the perfect button to the perfect road trip!

Here’s to life being delicious and all roads leading to NoCal!

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy.  She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures.  You can find more about both brands at www.thiswayadventures.com

Monday, April 3, 2017

SM Observer Article: 6 Ways to Plan the Perfect Wine Picnic with Bon Appétit's Wine Editor Marissa A. Ross


Our Editor in Chief, Kat Thomas recently wrote an article that was featured in the Santa Monica Observer entitled  6 Ways to Plan the Perfect Wine Picnic with Bon Appétit's Wine Editor Marissa A. Ross!  Check it out below!

6 Ways to Plan the Perfect Wine Picnic with Bon Appétit's Wine Editor Marissa A. Ross 

 Here are 6 suggestions on how to plan the perfect wine picnic according to Ross.

With Las Vegas being just a short plane ride away, the seminal Las Vegas food and wine festival Vegas Uncork'd by Bon Appétit, offers an incredible weekend of exciting culinary events for any jet setter (running April 27-30th).

The festival, now in its 11th year, has added several new elements including having food stars Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Alain Ducasse, Michael Mina, Shawn McClain, and Charlie Palmer join forces to take over the only strip-side park for one unforgettable picnic experience. 


In preparation for this event, Edible Skinny sat down with Marissa A. Ross, Bon Appétit's Wine Editor and Vegas Uncork'd wine host, to talk about how to plan for the perfect picnic.

Marissa A. Ross is a self-taught wine drinker, writer and humorist based in Los Angeles. In 2015, she was named one of Wine Enthusiast's 40 Under 40 and her blog Wine. All The Time. was voted both Editor's Choice and Reader's Choice for "Best Wine Coverage" at the Saveur Blog Awards. Marissa is the author of Wine. All The Time: The Casual Guide to Confident Drinking (Released by Plume in June 2017).

Here are 6 suggestions on how to plan the perfect wine picnic according to Ross.

1. LIGHTER IS BETTER – "It's important to start with a light body wine so it will complement the food perfectly. The nature of picnic food is that it's on the lighter side so keep that in mind with your wine too! Chances are you're not having a huge steak on the grass, so there's no reason to have a heavy Cabernet wine in the glass."

2. FAVOR ACIDITY – "At a picnic there's some many food choices, so high acid wines are the smart move. These wines are versatile, especially because you don't know what everyone else is bringing. Wines with high acidity are dry and keep your mouth-watering, making them ideal for everything from tomatoes to vinaigrettes to fried burgers" Marissa recommends: MiP Provence Rosé ($16.96)

3. GO FOR LOWER ALCOHOL CONTENT – "With picnics lower alcohol content is better for everyone. A rule of thumb to remember is the higher the alcohol, the heavier the wine. So try to stick at 13% or below."

4. CHILL YOUR RED WINE – "Red wine is usually always served too warm, especially when it's at a picnic in the hot sun. So always chill wine in the ice chest, especially when it's red." One of Marissa's favorite red wines is a tart Gamay. "It's the best wine, I love it almost too much...almost." Marissa recommends: Le Sot de l'Ange "Rouge G" Gamay ($22.00)

5. CHOOSE TRANSPORTIVE WINES – "I'm in love with the white wine Melon de Bourgogne because it transports me to a different place. It tastes like drinking a tiny vacation." Melon de Bourgogne wine aka Melon is a white wine grape that is synonymous with the Muscadet appellation in the western Loire Valley. "It tastes like salty cantaloupe on the beach. It's a wine that pairs perfectly with everything from oysters to grilled cheese." The varietal can be found domestically in California and Oregon. Marissa recommends: Domaine de la Cadette La Soeur Melon ($20.99)

6. DRINK WHAT YOU LIKE - "My philosophy drink what you like. There are no rules in the end. If you want to biggest fattest Malbec in your life at your picnic, do it."
Here's to life being delicious and all of your wines tasting like salty cantaloupe on the beach.
By Kat Thomas, Editor In Chief, Edible Skinny
http://edibleskinny.com/

Kat Thomas is the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about her adventures at http://thiswayadventures.com/

Friday, March 10, 2017

A Carnival of Wonders: Dope Dining’s Cannabis Infused Dining Experience!




Photo by Dope Foto
Photo by Dope Foto
On last Friday, Edible Skinny was lucky enough to attend our first Dope Dining Experience.  The event, was a cannabis infused Carnival dining experience that was a kickoff to the Las Vegas’ HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup (and in our humble opinion, was much better than the actual cup itself)!
 
Dope Dining’s second all-inclusive infused experience was celebrated by YouTube stars such as Silenced Hippie, cannabis industry leaders, and marijuana enthusiasts.  The night was filled with infused sweet and savory treats, Carnival style entertainment (much of it unicorn themed as one of the night’s sponsors was the cannabis based PR company Social Media Unicorn), and live music.  Fun is a dish best served elevated, as patrons were able to enjoy sweet and savory edible treats crafted by Dope Dining private chef Marysia such as: White Chocolate Infused Bacon Topped with Magical Sprinkles, Empanadas with Infused Apples and Cinnamon, and Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Waffles Served with an Infused Maple Syrup.

Photo This Way Adventures
As recreational use is legalized in more and more states (including California and Nevada), infused dining experiences will become more commonplace.   In California, MJU High Dining hosts a Sushi and Doobie Rolling workshop and Colorado’s Cultivating Spirits offers a three-course cannabis fine dining experience.  Infused dining has recently been featured in mainstream media such as VH1’s “Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party” and Viceland’s “Bong Appetit.”

Featured edible brands at Dope Dining’s Carnival included the San Diego based Therapy Tonics, a cannabis iced coffee & tea brand made with the finest natural ingredients to give you that extra special feeling.  Therapy Tonics’ products are gluten free, solvent free, non-GMO, and contain organic ingredients.   Our favorite flavor profile was their Vanilla Caramel Coffee.   The delightfully delicious drink, and flagship
Photo by Dope Foto
product, was developed as a tribute to the long-standing love affair people across the globe share with coffee.  This edible sativa shot contains the energizing power of caramel perfectly paired with the calming effect of vanilla and the percolating flavor of freshly roasted Arabica beans.

Another notable brand featured at Dope Dining’s Carnival was the San Diego based B. Edible, offering out infused cotton candy spun live during the event.  B. Edibles’ childlike wonder confections are made with organic ingredients and infused with lab-tested CO2 solvent-less extractions.  Whimsical flavors include Rose Petal, Juicy Watermelon, and Lavender. 

Non-edible delights offered at the Carnival included a full service dab and flower bar, infused chair massage, face painting, a tarot card reader, and caricature artist.  Live singers and specialty artists were provided by the Las Vegas/Los Angeles based vintage cannabis cabaret company: The Green Light District.
 
Photo by Dope Foto
Be forewarned, infused dining events are not for the uninitiated.  Knowing your dosing limits is a must.  The commonplace edible phrase, “start low and go slow” should be practiced as it is very easy to consume higher levels of THC than usual with delectably infused food.   Remember that edibles normally take anywhere between 20-40 minutes to take effect.

Although it might sound counter intuitive to most dinner parties you’ve been to, make sure to eat before you attend an infused dining event.   Empty tummies make the effects of cannabis happen quicker and in a more intense manner, so make sure to nosh on that apple before going. 
But don’t get paranoid when it comes to infused dining.  If you happened to be overmedicated and need to counteract the psycho-activity of THC all you need to do is utilize CBD.  A few drops of CBD oil will take you out of your head and bring you back into your body.  And, naturally, make sure to drink plenty of water.
 
Photo by Dope Foto
So if you find yourself invited to one of Dope Dining’s exclusive infused dining experiences make sure to attend.  Infused dining is an experience not to be missed, on any plane.
 
Here’s to life being delicious and to fun being a dish best served elevated!