Thursday, May 18, 2006

L.A.'s rising stars

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M Cafe's Lee Gross with wild Scottish smoked salmon benedict (photo Cynthia Rose)

Eating L.A
. was lucky to be invited to the Rising Stars Revue Tuesday, an awards and tasting event at Loews Santa Monica hotel. StarChefs is a website catering to chefs with job boards, recipe development, etc. and editor Antoinette Bruno, despite being based in New York, spent several grueling months tasting all over L.A., coming up with an excellent list of up and coming chefs. It was fun to meet Ludovic Lefebvre and M Cafe's Lee Gross, and to taste dishes from all the other winners like Grace's pastry chef Elizabeth Belkind, Josie's Jill Davie, Hungry Cat's David Lentz and Water Grill's David LeFevre. There were almost too many samples to try, but I really liked the Belvedere's spicy lobster with truffle emulsion, Josie's short ribs tagine over toasted couscous, Ron Mendoza's pistachio ice cream, Belkind's sweet corn creme caramel and the salty bitter chocolate caramels from Kristy Choo at Jin.
Providence's Vincenzo Marianella was mixing up some powerful-looking Rhode Island Red cocktails, but I stuck with some really nice wines like the Robert Sinskey Vineyard Reserve Proprietary Red and the Lillypilly Semillon dessert wine from Australia.
Here's the recipe for the Rhode Island Red, in case you feel like getting schnockered in a really tasty way:
6 fresh raspberries
1/2 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 ounce agave nectar
1 1/2 oz. tequila (He calls for Gran Centenario Plata)
1/2 oz. Chambord
Ginger beer, preferably Bundaberg
Citrus zest, for garnish
Muddle raspberries with lemon juice and agave nectar in the base of a cocktail shaker. Add the tequila and Chambord. Shake vigorously. Strain into a Collins glass with crushed ice and top up with ginger beer. Garnish with citrus zest.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you ever have a wallet that's just way too fat, there's a lot worst things you can do than plop yourself down in the bar at Providence and put yourself in Vincenzo's hands. The guy is, without a doubt, the finest bartender in L.A. An artist -- and I say that without any hint of irony whatsoever. All of his drinks are fascinating. Los Angeles magazine (I think it was them) listed the Rhode Island Red as their favorite summer drink, which is why he was probably making them at the Rising Stars thing, but I've got three or four other favorites. In fact, since I haven't been there in a couple of months, he's probably concocted three more that I need to try. Now I just need a fat wallet and a ride home.