Carlitos Gardel Review

I was out for my evening stroll and a good friend was on my mind, as last weekend he celebrated his birthday, so I ended up upon the doorstep at my favorite Argentine restaurant Carlitos Gardel on 7963 Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.

They’re a true family owned and operated Argentine restaurant, and I have to express one thing to you, if anything…You’ll not find anything like this place in all of Los Angeles.  Their style of cooking is region specific and if you have never tasted Argentine food, THIS is the place you need to start with.

I am a novice when it comes to white wine but I wasn’t afraid as I knew the master of wines was on hand tonight, Maximiliano Bozoghlian!  He knew that I went with the Argentine deep fried whole catfish and paired me with the 2012 release of Bruno Giacosa’s IMAG0451Roero Armes (DOCG).  It was perfect, light, dry, added a nice complement to the entire meal!

Next up was the Argentine Chicken Empanada.  IMAG0460Presentation is everything, the crust was perfect, a little bit of Chimi Churri (Olive Oil, Parsley, Garlic, Red Pepper, Salt, Pepper & Oregano) just lightly dabbed atop and the chicken within, perfectly marinated, the whole thing just melted in your mouth with every bite.  One can’t forget to take the occasional sips of Roero Armes to wash it down, simply perfect!

Then the Portabella arrived, IMAG0461grilled, smothered with melted provolone cheese, sautéed spinach and feta cheese with a light accent of red peppers lightly sprinkled on top. You’ll need a knife to cut thru this layered explosion of tastiness as each bite was just magic, and I found myself reaching for the Chimi Churri to added that little bit of extra something to just push it over the top.  I’ve had Portabella mushrooms before, but never like this!  I also found myself every third or fourth bite again sipping that mazing white wine, simply a perfect balance.

Lastly the deep fried catfish arrived.  IMAG0469Now I have to admit, catfish is one of my go to choices when it comes to an earthly fish, and I’ve had it just about every way you can think of… but until tonight… the Argentine way had yet crossed my taste-buds.  I can’t even start to tell you how perfectly fried it was… but not that greasy fried… dry-fried if that makes any sense.  The meat cleaved from the bones in such a way, when you were done with one side, flip it over… PRESTO… more fish!  More than a meal by its self and I found myself only really using the lemon that it came with and barely touching the aioli that it came with, as the citrus with the fish was really all it needed. Each bite was washed down with the Roero Armes 2012 and the meal was complete.

This is a great place to go on your own, however with the ambiance and music selection softly playing in the background, this is definitely a date night kind of place!  I can’t highly recommend how wonderful the whole experience was, the food was perfect, the wait staff more than friendly, and in the end, your enjoyment of the food prepared at Carlitos Garadel and your enjoyment eating it is paramount to them all!

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The 14th Annual Edwardian Ball and World’s Faire in S.F.

I’ll be bringing you who’s catering this amazing event, who the mixologists are and what they’ll be serving.  Keep an eye on this post for updates!

In the meantime, you can read all about this amazing event that’s happening this weekend in S.F.

Edwardian Ball

Raise The Macallan Event

Raise The Macallan: Join the next generation of taste. You are invited to a private event that promises to deepen your appreciation of fine spirits and change what you know about Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

Click Here to Register

 

I received the invite from a friend, the event was listed via Modern Luxury Angeleno

 

Note: If you register, since seating is limited, you may not get in, so hurry up, get registered and be early to your event.

Austin’s Food & Drink Scene

It's a Sunday late afternoon here in Austin, with a cool snap, 98 degrees outside and there's one thing that downtown Austin, Texas isn't missing, places to eat and drink. Austin reminds me of Chicago, a bar on every corner, plenty of reastruants in between.

If there's inexpensive food in Austin, it's not in down town, as the average will run you about $15 a plate. If you're smart, you'll go on foot, find a quaint coffee house and nibble on the stuff they have there, you'll be supporting local business and you'll get good eats on a budget.

If you want to drink, you're not without options, frankly you'll have a bit too many. There is one place that I really enjoyed last night called Peche. I'm more of a Scotch man myself but this rye elixir they have is just dreamy and called Sazerac (rye, simple, Peychaud's bitters & an absinthe rinse).

There are places that are more corporate in nature, others are a mom and pop food truck or catering trolley . One place on more of the corporate end is Moonshine. They're based in a historical building right around the corner of the convention center. The food is what you would expect from a Red Robins or other places in the same ilk, tasty but predictable.

Now for the unexpected, Champions sports bar & reastruant, they have an amazing fish & chips (beer battered cod) with a side of chipotle slaw. But if you're looking to sink your teeth into some meat, check out their BBQ a brisket burger.

When you are walking around the downtown area and feel you need a quick recharge, check out Daily Juice, where you can rest & repose. They also have quartz infused water, quite refreshing and you can get a glass with no extra charge.

Bottom line, you're gonna spend money to eat. If you're lucky, you might find small vendors that are charging $7-$9 a plate, but if you don't, in the Downtown area, be prepared for $15-$25 per plate.

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Austin, Texas here I come

Flying out to Austin, Texas for a gig, so look for some new posts.

You also can follow me on travelingtaste.yelp.com for the real time checkins.

The Pikey Cafe & Bar Hollywood

The Pikey Café & Bar is located in Hollywood and opened its doors on Easter Weekend 2012.  They occupy the old location of the Horse & Carriage, an old style British pub that was long past its time.

The Pikey has picked up the torch and I have to say, Los Angeles has a proper English Pub with nothing that you could not want.   The menu is peppered with House Made Pastry, Eggs, Salads, Small Plates, Large Plates and side orders.  What’s a treat is in the kitchen Chef Ralph Johnson from the Spotted Pig in New York running the kitchen at The Pikey.

The food is English in nature, but has that California freshness to it.  The food artsy of the English are unmatched in my personal opinion.  I was blessed to be co-raised by my mother’s English mother (my grandmother) who was a very talented artist and gastronomic expert.  I remember stories of many who wanted to open a restaurant with her in the kitchen, but only my grandfather and family were blessed to eat her amazing food, so I know what the power of a great English Cook can do first hand.

Today I’m reviewing the Char-Grilled Beef Burger with Bandaged Cheddar, Tomato & Worchestershire Aioli.

I know it must be strange to order a burger at a English Pub, but on Father’s Day 2012 I’ve already had the tasty pleasure of consuming if not devouring their Fish & Chips with Romaine & Tartar Sauce.  The portion of Rock Cod was plentiful.  Just that perfect batter, crisp to the taste with the fish within, bright white, light and fluffy that just melted when my fork touched it and the seasoned chips were delicious.

Upon receiving the plate for lunch, I was presented with this wonderful simple plating of a burger on a Challah Bun from Eliat Bakery that was so soft, if I didn’t have a burger, I would have asked for a side of preserves and that would have been dessert!  The ground beef came made to order well done, the Bandaged Cheddar was thinly sliced to perfection, as this cheese can be over powering if you use too much (as so many have done before).

The first bite, the Challah bun melted in my mouth and my taste buds were instantly greeted with the Worcestershire Aioli sauce then the meat.  To my surprise the tomato was a perfect balance of firmness yet it melted.  Overall I’m not a fan of tomatoes in a restaurant as people never take the time to properly prep them to be used and always leave a metallic taste in my mouth but not this one, Chef Ralph Johnson not only properly prepared it to be consumed, he might actually make me a fan of tomatoes in a restaurant once again.  The finish, the after taste once you swallowed this delicious burger was the Bandage Cheddar, it danced in my mouth like a reel you would hear at a pub one late night.

The chips are superb!  I found out that they are hand cut and are cooked only a culinary genius would do, a technique that requires you to blanch the potatoes, quick fry before they hit the deep fryer.  What you get is a perfect chip that holds its form when dipping and eating.  They have a balance of crispy on the outside, slightly crunchy on the edges and yet soft and supple within.  They also come pre-seasoned with a balance of salt & spices that honestly rarely need anything on them.  Since I was feeling very English, I asked for a small portion of mayo, but what they brought me was something else altogether.  A mustard & Aioli blend that frankly they should bottle and sell as a side condiment.

Overall, I give the burger an A and that’s saying a lot for a British Pub that’s running a gastronomic kitchen!  I know when you come to a pub, a burger generally is the last thing you would think to order.  I’ve eaten my fair share of burgers being a native to the Los Angeles area, and for $14.00 you get more then your money’s worth for lunch.  I have to say I’m quite content that even thou I have room for dessert, it’s truly not necessary (and that’s saying something)!

Do yourself a favor, on the weekends, they’re open for brunch, weekdays they’re open for lunch, and every night they’re open for dinner seven days a week.  Last call for dinner is 1:30 a.m. so those of you in the studios, this is an idea place to hit after a long day at work.

Our next article will be about the Pikey’s Bar, there’s so much to talk about, and I have to split this article in two!

Remember, enjoy life & eat well,

Geoffrey Schumann

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New article regarding The Pikey coming this afternoon

Hello all,

I’ve been invited to the blogger’s lunch at The Pikey today, so I’ll have a new article for you by this afternoon! In the meantime, please enjoy my first blush yelp review of what I thought of them, when my family went there for Father’s Day 2012 just recently:

I’ve eaten at just about every British pub in the Southern California and I have to tell you, they all are lacking. Sure each one might have one house special, however, outside of that, they just don’t hit the mark, however at The Pikey, it’s a bulls-eye!

The rock-cod for the fish and chips was thick, tender and just melted in your mouth; the batter was not hard but that perfect balance of crisp meets delicious. The Sunday Brunch specials are just dreamy, a full menu that would not leave you wanting and a desert menu that you have to just leave that little bit of room for, after all who wants to miss dessert?

Lets talk about the bar, as pub’s go, you expect the standards, which The Pikey more then covers, but lets remember, you’re in California, so when I asked for what hard ciders they had on hand, in the 750ml bottle they offer Julian, yep, you’ve guessed it, as in Julian, CA the apple capital of California (and a superb, sweet, crisp hard cider). Now if the main bar room is full, there is an second full bar in the back of The Pikey (as most pub’s only have one).

Bottom line, if you’re from here, or over the pond, and you want that Pub experience and fine English dining look no further, The Pikey has it all.

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We’re back and boy do we have news

Hi everybody,

Sorry about the lack of posts, life kinda got in the way.  Currently I have a wealth to share with you, and you’ll expect to see some major changes.  The site is due for a overhaul, from a face-lift to bringing in more features then before.

Some of the things you’ll get to look forward to are:

  • A new site theme
  • My reviews from travelingtaste.yelp.com
  • A new section called Eat What You Cook
  • New concepts in:
    • Cooking
    • Grilling
    • Baking
    • Spice Blending:
      • Rubs
      • Seasonings
      • Making your own seasoned oil
    • Soul Food Fusions

and the list goes on and on.

I thank you for keeping in touch and asking the questions.  Please forgive any dead links or sub-sections not quite ironed out yet, we’re growing, expanding and updating.

In the meantime, enjoy life, summer is here, time to break out the grills and enjoy our Southern California’s wonderful weather.

Best,

Geoffrey Schumann

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Eggplant Delight

P+ 7

Serves 8

What you’ll need

  1. BBQ Wood Coal (I prefer Best of the West® Mesquite Lump Charcoal myself)
  2. BBQ Grill (I love my One-Touch® Gold 18.5″ Weber grill)
  3. BBQ Grilling Tongs
  4. Lump Charcoal Chimney (to pre-light your coal) I love my Rapidfire® Weber Chimney

Ingredients

  • 1 cup(s) Follow Your Heart Grapeseed oil vegenaise
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 8 small eggplant(s), cut the green part off, cut at the top, wash.
  • 1 tsp Lawry’s® Seasoned salt 25% less sodium

Instructions

  1. Clean your eggplants, cut off the green top, set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, add the grapseed oil, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, cumin and seasoning salt, mix till all the dry seasonings are mixed well into the oil.
  3. Using a sauce brush, you’ll want to “paint” the sauce onto the eggplants.
  4. Fire up your wood-coal grill, make sure the grate is hot, and place the eggplants on the fire. As you turn the eggplants every 3-5 minutes, continue to brush on the sauce.
  5. You’ll know you’re done when the eggplants are soft to the touch. Set in a bowl to drain off any excess water, and enjoy. I eat the whole thing… makes a wonderful way to enjoy your eggplants.

Quickfire 5 Hour Stew

Servings 16

4 p+

Ingredients

2 pound(s) Beef, flank, steak, lean, trimmed, raw (bone-in)
2 cup(s) beef stew – cubed
2 cup(s) yellow summer squash
3 cup(s) zucchini
1 cup(s) raw parsnips, cubed
2 cup(s) Carrots
1/4 cup(s) leek(s)
1/2 cup(s) onion(s)
1 can(s) beer
4 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp Lawry’s® Seasoned salt 25% less sodium
1 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
3 tsp onion powder
1 tsp kosher salt

Instructions
18 cup stock pot
Place your chopped carrots and parsnips on the bottom, high flame,
add 4 cups of water.Add your chopped meat (washed), then layer the the rest of your veggies on top. Add one bottle/can of your fav Ale (Using Speed Racer 5), low flame for 5 hours, stirr every hour.

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