Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Events

Chef Ben Ford wins Cochon 555 competition

Ben Ford
On Sunday, five Los Angeles chefs -- Chad Colby of Mozza; Ben Ford of Ford's Filling Station; Neal Fraser and Travis Lorton of the Strand House, Grace & BLT; Jason Neroni of Superba Snack Bar; and Micah Wexler of Mezze -- gathered at the House of Blues for a nose-to-tail cook-off using five heritage pig breeds. 

Ford won the Cochon 555 competition with favorites such as  his belly Benedict with a soft poached egg, Fresno chile and bacon hollandaise; a head cheese hero of pig's liver pate, pickled vegetables, charred scallion-lemon aioli and crispy pigs ears; a chile verde taco with smoked pigs ear and micro cilantro;  chilled pork loin with tomato sauce, red onion and sea salt; and pork tartare paired with quail egg, walnut oil and confit shallot.

Other menu highlights included the campagnola banh mi with black garlic and black kimchi from Neroni;  Fraser's roasted loin and rack with fava beans, morel mushrooms and corn veloute; pig tail pasta and house-made charcuterie from Colby (last year's winner); and Wexler's pork leg tagine.

In addition to guests pigging out on pork-centric dishes, wineries including Robert Kacher, Elk Cove Vineyards, K Vintners, Sokol Blosser, Scholium Project,Turley, Mattiasson, Simi and Buty poured tastings throughout the evening. L.A. artisanal butchers Lindy & Grundy also gave a live pig butchering demo.

On June 17, the winning chefs from the 10-city tasting tour will gather in Aspen, Colo., to participate in the grand cochon competition as part of the 30th annual Food & Wine Classic.

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Photo: Ben Ford Credit: Hugh Galdones Photography

Taste of the Eastside comes to Barnsdall Art Park on Sunday

Barnsdall
Taste of the Eastside returns to Barnsdall Art Park this Sunday, celebrating neighborhood chefs, restaurants and beer and wine purveyors in Silver Lake, Echo Park, Atwater, Los Feliz, Eagle Rock, Highland Park and beyond. The event benefits the Barnsdall Art Park, Rose Scharlin Nursery School and SEE Los Angeles.

The mission? To teach attendees about community sharing and local food. The upshot? Lots of food and wine tastings and cooking and cocktail demonstrations -- along with music from DJ Garth Trinidad. Participating restaurants include: Auntie Em's, Canele, Cliff's Edge, Cookbook, Elf Cafe, Four Cafe, Good Girl Dinette, Guisados, Hugo's Tacos, Intelligentsia Coffee, L&E Oyster Bar, Large Marge Sustainables, Little Dom's, Madame Matisse, Malo, Pazzo Gelato, Proof Bakery, Reservior, Square One Dining, the Farmer's Kitchen, the Park, Whole Foods "Local Love," Xoia Vietnamese Eats and Yuca's.

A wine and beer garden will feature Eagle Rock Brewery, Golden Road Brewery and Silver Lake Wine. In addition to unlimited food tastings and wine and beer flights, VIP ticketholders can attend seminars and demostrations from the likes of Evan Kleiman of KCRW's “Good Food,” pastry chef Ann Kirk of Little Dom's, Jen Smith of Full Moon Pickles, Marcos Tello of Neat, Talmadge Lowe of Pharmacie, Jessica Koslow of Sqirl Jams, Naoko Moore of Toiro Kitchen and a guest barista from Intelligentsia Coffee.

Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. (VIP admission is at noon, general admission at 1 p.m.), Barnsdall Art Park at 4800 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles. General Admission tickets are $35 in advance (online until Saturday at midnight) and $45 at the door, and include unlimited food tastings (no bar); General Admission Plus Bar tickets are $45 in advance/$55 at the door and include unlimited food tastes plus a wine flight selected by Silver Lake Wine and beer flights by local breweries; VIP Admission tickets are $65 in advance/$75 at the door and include early entry and admission to VIP food, wine and cocktail tastings and seminars. For more information and to buy tickets, see www.tasteoftheeastside.com. 

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Photo: Sipping wine at Barnsdall Art Park. Credit: Ringo H.W. Chiu/Los Angeles Times.

Cinco de Mayo 2012 and Derby Day events

Carne asada tacos

Saturday marks both Cinco de Mayo and Derby Day. Whether you're in the mood for tequila and tacos or maybe a fancy hat and a mint julep, we've got you covered. Here are some events happening around town that will help you get your drink on, grab a bite and enjoy the festivities:

Cinco de Mayo

Pink Taco Sunset Strip will have its grand opening on Cinco de Mayo with a drink special wheel (half off whatever drink is landed on for that hour), luchadors, mariachis, DJs and giveaways. Tickets will be sold at the door. The Century City location will also be having a Cinco de Mayo celebration. Guests can buy tickets at http://cincodemayocc.eventbrite.com or at the door.

The Churchill specials include $8 honeydew melon and chile-infused margaritas, $5 micheladas and homemade chips and guacamole for $6.

The Hudson will have $5 Peligroso tequila shots, $6 house margaritas and the short rib or chicken nachos served with jack and cheddar cheese, tomatoes, green onions and jalapenos for $12.

La Cuevita is having a grand re-opening on May 4 and 5 with $2 Tecate and free tacos starting at 9 p.m.

Derby Day

Freddy Smalls Bar + Kitchen is having a Derby Day celebration with $8 mint juleps, fried chicken sandwiches ($15) and "best hat" and "best dressed" awards. From noon to 4 p.m. the bar will show the Kentucky Derby and offer three different kinds of mint juleps (classic, blackberry and maple).

Blue Cow Kitchen & Bar and the Grilled Cheese Truck are teaming up for a three-hour event on the Blue Cow downtown patio with grilled cheese sandwiches, craft drafts and cocktails. The restaurant will be showing the Kentucky Derby.

Know about another event? Share it in our comments below.

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Photo: Carne asada tacos made by the Los Angeles Times test kitchen. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

Grow! garden festival at L.A. Arboretum

Arboretum
The L.A. Arboretum hosts its Grow! garden festival from Friday to Sunday. On Friday night from 5 to 8 p.m. Nobleza Tequila and Phantom Rivers Winery will be offering tequila cocktails and wine flights accompanied by appetizers from Claud & Co. Catering and the Peacock Cafe, with music from the Big Band Theory.

Over the weekend, help raise money for the Arboretum library at the Beer for Books booth and meet the artists of the current garden exhibits. The weekend continues with children's activities and tours. Food trucks include El Taquito Mexicano, the Grilled Cheese Truck and Cairo Cowboy. 

Q&A sessions with garden experts address edible gardens and home orchards. Tomatomania! is all about heirloom and hybrid varieties. Learn about bee-keeping, backyard chickens and water harvesting techniques. Or take a stroll through the gardens and visit the marketplace with more than 50 vendors.

9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday night tickets start at $1 for children, $5 for adults. Weekend festivities are free for members, $3 to $10 for non-members. 301 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, (626) 821-3222, www.arboretum.org.

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Photo: L.A. Arboretum. Credit: Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times.

13-year-old Flynn McGarry to cook at Playa

Thirteen-year-old Flynn McGarry is set to man the stoves for a benefit dinner at Playa, preparing eight courses of his "progressive American" cuisine
Flynn McGarry's calendar for the next couple of months includes both running his Eureka pop-up dinner at Playa restaurant and finishing the eighth grade. Just 13 years old, McGarry is set to man the stoves Tuesday, May 9, at John Sedlar's Beverly Boulevard restaurant, preparing eight courses of his "progressive American" cuisine. 

The budding chef is raising money to pay for his flight and accommodations for a stage at Grant Achatz's cutting-edge culinary project, Next in Chicago. The benefit dinner already is sold out, but Playa is planning to offer four of McGarry's creations on a special menu for two weeks following the fundraiser. (McGarry's mini-cookbook also will be for sale at Playa.) As Sedlar said, "Boy, people are getting into the professional kitchen at a younger and younger age."

Playa, 7360 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 933-5300, www.playarivera.com.

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Photo: Flynn McGarry. Credit: www.diningwithflynn.com.

Sunday pig supper at Eveleigh

PigHere's another opportunity to learn what to do with a whole pig. Eveleigh's monthly Sunday Supper series heads into its second installment, this one with a Devils Gulch Ranch suckling pig to be prepared by chef Jordan Toft.

The West Hollywood restaurant's monthly dinners feature seasonal ingredients and a 30-minute "class" followed by a family-style supper. Themes include butchery demos, wine tastings and mixology sessions, to showcases of alternative cooking techniques. Barman David Kupchinsky creates cocktail pairings to go with the menu.

On Sunday you might expect charcuterie such as head cheese, pork liver terrine and sausages; roasted pork shoulder; and rolled porchetta. Along with Devils Gulch Ranch asparagus, bitter greens and puntarelle. Throw in a raw milk latte cotto with sprouted almond and oro blanco ice. 

Sunday, 5 to 8 p.m. $75 per person; advance purchase required. 

8752 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, (424) 239-1630, www.theeveleigh.com. 

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Photo credit: Eveleigh.

Test Kitchen pop-up: MessHall preview at Short Order

MesshallThe pop-up series Test Kitchen's latest installment takes place on Friday at Short Order with a preview (dubbed "Boot Camp") of the coming restaurant MessHall.

MessHall, slated to open later this year, is replacing the Louise's Trattoria in Los Feliz, partly spearheaded by Bill Chait, the restaurateur who's also behind Short Order (as well as Rivera, Playa, Picca, Sotto, etc. ... ). The chef is Keith Silverton, and Julian Cox and Josh Goldman will be at the bar focusing on classic and new American cocktails. 

On the menu are MessHall sneak-peek appetizers such as steak tartar taco and brandade gold potatoes. Entrees are: a center-cut pork chop with white cheddar grits; Red Baron trout schnitzel with potato gratin and fava beans; and Willard's buttermilk crunch chicken. For dessert, a "Scout" cookie with marshmallow and caramel. $49 per person. 7 p.m. to midnight (bar until 1 a.m.). For reservations email testkitchen@shortorderla.com.

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For the opening of MOCA's 'AV Club,' pupusas by Roy Choi

Pupusa2

"Transmission LA:AV Club," curated by the Beastie Boys' Mike D, opens today at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA downtown. It's a 17-day festival of art, design, music, film and food, featuring exhibits, concerts (Santigold, Diplo), even an interactive coffee bar. And listed among the participating artists -- which include Mike Mills, Peter Coffin and Takeshi Murata -- is Kogi's Roy Choi. For each week of the festival Choi's creating a new dish, to be served from a Kogi truck parked outside the Geffen on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. 

This week it's Choi's version of pupusas. There's one topped with tofu, fried egg and a 35-ingredient salsa (a work in progress, says Choi), served with a salad of mint, pickled ramps, pickled strawberries and asparagus. A "PBJ" pupusa is topped with peanut butter, salsa and pickled strawberries. Mike D's a vegetarian, "so it's my present to him," Choi says.

Kogi at the Geffen: Fridays April 20, April 27 and May 5, dinner 6 to 10 p.m.; Thursdays and Saturdays, April 21, April 26, April 28, May 3 and May 5, lunch 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner 6 to 10 p.m. For more information about "Transmission LA:AV Club," see www.theavantgardediaries.com

Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, 152 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles, www.moca.org.

Pupusa1

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Photos: Top, Roy Choi, far left, and Mike D, far right, discuss pupusas with a Canadian television show host. Bottom, pupusa with egg, tofu and salsa. Credit: Betty Hallock/Los Angeles Times

More photos after the jump.

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Cochon 555 returns to L.A.; chefs announced

Cochon 555
Cochon 555 -- the contest in which five chefs compete against each other in a whole-pig cook-off -- will return to Los Angeles on May 6. The five chefs create a nose-to-tail menu featuring five heritage breed pigs, served with wines from five winemakers. Judges and guests vote on the best preparations. This year's chefs are: Chad Colby of Mozza; Ben Ford of Ford's Filling Station; Neal Fraser and Travis Lorton of the Strand House, Grace & BLT; Jason Neroni of Superba Snack Bar; and Micah Wexler of Mezze. The event takes place at the House of Blues in Los Angeles. Tickets start at $125 per person, available at www.cochon555.com.

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Alain Ducasse teams with Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air

Renowned chef Alain DucasseFamous Monégasque chef Alain Ducasse is joining Wolfgang Puck to host a five-course dinner at the Hotel Bel-Air next month.

Ducasse is the chef behind Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athénée in Paris and at the Dorchester in London (among many other restaurants), and Puck just opened his latest, Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air (another Dorchester Collection-owned hotel).

Seatings are available from 6 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, May 11, and the dinner costs $190 (wine pairings are an additional $70). Call for reservations.

Hotel Bel-Air, 701 Stone Canyon Road, (310)- 909-1644, www.hotelbelair.com.   

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Photo: Ducasse in Paris. Credit: Eric Feferberg / AFP.

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.