Saturday, July 25, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Here's a special 18th birthday cake for one of our favorite celebrity daughters...
Ah, a close-up of the shimmering base of Borocco; an elegant, detailed design which really takes the cake!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009 23:48
Posted By Pauline in category Event, WestsideI realize I have been rather quiet here on lafb of late. To make up for that, here’s a big post with a whole lot of food mentions. Yesterday, I went to the 20th Century Fox Studios Lot for the 12th Annual Extravaganza for the Senses. For those who might not be aware of this event, various restaurants, wineries, and beverage companies come together to help raise money for The Saban Free Clinic. Before I go into details about food, I just want to say that there are approximately 2.7 million people in the U.S. without health insurance. As someone who was part of the 2.7 million not too long ago, I can not stress enough how important free clinics are. Times are very tough right now, but if you are able to help out, please consider either donating to or volunteering for The Saban Free Clinic. Now onto the food.
So which restaurants were there? There were too many restaurants there to list, so I’ll just name a few - The Foundry on Melrose, Upstairs 2, Breadbar, Bombay Cafe, Pomodoro, Chaya Venice, Mr. Cecil’s California Ribs, and Buddha’s Belly. I made every effort to sample from every restaurant, but some ran out of food before I got to them. Nevertheless, I will write a little about some of my favorites. First up - Bon Melange Catering. This one surprised me. They were serving little corn cakes, which I have to admit I was a little dismissive of. After just one bite, however, I found it to be a delightful appetizer. It was sweet and refreshing. I found out later that there was some “special” bacon in there. I asked what was so special about the bacon and discovered that they actually made the bacon that was used in the corn cake.
The next one that made the favorites list was Pace in the Canyon. When I approached the table, I knew I’d be sticking around for a while. The chefs were promising that mussels were about to be served. While I waited, I tried their lasagna and some chicken with vegetables and kale, both of which were good though unremarkable. Then came the mussels. I have been a very harsh critic when it comes to seafood of late. I recently returned from a Hawaiian vacation where I ate amazing seafood daily, and I have not been easily satisfied with just any seafood since I’ve been home. Pace in the Canyon did a fantastic job with the mussels. The mussels were cooked to just the right texture, and the white wine, shallots, and herbs added to the flavor extremely well. If it weren’t for the fact that there were so many other restaurants’ food I wanted to try, I probably would have fought off all the visitors for the entire bowl you see in the photo. Instead, I ate my 3 mussels happily before looking for other dishes to make my favorites list.
I could not decide on a true winner for the night. It came down to be a toss up between Lawry’s Catering and Ivan Kane’s Cafe Wa s. Any true carnivore must have had Lawry’s famous prime rib at some point. By the time I got to their table, there were only 4 plates left and the bone. I quickly grabbed one of the final plates and devoured the prime rib, which was absolutely delicious and ever so flavorful. About 10 minutes later, I saw that Lawry’s Catering was clearing out and noticed a guy (a guest) gnawing the bone. The surprise for me - Cafe Wa s. I was disappointed to find out that they ran out of the duck confit canape and their signature Kennebec potato chips. Nevertheless, I still got to try the bacon-wrapped date stuffed with Roquefort and the organic pot roast. I’ve had the former before at other restaurants, but they weren’t nearly as good as this one. Others tend to overcook the bacon to the point where it becomes too dry and brittle. This was not the case with Cafe Wa s. I loved the various tastes in that one bite. I got the sweetness of the date, the saltiness of the bacon, and the richness of the Roquefort. The pot roast was a little on the dry side, but I still enjoyed it, particularly how the tender the meat was. The friend who accompanied me to this event thought the pot roast was lacking in flavor, but I felt that the sauce that was served with the pot roast more than made up for that.
Corn Maiden - If you’ve been to a Farmer’s Market, you probably have seen Corn Maiden there. They have really excellent tamales. They had four different ones at the event: blue corn, pork, steak, and BBQ chicken. I really thought the BBQ chicken would be a disaster, but I was surprised to find that was my favorite of the four. There wasn’t an overdose of the BBQ sauce, but you could definitely taste its presence. Adding corn kernels was also a nice touch. The shredded pork tamales was a close second place.
20th Century Fox Catering - They served really large shrimp that was just gently deep fried and served with the option of one of four sauces. I chose the orange chili, which was not spicy at all, but a pleasant citrus taste that complemented the shrimp. The shrimp was quite plump, and I can’t help but wonder how celebrities can stay so skinny when studios’ caterers make food this good.
Breadbar - I did my best to avoid food that would fill me up, but I couldn’t resist picking up a sampler plate at Breadbar. I really recommend the Wall Street. These are little almond mini muffins. (They are the little balls in the container next to the giant loaves of bread in the photo on the left.) All carb haters could find a little room to eat these without guilt.
Hansen’s Cakes - I used to drive on Fairfax all the time and stare at Hansen’s Cakes’ display window as I wait for traffic to move. I finally got to taste their cake last night. I never knew plain cake could melt in your mouth until I took a bite of their cake. I’m usually not big on frosting either, but their frosting was so good, too! It was creamy and rich while not overly sweet. I headed over to MILK in the hopes of getting some ice cream only to find that they gave out the last serving right before I got there. Someone from Hansen’s Cakes had just shown up there and had some mini red velvet cupcakes and gave me one to console me in my disappointment. While I would have loved to have MILK’s ice cream, the mini red velvet cupcake with the cream cheese frosting really did make me feel better.
Miscellaneous: I should also mention that there were non-eating and drinking activities. There was a silent auction as well as cooking demonstrations by the final 3 contestants for The Next Food Network Star. I won’t say anything more than that, as I’m sure there will be people who watch the show and will be upset with me for posting who the final 3 are if they don’t already know. I missed the first finalist but caught the other two. It’s really interesting to see them in action. No judges were around - at least I didn’t see them.
By Pauline (see more of her posts).
Friday, July 17, 2009
We don't cover commercial vehicles very often, as model changes are so infrequent they operate based on Jupiter years. There are rocks younger than the Econoline. But the 2010 Ford Transit Connect is a radically different vehicle that could revolutionize the way businesses (small and big alike) go about their transportation needs.
I was invited by Ford to travel around Beverly Hills yesterday in a Transit Connect, paying visits to three small business with different transport needs -- West Hollywood Picture Framing, Treefrogs florists and event planning, and Hansen's Cakes. The new Ford Work Solutions technologies were also showcased, and I must say, they are impressive and seem useful. Fun pictures and fascinating information to follow.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor
Above are some of the "upfitting" that can be done with the Turkish-made Ford Transit Connect. They can be dealer-installed or port-installed, the latter of which will save you a bit of money. Each of these shelving options is permanently installed, or perhaps more accurate, not easily removable. According to Fred Gibbons, the owner of Treefrogs, this would mean he'd opt against the shelves since they would limit the versatility to hold bigger arrangements even though it would make shipping smaller items safer. Ford said they are looking into removable solutions.
On the other hand, the folks at Hansen's Cakes beamed about the Katarack sliding shelves designed specifically for catering companies such as Hansen's. They're marketing manager looked like a kid on Christmas morning as she easily lifted the heavy Transit Connect cake they made for the event out of the real Transit Connect. The van's low height made lifting that much easier as well. Presently, they are using two old Windstars and an '87 E-150 on engine No. 5 with 600,000 miles. Patrick Hansen (the seventh-generation owner and baker) said he plans on using Cash for Clunkers to replace part of his fleet with Transit Connects -- one of the few commercial vehicles with good enough gas mileage to comply.
Although the business owners were enticed into participating by a raffle that could result in a new Transit Connect in their garage, each were quite genuine in their praise for the van and how it would benefit their business better than their current vehicles do. First and foremost, the Transit Connect and its Focus-derived 2.0-liter four-cylinder gets substantially better gas mileage than the big V8-powered Econoline-sized vans and even minivans these businesses currently use. Second, its smaller footprint makes maneuvering tights city streets and finding street parking spots easier -- ever try finding a parallel parking spot big enough for a Chevy Express? Surprisingly, all were pleased with Transit Connect's "something different" styling and the large space on its side that could be used for advertisement.
It all starts with the in-dash computer, which from afar looks like Ford's standard navigation unit. It is a touchscreen, though it has a built-in stylus should your fingers be grimy. The computer runs on a Microsoft operating system and features full Internet access (through a $50 Sprint data plan), a wireless keyboard and touchpad mouse (top right), a separate hard drive, remote computer access, and a Garmin navigation system. You can even get a wireless printer.
Tool Link by DeWalt allows you to electronically keep track of the valuable items in your truck or van. It works by placing little tags (above right) on whatever items you want to keep track of, then naming them in the in-van computer (unless you want to memorize code numbers). A black box (right) mounted in the interior searches for all those tags and transmits the data to the in-van computer, providing a tally of items. If something is missing, it'll let you know. Sadly, it can't tell you where it wondered off to, therefore eliminated the possibility of using Tool Link to keep track of your children.
Crew Chief is basically big brother, keeping freakishly precise data about the driver's habits behind the wheel. Not only does it keep track of the up-to-the-minute whereabouts of your business' fleet, it can also tell how long the van is idling, what the driver's acceleration tendencies are and the routes they are taking. Basically, 3-hour lunches at Fuddruckers have become a thing of the past. The boss will love it, the employee .. not so much.
I walked away very impressed with the Ford Transit Connect. It brings fresh ideas to a stale segment, much like the Dodge Sprinter did, but does so at a very low price and at a Goldilocks size unmatched in the American market. There is also a "wagon" version with a three- or two-person bench seat that would be ideal for taxi companies.
And finally, to show you how maneuverable it is, here is a video of the Transit Connect zipping around a roof-top maneuverability course piloted by Car and Driver's Steve Siler, who was only too happy to oblige my request for another go-around. For the record, I didn't hit any cones.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
We spent the day entertaining 46 members of the press (National & local,) fielding their questions about the history of Hansen's, what we do, where we deliver, etc...and telling them what we personally like about the new van that Ford presented.
We liked the Ford Transit so much, we made a cake to honor it.
Ford liked the cake so much, they borrowed it for their End-of-Event-event tonight.
All's well that ends well.
Now let's see if we get a free van...?!?
Now, we don't want you to think we were only creating that one van cake this week; here are a few highlights of some of the other cakes we're working on!
Friday, July 10, 2009
Our First Ever Music & Art Fest is tomorrow, July 11th, 1pm - 5pm
We can't believe it's finally here! We're so excited about all the wonderful musicians, art exhibitors, food sponsors and auction items we have for this event! The support for AWBW has been terrific! Our event has even been on TV, the radio and in the newspapers! Please join us for this exciting and fun afternoon! You're the first to see our amazing silent, live and opportunity auction items below! We have items from Miley Cyrus, Universal Studios, the Dodgers and lots, lots more!
Plus +++ redwhite+bluezz is offering three signature cocktails as well as lots of wines from around the world - and 40% of the proceeds are going to AWBW! In addition to all the delicious food that is being donated from various chefs across Los Angeles, redwhite+bluezz are serving samples of their speciality dishes and giving AWBW 20% of the proceeds.
AND!!! Hansen's Cakes is donating a 3 tier cake with red velvet filling in one layer, carrot cake and cream cheese for the middle layer and chocolate mousse with chocolate chips for the top! This is sure to tempt your friends and inspire them to attend!
Please tell your guests the entrance to the event is on Green St. between Raymond St. and Arroyo Parkway. And there's parking for everyone at the Unified Parking lot at the back of redwhite+bluezz at 32 S. Arroyo Parkway for $7.00 for the day. There is also a parking lot located in front of redwhite+bluezz’s front door (at Raymond and Green) where standard Old Pasadena parking rates apply.
We're looking forward to seeing you tomorrow at redwhite+bluezz, 70 S. Raymond, Old Town Pasadena!!
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
A rehally big shoe...