I admit that I was one of the many
fools Foodies who stood in line for hours in the middle of L.A.’s worst rain storm just to get a bite of the real Cronut. You see, Cronut creator, Chef Dominique Ansel, dropped by Los Angeles last Saturday to help promote the remodel of the Barneys New York store at The Grove. And of course, his one-time appearance came with about 600 Cronuts, which were sold in pairs to raise money for charity.
Having attended many of these food events around the Los Angeles area, I thought I had allowed myself plenty of time to arrive to get Cronuts. As a matter of fact, the event was to scheduled to start at 10:00AM. When I arrived at around 8:20AM, there was already 100 hungry people ahead of me. The line tripled when my friend arrived 10 minutes later. I seriously underestimated the popularity of this pastry hybrid.
Anyway, the wait in line wasn’t so bad during the first hour as my friend and I spent our time chit-chatting with each other and torturing our circle of friends via social media. We even went as far as taking selfie photos of us in line and posting a panoramic photo of enormous line behind us. It also wasn’t so bad when Chef Dominique Ansel and his assistants brought trays of Cronut samples to all of us in line. I tell ya that little tasty morsel was best glimmer of hope that we would possibly get to front of the line before the Cronuts sell out.
Lucky for us, they started the event 30 minutes early and they continued to feed us with samples of Cronuts and free coffee to tame the impatient crowd. I have to admit that the crowd was the most diverse group that I have ever seen at food event. It was hard to believe that this Cronut, a food phenomenon, would bring us together. We clearly had other things to do in a severe rain storm like staying home to be safe, which is like the most obvious thing to do, right? Instead, our stomachs and curiosity got the best of us. It always does for a Foodie.
Passed the first security guy, my friend and I saw the boutique store windows adorned with yellow boxes of Cronuts. To me, the parcels looked a lot like expensive Louis Vuitton handbags in the Spring color of yellow.
Finally! We had made it past the second security guy and inside Barneys New York where we met Chef Dominique Ansel. Out of the blue, the chef thanked us for waiting a long time in line. What a cool guy!
After a few minutes of chit-chat and some photos, my friend and I hurried outside to eat our Cronuts.
Inside each box were two Milk and Honey with Lavender Cronuts. We each opened our boxes to take the first bite. Oh my goodness! The flavors and the textures…wow, wow, wow! All I have to say is that the real Cronut is an amazing pastry to eat. Although fried, the outside texture has the flakiness of croissant yet tastes like a fresh caramel sauce or creme brulee. The inside of the pastry is soft and delicate like a doughnut. I could also taste the cream filling inside and the honey that seemingly stuck to your tongue when you chew. The lavender icing heightened your senses with delicate floral yet sweet aromas.
It was nice to eat the real Cronuts for the first time and be in my own hometown of Los Angeles to do it. The Cronuts were very delicious and a magnificent edible art. A thousand thank yous to The Grove, Barneys New York, and especially to Chef Dominique Ansel for bringing the original Cronuts to Los Angeles. The Cronuts were awesome and you all saved me an expensive trip to NYC just to eat them. Thank you, thank you.
The second my brother landed at LAX, I knew I had to take him somewhere unique for lunch. You see, it couldnn’t be just any franchise restaurant, because he was sick and tired of seeing them in the great northwest. Instead what he wanted was really good down-to-earth, authentic Mexican food, because, in his own words, he was, “…sick and tired of eating the fake stuff.” He was gung-ho for a foodie adventure with me (his little sister) when I told him we were going to the Mariscos Jalisco, a food truck located in the heart of Boyle Heights / East Los Angeles that is known for Mexican Street food.
The food truck scene in the Boyle Heights / East LA area is not like gourmet food truck scene where the foodies and hipsters frequent. For residents in Boyle Heights…the food stands, food carts, food trucks, and food sold from a baby stroller or the back of a car is affordable dining. Some have really good and some are just forgettable. These establishments adorn street corners and sometimes occupy a few city blocks during the weeknights and on weekends from the early evening hours to the wee hours of the night. For a few handful, they operate both day time and night time hours. Mariscos Jalisco is a food truck with really, really good Mexican street food.
Mariscos Jalisco is a food truck that was discovered by a notable Food Critic when the gourmet food trucks started sprouting some four years ago. Although it’s not a gourmet food truck, the food at Mariscos Jalisco was compared to being almost gourmet, because it just tasted that way to a Los Angeles food critic.
I agree with Mr. Gold that Marisco Jalisco dishes out some pretty tasty Mexican street food when I dined at the truck for the first time back in the day. The specialty of the house is seafood tacos like shrimp, oysters, octopus, and abalone. The favorite of Mr. Gold and Foodies are the Shrimp Tacos (pictured above). It’s a cripsy one. It’s incredibly fresh and coincidentally, ridiculously inexpensive.
My brother and I dined on the Mixed Seafood CevicheTacos that has a little bit of everything i.e. shrimp, oysters, octopus, and abalone tossed together with lime, tomato, and red onions. We also had the Aguachiles (a shrimp carpaccio with a zesty lime marinade). Since I was in a good mood, I also ordered us a half dozen raw oysters and the Fried Shrimp Tacos. This feast plus sodas probably could have fed the 4-person family sitting next to us. Would you believe all this cost only $23?
Well, it was a pleasure watching my brother eat good food. He had the same look that a kid has after opening birthday presents. There was a sense of joy, delight, and, of course, a surprise on his face. Coincidentally, the Habanero sauce didn’t phase him. “It’s good, but not hot enough,” he said. This didn’t surprise me, because he is a two-time winner of a Hot Wing contest.
Cash only. Street parking only. There are communal tables and chairs inside a room adjacent to the truck or opt to stand and eat. Lunch time is a good time to check them out.
Last month, I was able to attend The 5th Annual Taste Awards in Hollywood that ceremony that celebrates our favorite television, internet, and radio programming in food, drink, fashion, and lifestyle. The Taste Awards is a lot like the Oscars Awards ceremony as it honors the Media winners. As one of the judges for the past four years, this past year’s list of nominees was certainly a hard one to judge. On the ballot, I saw a lot of my favorite food shows and there were so many great new nominees that also deserved to win too.
One of my online favorites pictured above is Jolene Sugarbaker whowon a Taste Award for Best Comedy in the Food & Drink Category. Ms. Sugarbaker’s online show Jolene’s Trailer Park never ceases to keep me entertained. I just love her southern drawl, wit, and simple yet easy to make recipes.
Like any other fan, I was so happy to meet my favorite TV Gardening, Food, and Lifestyle Host, P. Allen Smith. After a long evening of watching the awards show, I finally had my chance to meet him while he was in-between interviews. I asked if I could take a few photos of him and he then asked if I knew who he was. I humbly replied that I faithfully followed his show for years and watch it at least twice a week on television. He was so surprised that he took my hand and held it. I then congratulated him for winning four categories at the Taste Awards and mentioned that he actually won the most awards that evening.
Now that ceremony has come and gone, there is another chance to catch it again next year. Hmmm, I wonder who will win next year?