Last July, I’d traveled to Spain for the very first time, getting to spend five wonderful days in Madrid. In addition to wanting to drink a ton of dry Spanish cider—aka sidra—and try countless tapas, I was also dying to get my hands on a tall glass of traditional horchata de chufa, the predecessor to the Mexican and Salvadoran versions of horchata I’ve come to know and love over the past few decades.
I’d written about horchata de chufa for Saveur magazine many moons ago, and had made it at home, but had always wanted to try it *in* Spain. Enter Horchatería Alboraya, a traditional producer of horchata de chufa that’s been open in the heart of Madrid since 1980. There are several traditional horchaterías in Valencia that are much older—like Horchatería El Siglo (since 1836) and Horchatería Santa Catalina—but I didn’t have time to get out of Madrid, so I was extremely glad to find Alboraya, as I’d long dreamed of trying this chufa magic in its home country.
So what is horchata de chufa and what makes it different? The horchata most commonly found in the U.S. is typically from Mexican restaurants: a rice-based drink that’s spiked with cinnamon and plenty of sugar. Salvadoran versions use morro seeds, sourced from an indigenous plant, that lend a slightly sweet, subtle licorice flavor of their own. Sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, cacao nibs, and other flavorings can make their way into other countries’ versions of horchata as well, but they’re all thought to be descended from the Spanish variation, which uses chufa nuts for its base. (more…)
Yes, it’s true! I’m putting together a Sriracha Festival in downtown Los Angeles with my good friend Joshua Lurie from FoodGPS.com!
The 1st Annual L.A. Sriracha Festival is taking place on Sunday, October 27, from 3 pm to 6 pm at LOT 613 in the downtown L.A. Arts District. This chef-driven, all-inclusive, 21+ event spotlights the world’s most iconic hot sauce in a casual industrial setting. Multiple stations allow guests to enjoy a variety of Sriracha themed dishes, including desserts, at their own pace. Local craft beer, cocktails, and sodas help tame the heat while a live DJ set helps create a fun and unforgettable food and drink experience.
Some of L.A.’s best chefs and restaurants participating in this year’s event include:
- Wesley Avila— Guerrilla Tacos — “Best Tacos in LA Under $10”, Time Out LA (2013)
- Nadav Bashan — Bashan — “Most Underrated Restaurant in LA”, Eater
- Neal Fraser — BLD, Fritzi Dog, ICDC, Redbird at Vibiana, The Strand House —Top Chef: Masters (Season 5)
- Gabe Gordon — Beachwood BBQ & Brewing — “Best Brewpub in Southern California”, RateBeer.com (2013)
- Eric Greenspan — The Foundry on Melrose, Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese, The Roof on Wilshire — Iron Chef: America, The Next Iron Chef
- Tai Kim — Scoops — ”10 Best Ice Cream & Gelato Shops” (#8), LA Weekly (2011)
- Esdras Ochoa & Javier Fregoso — Mexicali Taco & Co. — “The Best Tacos in Los Angeles”, laist (2013)
- Christian Page — Short Order — “5 Reasons to Get Out and Explore LA”, Bon Appetit (2012)
- Tui Sungkamee & Jazz Singsanong — Jitlada — Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants (#9), LA Weekly’s 99 Essential Restaurants (2013)
- Chloe Tran & John Vu Cao — East Borough — “One Perfect Day in Costa Mesa,” Sunset Magazine, opening restaurant in Culver City
- Ernesto Uchimura —Plan Check Kitchen + Bar — “Chef of the Year”, Los Angeles Magazine (2012) — also featuring a cocktail from Matthew Biancaniello
To drink, Eagle Rock Brewery, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, and Firestone Walker Brewing Co. will be pouring craft beers throughout the event. Inventive bartenders Josh Goldman (Soigné Group) and Matthew Biancaniello are serving creative cocktails in the main festival area and at the Plan Check Bar booth, respectively. Los Angeles Ale Works has created artisan ginger ale (with or without Sriracha!), Pure Water of Los Angeles is providing beyond-green purified water from their water systems.
Huy Fong Foods, Inc. has generously come on board as a presenting sponsor. David Tran, founder of Huy Fong Foods and mastermind behind their Sriracha, will be making a rare, special appearance at the event. Uber is offering festival guests a free ride valued at up to $20 for first time users, and Ten Speed Press is giving a copy of The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook to all VIP guests.
A portion of proceeds from the L.A. Sriracha Festival will directly benefit Food Forward; a North Hollywood-based charity whose mission is to rescue and donate fresh local produce that would otherwise go to waste. Over 1.6 million pounds of food has been gleaned since 2009, which goes to local food pantries, helping feed over 40,000 hungry Southern Californians each month.
General Admission tickets are $49 per person in advance, and $59 per person at the door, if still available. Tickets are all-inclusive, and enable attendees to sample freely from all food and drink vendors as they please. Tickets are only available for people 21+.
VIP Tickets for the event are $80 in advance, and $90 per person at the door, if available. They include reserved seating, one-hour early admission from 2 pm to 3 pm, and a signed copy of The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook. Tickets are only available for people 21+ and are for sale exclusively at LAsrirachafestival.nightout.com.
Valet parking is available at nearby 619 Imperial Street for $10 per car, and free street parking is also an option.
LOT 613, 613 Imperial Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90021,www.lot613.com
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About The Sriracha Cookbook: Randy Clemens released The Sriracha Cookbook in January 2011, incorporating his favorite hot sauce in 50 unique recipes. The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook recently launched in July 2013 with an additional 50 recipes, all plant-based in nature.
About Food GPS: Josh Lurie founded Food GPS in 2005. Since then, his Los Angeles-based website has remained dedicated to pinpointing the highest quality, best-tasting food and drink, regardless of price or cuisine, and sharing stories of people behind the flavor. Food GPS, Inc. also produces unique culinary events.
FOLLOW THE 1st ANNUAL L.A. SRIRACHA FESTIVAL UPDATES ON:
Have you ever made your own almond milk? I hadn’t until about a year ago, and I knew instantly that I’d never go back to the store-bought stuff in the cartons.
This… this had flavor! It actually tasted like almonds, wasn’t cloyingly sweet, and was far more nutritive than anything you might find dead on a shelf.
For optimum flavor and nourishment, I always use raw almonds that I’ve sprouted myself. It’s a fun little science project in a way, and it really is easy to do.
And a word about those raw almonds before we proceed: make sure they’re truly raw. You see, the fine folks at the USDA (in partnership with the Almond Board of California) saw fit to pass a ridiculous law that required all almonds grown in the United States to undergo pasteurization, even those that are labeled as “raw.” And while “raw” organic almonds have to be steam pasteurized, conventionally grown almonds are often sterilized with propylene oxide, a compound that the USDA’s homies, the EPA, call a “mild [central nervous system] depressant” and a “probable human carcinogen.” There is a small loophole that does allow consumers to still buy truly raw almonds directly from a farmer at a farmers’ market, or by purchasing imported raw almonds. (Do try to find and support local growers, even if our government doesn’t extend the same courtesy with legislation like this.)
Anyway, on to how to make the almond milk.
This post is gonna have to be filed in the “better late than never” department, since it’s announcing the article I wrote on barleywines for the Winter 2012 issue of Edible Westside magazine. (Y’know, the one that came out way back in December?)
Well, needless to say, it’s been a busy few months for me. It’s been so long since I’ve updated my personal blog here that I’ve failed to mention that I recently become the Associate Digest Editor for Los Angeles magazine and that my next book—The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook is finally at the printer and is due out in July!! So, yes, it’s been busy.
But I digress. Writing my quarterly beer piece for Edible Westside has been a sincere pleasure, and I’ve loved watching this publication grow. Four issues strong, and no signs of slowing down. This time, I wanted to cover one of the heartier craft beer styles I know and love: barleywines. Not only are they delicious, they’ve got a wealth of historical significance, not to mention a healthy dose of confusion surrounding their name.
Barleywine: is it a wine made from barley? A beer mixed with wine? A strange hybrid thereof…or something else entirely? (more…)
As Edible Westside releases its third issue, I continue to beam with pride. While it’s certainly not my magazine (that honor belongs to the uber-talented publisher/dear friend Linzy May Mahoney), getting to write articles about beer since it got started has been both exciting and educational. And it seems like each issue gets better and better; the newly released Fall 2012 issue being no exception.
For my part, I got to contribute a piece about one of my favorite guilty pleasures: mead. As friends can attest, I’ve had a love affair with mead ever since I brewed my first batch back in 2006. Now charged with writing an article about it, I went looking for local mead makers, but found myself coming up dry. By a stroke of luck, I was hanging out with my friends Mike and Ryan from the awesome San Diego beer publication, West Coaster SD, and they suggested I check out some guys from Golden Coast Mead that were looking to open their own place via a Kickstarter campaign. Sweet!
Interviewing one of the co-founders, Frank Golbeck, I became fascinated by his passion and worldview, and knew I had what I needed to make this article shine. So, if you’re interested in learning more about mead—its interesting origins, its flavor profiles, and the endless possibilities it holds—check out my article in the digital edition of Edible Westside. (And dig those awesome illustrations by my good friend/local beer darling Cambria Griffith!)
You can read my Golden Coast Mead article online or seek out a free physical copy at one of the many distribution spots across LA’s Westside. And do keep your eyes peeled in early December for the upcoming Winter 2012 issue; I’ve got a tasty article on barleywines up my sleeve! Cheers!