Celtic Cuisine Is Surging To The Forefront In Southern California

 

Everyone is familiar in one form or another with whiskeys, whether it be blended, single-malt, or single barrel. But how many of us have really been familiarized with the cuisine from the 8 Celtic nations? Those nations are Scotland, Ireland, Brittany France, Manx, Wales, Cornwall, Galacia & Asturies France. Even though they have a similar potato-based diets, each region has it’s own unique twist to their local cuisines. Thanks to Chef Eric McBride and many other Historical Chefs like him, there has been a rise in Scottish/Celtic food popularity with Americans in the past years. Not only is he helping bring back to light the traditional fare of the Great Clans, but he is pioneering a renaissance with the cuisine by modernizing ancestral roots-grounded recipes in his own unique interpretations. As it is unfortunate that there really are no Scottish restaurants to try in California, I hope the Chef McBride and the rest of the Chefs inspire an influx for communities to delve into the rich cultures of the Celtic 8.

For all those that get to attend this weekend, we will be lucky enough to sample Chef McBride’s (whom originally started his career off as a Historian and found his calling as a Celtic Chef) dishes at the 23rd Annual ScotsFestival which will also be showcasing the International Highland Games, all at The Queen Mary. And of course, yes, there WILL be a special area for adults to do whiskey and beer tastings. I, for one, will make sure to get there as early as possible to take in as much of the culture as I can. From the live bands/pipers, to the games throughout the day, to the various forms of haggis/neeps & tatties/and blood pudding.

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*Photo courtesy of The Queen Mary

The festival will run this weekend, Saturday and Sunday from 9am-6pm; with a special Robert Burns Supper on Saturday night that starts at 6:30pm. I hope to run into many of you there. And if I can find me a proper kilt, I shall be rocking it at the festival! Feel free to follow me as I eat and drink my way through the festival on Instagram and Twitter.

Win A Pair Of Tickets To: BIG BITE BACON FEST

Big Bite Bacon Festival

EVENT WILL BE SATURDAY, AUG 1st; AND SUNDAY, AUG. 2nd. Photo courtesy of Big Bite Events.

I am happy to announce that I am partnering up with Big Bite Events this year to raffle away a pair of tickets (for one G.A. session on either day) to their 2nd Annual Big Bites Bacon Fest that will be held alongside the Queen Mary (includes free self-guided tour of the Queen Mary while at the festival). If you would like to purchase your own tickets, the prices range from $40-80 (a price well worth it, considering all the food that you will eat; beer is sold separately). The events which started last year as a one day event, has grown to become three massive 3-hr sessions over two days, which includes VIP entrances, and wristbands for beer tastings.

Some of the AMAZING restaurants/food trucks that will be there, include:

* Dia De Los Puercos

* Ragin Cajun Cafe

* Slater’s 50/50; and

* The Old World German Restaurant

 

Also, some of the breweries that will be on deck are:

* Lagunitas Breweing Co.

* Allagash Brewing Co.

* Angel City Brewery; and

* Bootleggers Brewery

 

SO . . . If you would like to win a PAIR of tickets for one session on either day, all you have to do is:

1) Like the Big Bite Event FB page

2) Like/follow The Chonchudo Files; and

3) Share this post on Facebook, tag 2 friends & commment with #BigBiteBaconFest, and #ChonchudoLove

GOOD LUCK!!!

*The contest will run from now until July 26th, the WINNER will be announced on July 27th!

Mexican Food, Tequila, & Beer

Some of the participating restaurants include: La Monarca Bakery, La Casita Mexicana, Guelaguetza, Frida, Frida Tacos, El Coraloense, Yuca’s, and Mariscos Jalisco. You’ll be able to taste beer, tequila and mezcal by La Guelaguetza’s MicheMobil, Tequila Centenario, Tequila Casa Dragones, Mezcal Los Javis, and Ancho Reyes Liqueur to name a few.

It’s the event where everyone gathers to celebrate Mexican culinary all happening at Taste of Mexico, Saturday, September 27th at the LA Plaza. This event will bring you face-to-face with some of the best Mexican restaurants, chefs, and purveyors.

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Tickets are on sale now at: thetasteofmexico.org/buytickets/. Also, check out last year’s highlights.

Food, drinks, and live music. My favorite. I’ll see all of you at Taste of Mexico!

#Gourmetzia2014

Get your taste of gourmet food and beverages at Gourmetzia 2014 this weekend, September 20-21, at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Some of the exhibitors include Darby’s English Toffee, Takeya, Zipfizz Gourmet Blends, Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, and many more.

This is a twist on a traditional food show as it aims to present upscale and artisan delicacies from various trends including gluten-free, paleo, chocolate, cheeses, healthy drinks, ethnic foods etc. Gourmetzia 2014 is for bona fide food lovers always on the look out for new food trends with a profound enjoyment of trying new foods.

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Find more information on Gourmetzia 2014 here.

Of course, the Chonchudo will be present at this event and I hope to see you all there.

MARISCOS EL VIEJON

On our third stop, we ended up going to a place visited by many, including a group of my friends, that is located in the heart of Lynwood. El Viejon has a very relaxed, casual atmosphere, with a sea life-based mural on one wall, and ocean blue painted on others. There are a few TVs located throughout the restaurant to watch the latest games/matches that were taking place. Definitely fuels the summer attitude with the outdoor seating they have. I had been there once before after a night of drunkenness in Hermosa Beach with a group of friends and getting a Marine shitfaced, we all certainly had a TON of fun. When we were there, I had the consommé, which was very delicious, which is why I wanted to come back and try the rest of the food.

The place was almost full when we showed up and many more people came afterwards. We were lucky to get there when we did, since within minutes of ordering our first round of drinks, a group of musicians/mariachis came in playing a quick round of traditional Mexican music. Then, all of a sudden, we had vendors join in making their rounds trying to sell customers their merchandise. In this day and time in our economy, I couldn’t blame them for trying to get their hustle on. Not everyone is able to find work in legit job placements, and EVERYONE’S entitled to try and make a living however they can, legally, of course.

If there’s one thing people should know about restaurants is that patience is a virtue. I’m not innocent of this either in other situations, but when it comes to restaurants and your food; learn to wait a little bit. It certainly won’t kill you. There were a few people sitting down getting impatient that they didn’t notice the waitresses were swamped with an almost full house, with only two servers on duty taking everyone’s orders. Some people don’t appreciate the effort restaurant staff put into their work, busting their backs taking all the orders, running the food, and making sure all are taken care of. In other words, make sure you tip your waiter/waitress well, they deserve it!

There was quite a bit to choose from when we looked at our menu. Since they were out of a few selections including the Callo de Hacha and Botana de Caracol, which I wanted to try; this is what we ordered instead:

El Viejon Aguachiles

  • Camarones Aguachiles- Raw shrimp, diced tomatoes, avocados, cucumber, and julienne red onions tossed in a fiery (or so it should be), tangy marinade to lightly cook the shrimp in the acids of the lime juice. Shrimp was very tender, barely cooked in the mixture with a sweet and slightly spicy feel to it that rolls down the back of your tongue. Balanced with the freshness of the cucumber, and buttery sweetness from the avocado. In my opinion, it could’ve been a bit spicier, but was still packing a lot of flavor. If you’ve never tried eating raw shrimp, or aguachiles, this is certainly a good way to start.

El Viejon Campechana

  • Coctel Campechana- Shrimp, oysters, imitation crab, imitation abalone, octopus with chopped tomatoes, avocado, red onions, and cilantro in a light, spicy tomato based mixture. It was decent, was slightly bland/watery so we definitely had to add some salt and limes into it. I didn’t necessarily mind that at all as much as I did them using imitation crab/abalone. If I hate using imitation crab at home, why would I want to go to a restaurant and pay for it there? It’s like going to a restaurant and paying them to microwave me a frozen burrito or a hot pocket. I know it’s illegal to commercially sell/purchase actual abalone due to their over harvesting in the past, but I would’ve preferred that they would just leave anything that’s imitation off the menu.

El Viejon Mariscoco

  • Coctel Mariscoco- Same as Campechana, but with chunks of coconut, and served in the shell of the coconut. Honestly, these two dishes tasted the same, as if they just took a bowl of the Campechana, tossed in some chunks of coconut and served it to us. Slightly better taste with it, though. The tomato mixture was served on the side from the main ingredients. Nice little presentation, but would’ve been better with the flavors being up to par as well.

El Viejon Botana de Camaron Y Pulpo

  • Botana de Camaron Y Puplo- Cooked shrimp and octopus, garnished with cucumber, avocado, tomatoes, and sliced red onions. Served with a similar marinade as the aguachiles, drizzled with a little bit of a Mexican hot sauce. Had pretty good flavors coming through from the delicate flavors of the avocado and shrimp, to the boldness of the heat coming from the sauce, to the freshness of the onions and cucumbers. Had good flavor profiles all around. The one thing I wish they would change is to use fresh seafood, not frozen. Especially with the octopus. Any kind of seafood is always best when using fresh. Once you freeze it and thaw it out, it takes on a different texture and flavor. Aside from that, it ranked second on the list of food we tried that day.

El Viejon Jill Double Fisting

 

Also, my friend and I had been craving micheladas for weeks since the start of this endeavor. And now that we finally had a chance to get them, hell yeah we did… lol. Since the micheladas hit the spot to quench our thirsts after stressful days in our lives, we indulged the crap out of them! I believe, that since we liked the micheladas more than some of the food here, it kind of raised their level a tad bit in our opinions. However, you can’t fully judge what you’re really there for based on a few drinks that lower your standard after a few as you would at a club when you’re trying to get lucky and the fish aren’t biting, lol. I will have to come back to try the other items I didn’t get a chance to try this time. In the end our favorites were (in descending order): Aguachiles, Botana, Mariscoco, and Campechana.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANGEL CITY BREWERY

 A friend of mine who is a chef had done special work with Project Angel Food decided to do an Epicurean Safari with me starting with the newly renovated area of the arts district in downtown L.A. We were going to start with Wurstküche on 3rd Street, but decided on Angel City Brewery instead as the line was predictably long from the doors to the sidewalk at Wurstküche.

Initially, we didn’t know it was a brewery. We thought there may had been an exhibit taking place since there were a large amount of people heading over to what seemed to be an artist showcase from outside and a flea market in the parking lot. Upon entering, we saw it was filled with lively people from all walks of life, friendly bartenders, and live music playing in a corner of the open-spaced brewery. Only a small list of beers on the menu, but with the prices and flavors in them, it is worth coming down to find their location and enjoy what you order. I, for one, tried all of them…lol.

Angel’s flight consisted of 4.5 fl.oz. of:

ANGEL'S FLIGHT

  • Eureka Wit- Traditional white ale brewed with coriander and orange peel. A smooth, thirst quenching flavor that is well suited for the summer weather we are beginning to have here in Southern California. With a slight sweetness, and palate cleansing effervescence, it was by far one of my favorites that they have on top at this moment. With 4.9% alcohol in this brew, you can definitely have a good time laughing it up with friends while filling up on a great local beer.
  • Angeleno IPA- A great IPA that can also be enjoyed by those who don’t usually go for strong flavored beers. Strong notes of malt and hops come through with a bit of smoothness that flows nicely off the tongue.
  • Gold Line Pilsner- Czech style pilsner that is not as strong and better suited for the American general audience. Great bodied feel at the start with a dry finish at the end.
  • White Nite- A creamy stout, with strong notes of coffee, and cacao. This batch is nitrogenized giving it a thick head (the layer of foam that forms at the top of the beer when it is poured into a glass), that helps the aromas and flavors come through.
  • Imperial Cherry- It has a soft flavor of cherries that doesn’t overpower the taste of a regular wheat ale. Insanely better than the imitation cherry-flavored wheat ale from a certain large-scale Boston brewery.

And finally, I tried the last beer on their list, a special limited release for Thursday night’s mystery cask..

PORTER BELLA SPECIAL LIMITED RELEASE

  • Porter Bella- Simply put, it’s ACB’s version of Ambrosia for the GODS! Has a thick head when poured, but doesn’t have a strong carbonation in the taste. A smooth, creamy feel from this batch that is cask conditioned. This one is even better than their White Nite selection, with strong flavors of coffee, toffee, and chocolate coming through on the palate.

Overall, Angel City Brewery is a GREAT place to try awesome beers that do change tap depending on the season and availability. Definitely worth going to relax, enjoy music, try great beers, eat delicious food from stands that change throughout the week, and pass time conversing with friends, while also making new ones.