A Couple Deep in Chocolate

Hasty Torres in her Beverly Hills store with Sophie Gayot
Hasty Torres in her Beverly Hills store with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

Some couples are diabolic, but Jacques & Hasty Torres aka Mr. Chocolate and Madame Chocolat, are “chocoholic.” Jacques operates out of Brooklyn, Hasty out of Beverly Hills. If you are in the Los Angeles area and cannot drive to Beverly Hills or cannot fly to New York to indulge in their chocolate creations, you have a chance to get their pieces at two pop-up stores. One is located at The Grove in Los Angeles (near the foot of the Christmas tree across from Crate & Barrel), and the second one in Glendale at Americana at Brand (102 Caruso Ave. across from Trattoria Amici restaurant and Barnes & Noble, formerly Guess Accessory store).

His chocolate products are wrapped in brown and orange, while hers are in brown and beige, so there is no reason to be confused. Since it’s the holiday season, we recommend Jacques’ Christmas tree, snowman, and Santa Claus and Hasty’s nutcrackers, watches or gift baskets. They run from $1 to $200.

You will also find their classics: Hasty’s Eiffel Tower, High Heel Pumps, or truffles; and Jacques’ chocolate caramel corn, espresso beans or chocolate-covered marshmallows (I never had those, so they’re next on my list.)

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The Cook, the Demons, the Angels & the Bankers

Mario Batali had to eat his words - good thing he has plenty of recipes.
Mario Batali had to eat his words - good thing he has plenty of recipes.

by André Gayot


“The ways the bankers have kind of toppled the way money is distributed and taken most of it into their hands is as good as Stalin or Hitler and the evil guys,” star restaurateur Mario Batali declared at a recent panel sponsored by Time Magazine. No surprise Mr. Batali got a lot of flak, especially, of course, from bankers and the like. The restaurateur realized belatedly that quite a number of his clients in his twenty fancy establishments might very well belong to or be associated with the banking industry because, according to his own terms, bankers “… have taken most of the money into their hands,” and thus can easily afford the hefty bills. Some talked vigorously of boycotting Batali’s restaurants. Deterring such a well-heeled clientele is not good business practice in these uncertain times.


Sorry, oops, my mistake, went Mario, who said through a spokesperson, “It was never my intention to equate our banking industry with Hitler and Stalin, two of the most evil, brutal dictators in modern history.” So we get the message: these two guys are really bad, but bankers are OK. OK, but not angels?

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Hunting for a Chef on Food Network

by Sophie Gayot


The Food Network needs no introduction, of course, but have you heard about their new show “Chef Hunter”? Hosted by culinary recruiter Carrie McCully, “Chef Hunter” is a docu-reality series that takes you behind the scenes of running a restaurant, beyond just cooking the food. In the six episodes, chefs compete head-to-head for coveted executive chef positions at restaurants all over the country.


Watch our exclusive video interview with McCully to learn more about the show, and tune in to the next episodes. For information about the airing dates, click here.

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Project by Project, Plate by Plate

Chefs from The French Culinary Institute
Chefs from The French Culinary Institute

by Michelle Kwan


The thirteenth annual Project by Project-sponsored Plate by Plate event benefiting the Chinatown Youth Initiatives showcased the culinary talents of a group of distinguished chefs, among them Chris Jaeckle of Ai Fiori. Guests at the October 14 happening in New York City sampled specialties from participating restaurants, including a traditional Korean spicy welk salad with buckwheat noodles from Danji, Iberico ham from Bar Basque, and braised beef cheek from Macao Trading Co. Wineries like Southern California-based Monte De Oro and Bedell of North Fork, Long Island, served up tastings of their finest reds and whites, while Hakkaisan, Joto and Tengumai acquainted visitors with the subtleties of saké. Spirits distributors Zyr Vodka, Speyburn Scotch and Caorunn Gin, and designer water purveyor Voss, were also on hand. One of the highlights of the evening was the Quickfire Challenge with last year’s winner Jaeckle and former Top Chef contestant Lee Anne Wong as competitors, with each chef preparing dishes centered around one main ingredient: salmon. Kudos went to Jaeckle’s various salmon-inspired crudos, but ultimately, the title went to Wong’s salmon prepared three ways.
 

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Presidio Social Club: From Army Barrack to Fine Dining

Meatloaf at Presidio Social Club
Meatloaf at Presidio Social Club

by Tiffany Apczynski


Presidio Social Club is one of those out-of-the-way restaurants in San Francisco that nobody ever minds going the extra mile or bus route to get there. It’s located in a quaint clapboard building in the city’s Presidio national park that operated as an army barrack long before it was a fine dining establishment. The interior has this 1930s clubby feel to it and its atmosphere exudes post-colonial design.


When it opened four years ago, it did so with a bit of a bang. Folks not only liked the location and vibe, but Ray Tang’s menu of upscale comfort food won diners over immediately. But Tang, who is a co-owner of the restaurant, left the kitchen two years ago, and, well, the menu started to slide.

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