Happy New Year of Eating

Beijing duck soup
Beijing duck soup


by Jeff Hoyt


Still haven’t made New Year’s Eve plans? No sweat. We can help you out with our lists of the Best Places to Dine Out on New Year’s Eve. If you’re entertaining, or being entertained, check out our Champagne and Sparkling Wine lists. We have everything from the Top 10 Champagnes Under $30 for the budget-conscious to the Top 10 Tête de Cuvées for those who simply want the best. If bubbles are not your thing, we also feature the Top 10 Holiday Wines.


Even if you can’t make it to any of the featured destinations, check out our Top 10 Places to Celebrate New Year’s 2012. If you don’t have the time or the funds to travel next year, take your taste buds on a trip instead. We recently enjoyed a holiday feast at the Plum Tree Inn, a signature restaurant in the Chinatown area of downtown Los Angeles. We’ve been fans of Beijing Duck for so long, we remember when it was simply called Peking Duck. But the roast duck recipe dates back so many centuries that it can actually be found in an imperial cookbook written in 1330! At this meal, we ate the duck in soup as well as the traditional method: wrapped in Mandarin pancakes with hoisin sauce and scallions. We were also introduced to Lion’s Head, a dish of oversized meatballs that we never knew existed.

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Set Sail for Hawaii

The beach at Lihue, Kauai
The beach at Lihue, Kauai


by Jeff Hoyt


We think anytime is a great time to visit Hawaii, but we appreciate The Aloha State the most when winter hits the mainland. Fun in the sun is so much more so when you know your neighbors back home are knee deep in snow.


If you want to put sunscreen on your neck instead of a scarf, we recommend a trip to Kauai. As more and more people discover this once-remote island, developers are making over the pristine landscape. Although we’d like to stop this wave of “progress,” one advantage is that there are more top places to stay, and more top toques to satisfy your appetite. Our Kauai travel guide will tell you where to book reservations for hotels and restaurants while you’re in search of volcanoes.

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Johnnie Walker Double Black

Johnnie Walker Double Black
Johnnie Walker Double Black

by Jeff Hoyt


“Make it a double!” is an oft-spoken command to a bartender, but it takes on a different meaning when the spirit in question is Johnnie Walker Black Label Scotch whisky. Jim Beveridge, Master Blender of the House of Walker, has produced the company’s newest release, Johnnie Walker Double Black.


If you enjoy the smoky, peaty flavor of Johnnie Walker Black Label, then this new limited release gives you more of what you look for in a Scotch. The distinctive blend is even smokier, even peatier and even bolder than its younger brother, but eminently drinkable.


Double Black is composed of select single malts of naturally smoky aged whiskies and whiskies that have matured in deep charred oak barrels. Despite its strength, it is still quite complex, with fruit, vanilla and spice flavors also evident. We recommend drinking it on the rocks with water, which helps release more of the flavor.

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The $100 Egg Roll

by Jeff Hoyt


How much would you spend for an egg roll? Chef Jack Lee has created what he calls The $100 Egg Roll, made with premium ingredients: Maine lobster tail, Alaska King Crab meat, summer black truffle, caviar and gold leaf. The Los Angeles-based private chef recently cooked a seven-course meal called “Beyond the Seven Seas,” which also featured his distinctive Chinese Art Scroll made of Chilean sea bass with rice noodle and scrolls made from asparagus.

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Green & Great Chefs

Chefs Mary Sue Milliken, Adam Horton, Josie Le Balch, Matt Carpenter, and Jimmy Shaw at the 24th Annual Great Chefs of LA "Go Green, Go Organic" Event
Chefs Mary Sue Milliken, Adam Horton, Josie Le Balch, Matt Carpenter, and Jimmy Shaw at the 24th Annual Great Chefs of LA "Go Green, Go Organic" Event

by Jeff Hoyt

 
The weather gods smiled on the 24th Annual Great Chefs of Los Angeles “Go Green, Go Organic” event, where threatening skies turned into warm afternoon sunshine. The event featuring food, wine, beer and fun benefitted the National Kidney Foundation. Since its inception in 1987, it has raised more than $4.5 million.

Featured Great Chefs included Adam Horton from Saddle Peak Lodge, named one of our Rising Chefs, who prepared braised wild boar with leek soubise; Matt Carpenter of Momed, who wowed the crowd with his duck shwarma; and Onil Chibás & Alberto Morales of Elements Kitchen who cleverly crossed cultures with their satisfying marinated flank steak kimchi tacos. The most memorable food product of the day: Sushi Poppers!

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