Tapas & Zapatos

From left to right: Sophie Gayot, pastry chef Quentin Welch, sous chef Mario Medina, Lucas Paya
From left to right: Sophie Gayot, pastry chef Quentin Welch, sous chef Mario Medina, Lucas Paya

by Sophie Gayot

 

I just returned from an intense culinary trip at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Part one of my eating journey started with dinner at chef José Andrés’s restaurant Jaleo. As it’s an Andrés restaurant, you can expect Spanish cuisine, but be sure that something unusual will happen during the course of the evening.

 

Find a seating area to suit your mood — note that the bar is not for sushi but for tapas. One of the dining tables is actually a foosball table with players from F.C. Barcelona and Real Madrid all dressed up.. The choices on the menu are quite numerous, so let the staff guide you in making your selections.

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East LA Meets Napa

Pork carnitas taco
Pork carnitas taco

by Barnaby Hughes


Have you ever paired spicy tacos with a Napa Cabernet? This combination works surprisingly well! At “East LA Meets Napa,” dozens of Latino-owned Napa Valley wineries poured their wines alongside tacos, tamales and enchiladas served by East LA restaurants. Held on July 8, 2011, among the beautiful colonial-style courtyards of Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, this food and wine tasting event benefitted AltaMed, a health care network serving Southern California. Live salsa music added to the Latin sabor, giving couples an excuse to dance the night away.

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Get in the Mix at The Mulberry Project

Crispy pork belly
Crispy pork belly

by Meryl Pearlstein


In the heart of New York’s Little Italy, you’ll find a bit of the determined immigrant spirit taking hold in an entirely new manner. Down a few steps through an unmarked door at 149 Mulberry St. sits an über-cool drink emporium with cuisine that’s as exciting as anywhere in Manhattan or Brooklyn.


The brainchild of chef Michael “Kiwi” Camplin, formerly of Boqueria and one of the most charming New Zealanders you’ll ever meet, The Mulberry Project seems almost a throwback to Prohibition days, with a speakeasy setting that’s at the same time lush and welcoming. Black cushion banquettes or stools at the shiny metal bar are the seats in demand to watch the parade of cocktails and little plates that comprise a meal here (as well as the beautiful clientele who have discovered this gem). Charming and knowledgeable Italian and French bartenders skilled in molecular mixology create cocktails from a list of fresh fruit and herbs – you give a hint of the type of base you want (vodka, tequila, gin) and your mood, and they’ll do the rest.

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And Chef Jeff Mahin Re-Invents Pizza

by Sophie Gayot


UPDATE 05/13: Stella Rossa Pizza Bar has changed its name to Stella Barra.

When I read the bio of chef Jeff Mahin, I was intrigued. By the age of 27, he had trained at The Fat Duck in England, Nobu in New York and Arzak in Spain. Mahin is now making pizzas in Santa Monica, Calif., for the reputable restaurant group Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (among 41 dining concepts, they own Everest, a 2011 GAYOT.com Top 40 US Restaurant, and L2O, a 2010 GAYOT.com Top 40 US Restaurant). He is also a partner in the company. I decided to head to Stella Rossa Pizza Bar and see what these pizzas were all about.

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Did You Say Mussels?

by Sophie Gayot


I had to fly to Paris to discover a French restaurant in downtown Culver City, California! How did that happen? On the plane, I happened to be sitting next to the father of Cécile Cornic, who with her husband Sébastien, owns Meet Restaurant. He told me how successful it was, and how Sébastien wanted to open more places, so I dined there upon my return to Los Angeles. I finally understood what Cécile’s father was saying about the bistro. In LA, you cannot just open another restaurant because the first location is successful; you have to have a concept. And there definitely is one here: mussels!

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