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Thursday, January 15, 2009

DineLA Week Kicks Off With Press Conference at The Bazaar by Jose Andres

Mayor Antonio Villagarosa officially launched dineLA week today at a press conference held at SLS Hotel. Held in front of a raucous crowd of press and LA chefs, the Mayor introduced, among others, speakers Chef Jose Andres of The Bazaar and Chef Evan Kleinman of Angeli Caffe.
Chefs Andres and Kleinman captivated the crowd with brief story telling and charm, as they conveyed the importance of what has become one of LA's most exciting dining events.
DineLA Restaurant Week, in its second year, is the annual event held by LA INC. The Los Angeles Convention and Visitor's Bureau and American Express. The event features over 160 participating restaurants in LA. Each restaurant will be offering prix-fixe lunches for $16-$28 and dinners for $26-$44. The event will be held two consecutive weeks, on January 25-30, 2009 and February 1-6, 2009. Participants such as The Bazaar, Valentino, STK, Patina and Grace head the formidable list of LA dining options.
At the conclusion of the press conference, Chef Andres presented Mayor Villaigarosa with his interpretation of a Philly Cheesesteak, then invited the crowd into The Bazaar for food and drink. Waitstaff passed around "liquid olives", Philly Cheesesteaks, King Crab with Raspberry, Croquetas de Polla, and a variety of other tapas. The Jamon bar was in full swing, with chefs slicing Jamon Iberico straight from the leg.

Some of the chefs mingling in the crowd included Ben Ford(Ford's Filling Station), Neil Fraser(Grace), Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feninger(Ciudad), Piero Selvaggio(Valentino), Joachim Splichal(The Patina Restaurant Group) and Kerry Simon(Simon LA).

We were able to get a few minutes with Chef Andres, who continued his conversation with us about cooking and creativity, as well as Chef Ford, whom we thanked again for the amazing confit of suckling pig dinner he cooked for us. We also ran into Joshua of FoodGPS.com, who was a participant in our Shibucho red wine and sushi pairing.

The press conference was like no other we'd been to before, with Chef Andres again playing the gracious host. Upon exiting, two stations serving up goodbye snacks provided caviar cones and liquid nitrogen dipped popcorn bites. The popcorn bites were expecially entertaining, with Executive Pastry Chef Michael Gillet dipping the bites into liquid nitrogen, then instructing us to put the bite into our mouths and only biting down once our mouths were closed. The resulting puffs of 'smoke' coming out of our noses was fun and a great way to close the event.

DineLA week, as expressed by the Mayor, is a great opportunity to try the many dining options LA has to offer, for a great price tag. Although the economy is sagging, it's a great reminder of some the more positive things life has to offer. Being able to eat some amazing meals created by some amazing chefs for great prices...it's a once a year chance. I'm making my reservations asap...I suggest you do the same!


H. C. said...

Glad the conference and reception turned out well :) (and kicking myself for not making it) -- I already got my DineLA reservations locked down :)

FoodDigger said...

H.C., thanks for forwarding the invite! We were hoping to see you there, but we'll try to catch up with you at the next FD event. Where did you make reservations for?

H. C. said...

I am in for the four on my top-tier list on my DineLA post: Water Grill, Bazaar, Angeli Caffe and Akasha -- I may wound up at Comme Ca or Cube Marketplace / Cafe too, but that's up in the air for now :)

FoodDigger said...

Sounds good. I can't wait to read about what your thoughts are of The Bazaar. We're trying to decide which ones to sign up for. So many choices and so little time!

kevinEats said...

Very cool, especially being able to reconnect with chefs Andres and Ford again. How does one gain access to events like this?

FoodDigger said...

Hey Kevin. dineLA reached out to a number of bloggers for last year's inaugural press conference, and continued that trend for this year's event at The Bazaar.

We have H.C. of www.la-oc-foodie.blogspot.com to thank, as he forwarded his invite to us. Keep doing what you're doing and I'm sure you'll get an invite for the next one!