Happy Fat Tuesday

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And Wednesday, and Thursday, and Friday………………

I will be leaving for New Orleans for the first time on Friday and am so excited. I have never been there and this will be my longest road trip. Let me know if there is any unmissable food in N’Awlins, El Paso, or anywhere else in between.

Other upcoming events:

-Josie and I will be at Fred’s Mexican Cafe on Wednesday for College Night with $1 drink specials.

-We just got tickets to Jonathon Gold’s (aka Los Angeles Food God) Gold Standard Event which will feature tastings from 30 of his favorite LA restaurants along with wine and beer samplings.

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Oscar Weekend

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Thursday

Josie kicked off the festivities at the 6th Annual Global Green Pre-Oscar Party in Hollywood on Thursday. The event was co-hosted by Penelope Cruz, Leonardo Dicaprio, Salma Hayek, and Edward Norton with preformances by Gavin Rossdale and Sheryl Crow.

Saturday

The funny thing about that was on Sunday I happened to stumble on the Tour of California -famous for being the race where Lance Armstrong rides again. I am not really fans of either but I do thank Lance for bringing broccoli bundle bracelets to mainstream and much more seriously on how much he has done for cancer research and prevention. I am not a bike rider and after my walk in the Rose Bowl lead me to giant yellow balloons, vendor tents, police cars, followed by cars with extra bikes on the roofs, followed by swarms of bikes going god knows how fast; you better believed I screamed as I shot a picture.

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Later that Saturday, the boyfriend was up to compete in a race of his own. He, like Lance Armstrong, was contending to hold his title. It seems last year he won the Edward Fortyhands Contest in celebration of Dr. Dre Day. Edward Fortyhands is when you get taped up with a 40 in each hand and have to out drink your opponent. He had been in training mode for the week prior (well really for his whole life) and after another hungover breakfast with Josie at Novel Cafe aka Awkward Turtle Cafe and a couple of morning beers and food to stretch the stomach he was in good shape. Especially after our walk in the Rose Bowl and staring at people in spandex. However, this year and at this point in his life he is with a foodie (me) and plans change. Josie was kind enough to gives us enormous amount of beef bourguignon, chilean seabass, and awesome bread pudding. The plan was for him was to stop eating early so he would have room for 80 ounces of hooch. However, with the delicious aroma of Josie’s food and my Jewish mother pushing food skills and guilt, he caved and ate. He, like Lance Armstrong, lost his title. Lance came in 7th. My boyfriend didn’t even compete, he simply bowed out and said, “I have a pound of bread pudding in my stomach, there is no way”. The person he beat last year is now the winner. Although I believe that he is the winner because now he is with me! I was actually at Dr. Dre Day last year but didn’t know him, see him, and left before the big contest. I left early this year too, this time in tears and overwhelmed with finals week, homework and papers to write, and getting ready for the biggest roadtrip of my life thus far. I did stay to see the contest and the new winner be named.

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After Josie and I had our big lunch at Drago Centro we hit up Lucky Baldwins for the Belgian Beer Fest. I don’t remember what our favorite bartender hooked us up with but I have come to love the chicken and vegetable curry pasties. We then got a sneak peak at Jesse Gomez, a friend of a friend’s, almost opened new restaurant Yxta. We loved the decor, liked what we saw of the menu (didn’t try any food), and loved their cucumber mojito that kept coming all night. My only two complaints are that they 86-ed someone close to me and that the mirror in the ladies room was way too high – I may be 5’3 but I shouldn’t have to jump to see myself. Anyway, a very cool space and we can’t wait to go back when it opens and try the food. It looks like Wednesday is the big opening day!

Sunday

After waking up and meeting a classmate in the wee AM hours to study for my Accounting Final (today, ahhhh!) I came home, napped, and called Josie. I told her that we should do something for the Academy Awards and party plan. I then said I was in Uggs and wasn’t planning on changing and maybe we could do an uncouth Oscar viewing party somewhere.

Carina: I don’t know what you are wearing but I like the idea of everyone in ball gowns and tuxes and us all disgusting somewhere watching them.

Josie: Are you kidding? I am wearing a flannel and a beanie.

Carina: Perfect!

When Josie came by we had the difficult task of finding a place that would show the Academy Awards, let us eat and drink, and have wifi so we could do some work. Those were our only requirements and like a slot machine it was a challenge to get all three. We called a couple of places that said, “This is a sports bar sweetie, there is no way” and “We can turn it on, but no sound”. We then hit the jackpot, Fred’s Mexican Cafe, who kindly said, “We can accommodate you”. When we arrived was during a Lakers game so they put us in a great booth with our own TV. When I realized that there was no outlet nearby and that my computer was dead, the bartender allowed me to charge my computer by the bar. Later our waitress hooked us up with a new table that had a great wifi connection, a bigger private TV that we could make louder, and a free Oscar tequila shot. We were well taken care of, I had a couple of Diva margaritas and a shrimp caesar salad and Josie had some PBR, tortilla soup, and a carne asada quesadilla. It was perfect!

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After the waitress took our picture:

Josie: How do we look?

Carina: Homeless

Josie: Perfect!

We are thinking of a spring UG party on the first day of Spring, March. 20th. Save the date and we will give you more details soon.

Dine LA: Drago Centro

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First: I love that you can see us in this photo, it was a strange surprise.

Josie and I were very excited to dine at Drago Centro for lunch on Friday. Celestino Drago is an amazing chef who recently had Stefan, of Top Chef fame, working under him at his other restaurant, Enoteca Drago. Drago Centro opened the end of November with a $7 million dollar budget. It just received a very creditable 2.5 stars from the LAT. The LAT warns that the restaurant is nearly impossible to park at and find. Josie found this out the hard way by parking across the street and paying $58 for less than 2 hours. I, luckily, valeted for $5 with validation.

Anyway, on to the important part of the day…the food.

These were are Dine LA lunch choices for $28 a person:

Josie:

first course
rigatoni, smoked pork jowl, onions, tomatoes, pecorino

second course
veal milanese, lentil ragout, caper berries

third course
ricotta cheesecake

Carina:

first course
rigatoni, smoked pork jowl, onions, tomatoes, pecorino

second course
wild mushroom risotto

third course
chocolate mousse, pistachios

We also added the venison carpaccio appetizer which was easily the best part of the meal. Service was fantastic, the food was good, we are sure that if we looked through the whole menu we could have ordered far better mind blowing food. Unfortunately, the rigatoni was one of two pasta made not on site and it was sadly noticeable. However, we were thoroughly impressed by the wine cellar in the middle of the restaurant and the private dining room which was an old bank vault.

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Uncouth Moment: When I arrived at the restaurant 5 minutes after the reservation and went straight to the hostess and said “Ost, party of 2” she then pointed to Josie, who was in sweats with a Hef in the bar. She waved to me and I as I walked over an eager woman arose and said, “Hi, I am Vanessa”. I nervously shook her hand and said, “pleasure to meet you”. Josie was in the back laughing and the woman embarrassed said, “Oh, I thought you were my blind date”.

Gourmand Moment: Having one of the managers act as our sommelier for the meal and our very own private tour of the vault room.

Love is in the Air and Food is in the Belly

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After last Saturday’s long night out on the town we were ready to do a mellow V-Day. The UG ladies were put to shame on the dance floor when only my BF could work the stripper pole. Yup, this was the night when you may have received our blog address on a napkin at Barneys Beanery.

Josie and I decided only a few days before Valentine’s Day to have our first annual UG V-Day Dinner. This means that the day before, Feb 13th, we sat at Starbucks and planned a 5-course menu. We tried to be clever and cutesy in adding things like hearts of palm, artichoke heart dip, special ruby slip cocktails, blood oranges, and scalloped potatoes and croûtons in the shape of the heart.

It was a great concept except it was way too much food for the amount of people, it was last minute, and feeling like a stuffed piggy doesn’t make you feel oh-so-romantic.

Oh well, it was delicious and food always comes first!

Pictures and our menu will follow.

Also don’t forget to join our group on Facebook.

Watch Out: Waistline and Wallet

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Dine LA week has been extended until February 28th

Get a second helping of dineLA Restaurant Week at over 100 restaurants that have chosen to extend their special dineLA menus and pricing throughout the month of February.

Note: This photo was from a “fashion show” we attended in Prague

UG on the Grammys (live blogging)

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I have to say, I am an enormous fan of the giant gold banana elevator that took Katy Perry on the stage. I also loved the use of fruit on her set and on her dress. Josie and I were just talking about how much we liked her and how she is the “New Gwen Stefani”. Everything from the fruit innuendos to the uncouthness about kissing a girl represents what we at the Uncouth Gourmands stand for.

The performance right after, Kanye and Estelle singing, “American Boy”, also made me quite happy because it was playing at every bar and club we went into in Europe. Despite us being American Girls, we were always serenaded with that song. Especially by these girls from Manchester who we ended up having a boob contest with, don’t ask.

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I am not going to provide photographical evidence but, trust me, the Americans won.

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Holy Shit! M.I.A is amazing. Today was her due date and she is still performing. Josie and I woke up and we were hungover (both), burpy (Josie), crampy (Carina) and we could barely make it through brunch. We had to be dropped off and picked up in front of the restaurant.

10:35 Okay, they just announced that the man in the White House is a Grammy winner. They also proposed a Secretary of the Arts. I approve but how about a Secretary of Eating and Dining. I have two busty brunettes that would love to take that position.

10:41 Tribute to the Four Tops is awesome! Especially Mr. Smokey Robinson

10:47 The Jewish Elvis aka Neil Diamond is rockin’. I am so lucky I saw him live at the Staples center a couple of years ago.

11:04 Paying tribute to New Orleans. Paying extra attention because the boyfriend and I decided to go in about 3 weeks and will be staying with my bestie Miss d’Auria

Okay stealing this line from the MTV Live Grammy Blogging:

11:10 Will.I.Am and T. Pain have a Wacky Hat Competition. We all lose.

11:25 Grammy for Album of the Year goes to Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, not that interesting. Robert Plant is like the Mickey Rourke of the Grammys in terms of haggardness.

Stevie Wonder closing out. Finally Over.

Special Note: If you are reading this because you received a napkin from Josie and/or I at Barney’s last night that said “Call me: uncouthgourmands.wordpress.com” we want to thank you for following through. We appreciate it and you have found a great community of food lovers that are the kind of people that write their blog address on napkins and pass it out to strangers before last call.

Restaurant Week: The Dining Room at the Langham

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So Dine LA Restaurant Week continues and last night we hit up the Dining Room at the Langham. The Langham took over the Ritz Carlton Pasadena about a year ago and the Dining Room is the only hotel restaurant in LA with a Michelin Star.

Josie got stuck in that mess on the 134 yesterday and I was embarrassed giving my car to the valet with the intense smell of nachos that permeated it left over from lunch. Oh well, we made it, grabbed a drink at the bar before dinner and met up with our dining companion, our local neighborhood bartender at Lucky Baldwins (our favorite beer bar). Apprarently, our bartender had either served or slept with everyone at the Langham because we were hooked up left and right. We got a delicious lentil and ahi salad, a green tea and rose hip panna cota, and awesome wine pairings on top of our regular 3 courses. Here was their special Dine LA menu:

$44 Dinner

DINNER
Appetizers
Choice 1 Squash Blossom Tempura – Stuffed with Brandade, Microgreens and Romesco Sauce
Choice 2 Motnerey Baby Calamari – Bread-Stuffed and Sauteed, served with Aioli Sauce, Arugula Salad, Parmesan, Lemon Dressing
Choice 3 Heirloom Tomato Carpaccio – Mixed Greens with Balsamic Vinaigrette and Aged Goat Cheese
Entrees
Choice 1 Catalan Cod – Torta Espanola, French Green Beans, Chorizo, Brown Clamshell Mushrooms, Escabeche and Olive Oil Chive Broth
Choice 2 Farm Raised Pheasant Breast and Leg Confit – Salsify, Pecan Cream, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Pumpkin Froth and Truffle Vinaigrette
Choice 3 Muscovy Duck Breast – Sauteed wtih Duck Leg Confit, served with Basil Potato Mousseline, Cipollini Onions and Huckleberry Sauce
Desserts
Choice 1 Poached Pear and Hazelnut Cake – With Dulce de Leche Mousse and Creme Fraiche Ice Cream
Choice 2 Milk Chocolate and Cardamom Mousse – With Banana Fritter and Myer’s Rum Ice Cream
Choice 3 Apple Creme Brulee – Cinnamon Ice Cream and Pastry Garnish

We all got different appetizers and our bartender who tried all three, said Josie’s carpaccio was the best. She never gave me a bite, so I can neither confirm nor deny but I liked my calamari. Jose and I both had the duck and the apple creme brulee and I think we made smart choices as they were delicious. Especially, the basil potatoes under the duck, those were phenomenal.

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Our dining companion was an awesome addition because not only did he know most of the wait staff, he also introduced us to a fabulous hybrid, a champagne beer called DeuS. It would have easily been my favorite drink of the night but then his friend, the sommelier, gave us a dessert wine that left us all speechless. It was lovely, a sonnet, a poem, and everything else with rainbows and hearts. Sorry, I don’t remember the name but I do remember that we were the same age, yes, the bottle and I. Anyway, it was just fabulous. Our whole service for the evening was equally spectacular. Whenever a new course would come out we would each have our own waiter to lay our plate down in perfect unison. Josie’s favorite line of the night is when I only had a fork and a spoon and couldn’t cut my apple which acted as the bowl for my creme brulee. I said, “Where are my four waiters? I need a knife”. Our dinner date said, “Here, I’ll cut it for you. I feel like you are my 5 year old daughter”.

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I was thrilled to have my dessert back in my hands and in bites sized pieces that could go directly into my mouth. Overall, a great night. The Langham is shockingly beautiful and the service is impeccable. Also don’t forget to hit up Lucky Baldwins between February 14- March 1 for the 10th Annual Belgium Beer Festival; I am sure we will be there – maybe daily