The Shrimp Incident

IMG_0782

Josie has recently categorized herself as Jew-Curious and part of that decision has included falling in love with my second favorite show, Curb Your Enthusiasm. In an episode entitled “The Shrimp Incident,” Larry David’s character thinks that a network executive stole some of his shrimp after their orders are switched. Josie’s shrimp incident was more serious, but just as comical. After a meeting with our business mentor, Barrett, at Urth Caffe downtown we headed to a second business meeting/dinner with our other mentor Chuck. Chuck knows everyone and everything in business, food, and Pasadena and we adore that about him. Chuck is like the Mayor; he knows everyone. We hope to one day be as well-connected as Chuck. We went to New Moon in Montrose and for the first time ever in UG history we arrived 20 minutes early. We sat down and then had our menus removed as Chuck had already planned the menu. Josie is allergic to fish and shellfish so she was sure to double-check that she would be able to eat dinner. The waiter was as nice as can be and made some substitutions. Chuck arrived with a nice bottle of wine from his collection and shocked the staff with this bottle that contained a pyrex cork; the wine is from his friend’s winery, Oakville Cross. Chuck told us the cork had a metal ring in it that was developed for space and that it’s supposed to be the best. Chuck has the best taste, so what good enough for NASA is good enough for the UG’s.

IMG_0781

When the appetizers arrived we had eggrolls that the waiter pointed at and said, “Don’t touch this” to Josie. She had barbecue pork as her appetizer. Chuck asked if I liked Chinese food, I responded by saying, “Of course, I do, I am Jewish”. He laughed and said, “Oh yeah, why is that always true?” I have contemplated that question for a long time and Food Marathon has also pondered it in his blog. More than half way through an utterly delicious eggroll I said, “I think this is vegetarian, I am tasting zero shrimp in here.” Josie had a bite and began itching and was feeling very uncomfortable. I was wrong and I almost killed my partner: business not life. Chuck and I gave Josie the advice to just keep on eating. She did and I did. I felt guilt and was nervously eating. The food was quite good. I prefer eating chinese food in San Gabriel and in places where no english is spoken but as far as Americanized Chinese food goes this is some of the very best. The combination of eating plenty of food, mostly rice, and laughing caused Josie to not need to be raced to a hospital. Chuck gave us great advice and attempted to help us with relationship advice. We said, “People tell us all the time that when people read our blog that they think we are lesbians.” He said, “Maybe you two should start taking pictures with other people, not just the two of you. Also don’t go to the bathroom at the same time. Josie wait until Carina comes out before you go in.” He also grabbed us a male waiter/actor/model to take a picture with us. It was good food, a good night, and the best staff that offered to run across the street to buy Josie a Benadryl. If you are having any kind of emergency this is exactly the kind of place you want to be at…plenty of great food to dilute the allergy and a staff that is bending over backwards to help.

IMG_0783

IMG_0787

Later the next day, Chuck took us to a direct marketing seminar hosted by the DMA at the Embassy Suites in Arcadia. The place wasn’t so “hot”, but the seminar was good. They talked in detail about marketing on twitter and facebook, which is a lot what the UG’s have been doing and have been moderately successful with. Chuck is a VERY successful investor so he’s helping us put together a plan for UG business success (and boy, do we need it).

Advertisements

Beer and Dessert…Yes Please

Girls at Dessert Decadence

When I woke up on Friday, I really had no clue what I was going to do for the weekend. I knew I was going to see Josie sousin’ it up in Chef Ludo’s kitchen on Friday but that is where my plans ended. Josie and I are actually fairly booked up on weekends but this one was full of possibilities. We were thrilled when we got an email from Dan of Drink:Eat:Play offering us two great events on two weekend days. The first event was a charity event that involved beer and lots of it for a good cause. It was the Brew Haw Haw that benefited the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation on Saturday at the Autry. The second event was Dessert Decadence on Sunday hosted by Drink: Eat: Play.

Josie works at the Kitchen for Exploring Foods on Saturdays so I knew she wouldn’t be able to attend the beer event and invited my new Pasadena blogging friend, Christina, of Hot Pink Manolos. I had to promise her I wasn’t trying to make her my new bff after spending all of the night before with her. What can I say? She is a fun girl that likes to eat and drink, that is like everything I look for in a friend. She agreed to come but we were both hungover from all the wine the night before from Noir Food and Wine, Third Stop, LudoBites, and then I continued on to Tony’s for some whiskey. When she called I recommended we get some food first and took her to Huarache Azteca where I went with Josie earlier this month. It was delicious and she was stuffed but now we had a problem. We had 30 minutes to kill and didn’t want to be early for the Brew Haw Haw. I have a couple membership for the LA Zoo from an old relationship and recommended that we go there. It was excruciatingly hot but the Zoo is one of my favorite place you must read my review. The key to having fun at the zoo is embracing all of the complaining that you will hear/partake in. This kangaroo says it all:

IMG_2472

When we arrived at the Brew Haw Haw, nothing felt better than a nice cold one. There was a great announcer, a silent auction, a band, some snacks and food, and plenty of beer. Just sitting under an umbrella on a sunny summer day was perfection. My only complaint was having to get up to fill my glass. I am a cider lover so was a big fan of the Strongbow and raspberry cider booth, as a Chosen One I am a big fan of the Chosen Beer-He’Brew which had a booth, and as a girl with a great sense of smell (possibly part of being Jewish) I loved the lavender White Orchard beer from The Bruery. It was a great day and I was so happy to go and support a cause that is so serious. On a funny note I did find a guy there that was wearing a shirt that read: Sun’s Out, Guns Out!

IMG_2481

IMG_2475

IMG_2478

After beer and sunshine I was in need of a nap. I went home and rested and Josie made up for my beer fun by hitting up Lucky Baldwins in Pasadena for the dark artisan beers. She was a big fan of the x-mas strong ales. Don’t forget beer enthusiasts, Lucky Baldwins has their annual Belgian Beer Fest August 15th-30th. Anyway, I stayed home and purchased an airline ticket to Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, and Tokyo in October for a graduation/birthday trip. FYI, I am totally ready and awaiting restaurant/food tips. The next day, Sunday, Josie went shopping in downtown and I had a school study group. We met at Hollywood & Highland about a half an hour before the Dessert Decadence event. I felt the need for real food and grabbed a hot dog before indulging in desserts. Dan thought it was hilarious that I thought hot dogs were “real food”. I found it hilarious that when I told Josie she said she just grabbed a bacon wrapped one in downtown and ate in on the way there. Josie found it hilarious that I brought my hot dog into the Louis Vuitton store and snuck bites when the guard wasn’t looking. We walked into the Renaissance Hotel and were so impressed by the giant room of sweets.

IMG_2483

Alright, on to the sweets! One of our favorites and the first thing we tried was the peanut butter and jelly rice krispy treat from Milk & Krunchies. Upon eating this I said, “Forget the bread, this is how all PB &J’s should be served!”

IMG_2513

Another favorite was the giant and shockingly moist red velvet cupcakes from Swirls Cupcakes. Double-points to the owner for friending me on Facebook before even meeting me.

IMG_2511

Our favorite display and flavor creativity came from Layers Cupcakes and their grapefruit and hibiscus cupcake. The thing that kept me hydrated throughout the event was the Naja iced tea. Imagine my happiness when I learned that Layers and Naja joined forces to create tea-infused cupcakes or CuppaTeacakes.

IMG_2505

We were also really into ice cream, gelato, and sorbet that day. The Strawberry Port Wine gelato from Paciugo and the cucumber sorbet from Carmela Ice Cream were delish! Another favorite of ours was the popcorn panacotta and the mango and coconut tapioca with a meringue on top from Cafe Del Rey.

IMG_2496

IMG_2488

IMG_2485
Josie is not that big of a dessert person and was sad with how much she was unable to finish. She kept saying,” If this was meat or cheese, I could do so much better!” I also managed to spill my favorite dessert at the exact time Josie took a picture of me. We do not make up our uncouthness.

IMG_2500IMG_2495

I also commented on how my hair was pulling a Josie, falling directly in front of my face. But one of our favorite parts of the event was meeting a magician named Derek Hughes. He did a lighter trick that made me scream and a card trick that made Josie yell, “Are you the Anti-Christ?” After he left with his girlfriend, I looked at Josie and said, “I want to have sex with a magician!” She nodded and without skippimg a beat replied, “Me too”

Anyway, it was a fantastic weekend brought to us by our new friend Dan-who is solely responsible for my social calendar. Get ready for his LA Sake Fest on August 15!

Also, if you were able to get tickets to Food GPS’s LA Beer Float Showdown you, too, were also able to enjoy a beer and dessert filled weekend.

Ludo Bites: Part Deux with Josie as Sous

IMG_2434

Josie’s Tale:

Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone who wanted to come and witness my debut, but were sadly turned away due to a full house (I tend to have that effect when I sous:)) Secondly, thank you to those of you who not only made it out, but also opened up your pocketbook just to cheer me on. Thank you!

Friday started with an impromptu lunch at Carina’s old stomping ground bistro, Blair’s, in Silverlake. Carina wanted to talk business but I was tired and groggy. I had three hours sleep the night before and was wondering how the hell I was going to endure a long night of dinner service. I could’ve easily ducked below the table top and slept; the only reason I didn’t was because I wanted to show off the new t-shirt I scored in the Blogger Prom goodie bag (it says, “Born to” on the front and “Blog” on the back). Damn, those guys are smart. I had the gruyere panini and Carina had the barbecue chicken sandwich with a side of mac and cheese. I was unimpressed by my dainty sandwich, but Carina really enjoyed her manwich. All together we spent $60 for a pretty meager lunch. I was most disappointed by the $12 glass of below average white wine that came to me upon recommendation from the waiter. I swear, some people have shit for brains. I left indifferent with the food, beverage, and service. As we left, the couple coming into the restaurant looked strangely at us, or maybe it was my shirt…But I looked over at Carina and jokingly said, “When people look at you weird, do you think it’s because they recognize us?” She laughed uncontrollably and we got into my car. Like my perpetual self, I left late. I was supposed to be at Ludo’s at 4, but it was 2:30 and I was about to sit in some very mortifying traffic.

IMG_2418

But now, my Ludo tale….

Bolstered with two Red Bulls in hand, I swept as quickly as I could through traffic and still managed to get there 30 or so minutes late (I am seriously incapable of being on time). When I did get there, everyone had already been working for three hours. So you I’m sure you could imagine how much of a putz I felt like for being so late. Nonetheless, they got me straight to work, but not before a little bit of teasing. I, like always, showed up in hair & make-up and wearing my “Born to Blog” tee. I’m a UG so I always like to look effortlessly striking anywhere I go…..

IMG_2452

The French are known to be the biggest antagonists in history, however, I was delighted to see how wonderful an example Chef Ludo’s kitchen was of the contrary. There was no bickering, yelling or demoralizing. In fact, we laughed, ate, and drank! But make no mistake, his male and female teammates were playful, meticulous, and congruent.

Below is a pic of Ludo blaring Tupac Shakur and turning the lights on and off. He’s so silly!

Ludo

Shrouded behind a tough guy persona, Chef Ludo is an interesting cook. He is sweet, funny, humble, but most of all, extremely talented. As a measure of his own craziness, the menu carefully changes everyday. In fact, he tweets the most random of thoughts throughout the day. This was one of @chefludo ‘s latest tweets “I am not happy with my snails tonight. I will not sleep tonight because of the damn snails. Merde” but mid-service he retweeted “Snails are perfect tonight. I am so happy. I love my snails.” Too funny, right?

First thing I had to do was to mince a copious amount garlic. About 30 cloves into mincing, I turned to Ludo and said, “Why don’t you just buy peeled garlic? You’re giving me carpal tunnel!” He mouthed something in French and smiled at me. To which I replied, “Why do I feel like I am at the nail salon? I swear those Vietnamese girls talk and laugh about me and I think you’re doing the same thing.” He chuckled and told me to keep mincing. After that arduous task, I got to move on to guess what? Another arduous task. I sat behind a box (that seemed larger than I) and cleaned chanterelle mushrooms with a paring knife for what seemed like days. Upon finishing that, dinner service began…

5889_132677245759_533915759_3110075_5213306_n-1

I moved up front with my amigo who was in charge of first courses. I stayed there for the remainder of the night assembling tiny little treasures like salads, scallops, and ahi dishes. I did pretty well with the assembling, but my only mortification came from one thing: salt seasoning. As you may already know, I’m kind of a “salt whore”, so the task of under-seasoning took all the power and restraint in the world to hold back. Luckily, I managed to contain myself for the evening. Despite the fact that there were only three French nationals in the kitchen, I was amazed that almost everyone in Ludo’s kitchen spoke in French. In the restaurant world everyone speaks Spanish, even the Gringos! The Gringos speak “kitchen Spanish”, but nonetheless they all communicate in a similar language. In Ludo’s kitchen everyone speaks at a bare minimum “kitchen French.” I, despite having lived with a French man (roommate not lover-unfortunately) for two and half years never picked it up as well as I should have. I was really amused that everyone in the kitchen referred to Ludo as “Chef”; I renamed that night- I renamed him, “Saadam.” He didn’t like that so much, but it’s evidence of the fun we had all night. Even when he did speak English, I couldn’t understand him. He’d say something to me in English and I’d antagonize him by saying, “Can you please speak English?” he’d respond, “I am speaking English, silly girl!” Hehehehe.

DSC02974

Patrons flooded in at intermittent intervals, and there were lulls throughout the night, but we were mostly busy.  Last table seating was at 11P or so, which meant that we were going to get out of there pretty late after clean-up (1:30AM, to be exact).

Dinner service was rough. By the end of the night, my hands and feet were hurting. I don’t know how it is they do it? I just couldn’t imagine having the energy to that everyday. Ludo, you and your teammates are tough.

Carina’s Tale:

DSC02970

I was getting my car serviced at Toyota of Glendale and Josie picked me up for a quick bite. She was tired and nervous and I was starving. We ate lunch and in the car she told me this silly story about Christina of Hot Pink Manolos texting her and her thinking it was someone else. It was hilarious and it seemed Christina wanted to go to Ludo Bites to see Josie but was told the same thing I was-that they restaurant was completely booked. I had no doubt I was going to go and I texted Christina to see if she wanted to go anyway with me. She was totally down and as a Pasadena local we decided to carpool. I thought we should go to the restaurant at 9:30 and she agreed and would be meeting another friend there. I was sitting at home on my computer and texted Josie to see how she was doing. There was no response and I was slightly concerned for her. Around 6:20 I received two texts from her, that read:

Someone got yelled at 4 using the phone. I’m in the bathrm. Someone asked who I came in with last time and I said, “My baby mama.” haha. I am a riot here. Jokester has arrived. Tweet this for me, please! Gotta Go!

I was laughing but I listened to my master’s orders and logged on to Twitter. I couldn’t believe it as soon as I, a Twit, tweeted I noticed that Chef Ludo had just done the exact same thing. His tweet said:

@chefludo running late for service b/c Josie @uncouthgourmand was busy putting on make-up. girls….

Christina was tweeting to me as well to see if I could read all of this silliness and of course I could and could not stop laughing. I called Christina to see if she wanted to meet up earlier to check out a new wine bar in Pasadena that was going to do a soft-soft-opening. She happily obliged. She picked me up, I asked her for shoe advice, must I mention her blog name again-Hot Pink Manolos, and we headed on out. Noir Food and Wine is on Mentor just above Colorado Blvd. next to the Ice House and my favorite consignment shop, Ritz Resale, which is next to a medical marijuana store. Anyway, the $50 Dior skirt suit deals are made more entertaining by the pungent aroma that enters from their neighbors. We walked right in, got a seat at the bar, and were poured some of very nice glasses of wine by the sommelier, Jared. We were also introduced to the owner, Mike, who was part of  Vertical Wine Bar and opened Wine Bar 112 and Red Carpet Wine Bar in the past. It was clear that Mike knew two things: wine and the area. When Jared showed us his pride and joy, the wine list, he had to admit that most of the list was made by Mike. In case you haven’t gotten it yet from their name, Pinot Noir is their main wine. It takes up a good 4 pages of the wine list.

IMG_2419

The whole experience was so enjoyable; we got some complimentary appetizers and upon talking to the staff it became clear that everyone had worked for Mike before in some capacity or at one of his older projects. This was also the first time I had hung out with Christina alone and she was cracking me up telling me about the texts from Josie and her inner dialogue saying, “I am not who Josie thinks I am…just please don’t text me anything dirty”. We left with more than a couple of glasses in our system and while we were exiting Mike was sitting outside with a man who was down on his luck. I asked Mike for a picture with him and the man, whom I am sure has not had a nice bite to eat or a fine wine to drink in quite a while, said that he would love to be in the picture as well. I was groped a little bit but it was all quite nice. Christina and I both mentioned what a kind gesture that was of Mike, and how we gained so much more respect for him. The restaurant will open sometime between this Friday and next Tuesday and I really can’t wait to go back. Small space but unusually friendly people and great wine.

IMG_2420

I received another text from Josie saying that there had been some cancellations and to come in at 9:30 as planned. I texted her back asking her to put us on the list for 3. Christina and I got to LudoBites around 9:50 and her friend had been waiting awhile. I talked to Chef Ludo’s wife and told her we had a reservation. She looked perplexed and said, “Are you sure? I talked to you on the phone the other day and said that we were all booked up”. I said, “Yes, but Josie put us down for 9:30”. Josie peaked out from the kitchen and said, “Sorry, I haven’t been allowed to look at my phone.” Anyway, his wife is the best and said we could have a table in a half an hour. We ( Christina, her friend Elise, and I) all walked to Third Stop for yet another glass of wine. It was here that I said my funniest line of the night, “OMG, I am so hungry! I haven’t eaten anything since lunch…wait, is that normal?” The girls were laughing and Christina said that was definitely going in her blog.

IMG_2422

We walked back to Ludo Bites and were so ready to eat. We ordered a lot, almost as much as Jonathon Gold did the first night we were there. We had the heirloom salad, the green bean and apple salad, the escargot, the lobster medallions, the polenta and the cod. The food was all good and the cod that I ordered was by far my favorite of the night. I really don’t want to complain as my other half, who is practically me, made it. Although, I did Tweet at one point, “Josie assalted my food”. The girl loves salt and at one point in the night she passed a note through the busboy Luis that read, “I am finding it difficult to control my seasoning (salt & pepper) Help! -J”

DSC02951

DSC02947

DSC02949

DSC02955

DSC02950

IMG_2442

IMG_2438

When Chef Ludo came out I told how much I liked our Australian waiter and the busboy, Luis, who was passing me notes from Josie and even drew me a picture. Chef Ludo laughed and said, “Okay, well then, I will keep him and you take her back (pointing at Josie)”. I laughed and he said she was a princess and was very messy. I can say that in a perfect French accent, just ask Josie but I have to be drunk for it to come out well. I told him she is not that much of a princess, I won’t even go in the kitchen. He smiled, shook his hand and head, and walked back in to the kitchen. Oh I forgot the best part. Josie was being blamed for dropping the last foie gras cupcake on the floor and thus not giving Christina her ordered dessert. We all believed that was the truth as it came from Ludo, the waiter, and more. Josie swore they were just blaming her and Chef Ludo brought out some panacotta with caramel and caviar on the house since they were out of the two desserts. I managed to drop this dessert multiple time on my leg. I literally had to lick caviar off my knee…talk about an uncouth gourmand. It was a great night and I was so proud of Josie. I got a ride back with her and we celebrated at Tony’s Bar until we left when the bartenders were locking up. I would say we had our first drunken sleepover in a long time but we are trying to dispel lesbian rumors which are running rampant!

IMG_2460

IMG_2449

Blogger Prom: Been There, Done That, Got a T-Shirt-4 Shirts!

IMG_2393

Similar to 80’s Prom 2 weeks ago, the UGs ran in to the bathroom not to smoke but rather take photos, check make-up, and scuttlebutt. Sometimes I am shocked we are not in high school; we still giggle incessantly, high-five over lollipop cocktail stirrers and have to spit out watermelon gum upon arriving at any event. We felt slightly nervous about attending Blogger Prom, after all everyone was equipped with cameras and the guests (all invite-only) had to Tweet in song requests to the DJ;  this was a high class event with “professionals”. In the last two weeks we have attended: the Yelp 007 party at the same beautiful venue, The Andaz Hotel; and we were just at 80’s Prom thrown by Drink, Eat, Play. However, Blogger Prom was a combo of the two and this was the big time. Our training wheels were off and we actually had to look the part…a blog was posted last week on Blogger Prom that was entitled “No Cheesy; No Entry: Strict Dress Code will be Enforced”…this sent chills down the UG’s spines. I found my dress the day before. On the day of I bought a new color appropriate strapless bra at my favorite Macys, the one on Lake in Pasadena. I am fortunate enough to live within 5 blocks of two different Macys, but always  chose the one on Lake Ave. because I can’t forget the incredible deals they gave right before they closed for the remodel. I looked horrible, unshowered, just ate a ton of my favorite pizza, the Lasagna Pizza at Dino’s in Burbank, and had been studying with my classmate all morning for our managerial economics midterm. I grabbed a bra and as I was walking out, I said hello to my favorite make-up girl, Angel, at the Benefit Cosmetic counter. I love the brand (as they are SF-based, very light natural looks and witty packaging). I love Angel because she knows her stuff, has been in the industry for a long time, gives great make-up advice, and as an artist uses people’s faces as her canvas. She asked how UG was going and I told her I was going to Blogger Prom later that night. She suggested I come back in an hour after showering and in my dress. I raced home, bathed, came back, and she worked her magic. Borrowing from the different counters she complied the best cheesy, but still meticulous done bright blue eyeshadow with blue mascara to match. She spent an hour with me, a half an hour past when she was supposed to get off work, and made something beautiful out of what I could have made clown wear. I recommend you go and see Angel as she is the angel of the make-up world!

IMG_2387

I left with my hot look, got kisses blown to me on the freeway, and picked up Josie from work. I forgot the corsage; I suck as a prom date! She had a bag full of accessories and we began to get ready in the car. I drove and Josie did a complete costume change. At one point we were in Sun Valley and Josie said, “The guy in the other car is looking at us”. I laughed replying, “Maybe that’s because you just took off your clothes and put a dress on”. She replied, “Oh yeah”. We arrived at the beautiful Andaz hotel around 7:40 the event started at 7 and we got checked in and took the elevator up to the top floor where we were at the Yelp Party. The look of the venue was very different. This was a lounge as opposed to the James Bond casino themed tables that covered the floor for the Yelp event. However, the food, bar, and cheese set up was just about the same. We remembered the beef skewers were the way to go. However, at Blogger Prom the cheese selection by The Cheese Impresario and cocktails created by The Liquid Muse raised the bar to a level that we didn’t even know existed. There was only one thing cheesier than the cheese plates and that was the fashion…OMG!

IMG_2400

IMG_2402

IMG_2412

IMG_2397

There was a raffle that was going on at several different points in the night and one of the first times was right after this guy walked by and said, “Hey” in an oh-so Hollywood way. I laughed and looked at the girls next to me commenting, “Who does that guy think he is, Pauly Shore?!?!” I assumed he was just a blogger who thought he was hot hollywood stuff. One second later, I said,”Wait, is that Pauly Shore?”. The girl next to me said, “Yes, I thought you knew that”. Pauly was there to announce the raffle prize for some tickets to the Comedy Store. The UGs ended up pretty empty handed in the raffle until the very end. Josie won a sake set and I was empty handed with an empty drink and a mini cupcake wrapper in my hand.

IMG_2389

IMG_2403

IMG_2405

However, by the end of the night I was definitely not empty-handed. Sino Soul gave me a shirt he won that said, “In space no one can hear you tweet”. We also got amazing gift bags equipped with sex lubricants, ear plugs, shirts that say “Born to” on the front and “Blog” on the bag, Big Bang Theory on DVD (love it-Pasadena based) and many more fun items. Josie was most excited about the shirts and got two of the born to blog and traded me the Tweet shirt for her sake set. Score. Oh and that bag of Sun Chips served us very well on the drive home.

IMG_2411

IMG_2415

Not to be completely cheesy, although it does fit the theme, but the best part about the whole event was interacting with all the other local bloggers. We met our blogger idols, foodemies, crushes, and people that we already feel like we know. Eating LA we had only met once before, prior to ever having our blog and it was such a pleasure to shake hands with her. Food GPS we have an upcoming dinner with but we had never met him either. We got to meet Gastronomy blog and I asked where her husband the astronomer is and he turned around and shook my hand. The thing about the blogging world is that while there is some anonymity these are real people that share their thoughts and opinions with you on a weekly basis. They are all quite charming and it was such a pleasure that we had the opportunity to meet them all at once. We, the Uncouth Gourmands, have three main values at our core and they are: Fun, Food, and Friendship. This Blogger Prom provided them all and in spades. We give a huge thank you to the prom committee for organizing this great event. H.C. you are our Prom King despite what vegetarian may have taken the crown. Here we are with Daily Gluttony, AV Flox, The Delicious, Hot Pink Manolos, and Let Me Eat Cake! For a list of attendants click here and for more pictures click here

IMG_2396

IMG_2401

IMG_2414

IMG_2410

Popping up in Pasadena

IMG_2326

The Uncouth Gourmands are notorious for thinking we are way more important than we really are. Notice our use of the third person. We had a fine example of that the other day when Josie called me while I was checking my mailbox (real not virtual). I said, “Oh, we just got a special invite to the grand opening of the Fresh & Easy in Pasadena.” Now, this was actually a flyer that went out to all the neighbors and included $5 off with the purchase of $20 or more and a free reusable canvas bag with the purchase of more than $10. I was excited so I pretended like we were the only ones with this inside invite. Josie works, like at a real job, so I went solo today at around 11:30A, an hour and a half after the ribbon cutting ceremony. I have to say, I am not normally all that impressed by Fresh & Easy, but have only ever visited the Eagle Rock location. Fresh & Easy has it tough in their new Pasadena location. First, as an MBA student and a TJ enthusiast, I know that Trader Joe’s first location ever was the one on Arroyo Parkway. It was started there because Joe saw Pasadena as the epitome of his target market “the over-educated and the underpaid”. Also, Pasadena has the first 2-story Whole Foods west of the Rocky Mountains, it caused me anxiety attacks the first 2 months of being open. It is that big and grandiose that I feel drawn towards the massage room every time after I go up that elevator from parking. Pasadena is also home to my poetic Ralphs, Gelsons, Hows, Bristol Farms, and many more. To add one more thing stacked against Fresh & Easy, they have a bad parking lot that rivals any of the worst TJs lots and the location used to be home to Wild Oats. Wild Oats always had a special place in my heart especially before they were bought by Whole Foods. Business Fact: Did you know that the CEO of Whole Foods spent 7 years on the Yahoo Finance Forums criticizing Wild Oats under a pseudo name? The CEO-shocking-I know. I apologize for the tangent, back to the ambitious opening of Fresh & Easy.

IMG_2317

IMG_2316

I came with low expectations and was really only looking forward to using my coupons and getting my bag. However, I ended up having a very good time. The air conditioning helped cool and relax me from the blistering heat outside and there was loud music booming inside. The store was crowded, but I had plenty of room to browse. I liked that they had specialty items like pad thai and a large variety of olives but still carry my name brands like Diet Coke. Remember I am a Diet Coke head. I bought a bottle of wine, a bottle of champagne, mustard, soy milk, Captain Crunch Berries, turkey, Arizona iced tea in average sized cans, tangerines, chips, and more. My least favorite things about TJ’s is the poor quality of bread and how everything is right at the expiration date. I don’t care if it doesn’t mean anything, I want my stuff dated weeks in advance. Fresh & Easy fell into the latter trap but their bread looked great. Mini ciabattas, green chile sourdough bread, and foccacia were all looking yummy.

IMG_2320

IMG_2321

My favorite thing about the new Fresh & Easy was that there was a sample table right in the middle of the store. The employee said this is the only store in the area with the sampling table in the middle as opposed to nestled in a corner. One thing I hate is self -check-out. I like to be serviced, what can I say? Anyway, one of the employees did it all for me. I am not sure if this is a regular occurrence, but I loved it. She used my new free bag and provided me with more coupons for the next few weeks. It was a great shopping experience and my total was around $30, very cheap and a lot of variety. It is a good combination of Ralphs and TJs  and a nice alternative when you don’t have time to go to both and it actually may be more cost effective in THIS economy!

IMG_2325

IMG_2327

Josie and I had a dinner in the works and I suggested we check out a sort of unknown Jamaican restaurant in Pasadena called  Kingston Cafe. Josie was feeling really tired from work and wanted to cancel, but I convinced her that we should go out and have a nice meal. Either my Jewish guilt or her hunger pains prevailed and she met me there. I tried to find a menu online but I found nothing. I called the restaurant and they offered to email me one. I also sent a Tweet to them and they responded right away. When we walked in I felt like I knew everyone already. I also felt like I knew the restaurant’s story about sharing a home with a medical office and going through a reopening sometime in the near future. Most of what I knew came from the great review on Pleasure Palate. However, I had no idea how big the place was, when we walked in we went past three private and very bright rooms before we got to the large back room. It was painted my favorite color, orange, and Josie was surprised that the frames had no pictures inside of them. We ordered drinks and it may be the first time in history while drinking my cup went up rather than down. I ordered the homemade ginger beer (no beer included) that packed one hell of a punch. I would take a sip and then add in some water to mellow the intensity that always left me with an incredible after taste. I ordered the coconut rum shrimp and Josie had the curry chicken. Both entrees came with a salad and an appetizer of plantains and festival.

IMG_2331

IMG_2335

The first courses were quite nice and we were trying to figure out what festival reminded us of, the waiter said it was a cornmeal substance. All of the sudden, it came to my brain and I said it was just like the outside of a corndog. Josie gave me a hush noise and I said, “What?!?! I love corndogs”. Uncouth. Before we even began on the first course I asked the waiter if we could meet with the manager, Keone, that had emailed me the menu earlier. He came out and was very young and handsome. We were confused by the whole concept, the new signage-that no longer included Women’s Diagnostic Imaging Group, and were in need of some backstory. Keone happily obliged and told us that his Jamaican mother was a physician there who had the property and used the front half of as a restaurant for a long time. It was closed for several years and now he and his uncle are turning the whole thing into a restaurant and patio area with reggae bands on Saturday nights. It is all a soft opening, they are waiting on art, perfecting the menu and looking for local food bloggers to point them in the right taste directions. Keone had a fascinating story of his own. He is half Jamaican and half Chinese, he grew up in the area, studied engineering at Pomona, is a writer, heads the very popular Nerds with Swag, and is now in the restaurant business. Similar to the dark lit and orange painted back/main room of the restaurant you have no idea how you got there from the bright corridor but you like it and are excited to be there. The waiters were all kind and I think they all visited our table at one point. One waiter we recognized as a former Lucky Baldwin’s  employee. Another server also works as a personal trainer who recommend we go for a hike until Josie said, “Carina hates nature”. The whole staff was as kind and friendly as can be. Josie was in hysterics about how many times she was offered more water.

IMG_2338

IMG_2341

Okay on to the main course. My coconut rum shrimp was perfect. Plump and good quality shrimp, the sauce was sweet but not too heavy, and the rice was cooked to perfection. Josie liked her chicken as well and I was a little jealous of her red bean rice. It was a fun night and we will definitely return and can’t wait to see it after the official reopening. The restaurant was kind enough to write this on Twitter after we left:

KingstonCafe: Had a nice & quaint dinner service this evening, enjoyed a deviously entertaining chat w/ the lovely ladies from @UncouthGourmand Add them!!

The conversation did get a little devious at the end when we discussed are trials in online dating, our dating draught and misfortunes, and our love of men that are either artists and/or homeless and other things that made him a little scared. His words not ours.

IMG_2343

Side Note: I ate one of my new favorite things ever, the beef roll, at 101 Noodle Express. I will take Josie there soon, but you can’t wait. You must go today and as quoted in my review on Yelp:

How can I describe the beef roll? Like the baby of the best of Mexico and the best of China wrapped in a cute snugly onion pancake.

IMG_2313

Rockin’ & (Hollywood) Bowlin’

IMG_2312

The UGs had a rockin’ weekend but unlike the “rockers” in the Denny’s commercials we end our night at The Standard 24/7 Restaurant and Taco Trucks instead of Denny’s. The weekend was fairly jam packed but on Friday night we had no plans and no dates and opted for a mellow Pasadena night. Around 11 on Friday we headed to Magnolia on Lake for a beverage and a nosh and were shocked by how many people were there. We had to ask ourselves several times: What city are we in? Where did all of these people come from? We also proceed to point at people and say, “I’ve never seen you in Pasadena before”. One gentleman at Magnolia named Andre came up to me and introduced himself. I shook his hand and gave him tattoo suggestions. He tried to introduce himself to Josie and she left his hand dry and untouched. He looked at me and said, “Is your friend ignoring me?” Josie then looked up and replied, “Of course not, I am updating my Facebook status.” We left Magnolia and headed to one of my favorite’s Old Towne Pub, I always say I like the mixture of punk rockers and hardcore alcoholics there. We weren’t really in the mood for that so we headed to Barney’s for last call. We invaded a birthday party after we could no longer endure our wobbly table. Met some new friends and they were all very impressed that two girls, the Uncouth Gourmands, can conduct a business meeting at 1A  in a noisy bar. We are adaptable girls. We left the bar when they began kicking everyone out and were approached by a gentleman who said “I want to take a picture with you two” we continued to walk ignoring them until we heard the magic words, “My girlfriend just broke up with me and I want to take a picture with two girls so I can stick a dagger through her throat.” Was it a bizarre request? Yes. Psychotic? Probably. Needless to say, we helped a brother out.

IMG_2282

The next day was Saturday and we had 80’s Prom Party at the House of Blues to attend. Seeing as how we were both born in the 80s we never got to experience a prom in that particular decade. We were very excited about attending especially because we have become Facebook and real life friends with the organizer, Dan Silberstein of Drink, Eat, Play. He hosts a flurry of fun events in LA from Beer Fests to Cupcake Challenges to BBQ Fest. We have never attended one of his parties because of two main reasons: 1. We already had plans that day. 2. The events are priced at $40 a person, that is not too much money but it is a lot when you don’t know what to expect and don’t know what exactly you are paying for. I wrote to Dan and asked him if the UGs could get in for free to check it out, after all we would be dateless and blog about the event. He agreed right away and it was great to get to see one of his events in action. People in Hollywood, especially in the West Hollywood side of Sunset, are normally so cool and image conscious it was shocking and made the UGs extremely happy to see them dress up in 80s attire and not take themselves that seriously. I was dressed in a side ponytail and glittery shimmer dress and was a good 80s high school student a la Molly Ringwald. Josie, on the other hand, was dressed as the bad high school student and Madonna-esque rebel. Upon arriving we snuck off to the girl’s bathroom and if we were smokers we would have smoked but alas we are bloggers and took pictures for the better lighting.

IMG_2284

When we got on the dance floor Josie ran in to the last person she expected, a software developer from her work. He was shaking his chonies and dancing like a real rebel a la Billy Joel. We later met up with Dan and his friend, we referred to them as Maverick and Miami Vice.

IMG_2285

IMG_2307

One of our favorite surprises of the night was learning via Twitter that our friend John who we met at Craft Beer Fest LA was going to be in attendance. We hadn’t seen him since that event but once again John didn’t disappoint. At the Beer Fest he was the one that told us about the elusive rotating tap that only came out once and this time he told us about the bar upstairs that had Fat Tire in a CAN (who knew?) for $3.50. That was an insanely good deal as the other beers were upwards of $12. He was our Jerry Lewis from the Nutty Professor for the night.

IMG_2295

IMG_2287

IMG_2294

After dancing for hours, prom pics, and the totally awesome bands it became clear that this was the best prom experience ever and you could openly drink. Josie and I both admitted that we only ever attended our senior prom despite the fact that she was in Leadership and I was the Editor of the Yearbook. I once saw the rapper Eve, you know with the bear claws tattooed on her boobs, wearing a “Everyone loves a Gay Prom Date” shirt and I was fortunate enough to have one. I had the best dancer and best dressed date of the night. However, if I couldn’t have a gay prom date again, Josie,  John, and Dan definitely did the trick. We all danced the night away to really great 80’s cover bands.

IMG_2288

IMG_2303

IMG_2297

The UGs had a great time and are very much looking forward to upcoming Drink, Eat, Play events as they are now tried and trusted and we don’t have any more qualms with dropping $40 on a ticket. Seeing how each of the events sell out, clearly others don’t have any problem with the pricetag. We also want to see if Blogger Prom will trump 80’s Prom Party in terms of awesomeness. We are unclear as 80s Prom Party really raised the bar.

Josie recommended we head to The Standard for last call. I was nervous because of our get-ups and because The Standard Hotel is the epitome of hip but we went anyway. I actually walked down Sunset Blvd. barefoot as my prom shoes were killing me. John impressed us as his loove of food is as clear as his love of beer. We ate some fries and I began talking to a Jewish guy from Manhattan in the diamond business. I was stoked as I recently wrote on Twitter “I need to marry a Chef, Psychologist, or Gemologist in order to save money in the future”. I thought my dating luck was changing but of course this gentleman was staying at the hotel and heading back to NYC the next day. Oh well.

IMG_2301

Josie came over the next day, Sunday, and we were heading to the Hollywood Bowl. She was on the phone when she entered and as soon as she hung up she said, “Krissy said we are officially dating if we are going to the Hollywood Bowl together.” I said, “uh-oh” as I put the egg salad I made and a chilled bottle of chardonnay with the picnic bag of stuff Josie made. We took the Pasadena shuttle to the Hollywood Bowl and it was fabulous. We pulled in front an hour before the show and were hoping to picnic at the tables. We were amazed that no one was willing to share their picnic table with the Uncouth Gourmands. We asked many and the answer we kept on receiving was “We are waiting for a bunch of  people”. Lame-O the UGs rented .75 cents cushions and headed to our far away seats in direct sunlight and began on our appetizer course. We had egg salad and hummus with pita chips and grapes. We managed to finish a first course and a bottle of wine before the first band Blitzen Trapper came on.

IMG_0712

IMG_0707

The main reason we were going to the show was because I was bummed I didn’t win the lottery for the Michael Jackson memorial and bought tickets in the middle of the night. The second reason was that I was in love with who was playing. Josie and I are both big Jenny Lewis/Rilo Kiley fans and our favorite part of Coachella was seeing her perform live. I also love the headliner, Ray LaMontagne and while Josie wasn’t that familiar with the music I knew she would love him and his raspy voice. The main course, food wise, was beef tenderloin for Josie and a Chinese chicken salad for me.

IMG_0717

IMG_0714

The crowd filled out, the sun went down, and the magic that is the Hollywood Bowl ensued. Jenny Lewis was on the last stop of her tour in her hometown, Los Angeles, and was at the top of her game.

IMG_0724

IMG_0720

IMG_0728

Josie grabbed us a beer and some gourmet lollipops before Ray LaMontagne came on. I was so happy she did that I dedicated “You are the Best Thing” to her. Too bad we had to wait for the encore to hear that song. Josie and I joked that we needed the lollipops because we had nothing/nobody else to swap spit with. It was actually an extremely romantic night.  Wikipedia describes Ray LaMontagne as  “a soft-spoken person who is known for his raspy voice” and he waited until halfway through his set to talk to us, the audience. I told Josie this is pretty much like every man in our life right now. The music was beyond beautiful and at one point she said “I need a man that sings to me and writes me poetry”. I laughed saying I need a man that can write me witty emails and send me clever BBMs. The night couldn’t have been any better…okay I guess it could have if someone shared their picnic table with us and if the chatty girls behind us could listen to the music instead of reminiscing on UPN shows of the 1990s.

IMG_0735

We took the bus back to Pasadena and began talking to a lovely girl in front of us about online dating. Clearly we had a lot to say as we arrived in Pasadena before even getting in to the meat of our issues. What is with all of these cool girls not finding good matches? Or as Josie would put it, not getting laid? After a night of a big picnic, beautiful music, and bus camaraderie there was only one thing the UGs wanted…a burrito from a taco truck. We headed to the closest one available-the truck on Fair Oaks.

IMG_0739

Elite, Yelp Elite

Slide1

Yesterday, was my day off from school and I spent the day with my dear friend Tony (or Toe Knee, as he is known to my BlackBerry). We had lunch at Nicole’s Gourmet Foods, Belgian beer, a tennis match in over 85 degree heat, popsicles, followed by several cocktails and wine at my house as we watched bizarre movies and listened to The Kinks and Buddy Holly. His girlfriend Zena laughed while at lunch I declared that Tony would be my stylist for the Bond themed Yelp Elite party that night. I had a gold dress in mind that I wore to my brothers sushi and disco party but Tony said absolutely not as I look like a choir singer in a black church. He demanded I wear a red dress that was actually a prom dress but we compromised on a gold and silver geometric dress. I was in a great mood when I picked up Josie to go to the party. I have waited over 2 years to be Elite and this is the first party I was able to attend. Josie was sleepy as she had been up since 5am and the Hollywood Bowl traffic made our yawns more contagious and more exhausting. However, upon entering the Andaz Hotel for the event and taking the elevator up to the exclusive poolside Panorama Room our mood magically transformed and we got a second burst of energy. We got our stickers and Josie went straight to the cheese table. The food was provided by RH restaurant located on the lower level of the hotel. Our favorites of the night were the beef skewers, the cheeses, and the mushroom stir-fry. We also learned that cocktails were all free but a soda water was 2 dollars. We had a great time and there was a villain look-alike contest, a bond girl contest, and then the award for best James Bond impression.

IMG_2270

IMG_2272

IMG_2277

As with almost any event that the UGs attend the number one thing is the people we encounter. We met some great Yelpers and it is a group I am really proud to be a part of, Josie’s line all night was, “I married in to the Yelp family”. One gentleman we met referred to Josie as Eva Mendes, himself as Jet Li’s cousin, and he called Uncouth Gourmands -Haiku Fromage- causing Josie to spit out her drink in a fit of laughter.

IMG_2281

IMG_2279

The only lame people we met all night were Paris and Sarah Michelle. They were as boring as cardboard.

IMG_2266

We are looking forward to attending many other Yelp events both Elite and Unofficial. Elite events are pretty great because of the classiness, free food, and free drinks but trust me the UG girls are not above the great taco truck crawl events. We caught up with some old friends. Thank you Tony C. aka Sino Soul for trying to get us dates and Javier J. for giving us some cash to tip our bartenders. We also met a ton of great new friends like, Charlie, who works for the hotel restaurant RH. We also were pleased to meet the French chef, Sebastien Archambault, at the RH restaurant who invited to enjoy a meal there in the near future. It was great event, the hotel offered a View to Kill (stole that pun from Dawson-sorry I have very few Bond references), and we are excited to come back for dinner and Blogger Prom! Please feel free to add me as your Yelp friend and don’t forget to review the event on Yelp.

image-255