My Time at the 1st 8th Annual Grilled Cheese Invitational

Last year, I attended the 1st 7th Annual Grilled Cheese Invitational and I had an absolute blast. There was no doubt that I would attend this year’s festivities. The last time around was also the first time our friend Arun and I really got to hang out and know each other. Arun is the so-called Mayor of Downtown and is a vegetarian that gets such joy from bread, butter, and cheese. He had secured himself as my date months ago and despite a new woman in his life, I was still kept as his official date. I arrived 15 minutes before the event started and the line was already quite long. We walked into the Los Angeles Studios and it was immediately reminiscent of the actual 1st annual LA Street Food Fest at the same location.

Once again, these nondescript streets were filled with people, food trucks, vendors, and a ton of high energy. The sea of people wasn’t quite as large and the judging area with all of the really interesting sandwiches was off to the side. I had entered as a judge several weeks ago and I was glad that my group and I were all approved as judges. The most exciting part of the GCI is the competition. You get to see some truly unusual concoctions. The first round is called the missionary and is supposed to be just standard bread and cheese. This may sound like boresville but the possibilities are endless.

There was some slight variation in this round, even though I am not quite positive that it was actually allowed. My favorite of this round was one on Russian Rye with tomatoes, relish, and onions added in the sandwich. I don’t know what it was about this dish but it just totally worked for me. It was like a meatless strange version of a reuben that made this a grilled cheese favorite for me.

After the first round we took a break and went to the common area for non-judges. There was all you can eat free Tillamook grilled cheeses, potato chips, tomato soup, and Izze sparkling juices. There was also numerous trucks including 2 Grilled Cheese Trucks, World Fare, Cool Haus, Border Grill and specialty sandwiches from some of LA’s finest chefs. I wasn’t quite ready to stand in line so I went up above to buy a beer.

If I had to make one complaint it would be that there were no drinks being sold or given out in the judging area. I got so desperate for a Diet Coke (remember I am a Diet Coke head) that I walked to the front of the Grilled Cheese truck and grabbed one and laid cash on the table. There was a ton of people in cheese costumes and other silly outfits and the atmosphere was fun the entire time. There was cheese calling contests, grilled cheese poetry, cheesy costume contests and speeches from the official Mayor of Cheese. When we returned back to the judging area it was the Kama Sutra round, which means the sandwiches got a little crazier.

The judging this year was much smoother than last year. The lines were shorter but you still got the distinct idea that you had to beg for your piece of the grilled cheese. One sandwich that I was camped out to get was being made at the end of the table with such care. It was the Duck, Duck, Goosed grilled cheese. It had duck confit, foie gras, a fruit jam for sweetness, and a cave-aged gruyere. It sounded incredible and it tasted even better! In line, I heard a girl that sounded disgusted ask, “Eww, duck feet?!?!” Apparently she only heard half of the “confit’ word. The guys that made the sandwich weren’t exactly amateurs, they were from The Oaks Gourmet Market in Hollywood. It was the last sandwich I tried and it was definitely the best! I was in love at first bite…

Josie didn’t attend last year or this year due to her Saturday catering job but she was at the first couple GCI events that took place in a loft in Downtown. Despite only seeing the last two years the upgrade in this event is remarkable. More people, more sponsors, more vendors, and way more enthusiasm. The tagline of the GCI is “Bread-Butter-Cheese-Victory” and I can, without hesitation, say that they nailed them all. The event was a complete success. I, on the other hand, disappointed myself by only making it 3.5 hours, but it IS a 6 hour food event. You were a true UG hero if you made it through all of the rounds. Anyway, that was my experience and my favorites, what do you got? I want all the cheesy details.

UG Crew in Full Force at Sexy Singles’ Soiree 2.0

The UG Girls can be described as many things but one of our favorite classifications is single. There ain’t no man holding us down, well, if they are it isn’t in a bad way. Unfortunately, it has been a while since that has happened, or as Josie has said, “I am a born again virgin.” Anyway, we knew we had to attend the Sexy Singles Soiree hosted by our two favorite bloggers and Tweetettes: The Minty and Vixen.

Since Josie and I are not the only Single Ladies in the office (you just did the Beyonce finger move, didn’t you?) we brought in our PR and Accounting interns, Lea and Maria. We were also reunited with our first intern ever, Young Jin, who gave us all the Eating Dog post. The two hosts had specialty cocktails and, as a Jameson girl, I loved the Minty’s drink. Although the interns told me the Vixen’s gin based drink was good and strong as hell. Did I meet the man of dreams? No, not quite but one thing that made a lovely cameo was the first USDA certified organic Tequila called Casa Noble. Relax folks, we did our part for Earth Day! The interns loved this tequila and I can guarantee we will all be looking for it this Cinco de Mayo.

Did I care that I didn’t meet the man of my dreams? Nope, not one bit. We had great drinks, we were at our favorite downtown spot Drago Centro with their Happy Hour which goes all day and every day, and of course we were in fantastic company. Our friends in the blogosphere/Twitterazi made appearances including Hanhonymous, VeronicainLA, and Finer Things.

The night was fantastic and the event thankfully wasn’t a sausage fest, so I had fun with the girls. Speaking of which, what is the female equivalent of a sausage fest? If you can answer that question, you’d be a total Uncouth Gourmand. My favorite part of the event was a game that they had where everyone drew a playing card and then you had to make the best poker hand. This required the group to socialize and talk to one another. I, Carina, am one hell of a competitive girl and I had the King of Spades. I was being rude and rejecting in honor of the game (probably not that far off real life) and told people that I wouldn’t talk to them unless they were atleast a face card. May not have been the best tactic but I was the only girl amongst the four winners, I got a King and Ace Full House. I liked to call us the only winners, but truly we were all winners for getting ourselves out there and opening ourselves up…I am talking about our hearts…get your mind out of the gutter!

Citysearch LA: Thirsty Crow and Grilled Cheese

I hate to make this comparison again, but first there was Yelp and then there was Citysearch (or the revival thereof). After Carina got striped of her Yelp Elite status this year, she embraced the newbie, Citysearch. I’m glad she did. As a Citysearch dictator, she was privy to a special invite for the soft opening of Thirsty Crow in Silverlake. Really tired and exhausted from the day’s occurrences, we headed to the event. Plus, our favorite truck, the Grilled Cheese Truck, was going to be present. Umm… Specialty cocktails and melted cheese between two slices of bread? Sounds like my dream. How could we say no? Above is us with the master of the grilled cheese who also owns the truck. As I walked to the table of Citysearch dictators, I was stopped in my tracks by a woman who said to me, “Seeing you with that grilled cheese in your hand and that spork in your mouth gives me so much pleasure.” I wondered, was this a pick-up line? Nope. I would never be so lucky as to get hit on in a bar. FML. At any rate, she took a picture of me and we talked for a bit. She was a delight to meet.

Ok, so here’s the lowdown on the bourbon-themed bar, Thirsty Crow. We walked in and the place was dark and somber in that mysterious ‘I want to know more’ cryptic kind of way. One patron even described it as a hipper version of The Edison downtown. I saw no such comparison but I most certainly liked what I saw. The cocktails were a bit pricey, but when you took a swig you knew why. The taste had justified the price. The cocktails were perfectly crafted with an exactitude that only a true mixologist can procure.

Below you can see the master at work and the care he put into my drink. I would be remiss to not disclose that Thirsty Crow comes to you by the people who brought you Big Foot Lounge. I will be back to Silverlake. The boys are adorable and the drinks are great. In fact, here was my Facebook update after leaving:

At the soft opening of The Thirsty Crow in Silverlake. I gotta hang out here more often, the boys are cute. Bye-bye, downtown! Sorry.

The Citysearch dictator crowd was so pleasant. I can’t wait to write my first entry so that I can go to all their fun parties where I get to act like the uncouth gourmand that I am at heart and get complimented for it, have a great cocktail, and party down with a ton of cool people.

Ruth Reichl: Food Righter

Carina and I at Octavia Park - Hayes Valley April2010

I say it was our mothers; you call it whatever you want. Carina and I grew up in a space bubble of peace. Santa Cruz, California. Carefully cultivated by vivacious women seeking the best opportunities, always emphasizing comprehensive wellness through a powerful respect for existence. Carina and I are daughters of incredible awareness. We were born into a revolution of personal responsibility. Myself, Franco-American, Carina, Jewish-Salvadorian, our identities were molded at a very young age.

Carina left for the bright lights and expanse of L.A. seeking more opportunity and endless food trucks. A year later I joined the light-always-on, festivalian New Orleans, LA. After five years of crawfish and hot summer sweats, I am back in San Francisco and cannot get enough of the seasonal organic produce. I savor every last dime of the cash only mantra. I resonate with car-free city living. I’m in absolute love. Despite her deep aversion for hippie-derived living, Carina, my deep-fried loving, plastic loving, queen of convenience, was equally smitten upon her last visit. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been, or what you’ve seen if you forget where you’ve come from. Her visit included devouring Ruth Reichl’s Garlic and Sapphires. Despite our differences, Carina and I’s shared similarities pervade preference. We have a penchant for intelligent women, genuine integrity, forming calculated opinions, and knowing the best way to someone’s brain is through their stomach. Carina is business, I am creative, Ruth Reichl’s mother used to prepare “canned asparagus, mayonnaise, marshmallow fluff and pickled herring.” We are all striving to spread an appreciation for camaraderie, communication, and just sharing a meal.

Proverbially, a beet in the hand is greater than a donut around your waist. Ironically, I consider myself a couth gourmand. Idealistically, I am a warrior fighting the war on human elitism. Realistically, I am constantly encouraging my community to focus on positivity. I lack compassion for processed garbage. I possess an inexhaustible palette, an arduous recognition of culinaria, and tenaciously assume the role of relentless evangelist for bright, locally grown sustainable foods.

My brash approach to represent myself as an individual has as result, fervently rejected “trend.” The same attitude has provided for an unusual immunity to celebrity, averting admiration based on popularity. Our nation’s slowly churning minds, bogged by big Macs and bigger Gulps, are slowing acknowledging the immediate need for change. Obesity and depression should be reason enough to change our minds, body, and planet. A healthy America can be grown from this soiled land.

On the morning of April 20th I joined a full audience for an intimate living room chat with a mogul for healthful, proactive living. I was awestricken by the political activism Gourmet Magazine provided America, specifically during Ruth Reichl’s tenure.

Ruth Reichl - SF Jewish Community Center 4/20/10

Reichl, former editor-in-chief of the late Gourmet Magazine, rejects the notion that quality in any form be labeled as elitism. Modern society has suffocated intelligence to a degree that has been detrimental to the formation of a nurturing culture.

Microcosms of this whole-love approach to life exist all over the United States, fighting for a global shift towards personal responsibility and cognizance of repercussion. Macrocosms like the greater San Francisco Bay Area have been fostering a conscious approach to living for decades. Following her deep involvement in Berkeley’s 70s co-operative food revolution, Ruth’s heartfelt writing inspired fine dining to re-evaluate the individual. She reminded restaurants that the honor should be bestowed upon the customer. That respect is due to thy neighbor. Our intelligence should be regarded as a gift to cultivate true happiness in all persons. Through food we can fuel and nurture our bodies, minds, and spirits.

I nearly became tongue-tied delivering the final audience question. I realized that I’d been duped. Celebrity awe-stricken by the genuine candor of such an influential, dare I say, icon. I worry that I inaccurately depict her honest awareness by revering her as anything other than a truly compassionate human being. There is no doubt in my mind that Ruth possesses all the qualities of a timeless change-maker. She reassures me that my honest efforts at doing right by my community can be rewarded with a private bathroom in an editorial office. Despite a driver, Ruth still walked to work daily. Her connectivity to life, happiness, and the human desire to belong, never dissolved from her pool of motivational drive. Her commitment to exposing truth transcended Gourmet Magazine. Political change was activated after an exposé on migrant tomato pickers in Florida being treated as no more than slaves. There was a substantial amount of time devoted to audience question, and in typical form* I felt the need to round out the session with a thought-provoking question. I asked Ruth what she thought the easiest way for an individual (probing the audience to pay attention in their personal lives) to become politically active in eradicating toxic ingredients from food production. She responded directly to me, making complete eye contact despite the distance and bright lights. She urged everyone to remain aware themselves of the impact of toxicity and to actively engage our peers, neighbors, and friends to follow suit. I urge you to follow suit.

Ruth Reichl signed my book | "fast to it. peace"

I find it to be no coincidence that behind Ruth’s genuine grin are the words “fast to it” and “peace.” Absorb every clue, because our interpersonal relations turn nourishment into a story of community.  As I anarchically fight, for the right, to (organic) baaaaarley – my couth transforms into uncouth. While trend expires, the need for respect does not. For this, Ruth has forged a path for celebrity voice being about the movement, not about the deliverer. I thank her wholeheartedly. This is a delicious trend that I wouldn’t have prepared any other way.

*I also asked the final question during Sheryl Crow and Laurie David’s (Larry David’s former wife) American “Fight Global Warming” bio-diesel bus tour. What can one person do to make a difference? My attempt to influence each individual in the audience to listen to a celebrity whose word, in their mind, holds more weight. In high school I also garnered the final question during a GirlsRock! conference in Santa Cruz. Asking Gloria Steinem how she thought best a high school girl could change negative image. I encourage through question. Ask yourself, how can you make difference?

In LOVE with San Francisco

About the Author: d’Auria is the owner of olive, you &me creative studio, a freelance mover and shaker, and would always rather cook at home than eat out. After five years of New Orleans, she is back in her native Bay. Residing in San Francisco and spending a substantial amount of time in the quiet and comfortable Hayes Valley, she can’t get enough of the variable Vietnamese spring roll nor the abundance of artfully crafted micro-brew coffee. Like a bird, she tweets! (@dauria)

Gastrological Astrology: For The Week Beginning April 21st

Photo Credit Rae Threat

By: Your High Priestess, Nadia Noir aka DoubleDEntendre

Week beginning April 21

Hey Zeus or Odin or whatever hot burly Viking spirit that enchants that pre-maturely erupting volcano Eyjafjallajokull, you blew it. Couldn’t you have just waited to spend your wad another week when Mercury wasn’t all retrograde, hung over, and preoccupied because he’s too busy Valhalla-ring at Freya? I’m a Gemini and Mercury is my ruling planet; I’ve had enough of his shenanigans the last couple of days. He needs to put it in his pants, grab the bull by the horns (Taurus) and make the world go in a nice, orderly direction. At this point, I just want to pull a blanket of nice fluffy ash over me, quell my frustration with some comfort food, suck down a couple of bottles of wine, and wait until one of you gods up there greets me with a fresh strawberry pie and a million dollars.

My little trickster buddy Mercury (although I hate you this week! Take your BFF bracelet back!) is retrograde in Taurus until May 11th and what this means for many of us is that we are going to feel stuck. Literally, like an ant with broken legs stuck in a giant puddle of blackstrap molasses lava quicksand, STUCK. Mercury is the fastest of all planets and Taurus is the slowest of all the signs. From a food-oriented perspective, this might be a positive influence where we can linger at long business lunches or slow cook meats to tender perfection. Just make sure you don’t burn, cut, or electrocute yourself. Or blow anything up. Did you hear that Zeus/Odin/whomever?

Aries (March 21-April 19) Aries-proof your kitchen this week. Put little padded edges on everything, don’t turn your burner on over simmer, and please stay away from the knives. In fact, I recommend you do no cooking this week because it’s going to be one of those weeks where you accidentally stab yourself in the eardrum with a chopstick. Sound ridiculous? Well, get used to it. This week every Jim Carrey-esque, banana-peel-on-the-floor gag is going to happen to you. It’s not entirely that the universe has it out for you and it wants you in the emergency room; it’s that it’s testing you. This is like your great Iron Chef moment; Morimoto is standing over you with a 7-course meal, a blowtorch, and some ice sculptures and all your sous chefs are dead. Rise to the occasion! Put your riceballs to the wall! With power, passion, and maybe a couple of Cat Cora’s ouzo shots you will be ok. PS. It’s not all bad. At least you’ll have something to blog about.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) There are some Yelp reviewers that go to a restaurant once, have a mediocre experience, write an explicitly detailed review on all the negative things that happened, and vow to ‘never go back there again’. Don’t be like one of those reviewers. First of all, that’s absurd; you can’t accurately judge something from one experience. Second, this week it is especially important for you to be a tried and true, patient and honest Taurus. Mercury is retrograde in your sign so nothing is going to go with the efficiency and accuracy you are wont to expect as a Taurus. The irony of it all is that you are probably the only sign that can truly handle it when a waiter screws up your order or you find a human toe in your bruschetta. Just like nature, like the crops, like a trendy new restaurant, like that damned volcano, it is up to you to recognize that the stability of things is cyclical. But, hey, it’s also okay to complain when you get a human toe in your bruschetta. Just make sure you pay attention the metaphor behind the toe. And, ummm, explain it to me when you understand.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) Sizzle! Crash! Buzz! Bang! Weeeeee! Dodge it, Gemini! Pick it up and throw it back! Laugh hysterically! This week, Gemini, is like your own perverse version of ‘Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs’. One day you will be covered in Siracha and cilantro and the next you will be sliding down hills of red velvet frozen yogurt throwing mochi balls at your friends. You have no control over anything this week, so you might as well enjoy yourself. Stay in the moment, do what you need to do, but don’t get stuck with any concrete dinner plans. Take your pita chip raft out into the sea of hummus and just wait. Good things will come raining down from the sky. Don’t focus on the details of what is about to rain from the sky. Whatever it is, it will be yummy, worth your while, and a lot of fun. If anyone can enjoy the pure chaos of the moment, it’s you Gemini. Just don’t forget that everyone else around you is probably drowning in Zankou Chicken garlic sauce. They might need your singular focus (and chicken wing sailboat) to fish them out.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) Look Cancer. You’ve been lucky (and lazy) lately. And guess what? This week you are going to become powerful! Your influence over others is going to be chart-blowing; almost to the point where you become like a giant livered, seven stomached, Thomas Effin’ Keller of the zodiac. I’m not sure if I envy you or your position of power scares me, but either way, healthy bosomed Food Network groupies are going to be throwing themselves at your proverbial, Croc wearing feet. However, it’s not going to be all “Book deals, houses in Maui and one night stands with Giada” for you. With great power comes great responsibility. What that means is that you are not allowed to be lazy anymore. You’ll have to crawl out of the caviar-encrusted pearl-studded safe room in your beach bungalow and actually do something. In the world. Yes, that thing that most other signs do. It’s ok. It’s like a Retrograde Armageddon out there so while everyone is running, screaming, and dodging meatballs, no one is going to notice that you forgot how to talk. To people. Yes, actual people. IRL.

Leo (July 23-August 22) There is liquid sunshine running through your veins, Leo. You are like a great big agave plant, turning itself into tequila, drinking your own sun-drenched juices, getting drunk on yourself, repeating the whole process over and over again; this is a beautiful feeling. You are salaciously slurping on the giant knob of life and it’s inebriating possibilities. The great ‘Bartender in the Sky’ has lined up all the shots for you, letting you call them, and everyone gets to jealously watch as you do body shots off of young, nubile co-eds. Before you throw on your sombrero, understand that despite all the fun you are having this is the Retrograde Armageddon; don’t get too wasted. This week your life is like a giant metaphor for getting drunk; you have to consciously pay attention to the present moment whilst having fun so that in the future (i.e. the morning after) you aren’t too hung over to go about your business. Which, unequivocally, is to continue to make people jealous with the shining debaucherous brilliant star that is the Leo life.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) “If I knew you were coming I’d have baked a cake.” Don’t lie. You knew I was coming. You’re just being lazy. In fact, you’ve been so lazy lately that this week the universe is totally going to turn you into that fat little boy in ‘Matilda’ that Ms. Trunchbull makes eat a whole giant chocolate cake in front of an audience of his aghast peers. And if he doesn’t, he goes into the Chokey. Do you want devious Mercury Retro to send you to the ‘Chokey’? Do you think that after weeks of consummate laying-around-on-your-plump-behind you can stomach the cake? If I were you, I would get up and start training your tummy now: Youtube Kobayashi eating competitions, garnish your daily oatmeal with Benefiber and sea monkeys, and pray to the aforementioned Viking hunk for a respite from the prophesies of those crazy constellations. Because, in truth, you are probably going to be fine this week, still rolling around in your own slop. But as Charlotte the Spider would say: You never know, Wilbur. Don’t get too comfortable.

Libra (September 23-October 22) Libra, the consummate party girl, your chart this week is demanding that you…keep partying. Not really sure how you swung that considering this week for everyone else in the zodiac is like a giant auditorium of PMS’ing women with no chocolate and no men to shank. You are the Babybel of the ball, like a bosomy Nigella in a pink crinoline party dress, surrounded by barely clothed Jamie Oliver clones, bearing plates of buttery pasta and jugs of wine made from grapes fertilized by Anthony Bourdain’s beatific juices. The only negative that might occur this week is if you expect any less than the best; do that you might get your party dress ripped off like Cinderella did by her stepsisters and not in a fun way.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) Dear Scorpio: I love you. You’re my moon sign. I get it: the passion, the torture, the mystery, the possessiveness, the pure insatiable hunger that scares the shit out of everyone. The most scandalous things go in (and out) of your mouth and no one else can digest as much unadulterated insanity as a Scorpio and come out with such a virginal unscathed colon. However, this week Mercury, the planet of communication, is retrograde and what that means is you need to shut it. Shut your trap. Don’t put anything in your mouth you can’t chew. Don’t over spice your words. Don’t let anything pass through your lips that is not simple and sweet. Just don’t do it.  You might feel crazy, on the verge of verbal bulimia, ready to purge out your heated words with the same myopic persistence as a teenage girl in a Cheesecake Factory bathroom. But swallow it. Keep it down. Your life (and everyone else’s) will be so much more delicious (and less scary).

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) Once upon a time, a long time ago, whilst under the influence of intoxicating substances (ok, not that long ago), I decided to make s’mores over a candle in my bathroom. While making the s’more the marshmallow fell off the wooden chopstick I was using and burned my left foot. I tell you this story because making s’mores is a precarious situation that takes diligence, patience, understanding, and honestly, sheer luck. If you don’t pay attention to the way the marshmallow is caramelizing or how the chocolate is burning you end up with a puddle of chocolate and just a bunch of burned sugar (which I would eat, but you Sag have way more class than I do). Right now your life is going to be like a test to see if you can “make the perfect s’more”. You are going to have to pay attention, watch your marshmallow with your one good hawk-eye, and most importantly, stay sober. Or you will end up like me. And I’m pretty sure you don’t want that.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) Other horoscopes for this week talk about Capricorn planting “seeds” and “making roots” and “setting your intentions” and lots of other hippie stuff that sort of either makes me want to a) take mushrooms or b) take more mushrooms. It’s not that you can’t apply this spiritual mumbo jumbo jambalaya gumbo to some part of your life, but when prankster Mercury is retrograde you might as well take off your shirt and start begging for strands of Mardi Gras beads made out of beignets; whatever you think is going to happen isn’t going to happen so (my) logic dictates that you just do whatever you want until you can’t do it anymore. Step out of the comfort zone, stoic Capricorn: rub yourself down with Tabasco, put on your feathered thong, swig a few hurricanes, and prepare to storm through everyone’s world. If you just let yourself go, you might find all that existential enlightenment waiting for you in perfect and pristine order once the world decides it actually wants you to tend to your garden. For now, you might as well party while the tempest of Mercury Retrograde is watering your sacred tomatoes.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) As <insert brilliant chanteuse here> would sing, “Money, you’ve got lots of friends/crowding round the door/when you’re gone and spending ends/they don’t come no more/rich relations give/crust of bread and such/you can help yourself/but don’t take too much.” This week you are that proverbial crust of bread, Aquarius. People that you haven’t seen since your favorite beverage wasn’t alcoholic will come crawling out of hidden wells ala Samara from ‘The Ring’, trying to slather the crust of your bread with their baneful butter. As a non-judgmental, fun-loving Aquarius, you are sort of okay with people stealing from your breadbasket once in awhile. Anything in the name of a good time is okay with you. And I wouldn’t recommend being petty because your life and chart is looking better than every other sign in the zodiac’ right now. But don’t expect anyone to go halfsies with you, pick up the 20% tip, or even say “thank you”. Ignore them. You can help yourself. If they take too much, decide what you want to do about it. All the stars point to you just chalking it up to a bad batch of dough. Which is awesome. See. That’s why ‘Everyone loves an Aquarius’. You should get a t-shirt that says that.

Pisces (February 19-March 20) When a chef drizzles a tiny bit of olive oil on a dish, or takes a pinch of something, that secret something, and sprinkles it over surreptitiously, it is such a subtle action, rarely noticed by the casual consumer, but it is an intrinsic step along the path of genius in the dish. Pisces, you are one of the most creative signs in the zodiac but also one of the least recognized for your talents. Maybe it’s because you are detachedly sprinkling the dish of your life, somehow making the world magical to the people around you, but never doing it enough so that enough notices the effect that you are having upon them. Usually, this is fine, but these days you want to be on J. Gold’s 99 Essential’s list, you want lines out your door, and you want a mothereffin’ Michelin Star. You want it all, and frankly, at this point, with all you’ve been through, you DESERVE it. So think up some crappy catch phrase like Emeril and “BAM!” your way into the minds of others. Don’t be modest. I know you want to roll around naked in $2 bills and raw snickerdoodle dough. You perv.

Brewery Art WALK, Vizzi TRUCK, & WorldFare BUStaurant

Saturday was the day that I should have been at school taking graduation pictures and picking up my cap and gown for my grad school graduation. However, that was not what I was doing. Instead I was looking forward to another school on Saturday. I was going to be attending an Italian Wine Class at Cube Marketplace. Minty and I knew we’d be attending this and set off to the Brewery Art Walk before the class. It was perfect weekend weather and it was magical to wander into and out of lofts to look at people’s collections in this art colony area.

Everything was lovely and then I stumbled into a place that I have been wanting to visit for years. I found the second Hipcooks location in the Brewery Arts District. I fell in love with their large communal tables, wood stump cutting boards, and cute aprons. I have a list of their upcoming classes and will definitely return for a class. By the way, I am so in love with their colander light fixtures.

After walking in to this cute kitchen my hunger started to grow and I was in the market for some food. Thankfully, just outside the art walk was the Vizzi truck. Minty told me that she read on Twitter that the World Fare was gonna come, however, they were nowhere in sight. Vizzi was not a second choice by any means and we ordered food. They only launched a few weeks ago and we were blown away by the fancy TV screens on the truck. I ordered the Balsamic BBQ Braised Wagyu Sliders and Minty had the Black Skillet Jidori Chicken Sliders. Both sandwiches were served atop Pimento-Spiced and Yakima salted Popcorn. Popcorn is one of my favorite food and I loved this fun side dish. I think I love that popcorn is such an uncouth thing to eat, it always feels as though it is being shoveled into your mouth and I feel like I can it unbelievable quantities. Minty and I subscribe to the school of “Sharing is Caring” so I gave her one of my beef sliders in exchange for one of her chicken ones. I liked hers better and she could sense it, so she asked me if I wanted to switch one more chicken for beef. I apologetically nodded and was happy as can be. These were good sliders  and the popcorn was a wonderful surprise. If I had one complaint it would be the buns. I am a bit of a bread snob and this tasted similar to King’s Hawaiian rolls, so I am guessing that is what they use. Not bad, but not up to par with the rest of the slider.

It seemed almost immediately after we ordered, the famed World Fare Bus arrived. They were welcomed by a line and a camera crew for promotional purposes. It took a while for them to park and set up and so we waited, plus we had to digest.  This BusTaurant is famous for Bunny Chows, “Originally a South African street worker food; a hollowed out loaf of bread with filled with chicken curry, Chef Andi has taken the concept to a new level as a portable easy-to-eat medium for serving different flavors from around the world.” It is a very cool concept and we liked the second story, even if the steps were rather scary. We were already a bit full and ordered the Bunny Chow combo to share with Chicken Curry and Short Ribs and added in the Truffle Mac n Cheese Balls. We were first given the wrong order (photographed below) but we can’t complain because it was delivered to us after we were told to take a seat upstairs. The upstairs was beautiful but unfortunately there were no seats, so we stood.

We had the order corrected and we both dug in to sample. I liked this brioche bun much better and the chicken curry was good with my favorite golden raisins, athough, the short rib was pretty watery and it soaked right through the bread. Our meal came with a perfect cookie. However, for me, the item that was the clear winner was the truffle mac n cheese balls. They were perfection and reached a level that the ones at Fred 62 just can’t match. After these two lunches at mobile eateries, I was stuffed and prepared for wine class. They are both trucks I would try again, but that mac n cheese ball is something I would drive miles and wait in line for. Anyway walk, truck, and bus on and I will tell you about the wine class in the very near future.

Malibu—> Opera—> Yelp Party

And Malibu traps me yet again! As soon as I walked in the door, I was greeted with a shriek by a girl whom I had never met before. Apparently, it was the K from FinerthingsLA and she yelled, “You’re going to think I am such a nerd, but you’re Josie from Uncouth Gourmands! I recognize your hair!” In total disbelief that my hair was more popular than I was, I replied with a ‘yes’ and we poured ourselves a drink. We talked about blogs, boys, and friends. K is co-author to Finer Things LA, which she and her bestie have been operating for about three months now. Their motto is: A Classy Guide on Getting Drunk and Fat in Los Angeles. I dig this girl’s uncouth ways, and surely, we’re bound to collaborate soon.

The night wore on and we got, what else? Hungry. Next to the Minty, our newest and freshest UG face has been Ms. Veronica in LA. The girl knows far more about what’s hip in LA than I do, and she’s been my tour guide for the past few weeks. As you can see, I showed her my appreciation up above. Anyone that knows me, can vouche that I’m a total carnivore. In fact, I kind of hate vegetarians. I’ve been debating doing a 30-day expose into the life of a vegetarian and documenting it on the blog. However, I’m not sure if I have the discipline for that. Below you can see my last meal – A medium rare piece of pork loin of tenderness – Oops! I mean tenderloin. I think the vegetarian expose will have to wait… I’m not promising anything, either.

See above: It is perhaps the most uncouth moment of the night. Liking her fingers wet after a rare piece of meat, Miss. Veronica is now an official UG.

Speaking of UG staples, Miss Minty, invited me to the opera on Sunday and being the dilettante that I am, I jumped all over the invite on Facebook. I rushed from Malibu to downtown and headed over to see the matinee showing. It was a weird show, but we liked it anyway. From there, we headed to Eagle Rock.

Minty has over 2,000 quality reviews on Yelp, so she had a special invite to the Yelp Elite party in Eagle Rock (and a plus one). Since the show ran late, we missed the first party and met up with everyone at the Black Boar in Eagle Rock. Before we could hit up drinks, we had to tend to more important orders and since food always goes before liquor for this UG, we headed the Vietnamese place on Colorado, Lemongrass. Minty was on camera duty there, so I’ll write about that one soon.

We met up with the rest of the Yelp bunch and partied like rock stars for the rest of the night. We met up with Javier from WeirdTV and I talked him up about beer, OK Cupid, and his new favorite restaurant, Mac and Cheeza in downtown on 8th. M & C comes from the guys that brought you Larkin’s. Apparently, they mix in whatever ingredients to want into your mac and cheese. Anywhere from tomatoes to wild mushrooms. I must check this place out soon. Anyone want to join me?

I got to finally meet Carina’s gay boyfriend, Paul, and I think she may have some competition. Move over, Carina! Josie’s the new gay girlfriend in town. We stayed for a long time, actually and I got to know some of the fabulous people that make up the Yelp Elite mix. I joked at the party that I married into Yelp and when asked who my husband was — I pointed to Minty. See you at the next Yelp party… Or maybe CitySearch…