South Indian Food with the Mayor of Downtown

As you know I LOVE my grub, and admittedly, I sometimes feel like a pretentious poseur because there are days when I am humbled and I learn so much about what I am about to eat. Modesty and uncertainty are not things I love to acknowledge in my life, so when the casual moments arise when I recognize that I know little and understand even less, it feels just as good as being right. This feeling was especially pronounced on Saturday night at the party of our favorite downtown friend, Arun.

Arun was celebrating his 10th year in LA and this particular get together had more significance and substance than just any random party. Arun’s family is a strong supporter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and to help raise awareness (and thankfully, my South Indian food knowledge), Arun’s mom, Meenakshi, hosted a dinner. You don’t get very many opportunities to taste South Indian food in LA and Meenakshi made everything herself. We always hear about Meenakshi’s delicious dinners, but since Arun never invites us to his house (and believe me, he’s doing the right thing), we deemed it mandatory to attend this dinner.

By the end of the night I had no complaints. Ms. Carina was sick so she throughly enjoyed the lentil soup with clarified butter and rice dumplings (a mental hiccup is not allowing me to recall the name of this rice concoction, but she loved it). I, on the other hand, REALLY enjoyed the meatballs. In fact, I was left wondering how I survived 26 years without them. They were great. The chickpea vidai was also a fried packet of fantastic.

It’s been almost a year since we met Arun (April 15th, to be exact) at the Royal Clayton’s for trivia night, and since then we have become very good friends. Whenever we go out with Arun, he seems to know everyone and we always end up playing the six degrees of Arun Bacon. Thusly, he is referred to by his close friends as “The Mayor of Downtown.” There’s absolutely no arguing with the logic of that candidacy, so when his friends decided to pitch in for t-shirts that support the incumbent, we enthusiastically joined the “Arun for Mayor of Downtown” fan club. Below is the good-looking campaign team in their tees.

Carina has always said she’s Asian (not to mention a gay male and 50 years old) in her heart, and now I’m beginning to believe I am a bit Indian in my heart. After an Indian lunch in Pasadena today (nothing of which compared to Saturday’s meal), Arun’s friend, Roni, from The Band From actually wrote this to us on Twitter:

@uncouthgourmand i’m convinced you only eat Indian food!

I think she’s right. I’m planning my next vacation and maybe it will be India. I will keep you posted as I am sure I will need some local recommendations.

Many thanks to Arun and his mama, Meenakshi, for expanding the circumference of my South Indian food knowledge. If you can donate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, please do so. Your UG girls will most definitely have your first drink if you do.

Since South Indian food is rare in LA, there may be another charity dinner in the near future. Your UG girls love you so much that we’ll most definitely keep you posted.

And lastly, cheers to Arun! Here’s to another 10 years.

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Stir It 28: A Stirring Success!

Last night in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and Los Angeles groups of food bloggers rallied together in effort to raise some money and relief for Haiti. I am not sure how the other events went but I will say that the Los Angeles event was spectacular! Josie was in San Diego for her aunt’s baby shower so I knew I would be flying solo at this event. Many of the food bloggers would be contributing two dishes, but without my other half I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off. It is a good thing I just offered to be an event volunteer because after my sugar coma from judging the Cupcake Challenge the day before and a week of late nights, I would have never been able to keep my eyes open to cook edible food. Out of all of the Stir It 28 events the Los Angeles one was the only one that took place in a private residence…and what a private residence it was. I arrived a little after 3 to a beautiful home in the Hollywood Hills. There was valet for guests so I parked down the street and entered the home. The home was offered for the fundraiser by a fellow food blogger, Greg of Sippity Sup. It was a perfect party house with a beautiful kitchen. When I walked in I saw DianaTakesABite, GastronomyBlog, LAOCFoodie, and some other friends preparing their dishes in the kitchen. Since I didn’t bring a dish I found the organizer Chrystal from DuoDishes and asked her what I could help with. She explained to me that Nastassia from LetMeEatCake was unable to attend due to work so asked if I could plate her food and pass it out in the first shift. I happily took on this role because her food was beautiful. She made tabbouleh and S’mores bars. I put her sticker on the platter and when Diana told me I looked enough like Natassia I just decided to play her for the night.

We passed out food to all of the guests and I was impressed to see my Blogger Prom favorites: The Liquid Muse was there with incredible Grey Goose Vodka cocktails she created and so was the one and only Cheese Impersario. After H.C. and I were done passing food we grabbed some cheese and a cocktail and had a blast. He ordered the Celery Delight with Grey Goose Le Citron, celery, cilantro, lime juice, and simple syrup. Trust me, this later became my drink of the night. By the way, in the final cocktail picture, hand model credit goes to H.C. (LAOCFoodie).

Even though I was a volunteer I still got to sample some tasty treats made by my fellow food bloggers. Diana Takes a Bite made tuna bouchans with a lemon parsley dressing that we all went nuts over. She also was my hero of the night as she was not tempted by all the chocolate sweets. She had given it up for lent and even though she was surrounded by desserts she withheld. Can you imagine, a food blogger with self-control? Who would have thunk it?

Aside from seeing all my favorites in the LA food blogging world, I also made some new friends. One of these new friends was a girl that I knew only by her Bacon Brownies that I sampled at Eat My Blog. Her name is Domestic Divas and she brought her same delicious brownies to this event along with what she referred to as white trash egg salad. This egg salad was combined with bacon, stuffed in a mini pita, and topped with a cocktail olive.

The Domestic Diva and I worked the sign-in table together and instantly became friends over talks of food, literature, Hillary Clinton, and astrology. We sold raffle tickets and then later set up the gift bags. It was a fantastic night. Delicious food and drinks were served, money was raised for a good cause, and new friendships were made. If you were unable to attend the event, have no fear, you can still donate to the Stir It 28 cause until the end of the month. All you have to do is visit Flanboyant Eats or Coco Cooks and click the Paypal donate button.

Whenever I am involved in blogger events I am always impressed by everyone’s  ingenuity, spirit, and ability to put on fantastic events. It is a group that I am so proud to be a member of and I can’t wait for the next Eat My Blog and Blogger Prom! Congratulations Stir It 28 on a fantastic night and as Chrystal from Duo Dishes put it, WOW!

Stir It Up: Help for Haiti

If you saw our February event calendar, we overlooked one important event that has just been brought to our attention. Josie and I often proclaim that we are women of charity, but the truth of the matter is that we always have the feeling that we want to do more and that we can’t do enough. This event that we heard of is called Stir It 28 and it is alliance of food bloggers trying to bring relief to Haiti. I got several pleads from my Jewish mother to adopt a Haitian baby but helping in this way seems far more logical and realistic. Here are all of the fantastic details and simple way that you can help:

STIR IT 28 is 3-part fund-raising effort to help in the relief of Haiti’s devastating earthquake, leaving thousands dead. 3 food bloggers have come together to bring awareness and raise money for the island! On Feb. 21st, 4 cities will host an evening of culinary adventures, featuring food from chefs, restaurants and food bloggers in each city!

100% of money raised goes directly to YELE & Share Our Strength. They have accepted our campaign & are helping us get the word out!

Part I. Feb. 21st Culinary Evening Celebrating Life & Hope

Atlanta: Space Atlanta – Eat Drink Enjoy
1310 White Street, Atlanta, GA 30310. 4-7 pm. DJ Rev Lee spins music and special surprise guest appearance by local performer that will electrify you! Complimentary wine by Montaluce Winery. Cash bar. $30 in advance; $40 at the door.

LA: Private LA Residence located at
6602 Cahuenga Terrace, Los Angeles, CA, 90068. 4-7 pm. Complimentary Valet parking to 1st 50 guests. $30 in advance; $35 at the door.

Chicago: Three Peas Art Lounge
75 E. 16th Street (Between Michigan and Wabash)
Chicago, IL 60616. 4-7 pm. $30 in advance; $35 at the door.
*cash bar & delicious cupcakes for sale

Houston: Private Residence in Walden on Lake Houston
8810 Rolling Rapids Road, Humble, Texas 77346. 4-7pm. $30 in advance. No tickets sold at the door.
Houston Artist Shae will drop in to sing a song and other surprise guest performances, including Bound 4 Glory Records Recording Artists

Wash. DC: Event details coming soon!

Part II. Month-Long Donations!

If you can’t participate or attend the Feb. 21st event, consider donating in any denomination. Donations are being accepted all month long, beginning Feb. 21st. Paypal donation to stirit28@gmail.com.

Part III. One. Comment. One Eats.

If you’re a food blogger, we’re inviting you to participate in Bren’s hunger campaign called “Hunger Lives No More: One Comment. One Eats.” For each comment left on the 1st post of February, we ask that you donate ONE food item to Share Our Strength. We are coordinating with SOS on getting all donated food to Haiti. If you participate, email bren at flanboyanteats dot com and you will receive a badge to place on your blog indicating that “You Gave.”

Let’s STIR IT!!!

We will be participating in the event and if you are interested in helping out, our L.A. contact person is Chrystal of Duo Dishes. If you would like to purchase tickets in advance  (highly recommended)  visit either Flanboyant Eats or Coco Cooks and click the Stir It 28 logo at the top of their pages.  It will take you straight to the Paypal site to purchase the $30 space.

I want to give a huge shout out to Greg of SippitySup for offering his house for the event. The devastion in Haiti is massive but this is a small, easy, and tasty way that you can help. I am not a big Bob Marley fan, probably because I am from Santa Cruz and it seems like everyone I grew up with idolizes him with the initiation of their first joint. Anyway, I love Wyclef and if he loves Bob Marley, well then Bob is good enough for me…Plus I love the Stir It Up message.

Eat My Blog: Bake Sale for a Cause

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Ever wonder what all these bloggers in LA look like? Are you annoyed that people critique food but might have no ability to actually cook? Do you wish bloggers would unite for a great cause over the holiday season? Congratulations, readers, you are in luck!

On Saturday, December 5th from 10 AM to 4 PM Zeke’s Smokehouse in West Hollywood will play home to the first annual “Eat My Blog” bake sale. There will be more than 800 baked goods and all reasonably priced between $1-$3!  All proceeds from this delicious event will be donated to the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank.

Want to know what the UGs will be making/baking? Stay tuned….

Here is a list of all participating bloggers:

Anjali (http://deliciouscoma.com/)
Diana (http://dianatakesabite.blogspot.com/)
Laurie (http://gmasbakery.wordpress.com/)
Pat (http://eatingla.blogspot.com/)
Ben (http://bsideblog.com/)
Hong & Kim (http://ravenouscouple.blogspot.com/)
Esi (http://dishingupdelights.blogspot.com/)
Lisa (http://lisatimmons.com/)
Ashley (http://www.placeandtaste.blogspot.com/)
Kate (http://savour-fare.com/)
Chrystal & Amir (http://duodishes.com/)
Jessica (http://www.eatsipchew.com/)
Cathy & Vernon (http://gastronomyblog.com/)
Elyse (http://ehoblogs.blogspot.com/)
Liz (http://www.foodshethought.blogspot.com/)
Gaby (http://whatsgabycooking.com/)
Sonja (http://www.activefoodie.com/)
Carol (http://www.hungrypassport.blogspot.com/)
Sarah (http://www.sarahthebear.com/)
LA Times Food Blog (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/dailydish/)
Jen (http://www.domdivas.blogspot.com/)
H.C. (http://la-oc-foodie.blogspot.com/)
Jo (http://mylastbite.wordpress.com/)
Matt (http://www.mattatouille.com/)
Andrea (http://laeasymeals.com/)
Nastassia (http://www.theletmeeatcake.blogspot.com/)
Amy (http://theroamingbelly.blogspot.com/)
Anisha (http://foodismynish.blogspot.com/)
Erica (http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/)
Liz (www.whiningndining.com)
Mary (www.foodlibrarian.com)
Josie & Carina (http://uncouthgourmands.com/)
Jennifer (http://www.peteeatemall.com/)

We’ll see you there, go get your sweet on!

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