I officially finished grad school on Thursday, however, earlier that day (when I should have been completing my final), Josie and I had the deliciously wonderful job of being judges on Great Chefs of LA Webfire Challenges for 944 by Slife PR. It is a series where the best chefs in LA are given the same ingredients: butternut squash, pomegranate, salmon, tequila, and vanilla bean and a judge marks their attempts in terms of taste, creativity, and plating. We were thrilled to be judges on the episode featuring Jonathan Burrows of Mr. Cecil’s California Ribs. We had our own camera guy with us before, during, and after the show shoot. I think we got some very funny footage regarding the backstory, as soon it is edited we will share it with you.
This was the kind chef that had the unfortunate luck of creating a meal with the given ingredients in only 20 minutes and serving to a judging duo where only one of us was able to eat the salmon. He was as sweet and charming as can be and I liked that my wannabe chef jacket was cleaner than his. We won’t disclose too much about his dish or our judging as we are leaving it for the webisode but we will say it was a great experience. He sent out some of his famous ribs that the UGs devoured in no time. One of the funny things was when Josie asked the sous chef if the ribs were boiled first. He nodded in agreement. Later when we were talking to Jonathan, the Executive Chef, Josie mention that she liked that the ribs were boiled. He looked perplexed and said, “Who told you that? No one is supposed to know that…they are simply braised in water.” It was hysterical and leave it to the UGs to get the real scoop.
After a top chef made a salmon dish and two plates of ribs for us we wanted some ice cream. We are disgusting. We headed to Sweet Harts in Sherman Oaks for fro-yo for Josie and sorbet for me. What do I love about this sweet shop? First of all, it is owned by my childhood idol, Melissa Joan Hart, or as I know her -Clarissa Explains it All. As a kid, who thought I was a teenager listening to Nirvana and Pearl Jam and with a health nut mom who made me eat carob instead of chocolate, she was the girl I related to most. Her shop is so cute and if I was 18 years younger I would totally want to throw my party in this Willy Wonka meets girly princess setting. Anyway, we wish her good luck on her shop and on Dancing with the Stars. Also, we like, no love and find it ridiculously amusing, that they carry Desserts by Carnie Wilson.
After a long night in class and waking up in the wee hours of the morning and realizing that I had nothing to do, I was in absolute delight. I called my better half, Miss Josie, woke her up and demanded that she have lunch with me. Money has been tight, no restaurants have satisfied her lately, but I used my Jewish guilt to beg and plead until she agreed to lunch with me. After reading on both EatingLA and in Jonathan Gold’s article about the restaurant that our SGV pioneer and good friend Sino Soul first reported on we knew that JTYH would be our lunching destination. After driving in the vortex that is San Gabriel, getting bad Google Maps directions, and looking for an ATM for 20 minutes, we were starved when we arrived at the restaurant. We ordered tofu noodles, the cucumber appetizer, scallion pancakes, beef fried noodles, pork dumplings, and the lamb noodle soup that everyone is going gaga over. I am not a huge lamb fan but I have to say everything that was served was perfection. The noodles are handcut and have such a beautiful texture that is just as good to eat as it is to look at. Josie described the broth as delightfully delicate. I had to stop during lunch and say, “There is nowhere else I would rather be at this moment than here, with you, eating this food.” It was so good that Josie had to stop and say she hasn’t been this satisfied in a long time and tweeted that it was better than sex. We are really not over selling this place, it is just that good and for how much we ordered plus two sodas and two boba milk teas we didn’t break the bank with a grand total of $27. The staff was accommodating, the food was perfect, and the prices were unbelievable. It was a truly satisfying amazing meal. We will let the pictures speak for themselves:
We were perfectly stuffed from lunch and if I was a smoker I would have a cigarette to mark this good meal. Our next step was to head to Best Buy, after an unsuccessful Walmart trip, to buy a Flip Cam. Yup, we are going to be the new YouTube sensations, move over cats that can play banjo. We rested our bellies for an hour and then headed out to our celebration that we had only planned earlier that morning on Facebook and Twitter.
What were we celebrating?
-I just finished grad school last night
-It’s my birthday on Monday
-Uncouth Gourmands is now a legitimate business
-Chuck, our business partner, has kindly offered up his office to the UGs as workspace if we need it. The UG global headquarters.
Here is our first video that we shot on the way to The Rockwell for a night of celebrating:
The night was wonderful and filled with many champagne cocktails, random cameos, and amazing Kahlua, cranberry, oatmeal, chocolate chip cookies made by our comic book writer Chris. We had LA writers and reporters: Veronica in LA and Social Domain LA. Food Bloggers: H.C. LA OC Foodie and Sino Soul. We also had the “Mayor of Downtown” and our Dating Sensei come by. It was a great mix of college friends, our intern, our real estate broker, and many more. Good times were had by all! Our friends know the kind of girls we are and at the end of the night our friend took us to his favorite Echo Park taco truck, “Tacos Ariza” it was very good and worth eating on crates and 3AM. When I first became friends with Josie she would spend the night at my house after a night of drinking and would be so relieved that it was me she was waking up next to. She would wake up and yell and then look at me and say, “Oh, thank god!” After my birthday festivities and waking up next to her in my own bed at 7AM, I completely understood the sentiment.
Saturday night we took it somewhat easy heading to Big Foot Lodge and The Griffin for some fireplace side drinks and a lot of business brainstorming. After all, we are starting our “job” on Tuesday in our new “office”. However, we got one more celebration at the LA Chocolate Salon on Sundat. We went last year when we had no blog but we each had boyfriends. My oh my, times have changed and Thank God! This year we were prepared. I live only two blocks away and we decided to walk there so we could feel better about consuming massive quantities of chocolate, dessert wine, and chocolate liquor. Josie said on the way that she was nervous about how much she was going to eatt. I stupidly said, “just don’t eat that much.” She looked at me and laughed responding, “You know me, when I have ever been able to control myself?” Truer words have never been spoken and I am definitely included in the mix. We had two stand out favorites in the bunch. First, were CJ’s Stix, which were pretzels covered in chocolate, peanut butter, and toffee. Our friend, Dawson of Yelp LA correctly referred to it as crack. The second favorite was based mainly on the surprise element, it was a sizzling bacon chocolate bar by Christopher Michael. The surprise element was that it “sizzled” in your mouth…think pop rocks. We screamed with delight!
We also voted in Le Cordon Bleu Chocolate Chef competition. I voted for the chocolate shoe designers Team 1 and Josie preferred the Tiki chocolate tower by Team 3.
We may have parted ways on the chocolate competition but we both staked out the Yelp table in hopes of winning a Yelp Elite lunchbox, which we just learned via Twitter that DerekThomasXXX won. Sadly, we did not win but we shot our second video using our new love, the Flip Cam. Don’t worry folks Monday is my actually birthday and Josie will be making me a nice romantic and well documented 5-Course dinner.