Sunday, May 16, 2010

"Into the Heart of L.A." Culinary Tour -- Part One

I'd like to show more details about the wonderful all expenses (transportation, meals and hotel) culinary day in the heart of Los Angeles, California, courtesy of Bertolli Frozen Foods that I won through a contest held by Claudia of the "Journey of an Italian Cook" blog.

There were a total of five bloggers who were chosen by Bertolli to offer the contest on their blog and their five winners, four of whom had blogs themselves, myself included. They were:  Journey of an Italian Cook Picky-Palate, Kevin and Amanda, Gourmet Mom on the Go, Blisstree, Steamy Kitchen, Big2Beautiful, Just call Me B! plus Sarah from Tastespotting and The Delicious Life, plus representatives Celiena from Bertolli, Jennifer and Jaclyn from the Zocalo Marketing Group and Christine from Unilever. We were picked up at our hotel by a stretch SUV limousine. (all photos will enlarge when double clicked on)

It was fun to meet these accomplished young ladies and to spend a fun day taking hundreds of photographs, as good bloggers do, as we were whisked around L.A.'s vibrant culinary scene!

Our first stop was the fabulous Griddle Cafe, located at 7916 West Sunset Boulevard.  It is known for both its celebrity sightings and its giant sized breakfast entrees!  Check out their extensive menu!  As you can see by the photo mosaic above there were a lot of smiles on our faces as we enjoyed our delicious breakfasts.  Claudia and I ordered the "Manhattan Frittata" as seen in the lower left photo.  It was full of cheese and covered with a large piece of ham and chopped tomatoes and served with a choice of toast or fresh fruit. Celiena, who was sitting on my left had the Rancheros Huevos seen in the photo in lower right corner.  A popular choice for many were "Mom's Best French Toast" as seen in the middle photo.  We gave the Griddle Cafe our hearty seal of approval and would highly recommend it to be a breakfast destination if you live in or are visiting Los Angeles!

Nest stop was the iconic Farmers Market, an L.A. shopping and dining institution for over 75 years!  It is located at the NE corner of 3rd Street and Fairfax Avenue. The Farmers Market began in 1934 when Roger Dahlhjelm, a businessman, and Fred Beck, an advertising copywriter, asked the owners of “Gilmore Island,” the former dairy farm at 3rd & Fairfax, if they could invite local farmers to park trucks on vacant Gilmore land to sell fresh produce to local shoppers. The concept was so popular that within months, permanent stalls were erected to provide the farmers with a more convenient way to provide their produce, and it became a permanent fixture. Today it is the destination of more than 3 million visitors a year!  I enjoyed strolling around the grounds looking at the remarkable selection of fresh food supplies, baked goods, seafood, nuts, cheese, and candy, as well as souvenirs, vintage memorabilia and jewelry shops

Just a small sample of the many variety of goods available in the market can be seen in this photo mosaic.

Claudia and I spent a lot of time roaming up and down the isles of Monsieur Marcel's French Deli. Monsieur Marcel specializes in gourmet and specialty cheeses and deli items, imported and private label groceries and imported fine wines from around the world.  It was hard not to want to buy many items in this store, as there were so many tempting choices.  I purchased an exotic salt sampler that contained natural salts herbs and spices such as lavender and fennel pollen and coconut.

Here we are comparing our market purchases and waiting for our limo to pick us up for our next stop!  We are off to chase gourmet food trucks that leave their location of the day on Twitter, plus our visit to two more delectible L.A. gourmet stores and our fabulous dinner meeting with Celebrity Chef Rocco DiSpiritio!

Check back on my blog soon to see part two of our wonderful adventure, and don't forget to enter my "Into the Heart of LA" giveaway where I'll be using the  Random Number Generator on Friday, May 21st to choose a winner for an autographed copy of Rocco DiSpritio's new cookbook "Now Eat This."

Go to this post to enter the cook book give away!

FTC disclosure: I received this trip courtesy of Bertolli Frozen Meals (all-expenses paid covering transportation, hotel and meals) and my opinions are independent of the paid or sponsored relationship.

I'm adding this post to Mary's "Mosaic Monday" at The Little Red House blog!  Please visit mary to see her always beautiful photo mosaic and to find links to many more participating blogs!

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Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

Wow, what a fabulous prize! Can't wait to read more :)

Kathleen said...

Sarah from Tastespotting! I remember getting many rejection notices for my food pics from here, LOL! Then I finally got a few accepted, and now I don't even bother!
Looks like a wonderful trip. Pat! said...

Loving all your gorgeous collages. You take the most fantastic pictures! :)

steviewren said...

Pat, this was the perfect trip for you! That breakfast looked scrumptious.