Monday, May 17, 2010

Into the Heart of L.A.- Culinary Tour - Part Two

Part two of my Bertolli Frozen Foods all expenses paid vacation "Into the Heart of L.A. Culinary Tour". Please read part one here, and see my give away for a new autographed cookbook by celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito that will be given to a lucky reader through the Random Number Generator on Friday, May 21, 2010.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to Blogher Ads restrictions I had to transfer all previous posts regarding the Bertolli contest I won to this ad free review blog, but prior comments to those posts were saved on my original blog and all prior comments will be tallied on both the original post and the post moved here in regard to winning the cookbook. Thanks for understanding!

Now on to "part two" of my adventure!

All photos will enlarge when double clicked on- use the back arrow to return to the blog post

The "street food" scene is all the rage in Los Angeles!  Over 90 popular gourmet catering trucks rove around the streets and Twitter their locations so their followers can find them and order lunch or a snack. In this photo mosaic you can see some of these trucks that we located by Twitter along L.A.'s Museum Row on the Miracle Mile.

Someone was filming us from the top of the World's Fare truck!

A peak inside the truck's state of the art kitchen.

The World Fare truck was a double decker bus with the roof top removed, that they call the "bustaurant," so we decided to hop on top while we waited for a sampling of their food to be served.

A group shot of the happy food bloggers and their contest winners on the top of the World Fare "bustaurant."

There was plenty of room on top to stand and use the ledges as a table.

Plus we had a good view from the top of Miracle Mile and......

....some of the beautiful hill top houses of L.A.

The World Fare chef, Andi Van Willigan, came on top to talk with us and describe the available entrees. She had spent four years as the Corporate Executive Sous Chef for the Michael Mina Group and two seasons as sous chef in Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen,” but she wanted to return to LA and try something new and has enjoyed developing recipes for World Fare owners Travis Schmidt and Jason Freeman.

They are famous for their "Bunny Chow" which is a South African meal comprised of hollowed-out bread filled with savory stews and curries. World Fare also offers a sampler of its four Bunny Chows, served on pepper halves instead of hollowed bread, which is what we ordered.  The fillings consisted of roasted pork with corn and jalapeno relish; Worcestershire short ribs with horseradish creme fraiche; chicken curry with chick peas, coconut milk, cashews and cilantro; and vegetarian chili with black red and garbanzo beans with sweet corn and tomato.

We also tried their "truffle mac and cheese balls" which I'm holding in the photo mosaic above. They were so good I could have eaten a hundred of them!

The dessert offerings were delectable. We sampled red velvet cupcakes with a cream cheese filling, a rich chocolate brownie cupcake, a big chocolate chip cookie, and then my favorite dessert which was butterscotch bread pudding served with butterscotch pot de creme! It was heavenly!

Our next samplings came from The Shrimp Guys truck! Inspired by the shrimp trucks they saw on a trip to Hawaii, the owners claim they learned to cook in what they call the academy of "MMK" -- "My Mom's Kitchen."

We tried four shrimp samples -- garlic butter shrimp, coconut lime shrimp which they call "Coco Loco," spicy garlic butter shrimp and spicy coconut lime.  Both the spicy entrees were dosed with Thai chilies and tropical spices.

They were all very flavorful and delicious!

Next we sampled from Lee's Philly Gogi truck.  There is no web site for his truck but Lee's twitter site states: "Trained in Philly to bring you the BEST steak sandwich. Our Gogi style tacos and burritos are L.A.’s BEST."

His chicken and beef tacos were overflowing with meat, and the addition of Korean kimchi vegetables made them spicy and juicy good.

Lee was very friendly and pleasant and even posed for photos with out group!  We felt like celebrities!

We left the food truck area and headed over to 712 N. Heliotrope Dr., Los Angeles, CA, to visit "Scoops" -  the ice cream and gelato shop of a former artist named Tai Kim.

Mr. Kim allowed us to sample all the flavors on little plastic spoons which he handed to us.  We then made our choices of which flavors to have him scoop into our cups.

Mr. Kim offers a fluctuating menu of exotic flavored sorbet, ice cream and gelato flavors that he has blended fresh daily to fill his 18 bins.

Some of the flavors that were available the day we visited were chocolate Guinness, black truffles, lavender honey, blueberry plum wine, pistachio jasmine, Thai iced tea, vanilla coffee mascarpone cheese, goat cheese basil, ricotta Marsala Oreo, banana coconut, pistachio orange water, salty chocolate, apricot tiramisu, strawberry banana, salty caramel, soy based pear cranberry raspberry.

I had a little plastic spoon sample of each flavor and could not decide which one I like more than the other, as they all tasted temptingly good! The flavors were not overpowering and the consistency was creamy and smooth, yet not overly filling.  My ultimate choice of four serving scoops were consumed very easily, and I feel a little sad I won't be able to taste such delightful flavor combinations until I visit LA again sometime in the future. If you wish to enjoy a gourmet ice cream taste experience be sure to put a visit to Scoops on your agenda!

Time to go back to the limousine for the last two legs of our culinary adventure -- please return for part three where we will explore one last specialty store where we have a chance to participate in a taste quiz and then we go on to the Four Seasons Hotel to meet Rocco DiSpirito! 
Don't forget to enter my give away for an autographed copy of Rocco's new cookbook, "Now Eat This" if you haven't already entered! All comments on this back page blog will be combined with the ones originally left before I was required to move that post to this review blog.

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.

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Susie Q said...

Wow! WOW! This really was an awesome experience! Not that I doubted it for a minute after reading part one!! : )


Joanne Kennedy said...

Oh no! Sounds like you got busted by the blogger police. LOL I think it's silly they make us open up a new blog for things like this.

Anyway... what a fun idea to chase after the trucks and try everything. I've heard about this taking place but I've never done it. I hear some of them have super good food.

Hey, I'll have to find out if I can ship you some of that gelato. Maybe with dry ice it would work. Wouldn't that be fun?


Riet said...

Oh WOW, this must have been such a wonderful trip. And all that food looks delicious, it makes me so hungry.Must be great to have lunch on the top of a bus.
Have a nice day.

Allie and Pattie said...

Pat, I had to laugh- I make mac and cheese balls for my kids- they think it's gourmet! What a fabulous time you had! Looks like LA has changed a bit since my last trip there many moons ago- for the better!
xoxo Pattie

Old Kitty said...

Good grief!!

I'm so hungry it's unreal. The best thing for me: Chocolate Guinness ice cream. I mean WOW!!!What an artist Mr Kim is!

Actually all the chefs here are artists - I love the "street food" here - top quality food from top quality chefs!! I wish all street food were like these.

I'm really really really amazed at LA culinary oasis. I've never put great food/chefs/cooking with LA - shows how much I know!! This is a great introduction - thank you!!

I'm so so so glad you won this trip!! Absolutely mouth wateringly fascinating. I look forward with an empty plate for part three!

Take care

mbkatc230 said...

This really is an amazing trip Pat. I love the gourmet food vendors. There is a section of South Congress in Austin that is doing something similar, really top notch food from airstream trailers. What a fun post! Kathy

The Quintessential Magpie said...

This looks absolutely wonderful, Pat! I cannot get over the delicious food from those trucks! Who would have thought! I'm glad you reviewed this in case I ever get out to LA. I will be sure and try it.

I'm so thrilled for you that you got to do this. The food looks outstanding, and that gelato... YUM!


Sheila :-)

Dishesdone said...

Cool kitchen in a truck! I think I like it better than mine, I can cook and drive to the mall! What a great experience! Have you noticed any of those kind of twitter trucks in Manhattan yet?

Crazy to have to do a second blog but I look forward to many more reviews and wins from you!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Boy did you guys eat a lot of wonderful food. I love the photos of all of you ladies the best. It looks like you're having such a fun time.

Claudia said...

Your photos and comments do justice to the trip. One week later - I am still sated! Next time - a pj party! (With room service)

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

I was wondering about the 'twitter mobile restaurants' I know what you mean. What a fun experience you had! And I'm sure you never came home hungry!

Vee said...

Ohhh, this sounded and looked so good. (I'm very intrigued by your having a blog behind the scenes and those restrictions you spoke of. Hmmm...)

Willow said...

What an interesting idea--to eat your way around LA with the food trucks! I remember when going to Tommy's in Hollywood meant waiting in line down the block and around the corner for a looong time. It was my first experience of street eating in LA. (I have to tell you that the BEST burritos we've ever eaten are made in a little restaurant that 'grew up' from a taco truck to a little shack and is now a bigger shack-on E. Vernon)

I'm enjoying this tour so much partly because I'm familiar with LA--I saw the wall at the Tar Pits in the background of one of your shots!

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Real food done their way...I love it!! Those buses/restaurants are something I would love to try! Seems like an extraordinary, sensory experience Pat...thank you for writing about it in detail...I am living vicariously through you right now.
♥, Susan

RNSANE said...

It's time for me to go scrounge up some boring lunch fixings. Next time I'm in L. A., I'm going to have to make my girlfriend take me to some of these spots although she never disappoints me in her choices.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Good question, Dishesdone! I don't think the Gourmet food truck idea has taken off in NYC as yet. Parking is at a premium in NYC and there are too many restrictions. As it is our mayor would like to ban traffic from Manhattan and have everyone use mass transit. Street side food cart requires a vending license and they are very territorial. Plus weather can be an issue as well as places for the people buying the food to sit and eat it.

Jenny said...

Is that Jenny Flake along with you? Why are you hiding in all the pictures? You are so cute! Quit hiding girl!

Anonymous said...

One thing for sure...anyone from NYC knows a good food truck when she sees one!

Gracie said...

You own me one Pat, I gained a few kilos just reading your post!!!

Lisa@GrandmasBriefs said...

What a delicious adventure! I think my fave would have been the shrimp guys ... maybe. Great photos, as usual!

Joyce said...

I am so enjoying your posts and wish I was there to taste all these wonderful foods and those different flavor ice creams. I think the idea of the food trucks is catching on all over and I wish it would catch on here in Atlanta. Keep posting more and more as I am enjoying all the photos and information.

La Petite Gallery said...

What a fasinating trip that was. I can't believe that Ice cream, Italian ices. It's hard to imagine the shrimp lookin so good off a truck. I haven't been to LA
since 1980's. DID YOU GAIN WEIGHT????? LOL

yvonne said...

Love that collage of all the food trucks!!! :) And especially all the GELATO!! :) You perfectly captured our afternoon. :) Now when can we come do the same thing your YOUR fabulous city??! :)

Linda Lou said...

This is all so exciting and interesting-considering I live only 2 hours down the freeway, I definitely want to visit some of these incredible food trucks...I LOVE the Farmers Market in LA-my husband and I recently had lunch at that French place...LA is pretty cool ya gotta ladies are very LUCKY!!

nanny said...

It all looks wonderful, but those tacos are keeping my attention!!!!!