Thursday, October 26, 2006
The Ghetto Gourmet, Shaun Oster, and the birthday girl
I signed up to be on The Ghetto Gourmet mailing list, but missed the last time the GG crew was in LA. So when the email came from GG letting me know that they were coming back to the city, I knew I wouldn't want to miss it.
I bought my dinner ticket for one for Tuesday's dinner and was in for an early birthday treat. Going solo, I wasn't sure exactly what to expect or whom I'd I meet. But in the end, was so happy I went and even had the chance to visit with fellow LA foodblogger, Eating LA.
After walking up the stairs of the Koreatown Apartment complex (the address to which was revealed to me only a few hours earlier), I was surprised to find a gated courtyard transformed into an intimate outdoor dining room.
Once there, I met a very amicable man whose friends adopted me for the night. They were amazingly friendly and brilliantly hilarious. And I was so thrilled to meet Jill - a beautiful, thoughtful, and very engaging woman who gave me a small glimpse into her family, her work, and her favorite sushi restaurants in LA (including Katsuya on Ventura in Encino.)
She gave me a new perspective on family and writing, and made me feel a little less awkward of being on my own that night.
For that, I am eternally grateful.
I'm also looking forward to reading her book, Tiny Ladies in Shiny Pants and hearing her voice through the pages as she shares her memoirs with me.
But back to the dinner and to Shaun Oster, who was our celebrity chef for the evening.
He prepared a sensational four-course meal, starting with one of my favorites of the night: Baby Green Bouquet with Tuna Carpaccio and Pomegranate Seeds [pictured above]. Sweet and refreshingly light, it was the perfect beginning to an incredible evening.
Next came out the Sweet Potato Spring Rolls with spicy tamarind sauce which was mild and definitely agreeable to the taste. And our main course was a Steamed White Ruffy with Green Mango Salsa and Shiitake Doughnut [both pictured above]. The fish, itself, was healthy and light. But with a few julienned mangoes and a fried doughnut, it reminded me of my night of indulgence and gluttony. But then again, anything fried has got to be good.
The meal concluded with an instant favorite of the night with an Apple Rasberry Almond Puff Pastry with BRIE Ice Cream. Initially, I rolled my eyes in disgust as I thought about cheese being made into of all things - ice cream. But was pleasantly surprised at how rich, creamy, and delicious it turned out to be.
And really, that's how I would describe the entire night: surprisingly pleasant.
With good food, good people, and a good location, the Ghetto Gourmet is anything but ghetto and all gourmet. And it was definitely the start of a memorable 28th birthday.
Jill Soloway, author/writer/director/performer
The Ghetto Gourmet
ghetto gourmet logo is from www.theghet.com