Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Ghetto Gourmet, Shaun Oster, and the birthday girl

Ghetto Gourmet on the floor

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.

Ghetto Gourmet - Tuna Carpaccio

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.

Ghetto Gourmet - Spring rolls and donut

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
www.jillsoloway.com

The Ghetto Gourmet
www.theghet.com
ghetto gourmet logo is from www.theghet.com

20 comments:

Chubbypanda said...

Shitake donut!?! (o.O)

How did it taste?

- Chubbypanda

Daily Gluttony said...

i've been really curious about GG since first hearing about it, now after reading your post, i'm definitely going to have to go to one of these.

and major props to you for going solo; since i broke out of my dining out solo phobia, i've been lunching out solo quite a bit. for now, i think that going out to dinner or something like this would take more guts on my part, but i'd like to do it one day. hey, you're my rolemodel BoLA! =)

Colleen Cuisine said...

Happy birthday BoLA!! That event sounds really cool, and cheers to you for going solo... I always find that's the best way to meet and connect with new people.

Anonymous said...

Wow, sounds good. Let's start our own dining crew! Then we can get into dining crew fights!

BoLA said...

Hey Chubbypanda! Umm.... the shiitake donut... well... it was like any other fried donut I've had. I'm not sure how it was made and forgot to ask the chef when he came out to introduce himself. Bah... hahaha! It was goooood though! ;)

Hey DG! Yes... it's a pretty cool concept and would LOVE to go back with wine bottles and my foodblogging friends. Alas... school nights are hard on me though... ;) And um... I'm no role model... hahah! I was pretty quiet and tried to keep up with all the cool kids there! ;)

Hey CC! Thanks for the bday wishes! October babies ROCK!!! Can't wait to see you all again! Sojuuuuuu-town anyone? ;)

Hey GT! What would our dining crew be called? You still haven't cooked for me!! :( BAH!

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday! Sounded like you had a very good time. That's the best way to spend a b-day with good food, good people and good conversation.

Kyle

Daily Gluttony said...

i almost forgot (how rude of me, please forgive!): HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!

Peter said...

Happy buttday Kristy! Ah, so this is the GG you were referring to eh? I just got back from Maui...had an incredible meal at Mama's Fish House. Will write about it today when I get the chance.

Kirk said...

Happy B-Day BoLA! Such a neat concept....

H. C. said...

I, too, was weighing whether to go solo to this, but decided against it at the end. But definitely next time!

Jeni said...

Happy Birthday girl!!!

Jonah said...

Great write up, keep me posted on the next one. Hope you have/had a great birthday!

Rachael said...

OMG! I so mean to go to those...you rock for hitting it solo.

Thanks for the awesome post. I am inspired indeed.

xoxox
Rachael

Shaun Oster said...

Yo! (I'm chef Shaun.)
The shitake doughnut was a organic dough, with pre-ferment, (super wet dough made a day or 2 before, to add more flavor.) I fried sliced shitakes in butter, then minced them, adding them to the dough.(If appropriate, mince garlic to fry with the shitakes.) The dough was something like 1 part potato flour, 3 parts organic unbleached white, and 2 parts organic bread flour. A few eggs, salt and yeast. Eye the water to a moderatly sticky dough. When I make these I call them a doughnut or a beignet (depending on which sounds more fancy shmancy and is appropriate with the dish.) Roll the dough after a few hours of rising, cut with a cookie cutter. Then let them rise for a hour or three. Deep fry at 340. BYAAAA! Any other questions? (shaun@shaunoster.com)

BoLA said...

Hey Everybody! Thanks so much for the birthday wishes! =) Another year older, another year full of Best of LA memories! =)

Hey Shaun! Thanks for stopping on by and doubly thanks for demystifying the shiitake doughnut! Awesome food, awesome night! Keep up the great work! By the way, when's your next drumming session??? ;)

Chef Shaun said...

You are very welcome. Drumming? Well, if you want to see the REAL funk, its in Santa Barbara this friday at Legends Bar and Lounge... (Miles Davis/Weather Report/ Herbie styles.) However in LA, i'm playing with a great band called Basa at: Bellavino Wine bar and Restuarant,Westlake Village (November 22).
http://www.myspace.com/basaband
Take care!
-Shaun

H. C. said...

looks like that particular Ghetto gourmet session made TIME magazine (I heard from LA food bloggers that Joel Stein - one of TIME's contributors - was there), too bad he felt ambivalent about the ordeal:

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1555141,00.html

eatdrinknbmerry said...

Happy belated birthday K.

BoLA said...

Hey Chef Shaun! Ooo... I may just check you guys out on 11/22 - right before the Thanksgiving feasts begin! (No work the next day!) Thanks for the heads up!

Hey HC! Yes, I read that article too. There's quite a lot of press on these "alternative dining" experiences.

I enjoyed the GG mostly because I love surprises and I met Jill who was amazing to chat with! And sharing a meal with lots of wine is always a fun time. Too bad I had work early the next day, though, and didn't partake in a lot of the wine drinking - just a sip for me.

I also didn't have any expectations that night - so I wasn't disappointed. =)

Hey EDnBM! Thanks for the bday wishes! I miss our dinners and photo sessions! When's the housewarming and next get together???

Anonymous said...

Hey Jill -- thanks for the Ghet love! :) I went to Jer's lil bro's dinner back in the day when dinners were small plates, limited to 12 people and Shinobi the dog was entertainment.

Now, the Ghet has blossomed into a great movement that let's people enjoy food without pretentiousness. I'm glad to be a part of it behind-the-scenes now, and equally delighted you were brave enough to come to a dinner solo and be open to the alternative dining experience.

Too bad the Time writer had to be snarky and totally misrepresent the Ghet experience as something that's not wholesome and food-centric.

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