Friday, June 17, 2011

Foodie Fridays: Pairings by Savor Los Angeles

Creative collective Parallel Lines was kind enough to invite us to the latest incarnation of their Savor Los Angeles series, held earlier this month. With Abby out of town, I knew that all the sampling would be on my plate, literally. Tough job, but someone's gotta do it!

This time, Savor pulled together about a dozen participants under the theme of pairings: "foods made for each other, fusion, nostalgic specialties and unexpected flavor combinations," the invite read. While the theme was more apparent with some participants than others, Savor curated a brilliantly diverse group of eateries, ranging from long-standing LA restaurants (like The Farm of Beverly Hills) to the up-and-coming (like Auntie Fruf's Aahsome Fudge). The evening benefited CoachArt, a nonprofit which offers free arts and sports programs to children with chronic illnesses.

Parallel Lines once again selected a beautiful blank space, Hollywood's Siren Studios, which made the culinary displays stand out like works of art. While the city's young, stylish foodie set convened here, what was great about this event was that unlike other tastings, it wasn't overcrowded. Having to elbow your way through throngs of hungry people just to snag a microscopic bite of cheese is never fun.

Upon entering the event, attendees were treated to cocktails by Veev ("the world's first açaí spirit") just past the check-in desk—no better way to get a party started. They had an interactive come-up-with-your-own-creation setup, using one of two different concoctions and a handful of fruits and veggies. I ended up with a blackberry mint lemonade, which turned out sweet and refreshing. The cocktail was served in a fun little mason jar.

With our drinks in hand, we entered the main tasting room. Bacon seemed to be a major player this time around, appearing first in Pure Cheesecakes' blue cheese and tomato creation. I'm generally not a huge fan of cheesecakes—probably due to how heavy and rich they are—but these savory varieties of the typically sweet dessert were a delightful new experience.

Bacon was also found in caramelized form in Cast Iron Gourmet's incredibly addictive trail mix. The crunchy snack also consisted of dried fruit, chocolate, and nuts.

Also participating were Silver Lake's Malo Restaurant and its new downtown offshoot, Mas Malo, which I recently had the pleasure of trying. Unfortunately they didn't bring any of their very unique chewy tortilla chips or the super spicy habanero creme dip, but we were introduced to a new dish: the aguachile shrimp. The robust green lime and chile salsa definitely made the plump raw shrimp go *KABOOM* in your mouth.

Our old buddy Nguyen Tran of Starry Kitchen was present as well, and as you can tell by this photo, lively as ever!

His intern offered us plate after plate of the restaurant's mouthwatering pandan chicken (chunks of chicken wrapped in pandan leaves which are then fried). The savory dish's pairing counterpart was pandan flan, which was equal parts sweet, rich and smooth.

Bangers & Smashed made me nostalgic for London with their take on classic English pub grub. Two varieties of bite-sized bangers and mash were offered: Hungarian smoked pork sausage with "Loaded & Smashed" potatoes, and a smoked apple sage variation with goat cheese and sage mashed potatoes for the vegetarians amongst us.

The Farm showcased a beautiful flower arrangement made of raw veggies. Apparently we were standing in the right place at the right time, as we overheard a simultaneously hilarious and unfortunate conversation which went something along the lines of "so what flavor is this flower?" "...uhh... radish?"

Although desserts were the main focus of Savor's last tasting, sweets were certainly easy to find this time around as well. The Farm tempted attendees with platefuls of their simple, yet well-executed powdered brownie bites, and Auntie Fruf's offered a wide array of sugary treats. My favorite was a chewy chunk of fudge, encased in a vanilla macaron. Supposedly they were also serving fudge-filled fried ravioli—too bad this wasn't sitting out when I swung by!

The imbibers amongst us flocked to the bar upstairs, to score more drinks from Veev as well as one of my favorite classic Belgian beers, Duvel.

While we were busy sipping away, the raffle began. I've never won anything in a raffle before, but OF COURSE the first time I do it was for a little black dress! As great as this cute number (made by local designer Nuj Novakhett) might look on me, it will likely be finding itself on eBay soon. Other lucky winners scored items including a barbecue set and a pizza stone.

On our way out, we were treated to gift bags courtesy of Yelp, which included goodies like a Skoy eco-friendly dishrag, Wonderful pistachios, and an espresso cup. I've also been able to try the Zhena's Gypsy Tea coconut chai blend which I picked up at the event, and I must say this truly is a magical combination. Trust 'em or not, apparently gypsies really know what they're doing when it comes to tea! Refreshing cocktails, delicious "BFF" bites, and a free dress—all in all, a successful night. Great work, Parallel Lines!

Savor Los Angeles,

Photos by Aurora Tang.

NEXT TIME on Foodie Fridays: We'll be giving you our thoughts on Los Feliz's recently opened Mother Dough, and let you know where it ranks in LA's sorely lacking pizza scene...

Suggestions? Mail to: foodiefridays at foundtrack dot com


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