Posts Tagged ‘John Sedlar’

Taste Los Angeles at the Taste of Mexico

Mini sea urchin tostada with chicharron and esquites (Mexican street corn) from Cacao Mexicatessen

Mini sea urchin tostada with chicharron and esquites (Mexican street corn) from Cacao Mexicatessen

People always ask me what’s the best Mexican food in Los Angeles. Well, now those people — it could be you! — can find out for themselves at the 2nd Annual Taste of Mexico on Nov. 30 at Vibiana in downtown Los Angeles. Some of the best Mexican food in the city will be represented, including Playa, La Monarca Bakery, Guelaguetza, Cacao Mexicatessen and Guisados. I was recently invited to try some of these eateries’ offerings, and every single bite of food I had was delicious, especially the sea urchin tostada with chicharron and esquites (Mexican street corn off the cob) from Cacao Mexicatessen (above) and the Oaxacan mole negro pollo tamal from Guelaguetza (below). You won’t go wrong at Taste of Mexico.

Mole negro tamal from Guelaguetza

Mole negro chicken tamal from Guelaguetza

The event, which promises to be a veritable party judging by the hosts, will also feature Mexican beer, Baja wines, mezcal and tequila in addition to unlimited samplings from the participating restaurants. For even more fun, you’ll also find live music, mariachi and DJs. A portion of every ticket sold will benefit Los Angeles’ Downtown Art Walk.

Tickets cost $50 for general admission and $70 for VIP, which includes the uber-pricey Casa Dragones tequila and early admission to the event.


11 2012

Olive oil: not just for Italians anymore

Spanish olive oils

Spanish olive oils

Now this is something you don’t hear about every day — an olive oil tasting.

Olive Oil from Spain, a promotional campaign organized and funded by various Spanish olive oil and trade agencies, recently hosted such a tasting at Chef John Sedlar’s Playa. Led by olive oil expert Alfonso Fernandez Lopez, the tasting was similar to what you would expect at a wine tasting, but olive oil has specific attributes that require attention in properly analyzing the oil.

  1. For the best tasting experience, don’t eat bread with the olive oil.
  2. To release the oil’s smell, warm up the glass with your hands. If possible, use a dark colored glass so you can’t see the color of the oil.
  3. Smell for a “green” or “ripe” scent. Oils with a fruity aroma are best used uncooked, for finishing. Bitter oils should not be used with bitter greens.
  4. To taste the oil, suck it into your mouth quickly through your teeth, mixing air into the oil.


We tasted four Spanish varietals:

  • Arbequina: smells fruity, like banana. Ripe, sweet. Good for finishing but too delicate for cooking.
  • Cornicabra: smells like ripe banana, apples. Medium-strength smell.
  • Hojiblanca: stronger smelling, like lettuce.
  • Picual: intense smell, like arugula or green tomato. Bitter, astringent.
Alfonso Fernandez Lopez

Alfonso Fernandez Lopez. Warm up that oil!

Even though I found all the oils to be “peppery” upon swallowing, i.e., it burns!, I enjoyed this unique tasting. I now know a little more about olive oil and how to use it properly, so that’s always a plus. And it didn’t hurt that we were treated to a lovely meal by Chef Sedlar afterward!

Note: This tasting and meal were hosted.


10 2011

Fun, delicious, with dash of social commentary: brunch at Playa Rivera

Huevos Polenta

Huevos Polenta at Playa Rivera

When I first heard that Chef John Rivera Sedlar was opening Playa Rivera restaurant in the old Grace space on Beverly Boulevard, I jumped for joy. I love Sedlar’s food (and Julian Cox’s cocktails) at Rivera downtown, so having one of his eateries closer in proximity to where I live is really a treat.

Elegant, hearty and delicious, Playa Rivera’s brunch is a great choice for a casual-but-elevated meal. I had the pleasure of having brunch here with Fiona of Gourmet Pigs, Lindsay of LAist and Esther of estarLA, and we had a well-rounded meal complete with cocktails and a chat with Sedlar himself, who happened to walk in just as we were leaving.

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09 2011