Tag Archives: Food

A New Way to Experience DineLA

Where to DineLA // (c) 2014 LACVB
It’s time to DineLA // (c) 2014 LACVB

This year, DineLA falls takes place over my birthday, Jan. 20-31, so I am paying attention to how to best take advantage of all of the many perks this event offers. Just when I start to think about all of the fabulous restaurants I want to eat at, the L.A. Tourism and Convention Board announces an $85 tasting menu at some of the city’s most sought-after dining destinations — CUT, mar’sel, Melisse, Patina Restaurant, Spago Beverly Hills and Valentino Restaurant. So much good food to be had — which one should I choose?

For a chance to savor Los Angeles’ cuisine all year long, diners can enter “dineLA for a Year.” Food lovers who sign up for the dineLA newsletter are automatically entered to win the ultimate prize—a restaurant  gift certificate every week for one year.  The 52-week prize is valued at $2,600.

To book a reservation for dineLA’s Restaurant Week simply visit http://www.discoverlosangeles.com/dineLA and choose from over 300 restaurants offering a selection of specially-priced $15, $20 and $25 lunch menus and $25, $35 and $45 dinner menus along with tasting menu options from premier restaurants.

www.discoverLosAngeles.com/dineLA

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Children’s Hotel Menu Adds Healthy Options for Family Travel

IHG Kids' Menu launch at the InterContinental Hotel, Park Lane, London. // Geoff Caddick/PA
IHG Kids’ Menu launch at the InterContinental Hotel, Park Lane, London. // Geoff Caddick/PA

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)  announced the launch of its first global children’s hotel menu designed by a child food expert and an award-winning chef, making family travel easier for parents looking for healthy food options on the road. The menu, which launches at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts in early 2014, promises to take children through an exciting journey of food discovery.

Designed specifically for the young InterContinental guest, the menu has been jointly developed by award-winning celebrity chef Theo Randall and leading children’s food expert and best-selling international author, Annabel Karmel. The menu will feature dishes that embrace flavors, textures, smells and tastes that will take children on an educational voyage around the world while ensuring an enjoyable and nutritionally balanced meal.

Karmel is best known for her innovative recipes that embody her passion for giving children the very best start in life by inspiring families to cook nutritious, delicious meals that taste great. Few people also know that she started her career as a musician and one of her early jobs was playing the harp at the InterContinental London Park Lane. Randall, on the other hand, is internationally renowned for creating simple, authentic dishes using the best and freshest ingredients.

As part of the menu’s development, Karmel and Randall conducted a test-and-learn tasting session with young guests in October. The taste-tested dishes proved to be a big hit and provided the culinary duo with additional insight into the dishes they will roll out as part of the final menu. Healthy options for parents and kids will make family travel much more fun in the future.

InterContinental Hotels & Resorts will roll out the new menu from January 2014, and it will be available in all properties globally by the end of June 2014.

http://www.ihg.com/intercontinental

Making Black Bean Tamales

One of my favorite activities on my recent trip to Veracruz, Mexico, was learning to make and wrap black bean tamales. Our experience, orchestrated by tour operator Yambigapan, started at a local farm where we picked the banana leaves that would wrap our tamales for cooking.

We chose the leaves we wanted to wrap our tamales in. // (c) Janeen Christoff
We chose the leaves we wanted to wrap our tamales in. // (c) Janeen Christoff

After a light hike nearby, we headed to Yambigapan’s rural home-stay facility, located on a bluff over looking a small valley.

We hiked through an abandoned textile factory and along a river. // (c) 2013 Janeen Christoff
We hiked through an abandoned textile factory and along a river. // (c) 2013 Janeen Christoff

From the home, you can walk to the Laguna Encantada for boat rides or hike to a variety of destinations including the Volcan San Martin. Our group was their to experience local culinary traditions – specifically tamale-making.

Tamales are made in a traditional kitchen. // (c) 2013 Janeen Christoff
Tamales are made in a traditional kitchen. // (c) 2013 Janeen Christoff

We started by chopping chepil, a Mexican herb that is somewhat similar to coriander.

Chepil // (c) 2013 Janeen Christoff
Chepil // (c) 2013 Janeen Christoff

Then we kneeded the masa (tamale dough). You are gonna need a lot of muscle for this.

Kneeding the masa // (c) 2013 Janeen Christoff
Kneeding the masa // (c) 2013 Janeen Christoff

Then came the hard part, folding the tamales in the leaves. It’s actually not that hard. You just plop a blob of masa onto the leaf and then fold the tamale like an American flag.

Tamale folding demonstration // (c) 2013 Janeen Christoff
Tamale folding demonstration // (c) 2013 Janeen Christoff

Pop ‘em in the oven for a while, launch some globos (paper lanterns, which we also learned how to make), listen to some jarocho son music and voila, you have dinner.

The finished product: yummy black bean tamales // (c) 2013 Janeen Christoff
The finished product: yummy black bean tamales // (c) 2013 Janeen Christoff

http://www.yambigapan.com

Celebrate National Hot Dog Day With the Family

Pink's Hot Dogs // (c) Pink's Hot Dogs
Pink’s Hot Dogs // (c) Pink’s Hot Dogs

I had no idea that there was a national hot dog day, but there is, and popular mobile app, UrbanSpoon, has provided its Top 40 Fantastic Franks list to help families find great hot dogs around the nation. The list includes restaurants that received the most positive reviews from professional food critics, bloggers and the Urbanspoon community of diners and offers up eateries in 31 cities around the country.

If you’re here in Los Angeles, my favorite for families is Pink’s Hot Dogs and UrbanSpoon also recommends Wurstkuche and Currywurst.

For a complete list visit http://www.urbanspoon.com/blog/2013/07/national-hot-dog-day-top-40-fantastic-franks/

Eating in Japan

Eating in Japan is an activity all its own. Don’t miss: Kobe beef, soba noodles, tofu and sushi. And that is just the first day!

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