By Laura Medina
Left, Colonial Gin & Tonic. Right, Formosa Martini.
This recently slushed and flushed scribe can't believe this eight course sampler is a prelude to the upcoming LuckyRice Asian Food Festival in Los Angeles, this speak-easy of a preview dinner was a warm-up to Dita Von Teese's/Aqualillies performance at the Beverly Hills Hotel two days later.
Whereas Dita's and the Aqualillies were soaked with Cointreau sponsoring, Bombay Sapphire Gin used this LuckyRice teaser dinner to test drive its newest incarnation, Bombay Sapphire East and "My Father's Office" Chef Sang Yoon's latest resturant extension, Lukshon. It is conveniently built next door to his second "My Father's Office" branch in Culver City's Helms Bakery.
Think of this as an "appetizer" to the real full-course party when the LuckyRice Asian Food Festival makes its Los Angeles stop on its tour on August 4th.
Bombay Sapphire East and the organizers call this intimate dinner a "night market."
For this thristy and hungry scribe, it is more of a tasting lab where the city's influential taste-makers sip the new Asian-flavored Bombay Sapphire East Gin cocktail, infused with Thai lemongrass and Vietnamese black peppercorn. Proving it is a tasting lab, the riesling wine is poured out of big beaker glasses as pitchers, keeping the dinner wet.
This spicy duo added a kick to the Colonial G&T with the added slice of Fever Tree Tonic and made the Formosa Martini sharper to the Lillet Blanc, the atomized Mishiu Tou, garnished with ginger pearl onion.
The servings may be snack-sized but the length of 8 courses was enough to fill one's belly.
The starter Hawaiian Butterfish Crudo is misleading light yet soft enough to melt in one's mouth.
The Tea Leaf Salad is a fun crunch of a coleslaw, no mayonnaise weighing it down. The marcona almonds and peanuts make it snappy and light. Not your grandma's coleslaw. Like this scribe, the Tea Leaf Salad is a fun, healthy fusion of Spanish marcona almonds and All-American cabbage, done Asian.
Things get heavy and deep soon after when the succulent BBQ Spicy Chicken Pops arrive.
Yes, the Spicy Chicken Pops are satisfying but this scribble scriber is a seafood saveur. Imagine this fashionable foodie's delight when one of the diners mentioned he doesn't eat crabs, this salivating scribe was more than happy to finish the Maryland Fried Soft Shell Crab for him.
Chef Yoon's uses a different batter and spices for his fried crabs at his "My Father's Office" outposts. At his Asian eatery, Lukshon, the batter is flavored with sambal kacang, nuoc mam gastrique, and peanuts.
Towards the finishing line, this fashionable, full foodie traded a platter of Flank Steak Bao sandwiches in steam buns to the seafood-aversive diner, in exchange, for that big platter of whole Fried Soft Shell Crab.
The home plate of desserts were getting close when Chef Yoon throws in two curveballs of Hunan Chicken Rice and Bhutanese Red Rice simmered in lamb bacon.
Alright, the yellow Chicken Rice is comfort food stewed in traditional, thrifty chicken gizzard, heart, and fat, tossed with fried chicken skin...but it isn't everyday you see Red Bhutanesse Rice sauteed in lamb bacon.
Oh boy, with a burst belly, this sugar-loving scribe was so relieved to shot glasses of dessert.
If this 8 course dinner is considered just a precusor of what to come for the full-fest of the LuckyRice Asian Food Festival in a couple of weeks, it is time to hit the treadmill to make room for more!
A "tapas tasting" fit for an empress.