By Laura Medina
Night One, TPGtv Japan “One Night In Tokyo” with The Points Guy, Brian Kelly.
Night Two, Lucky Rice LA.
Yes, this scribe had double-dipped into the Asian Cuisine Feast but can't help it.
From Wall St. corporate laid-off, burnt-out to blogging to television show, Brian Kelly, The Points Guy was just as overwhelmed and impressed as this scribe at this launch party for his television show, TPGtv.
Being a normal New York who's just happy living out his dream then blogging about it, was totally wowed by the the set production of dangling Japanese Cherry Blossoms, strewn across the a photo studio, the three buffet bars of sushi, ramen noodles, and fried Japanese tempura bar, all for his television show, oh man.
Since the premiere television episode was focused on Tokyo, the launch party theme is modern Japan of today.
The sushi bar was the first bar up and running, since the early guests were greeted with trays and trays of top-botch, juicy, meaty sushi as soon they arrived.
At first, we guests were just pleased with endless flow of sushi then assumed that was the food. Boy, were we gladly proved wrong.
Ramen Noodle Bar.
Alright, the easiest ones were the first to set off, hence the Sushi Bar.
The Ramen Noodle Bar, with warming up vats of broth and noodles then laying out soy curd bowls and trays of sliced-up rolled up pork filet stuffed with vegetables, was the second buffet bar to dole out ladles and bowls of noodles and broth with stuffed pork filet slices.
The most complex food buffet bar dives deeper into real Japanese cuisine than quick and fast sushi, the Tempura Fried Buffet. Something that this Southern scribe appreciates.
Tempura-Fried Onions, Green Beans, and Squash. Yes, the South isn't the only places that fries. So, does Japan.
They served up: Kobe Chicken Fried Steak (Japanese Chicken Fried Steak, yep heard right), Tempura Onion Rings, Ahi Tuna Nicoise Tarts, and Daikon Spaghetti Salad.
Well, sushi you can get at most places. The Ramen Noodle Bar was top-notch but it's not everywhere you can get Japanese Tempura-Friend anything or everything. This scribe feasted on a big plate of tempura.
Well, you can't keep on feeding and watering the guests all night. Plus, it's about modern Tokyo and modern Japan of today.
Stilt walkers in LCD robotic costumes wowed the three hundred guests slurping their ramen noodles and cocktails.
It didn't stop there.
The big finale was a raffle contest where the winner and first-runner, Xander Tarigo (left), wins two roundtrip tickets to Japan on Singapore Suites. The second runner-up wins tickets to any hotel around the world.
Lucky Rice LA 2016 at Vibiana, home of Neal Fraser's Redbird.
Four nights later, lucky Los Angeles was hit with second tsunami, the Lucky Rice LA Asian Food Festival, where the most innovative and best Asian restaurants gather underneath one roof, for one night, 2016 edition.
If TPGtv's "One Night in Tokyo" was all about current Japanese cuisine then the Lucky Rice LA Festival was the best of what the Pacific Rim has to offer, all within Southern California or "SoCal."
To be honest, the Lucky Rice LA festival is a great one-shop deal to discover food trends.
The overwhelming trend is the "American-ization" of Pan-Pacific cuisine, coming from first-and second-generation Asian-Americans born and raised in the Good Ole United States of American...okay with a California twist. Not surprising since Americans with some degree of Pan-Asian blood is the fastest growing demographic in the United States.
Seoul Sausage's Hawaii 5-O Rice Ball was the first appetizer to greet people, an huge ball of fried rice, Teriyaki Sauce, fried Portuguese Sausage Corn, Pineapple, Macaroni, House Sesame Dressing. That was a gut filler but there's way, way more tapas to sample the entire Pacific Rim.
Where the Deep South (the fastest growing region of the United States) meets Asian-American (the fastest growing demographic in the United States), Twenty-Eight's version of Peaches, Pork, & Grits: Red Braised Pork Belly, Creamy Polenta (Italian Grits but still creamy enough to be mistaken for grits), and sauteed peaches. This dish can't get more Southern than this.
You guessed it by now, Fusion-Cuisine is the driving theme behind this year's Lucky Rice LA but what the majority do not know or uninformed, alright, uneducated, is that Fusion Cuisine has always been around for ages.
Fusion Cuisine is a reflection of the people and their culture colonizing a land. Spanish-American cuisine of the Philippines and French-Vietnamese cuisine of Vietnam, the land of Iced Coffee.
Creme Caramel LA's Filipino Mini Pavlova is upper-crust French dessert utilizing Filipino ingredients: Coconut Meringue, Ube Custard, Graham Cracker, Greek Yogurt Crumble. It's French technique using Filipino ingredients.
Bahn Oui's traditional French-Vietnamese tapas for Lucky Rice LA 2016 is the easiest to assemble. Basically, you just buy ready-made crackers, a tub of foie gras or duck pate, and a slab of pork belly. Okay, you have to grill the pork baby, but other than that, assembling this is pretty easy.
But, oh so good that you'll have guests licking it out of its plate, like the Lucky Rice LA 2016 diners.
Bahn Oui: first sauce the Rye Bread Crisp Cracker with Foie Gras, then placed grilled Pork Belly, then sprinkle fresh herbs. Very fast, very easy that any hostess during the Summer can pull this off.
Speaking for Fusion/Cross-Cultural Cuisine, Bling Bling Dumpling's take on the Philly Cheese Steak is an awesome alternative to a late-night burger craving.
They simply switched out the Philly Roll or Hoagie Roll with a steamed bun but it's still Philly Cheese Steak all the way through: Pastrami Dumplings, Sauerkraut, Sriracha, Thousand Island Dressing.
Sometimes, simple is better...and flashier.
Using a blowtorch (the next up&coming cooking tool), Parks BBQ grilled their Short Ribs then wrapped it in Rice Paper. Simple.
Of course, with all this munching, people gotta quench their thirst. With Bombay Sapphire Gin East being the main sponsor, there are many variations of Bombay Sapphire East Gin cocktails.
Bombay Sapphire East Gin
Asian Pear Juice
Golden Korean Melon Juice
Homemade Hibiscus Cordial
Powell & Mahoney Lemon Bitters
Martini & Rossi Prosecco
Bombay Sapphire Gin
Homemade Orange Shrub
White Peach Juice
Homemade Cherry Cordial
Spiced Asian Pears.
The lucky first got the rare After-Party Invitation to Seoul Sausage, just behind Vibiana, Lucky Rice LA 2016's site.
That Friday night only, Seoul Sausage offered this rare "Bombay Melon-Bar" Cocktail.
It's a Honeydew slushie blended with Bombay Sapphire Gin.
This scribe hopes you can re-create because "Bombay Melon-Bar" Cocktail happened once, like a blue moon, only for that Friday night for two hours then "poof," disappears.
Cheers Lucky Rice LA for showcasing what is the best of Pan-Asian/Fusion Cuisine.
Can't wait to see and taste what next year has in store.