Friday, February 28, 2020

Taste of Memphis Dinner with Chef D. Arthur, Heart & Soul Food.

By Laura Medina

Taste of Memphis is Memphis' Tourism Board bringing, literally, a taste of Memphis to a select group of Los Angeles-based writers and influencers.  Ironically, some of the Los Angeles-based writers are from the South, such as this scribe.

They want to show that Memphis is actually an American cultural center from Stax Records to Graceland to the blues that defined American culture.  They, also, talked about  all the new and current developments happening in Memphis right now.

Even though, young, contemporary Chef. D. Arthur showcased classically Southern cuisine, his family's fried chicken, he's also very contemporary with his Jalapeño Cheddar Chicken & Waffle Cone,
He is what Memphis considers real and the brightest of Memphis talent, evolving while keeping tradition alive.  They're not mutually exclusive.

Accompanying his family's top secret fried chicken, are traditional, only in the South collard green with ham hock or bbq pork.  Stewed flavored collard greens are kale, before kale was popular. 

Chef D. Arthur baked 5-Cheese Mac n' Cheese and only in Memphis, BBQ Sauce Pork n' Beans.  Yes, the collard greens and the BBQ pork and beans are your "clean" vegan fare but this dinner also showcases American history.  Yes, in the past, there are vegan sides, not because of trendiness but because of thrift and resourcefulness.

But, the star of the dinner was Chef D. Arthur's family fried chicken.  Before fast food and burger and fries, fried chicken was the only portable and travel-ready meal to go.

But the Pièce de résistance was Chef D. Arthur leading a class in how to assemble a Banana Vanilla Wafer Pudding.

He's real.  He's realistic.  If it's easier, quicker, and cheaper for you to use instant vanilla pudding than made from scratch, then go ahead and use it.  There's no shame in that.

He makes his Banana Vanilla Wafer Pudding richer, using cream cheese mixed with a dash of cinnamon and whipped cream. As for whipped cream, you can use ready-made whipped cream.  Again, no shame in that.

What makes his pudding special is technique and assembling.  It's alternating layers of pudding, banana slices, and wafer cookies then topping with wafer cookie, banana slices, and whipped cream.  This is the Southern version of tiramisu.

What are the real top secret ingredient in this dinner party? Warm hospitality of acceptance and love, expressed through food and that...

Fresh Peach Iced Tea, that you can spike with whiskey and bourbon. It's thrift, using abundance of fresh peaches.  Using slices of fresh peach or even fresh fruit-anywhere-to naturally and healthly, sweeten iced tea, if you don't want pure sugar.  With the abundance of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, California can do the same thing to iced tea.

Taste of Memphis cocktail reception inside 1617 Cosmo Lofts

Taste of Memphis Fresh Peach Iced Tea wtih Bourbon & Whiskey

Chef D. Arthur's family secret fried chicken for Taste of Memphis

Chef D. Arthur

Taste of Memphis' Chef D. Arthur


Taste of Memphis Banana Vanilla Wafer Pudding

Taste of Memphis Banana Vanilla Wafer Pudding

Taste of Memphis Dinner

Taste of Memphis Banana Vanilla Wafer Pudding

Monday, February 24, 2020

MAC's Queer Me Out, with Their New Spring 2020 Collection.

By Laura Medina

Billy Francesca, veteran drag performer, hosted a panel discussion of going from drag to trans, thanks to MAC Cosmetics.

According to Billy, way, way, way, way back in the days, way before Makeup Artist Cosmetics-MAC-, "All we had was Maybelline and Crayola."

Since they're sponsoring this panel discussion, MAC has every right to debut their new Spring 2020 collection.  Guests really like the new bouncy Glow Play Blush, with a cushiony texture for a light, airy subtle blush for cheeks and eyes,!/shade/Heat_Index

Here's another treat that's shareable for anyone, in both healthy and naughty...

Strawberry Popcorn Using Healthy Freeze-Dried Strawberries:
1/2 cup Freeze-Dried Strawberries
1/3 cup sugar 
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of microwave popcorn
Butter-Flavored cooking spray

To make it easier, you can use microwave popcorn.

For the strawberry glaze:

In a food processer, ground freeze-dried strawberries and sugar into mixed powder.
Put in a small bowl, add salt.

Spritz popcorn with butter-flavored cooking spray then coat popcorn with the strawberry-sugar mixture.

Strawberry Jello-Glazed Popcorn, naughty but old-fashion:


Add a note Print

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Grease a 1/4 sheet pan or two 8x12 inch baking dishes. Generously butter a heavy 2 quart saucepan. 

Distribute popcorn evenly in prepared baking pans. Place in oven to keep warm. 

In prepared saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, sugar, gelatin, corn syrup and water. Heat to 250 to 265 degrees F (121 to 129 degrees C), or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms a rigid ball. 

Pour mixture evenly over popcorn and stir until coated. Return popcorn to oven and bake 5 minutes; stir, then bake 5 minutes more.

Turn popcorn out onto a large piece of foil. Let rest until cool enough to handle, then form into balls. Or let cool completely and break into clusters. Store in an airtight container, in a cool, dry place.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

If Jordan Peele was Quentin Tarantino, He Executive Produced His Idea of Vigilante Revenge Porn, Amazon Prime's "Hunters" with Al Pacino.

By Laura Medina

Set in cesspool 1977 Manhattan and the outer boroughs, Amazon Prime's "Hunters" centers around an underground battle between Holocaust survivors cum warriors/secret agents, called "Hunters," an Holocaust Justice League setting wrongs, right versus existing Nazis forced underground, living new lives in America, with new identities.

The 5 episode series is played out like a Seventies comic book strip with a lot of "grindhouse" violence-revenge galore, pretty much in the same of a Quentin Tarantino movie.  No wonder Al Pacino plays "Hunters" mastermind and Holocaust survivor, Meyer Offerman.

It's also a coming of age, done comic book hero style.  It starts off with barely legal, minor Jewish drug dealer,  Jonah Heidelbaum. He lives with his Holocaust survivor, grandma who cooks a mean, made from scratch chicken noodle soup, with chunks of real chicken.  

Unbeknownst to him, grandma was more than a survivor.  Meyer told Jonah, his grandma was a warrior.  This is sets off an hero's journey, with a mentor.  Walking in "Star Wars" mentor/student footsteps. Ironically, "Star Wars" debut in 1977.

The much younger stars of "Hunters" happily arrived at the Hunter Experience where the theater screening the first episode, was transformed into nitty-gritty Times Square, where actors get into characters, playing stereotypical sleazy Seventies husters, hookers, and pimps. For you all fashion and vintage hoaders, this is a good example of holding onto your vintage fur and tanned leather jackets and patchwork suede.

This fresh, young cast excitedly introduced the screening of the first episode, in front of a live audience.

The party continued to the afterparty, where Highland Park Bowl was transformed into a NY pizzeria/bowling alley.

"Hunters" inspired cocktails free-flowing...

Pizza wolfing down every minute...

Blinking strawberry lemonade cotton candy...

There are still characters playing street performers, like this Coney Island tap dancer...

If you want to catch Amazon Prime's "Hunters," it'll air this Friday, February 21st for five episodes.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Emma Stone's Magical Valentine, Raising Funds for The Hollywood Food Coalition, Youth Emerging Stronger and The Boys & Girls Club of San Marcos, Thanks with Baileys Red Velvet Irish Cream.

By Laura Medina

Emma Stone exemplifies real deal, true blue liberalism, having a big heart then using your perks and privileges to help the disadvantage.  This isn't your average "liberalism" of rude, bad behavior.  What's more appropriate to share a big heart, than on Valentine's Day.

Emma Stone made it magical by throwing a classy, upscale Millennial magic show with a cool jazz quartet band and a jazz cabaret chanteuse and jazz pianist...
On the main stage, as a surprise waiting in the back room, a cool jazz quartet warms up the crowd for the upcoming magic show...
In the anteroom, a roaming magician doing card tricks and a pair of tarot card readers keeping guests busy or guests keeping them busy...
The crowd erupt in euphoria when the host, Emma Stone, came up onstage, saying this fundraiser is for The Hollywood Food Coalition, Youth Emerging Stronger, and The Boys & Girls Club of San Marcos, thanking the sponsors, then warning folks not to photograph or film the magicians in action.
One of the sponsors she thanks, is the always-there Baileys Irish Cream.  For Emma's Valentines party, they infused their limited-Valentines edition Red Velvet Irish Cream for cupcakes, a delectable hot chocolate, two milkshakes, regular dairy and a vegan one....
In this cupcake recipe, you can use Baileys Red Velvet Irish Cream in this traditional Baileys Original Irish Cream Cupcakes Recipes...
Baileys Red Velvet Irish Cream Cupcakes:
1 box of Devil's Food Cake Mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
3/4 cup of Baileys Red Velvet/Original/Any Flavored Irish Cream
Baileys Red Velvet Irish Cream Frosting:
1 cup Softened Butter
5 cup Powdered Sugar
1/2 Baileys Red Velvet/Original/Any Flavored Irish Cream
1/4 cocoa powder
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Line muffin tins with cupcake linings
  2. Mix cake mix with vegetable oil, eggs, and 3/4 Baileys
  3. Bake according to package directions.
  4. Cool before frosting.
Baileys Frosting:
  1.  Mix butter, 2 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, 1/2 cup of Baileys, cocoa powder, vanilla, salt together.
  2. Cream until smooth.
  3. Add rest of Powdered Sugar
  4. Beat until fluffy.
Decorate either piping the frosting or dolloping frosting on top of the cupcakes.
Baileys Red Velvet Hot Chocolate
1 1/2oz. Baileys Red Velvet Irish Cream
8 oz. Milk
1/2 cup of Dark Chocolate
This is where Hot Chocolate differentiates from Hot Cocoa.
Hot cocoa uses dried powdered chocolate or powdered cocoa with hot liquid.
In hot chocolate, you use melted solid milk/dark/white chocolate bar or chips to blend with hot liquid, usually milk, for a richer, smoother beverager.

Following the video, you're basically making chocolate ganache, still melted, then you add Baileys Irish Cream.
Baileys Love Shake is nothing more than vanilla milkshake with a shot of Baileys Irish Cream.  For Valentine's Emma party, you spike it with Baileys Red Velvet Irish Cream.
Baileys Vegan Valentine is vegan chocolate milkshake made with vegan chocolate ice cream and Baileys Almande Almondmilk Liqueur.
See, you haven't to fly over to get that top secret invite with Emma Stone to enjoy Valentine's Day.
Baileys Irish Cream is here to help.
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