“Be sure to bring your camera and appetite!” read the invite.
A lovely invite to join the California Avocado Commission and the Too Hot Tamales at Ciudad-LA restaurant this past weekend.
One of the benefits I have recently realized about living in the OC is that I am pretty darn close to LA. It means I can get to one of the best cities for everything food. In the past few months I have met so many bloggers. So many new friends. From Tartelette’s photo workshop, the Food Blog Forum, the Share Our Strength Bake Sale and now a trip to downtown LA for this event at Ciudad. Did I get lost again? But of course!
Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken are the Too Hot Tamales. Their show was on the Food Network for quite few seasons and they have also authored five cookbooks together. They are the owners of Ciudad restaurant in downtown LA and Border Grill in Santa Monica. Ciudad has a Latin focus and Border Grille is Mexican themed. Susan can now be seen on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters. She received an episode win and the next stop is the champions round. Both women were an absolute bundle of energy and a joy to learn from. They are seasoned chefs that know a whole lot about how to season food to perfection.
Learning about the avocado was a treat, I use this fruit frequently around here. Did you know the avocado is a fruit?? They are filled with healthy fats and lend themselves perfectly to salads, cooked meals, sweets and savories.
We had an interactive Guacamole Contest. Foodie bloggers were separated in groups of 2 & 3 and were timed to create inspirational/creative guacamole recipes. Each recipe was different and each delicious. Susan and Mary had a blast tasting and judging our creations. My partners were Erika from In Erika’s Kitchen and Rachael from Chick’s with Knives. There was a huge assortment of perfectly prepped ingredients on the table—–(wish I had someone prepping for me at home like this!) The groups were judged on the name as well as flavor. Our was “Pure Guac LA.” My partners chose to keep it really simple. They wanted to showcase the clean, creamy flavor of perfectly ripe avocados. It was delish, but I would have also gone with some of the other enticing ingredients on the table.
My favorites from other bloggers included the “Pomocado Guac” bursting with pomegranate seeds. I enjoyed Sophia’s “Kimchi Mole” which had chunks of pickled kimchi in the mix. I LOVED the winner’s guac “Spud Not: Guac Fully Loaded.” It was a decadent, creamy guac filled with chunks of smoky bacon.
The chefs gave a wonderful cooking demo that included 5 avocado based recipes.
As each course was prepared, we got to enjoy each nibble at a lovely sit down lunch!
Recipes from the Event
Video from the Event
Here is a clip of the Too Hot Tamales preparing the Chicken and California Avocado Skillet Chilaquiles recipe. Don’t mind my editing skills, or lack there of!