Archive for April, 2010

Hatfield’s Restaurant in West Hollywood – Los Angeles

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

By Sandy Driscoll

Hatfield1The beautiful open kitchen!  (All images on this post ©2010 by & Sandy Driscoll)

6703 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, California 90038
Tel. (323) 935-2977
Opening Hours:
Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:45-2:15
Dinner: Sun-Thurs 6pm-10pm; Friday & Sat 6pm-10:30pm

In food-laden Los Angeles, where the restaurant du jour is always changing, Hatfield’s is a current top contender. Just last week, both the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Magazine came out with exciting and very favorable reviews, three and four stars, respectively.

Quinn Hatfield (chef/owner) and his wife/partner Karen (pastry chef) have been in Los Angeles for several years. They have cooked at Spago and prior to that, at Jean-Georges and Gramercy Tavern, to name a few.  This new and much larger location (formerly Citrus, then a succession of not-as-notable restaurants) has been open only three months.  It seems perfect for them and particularly for those of us who love watching the action of an open kitchen while we eat.

When my friend Susan Beyrle was in town this weekend from NYC, we wanted an interesting place to dine and this seemed to be it. We were seated directly in front center, with a closeup full view of the open kitchen . . . action central!

The option of a prix fixe, four course menu (with several choices for each course) for $59 was the most intriguing, so we went for that.   With a plethora of reviews, food websites, commentators, etc., detailed food descriptions are easily available elsewhere.  Suffice it to say, we really enjoyed everything.   The portions are small and flavors distinct and well managed.   Between the main course and dessert, we were still hungry.  However, we were quite comfortable after the generous and truly delicious desserts.  Service was professional and well-timed.   The excellent wine list provides some interesting wines by the glass.  I particularly liked the 2003 Serie Magno, a Malbec/Tempranillo blend from Argentina’s Bodega Fantelli, paired with the beef.

Personally, I was struck by the unusual texture of the short ribs.  I read somewhere that the cooking method was “sous vide”, so it was not the usual consistency one expects from short ribs however, the flavor was certainly there.  Early on, I found myself taking mincing little bites of everything (particularly the Squid Salad) so as to prolong the flavor bursts in my mouth and to savor each taste and lengthen each delightful course.

At the end of the meal, the waitress invited us into the kitchen to meet the chef!  Chalk it up to serendipitous luck!   It was a fine and fun evening.

Hatfield2Amuse Bouche . . .Tuna on Shaved Celery Root

Hatfield3Roasted Sunchoke & Rocket Salad, French Feta ‘falafel’ crumble

Hatfield4Monterey Bay Squid Salad … Sauteed Blue Lake & Yellow Wax Beans, Ginger Chermoula

Hatfields6Sugar & Spice Beignets, Venezuelan Chocolate Fondue, Preserved Ginger Milkshake Shot

Hatfields7Hot Chocolate Souffle Tartlet with Chicory Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Hatfield5Mocha Caffe

Hatfield8Chef Hatfield (right) carefully inspects each plate and adds finishing touches

Annie Féolde, Guest Chef at Le Normandie, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, May 10-15 2010 – Bangkok

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Annie Feolde5 copy

Enoteca Pinchorri, Via Ghibellina, 87, I-50122 Firenze (Toscana) Italy, Tel. : + 39 055 24 27 77, Fax : + 39 055 24 49 83, E-mail :, Owners: Giorgio Pinchiorri and Annie Féolde, Maître de Maison: Alessandro Tomberli, Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux: Annie Féolde, Weekly closing: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday noon and Wednesday noon, Annual closing: August, Christmas and January 1st

Imoya Honten Izakaya, Sachayan Mansion, Sukhumvit Soi 53 – Bangkok

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Imoya11Entrance to Imoya

Imoya Honten at Sachayan Mansion on Sukhumvit, Soi 53 is the main branch and a true Izakaya, in the sense that you may drink sake, shochu, beer or other popular drinks while sharing small plates with friends or family at your table, in a casual, old-style atmosphere where service is performed graciously. The company operates 6 branches within Bangkok, Chonburi & Prajinburi:

Imoya Soi 24
3 F Terminal Shop Cabin
2/17-19 Sukhumvit 24 Lane,
Klongton Sub-District,
Klong Toey District
Bangkok, 10110
Tel. 02-663-5185-6

Imoya 304
280 304Plaza Thatoom, Srimahapote
Prajinburi 25140 Thailand
Tel. 03-741-4267

Honjin Imoya
36-38 Srirachanakorn Soi 6
Sriracha, Chonburi 20110 Thailand
Tel. 03-832-2174, 03-832-2601

Imoya Shokudo
Emsquare Plaza 49/53 Moo 5
T. Thungsukhala, A. Sriracha, Chonburi 20110 Thailand
Tel. 03-840-0037

Poteto Club
332 304 Plaza Thatoom, Srimahapote
Prajinburi 25140 Thailand

Imoya 1Right side dining room with tatami rooms off to the side. At the rear on the right is a passageway leading to additional tatami rooms

Imoya2Left dining room with bar counter quite visible in the rear with tatami rooms on the left

Imoya3One of many colorful painting of times past in Japan

Imoya4Antique bells made from mud (clay), hanging on the wall

Imoya5A pit in the table where at one time in old Japan, certain types of food were cooked


You will appreciate that prices are commensurate with the surroundings and the home-style cooking, although selectivity is important, either by intuition or trial and error, as some dishes fare better than others. This restaurant is always busy due in part to the friendly atmosphere and favorable pricing, and is open every evening from 6pm – midnight.

Imoya 7Sake cooling down

Imoya 8Okonomiyaki

Imoya 9This small fish was especially good

Imoya 10Red clam sushi

Food Taipei, June 23-26, 2010, Nangang Exhibition Hall – Taipei, Taiwan

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Food Taipei

Taipei International Food Show

June 23 – 26, 2010

FOOD TAIPEI is one of Asia’s most important food shows and had celebrated it’s 19th birthday in 2009. The show itself has been the most popular platform for industry players to launch their products into the hottest Taiwan and overseas markets.

Last year, FOOD TAIPEI welcomed over 4,000 overseas visitors and over 37,000 local visitors.  In 2010, FOOD TAIPEI will bring you more diverse products, great services and even more business opportunities!



June 23 – 26, 2010


Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA)


NANGANG Exhibition Hall

FOODTECH, CATERING & PHARMATECH TAIPEI 2010 and TAIPEI PACK 2010 will be held concurrently with FOOD TAIPEI 2010 at NANGANG Exhibition Hall.


Date: June 23 – 26
Show Hours: 9:00a.m-5:00p.m.
Access for :
(1) overseas visitors
(2) local professionals who have been approved after pre-registration
(3) local professionals holding admission passes
June 25-26
Also open to public with NT$300 paid admission.
*Children under 12 years of age or 140 cm in height are not admitted to showground.


29,049 M2(Upper exhibition hall: 23,008 M2 +  Lower exhibition hall 6,041 M2)


Fresh Fruits & Vegetables, Preserved Fruits & Vegetables, Poultry, Seafood, Meat & Processed Meat Products, Edible Oils, Dairy Products, Health Food, Frozen Prepared Food, Canned Food, Baked Food, Biscuits, Wine & Liquor, Coffee & Tea, Juice & Soft Drinks, Condiments & Confectionery, Tableware, Food and Beverages Chain Store & Franchise.

Contact Person:

Project Managers: Ms. Francis Shen

Exhibition Department,

Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA)

Tel: 886-2-2725-5200 ext.2674

Fax: 886-2-2722-7324


Food Taipei

Gastropub Named “Side Door” Opens in Five Crowns, Corona del Mar, California – U.S.A.

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Side Door, Gastropub, Corona del Mar

The Lawry’s operated Five Crowns Restaurant, modeled on an English country inn, has been around for many years and they have decided to do a refresh and turn their bar into a gastropub named “Side Door”.  It is located in Corona del Mar, south of Newport Beach in Orange County, and has taken off above expectations in the last six months. Avocado mash, gravlox and prime rib chili are some of the more interesting choices on the menu that also includes a wide selection of beer and wine. According to Lawry’s CEO, Side Door’s beverage sales exceed food sales, which is an amazing first for them, in their long history of operating restaurants.

Foie Gras Diakon Recipe

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Foie Gras Diakon

I first experienced the combining of foie gras with daikon radish at Chaya Brasserie in West Hollywood in 1995-6. Everyone I recommended this dish to thoroughly enjoyed it. The recipe below by Nori Sugie at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, New York approximates the dish I enjoyed at Chaya Brasserie in Los Angeles.

Daikon Foie Gras and Peking Duck Broth
Nori Sugie

Serves 4

Daikon Foie Gras Ingredients:
• 4 slices daikon (a large Japanese radish)
• 8 oz foie gras
• Salt and pepper
• 2 cups dashi (a soup stock made with dried tuna flakes, seaweed and water)
• 1 tsp of wasabi powder


Daikon Foie Gras
Cook daikon with dashi until soft. Slice foie gras into four 2-oz portions. Season foie gras with salt and pepper, and dust with wasabi powder. Pan-fry foie gras 20 seconds on each side.

Peking Duck Broth
Roast the duck bones. Combine roasted duck bones and Peking duck bones. Add all vegetables, seasonings, soy sauce and chicken stock. Cook all together and reduce until flavorful (about two hours). Strain liquid.

Recipe Presentation Ingredients
Put foie gras on plate with piece of duck confit. Drizzle with Peking duck sauce and garnish with above-listed presentation ingredients.

FHA 2010 Singapore Expo 20-23 April 2010 – Singapore

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010


FHA2010 – Wine & Spirits Asia 2010 – Opens This Tuesday!

FHA2010 – Asia’s LARGEST international food and hospitality trade event opens this Tuesday at Singapore Expo! This highly anticipated 4-day power packed event will see the gathering of 2,542 international exhibitors from over 63 countries/regions showcasing their latest products and supplies for Asia’s booming food and hospitality industry.

Don’t miss the opportunity to:

· Network and interact with over 50,000 trade attendees!

· Meet face-to-face with international suppliers from 46 Group Pavilions!

· Witness the ingenious culinary creations at the FHA2010 Culinary Challenge, Asian Pastry Cup, Asia Barista Championship and the debut of AHRA Cocktail Competition!

· Gain insights at our series of conferences and forums!

· Attend free seminars and presentations by our exhibitors!

Exhibition Opening Hours

20 – 23 April 2010 (Tuesday – Friday)

Opening Hours:
10am – 6pm ( Tuesday – Thursday)

10am – 4pm (Friday)

Halls 2 – 9, Singapore Expo

– Visitor Registration Counters are located in Halls 2 and 9.

– Visitor registration will stop 30 minutes before the closing time during all four days of the exhibition.

Admission Guidelines:

· All visitors must be in proper business attire.

· The organiser reserves the right to refuse entry to those seemed inappropriately dressed e.g. in bermudas, shorts, singlets, sports sandals or slippers.

· Admission is restricted to food and hospitality trade professionals only.

· Visitor badges are non-transferable due to security reasons.

· General public and minors below the age of 16 will not be permitted entry.

· Visitors who do not have pre-registration confirmation emails or complimentary tickets will have to pay an admission fee of SGD80. Admission tickets can be purchased from Information Counters in Hall 2 and 9.

Important Tip!

As you will be meeting and interacting with present and potential business partners at the exhibition, do remember to bring along your business cards!

We Look Forward to Seeing You @ FHA2010 / Wine&SpiritsAsia2010!

Alloro Wine Bar & Restaurant, Bandon, Oregon – U.S.A.

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010
By Sandy Driscoll

Bandon 2
Here we are in Bandon . . . on the beach.  This is the view from our motel room. All images on this post are ©2010 by & Sandy Driscoll

Bandon, Oregon is a charming coastal town located 90 miles north of the California border.   With a population of 3100, they are known for their three world class golf courses, and spectacular rock-laden ocean sunset views.
Last year, I discovered the Alloro Wine Bar and Restaurant, where I had a truly memorable meal.   Alloro is owned by Jeremy Buck and Lian Schmidt, both of whom lived and trained in Florence, Italy.   Jeremy is a talented chef who uses fresh local ingredients and Lian is the wine steward.   She is adept at picking just the right wine to go with Chef Buck’s Tuscan-inspired and innovative cuisine.   Everything is very reasonably priced, and there are excellent wines by the glass.  The menu changes seasonally, depending on what is fresh and available.
The restaurant is attractive, with a wine bar, white-clothed tables, and efficient and friendly servers.   Even when crowded, it is quiet enough for a pleasant conversation with dinner.   Everything I ate was memorable, and I enjoyed it so much last year that this year I returned, spending a night at the Bandon Beach Motel, where every room has a spectacular
ocean view. Next year, perhaps I’ll stay in Bandon two nights so I can sample even more.
Crab and Avocado ……  Dungeness Crab, avocado, lime, tomato, scallion
Ceviche…. White fish cured in lime, red onion, mint, avocado, Cascabel chile powder, romaine, Sardinian flatbread

Steelhead Trout (fresh caught) ….. Crispy skin, passion fruit butter, morel mushroom jus (and fresh morels!) asparagus and wild watercress

allora4Pork, Chiles and Chocolate…….Braised pork shoulder, Cascabel chiles, oregano, tomato, chocolate, hazelnuts with

spinach and ricotto dumplings


The special Chocolate and Ice Cream dessert topped with a Bruleed Banana sliver and chopped nuts

allora66Bandon Alaska, Allora’s delicious version of Baked Alaska…….cake, homemade hazelnut ice cream, cranberries (grown & harvested locally), chocolate and sugared mint leaves


High Tech Design at Hotel Intercontinental, Hua Hin, Thailand

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Intercontinental Hotel, Hua Hin

Aside from a rather lackluster lobby, the remainder of the low-rise property sloping down to the beach is attractive and well-maintained. The property is studded with pools of varying depths and interwoven with separate lounging islands connected by foot bridges, punctuated with mini fountains and Jacuzzi jets arranged in clusters, and when night falls, star-like pinpoint lights that shine upwards from the bottom of the pool creating a lighting effect that is really delightful.

Intercontinental Hotel, Hua HinThe rooms are large and contain many features that are very pleasing and others that are downright annoying. A friendly, highly trained staff who provide excellent service is the first plus that should be mentioned. A password-free WIFI network throughout the property is particularly agreeable, which they offer gratis, a policy other higher-end hotels in Asia should emulate. A large terrace with a king-size day bed off of the bedroom makes another spacious area for relaxing, with a screen that may be lowered electrically with the push of a button. An oval table that doubles as a desk and dining table is a nice touch. A few of the less desirable design features included an air-conditioning control panel, which proved difficult to remain at the specific temperature chosen although, this might have been the fault of this particular unit. The wireless portable telephone provided as the main telephone had “iffy” reception even at close range to the base station. The operator at reception had difficulty hearing us. Installing a bathtub in the bedroom, in an attempt to incorporate bathroom and bedroom into one (it did have screens that with some effort could conceal it) resulted in the surrounding marble floor being exposed to temperature changes from both the air-conditioning and the adjoining open-air terrace, which caused an almost invisible film of humidity to form creating a dangerously slippery surface. The faucets fixtures in both sink & shower are not clearly marked, what happened to blue & red as hot & cold markings? Large cylindrical handles on all faucets including sink, shower and bathtub, although attractive design-wise, were so slippery to turn with wet hands that you could not get a grip on them. What a  concept . . . knowing that these handles would be used around water! The doors to the cubicles that surround the toilet and shower rooms, open outwards in the wrong direction and the toilet paper roll is on the wall on the left side that requires a back-wrenching twist to reach it. There are too many lighting control buttons and all of them poorly marked. The magnifying mirror was lacking a light that negated its usefulness, especially since lighting around the sink area was dim. However, my wife was thrilled with the wonderful soap, shampoo and other amenities from L’Occitane offered by the hotel. How can interior designers get so carried away with trendy toys and design statements that they sacrifice comfort and practicability?

Intercontinental Hotel, Hua Hin

New Sammy’s Cowboy Bistro, Talent, Oregon – U.S.A.

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

By Sandy Driscoll

Cowboy 1Exterior of New Sammy’s (all images displayed on this post are by Sandy Driscoll and are ©2010 by & Sandy Driscoll)

New Sammy’s Cowboy Bistro
2210 S. Pacific Hwy.
Talent, OR  97540
Wed. thru Sun.
Lunch 12-1:30
Dinner 5pm-9pm
Reservations necessary

New Sammy’s Cowboy Bistro does not have a website.   They do not advertise. Their short and ever-changing menu is not published anywhere.   Charlene and Vernon Rollins, who opened New Sammy’s about 20 years ago have one of the most unique dining spots you will find anywhere!    Charlene is the cook, and Vernon is the wine expert.   He has an incredible wine cellar and encyclopedic knowledge of wine.   When you are seated for dinner and the waitress asks “Would you like to have Vern stop by and help you select a wine?”, say yes!  Many of the vegetables, herbs and ingredients are grown in the Rollins’ garden.
I discovered New Sammy’s about 20 years ago when a tiny tout was published in Gourmet magazine……one of those “Have you heard about……” notes.   Over the years, word got around.  This is civilized dining and drinking at its finest.   If you are anywhere near Talent, Oregon (between Ashland and Medford) make a reservation, sit back, and enjoy one of the best dining experiences you will ever have.
The following photos are of my latest meal which was a two course prix fixe plus a dessert choice for $45.   Knowing that Vern always pairs the perfect wine with food, and wanting to try as much as possible,  I asked him if I could please have 1/2 glass servings?   Sure, he said!  As always, the wines went perfectly with the food.   When he poured the dessert wine, he commented that it was the only one that went well with ginger, which was the main dessert ingredient. For more information/background/diner comments, you can google the restaurant name.

Cowboy 2The original restaurant, with only six tables.   The “new” one is somewhat larger, but still intimate

Cowboy 3 Colorful entrance to New Sammy’s

Cowboy 5Amuse – Beef Empanada with Yogurt Sauce

Cowboy 6La Quertcia “Prosciutto Americano” with sauteed apple, walnuts, raisins, polenta, onion jam and walnut oil/banyuls vinaigrette

Cowboy 7Pan roasted Alaskan true cod with asparagus, sugar snap peas, spring onion, potatoes & shitakes and meyer lemon, shallot creme fraiche

Cowboy 8Cream puff with ginger ice cream, rhubarb-orange compote and butterscotch sauce

Cowboy 9Chocolate covered grapefruit (dessert amuse)

Cowboy 10L’addition