Last week, Husband and I, along with a couple of other friends got to attend the Cinco De Mayo celebration hosted by Food Network Magazine at The Spanish Kitchen. Chef Aaron Sanchez (Chefs vs. City, Chopped, The Best Thing I Ever Ate) was on hand and free margaritas and food flowed.
Since we got there a little early, we crossed the street to have a drink at The Belmont. When 7pm rolled around, we headed back.
The Spanish Kitchen was a cute space, decorated with a lot of rod iron and tile. The split level floor plan nicely separated the bar area from the dining room and there was a small patio with tables as well.
First up, margaritas. There were several offerings: Palomino, passionfruit, pineapple-chili and jalapeño. Since there were four of us, we each got a different one. I opted for the Passionfruit. Not bad… I tried the pineapple-chili as well. I liked this one better. The sweet with the spicy coupled with the acidity of the fruit made for a nice combination.
We grabbed a table and helped ourselves to the chips and salsa bar. There was also guacamole so I took a heaping spoonful since I LOOOOVE the stuff. Fresh, chunky, really good! Appetizers were also being passed around by waiters. We tried a shrimp with green sauce, fried artichoke and this potato-olive thing. The shrimp was perfectly good but I wish I could taste the sauce more. The fried artichoke was nice, lightly breaded, not overly greasy. The potato hors d’oeuvre was okay but very briny. Not a fan, though.
Chef Aaron Sanchez took the mike and welcomed everyone and then the buffet opened. Chile rellanos, tamales, beef tacos and barbacoa sliders were on the menu. I didn’t think the rellanos were that great. I liked the tamales which were on the sweet side, though the rest of my group were so-so about it. The beef tacos weren’t disappointing but they weren’t mind-blowing either. The sliders were really good though. Moist, great flavor and served with a slaw for crunch, we all went back for more of these (except Husband who ended up eating chips for most of the night since all the food was “tainted” by vegetables). I think we were also fairly drunk at this point, too, thanks to the free margaritas. Oy!
Dessert came around, served by waiters. There was a cup with a chocolate and vanilla pudding mix, topped with Chambord and served with a chocolate-dipped cookie. Everyone else at the table loved this but I thought it was just okay. I really fell in love with the other dessert, the tres leches cake. It was dense, super-moist and just sooooo yummy. I couldn’t stop eating it even though I was about to burst.
Chef Sanchez was going around saying hi to the guests and stopped at our table and chatted with us for a bit. We all exchanged stories about how we met our significant others. He was a really cool guy, funny and amiable. 🙂 Later, when I read a wiki to find out more about him and his culinary history, I found out that he competed on Iron Chef Season 2 against Chef Morimoto and TIED. Massive kudos as I think Morimoto is the supreme Iron Chef and always seems to blow his competition out of the water.
When we left, we were handed goodie bags that included a copy of May’s issue of Food Network Magazine. Turns out, all the food and margaritas were recipes featured in the magazine! I can make those sliders and that tres leches cake at home!!
You can find more pictures on my Facebook page.
Filed under: food events | Tagged: Aaron Sanchez, Chefs vs. City, chile rellano, chips, Chopped, Cinco de Mayo, dessert, dinner, food event, food network, Food Network Magazine, guacamole, Los Angeles, margaritas, mexican, recipes, tacos, tamales, The Best Thing I Ever Ate, The Spanish Kitchen, tortillas, tres leches cake | 4 Comments »