I signed up for the Visa Signature sponsored event at Beso for Foodbuzz and was one of the ones who got to go. I decided to do some research on the net about Beso and didn’t find much that was positive. This made me skeptical but never having been there I went with an open mind and an empty stomach. Wednesday evening, September 9th, finally came. I pulled up to a nondescript building that almost looked like one of the abandoned ones on Hollywood blvd. I went in the large black wooden doors into a dark cavernous dining room. The Hostess greeted me and pointed me in the right direction, where I found the other Foodbuzz bloggers mingling.
I was greeted by Dorian Asch, assistant editor of Foodbuzz, who introduced me to some of the other bloggers. Michael, from South Bay Foodies, and I talked about the foodie fights battle kohlrabi & rosemary, we were both in the same competition and we talked about the competition amongst other things. Dorian handed me my Sangria which was not as sweet or fruity as some that I have had in the past. It had just the right balance of red wine with a hint of sweetness and citrus flavor from the fruit. I enjoyed it very much.
A bit later we were escorted the the long table which was nicely set with menu and wine glasses ready. The service was wonderful. My Sangria glass was never empty throughout the starter course which included – Avocado Guacamole with corn chips and Artichoke Guacamole with za’tar chips, basically corn chips with za’tar spice. The Sangria went well with the two of these. I was seated next to Nancy, Food Stylist extraordinaire from FoodArt , Dorian on the other side, Wendy the engineer who loves baking from Pink Stripes, across from me the team of Krissy and Daniel from Food Addicts and next to Nancy was Esi from Dishing Up Delights.
What a great group of people. It’s kind of funny, I almost feel like I’m breaking people’s anonymity writing this blog like I am outing them from the bloggosphere and screaming I have seen you and know what you look like. It’s more than just words and photos, blogs are people. What a concept. I know to some of you it may seem obvious but there is always that realization when you meet people from the virtual world whether from TV, movies or blogs etc… there is that reality factor that finally hits you. That it’s not all make believe and that real people are behind these electronic devices that put words and images in front of up.
Ok enough of a transgression. The tables were long and those I just described were in my immediate sphere of influence for most of the meal. Then there was Adam from LAFoodies, we talked a bit about Hell’s kitchen and cooking. He’s a gregarious guy, going around to everyone there handing out his blogger card. Blogger cards, another great idea, it never occured to me to have a blogger card. A card that announces to the world that I too am a blogger, please read the stuff I post and look at my photos. I am one of a select thousands of food bloggers who have discovered this wonderful thing and want to share it with the world. It’s great to hang out with bloggers especially food bloggers the conversation never dies.
OK so back to the meal. The server comes around and pours the Grenache “Gran Feudo” Bodegas Julian Chivite, this was my signal to stop drinking Sangria. Shortly after that the appetizers were served, Taqueria tasting – steak, ahi tuna, plantain, chicken adobo and fish, Shrimp and chorizo flatbread harissa, queso fresco, mexican crema, and Margarita flat bread – spicy tomato sauce, queso fresco and cilantro. The plates went down and the cameras came out, everyone had their take for each dish. I try to shoot everything natural light so I was moving the candles around the table to get as much light on each thing as I could to get a shot. Less than perfect but a reproduction that works. The wine had a crisp slightly fruity flavor it paired well with the appetizers. I had the chicken taco which was a bit dry but tasty none the less, the flat breads were good the flavors came through nicely. After some more stories from Nancy about food styling and the shows that she has and is working on there was the discussion of the difference between baking and cooking, baking being a science and requiring patience and delayed gratification whereas cooking is more from the gut using a mixture of flavors and cooking methods to come up with something new. It doesn’t require the exacting measurements of baking. Two different disciplines both to be admired. In addition the conversation had to include some reality TV talk thrown in for good measure.
The next course came out which was the Pescado – Seared diver scallop with oxtail rosti, roasted beet pico, carmelized fennel and horseradish this was served with Albarino, Don Olegario. From what I can recall about the wine it had a nice flavor crisp that paired well with the scallop. The scallop was cooked perfectly, I could taste everything except the oxtail, perhaps they forgot to put it on the plate, the textures and flavors went very well together. The sweetness of the scallop was offset by the horseradish crema and carmelized fennel it was definitely one of my favorites of the evening.
The evening had a leisurely pace to it, which I found very nice and relaxing. As the evening wore on the restaurant filled up. Seated behind us was Eva Longoria with her friends at a long table. There was some private party going on in the upstairs “special” room. Not sure what it was but it’s reserved only for super VIP’s. Time for the Entree’s the white wine glasses were scooped up and the red was being poured which was a Malbec “Bonardo” (organic), La Posta. It was ok but nothing worth noting. I love Malbec and this one was kinda dull.
The entree’s were Chili Rubbed Skirt Steak with tortilla fattoush, Roasted Jidori Chicken breast – aji-oregano rub, heirloom tomato, cornbread panzanella, crispy Maui onion on top, and finally the Beso Paella – saffron rice, lobster, roasted chicken, shellfish and chorizo. This is my kind of entree buffet. The skirt steak was out of this world wonderful flavor cooked medium rare and worked well with the wine. The chicken skin was crispy which was enhanced by the crispy Maui onion it was moist and tasty. I love Paella and when I saw this come out
I was excited. The rice could have had a bit more flavor perhaps it just needed a bit more salt to bring out the saffron taste in the rice, I also prefer my Paella to have more of a seafood flavor that being said I liked it better than the chicken. It was good the seafood cooked well and the flavors blended together nicely. All in all the entrees were great.
So, after this it was time to see what was happening at the other end of the tables. I went over and introduced myself and met up with Greg from Sippitysup and Abby from Pleasure Palate and Ken and Annalise with no blogs and I think that Barbara from Table Conversation was there as well. We were all just yaking up a storm about the meal blogging and the upcoming Foodbuzz event in November. Several us will be going so it’s nice that I will recognize someone at the event. The scallop, skirt steak and paella were the best dishes. Dessert was served some sort of cheese cake and a nutter butter dessert and churros.
They were all good however there is nothing like the fresh churros that are made on Olvera Street. At the end Eva Longoria stopped by the table to say hi to everyone. She was very nice and appreciative of us coming to her restaurant. All in all it was a great evening, meeting new people eating good food and being in Hollywood, a town that I like visiting and I have fond memories of.