Category Archives: Meats

i8tonite with LA’s 21st Century Burger King, Adam Fleischman & Recipe for Shredded Beef Tacos with Chipotle Sauce

Umami burger. From i8tonite with LA’s 21st Century Burger King, Adam Fleischman & Recipe for Shredded Beef Tacos with Chipotle SauceAccording to food history, the earliest known burger recipe is mentioned in a Wikipedia citation alluding to a 1798 recipe from The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy written by Nigella Lawson’s forerunner, well-known English cookery writer Hannah Glasse. In it, she refers to a “Hamburgh sausage” which is roasted and served on top of bread as her serving suggestion.

However, California took the idea and ran with it. While some 20th century chains began in Minnesota and other far-flung places such as Connecticut or Ohio, the burger became part of the surf and sand culture. Perhaps it was because of the portable ease of the sandwich, but chains such as Bob’s Big Boy, In-n-Out, and the grand-daddy of them all, McDonald’s, were conceived in the Los Angeles metro area. This truncated past of ground chuck meets roll leads us to Adam Fleischman, who in 2007 essentially revitalized the patty culture for today’s standards.

i8tonite with LA’s 21st Century Burger King, Adam Fleischman & Recipe for Shredded Beef Tacos with Chipotle SauceIt’s a familiar script; an East Coaster comes to Los Angeles like so many starving artists before him. However, Fleischman is different. His medium isn’t film, and he isn’t an actor. He’s an entrepreneur, and his business is the stove. Like many food inventors before him, he had minor success with dabblings in wine and other dining experiences around the city.

In an October 2016 Inc. Magazine article, he states, “I was trying to start a business around umami, a savory flavor that’s found in every country’s cuisine. Basically, I Googled the foods highest in umami and took out my cast-iron pan and improvised a recipe with some ground beef. The concept of the restaurant was also quick. I just wanted to make Umami Burger gourmet, an adult place that had waiters and served alcohol.” And the Umami Burger was born. With progeny gaining ground in Dubai and Tokyo, the more than two dozen locations have made Fleischman a million many times over.

800 Degrees Pizza. From i8tonite with LA’s 21st Century Burger King, Adam Fleischman & Recipe for Shredded Beef Tacos with Chipotle Sauce

Now he is a “passive” owner stealthily building new concepts and food ideas, such as 800 Degrees Pizza (which he sold), and most recently, the Culver City-based Ramen Roll, which closed after four months.

Regarding the original Los Angeles location of Umami Burger, Fleischman commented, “We opened on La Brea because it had a lot of potential. It was languishing. It was risky, but this area seemed like a good bet.”

On the future of food, Fleischman said, “I think food is changing. I think the internet has made everything sort of cross-cultural. It used to be that people would only make the food in their town. Now, people have more information and access to recipes.”

i8tonite with LA’s 21st Century Burger King, Adam Fleischman & Recipe for Shredded Beef Tacos with Chipotle SauceFleischman talked to i8tonite while in his Los Angeles office, located behind his Hancock Park home, mentioning that he had a couple of new food ideas in the future…and a cookbook, too.

Food Questions (with a nod to Proust):

What is your favorite food to cook at home?
I like to cook Italian food at home. I make everything.

What do you always have in your fridge at home?
I always have club soda for cocktail making. And, lemons and limes.

What marked characteristic do you love in a person with whom you are sharing a meal?
I only share meals with people who don’t have dietary restrictions. They have to be drinkers. They can’t be sober.

What marked characteristic do you find unappealing in a person with whom you are sharing a meal?
I won’t invite anyone I don’t like. I’m picky about who I eat with.

Umami burger. From i8tonite with LA’s 21st Century Burger King, Adam Fleischman & Recipe for Shredded Beef Tacos with Chipotle Sauce

Beer, wine, or cocktail?
I’m a mixologist and a sommelier, so wine and cocktail.

Your favorite cookbook author?
Paul Bertolli. He has a great cookbook.

Your favorite kitchen or bar tool?
My cast-iron pan. You can cook anything in it. It retains heat well.

Favorite types of cuisine to cook?
French, Italian, American, and Spanish.

Beef, chicken, pork, seafood, or tofu?

Favorite vegetable?

Chef or culinary person you most admire?
Heston Blumenthal. He is such a technical brilliant chef.

Food you like the most to eat?
Moroccan and Indian.

Food you dislike the most?
I like everything if it’s cooked well.

What is your favorite non-food thing to do?

Whom do you most admire in food?
Everyone, really.

pumpkin spice latte umami burger. From i8tonite with LA’s 21st Century Burger King, Adam Fleischman & Recipe for Shredded Beef Tacos with Chipotle Sauce

Where is your favorite place to eat/drink?

What is your favorite restaurant?
I like Castagna in Portland.

Do you have any tattoos? And if so, how many are of food?
Zero tattoos.

Recipe: Shredded Beef Tacos with Chipotle Sauce

i8tonite with LA’s 21st Century Burger King, Adam Fleischman & Recipe for Shredded Beef Tacos with Chipotle Sauce

Chipotle Sauce:
Take two large, ripe tomatoes (heirloom), half an onion and three small cloves of garlic and broil until dark. Blend with two dried chipotles, reconstituted in ¼ cup water and some sherry vinegar and s/p. Strain and blend with meat juices from shredded beef.

Shredded Beef: 
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 (2 1/2 to 3 pound) beef brisket flat, chuck or any well marbled beef.
1 ancho or New Mexico dried chile, stemmed and seeded
I small diced onion onion
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
Add oil and brown the beef on all sides. Pour off as much oil as possible.
Just barely cover the meat with water. Bring to a boil.
Skim off any scum that rises to the surface.
Add remaining ingredients.
Cover the pot and place it in the oven until the meat is tender about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Remove the meat, reserving broth.
When the meat is cool enough to handle, shred it. Hold a fork in each hand, and shred the beef with the forks.

Serve in griddled tortillas and top with grated cotija cheese.

– The End. Go Eat. –  
Recipe photo courtesy and copyright Wikimedia Commons: helmadatter

i8tonite: From Zookeeper to Culinary Guardian: The Dream Jobs of Chef JT Walker

i8tonite: From Zookeeper to Culinary Guardian: The Dream Jobs of Chef JT WalkerChef JT Walker remembers meeting his wife at the Santa Ana Zoo, where they both were employed as zookeepers.

“We started on the exact same day,” he recalled. “There are very few zookeeper jobs in the United States, so to move up in the field, one of us would have to leave our (hometown). We were married and I was already at a point where I wanted to make a change. I turned to her one day, saying, “Hey, why don’t I go back to school and become a chef.” She already didn’t cook because I did all the cooking. “That sounds like a great idea!” she said. “It would be cool to tell everyone my husband’s a chef, instead of a zookeeper.” She already held that title and we didn’t need two zookeepers in the family.”

“Look, I’m very blessed that I was able to have my two dream jobs,” the Orange County native continues, “When I was at Oregon State University studying, I was awarded an internship at the Cincinnati Zoo. After I finished it, I was offered a job working there and wound up staying. Knowing how difficult it is to find these (zookeeper) positions, I jumped and took it.”

Now a veteran of restaurants, the 36-year-old Walker is excited about his continuing culinary adventures and re-opening Pacific Hideaway in his hometown of Huntington Beach, also known as Surf City. Located inside Kimpton’s Shorebreak Hotel, the executive chef is overseeing all the culinary attributes of the beachside eatery.

“This is going to be one hundred percent my menu”, Walker states. “We are calling it a modern American coastal tavern focusing on craft beers and cocktails. For me, growing up in So Cal, it was a unique experience. We could find inexpensive Latin and Asian cuisine. We are trying to bring that back. We will feature a crossover including possible vegetarian bim-bim bap, various kimchees, and Filipino lumpia to snack on.”

Calling himself a mutt, Walker’s background is a quarter Filipino, an eighth Polish, and the rest everything else; he says growing up, his family always made dinner together. “Nothing ever came out of a box.” As a child, he said to his father, an entrepreneur who had started a printing business at the age of seventeen, that he would like to cook dinner. Chuckling, the kitchen-helmer remembered his dad saying, “You want to make dinner. Awesome. You make dinner every night now.” It wasn’t meant to be mean – it was to take something of their plate, basically. Growing up my father cooks, my mom cooks. And, then I cooked. I’m hoping to bring that casual vibe I had growing up.”

With the Shorebreak Hotel located over a stretch of white sand in Huntington Beach, the Pacific Hideaway is promising to be more of local hangout. Said Chef Walker about the new restaurant, “We want to part of the destination, not be the destination. We want the locals to consider (us) their hang out spot. If they to plan a celebration, such as a baby shower, we want them to get a private dining room and have us write out a menu.”

Mussels. From i8tonite: From Zookeeper to Culinary Guardian: The Dream Jobs of Chef JT Walker

Chef Questionnaire (with a nod to Proust):

How long have you been cooking?
In fifth grade, I told my parents I wanted to be a either zookeeper or a chef. They are self-employed and had me making dinner right away to take that off their daily list of things to do. I came a little late to cooking, as I was a zookeeper for over five years. I have been cooking professionally for over 12 years now.

What is your favorite food to cook?
That’s like asking your favorite child (or dogs for my wife and I—we have two Basset Hounds and an English Bulldog). I love working over a grill or on my smoker at home. Asada for tacos, a dry aged ribeye steak over a wood fire, or slow smoking a pork shoulder for pulled pork sandwiches.

What do you always have in your fridge at home?
It is bare right now with me working on PACIFIC HIDEAWAY. My sweet pickle relish, Kilt Lifter Irish Ale, strawberry jam from my mother, assorted pickles I made last year, Filipino Banana Ketchup, eggs, and bacon I cured and smoked.

What do you cook at home?
According to my wife, not enough. I try and make whatever she is in the mood for. She puts up with my long hours and night shifts, so I try and bring hospitality home for her.

What marked characteristic do you love in a customer?
I love regulars. Those that choose to visit us on a semi regular basis. I also love those willing to try new things, step outside of their comfort zone.

What marked characteristic do you find unappealing in a customer?
The guest that doesn’t let us take care of them. We are here to guide the guest to the best experience. Ask our team questions. Let us do what we do best.

Tupperware, Rubbermaid, or Pyrex?
Deli containers from Smart and Final

Beer, wine, or cocktail?
Red Ales or an old fashioned

Your favorite cookbook author?
I like the Thug Kitchen crew, fun and tongue in cheek writings and recipes

Oysters. From i8tonite: From Zookeeper to Culinary Guardian: The Dream Jobs of Chef JT WalkerYour favorite kitchen tool?
My tongs and spoons

Your favorite ingredient?
Barrel-aged fish sauce

Your least favorite ingredient?

Least favorite thing to do in a kitchen?
Cleaning out clogged drains

Favorite types of cuisine to cook?
Growing up in SoCal, pretty much anything that touches the Pacific Ocean. Specifically, Latin American and South East Asian.

Beef, chicken, pork, or tofu?
Pork all the way

Favorite vegetable?
Zucchini or corn

Chef you most admire?
All the chefs who helped guide me to where I am today

Food you like the most to eat?
Food that has soul

Food you dislike the most?
Food without thought or care

How many tattoos? And if so, how many are of food?
Just one, a panther, from my zookeeper days

Misoyaki Marinated New York Steak

Serves 3-4 people

Ingredients for the Misoyaki Marinade:

1 cup white miso paste
1 cup red ale (JT prefers San Diego’s Karl Strauss Red Trolley)
2 cups sugar
3-4 New York steaks
Freshly ground black pepper
4-6 green onions, with only the roots trimmed off


To make the marinade: mix the miso, ale and sugar thoroughly.

Reserve ½ cup.

Add the NY steaks to rest of misoyaki mixture and marinate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

These steaks taste best when cooked on a grill.

Remove the steaks from the marinade and season with freshly ground black pepper. Place on pre-heated grill.

While the steaks are grilling, bring reserved marinade to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Grill the steaks to desired doneness.

Once the steaks are cooked, grill the green onions until cooked through.

Serve the steaks with the misoyaki sauce and grilled green onions. These steaks pair well with steamed rice and sautéed edamame.

Bonus tip: Drink a hoppy IPA or spicy Malbec to help balance the sweetness of the misoyaki sauce.


– The End. Go Eat. – 

i8tonite with Phoenix’s TEXAZ Grill Chef Steve Freidkin & Chicken Fideo Recipe

i8tonite with Phoenix's TEXAZ Grill Chef Steve Freidkin & Chicken Fideo RecipeChef and owner of TEXAZ Grill Steven Freidkin is that rarity in restaurants nowadays. Long before the Food Network and celebrity cooks ruled our dinner tables, Freidkin had always been a good, respectable chef, and learning the trade not in fancy culinary schools, but employed in the eateries were he worked. As a pre-teen, he began his kitchen career working at his family’s kosher deli in Shreveport, Louisiana cutting up corned beef in the front and then hanging with his friends. Reminiscing about his youth, Freidkin said, “We would be hiding behind the pickle barrels.  We were the only store that cured our own pickles.”

His first job away from his parents’ store was as a dishwasher. Then while attending college in the Dallas, he cooked in many kitchens, learning that this could be his way of making a living instead of getting a social work degree. Ultimately, this led him to turn specifically failing restaurants into moneymakers. For a bit of time, he worked for well-known Victoria Station, a popular chain of railroad themed steakhouses that proliferated throughout the 1970s and 80s.

Arriving in Phoenix in 1976 on a proposition to a restaurant called Pointe of View located by Squaw Peak, he’s been in the Valley of the Sun ever since.

Before TEXAZ Grill, there were a couple of other stints in restaurants and a catering company, but in 1985, he, along with a former partner, opened the Phoenician steakhouse landmark. TEXAZ Grill isn’t one of the high-end places where people drop their credit cards to pay for the hefty price-tag on a wine and ribeye. No. Freidkin has established an important Valley of the Sun staple – as important as a saguaro cactus on a dusky evening — among the steak and chops set, leading the southwestern pack in crafting down home eats.

i8tonite with Phoenix's TEXAZ Grill Chef Steve Freidkin & Chicken Fideo Recipe

Regulars come to sit in the eclectically decorated space. Walls filled with hundreds of baseball hats, deer heads, pen and ink drawings found in thrift stores, black and white photos, and beer labels lavishly cover the space. It’s an homage to roadhouses long gone, or it’s an actual roadhouse, depending on your personal age and reference.

Among the ribeye and the New York Strip, listed above the delicious stalwart of fried chicken, is the house specialty – the chicken fried steak. Friedkin recalls, “When we first opened, we had a lot of requests for it. We put it on the menu for a special, and then gradually it stayed.” Two big breaded cubed steaks are dredged in flour, deep-fried, and served with white gravy. “We have served more than 900,000 of these since we opened,” Freidkin comments. Here’s to 900,000 more.

i8tonite with Phoenix's TEXAZ Grill Chef Steve Freidkin & Chicken Fideo Recipe


Chef Questionnaire (with a nod to Proust):

How long have you been cooking?
I started cooking in our family delicatessen in Louisiana when I was 10, so I have been cooking 50 years.

What is your favorite food to cook?
My favorite dish to cook is noodles, Cajun and Creole.

What do you always have in your fridge at home?
I always have pickled okra in my fridge.

What do you cook at home?
I cook everything- Mexican, Asian, Southern, Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern…and I fridge raid (clearing out the fridge and making a full meal).

What marked characteristic do you love in a customer?

What marked characteristic do you find unappealing in a customer?

Tupperware, Rubbermaid, or Pyrex?

Beer, wine, or cocktail?
All of the above. My favorites range from a Shiner Bock, Old Vine Zin, and Tito’s on the rocks with a pickled Okra.

Your favorite cookbook author?
Robb Walsh.

Your favorite kitchen tool?
Japanese Cleaver.

Your favorite ingredient?
My favorite ingredient is black pepper.

Your least favorite ingredient?
My least favorite ingredient is CILANTRO!

Least favorite thing to do in a kitchen?
Clean up!

i8tonite with Phoenix's TEXAZ Grill Chef Steve Freidkin & Chicken Fideo Recipe

Favorite types of cuisine to cook?
Southern, Italian, Mexican, and Asian.

Beef, chicken, pork, or tofu?

Favorite vegetable?

Chef you most admire?
The chef I admire most locally is Robert McGrath.

Food you like the most to eat?
Noodles, Creole and Cajun are my favorite foods to eat. My absolute favorite is Texas BBQ.

Food you dislike the most?

How many tattoos? And if so, how many are of food?

Recipe: Chicken Fideo

i8tonite with Phoenix's TEXAZ Grill Chef Steve Freidkin & Chicken Fideo Recipe

Serving Size: 5
Prep Time: 0:21

7 oz vermicelli — fideo
1 oz butter
3 cups cubed chicken thigh meat
1 c julienned onion
2 t minced garlic
1 can Ro-tel tomatoes
3 cups water
2 t chicken bouillion paste
1 t oregano
2 t whole cumin
2 oz canned jalapeno peppers – juice

Brown fideo in butter until golden.
Add onion and garlic and saute briefly.
Add chicken and cook for 3 minutes.
Add the rest of the ingredients and cook over moderate heat, until done – about 30 minutes.
Serve topped with sliced green onion and grated cheddar.
– The End. Go Eat. –

i8tonite with OC’s Las Brisas Chef Johannes Bernau and Recipe for Coca Cola Carnitas

i8tonite with LA’s Las Brisas Chef Johannes Bernau and Recipe for Coca Cola Carnitas“The cuisine at Who Song’s & Larry is meant to be fun. It’s Mexican-inspired food,” say 32-year old Chef Johannes Bernau. “The food at Las Brisas finds its inspiration in Mexico, but is really Southern California.”

Born in Utah to a Japanese mother and Dutch Indonesian father, the talented man behind the Real Mex Restaurants stove holds the unwieldy title of Corporate Chef for Specialty Brands. Behind that long designation lies a thoughtful human who creates delectable South of the Border-encouraged dishes at Las Brisas, an iconic cliff side eatery overlooking California’s famed Laguna Beach, and Who Song’s & Larry’s, a newcomer to the restaurant scene. Real Mex also owns additional Southern California chains such as Acapulco, Chevy’s, and El Torito Grill. Bernau oversees the kitchens of the single standing operations, which include the aforementioned, but also El Paso Cantina in Torrance, CA and New York City’s Sinigual.

i8tonite with LA’s Las Brisas Chef Johannes Bernau and Recipe for Coca Cola Carnitas

“Like every chef, I started out helping as a kid in the kitchen, then I started inviting my friends over for barbeques that I would make,” Bernau recalls. “I worked at a pizza place between the ages of 18 – 19. Today, I still crank out a pizza for family (staff) meals.”

Seafood Tower Las Brisas. i8tonite with LA’s Las Brisas Chef Johannes Bernau and Recipe for Coca Cola Carnitas
Seafood Tower Las Brisas

The food at Las Brisas, with its breaktaking views of Laguna’s golden sand beaches and Pacific Ocean waves, is a must for every traveler and visitor to the legendary ocean community. The white tablecloth eatery serves dishes such as the fruta del mar, a mixture of lobster, scallops, shrimp, and the catch of the day with a saffron sauce. Also, surf and turf plates exist with Latin flavors, such as the New York Strip with Mexican Shrimp. Adding to the overall theme of Southern California dishes are starters such as ceviche and Ahi Tuna Poke.

i8tonite with LA’s Las Brisas Chef Johannes Bernau and Recipe for Coca Cola Carnitas

Who Song’s & Larry is themed more like a cantina with lustful eats, including Hangover Fries. Created by Chef Bernau, the dish is crispy fries covered in carnitas, bacon, green chili sauce, melted pepper jack cheese, pico de gallo, a fried egg, and fresno chiles. Served in a small crock, the mighty curative sounds overwhelming but in truth, it’s delicious with bold flavors to settle anyone who might be leaning too far after a night of drinking. “The inspiration was from the Canadian poutine and from my love of smothered fries…plus a fried egg can go on anything,” chuckles Bernau. “It was so popular we named our brunch after our fries.”

Hangover fries. i8tonite with LA’s Las Brisas Chef Johannes Bernau and Recipe for Coca Cola Carnitas
Hangover fries


Chef’s Questionnaire (with a nod to Proust):

How long have you been cooking?
Since I was able to crack eggs… (Mom and dad probably ate plenty of egg shell omelets…)

What is your favorite food to cook?
Anything off the grill, especially Steak.

What do you always have in your fridge at home?
Surge (classic soda from the 90’s) – they took it away once… not going to let that happen again.

What do you cook at home?
Mac and cheese.

What marked characteristic do you love in a customer?
Their love for food.

What marked characteristic do you find unappealing in a customer?
Customers that want their steaks well done.

Tupperware, Rubbermaid, or Pyrex?

Beer, wine, or cocktail?

Your favorite cookbook author?
Ferran Adria

Street Corn - Who Song and Larry's. i8tonite with LA’s Las Brisas Chef Johannes Bernau and Recipe for Coca Cola Carnitas
Street Corn – Who Song and Larry’s

Your favorite kitchen tool?
Chef’s Knife.

Your favorite ingredient?
Thyme – everything could use a little more thyme.

Your least favorite ingredient?

Least favorite thing to do in a kitchen?
When I was a young cook, one of my jobs was to peel grapes.

Favorite types of cuisine to cook?

Beef, chicken, pork, or tofu?

Favorite vegetable?

Chef you most admire?
Jose Andreas – worked for him back in the day & learned how to cook with liquid nitrogen.

Food you like the most to eat?
Ramen (not instant)

Food you dislike the most?
Natto, a Japanese dish of fermented soy beans.

How many tattoos? And if so, how many are of food?

Recipe: Coke Cola Carnitas

i8tonite with LA’s Las Brisas Chef Johannes Bernau and Recipe for Coca Cola Carnitas
Photo Wikimedia Commons: Mike McCune

5 lbs of large chunks of pork butt
1 onion chopped
1 sprig of thyme
1 sprig of oregano
1 can of coke
1 can of beer
2 TBSP salt
1 tsp pepper

Put everything in crock pot on medium before you go to work.

Eat after work. With tortillas and cheese.

– The End. Go Eat. –

i8tonite: The Guild House’s Sous Chef Patrick Hofer, Columbus, Ohio and Sous Vide Venison

This is a guest post from Dr. Jessie Voigts of

Table Setting. The Guild House. Photo by Jessie Voigts

Columbus, Ohio is a surprisingly happening culinary town. While there are plenty of hot dog joints and student hangouts around The Ohio State University, Columbus is home to a NHL team, a burgeoning art scene, and several Fortune 500 companies. It’s no surprise that there are many fine dining options, my favorite of which is The Guild House. Located next to Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph, The Guild House is a farm to table restaurant that is part of the Cameron Mitchell restaurant group.

The Guild House bar. Photo by Jessie Voigts

Located in the artsy Short North district, The Guild House is an upscale-casual restaurant that is beautifully decorated in cream leather, wood, and plenty of glass and mirrors. The food, creative American cuisine, is locally sourced when possible, and features seasonal ingredients.

A childhood spent cooking and baking with his grandmother led The Guild House Sous Chef Patrick Hofer to a life in the kitchen. He had originally planned on attending business school after high school, but having always enjoyed food and cooking, his dad suggested culinary school. Research on the best school possible led to Hofer’s attending the Culinary Institute of America. After graduating from the CIA, he opened Red Oak Pub in Newark, Ohio as a kitchen manager. Other positions included line cook and supervisor at The Pearl, and sous chef at Molly Woo’s, before Hofer transferred to the Guild House as a sous chef.

Courtesy of Patrick Hofer.

Chef’s Questionnaire:
How long have you been cooking? I have been cooking since I was 15, so approximately 10 years.

What is your favorite food to cook? I really enjoy anything – I can’t say that I have one favorite

What do you always have in your fridge at home? Butter, Eggs, Bacon, Milk (I am a breakfast food kind of guy)

What do you cook at home? Mostly Breakfast, due to the hours of a restaurant. I really don’t cook much at home.

What marked characteristic do you love in a customer? Someone 20150928_185344that is willing to try anything and is trusting that we will take great care of them.

What marked characteristic do you find unappealing in a customer? Someone that is unadventurous.


Tupperware, Rubbermaid, or Pyrex? Rubbermaid.

Beer, wine, or cocktail?  Beer.

Your favorite cookbook author? I wouldn’t say I have a favorite author, but the book that is most helpful is The Flavor Bible.

Your favorite kitchen tool? Robot Coupe.

Your favorite ingredient? Mushrooms

Your least favorite ingredient?  I would probably have to say beets

Least favorite thing to do in a kitchen? Inventory.

Chef you most admire? Paul Bocuse for everything that he has done for the culinary world.

Favorite types of cuisine to cook? All of them! Some I have never done, but they are all great and fun to learn.

Beef, chicken, pork or tofu? Beef.

Favorite vegetable? Mushrooms.

Food you like the most to eat? Anything sweet

Food you dislike the most? Beets.

How many tattoos? And if so, how many are of food? I have one right now, and it has nothing to do with food.
Recipe of Sous Vide venison Leg Filet with Garlic Poached Lobster Mushrooms, Quick Sautéed Greens, Mushroom Reduction, Wild Mountain Blue Berries, and Carrot Bark. (Special Tool: Clearly, a sous vide.  Gift-giving season is upon us.) 

venison patrick hofer guild house

VENISON: Portioned to 6oz and sous vide at 50.2c for 2 hours with garlic, thyme, and butter.

LOBSTER MUSHROOMS: Clean all of the dirt off them and cut them to bite size pieces, keeping the shape of the mushroom intact. Sous vide these at 82c for one hour with a compound oil.

Compound oil: 1cup blended oil, 2 smashed garlic cloves, 2 sprigs of thyme, 2 sprigs of rosemary. Heat this and let the herbs steep into the oil for 30 minutes.

Sauteed Greens: Combine Kale, Swiss Chard, Spinach, and leeks into a quick sautee with oil and salt.

Mushroom Reduction: Make a very nice mushroom stock and reduce it down to a thick syrup (takes a lot of stock to achieve this), then emulsify butter into the reduction until smooth and creamy.

The End. Go Eat.

Photos: Venison, Patrick courtesy Guild House. All other photos courtesy Jessie Voigts


i8tonite: BBQ Ribs and Four Seasons Scottsdale

20151019_075052Honestly, I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m going with it. I created a food blog/website about food, recipes and travel. Writing about people I admire, places I’ve been and food I’ve enjoyed and can share with individuals – hopefully, a takeaway recipe for the reader to cook. That’s it. That’s all I want to do.

At the end of the day, that’s what I’m thinking. Cooking, eating and being with people you love. Three simple things. I worked a wine tasting over the weekend, and I kept thinking to myself, “Who are these people? What stories do they have?” as I plied them with an inexpensive sparkling.

I think the question isn’t so much who they are but who I’m becoming?

I know I’m different than I was five years ago when the dam broke. It was a self-imposed structure that stayed turbulent emotions, eventually needing some navigating. I erected it for survival – we all do it – the edifice kept feelings in-check. Although, like any man-made constructions it cracks, needing a variety of sealants but the façade always breaks down. Once it’s down, erecting a new dam is possible but it will never be the same.

With my journey, the one constant is food and looking for it. Having it, not having it. Will it ever be enough? Am I enough?  I have to remember that I have enough today and all those questions need not apply… if ever again. With my work for i8tonite, my food clients, and other culinary on-line experiences, I was invited with Nick to have an experience at the Four Seasons Scottsdale at Troon North. We ate exceptional food and gawked at the vistas that only Mother Nature could make. From the lobby of the hotel, the view is breathtaking. Undulating mountain ranges blanketed by the blue Arizona skies. The earth’s dusky rose color flecked with prickly cactus and foremost amongst them, the mighty saguaros. Much like the California redwoods, these plants are resilient and massive. Invincible, like The Hulk, with arms reaching out asking for nothing but the elements and solitude. Yep, that was my view this morning. It was enough for today.

I was planning on cooking a delicious dish from Carolyn Jung’s San Francisco Chef’s Table: The City by The Bay (Lyon’s Press, ISBN 978-0-7627-9226-9). Carolyn is one of my favorite food journalists working today I want to support her as she has supported my food and hotel clients over the years.  Unfortunately, the days got away from me, and I wasn’t able to cook. Next week, though. Last week, I made an incredible beet and apple salad from the noted food memoirist and award-winning writer, Kim Sunee, whom I’ve also had the pleasure of knowing and working with over the years. Her book, Mouthful of Stars: A Constellation of Favorite Recipes from My World Travels, is mesmerizing as it trips effortlessly from Asia to Europe to Louisiana. I made her BBQ ribs to accompany last week’s salad to share at a later date. I guess this is the later date. I made it with some small tweaks that I always do to a recipe. It’s delicious and enough for today.


You Will Need (Feeds 3 – 4):

About 9 pounds of Baby Back ribs or pork ribs.


Kim Sunee’s Spicy Tangy Sauce

¾ cup apple cider vinegar

¾ cup Frank’s RedHot Sauce

½ cup of fresh OJ

½ cup of ketchup

Several dashes of Worcestershire sauce

5 cloves of garlic

1 tablespoon New Mexico red chile powder (Sprout’s carries this in bulk.)

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 ½ teaspoons sea salt


Dry Rub: This is the reason I loved this recipe.

1/3 cup of New Mexico Chile powder

3 tablespoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon coriander

1 teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper


Let’s Make This Puppy:

Preheat the oven 300 degrees and then line baking sheets or low rimmed pans with aluminum foil. While, the oven gets toasty, make the rub in a bowl and combining all the ingredients. Once made, work onto the meat, getting into the fibers. Roast it uncovered for about 2 hours. (You could stop here.)


Place all the ingredients for the barbecue sauce in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat for approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Once the ribs have cooked for their first two hours, brush with the sauce and cover tightly in more foil. Bake for another hour and serve with sauce on the side.


The End. Go Eat.



Cuban Mojo (pronounced “mo-ho”, not Austin Powers “mojo”) Chicken

Image result for cuban style mojo chicken

Nick is cooking tonight…and he’s making Cuban Mojo Chicken which is a marinade or sauce of only 5 ingredients: bitter orange, freshly ground cumin seeds, garlic, fresh oregano and olive oil. Having lived in Miami for most of his adult life, Nick loves Cuban food. According to LAist, there are quite a few Cuban restaurants in Echo Park, which we will need to check out.

Mojo originally appeared in The Canary Islands which are not far from Spain. As the frisky Spaniards started conquering The New World, we know they brought much of their language and food with them. This marinade which is fairly international, as the travelers dropped anchor at every island, can be made with any combination of acid/ oil such as red peppers (roasted and ground), green peppers (roasted and ground), cilantro, onions, and on and on.

In Cuban cooking, mojo typically applies to any sauce that is made with garlic, olive oil, and a citrus, in this case, bitter orange. Home cooks will notice in Cuban recipes that mojo is frequently used to flavor the yucca and is also used to marinate roast pork.  Cubans supposedly refer to the sauce as ‘mojito’ – not to be confused with the mint, rum and cachaça drink — and used for dipping fried plantain chips and yucca.  (I don’t know that for sure because the closest Cuban I have to is Nick. And he’s half Ecuadorean, not from Cuba but only lived in Miami where there is massive Cuban community. HA!)

If finding bitter (Seville) oranges is difficult – but not impossible — you might find it easier to add a couple of tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime and lemon to the fresh orange juice which is what Nick does.

(Incidentally, consumers can find this bottled and made with cornstarch. Don’t buy it. Make it. It’s so much better.)

1 to 1 ½ heads of garlic

1 cup fresh bitter orange juice (or if you can’t find  that substitute ½ cup of fresh orange juice, 1/8 cup of fresh lime juice (or approximate) , 3/4 cup of fresh lemon juice

½ cup olive oil

1 teaspoon fresh oregano (or 1 ½ teaspoons of dried)

1 full teaspoon toasted and freshly ground cumin seeds (Easy to find in your local market and will make a HUGE difference in the outcome with a wonderful smoky flavor.)

(With salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste)

Mash the garlic in a mortar and pestle or smash it into a paste which the flat side of a knife. Toast the cumin seeds in a skillet until fragrant. Grind.

Place everything into a bowl and stir well. Marinate any meat (chicken, pork or beef) for in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours. Grill, roast or broil according to your taste. It’s a taste of the islands…and drink lots of mojitos.





Making a Pot of Vegetables and Meat: Stewing Between Holidays

There’s a period of time between the holidays, Thanksgiving to Christmas that are laden with maybe one to two parties a week. A lot of talk goes into what to eat and drink at these festive soirees. Fitness trainer and Biggest Loser’s Bob Harper says to “get one small plate and go to buffet once. You can make it as high as you want…but that’s it.” Great…and then run 10 miles the next day.

Though not much is said about what to eat at home between parties and holidays. Do you eat only salad? Fruit? Before too long, you are headed to the leftover cookies and fudge brownies you brought over from Aunt Bertha’s and Uncle Don’s “ugly Christmas sweater” party. With temperatures in the northern states below 45, you want something to stick to your ribs. Hearty. Manly food, even if you are a woman. (Not that I’m saying you should be manly…or womanly…or even gender-specific…just that a protein and carbohydrate meal is considered “manly”….oh for Chrissakes, GLAAD will be calling me in a minute) And there is nothing more body-warming, stomach-filling, calorie-conscious and easy to make than a pot of stew. Chicken, beef, fish or vegetable. Or even a combination of any….and it’s cheap and quick. Do it on a Sunday after your weekend evenings have been taken up by “Jingle Bell Rock” at Chrissy and Hef’s place on one night and the other was about George and Ben’s Christmas tree trimming party. (You had to bring two balls…but only silver or leather….to hang.)  Back to the stew…if you are one person, a pot can get you through a week. If you are a couple, maybe a dinner twice or lunch….if you have a family, maybe just for dinner…but it will only cost you maybe $15, if that.

Stews which are just thicker and heartier soups are essentially the first one-pot meal. Everything thrown into a pot and simmered until done. Also, the are incredibly low in calories topping out at 300 calories for a bowl of goodness.

You Will Need (Basic guidelines):

Two pounds of meat, cut into 1″ x 1″ cubes (beef, pork or chicken…you can do veal, lamb). Buy the cheap stuff or on sale. This is a braise and really, the cheap stuff is the most flavorful. Get that.

Your favorite root vegetables (Parsnips, turnips, celery root, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, acorn squash). Peel and cut them into, as best you can, uniformed bite-sized pieces.

Flour for dredging

Olive oil

Fresh herbs such as rosemary, oregano and marjoram

Can of San Marzano tomatoes

White or red wine (optional)

Chicken or beef stock (optional)


Let’s make a stew;

Using a dutch oven or stockpot, heat up the olive oil perhaps about three or four tablespoons.

Dredge the meat in the flour and brown in the oil on all sides. The flour will help create the gravy for the stew and gives a nice texture to the meat of your choice. Once browned and coated, remove from heat.

Now pour your liquids such as a cup (or two) of wine, stock or water. Throw in your herbs, garlic and onions (if using) and then throw the meat back in. Bring it to a boil and then simmer.

Next, throw in the veggies but not all. Use the tubers first like the parsnips, potatoes, turnips, celery root…they take a little longer to cook. At simmer, they should be 45 minutes. 20 minutes before finished add the squashes. (Think of this as if it’s above ground, shorter cooking time; below, longer).

Add the tomatoes (if you like) and more stock. You can also add beans. If the stew is still too thin, take a cup of liquid from the pot and using flour, cornstarch or arrowroot thicken gradually with a teaspoon. Stir. Add another, stir. Continue doing this until you get it to a roux. Then pour into the stew. Continue simmering.

In 45 minutes, everything should be done and yummy. Serve it up in a bowl and freeze the rest!