We are excited to share our findings in the kitchen and abroad here with you. Check back often to see what we are up to! -LQ
December 29th was the last Popup @MaMaison for 2016. Here at LQ we are so happy to put 2016 behind and certainly hope that 2017 will be less fraught. We certainly hope we can still smuggle our raw milk cheeses from Europe, worry about getting some awesome ingredients from all over the world without paying additional taxes and tariff on goods that will impede our creativity to deliver the most amazing experiences for which we are well known. But new exciting ideas will be coming to fruition in the coming year -“the restaurant experience in the garden” is planned for the summer, where individual tables will be available at different times to allow guests to enjoy a more intimate experience of our menus, and more like a restaurant in feel. Also more events will be scheduled on regular monthly basis, allowing you to book and plan further in advance. There will also be more Fooding events (our 6 course dinner) and fewer of the @MaMaison (10 course) events. We will also highlight seasonal ingredients by creating a menu around that seasonal ingredient! (e.g Morels, white asparagus, Wild salmon, and many more), and last, but not least, we will take @MaMaison on the road after the summer of 2017! We look forward to sharing great food and wine with you again!
December 16th was a beautiful day @MaMaison. A young couple decided to host their Wedding reception in the garden…..
It was booked many months in advance, during the summer, and we did not anticipate that it would be rainy, and the coldest day of the year so far. We of course used our magic to deliver an incredible experience under the stars, and it was stunning! 10 courses and 9 wines later and a new challenge – opening up future large group buy-outs for a phenomenal food and wine experience!
It is never easy for chefs to create menus and execute tasting menus for events of this kind of scale, for LQ especially. A small gathering is usually the easiest way to enjoy well crafted seasonal dishes and ‘scaling up’ presents some formidable challenges! That is why most high end restaurants have very limited seatings, especially in Europe. Feel free to share your thoughts this topic with us!
I recently took an illicit trip to Tijuana to source an ingredient – Escamoles – which we used as the amuse bouche at the LQ @ SK opening. Accompanying me were a very nice reporter from the New Yorker and a friend of mine who drove us all together on Sunday morning down to a restaurant on the border. Escamoles are Ant Eggs – a delicious and peppery protein that I have been exploring more and more, with the idea that they could be a sustainable protein around the world if people could just get used to eating them and tasting how good they can be. On the way down, we talked a lot about how chef’s source products they cannot order from a supplier, grow themselves or find at the local market. We had a little extra time so we stopped at a farmers market near downtown San Diego and tried some great Ghost Chili salt and fresh herbs as well as oysters from Carlsbad and a FRESH sea urchin that they opened and cleaned right in front of us – we ate it out of a shell with a spoon and some lemon! Our trip was a great success, we headed home with my bag of $75 Ant Eggs and tested them out in the kitchen that week, presenting them sauteed in miniature tortillas to a group of eager and adventurous diners at the LQ @SK opening…they all ate them!
I get asked a lot of times, how do I come up with ideas for my food? Well it seems natural to me, because that is what I have been doing since I was 14 years old, that is my art. But I know some people don’t understand that, so I will say that most of the time, I am just tasting different ingredients and flavors and I may taste an herb that is really really fresh or some bread that is still warm and crusty from a REAL baker like The Bread Lounge in downtown LA, and the idea just pops into my head.
I also like to use really fresh vegetables because they are light and delicious, I don’t eat a lot of heavy meats, so i’ve been using fresh peas or kohlrabi root or black rice puree instead of heavy starch like mashed potatoes – they don’t overwhelm the other ingredients as much and when that happens you don’t need as much seasonings or salt to really make the ingredients shine the way they should. Mostly, i am always just trying new flavors, tasting herbs, sauces, and experimenting with combination ideas, when you are always learning, you cannot run out of ideas! My favorite thing lately has been nasturtium flowers from my garden, they are really peppery and delicious and have a bright color so they look good on a plate. You can even eat the leaves!