BEEN THERE: PARK STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD CULINARY POP-UP WITH CHEF JAMIE LAUREN

We showed up to Park Studios Hollywood last Tuesday (November 12th) for a pop-up dinner of artistic proportions, featuring a creative menu from Top Chef alum Jamie Lauren, while surrounded by the work of showcasing photographers Andrew Kuykendall and Jason Lee Parry.

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The night was one of contrasts and dichotomies—from the atypical restaurant location, to the unusual pairings of tastes and flavors—and while open to the public, the gathering felt decidedly intimate, consisting of friends and faces both new and familiar.

Immediately upon arrival, we were welcomed by Andrew of Park Studios himself, and were provided with custom-designed cucumber lime mixed drinks to accompany our dinner. In the background soft sounds from The XX and Death Cab For Cutie set the mood for the night. One of the highlights of dining in a space typically dedicated to art, included seeing the final display of all the effort that went into re-envisioning the dining experience. As we explored the work displayed on the gallery’s walls, we were struck not only by the sheer utilization of space in the floor room area, but by each carefully set place seating on the single dining table, reflecting a thoughtful consideration of each individual attendant.  Guests were also welcome to bring their own bottles of wine to share with their fellow diners around the table, sparking anticipation and chatter for the impending meal to come.

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Chef Lauren opened the night with a dish that set the standards high for the rest of the evening – presenting a hamachi crudo with lemongrass-kaffir lime oil, pickled chilies, and crispy shallots. The chilies and shallots added a satisfying crunch to the dish’s main component, while the lemongrass and lime brought forth a refreshingly fragrant citrus flavor to the deliciously soft, melt-in-your-mouth hamachi.  It was the dish to transform the essence of an art gallery into that of a full-fledged restaurant. Need I say more?

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After this light dish, our second meal was a creamy celery root soup, topped with a delicate line of mustard oil and two renditions of a single ingredient—freshly-chopped beet relish and a sprinkling of crunchy beet chips.  While some of us had never before tried celery root (let alone were aware that it was edible), the thick smoothness and inviting pumpkin-like color of the soup truly embodied the warmth of the autumn season, while the beet additions gave a hint of tart, contrasting intrigue.

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Our third meal combined a variety of vegetable flavors and textures, including black kale, roasted heirloom carrots, and a smoked chickpea puree, with a drizzling of goat cheese dressing and light dash of berbere.  While colorful and interesting in its use of well-known ingredients, the dish mainly served as a preparation for the main course of the dinner.

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Now onto the main course! It was a new take on the classic meat-and-potatoe-like comfort food, and along with the hamachi, was our personal favorite plate of the night.  With tender slow cooked pork shoulder, curry flavors, and a side of kabocha squash puree and Brussels sprouts. The only downside to this dish was that I was almost too full after eating everything to finish it. But again, I repeat, almost.

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Finally, we ended our night with a not-so-typical chocolate cake to satisfy our cravings for sweetness after all of our savory eats. However, when it comes to dessert, the notion of portion control doesn’t apply to Chef Lauren, and although the individual pretzel-and-potato chip-encrusted chocolate cakes may have been a serving size greater than our stomach capacities could tackle at the conclusion of a five-course meal, we were struck by the originality of the cake itself.  The salty crushed potato chips made for a surprisingly complementary crumble for the sweet chocolate, and though we couldn’t finish our entire desserts (hey, we were busy stuffing ourselves with pork shoulder!), our hosts were kind enough to bring us to-go boxes to take our “miniature” cakes home with us as leftovers for our breakfast – that we were already anticipating.

You can check out more of our dining space for yourself and see the artwork of Andrew Kuykendall and Jason Lee Parry, showing now at Park Studios Hollywood. Be on the lookout for news of future pop-up dinners by following Park Studios on Facebook.

THE WEEKLY: M.I.A., WINE RIOT, POP-UP DINNER WITH A TOP CHEF + MORE


A rundown of the best events in our city this week. 

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TAVI GEVINSON READS FROM ROOKIE YEARBOOK TWO

WHAT: Our teenage girl crush Tavi Gevinson along with a handful of LA contributors give us the DL on Rookie Yearbook Two. Filled to the brim with everything our fourteen-year-old selves could want along with exclusive content from Lena Dunham, Grimes and Mindy Kaling, the intimate reading is expecting a big turnout. Did we mention Judy Blume makes an appearance in this edition? JUDY BLUME?! We’ll save you a seat. | more info
WHEN: Thursday, November 7th, 7:30pm
WHERE: Skylight Books | 1818 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

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DIEM: DESIGN INTERSECTS EVERYTHING MADE

WHAT: West Hollywood Design District has been at the helm at all things associated with innovative and high-caliber design in all dimensions of art — fashion, interior design, architecture, dining, beauty; the neighborhood formerly known as the Avenues has become a cultural destination. On Friday, one-day design forum DIEM takes place throughout various showrooms in the Design District providing an environment for design junkies and aesthetes alike to interact for deliberate cross-pollination of ideas. | more info
WHEN: Friday, November 8 at 9am-6pm
WHERE: West Hollywood, CA | See more info for details.

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LA WINE RIOT

WHAT: Not so much a riot, as a booze-filled feast, Wine Riot hits downtown LA for its second installment this weekend. Created by Second Glass, Wine Riot is an all access pass to hundreds upon hundreds of wines. Fueling your night of conquest is a tireless DJ, photo booth, temporary tattoos, and a few thousand of your closest friends and winos. The best part is, aside from the, ahem, “tastings, ”Second Glass has made an app that tracks your favorite wines and shows you where to buy them later. Just be sure to keep your Sunday morning clear, ‘cause, let’s face it, you’re never going to be able to pull off that morning jog you promised yourself. | more info
WHEN: Saturday, November 9th 1-5pm, or 6-11 pm
WHERE: Majestic Halls | 650 South Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014

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THE HESBY PRESENTS: THE NOHO DOWN

WHAT: Tired of your overpriced loft? Our city’s notoriously difficult rental situation has left many an Angeleno jaded in pursuit of the perfect abode. After all, it’s not easy to meet the myriad requirements including satisfactory distance from your borderline-insane-ex-squeeze and proximity to work. But rest your weary head because there’s a rumor going ’round that the Valley is the new Highland Park and now has sidewalks! But wait, there’s more: NoHo is now home to the Hesby, the newest in artfully-designed living spaces for the creative who seeks a stylish home to match their lifestyle. Scope out the spot, i.e. party with us with a hosted bar provided by Deep Eddy Vodka and PBR, live music, a photobooth, giveaways and more. RSVP here. | more info
WHEN: Saturday, November 9th, 1 – 4pm
WHERE: The Hesby | 5031 Fair Ave. North Hollywood, CA 91601

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DIANNA MOLZAN OPENING

WHAT: Former Rogue Wave Artist and fellow Los Angeleno, Dianna Molzan opens a new exhibit in Hollywood this Sunday, November 10th. Molzan is known for deconstructing and rebuilding her canvases into wholly original forms that experiment with the painting surface to become sculptural in their presentation. Celebrated in solo exhibitions at The Whitney, The Hammer, and ICA Boston, we’re totes getting excited for Sunday night. (Guess Homeland will have to wait). | more info
WHEN: Sunday, November 10th
WHERE: OVERDUIN AND KITE | 6693 West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028

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M.I.A AT THE BELASCO

WHAT: “Live fast, die young, bad girls do it well,” is such a more appealing alternative to YOLO, and leave it up to English-Sri Lankan rapper M.I.A. to win that category of who alliterates the “Fuck it, I’m down,” moniker of today’s youth. Not to say we promote extreme forms of bad-assery, but maybe we should let bad girl M.I.A. do the rapping for us. Catch her two-night appearance at the Belasco Theatre next week, but before you go, make sure you check out her newest release, “Matangi” to get familiar with the bad girl’s newest digs. | more info
WHEN: Monday, November 11th, 8pm
WHERE: The Belasco Theatre | 1050 South Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015

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POP-UP DINNER WITH JAMIE LAUREN

WHAT: Top Chef Alum Jamie Lauren combines forces with Park Studios Hwood for a six-course dinner experience and a specialty cocktail hour. Oggle at photographs by Jason Lee Parry Andrew Kuykendall as you chow down on some seriously delicious eats at the communal style table setting. Guests are encouraged to BYOB. | more info
WHEN: Tuesday, November 12th, 2013 at 7pm-10pm
WHERE: Park Studios | 6417 Selma Avenue, Hollywood, CA 90028

EXCLUSIVE: CURTIS STONE’S NEW RESTAURANT “MAUDE”

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Ever sat glued to your television anguished over your inexplicable decision to flip to the Food Network or Top Chef Masters when you were just lamenting the pitiful state of your empty fridge? If so, chances are you’ve spotted culinary, multi hyphenate Curtis Stone on the screen, doing everything from cooking to judging and hosting. We caught up with the prolific cookbook author and host of Top Chef Masters as he dishes on his new restaurant Maude, the LA culinary scene, food-obsessed television, and his recent nuptials.

Everyone is excited about your new restaurant purchase in the Los Angeles area. Can you tell us a little bit about it and what inspired the new venture?
I am really excited about it too. It has been a dream of mine for quite a few years to have a tiny, little restaurant that I could just work with a talented group of guys on, who could focus all of their energy into cooking beautiful food. Not having a huge menu or throwing huge numbers. The concept of the restaurant revolves around produce around Southern California. We are very lucky. We are up there with the best markets in the world. I want to pay homage to some of those ingredients. Each month I am going to choose one ingredient and do a seven- or eight-course tasting menu around that ingredient. I want to be as versatile and creative as possible. It will be a set menu, which allows me to put more detail into each dish, rather than having hundreds of courses.

 

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Los Angeles is a melting pot of cultures that often translates into unique fusions of flavors. It is also a city that embraces over-the-top, glamorous plates. As someone who is committed to letting great ingredients shine without too much fanfare, how do you envision your new restaurant fitting into the Los Angeles landscape?
I think LA has gone through such a huge culinary revolution. It was all about the scene, glitz, and glamour not too long ago. But now, look at the restaurants that are popular. They are the ones that really get their hands on great quality ingredients and come from a more humble place—like spending the entire morning in my garden. I have a bit of an experimental garden, so I grow all sorts of different things. You know, that’s the place that I play with different varieties of stuff that you can’t get your hands on commercially. Also, the culture around great growers—that’s something that makes me happy. Honoring the farmer that works his ass off. That’s what my restaurant will be all about.

Any favorite taco spots in LA where we might spot you after a late night?
Oh god, absolutely! I love tacos and the beautiful thing about this city is that they are everywhere. The one that I sort of hit most often is Pinches on Sunset, which I am sure many know. ¡Lotería! is really good as well. We go down to East LA for tacos too. Too many spots to remember the names of. But with tacos, it’s usually the dirtiest hole-in-the-wall with the best offerings.

Okay, one night in LA—where is Chef Curtis Stone going to eat and why?
I just ate at Lukshon in Culver City a couple of nights ago, and, I’ve got to say, it is one of my favorite dining experiences in this city. It is so innovative and Chef Sang Yoon cooks really beautiful food—same guy from Father’s Office. He’s one of my favorite chefs.

 

READ THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH CHEF CURTIS STONE IN OUR NEW ISSUE HERE

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photo KATHRYNA HANCOCK @ 7 Artist Management
grooming CHRISTINE NELLI @ Celestine Agency
styling TIFFANI CHYNEL
text NOAH BRISCOE