Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sushi Roku: Redefining the Sushi Game

Sushi Roku: Redefining the Sushi Game
By Kelly Grace Thomas

When it comes to sushi, an adventurous cuisine, most of us have a tendency to play it safe.  Whether it be the predictable California roll or old Shrimp Tempura staple, many of us find ourselves in an ordering rut.  For those looking to add a little splash to the monotony, Sushi Roku is just the place.

Sushi Roku, owned by the Innovative Dining Group, recently celebrated their anniversary - eighteen years of deliciousness.  To commensurate the occasion newly appointed Executive Chef Tyson Wong, created a new menu, one packed with enticing ingredients, a bold and palatable sampling of just how deep flavor can go.  With dishes like Tuna Sashimi Carpaccio and Blue Crab Tartare this surprise of flavors is a welcomed change to the traditional hand roll or miso soup.  Besides the newest additions, Sushi Roku has also expanded their “secret menu.”  Meaning those with insider knowledge can choose from an ocean of exotic options.  From dishes like Spicy Pork Belly “Kakuni” Fried Rice to Blue Crab Tartare, just one bite of these delectable dishes will leave you talking for weeks to come.  Trust us. Edible Skinny was invited to sample some of Sushi Roku’s latest creations and before the second course we were already planning our return.

For those looking to start with something light Sushi Roku offers a variety of appetizers from both garden and sea.  Our vegetarian half of Edible Skinny loved Roku’s Nori Senbei, a crispy weightless seaweed cracker with wasabi cream in lightly fried puffed dough.  For those looking for a Gluten Free option, the secret menu offers both Truffle Edamame and Spicy Edamame, the perfect opportunity to start your meal with all of the flavor and none of the guilt.  Other health conscious, fresh-flavored choices include the King Crab Lettuce Cups, as well as the velvet smooth Yellowtail with Diced Chilies served with olive oil and garlic ponzu.

Wong’s expertise and guidance has also landed Sushi Roku as Sashimi experts, showing no matter how you slice or dice, their flavor is still layered thick. The Edible Skinny loved the Fluke Kumquat Sashimi with a light and tangy Yuzu Vinaigrette, as well as the Seared Albacore Sashimi with Fried Onions and Garlic Ponzu. But the evening’s standout was the Tuna Sashimi Carpaccio, served Katana style, with shaved Parmesan, micro arugula, truffle tamari soy and diced avocado.  Though this dish is not large in size, the flavors are huge.  With on bite, the many facets, of tied together textures and savory seasonings will leave you completely satiated.  This dish is quality over quantity, and oh boy, once you have tried it, it’s hard to look back.

Sushi Roku also offers other bite-sized starters, with lots of flavor.  Among them are the Aji Crudo, whose light accents are flavored with Jack Mackerel, ginger relish and Aji Amarillo sauce.  There is also the Hanabi, which is served seven different ways.  Edible Skinny had the pleasure of sampling the chef’s choice, prepared with yellowtail sashimi, diced red peppers, scallions and citrus soy.

But no tasting would be complete without a list of must trys.  And these are a must.  The following are our superstar, Sushi Roku favorites, favorites being an understatement.  After tasting these intricate dishes, Edible Skinny wondered, “Why go to sushi anywhere else?” For those who are more turf than surf, we recommend the melt-in-your-mouth, tender-yet-crunchy, can-I-eat-this everyday-please, Spicy Pork Belly “Kakuni” Fried Rice.  This eight-hour braised pork meat, which falls off the bone like butter, is arguably one of the best meats we tasted all year.  This perfect portion is then place on top a bed of fried rice, and garnished with a creamy fried egg.  Edible Skinny’s other vote for standout was the Blue Crab Tartare, which feels like the food version of silk pajamas.  Luxury. Luxury. Luxury.  Made with Santa Barbara Uni (sea urchin) and caviar, this dish is rich in a way that doesn't overwhelm. Its delicate and smooth texture feels like the first touch of velvet in a sea of sandpaper.  Though one of their pricer items, this undeniably one of the best seafood appetizers to be ordered in Los Angeles.

Try any one of these delectable offerings and you can’t go wrong.  From bold and brave dishes, to soft and savory, Sushi Roku’s new menu has something for everyone.  With these new offerings of exotic explorations, one thing is for sure, Sushi Roku is redefining the sushi same.

Sushi Roku has locations in Los Angles, Santa Monica, Pasadena, Las Vegas and Scottsdale.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Pretty in Pink: The Wines of Provence

Edible Skinny was lucky enough to attend the Wines of Provence at L'Ermitage BeverlyHills Rooftop Terrace a few weeks ago hosted by the Wines of Provence (aka Vins of Provence)!

Provence, located on the southern coast of France, is the birthplace of dry rosé and is recognized gold standard of this coral colored drink.  Eighty-eight percent of all wine produced in Provence are rosés.  Which is a big deal as rosés outsell white wines in the country of France. 

Ever since the Greeks first brought wines and vines to the Marseilles area, 2,600 years ago, the people of Provence have been dedicated to the art of rosé winemaking.  The landscapes aggressive sun, Mistral winds, and patchwork of terroirs made the region exceptionally well suited to growing grapes.  In the centuries since, Provence has set the standard for high-quality rosé.  Today it is home to the world’s only research center devoted to rosé wine.  
One of Provence’s most vital environmental components is the Mistral wind. Icy cold in the winter after having sped across the Alpine snows, it can also be refreshing during the long hot summer months. Although it can be violent and capricious, the Mistral does nonetheless have one noteworthy quality that is important for Provence's vineyards: it is extremely dry, which protects the vines from illnesses caused by excess humidity.
Among Provence rosés, you’ll find a variety of styles – some lighter, some fuller.  But overall the wines are all tend to be fresh, crisp, and dry; a pink Provence rosé is by definition is not sweet.   By contrast, the typical America blush wine (our sweeter, also pink, wine) contains almost seven times as much residual sugar per liter (gross, gross, gross…).  So it’s not surprising that Americans have sought out Provence’s rosés.  For the 11th consecutive year, exports to the USA have grown at double-digit rates.  We’re also the number one importer of Provence rosé wines.  

Authentic rosés are made from red grapes, which have dark skins and white flesh.  As they’re crushed, the grapes release a pale juice that quickly takes on some color and tannins from the dark skins (the pulp doesn’t emit any color).  The color of a rosé wine will then depend on the duration and temperature of the contact between the grape juice and the skins (the maceration time).   Traditional Provence rosé grape varieties include: Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Tibouren, Carignan, and Cabernet Sauvignon.  

Some fun pink wines we explored while at L'Ermitage included Château de Brigue’s Signature ($17), Château Réal D’Or Rosé ($12), Domaine Terre de Mistral Rosé ($12), Château D’Esclans Garrus ($85). 

All absolutely pretty in pink, pink wine that is!

PS If you've read to the end you get another fun fact: In Provence most red wine is made on concrete tanks!  

Friday, March 20, 2015

BBR ShopHouse Challenge

Brady, Brannon, & Rich Talent Agency (where Edible Skinny Editor Kat Thomas (that’s me) is the Director of Digital Media) is happy announce that they’ll be having another do-good-for-others event this Monday!

BBR clients, staff and friends helped us raise almost $3,000 at our December #BBRChipotleChallenge which financed assistive equipment for 7 courageous children facing physical/cognitive challenges.
Because we love children’s smiles just as much as casting director bookings, we bring you the #BBRShopHouseChallenge!!! (check out the stories of change!)
Courtesy of the most generous BBRer Shelley Phillips, we’re looking to raise even more moolah for My Gym’s Challenged America through ShopHouse Kitchen’s bold Southeast Asian flavors on Monday March 23rd.

Just as before, we’ll be raising funds to purchase wheelchairs, feeding tubes, and other assistive devices for deserving MGCA applicants.  

So stop by BBR see our new expansion on Monday March 23rd from 1pm-2pm, have lunch on us (and with us), & pay-what-you-can to help these amazing kids.

No donation is too large…or too small. Really.

Food courtesy of ShopHouse Kitchen

For those of you who would like to give, but can’t make it to the office, you can donate directly online:

(and if you do make sure to #BBRShopHouseChallenge your donation on your socials so we can thank you!!!)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Drinkable Side of Food Fare

Edible Skinny editor Kat Thomas is now writing for the The Argonaut Newspaper.  Check out her article on Planned Parenthood Los Angeles' Food Fare!

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” And there was nothing happier than drinking local brew in support of women’s health last Thursday at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles’ 36th annual Food Fare fundraiser at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica.

Curated by the Santa Monica-based The Beer Chicks, the beer garden featured samplings from nearly a dozen California craft breweries alongside various gourmet noshes from some of the 100-plus Los Angeles restaurants that participated.

To see the whole article go to:


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

SmogShoppe Très Chic with French Influencers Antonin Bonnet and Tanc

Edible Skinny was lucky to attend "The New Paris" Press Presentation & Cocktail Reception at SmogShoppe last week where we were able to learn more about the City of Lights while noshing on a few bites designed for the occasion by famed Michelin starred Chef Antonin Bonnet.

While there we also were able to see an original piece of art created onsite by French street artist Tancrede Perrot, aka Tanc.   Tanc creates his canvases with great spontaneity as he studies his piece tying to pull forth the composition that already exists!  His intensity for his craft has made him a favorite in the art world.  Tanc has had shows in Germany, the UK, Morocco, and New York!

Seeing the man in action while eating food from a Michelin starred chef, très chic!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Loving Italian Amarones with Armando Fumanelli

 Edible Skinny LOVES Amarones, LOVES THEM!!! 
Armando Fumanelli and Maria Brown

ICYMI an Amarone (aka Amarone della Valpolicella) is a typically rich Italian dry red wine made from partially dried grapes of the varietal combination of Corvina, Corvinone, and Rondinella.  It’s like if velvet was transformed through the magical of alchemy into a bottle of wine!  And last week we were lucky enough to try out some fun ones from the family estate of Marchesi Fumanelli at a classic Italian lunch at Mr. Cs in Beverly Hills.   

Our event was hosted by Mister Armando Fumanelli, head of Marchesi Fumanelli family and the wines they produce.  As of 1998 Armando has served as proprietor and CEO of this wine with a goal of combining traditional and modern techniques to produce authentic expression of their family estate’s distinctive terrior.  Before working in the family business, Armando served in the Italian Embassy for several East African and Middle Eastern countries.  Armando definitely gives the Most Interesting Man in the World a run for his money as when he’s not working on the grounds or being an ambassador for Fumanelli he’s racing his twenty plus vintage cars in exotic destinations (gotta Love Italian men flying around racing 1967 Mercedes for 3 days in the South African desert…).  
But back to the wine!  So the continental Squarano estate is located in the heart of Valpolicella Classico area in Verona (yes that Verona, home of a certain pair of infamous star crossed lovers…) on a gentle hilltop surrounded by vineyards, cypress, and cherry trees (apparently they have a fabulous cherry festival every year on the estate where all the female guests must dress in red!).

Wine is nothing new to Armando as the Marchesi Fumanelli family have been fostering grapes and producing wines since 1470.  Located on 78 acre Squarano estate are vestiges of a temple dedicated to the Goddess Flora, built by the Romans who planted the first vines over a thousand years ago.

Mr. Cs' Gnocchi
Of the wines sampled at that multi multi course meal (gotta Love Italians and there Love of 3 hours lunches…) one of our favorite delights was their white Terson Bianco Venteo 2009 MSRP $40).  Their only white wine is a 50/50 blend of Garganega and Trebbiano Toscano.   The wine’s high minerality is due to their fifty-year-old vines growing over limestone rocks.  Once hand harvested the grapes are then placed into plateau where they are left to rest for 15-20 days.   The result is tangy acidity with flavors of green apple, almond, and fennel that’s great balance to lobster and scallops!

Our other favorite was their flagship, the Octavius Amarone della Valpolicella DOC Classico Riserva (MSRP $150).  Composed of the classic Amarone balance of Corvina Veronese 40%, Corvinone 40%, Rondinella 20%.  The vines are forty years on average and are hand selected and then placed into the traditional wooden plateaux and left to rest for 120 days with drying and concentration of all the elements.  

Grilled Veggies at Mr. Cs
This is a wine traditionally enjoyed with boar meat (and this was actually suggested in at the lunch… Gotta Love Italians and their love of game meat…), hard cheeses, and dark chocolate.  Full of spice, cherry, and cranberries with a dark ruby red coloring and a viscosity that screams a vampire should sip it.  

So if you’re looking a classical Mediterranean bottle that whispers to you of that dream of velvet being transformed into wine, Armando Fumanelli would say “stay thirsty my friends and Salute”! 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Let the Beer Pairing Begin at PPLA’s Food Fare 2015!

Planned Parenthood Los Angeles invites food and brew lovers to savor both at The Beer Chicks’ beer garden at the 36th annual PPLA Food Fare at Barker Hanger in Santa Monica.   Almost a dozen local Cali craft breweries will be presenting their best beer samplings alongside various gourmet noshes from over 100 top Los Angeles Restaurants all in the name of benefiting the awesome organization Planned Parenthood!!!

PPLA’s health care and education services, including life-saving cancer screenings, birth control, and STD testing last year provided over 270,000 patient visits throughout Los Angeles County.  Boom!

And for a worthy cause, the Beer Chicks have done good on the selection: Food Fare attendees and craft brew enthusiasts will have the opportunity to sample from breweries including Angel City Brewery, Craftsman Brewing Company, Fireman’s Brew, Golden Road Brewing, Ladyface Ale Companie, Modern Times Beer, Omission, Smog City Brewing Company, Strand Brewing Company, Venice Duck Brewery and Wolf Creek Brewery. 

And there will be no shortage of bites to pair the beer bubbles with: Café Rockenwagner will be bringing Pretzel Bread, Blue Plate Oysterette will offer their popular Lobster Rolls, Wilshire Restaurant is serving Ceviche, and Border Grill’s Agua Chile.  The permutations are endless with amount of food bites being offered!  

So put on that pretty dress and your pearls and get to drinking beer and pretzels (remember, it's for charity!).   Pre-sale closes Tuesday March 3 at 5pm!   

Tickets are available in advance for $150 for the daytime session (11:00AM – 2:00PM) and $250 for the evening session (6:30PM – 9:30PM).  At the door, tickets will be $175 for the daytime session and $275 for the evening session. 

Tickets are available for PPLA Food Fare 2015 at
 or by calling (213) 284-3300.