CHAYA Downtown

This week promises to be eclectic and very interesting.  We have such diverse events going on as a sake tasting, Italian wine festival and a market meet-up in Santa Monica.  I hope that at least one of these events tickles your fancy as they do mine.

This Wednesday, May 16, 2012, Michael McCarty and Executive Chef John-Carlos Kuramoto of Michael’s Restaurant in Santa Monica lead an exclusive tour of the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market to introduce us to their favorite farmers, pay homage to ingredients of the season and show us how to pick the best ingredients.  The May meet-up will focus on blood oranges from Garcia Farm and wild fennel from Coastal Farms.  Coastal Farms, located in Santa Paula, CA, is owned by Maryann Carpenter and her husband Paul who have been growing organic produce for over 25 years.  Garcia Farm is an organic farm specializing in citrus located in Fallbrook, CA.

Guests will then head back to the restaurant and enjoy dishes specially created by Chef Kuramoto featuring the monthly ingredient as well as wine pairings and recipes to take home.  The cost for this event is $75 per person and includes freshly made cinnamon rolls and cappuccinos, a Farmers’ Market tour with Michael McCarty and Executive Chef John-Carlos Kuramoto, tastings and wine pairings and an autographed copy of owner/chef Michael McCarty’s latest book, Welcome to Michael’s: Great Food, Great People, Great Party!  The event takes place from 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. starting at Michael’s Restaurant.  Call 310.451.0843 for reservations.

Michael's Santa Monica and the Farmer's Market

Vertical Wine Bistro is a contemporary American restaurant featuring seasonally-driven California bistro fare and an expansive wine list.  This month they are extending their popular Thursday “Burger Night” menu series into a month-long celebration in honor of National Burger Month.  Executive Chef Laurent Quenioux’s award-winning Classic Kobe and Bison burgers, which were honored as “Favorite Kobe Burger” and “Favorite Alternative Burger” during Pasadena’s Cheeseburger Challenge earlier this year, will be available every evening in addition to other gourmet spins on the storied favorite like the new Tokyo Kobe Burger.  These are paired with your choice of sweet potato fries, shoestring truffle fries, or beer-battered onion rings.

Offered every evening of the week in May, “Burger Month” at Vertical Wine Bistro will afford local residents and tourists additional opportunities to bite into updated takes on the classic dish.  Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling the restaurant at 626.795.3999 or online via  Hours are Tuesday – Thursday, 6 p.m. -10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 6 p.m. -10:45 p.m. and Sunday, 5 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

On Wednesday May 16, 2012 from 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m., VIVA VINO LA will be staging the largest Italian wine event on the West Coast.  They will be having seminars as well as tasting dinners.  VIVA VINO LA offers an exceptional array of events for consumers to experience Italian wines made with native grapes. There are over 3,000 wine grape varietals that grow in Italy. VIVA VINO LA gives these native vines visibility and educates the trade and consumers about their styles and terroirs.

Partnering with a carefully selected group of restaurants and retailers that represent the best of Italian culture in the Los Angeles area, VIVA VINO LA will be offering a variety of events throughout the city to engage and entertain.  For more information, visit

CHAYA Downtown invites some of the sake world’s most renowned distillers for a “Sake Festival” on Friday May 18, 2012 from 6 p.m. -8:00 p.m. including nine regional boutique sake producers from Japan. Each will be pouring coveted sake selections including 26 different boutique sakes including producers Ippongi and Yamagata Hoten which have both showed well at past years Joy of Sake tasting.  The event is $35 per person including Izakaya fair prepared by executive chef Atsushi Kenjo.  Guests can enjoy live Taiko drummers performing on the hour. Tickets to the event will be available at the door or can be purchased ahead of time by calling the restaurant directly at 213.236.9577. RSVP’s are strongly suggested.

Claudia Ossa, founder of Real Foodies, Inc. and one of the pioneers behind CHEFS  (The Coalition for Humane and Ethical Farming Standards) will be in town Monday educating diners about the foie ban. There are 3 CHEFS fundraiser dinners on Monday night.  These include Nor Cal vs So Cal Foie Battle “The Whole Duck” @ Melisse at 5:30 p.m., C.H.E.F.S. Nor Cal vs So Cal Foie Battle “The Whole Duck” @ The Royce at 5:30 p.m., and Nor Cal vs. So Cal Foie Gras Battle “The Whole Duck” at Lemon Moon, also at 5:30 p.m.




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