By Andy J. Gordon
Los Angeles Magazine hosted a fine culinary evening of wine tasting, tequila cocktails, and recipe demonstrations featuring Jimmy Shaw of Lotería Grill (www.loteriagrill.com). The event took place at the upscale home appliance store Snyder Diamond in Santa Monica, CA. Tasty appetizers were prepared by Brian Beaudry, chef for Sub Zero/Wolf appliances. Ian Blackburn, the founder of www.LearnAboutWine.com selected the wines.
The first part of the evening was a time for guests to sample appetizers, taste some wine, and enjoy cocktails made with Karma (www.karma.com) tequila. Beaudry created some tasty finger food that honored the evening’s theme of authentic Mexican cuisine. The delicious braised beef mole was made with shredded beef soaked in a dark mole sauce and served on crispy tortillas. Another outstanding appetizer was the crab tostadas, a succulent blend of tomatoes, chiles, avocado, crab and seasonings. Two of the wines that were particularly enjoyable were the cabernets from Mirror Wines (www.mirrorwine.com) and Ackerman Family Vineyards (www.ackermanfamilyvineyards.com.) The Karma tequila margaritas infused with jalapeño juice reinforced the Mexican theme, and really complemented the flavors of the appetizers.
After some time spent mingling and noshing on the appetizers, we moved to an area of the store set up with dining tables and a demo kitchen. Jimmy Shaw led the demonstration. He is a native of Mexico City, and grew up in a home where his mother was an excellent cook. She inspired his passion to cook the delicious cuisines of Mexico. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he also worked in restaurants, Jimmy went into film and television production. He later moved to Los Angeles, and while working in the Spanish-language advertising industry, continued to develop his cooking skills through private entertaining for friends and family. In 2002 he opened Lotería! at the Farmers Market LA. He has also opened additional locations in Hollywood and Studio City. Lotería is considered by consumers and food critics as one of the finest Mexican restaurants in Los Angeles and throughout the United States.
For the cooking demonstration, Shaw prepared a Mole Verde de Michoacán, a green mole sauce from the west-central part of Mexico. While the intoxicating aroma of roasting sesame and pumpkin seeds wafted through the air, we sampled some shrimp sopas that Shaw had made earlier with tequila and salsa. This small appetizer was paired with a very refreshing 2009 Semler (www.malibufamilywines.com) Sauvignon Blanc. Shaw said that he learned the mole dish from his culinary mentor, Diana Kennedy, a renowned author and authority on Mexican cuisine. The mole will go great with chicken, shrimp or a light fish. This time he chose chicken thighs and legs. He said, “mole is to Mexico what curry is to the far east.” With a varied blend of seeds, spices, chiles, greens and seasonings, the mole had a rich aroma and texture. The final presentation included the perfectly browned, juicy chicken smothered in the mole with white rice, and fried plantains. It was a fantastic dish that had an amazing depth of flavor. Ian Blackburn chose the bright and fruity 2009 Saddlerock Chardonnay to pair with the dish.
For dessert, Shaw made a Flan de Cajeta, a sweet goat’s milk caramel custard. The flan was very subtle and the caramel was yummy. It was a fine dessert that was comforting and not too sweet. As if the flan was not decadent enough, Blackburn chose a Saddlerock old vine tawny dessert wine to complement the flan. It was really potent and sweet, which made the flan seem delicate in comparison. Overall, “In The Kitchen” was educational, fun and quite delicious. All attendees went home with recipes, a gift bag, and inspiration for some innovative home entertaining adventures. Los Angeles Magazine continues to offer exciting culinary experiences in casual and comfortable venues. Additional events will be available in the future at Snyder Diamond (www.snyderdiamond.com). Go to www.lamag.co/promotions to see what other exciting foodie outings are coming up.
Photos courtesy of Andy J. Gordon and Forest Casey at Los Angeles Magazine