Last week the rooftop of the ritzy Montage in Beverly Hills was the site of the first event in The Taste’s City-wide Happy Hour. It was a sunny day, which made the sparkling pool almost too tempting as guests sipped cocktails and nibbled on complimentary hors d’ouvres. Locanda del Lago showed up to introduce their newest chef, Gianfranco Minuz, and Richard Ruskell, who is teaching a series of pastry classes at the Montage and I had an indepth discussion about white chocolate.
Executive Chef of the Montage, Gabriel Ask, turned out some exciting doots, particularly a refreshing ceviche on little nests made with nori. Nori can be overpowering, but in the skilled chef’s hands added just a subtle taste of the sea. The crab cakes were so delicious, I encouraged a few of the chefs attending to try them. I have noticed a hesitancy on the part of chefs to try other chef’s nibbles, especially at “catered” events. What do they know that we don’t know? One of the chefs obligingly tried a crab cake and had to look at his fellow chef and nod approvingly. Pate de foie gras rolled in nuts was chilled and came as a bit of a surprise. It was delicious but unexpected. One writer noted that the foie gras “freaked everyone out”. Happy hour apps were also available for purchase, but I had a date with Bouchon across the courtyard. Nonetheless, the sliders looked fantastic and got a literal thumbs-up from one diner with her mouth too full to praise them.
Absolut was creating cocktails with their new Absolut Orient Apple. Seriously, how many flavors of Absolut do we need? Didn’t Schnapps already jump that shark in the 80s? Anyways, the drinks were refreshing and complex, probably best suited for holiday cocktails. In fact, this Christmas I am going to make a giant pate de foie gras ball, roll half of it in nuts and half in parsley, stir up an Absolut Orient Apple Cider and my party menu is set!