Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tisha Campbell and Tasha Smith Xmas Party 2009

This blog is far overdue but since it was still fresh in my head i figure i'll just put it down in writing.  

The Afternoon of December 18, 2009 I received a call from Actress Tasha Smith about catering a Christmas/Holiday party for her and Tisha Campbell-Martin.  Well of course I was excited that these two beautiful women contacted me to cook for them. Actually a month before this I catered a party for Celeb Designer Nikki Chu and Tasha Smith was supposed to be one of the guest, but her schedule didn't allow her to come and be apart of the festivities that evening, but she did inquire to Nikki that if the food is good to get her my number for a party she was doing a week after.  So that week after party never happened which brings this story up to date now.

After receiving a few messages from Tasha I finally got a hold of her on the phone.  It was funny because as soon as we started conversing it was like we knew each other for years.  She asked me could I do a party for them on December 23rd, nevermind that I had a flight reservation that was leaving on December 22nd to go back to Cleveland to be with my Mom and brother for the holidays.

This was a huge dilemma for me, because I really wanted to do this party not only for the mere fact that it was two well known actresses, but also for the clientele that was expected to arrive for the party. The only problem I had was the issue of changing my flight so I could leave on Christmas Eve!!!  Yeah right is the same thing I was thinking and Tasha sympathized with me over this issue as well, so she just said well maybe we can do something else together in the future.  Well since I don't have to much faith in the future these days I agreed to attempt to change my flight and see what happens.  We both figured if it's in God's plan for this party to happen then it would happen.  

Immediately after hanging up with Ms. Smith I was on the phone with United Airlines and explained that I wanted to change my departure date and when the customer service rep asked me the new date I hesitated and said "Um Dec. 24th". Now i'm thinking this is never going to happen, but 2 minutes later she came back on the line to let me know that it was changed without any extra charge. I guess it was in God's plan!  The only glitch is that immediately after the party I would be heading to the airport to catch a 7am flight.

After the handling of the flight scheduling now it was time to coordinate with the hostesses. 

Tasha and I met at Tisha's home to talk over staging choices for the food and desserts. The home was nestled in a lovely gated community in the deep west valley with pristine views and remarkable architecture.

We decided to setup the food in a room that utilizes the great views of the mountain scenery and at night it would illuminate withe the  twikle of light that fflickered in the background from the other houses.  Although I wanted to put the food in the kitchen so that the food would be for accesible to the people at the party. Now after that decision made and I gave them the price quote we decided i would be at the house aroune 7:30 or 8pm.

The menu will consist of:
Tilapia Pinwheels, Chicken Mole', Osso Bucco, Cajun Mac and Cheese, Ginger Vanilla Carrots, Curried Brown Rice w/Cranberries,  Baby Green Salad, Assorted Fruit Salad, Red Velvet Rum Cake, Triple Chocolate Bread Pudding w/Jack Daniel Sauce.

Now since I had a couple of days to put everything together I took my time with the shopping and prep work, until the day after when Tasha called me to let me know that a monkey wrench has been thrown into the whole plan that we put together.  Instead of the original guestlist of 30 - 40 ppl it has now doubled to about 85ppl because I was told Tisha's husband Dwayne Martin ended up inviting more people to the party than we anticipated which meant now I had to step up my pace and go buy more food to feed these hungry people.  It was a tricky task to double this food in one day, but of course in true  Lovejoy fashion i buckeled down an made it happen.

So on the day of the party I started cooking at 7am and planned on finishing around 5pm after which I would load the food in the car and head to Tisha's house to set up for the big night.  Well I finished cooking and loaded all the food and equipment in the car and proceeded to the freeway for my 30 min. drive to Tisha and Tasha's party.

Of course I would think that this drive was gonna be so easy on Dec 23rd, but I was sadly mistaken about this fact because when I pulled on to the freeway it was bumper to bumper traffic and the cars were moving at 4 maybe 5 mph and this lasted for two hours straight.  During my freeway crawl from my kitchen downtown to Northridge i missed atleast 3 calls from Tasha Smith so I called her back asap to let her know I was running about and hour behind schedule and she let me know it was cool because traffic was crazy everywhere which gave me some relief but I still was irritated that I'm showing up late for a gig which has never happened to me before.

Finally I remembered I could take the 118 west from the 405 south and hopefully make it in time to serve dessert since i'm already now going on an hour and a half late. In my defense traffic was the worst i've seen it in years with cars creepin at 5mph on both sides of the freeway for miles and miles it was very uncomfortable to get to that party that late.

When arrived to the house to my surprise and joy not a soul was there, I WAS THE FIRST TO ARRIVE! In my ecstatic state i begin unloading food and serving equipment from the car to the revamped serving area, the marble island in the kitchen which was my first suggestion anyway.  Soon my cousin Kai arrived and he helped me unload and set up the chafing dishes they had rented since mine were hideous (note to self: get new chafers) anyway just like clockwork soon as we finished unloading everything the servers they hired started to trickle in with a few guest.  Kai and I got all the food setup and chafing dishes fired up. I proceeded to carve up the fruit, put icing on the two cakes one chocolate one red velvet but both with real rum flavoring. Then tossed the Baby Green Salad with citrus vinaigrette and we're all set to go.

So everything was all set up to go but still only 10% of the guest arrived and it was already 9:30pm.  The only way for me to keep the food fresh without over cooking was to keep rotating it out between the chafers and the ovens. While I was doing this my cousin Kai was busy constructing the Tequila Sangria in the 5 gallon container I use occassionally.  It came out fine and upon several taste test that we both performed we were officially buzzed and I was actually more relaxed than I was an hour before hand.

After another hour of guest funneling into the house slowly but surely we were at full party blast and I proceeded to uncover the food and set the utensils out all while still rotating my vast amount of food in and out of the beautiful Viking Professional oven that puts an exclamation point on the Italian tiled kitchen. I also set up the 45 cup coffee kettle that really nobody touched but it was nice to have out anyway.

Soon enough people started easing into the kitchen to begin eating and enjoying the food it was a sight to see the elite of 'Black Hollywood' getting excited about my food.  It really gave me a great confidence boost for every party that came after that one!

Many more celebs showed up towards the end of the party to see if it was any food left which there was and to witness Jenifer Lewis cuss me out for making my Red Velvet Rum Cake too good for her to stop eating it, needless to say it was an amazing night!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Qusqo-Peruvian Restaurant

This is by far one of my new favorite restaurants in LA! Although i'm not really a fan of going out to eat because as a chef the notion of eating someone else's food that I feel I can make better and then having to pay for it as well makes me cringe.  But after a day of feeding people Mother's Day Brunch at the LA Mission me and a buddy of mine figured we'll have a bite to eat somewhere eclectic and off the beaten path. Well so much for off the beaten path since the spot we stumbled upon happened to be right on Santa Monica Bl. and Barry Ave. in West L.A. Since I haven't had Peruvian food in awhile I thought this would be a nice place to try.  It was the middle of the afternoon and the place was completely empty which I loved because that way I could take in the ambiance of the place without all the human clutter that seem to be the case at most restaurants.  The art on the wall was a mixture of all styles from abstract to art deco and even some anime was represented on there wall.  The waiter was very pleasant and encouraging on all levels by telling us some of the faves from other customers.  We started off by splitting a Quinoa salad with fresh cucumbers, celery, and tomatoes which was very refreshing and light just like an app should be while getting your palette ready for the main dish.  After that the waiter brought out these shot glasses of Chicha Morada aka Purple Corn Beverage that was life changing!  I've never tasted something that was so good and so good for you. Finally our food arrived: Grilled Salmon with White Beans and Rice and Cilantro Chicken and Rice with Peas.  The food was really good and not to heavy and complicated which I hate to eat complicated food with an plethora of garnishes and accessories . All in all it was a great lunch on a beautiful day with great company.
Now some people confuse Peruvian food with other Latin faves forgetting that Peru is in S. America which was one of the routes during the "Golden Triangle" days when Alcohol, Sugar, and Slaves were some of the main cargo which means S. American food and culture have alot of African, Chinese, and Englsh influences so don't be thrown off by some similarities in the menu especially when you see Chicken, Fish, and Rice dishes.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Once upon a time at Starbucks...

I originally wrote this Sept. 18, 2006:

Sorry but this review is actually 3 days late, but last thurs I was having a mid afternoon with a friend and while we were chatting the starbucks barista begin passing out all these freebies such as lattes, blueberry muffins, and cookies.

This lead me to think 'Damn did Starbucks stock just go up or something'?  Well I know it didn't because I own Starbucks stock and it only went up a little but not enough to merit the big giveaways.

Oh yea the review!  Well the atmosphere there is very laid back and not too much foot traffic, so this not your typical  people watching Starbucks that you're used to, but the people are friendly and if you sit in the back  you can catch the after work rush to score food from Bob's Big Boy's drive thru.

Another thing when you go to Starbucks be sure to have some decent company with me which I did so it made it more pleasant.

Now here is the big finish.  We're chilling just shooting the gobble gobble and all of sudden the barista comes out again!  " Oh my Goodness what are they bringing us now"?

The barista was walking around holding a bowl and some tickets "A raffle"? I say and that's exactly what was going on.  When he came over to us he handed me and my friend two tickets and instructed us to put our name and number on the ticket.

Since I'm a bit of a smart ass I put my name/number/address/email addy/shoe size.

Barista: "What's all of this"?
ME: "Oh I just wanna make sure you can find me when I win"!

The barista laughs at me and I tuck my ticket away not really thinking about it anymore then my friend and I parted ways and I went to run some errands then my phone rings.

Starbucks: "Is this Lovejoy Cole" ?

ME: "Um yes how can I help you"?

Starbucks: "My name is Dane from the Toluca Lake Starbucks and I just want to inform you that you won a brand new  Barista Expresso machine valued at $399",

ME: "Are you serious"? "Is this a joke"?

Starbucks: "No sir just bring in your ticket and it;s yours"

I bolt to Toluca Lake to claim my prize before they change there mind and when I walk in I hand the guy my ticket and he hands me my brand new expresso machine included with a video instructional tape.

One of the guys behind the corner gave me the evil eye and told me how lucky I was.....You damn right!...Later bitches!

I never was much for coffee let alone expresso but I tell you now i'm gonna be a cappucino/expresso/latte making mofo.

Coffee anyone?

Friday, February 4, 2011

When "Club My Studio" was "Mood"

Girls at Mood
Written August 2006...... Of course Friday nights are always the craziest , so since my boy Pablo was in town from Miami we had to do some damage on the dance floor tonight.  We break out the house at about 11pm so we can get to the club right when it's at the height of excitement. So we park and start to walk up to the club and we were behind 4 beautiful young young ladies who were talking about tricking the doorman with they're fake ID.  Since I'm a man of chivalry I asked them did they want to go right in quickly and they kind of blew me off like I was some idiot.  They didn't even turn around to look at us so I was like OK we'll see who gets the last laugh.  We get up to the line where the homies Suk Sung and Cory are working the rope and the girls we were behind walked up to the rope "Everybody to the back of the line" and the girls were gone.  "Yo Lovejoy what's up man" we walk right in I look at one of the girls and start to laugh.  I would've gave the heads up for the fake ID but I'm not a hater so here we go.  The Club was bangin we walk around the club for a minute and then we proceed to do it.  Girls just started grabbin us left and right and we were all over the dance floor.  I saw the Ziering kid from 90210 so of course I had to solicit my culinary skills and my old friend Mario Joyner was there too and I made the same play. If you need info on these two once again  The dance floor was getting hot but it was crazy....this one girl I thought wanted to dance with me blew me off cause she said I danced to good but it's cool cause later on she was begging me to dance once we tore the floor up in front of the whole club these brotha from south central were trying to get there boogie on but we killed it Pablo and Dominic were rippin up and the guys just back down and was like fuck it.  It was funny though cause now the girls that were trippin even the little persian girl wearing too much ice were now trying to buy us drinks and put there hands around our waste and stuff.  it's crazy what a little popularity does to women.  Needless to say it was a great night for my friends last night in LA cause it goes back to Florida the next day.  I'm gonna miss my friend Pablo he was one of the true friends I made when I first moved here, but we had alot of fun.  Awww Hollywood why did you have to change.  go to  if you wanna see how it looked.

Bed, Bath, and Beyond has bargains if you look!

I needed a new grilling pan and usually I would go to Ross to checkout there homewares where I can always find a cheap kitchen utensil or two, but I opted for the "IN" place to shop.  Well needless to say I was dissapointed when I first walked in and saw all the valley moms scammering all over the store on there cellphones with there dark knockoffs still on hahaha but anyway I make my way to the kitchen section....OY VEY! These prices were ridiculous  99 dollars for  16 inch grilling pan FUCK THAT!!  no worries i said that to myself.   Well I continue to search determined to find a deal here and low and behold I did!!  Hiding in the shadows were some good bargain pans for 31 dollars Halleluah!  Then all of a sudden after I've found my treasure all the helpers show up " sir is everything Ok"  Sir do you need help"  I mean where were they when I was fuming over finding decent pan.  But it's still a nice store I will go back but only during a sale.  OH and I picked up a nice grilling basket for 9 bucks as well.  Maybe one day I'll cook for you with my new utensils!!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

New Hollywood Crowd

Now I've been going out to Hollywood Clubs forever and ever and for the most party it's been an amazing experience for me. But for the past few years the "new hollywood" peeps have been tainting what has become  a great scene unlike any other in the country and maybe even the world.
The new crowd of "wannabes" coming from the midwest and the south and some even from the east coast no doubt are bringing there insecure judgmental attitudes to LA with them and messing up the whole chemistry of Hollywood.  This is a city where you let loose and be who you want to be and even re-create yourself into something better that you were when you left "back home".  That doesn't mean wearing Uggs all season long, buying things you can't afford just to look important or even wearing sunglasses 24/7 even when it's raining cause you're too insecure with your looks to walk around in a city full of beautiful people or the sun is just too bright for you! Fuck that if you can't stand the sunshine then take your pasty ass back to Ohio, LA doesn't need you.

All the new club promoters and the the all the people white or black that have been raised by good decent parents all of a sudden come to LA and want to act "hoodish" by throwing gang signs in clubs, using slang words that they didn't grow up with or learned in college these are the people coming to LA messing up the whole dynamics of not just LA night life but LA life on whole.   Also this new "bottle service" shit is the worse idea LA clubs have ever invented and not that they really invented it because it's been around for decades, but before it was only reserved for rock stars and celebs so they didn't have to go to the bar and deal with fans, then some idiot had the idea let's just offer that to everybody who can afford it and the "bottle/table service" was born.

My whole point of this particular blog is this, LA is and will always be a fun place to live, play, and long as these "New Hollywood" wannabes don't fuck it up!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Vizage Magazines Chef's Corner

Chef's Corner with Lovejoy Cole  We’ve traveled several states looking for the perfect recipe that screams healthy and ran into Hollywood’s most sought out cook”The Dancing Chef-LOVEJOY” not only was he humble but a joy to have around, We asked lovejoy what were some of his favorite dishes to cook and why?
Lovejoy: Since the rise of the obesity problem in America more and more of my clients have been asking me to do some of there favorite comfort foods, but in a more healthier manner.  Three of my favorites to make are Oven Baked Fried Chicken,  Cranberry Whole Wheat Stuffing, and  Cinnamon Walnut Candied Yams.
Oven Baked Fried Chicken
3 chicken legs
2 chicken thighs
1 chicken breast
1 cup of egg whites
2 cups of wheat flour
3 grinded cups of  Honey Nut Cheerios
1 cup of Peanut Oil or Flaxseed Oil
1/4 cup of Old Bay Seasoning
1/4 cup of Lemon Pepper
1/4cup of Paprika
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C.).  Combine flour, Old Bay, Lemon Pepper, Paprika in medium mixing bowl, Egg Whites in another medium mixing bowl, and granulated Honey Nut Cheerios in another bowl.
2. Repeat the steps of dredging all chicken pieces in flour, then egg whites and then Honey Nut Cheerio mixture and set aside on wax paper.
3. Heat Oil in 11inch sauté pan to smoke point and brown each piece of chicken in pan and place in 13 inch baking dish and place in oven for 30 min. or until crispy and serve.
Yield 6 servings  (200 calories per serving)
Cranberry Apple Whole Wheat Stuffing
6 cups cubed whole wheat bread
1 cup of dried cranberries
3 fuji apples – peeled, cored, and chopped
1 cup Organic butter
2 1/2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped celery
2 1/2 cups chopped mushrooms
2 cups of chopped Red Pepper
1/2cup of fresh thyme
1/2cup of fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons salt substitute
1 1/2 tp Cayenne pepper
1 cup water
1 (14.5 ounce) can vegetable broth
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.Melt butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Stir in onions,  celery, mushrooms, red peppers. Cook until vegetables are lightly browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Add and stir in thyme, and rosemary. Continue cooking about 2 minutes more Remove from heat, and season with salt and pepper.
3.In a large bowl, mix whole wheat bread, apples, and cranberries. Gradually blend in vegetable broth until mixture is moistened.
4.Transfer mixture to a large baking dish. Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly browned.
Yield 8 servings  (300 calories per serving)
Cinnamon Walnut Candied Yams
6 medium organic yams (peeled and cubed)
1 cup of  sliced organic butter
1 cup of Splenda Brown Sugar
1 1/2 cups of chopped walnuts
1 cup of vanilla extract
1/3 cup of Cinnamon
1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2.Place yams in a medium baking dish. Distribute butter pieces evenly over the yams. Sprinkle with brown sugar ,vanilla extract and Cinnamon
3.Distribute walnuts on top of yams.
4.Cover and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until yams are tender and walnuts are golden brown.
Yield 6 servings (250 Calories per serving)

Now with the Thanksgiving Holiday approaching I will definitely try all 3 dishes, Thanks to my favorite Dancing Chef “Lovejoy”