ASIA SF – beyond the Red Door

Lies a truly entertaining experience not to be missed!

Tracy Turco – designer/artist/hostess extraordinaire
Super cool dude Justin Lamb

After witnessing the incredible new super charged dinner nightclub ASIA SF in Palm Springs with friends the other night, I was certain that *SF stood for super fantastic. It was in fact a super fantastic evening sitting at a table of movers & shakers and influencers, starting out with signature cocktails named after our transgender servers.  Servers who doubled as performers. Each of them come out one by one to lip sync and dance to electric music and they give a vibrant impressive performance.  We had a great table too. however there’s really no bad seat in the house as each lovely lady bump and grind their way around, so you cannot miss

Three of our terrific transgender entertainers.

.

Our Table.  Best seat in the house.  Sitting at our table at the very end are Dennis Costa and Tom Beatty of Bouschet and PS Air Lounge.

With Tracy, Tammy & Candy.

Oh; I almost forgot to mention the decadent 5-course Cal Asian inspired cuisine which is part of the package.  Sooo good!

Tasting Menu for Foodies – we had everything on it and it was all superb.
Just Justin with one of the ladies
Tracy & Candy

This is going to become my new favorite hangout.  Aside from the dinner show Wednesday through Sunday starting at 6:00 pm, there’s a cocktail show with bar bites on Friday & Saturday at 8:30 pm which includes admission to The Forbidden City dance club immediately following the show.  I checked out the sexy space.  Trust me; you will feel like dancing!  There’s also an outdoor fountain patio.  I’m so happy I never got rid of my glitter disco pants.

With Tammy (l) and Candy (in middle).  My Tiara was a gift from my dear friend Colleen.

And let’s not forget

There’s the elegant Lotus Lounge open Wednesday through Sunday where is served Happy Hour 3:00-5:00 pm with bar menu available.  It’s a really cozy area with style and a fireplace. Open 3pm – until closing (they didn’t specify the closing time but I’m sure it does indeed close at some point).

*By the way, SF stands for San Francisco as up until now that was the only ASIA transgender dinner nightclub show location. They’ve been doing it for almost 22 years and it’s considered an entertainment landmark.  We’re very fortunate to have them here in Palm Springs.

I think Tracy’s shoes deserve some credit of their own.  One of the fabulous transgender performers (r).

Welcome to Palm Springs!

In closing, this is all to say…..just GO! 

Header Photo: Candy, Tracy, Debbie, Justin, Performer, Claudia (PSPOV), Tammy (Ask a Woman).

www.asiasf.com

760-249-2766

 

PS Air – I love you!

One of my new favorite places:

Bouschet: best described as a specialty marketplace in Palm Springs offering a large selection of fine wines, liquor, craft beer, gourmet specialty foods, exquisite giftware, and an amazing bistro menu, weekly wine tastings, and special events.  Yeah, that’s it.  I’ve been for wine tastings and the other day right after A Curated Collection I had lunch there with friends.  It was pretty darn good.

Al demonstrates to Candy how to use the Napa wine station card which is really cool. You load on the amount of your choice. Then use as a credit card to taste samples, half or full glasses of great wine. Love!

I was also lucky enough to get a sneak peek of a soon to be opened super cool lounge – called PS Air.  My friend Candy introduced me to the owners who obliged us by opening a special bottle of wine reserved for a wine tasting that evening.  It was outstanding.  They were celebrating Black History Month by offering tastings of bottles by black winery owners. This particular wine was owned by the first black winery owners. Siblings Deneen, David & Coral Brown of Napa Valley. The bottle we tried was called Chaos Theory – a wine the Obama’s brought to the White house as one of their favorites.  “Chaos” ha, ha.  Nevermind!

Alison Martino, Candy Shannon Glickman & Kiki Tormo sitting in First Class.  Photo: Candy Shannon Glickman.

Talking with Tom Beatty, one of the co-owners of PS Air – a lounge at the back of the store that is sure to become a Palm Springs Favorite. Opening late March.
About the Dynamic Duo:
Dennis Costa and Tom Beatty have been a successful duo for 22 years. Personally and professionally they have experienced some of the great pleasures that life can bring.
Kiki Tormo – from Candy’s photos.

Dennis comes from an Agricultural and Viticulture background. After a successful dairy business his family planted grapes and grew predominately for Sutter Home. Dennis also worked in his earlier years for Mondavi Wines of Woodbridge, which at that time had only one bottling line. After personally tending to the grapes from planting, growing, and harvesting almost 200 acres, they decided to sell the farm to Sebastiani Vineyards in 1999. 

Tom, a native of Chicago, has worked an illustrious career as an International Flight Attendant for 33yrs. He has traveled to every continent except Antartica – which he claims would just be too cold for him. He has explored the world and enjoyed many different cultures, people, food, and of course wine. Together Dennis and Tom have traveled extensively and have been fortunate to savor some of the finest wines in the world.

Together with their love of wine they created Rainbow Ridge Wines which was featured in Wine Enthusiast Magazine and also Wine & Spirits Magazine. Their first varietal was an obscure grape by the name Alicante Bouschet. This wine received many awards and also ratings of 91 and 90 respectively. You may notice the name BOUSCHET reminiscence of their first endeavor. This wine was magical! 

I’m ready for take off.  Photo: Candy Shannon Glickman.

COME FLY WITH ME!

BOUSCHET – 611 S PALM CANYON DR (same shopping center as Revivals) (map)

simple + super tasting salad

  When was the last time I posted a recipe here?  It’s been a while considering I’m a person who likes to cook.

Spring greens with mixed tuna, fresh peas, green onion + jalapeño.     Photo: d. king

But I’ve been going out a lot and when I’m not, I eat fairly simply at home. Nothing extravagant.  Sometimes I just like to use stuff up in my fridge and see what I can make out of whatever is there.  They say if you can make something out of nothing you’re a good cook.  But this is not even cooking.  Lately I’ve been making this salad here which is only unusual in the sense that I’ve never added two of the ingredients before.  Jalapeños and peas! Whaaat?

Plus, I’ve never loved peas in general.  At least the ones that come canned or frozen.  I’ve been buying the shelled English peas at Trader Joe’s when available.  They’re absolutely delicious. I put them in raw for added crunch.  I also buy the jar of hot/sweet jalapeños. The combination of sweet/tart/hot/savory is a deliciously perfect balance with good fats and fibre thrown into the mix.

Ingredients:

1 can Albacore tuna (you can also use wild salmon or free-range hard boiled eggs).

Mix a can of water-packed albacore tuna with a little mayonnaise (or veggenaise), chopped green onions + black pepper as you would if you were making a sandwich.

Handful of Fresh English Peas (if you can find them.  Otherwise edamame might work).

Organic Spring Mix Lettuces

jalapeños (mix of hot + sweet from a jar OR; finely chopped fresh, to taste).

For dressing drizzle organic extra virgin olive oil (the best you can afford), fresh squeezed lemon and a bit of soy sauce (or Mirin).  s+p to taste (but you won’t need it) That’s it!

Some accidents are meant to be.

 

 

Life/Style: Tracy Turco’s Terrific Tiki Tea Party

If anybody knows how to throw the perfect themed tea party, it’s Tracy Turco.

Sweet Spot. Photo: d. king

Originally from Miami, the multi-faceted entrepreneur now splits her time between living in New York City and Palm Springs.  Fairly new to Palm Springs, Tracy Turco (nee Stern) is quickly becoming the toast of the town.  And for good reason.  She’s like a modern day Renaissance woman.  In fact she’s been called that before in writing in reference to her extremely diverse taste in fashion and décor. Let’s just say it’s never boring.  And I’m happy to call her my friend.

Tracy wears her own design. My dress by Trina Turk.
Husband Jerry looks on as Tracy cuts into her exquisite birthday cake from Over the Rainbow desserts. It was Over the Top good. Photo: d. king
The sweet life. Tracy made some of these herself. All amazingly good. Photo: d. king

On Sunday I had the pleasure of celebrating her birthday alongside her husband Jerry, their friends and a few neighbors in their fabulous Tiki inspired home in the Little Tuscany neighborhood of Palm Springs.  The dress code was colorful to blend in with the  surroundings, including a canary yellow T-bird convertible classic parked outside the entrance.  Or shall we call it a TEA bird?

Tracy really has a natural flair for throwing it all together in a seemingly effortless looking fashion.  She’s a gracious host and we all enjoyed the best sweet little treats ever while sipping on champagne, wine and of course, tea.  Mind you, not just every day tea.  Especially mixed by Tracy herself, very elegant, unusual and delicious. They are blended with an artist’s palette. In fact, Tracy’s premier tea collection Salon Tea, once earned her a spot in Oprah’s Favorite Things.  Always full of surprises, I just learned that she previously owned a Salon Tea on South Granville Street in Vancouver.

Iced Tea and Tea Party book by Tracy Turco. Photo: d. king

Tea is only a part of what Tracy is passionate about. She’s an artist, art collector, animal advocate, author, designer, hotelier.  I hope I didn’t leave anything out. Oh yes, one more thing…she has a good heart by offering a philanthropic donation to the public art fund  from anyone staying at her new Art Hotel.  A tiki hotel is next.  She is both a savvy business woman and a nice overall person in general.

For those who are inclined to do so themselves, Tracy has written two incredible DIY books: Tea Party and Tea For You.  Link below.

Tiki House. Photo: Tammy Preast
A few guests perfectly blending in with the surroundings. Photo: d. king
Outside the house with Michael and Tammy.

Website:

https://www.tracystern.com/

Book:

https://www.amazon.com/Tea-Party-Occasion-Fabulous-Gatherings/dp/0307346439

Drink Tea.  Enjoy Life.  Celebrate Often.

Good Advice!

 

 

Le Vallauris – One for the Books

Last night I went for dinner to a slightly casual fancy French restaurant. 

That’s how I’d describe it.

 One considered to be Michelin star, situated in a restored historical landmark.  With a gorgeous setting; named after a village in Southern France where Picasso spent his pottery and ceramic painting years.

One I’ve been wanting to try and waiting for a special occasion but the occasion never arrived.  So I decided last night would be it.

Alone.  Well, not completely alone because I had my two shelties in tow…because you can do that in Palm Springs.  You may not be able to take them on many hiking trails anymore, but restaurants welcome well behaved canines. I’m not going to question this logic.   Think it has something to do with them disturbing big-horn sheep. Anyway, having said that, they were the only two in the place and did receive some attention as a result of.  They lay down quietly and behaved themselves.

It felt quite natural and somewhat bold up until the maitre d, realizing no one would be joining me, took the other place setting away and the couples started rolling in. Before too long the place filled up. One couple even brought a youngster at which point I felt my dogs were more well behaved.

I tried to ignore the couples however it began to feel somewhere in between completely natural and slightly awkward.  A waiter positioned a large white board featuring daily specials handwritten like artwork on an easel in front of me and placed a leather bound menu on the table.  I decided on the dégustation menu – a sampling of smaller portions of some of the chef’s signature dishes. This offering changes weekly.  It was incredible.

In between courses over an enjoyable glass of pinot noir, I began to question why I should feel strange sitting on my own.  After all I wanted to enjoy a quiet gastronomic experience.

I guess perhaps because it was not a cafeteria or a coffee shop but instead a romantic restaurant. 

In any event I’m happy I experienced taking myself out on a romantic date.  I can now cross this little chapter off my list and go back to cafeterias and coffee shops by myself.  And Luckily there are no big horn sheep allowed in the restaurants….so far.  Because my dogs make darn good dining companions.  The customers don’t seem to disturb them but the sheep would.

Happy Ending with a Grand Marnier Soufflé – light, fluffy, lovely. Photo: d. king

Le Vallauris celebrates it’s 40th year in Palm Springs as the leading French –  Mediterranean restaurant with the highest rating in the Valley by Zagat Survey, AAA, American Express and many others for many years

.http://www.levallauris.com/

Delectable Desserts

There are desserts and then there are DESSERTS; know what I’m talking about?

A friend introduced me to a new not-your-run-of-the-mill bakery.  Definitely not!  I was really impressed by the quantity and quality of specialty treats found at Forêt Noire – a high end French patisserie located in Vancouver in an offbeat area considering the kind of establishment.  You would be more likely to expect running across something like this on South Granville or maybe Yaletown.

They say simplicity is their touch.  Maybe so; if fancy upscale works of art in the shape of tasty treats are your thing.  

We went in for the best double baked almond croissant in the city, but once there we also tried the cheese (filled with feta + riccotta) which was also excellent.  Then we left with 3 pastries (one hazelnut filled, a pistachio cake and a vanilla with fresh mango pudding).  All outstanding.

Packaged in a pink take-out box.

Think I’m in trouble.

Know what I’m talking about?

Website:

Home

Feel-good Friday: High Tea Time

Afternoon Tea

is high on my list of feel-good things to do in the Fall.  There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be diminished by a nice cup of Tea.

d. king

High Tea is what happens between breakfast and lunch where you catch up with a good friend over a piping hot pot of earl grey and fancy little finger sandwiches, petite scones and petit fours.  I love the variety.  Yesterday I caught up with my friend Marion at Secret Garden Tea Company in Kerrisdale.  It was lovely and delicious.

october & november high tea menu

Your table awaits

From the gleaming china and linen napkins, to the charming tea cozy that nestles your selection of specially blended Secret Garden Tea, our High Tea experience is designed to delight. So settle in. Select your tea and savour your three tier tray of beautifully hand-crafted Signature Miniatures, including sweets, sandwiches, scones, jam and, of course, Devonshire Cream.

High Tea Menu is regularly updated with seasonal delicacies.

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I also left with a bag of chocolate cranberry shortbread cookies – the best!

Let’s do it again soon

Join Us

Food: Homemade Thai Yellow Curry

Fall calls for making a transition in cooking.  Going from lighter foods to more hearty and healthy meals.  The barbeque gets exchanged for the oven, slow-cooker and stove top.  After a long break I recently got the urge to make curries again.

Image: getinspiredeveryday.com

There is supposedly an art to making curry, however it’s really pretty easy to make a wonderful curry from scratch. Once you follow a basic recipe you can tweak it to your own liking.  A little bit more of this and a little less of that.  A few years ago I made Red, Green and Yellow curry pastes – the base for all Thai curries.  Then I ended up freezing them in 3 Tablespoon increments and thawing to use when the urge struck.  I find 3 Tablespoons is enough for a medium spice.

Image: d. king – blending the paste ingredients

Of the three, yellow is my favorite.  Yellow curry paste differs from the others not only in color but also ingredients.  It has ginger instead of the stronger galangal.  It also has cinnamon, more coriander, turmeric and curry powder.  When the dish is served, it is not garnished with kaffir lime leaves but with crispy fried shallots (optional).  You can also use parsley or cilantro.

Image: d. king – crisping the shallots

Image: d. king – tofu with added snow peas.  I gently fried with added turmeric + a little black pepper.

Image: d. king

Image: d. king – the paste being added to pan

This paste is enough for about 4 dishes (depending on how much heat you can handle – more is more) of beef, chicken, fish or veggies. This recipe comes courtesy of the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Bangkok – tweaked by me of course.

Ingredients:

7 dried hot red chilies (long ones of the cayenne variety).  You can find them everywhere now.

1 cup chopped shallots

1 Tablespoon *fresh lemongrass that has been thinly sliced, crosswise.

10 small or 5 large garlic cloves, chopped

1-inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

½ teaspoon white pepper powder

1 teaspoon Madras curry powder

½ teaspoon ground Cumin

1 teaspoon ground Coriander

½ teaspoon ground Cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground Turmeric

Original recipe calls for ½ teaspoon shrimp paste (or 3 anchovies from a can, chopped). I omitted this because I couldn’t stand the smell.  It was still excellent nonetheless.

Assembly:

Soak the chilies in 5 Tablespoons of hot water for 1 to 2 hours (or; if pressed for time, put in the microwave for 2 minutes and then let them sit for 20 to 30 minutes).

Combine chilies together with their soaking liquid, into a food processor or a blender along with all remaining ingredients in the order listed above.  Blend, pushing down with a rubber spatula as many times as necessary, until you have a smooth paste.

What you do not use immediately should be refrigerated or frozen and labeled.

For the Main Course:

14-once can coconut milk, left undisturbed for at least 3 hours.

2 Tablespoons peanut oil

3-5 Tablespoons (remember – 3 is medium heat) of curry paste

1 Tablespoon fish sauce (optional)

1 teaspoon thick Tamarind paste

1 teaspoon palm sugar (or brown sugar)

Carefully open the can of coconut milk, without disturbing it too much and remove 4 Tablespoons of the thick cream that will have accumulated at the top.  Stir the remaining contents of the can well and set aside.

Pour the oil into a large, non-stick frying pan over medium heat.

When the oil is hot, add the coconut cream and the curry paste.  Stir and fry until the oil separates and the paste is lightly browned.  Reduce the heat to low.  Add the fish sauce, tamarind paste, sugar, the reserved coconut milk, and 2 Tablespoons of water.  Stir and bring to a gentle simmer.  Taste for balance of flavors, adding more fish sauce, sugar, or tamarind paste if needed.

Add your already cooked chicken, beef or **vegetables to the pan and gently heat through for 2-3 minutes.

Garnish with the crispy fried shallots and torn up basil leaves. You can add chopped cashews too.

 

*To make it easier a lot of Asians now suggest using frozen lemongrass (Yes; it’s perfectly fine).  You buy it in a chunk and break off only what you need.

**For this recipe I used extra-firm tofu which I first sautéed on its own.  I crisped up shallots in another frypan.  The veggies were first oven roasted and then added to the pan at the end along with the tofu. Served over jasmine rice,  it was superb.

***I buy cumin and coriander seeds and coarsely chop them in a coffee grinder.

If you make it let me know what you think.  I know it’s a lot of chopping, etc. but totally worth the while.  I’m telling you It will taste better than any store bought version on the market.

XO

 

 

 

Grill Talk – a local recipe from a local gal

Angie Quaale is a champion for ALL things local.  She is a best-selling cookbook author (“Eating Local in the Fraser Valley,” Random House 2018), a chef and an entrepreneur. Angie lives in Langley, BC and has owned Well Seasoned Gourmet Foods Inc. since 2004. Well Seasoned (in Langley, BC) is a specialty food store, cooking school and catering company with a strong focus on supporting and promoting local producers and suppliers. Her recipes are tasty, straight forward and aim to share the importance of eating local.  Here’s a good one:

Mexican Sweet Potatoes with Black Beans

Ingredients:

1 lb. sweet potatoes (about 2 medium), peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks

2 tbsp. olive oil, divided

1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1 small cooking onion, finely chopped

2 tsp Mexican chili powder

½ tsp ground cumin

Kosher salt & freshly cracked black pepper to taste

1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 ripe avocado, cubed

½ cup crumbled feta cheese

½ a lime

Tortilla chips or taco shells

Preparation:

Preheat your BBQ to medium high, about 400F.

Create a double layer, approx. 8-inch x 8-inch tin foil pouch.

In a large bowl, combine the cubed sweet potatoes, beans & onions. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder. Toss to combine. Transfer the potato mixture onto the foil in an even layer. Fold the top of your tin foil pouch over the mixture and seal the edges tightly. Place on grill and cook for 18 -22 minutes until your potatoes are fork tender. Remove from the heat and carefully open the foil pouch, garnish with fresh cilantro, avocado, a generous squeeze of fresh lime, crumbled feta and serve with taco chips or warm tortillas.

Angie Quaale Tip:

This can be served as a side dish, a salad or as a filling for some killer tacos.  Leave the cheese out to make the dish vegan and make extra. Transform the leftovers into a breakfast hash by adding a fried egg, guaranteed to cure even the most vicious hangover!

Angie Quaale is the 15-year owner of Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store

 

 

 

August: a Berry Delicious month


 

Thought I’d tell you about two local Foodie events taking place this month in the Fraser Valley

From Field to Table:

Celebrate our local, fresh and juicy strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries in the best way possible: straight from the field!

It’s no surprise that BC berries right from the farm just taste so much better, therefore Well-Seasoned Gourmet Food Store has partnered up with traditional berry producer in the Fraser Valley, Driediger Farms, for a legendary and “berry” delicious Farm to Plate Dinner. This four-course, family style dinner will be prepared by Executive Chef Carl Sawatsky and Angie Quaale in the farm fields. Besides the food, guests will enjoy local drinks and live music. It’s going to be an evening to remember!

Details:

Thursday, August 8, 2019 at 6 PM (dinner served at 6:45 PM).

Enjoy a welcome drink, local cheese & charcuterie and one glass of beer or wine along with a delicious four-course menu prepared by Well-Seasoned Gourmet Food Store.  Cost: $150 per person + GST.  More BC Wine, craft beer and cider will be offered at a cash bar for guests 19+.

Buy tickets at wellseasoned.ca – HURRY, there are only 50 seats available!

Angie Quaale at the original Well Seasoned Gourmet teaching kitchen

Well-Seasoned Open House

From its humble beginnings on the Langley Bypass in 2004, Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store has not only established itself as the go-to for foodies in the Fraser Valley, but it has also gained recognition across the country for its vision, trendy food creations, and championing the support of eating local.
 
From the start, owner Angie Quaale’s goal was to make Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store a launch pad for small scale food producers and locally grown items. Over the last 15 years, Well Seasoned has supported hundreds of brands and even created many of its own. Now it’s time to celebrate all they have accomplished.
 
Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store is celebrating its 15th birthday! Join the party during the Hot August Nights Open House tasting event on Tuesday, August 13 from 6-8 PM , at the Well Seasoned store (#117-20353 64 Ave, Langley BC).
 
This free, giant open house is where you will sample and shop tons of delicious local products, meet with the makers, and wish Well Seasoned a happy 15th birthday. The more the merrier!
Angie Quaale is the 15-year owner of Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store
 
Check out the event on Facebook or visit http://www.wellseasoned.ca/happybirthday
 
Barbeque season is in full swing. I’ll be sharing some of Angie’s excellent recipes here on the blog in the upcoming days.  Stay tuned.  
 
Will you be participating in any local Foodie events in your area?  Care to share?