On August 2, Project by Project hosted its annual Plate by Plate benefit at the Petersen Automotive Museum on the Miracle Mile's Museum Row. The volunteer organization works to raise awareness of issues in the Asian American community, and each year the group selects a theme to highlight. The theme for 2014 is "Mental Health", and this year's fundraiser benefits Pacific Asian Counseling Services, a non-profit providing mental health and social services to members of Asian communities in the greater Los Angeles area.
Over 50 restaurants, chefs, merchants, and purveyors--once again curated by Kevin Hsu of kevinEats--participated in the event. Many were veterans of Plate by Plate, and some brought along their new ventures: Sotto's Zach Pollack with Alimento, Petty Cash's Walter Manzke with Republique, Stephane Bombet with Faith & Flower. New restaurants, or just new to the benefit, included b.o.s., Fifty Seven, and Q Sushi.
Things Seen and Heard at Plate by Plate 2014:
Though Starry Kitchen was a participant, chef Nguyen Tran was unable to attend the event (family wedding in Texas). Instead, a life-size cardboard cutout of him in full banana regalia frightened, I mean, greeted guests tasting the restaurant's steamed Viet rice crepe dish. (No balls-in-mouths this year.)
—Scratch|Bar's restaurant-within-an-event was the place to be ... for VIP guests. Complete with a reservation schedule, chef/owner Phillip Franklin Lee and his crew served up a four-courses "meal" in just 15 minutes. They managed approximately 180 covers in three hours.
—Barbershop Ristorante will hold its next pop-up at the end of August, but word is they have found a permanent home in the vicinity of Hope and 11th in DTLA. The cover photo on Barbershop's Facebook page is the street signage for Hope Street. Coincidence? I think not.
—As one pop-up possibly winds down, another winds up: Del Rey Deli is hosting its first pop-up on Saturday, August 16th. Items other than sandwiches will be served, and wine will flow freely (but probably not free). Chef Vince Howard has plans for more of these Saturday night "Del Rey Suppers" in the future.
As in previous years, attendees were able to vote for Best Dish and Best Drink. Voting closed about an hour before the event ended, and impressively both winners were from the VIP area, which limited their voting pool. Here were the results:
—Scratch|Bar won Best Dish for their aforementioned reservation-only four-course tasting. They were definitely the most ambitious of the participants, and it paid off! Chef Phillip Lee received the coveted golden plate signed by all participants.
—Harlowe won Best Drink for their dragonfruit daiquiri. Earlier in the evening, general manager Kyle Ackley mentioned they are starting their "Phase Two" summer menu with all new cocktails debuting this week.
As the evening wound down, the Scratch|Bar crew were still going strong. A few participating chefs, such as Walter Manzke, and PbP organizers who had been running around all night, managed to squeeze in the four-course quickie before having to resume their duties of breaking down their stations and wrapping up the event.
One final tidbit: During these Scratch|Bar meals, chef Lee had cards on the table for his new restaurant, The Gadarene Swine, opening next month in Studio City. He was mum on the concept, but rumor is it will be vegetable-centric. Lending some credence to this idea is a line on the Scratch|Bar website's page about The Gadarene Swine: "For additional meat options please visit Scratch|Bar in Beverly Hills". —The Offalo
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