I’m Gonna Be On TV!

Me and Mama in My Trailer!

Me and Mama in My Trailer!

A few months ago, I got to film something for TV!  It was my aunt who made it all possible.  She works for Disney, and at work, she showed one of her co-workers Southbayfood.com.   The co-worker really enjoyed it (or so I heard) and presented a particular blog post (Farmer Eric’s Garden of Fruit – http://www.southbayfood.com/?p=888) to her production company.  The company films something on Disney Channel called “TTI” commercials.  “TTI” is short for “The Time I…”  Kids get to describe an experience that they’ve had.  They decided to film a “TTI” on my trip to Farmer Eric’s and I was so excited!

On the day of the shoot, we drove to Eric’s house, where they filmed the entire thing (with  his permission, of course).  They did some “movie magic” as well, but I can’t tell you all of the secrets!  When we arrived at Eric’s, the company had a huge trailer waiting for me!  Wow!  We met the on-set teacher, Phil, and I played “RushHour” until they called me to the set.   They blocked and filmed the 90-second feature in 8 whole hours!  Of course, we did things over and over again.

First, we set off into the fruit trees, looking around at all of their wonders.  Dad stayed back a little bit to pick figs, while Mom and I ran over to the grapefruit tree.  (Poor Tabs didn’t get to come help.)  With the help of a little bit of “movie magic,” we picked two grapefruit.  They looked delicious!

In awe, we walked over to an apricot “tree” and picked three apricots.  After, we joined Dad washing fruit.  On camera, we each took a big, juicy bite from our apricots and decided that we definitely wanted to make a treat out of them.  “What about a tart?”  my dad exclaimed.  It sounded like a great idea to all three of us, so that is what we decided to make.

We walked over to Eric’s kitchen and made a tart.  Originally, I was going to just open the oven and say:  “Look what I made!”  The tarts were going to be pre-made, and we wouldn’t actually be cooking, but due to some minor mistakes, Dad and I ended up making the actual tarts!  They were real, and super delicious!

Guess what?!  My “TTI” might be airing on Friday, October 14!   I’m not sure what time, but I will post and tweet as soon as I hear.  (I hope to hear Wednesday or Thursday at the latest.)   I am so excited about this experience, so please be watching out for it on Disney Channel.  If you happen to catch a glimpse of the “TTI,” please tell me what you think!  Don’t be afraid to be honest.  (I haven’t seen it myself yet.)

Thanks to Disney Channel and my extremely helpful and supportive Aunt Suzy!  I couldn’t have done it without them.

My Dream Come True!

My Heroes and Me!

My Heroes and Me!

Mom, Dad, and I signed up for a cooking demonstration by famous chefs Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken, and I was very happy to be there.  As we walked into Border Grill downtown on a rainy Saturday morning, a server handed us quinoa fritters.  Simply delectable!  What a great start to the day!  They were crunchy and spicy, and they were topped with a creamy sauce made from aji amarillo paste.  The fritters were filled with the best quinoa I’ve ever had!

Appetizing Quinoa Fritters

Appetizing Quinoa Fritters

I walked into Border Grill in awe.  The walls were so kid-friendly, and were covered with cool, artistic drawings.  We received our table number, and we walked into the demo room.   Wow!  Table 31, our table, was right smack in the middle of the front row!  We were so surprised that my dad went back to the counter to make sure the table was ours!  Once we were reassured it was our table, I paid attention to our surroundings.  As I looked around, my eyes landed on the demo stage.   OMG!  There was Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger.  They are both cooking legends, and I am a huge fan of Mary Sue from “Top Chef Masters”.  I mean HUGE!  I stood there for a few seconds, just staring.  It was really her!  Susan Feniger noticed me and walked toward our table.  First, she asked me if I would help in the kitchen if they needed me during the class.  I was too shocked to say yes, so she moved on to another question.  She asked me if I would help her pass around food, if she needed me.  Very timidly, I said OK and sat back down.

Susan Feniger was so nice!

Susan Feniger was so nice!

I walked over to the bar for some pomegranate lemonade.  The nice server from before offered to bring it to our table, so I thanked him and sat back down.  Mom and Dad were talking and sipping their margaritas when I came back.  As I started to take pictures of the two chefs, Susan Feniger called me over to take a picture.  I was soooo happy!  She gave me a hug!

After a while longer, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger took the stage.  The server brought me my lemonade, and I whispered:  “Thank you.”  Everyone quieted as they started the demonstration.  Susan Feniger started:  “Today, Mary Sue and I will be cooking for you a lunch about five courses long.  We are very excited, and we hope you are too!”  She said something like that… I can’t remember her exact words.  All I remember is the absolute pleasure of being there.

Teaching Us Tips and Recipes

Teaching Us Tips and Recipes

Avocado Tostadita Salad and Spanish Gazpacho

Avocado Tostadita Salad and Spanish Gazpacho

As they started cooking and explaining the quinoa fritters, we sampled the Avocado Tostadita Salad and Spanish Gazpacho.  The avocado salad was lettuce, avocado, jicama, and some other fun ingredients, over a crispy tostadita shell.  Right on top of everything was a fried avocado, smothered in quinoa, amaranth (which I think is a seed), sesame and black sesame seeds, and some poppy seeds.  It was tangy and delightful.  Under the tostadita shell were some refried black beans.  They had the perfect melty texture that makes your mouth start to water.  The smooth gazpacho was filled with fragrant herbs, fresh vegetables, and homemade mayonnaise.  I don’t usually like mayonnaise, but it was amazing, and it slid down my throat easily like a fresh raw oyster!

Teaching Us Tips

Teaching Us Tips

Meanwhile, we were intrigued by the cooking tips they gave us.  “It drives me crazy to see people buying egg separators,” Mary Sue Milliken informed us.  “Everyone has one — their hands!” added Susan Feniger as she showed us the separated yolk on her palm.  Mary Sue started talking about sharp and dull knives:  “Always use a sharp knife when you are cutting, because if you cut yourself, a sharp knife will make a nice clean cut, but a dull knife will make an ugly cut which is hard to stitch.  To make sure you don’t even cut yourself, always keep your thumb behind your other fingers.”  Mary Sue told us that her thumb crept up under the knife when she was nervous, so she was always growing back thumb tips. 

After a few more tips on peppers and grilling corn, we got to try yet another satisfying dish.  This one was our main meal.  When I was told what it was, I was very excited!  Rib Time!  Tomatillo-glazed baby back ribs were placed in front of me.  It was one of the best things I had that day!  The pork was so tender and juicy, and the gravy-like tomatillo glaze was full of flavor.  It was a bit spicy too … and it contained pork fat, which I liked.  The portion size was big, but I polished it off with a smile on my face.

Meat and Potatoes (Don't Forget the Corn!)

Meat and Potatoes (Don't Forget the Corn!)

On the side of the baby backs was Esquite, a corn dish, and “Smashed Potatoes”.   The Esquite was too sweet for me, but it had the perfect corn texture:  crunchy and a bit juicy, but not too much that it was soggy.  The Smashed Potatoes were easily related to twice-baked potatoes in the sense that it melted in my mouth and gave me that comforting flavor.  It was a great companion with the ribs.  You know what they say, meat and potatoes makes a perfect meal!  (My mom doesn’t say that!)

Churro Tots and Coffee!

Churro Tots and Coffee!

The last course, dessert, was Mary Sue’s Dulce de Leche Churro Tots and a luscious chocolate mousse.  It was the winning dish on an episode of “Top Chef Masters,” which is probably why she chose to make it for us.  I devoured the crunchy, sweet churro bites in seconds, and then I licked the dulce de leche caramel and chocolate mousse off of Mom’s, Dad’s, and my plates.  Yum!

After the fabulous meal, we waited in line to get the two chefs’ autographs and a picture.  When it was our turn, I told them and their publicist, Leah, about my blog.  They were very interested and really, really friendly.  They asked me to email it to them when I was done, and I agreed. (I am very excited to have famous chefs reading my blog!) 

Notes and Recipes from the Cooking Stars!

Notes and Recipes from the Cooking Stars!

They signed our cookbook and our recipe books from the class, and on my recipe book, they wrote some nice comments.  “Megan, you’re gonna be a kitchen star!” wrote Mary Sue Milliken.  “Wow, so excited to see your blog!” wrote Susan Feniger.  I was elated!  We took a picture together, and then I left, reflecting on all the things I had done that day.

I left the restaurant screaming:  “I’m overjoyed! I’m overjoyed!”  Literally.  What kind of drama queen does that!?  Oh, I forgot, I’m the drama queen.

When we got home, my dad and I made the dulce de leche syrup they taught us how to make.  We drizzled it over our homemade ebelskivers, and it was fantastic!

Trying the Recipes at Home

Trying the Recipes at Home

Tomorrow (Wednesday) is the finale of “Top Chef Masters,” and Mary Sue is a finalist.  Be sure to watch her compete against Floyd and Traci.  It will be exciting!

I just want to thank Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger for giving me an amazing day!  Thank you!

 

 

Border Grill – Downtown LA

445 S. Figueroa Street

Los Angeles, CA 90071

(213) 486-5171

Twitter:  @BorderGrill

www.bordergrill.com

Susan Feniger’s Street

742 North Highland

Los Angeles, CA 90038

(323) 203-0500

Twitter:  @eatatstreet

www.eatatstreet.com

 

“The Great Food Truck Race” Premiere Night!

Standing on the Red Carpet!

Can you imagine being given $500, asked to drive from Los Angeles to San Diego, and asked to sell more food from your truck than any of your competitors?  That’s the situation that contestants of the new show “The Great Food Truck Race” are in.  “The Great Food Truck Race” is a new TV show on Food Network.  So far only one episode has been on TV.  I saw that first episode at the premiere on Sunday night.

The contestants in the show are Nom Nom, Grill Em All, Nana Queen’s, Austin Daily Press, Crepes Bonaparte, Spencer on the Go, and Ragin’ Cajun, where the premiere was held.  Some of our friends work there, so we definitely wanted Ragin’ Cajun to win!

Picture on the Truck

The Music was Jazzy!

Ragin’ Cajun is a great restaurant, which you can see on my previous post “Ragin’ Cajun – New and Old“.  Anyway, the premiere party was amazing!  Thanks to Stephen for inviting us!  There was lots of free food, and I had jambalaya and Coke.  They had a band playing New Orleans jazz music!  Everything was spectacular!

All Teams Gathered On Stage

After we ate, we sat down on the chairs in front of the stage.  Stephen, the owner of Ragin’ Cajun, introduced us to all of the contestants that were there.  For Nom Nom, the only person who came was a girl named Jennifer Green.  For Grill Em All, the three men were all there:  Ryan, Matt and Joel.  (We did not know who they were, but we ate dinner in the chairs right in front of them!).  For Nana Queen’s, sisters Janel and Shanel were there.  “Banana Man” Rick was not with them.  For Austin Daily Press, Cory was there, but none of his other teammates were there.  For Crepes Bonaparte, Matthew was there, and his teammates were on their honeymoon in South Africa!  For Spencer on the Go, one of them was there, but I don’t know who it was.  For Ragin’ Cajun, Stephen, Joey (his former boss), and Jazmina were the contestants.  They were all pretty cool!

Stephen, Jazmina, and Joey Relaxing on Top of the Truck

After that, we saw the show.  They drove from LA to San Diego, and when they finally got there, they had to look for a place to make business.  When they found their place, they started selling.  At the end of the 48 hours they had, they met the host, Tyler Florence, and he announced the winner.  Nom Nom won.  Listed after everyone else, the team that came in last, and had to drive home, was … Nana Queen’s.  My dad and I were sure that Spencer on the Go was going home.  From what I saw, Nana Queen’s did not look like it was going to lose.  They had some good food:   many different kinds of banana pudding and hot, spicy wings!  It sounded OK, but I’m glad they lost instead of Ragin’ Cajun.

After the show, I walked home with my family, Mardi Gras beads dangling from my neck.  It was an enormously fun premiere!  Thanks again to Stephen, Jazmina, Joey, and everyone at Ragin’ Cajun for inviting us!  We had a fantastic time!

Huge Crowd Coming to Enjoy the Wonderful Premiere!