Savor California Tasting/ Discovery Ball

I was invited to the Tasting Event and Cocktail Reception of the Savor California Gala at the California ScienCenter almost a week and half ago. The cocktail reception was held prior to the Discovery Ball dinner and I attended just the tasting. I wasn’t expecting much, perhaps a glass of wine or two and some passed appetizers.

Proof Wine Collective

It turned out to be a pretty big deal. There were 9 restaurants in their individual booths. With a carnival-like atmosphere, everyone clustered around the Merry-Go-Round. At least, that’s what I called it. Above the wine tasting area were Merry-Go-Round horses.

Border Grill

Border Grill's Chef Mary Sue

Border Grill: baja ceviche tostadita, quinoa fritter

One of the first tastes I had were Border Grill‘s Baja ceviche tostadita and quinoa fritter. The ceviche featured lime marinated sustainable fish and shrimp on a tiny crispy tostadita. Loved the avocado and cilantro aioli in it. We also had a quinoa fritter made with the featured South American grain, cotija cheese and aji amarillo aioli.

Maybe it’s time for a margarita! Get a $5 margarita at any Border Grill (Santa Monica, Downtown Los Angeles or Las Vegas) with the secret password “Cinco de Drinko.” See details on my post here.

Coco 500 & The Moss Room: Miso grilled lamb's tongue

The only booth I didn’t recognize was Coco500 & the Moss Room. It turns out the Moss Room is at the Science Center in SF so that explained the connection.

They served a miso grilled lamb’s tongue with spring vegetables and nasturtiums. It was definitely a great bite. I would love to know what that sauce was underneath it but I suspect it may have been more miso as it was a bit salty.

roasted tomatoes at Mozza

Mozza: burrata and roasted tomato

I loved looking at how everyone was plating. At Mozza‘s booth, they roasted cherry tomatoes on the stem and would pluck them off one by one as they prepared plates for the crowd. Simple but amazing.

The Yard's Chef CJ

The Yard: pickled beef tongue with lemon caper curd, clove, hazelnut

Lengua! Hello, old friend. I may be on a sweetbreads kick and constantly searching for obscure tasty bits but it’s probably beef tongue that was my first love. The Yard‘s pickled beef tongue on toast with a hint of lemon caper curd, clove and hazelnut was quite fancy.


mar'sel: tiny potted veggies

mar’sel at the Terranea Resort presented the most gorgeous tidbit. Plated on wooden sheets, the “potted” veggies were “grown” in black olive “soil”, goat cheese and sofrito. I’m looking forward to trying this restaurant in a couple of weeks given how creative Chef MIchael Fiorelli is.

Angeli: Rustic Farro Salad with Fresh Market Vegetables

Akasha: kumquat chutney, local goat cheese crostini

Angeli and Akasha each brought simple appetizers for the tasting. Their food showcased nature’s bounty.

Waterloo & City: Gleason Ranch head cheese with farmers market cherry tomatoes

I always felt Waterloo & City‘s strongest offerings are their charcuterie and so I was glad they brought head cheese. Listening to them explain what it was to people was quite funny. At some point, they told an elderly patron to think of it as ham.

Street's Chef Kajsa Alger

Street: edamame salad with fresh seaweed, soy nuts, Korean miso dressing

I absolutely loved Street‘s edamame salad. It combined all my favorite things; edamame, seaweed, miso! It was pretty addicting and when the tasting wrapped up, I almost thought about carting the leftover salad home! Good thing Street is doing their recession lunch in the month of April. Anything priced over $11 is just $11 for lunch.Read about one such lunch I had back in January here.

I had such a great time.  I got a kick out of the My Little Pony looking pinata at the Auction table. Everyone was dressed so well. All the wines I tried were great but I particularly liked the casual vibe from Proof Wine Collective. I had their red blend which I usually don’t like. I sometimes find blends “muddy.” No discernible taste– well, it’s a blend, right? But theirs was crisp (for a red) and sharp (not a cut your throat way, just shining through other blends). I’m not usually a oenophile but could be for this wine.

Many thanks to all the restaurants and wineries who committed to supporting California ScienCenter’s mission to inspire curiosity and science learning through  educational programs which includes free admission to the museum. I can’t remember when was the last time I was there but I remember going to the Museum of Science and Industry, the ScienCenter’s former name, as a child. I particularly loved the IMAX Theatre which is still there. I was able to look at some of the exhibits on the way in and out of the gala but will have to go back for a proper tour.

I can’t wait for next year’s event!