Holiday Cooking Class at Border Grill
My best friend and I went to a holiday cooking class at Border Grill (Downtown Los Angeles) a few weeks ago. The class is more like a demo while the crowd gets to sample the courses. It was like watching a live taping of a cooking show. I have mentioned this before but I grew up watching the Two Hot Tamales, Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken. I never realized how funny they were and I even attended a similar cooking class/demo years ago. The chefs spent quite a bit of time talking about their favorite products (many available for purchase that day) as well as dispensing advice and cooking tips. I enjoyed the Q&A afterward. A guest asked about running their own restaurant and Chef Mary Sue mentioned needing the skills of a plumber, psychologist among other things and Chef Susan piped up that you had to have good schmoozing skills…with the Health Department as well.
We kicked off the cooking class with Cranhattans. I had just tasted the specialty cocktails a few days before but it was still fun to learn about the brandied cranberries from the chefs. Then we had spicy seared shrimp with Mexican cocktail sauce and aji amarillo aioli, bacon-wrapped dates and spinach salad with pomegranate seeds. The chefs made their own cocktail sauce by doctoring up “good quality” ketchup with chiles, red onion, cilantro, red wine vinegar and lime juice. We learned how to make mayo (aioli) and also the best want to get the seeds out of a pomegranate (pop it in a bowl of water and rub the seeds out. They will float to the top where you can scoop them up.
The green spinach salad and red pom seeds was attractive and fitting of the season. Chef Susan said they’ll do a Hannukah class next year focusing on blue foods. I could easily seed this salad made with fresh blueberries. I loved how they tossed the salad with their natural salad tongs (hands). They stressed the importance of having a large wooden bowl and not packing the salad in too much to properly dress the salad.
For the main course, the chefs demonstrated how to cook Yucatan Pork. They showed us achiote paste which is available in blocks that will keep for a while. This citrusy spice paste lends the aromatic flavor to the pork. The banana leaves that are softened in a low flame are essential to roast the pork in the oven.
The baked yams with lime and honey as well as the shredded Brussels sprouts were great sides. I felt this dish was so healthy.
We ended with the pear cranberry ginger crisp and rompope, the best egg nog. Chef Mary Sue brought in a bottle of egg nog someone had given her years ago (why did she still have it??) and poured it out for Chef Susan to have a taste. It came out in clumps! Hysterical!
When you make the egg nog, make sure the eggs don’t scramble in the high heat!
Included in the class are the recipes as well as a couple of 6 extra including a standing rib roast, roasted onion compote and Yorkshire pudding recipes.
For $75*, this was quite the deal as the chef-owners teach the class and you get to try everything they teach. To find out more about future classes, sign up for their mailing list.
There’s also a Margarita dinner on Thursday, January 19 at the Santa Monica location. The $55 ($50 for Border Grill VIP club members) four-course dinner is paired with Don Julio margaritas. Executive Chef Alex Moreno created the menu of lobster ceviche, roasted beets, Don Julio tequila brased pork belly and arroz con leche. Don Julio’s certified tequila Catador, Kevin Venegas, will provide commentary.
Los Angeles – 445 S Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90071 – (213) 486-5171
Santa Monica – 1445 4th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401 – (310) 451-1655
Las Vegas – at Mandalay Bay 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, NV 89119 – (702) 632-7403
* this class was sponsored for media