Sunday, July 19, 2009


Yesterday Brandon looked up at me after his first bite of Fresh&Easy banana cream pie. Intently, he looked into my eyes.

"They put crack in this."

I looked at him, bemused.

"Banana cream pies should not taste this good."

And I couldn't have agreed with him more.

Verdict: Banana Cream Pie: Nirvana.


Flashback to Thursday.

F&E invited a handful of LA mom/dad bloggers and one of its biggest fan over for an evening of wine tasting and cooking demonstration with Chef Mike himself at Sur La Table at the Original Farmers Market in Los Angeles.

We noshed on lovely snacks of dips and crackers, cheeses and meat, and crudites, while the wait staff brought us La Gioisa Prosecco to start. Nothing memorable about this one but it definitely didn't suck.

Verdict: La Gioisa Prosecco: Earthbound

I had the honor to meet Chef Mike. I know that I'm a blogger and that I put myself out there in the world, but it still freaks me out a little bit when Chef Mike told me he read my blog and wanted to know what I thought they should do about the tortilla soup situation.

Wow. I mean, WOW.

From then, we got to the hands-on demo. Each of the 4 stations attacked different dishes on the menu for the evening. All the while, the wait staff continued to pour any of the 5 wines on the tasting menu for us while we got our hands dirty.

I couldn't really eat that day since that very same morning I had a visit with my orthodontist. I managed to sample a few soft items that evening. And, of course, the wines to numb my pain. ;-)

My little team made lovely pizzas. My friend Lupe, one hell of a cook, even tossed the pizza dough for good measure! And then our group were tasked to make avocado sauce (fresh avocados + ranch dressing ...and a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon if you like a bit more flavors) for the heat-and-eat steak fajitas Chef Mike was cooking up in front of the class. A jar of the spicy bean dip also accompanied the meal.

Fresh&Easy Cooking Demo

The other teams made apricot (and mustard) chicken fingers with dipping sauce with (instant) brown and white rice and veggies with herb butter (heat-and-eat); and baked salmon with peanut sauce and soba noodles stir-fry with frozen Asian veggies.

Oh yeah, the peanut sauce. As I am a Thai, I don't put peanut sauce on anything but my satay so I'm a little wearied of people applying bottled peanut sauce to everything. But I must stay, F&E Peanut Sauce actually tastes pretty darn close to the real thing.

Verdict: Peanut Sauce: Heavenly (...or at least this Thai approves of it)

At this point you MUST understand what had already transpired at this demo.

You add free flowing wine to a room full of women (okay, there were a couple of men there, but surely out-numbered) who love to cook and eat and, well, drink. What you got by the time we arrived at dessert samplers was something just shy of total debauchery.

I must confess that at some point, I stopped watching Chef Mike's demo altogether as I was too busy sipping wine, noshing on whatever Chef Mike already dished out, and chatting with the other ladies, stopping occasionally to take some photos.

Lots of giggling. Lots of joking around. Lots of, I hate to admit it but it's true, that Sex And the City girl-talk. By the time dessert samplers were served, we were dying to try them.

Out came from all corners of the room, different moans, groans, and squeals of delight.

One word. Foodgasm.

Fresh&Easy Cooking Demo

We fell all over ourselves with different component of the sampler. The banana cream pie got the most moans and was quite a surprise to everyone. Sallie who usually doesn't eat banana cream pies that were not her mother's gave this pie a seal of approval. We have photographic evidence of Jennifer stuffing her face with almost the entire half of chocolate cupcake. Oh, and the tiramisu wasn't too shabby either although much overshadowed by the pie and the cupcake.

I know someone was taping part of the demo on the Flip Video (custom made with F&E logo by the way...adorable!). A play-back of the dessert tasting would probably be rated R.

Verdict: Chocolate Cupcake: Nirvana
Verdict: Tiramisu: Heavenly

I sipped the last drop of my Les Capages Pinot Noir (went great with dessert, oddly enough) and had all the intentions to lick my dessert plate. Darn super efficient wait staff took what he thought was empty plate away before I could have my way with it.

Then again, I couldn't chew much of what were made. Cream pie, tiramisu and super moist cupcakes were the only things I could eat that evening.

Verdict: Les Capages Pinot Noir: Heavenly

And finally, another star of the evening was the St. Helen Riesling. Just sweet enough for a hot evening in the kitchen and so drinkable I could see me sipping through the entire bottle by myself through out the course of the day. (Hey, I'm a light-weight! That's probably the best I could do without getting totally frakked up.) At $4.99 a bottle, darlings, buy a case and invite the entire neighborhood over to drink it with ya!

Verdict: St. Helen Rielsing: Nirvana

We left the joint with our bellies full and a goodie bag slung over our shoulders. More F&E products for us to experience on our own good times.

F&E should do more of these wine tasting/food pairing events everywhere. BevMo's $5 Saturday tasting seems to be popular. I can't see why F&E couldn't do something like that at other local collaborating venue or somewhere in the store itself.

You know, you'll have room once you clear out the clutter. ;-)


Quick bargain bin clutter update: I ran into the Spring Street store on Saturday afternoon to fetch the banana cream pie and I noticed the bargain bins in the produce sections were gone. I haven't gone through the entire store but that alone was a massive improvement. Thank you for listening, F&E!


SallieB said...

*craves banana Cream pie*

It was such a good time - I think we should have more of these little cooking demonstrations!

Wonderful pictures, btw. And the one of Chef and Chef Mike - Classic!


'Nette said...

My mom licked the dessert container ... said she wanted to stuff her face in it :) And we're having the fajitas for dinner tonight. I stopped at F&E yesterday and got everything on the recipe sheets.

I'm a convert. Plus, they have turkey bacon.