Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wanderings - Cooking For Solutions - Monterey Bay Aquarium Pt. 2

** Well it certainly seems like I've been away on hiatus. I can't believe its been nearly 2 months since my last entry! Quite honestly life got a bit busy the last couple of months but the good kind of busy, so it was all worth it. My poor blog on the other hand got left on the back seat. This particular post I have had it written since part 1 was posted but I didn't have the pictures ready so it sat idle for 2 months. While there is much to update from my 2 month's absence, let's finish what I started back in May so here is part 2 of my adventures from Cooking for Solutions.**

Cooking for Solutions Part 2 (part 1 can be located here). Now that the basics from part 1 is out of the way, here are some highlights:

Alton Brown Cooking Demo:
He is hilarious and incredibly entertaining to watch in real life as on TV. His dish: Poseidon's Buffet of Underwater Delight which according to him was named this because it sounded funny. From the name itself the only thing to deduce from it is that its seafood related. Despite its Greek name, this dish is actually very Asian influenced with ingredients such as fish sauce, soy sauce, Asian garlic chili sauce, Chinese five spice, and Chinese sausages. Seafood included lobsters, shrimps, clams, and mussels. He even built his famous ladder contraption for this demonstration (featured from one of his Good Eats episode of how to safely deep fry a turkey, the Turkey Derrick). 

While the food was stewing away in the pot, he had a delightful Q&A session with the audience which I wished I had a recorder because some of those answers were noteworthy. Finally the food was complete and we were all given small samples to taste. I say small but it was actually a good amount of food as far as "samplers" go...I remember it being pretty tasty but to be honest I was so excited about getting to his book signing, I literally inhaled the food and didn't really catch the fine details in taste...oops.


Alton Brown book signing:
Originally I was just going to have him sign his page in the Cooking for Solutions cookbook I got but then I decided to purchase one of his books as well to sign in addition to, call it spur of the moment if you will. Maybe its the crazy Asian inside of me but I was ready to get all ghetto on people if they tried anything funny like push or shove. Turns out people at this event is very civilized and people lined up in an orderly fashion to get their books signed AND pictures taken with Mr. Alton Brown. Also to my greatest surprised, it wasn't as crowded as I thought it would be. But... maybe because I flew out of my spot at the cooking demo and practically ran to the book signing... I might have been right behind Alton as he left the stage. 

I'm not crazy I swear (!), just a little overly excited. Best moment ever when it was finally my turn! I had this elaborate conversation in my head with Alton except of course when I got there, reality hit, and all I got to ask him was if he visited CA often and his answer was "at least once a year." Then it was a few quick scribbles and snaps of my camera for pictures and I was on my merry way. Best 2 minutes ever!

Alexander Weiss Cooking Demo: 
Oddly enough I watched that season of Master Chef which I don't always watch. His season was called Master Chefs Junior featuring home cooks aging from 9-15 years old. Amazing! I wish I could cook like that. Alexander was only 13 yrs old when he won, I was rooting for him during that competition so it was interesting and fun to get to see him cook in person. You can kind of tell he's still getting use to the spotlight but he handled himself quite well. His mom was also in the audience with us which was sweet.

His dish was also very Asian influenced, Asian-Glazed Grilled Salmon served with Japanese soba noodles. I liked this dish a lot, slightly sweet and tangy but not too much where it'd mask the salmon. Well done. I'm going to need to try this recipe out, of course being Asian, I'm going to have to give it a bit more flare.


Roman Perez & Whole Foods Market Seafood Team Demo:
I missed parts of this demo because I had started to browse around some of the booths but came back later because I knew food was coming at the end of the demo. While he was cooking several of the Whole Foods team members were asking trivia questions pertaining to sustainable seafood and handing out gift cards, kind of wish I didn't miss it. 


Their dish was Tequila Lime Scallop served with mash potatoes. The scallops were perfectly cooked. I love scallops. Yum!


Todd Fisher Demo:
I was actually planning to leave before his demo even started because I was getting pooped and all the goodies I've gathered were getting incredibly heavy to carry around. Then I found out he was making Halibut with Papas Carbonara (with applewood bacon), I had to stay for this one last demo. He's a local chef from Tarpy's Roadhouse in Monterey but has also worked in restaurants in Pebble Beach resorts. He was pretty entertaining to watch as well. 
Maybe I just love cooking, I find it all interesting and entertaining. He was interactive with his audience and threw a few jokes, nothing wrong with that. Halibut was delicious, so glad I hung around.


Sponsors Booths:
Each sponsor had a booth to talk about how they're being sustainable and what they are doing to help the cause. Of course each booth had loads of goodies to either take, taste, or play with so it was all so very cool! There was even an activity stamp booklet for you to take and as you visit each booth you get a stamp and after you collect all the stamps you win a prize! So naturally, I had to collect all the stamps. The prize was a shiny sardine finger puppet (which now sits proudly in my room). Some booths were clearly meant for little kids but who cares because I may look like a 20 something year old, that day I was pushing 10 at most on the inside. 

Sponsors included: Clover Stornetta Farms (free cheeses!!), Chipotle (free tomato plants + guacamole tasting/coupons), Celebrity Cruises (free spice rub), Earthbound Farms ($1 reusable tote bag with free salad coupon + free lettuce seeds), Edible Communities (free food magazines), Kaiser and Kellogg Garden products (were not present), Oceans Halo (free seaweed chip samples + free snack size bag), Oceans Naturals (free tuna samples/coupon), Sheba (free cat food, so my cat got something delicious out of this), Whole Foods (various booths with various tasty treats and beverages).

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