Month: September 2011

The Los Angeles Times I Food & Wine: The Taste had me flying.

The Los Angeles Times I Food & Wine: The Taste had me flying.


There I am.  Happy as a camper at The Taste.  It was little over a week ago I started planning which events I would attend.  I felt like a little kid going to Disneyland for the first time.  Giddy, nervous, not knowing what to expect, just confidant it was going to be GOOD.  I wasn’t disappointed.  The Taste was everything it promised to be and more.  Let me take you along for an abbreviated ride of the events through my experience.

Friday Night: September 2nd

Location: Paramount Studios Back Lot

Event: The Art of Mixing


This event celebrated mix drinks and some food.  Music was provided by KCRW.  Jason Bentley spun his magic for our listening pleasure then shortly after Mariachi El Bronx took the stage much to the crowd’s excitement.  The highlight of the evening for me was the demonstration provided by Chef Ricardo Zarate (Chef of the year by: Food & Wine) and Chef John Rivera Sedlar.  Ricardo taught us how to fillet a fish and John taught us some of his signature salsas.


The dish of the night that stood with me was surprisingly a delicious little pink cake.  It was brought to The Taste by Cakes Suzette.  Champagne cake that was moist, rich, dense, buttery, perfectly sweet, and covered in chocolate.  Heaven to the tongue.

The next day I went back for round two…….

Saturday day: September 3rd

Location: Beverly Hills

Event: Secrets from the Kitchen & Cellar

This was family day for me.  My fiance and our son Max joined me on this jaunt.  We watched Chef Celestino Drago make a beet risotto, then he served it on little platters and Max rarely eats anything but he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sample some of Drago’s cooking.  We sat in on the interview with Chef Ludo and Krissy Lefebvre.  Not to mention the food was so sensational….. we might have over eaten.  Eeeeek.

Sunday Night: September 4th

Location: Downtown Los Angeles

Event: Food Noir

Sunday night The Taste came to my part of town and in my opinion it was the best of all the events I attended. Film + Food = Happy Me.  I had a great time and the food was knock my socks off good.

Us food bloggers were in our element.  We took a minute away from eating and made a picture.  Me- Presley’s Pantry,  Quyen- Kitchen Runway,  Ericka – Nibbles & Feasts

The stand out dish of the night came from Rivera Restaurant: A corn flan with black quinoa poured over the top.

Monday Afternoon: September 5th

Location: Beverly Hills

Event: Picnic in the Hills

The last day was celebrated with a bang.  We ate well, drank lots of wine and lemonade, and learned how to make strawberry sprinkles cupcakes by none other then Candace Nelson….. Don’t be jealous.

Mmmmmm gorgeous bread topped with burrata, grilled grapes, olive oil, salt and a little basil leaf.  I about fainted from the happiness this dish brought me.

The outstanding exhibitor for Monday was Fig and Olive….. Everything I sampled at their post was sublime and tap danced on my taste buds.

At the end of the 4 days I had expired. I was exhausted and fell asleep with a smile on my face much like when I was a kid at the end of my Disneyland visit.

Thank you Los Angeles Times / Food & Wine for bringing such a wonderful event to my town.

All photos taken by: Nicole Presley, Mando Lopez, and Ericka Sanchez

My breakfast with Poty, Nescafe and a beautiful mug giveaway.

My breakfast with Poty, Nescafe and a beautiful mug giveaway.

Smokey Robinson sang “People say I’m the life of the party cuz I tell a joke or two.” Well let me tell you this is EXACTLY THE CASE when Javier “Poty” Castillo is in the room.  Mr. “Poty” is surrounded by a wonderful energy, and makes everyone feel at ease. You are endeared to his character and admire his humble view of the world even though he is sitting at the top. No wonder Latinos EVERYWHERE have fallen in love with him. He has been named the Latin Dance sensation, director of choreography for the leading dance reality television show “Mira Quien Baila.”

I had the privilege of having breakfast with him not too long ago. I sat and listened to his life story and found myself reliving his journey in a nutshell. How he enrolled in the army, while serving his country he began a love for dance and how two German instructors discovered him. He then was taught the basics of ballet in a room with older stuffy conservative women, and just when he thought he couldn’t take another day of training under these conditions he was whisked off to the conservatory of dance! He tells it all in such a way that you begin rooting for him and his success! Have no fear …..he eventually got there. Poty has teamed up with Nescafe and is currently touring the country inspiring Latinos to embrace their passion for dance and in turn create an active and healthier lifestyle for themselves.  Collectively they have launched a campaign called “Celebra Nuestro Ritmo”, and are offering fans a chance to win a trip to New York which will include a private dance lesson with POTY!  Enter to win at:

Would you like to enter to win 4 beautiful red mugs, and a autographed picture of Poty as well? If so, you have from now till Sept. 11th, 2011 midnight to test your luck.  Rules listed below. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you.

For up to 3 chances to win:

Like Nescafe Latino on Facebook. Leave a comment letting me know.

Follow Presley’s Pantry on Twitter. Leave a comment letting me know.

Tell me your most treasured memory of drinking Nescafe in the comment section!

Winner will be notified by email Sept.12 by noon.

Coco of VidaCoco , Poty, Myself, and Stephen of LatinoFoodie


A date for the Latina Cook-Off. Special ingredients: Pistachios and Bacon. PISTACHIO CHEESE FILLED DATES WRAPPED IN BACON!

A date for the Latina Cook-Off. Special ingredients: Pistachios and Bacon. PISTACHIO CHEESE FILLED DATES WRAPPED IN BACON!

I belong to a group of Latina bloggers, and within the group there are a few of us obsessed with food.  One of my blogging hermanas decided to call a Latina Cook-Off challenge. The only criteria is we use pistachios and bacon in our recipe and post it on Saturday September 3rd. Here is my entry to the cook off…. a simple appetizer that will be gone faster then you can say WONDERFUL PISTACHIOS!

All photos taken by: Nicole Presley

Ingredients for pistachio cheese filled dates wrapped in bacon:

16 – medjool dates

1/4 – cup cream cheese

1/4 – cup goat cheese

17 – wonderful pistachios (shelled and chopped)

4 – stalks green onion (chopped)

1/4 – teaspoon Lawry’s seasoning salt

1/4 – teaspoon black pepper

8 – slices bacon

Take dates and slice down one side and remove pit.

In a small mixing bowl add cream cheese, goat cheese, chopped wonderful pistachios, chopped green onion, Lawry’s and black pepper. Mix well. Then fill a teaspoon with a heaping amount of cheese filling and fill date. Repeat till done.

Grab your bacon and slice in half.

Take a half piece of bacon wrap it around date and close with a toothpick. Repeat until done.

Place all bacon wrapped dates on a aluminum foil lined cookie sheet.

Place under the broiler on high  and cook on first side for 6 to 8 minutes or until golden crisp, then remove from broiler flip them over and cook on the other side for an additional 4 minutes.  PERFECT PISTACHIO CHEESE FILLED DATES WRAPPED IN BACON!!!!!!

No compensation was received for this post. I was provided with a sample of  Wonderful Pistachios to aid this recipe. The recipe and opinions are my own.

The Taste! The Los Angeles Times + Food & Wine team up!

The Taste! The Los Angeles Times + Food & Wine team up!

Have you ever been so consumed with an event you start to pick out your outfit days in advance?  This is my life right now thinking about THE TASTE this weekend.  I need clothes I could float in because I plan on eating my way through this epicurean heaven.  Are you kidding?  You know how many amazing chefs are going to be dishing out their specialties?  In case you don’t know this is a 4 day extravaganza taking place in 3 different locations with a total of 9 events.  Celebrity chefs (to name a few: Ricardo Zarate, Roy Choi, Giada De Laurentiis, Celestino Drago, Duff Goldman, Ludovic Ludo Lefebvre, Aarti Sequeira, John Rivera Sedlar, and Marcella Valladolid) are holding panels and demonstrations during this culinary spectacular.  All you can eat and drink from some of the most celebrated restaurants in Los Angeles.  Do I need to say more?  I’m beside myself this is a food event I would not miss!!!!  How do you even manage to taste everything?  I have no idea but I’m going to try!

Wanna go?  Buy tickets here.  Input the code “YUM” for a 40% discount.

Chicken Hatch en Bleu

Chicken Hatch en Bleu

Thanks to Melissa’s Produce I’m on a hatch chile kick.  All sorts of chile dishes have been made in my kitchen this week.  Some traditional, others experimental.  No one is complaining, just devouring dish after dish.  I’ve brought a few friends through my door with the mere mention of hatch chile….. Oh the power they have over us chile lovers.  I decided to highlight this rendition of Chicken Cordon Bleu, minus the ham, insert the HATCH.  It turned out to be a hit.  I’m glad I made a few, because there would have been several frowns around my house if there were none left over for tomorrow.

All photos taken by: Nicole Presley

Ingredients for chicken hatch en blu:

5 – hot hatch chiles (roasted, peeled, deseed, and sliced)

2 – chicken breast (sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices) (each breast should make 3 slices)

6 – blue granite jack slices or a cup of crumbled blue cheese

salt and pepper to taste

2 – eggs beaten

2 cups panko

3 – tablespoons olive oil



Let’s start with basic 101 of roasting chiles. Place hatch chiles over an open flame. Then once skin is charred place in a ziplock bag and let steam for an hour. Remove from bag, and peel off charred skin under a slow stream of water. Then remove stem and seeds from chile. Cut into long strips.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then line a cookie sheet with foil and set to the side.

Slice your chicken into 1/4 inches.

Get all your ingredients ready to roll.

Take a chicken slice and place roasted chile on top then layer with blue granite jack.

Then slowly roll, and close with a toothpick.

Once you get all your chickens in a roll…. season with salt and pepper.

Prepare panko crumbs by pouring olive oil over the top and mixing evenly.  This will help your panko crumbs to brown.  Take a chicken hatch roll and dip in beaten eggs.  Next dip into prepared panko.  Place on cookie sheet.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until chicken is not pink. Your chicken hatch en bleu will be spilling over with cheese.  Just the way I like it!  Spicy, crunchy, blue cheesy, and yummy.

No compensation was received for this post. I was provided with a sample of  Melissa’s Produce hatch chiles to aid this recipe. The recipe and opinions are my own. Thank you Melissa’s Produce for the wonderful batch of hatch!