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Valentine's Day is often a holiday of expectation and disappointment.  We asked KCRW staff and volunteers how they would prefer to celebrate Valentine's Day.  If you're preparing a meal for your sweetheart, Amy Reiley has a sexy menu that will put you in the mood for love.  Haitian-born chef Ron Duprat is celebrating the holiday with Hearts for Haiti, a benefit at restaurants across the country.  Nat Bletter loves fruit - and he's tried over 250 kinds.  He shares some of the best, and worst.  If you're planning on going out to eat, Lesley Balla knows where to go.  She's got a list of great date places.  Chinese and Vietnamese New Years fall on Valentine's Day.  Eddie Lin and Ann Le compare notes on the two celebrations.  Jonathan Gold of the LA Weekly and Robert Sietsema of New York's Village Voice square off with an East coast / West coast throwdown.  Chris O'Brien calls himself a beer activist.  He explains just what exactly that means.  Plus Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert has "koodies."  What exactly that means, today on the show.  And, Laura Avery has the scoop on what's fresh at the Santa Monica Farmers Markets this week.

One Good Dish

David Tanis

Guest Interview Market Report 6 MIN, 57 SEC

It's all about the chanterelle mushrooms this week. Farmer Louie Mello of San Luis Opispo is bringing in lots of chanterelles that grow wild on his property. These mushrooms have a firm texture that holds up well to poaching, sauteeing and grilling. Some are as large as dinner plates while others are much smaller. Chanterelles cannot be cultivated and depend on the right conditions to grow -- cold, rainy weather.



Chef Mark Peel loves chanterelles and is serving them with coq au vin blanc (a variation on the chicken and red wine dish, coq au vin) at his new restaurant, The Tar Pit, located at 609 N La Brea near Melrose.  Peel likes to chop chaterelles in large strips then saute them in olive oil and garlic. They have a delicate flavor and shouldn't be served with anything that could overpower their flavor.


Mark Peel, sporting a chanterelle corsage

Guest Interview Hearts for Haiti 3 MIN, 24 SEC

Chef Ron DupratRon Duprat is a Haitian-born chef living in Hollywood, Florida.  He recently appeared in Season 6 of Bravo's Top Chef.  He is organizing a Valentine's Day benefit in support of Haiti earthquake relief efforts.  On February 14, participating restaurants will donate 10% of their profits to charities, including the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF). 

 Participating restaurants include:

Chef Allen's Seafood Grill in Aventura, FL 
Latitudes Beach Cafe at the Hollywood Beach Marriott in Hollywood, FL
Crave Restaurant in Fort Myers, FL
Barcelona Wine Bar in West Hartford, CT 
Iluna Basque in San Francisco, CA
Nilus Delights Bakery in Hollywood, FL
Pura Vida – Latino Tapas Restaurant & Bar in Atlanta, GA
Trina Restaurant at The Atlantic Hotel in Ft. Lauderdale, FL
The Dining Room, Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa in Pasadena, CA

Music break: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Barry Adamson

Guest Interview 250 Varieties of Fruit 5 MIN, 22 SEC

Nat Bletter is an ethnobotanist living in Hawaii.  He travels frequently to Thailand where he samples a wide variety of exotic fruits.  On a recent trip he tried Durian, a very smelly fruit that is banned in a lot of places.  

The full list of fruits that Nat has tried is here


Durian Whole


Snake Fruit

Snake Fruit

Silkworm Larvae

Silkworm Larvae

Jack Fruit


Music break: Sour Times by the Vitamin String Quartet

Guest Interview NY vs. LA Throwdown 7 MIN, 53 SEC

Robert Sietsema is the restaurant critic for the Village Voice.  Jonathan Gold writes the Counter Intelligence column for the LA Weekly.  They are good friends and frequently dine together.

Robert picked Cheburechnaya (92-09 63rd Drive, Rego Park, Queens) as a dining experience that Los Angeles doesn't have.  They serve mouthwatering lamb fat kabobs.

Jonathan chose the dry fish kidney curry at Jitlada (5233-1/2 Sunset Blvd., L.A.)

Music break: Spread Your Soul by El Michel's Affair

Guest Interview A Valentine's Love Feast 4 MIN, 9 SEC

Fork Me Spoon MeAmy Reiley is the author of Fork Me, Spoon Me.  She created a Valentine's Day menu:

Saffron Fleurtations 
Honey Almond Home Cured Snapper on Grilled Whole Grain Toasts 
Lobster Pasta with Champagne Tarragon Sauce 
Fresh Berries with Warm Cocoa Nib Fudge Sauce (fondue)


Saffron Fleurtation
*recipe by Liz Dueland

1 bottle Perrier Jouet Fleur de Champagne*
20 saffron threads, toasted

*Substitute any high quality, vintage brut Champagne

Crush 5 saffron threads in each of two Champagne flutes. Top with Champagne and toast to the art of flirtation. Drain and repeat.


Lobster Pasta in Champagne Tarragon Sauce
Recipe by Amy Reiley from the upcoming cookbook The Love Diet
Serves 2

1/4 lb dried buckwheat (soba) or whole wheat noodles
2 tsp unsalted butter
1 shallot, minced
2/3 c sparkling wine
1 Tablespoon fresh tarragon or 3/4 tsp dried
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt to taste
5-6 oz lobster, (approximately 1 large tail) cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup fresh arugula
2 tsp flying fish caviar (tobiko)
2 Tablespoon creme fraîche 

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions.

2. Melt butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté shallot until soft, about 1-2 minutes. Add sparkling wine, tarragon and lemon juice and bring to a simmer.

3. Turn heat to medium low and add lobster, simmering until cooked through, about 5 minutes.

4. Remove from heat and immediately add arugula, tossing until it begins to wilt.

5. Season with salt to taste.

To serve, divide pasta between two plates. Top each with half of the lobster and sauce. Garnish with 1 tablespoon creme fraîche with 1 teaspoon of flying fish roe.

Fork Me Spoon Me

Amy Reiley

Guest Interview What We Really Want on Valentine's Day 4 MIN, 24 SEC

These are the voices of KCRW staff and volunteers, gathered during KCRW's winter pledge drive.

Music break: Squatty Roo by the John Buzon Trio

Guest Interview Happy New Year! 5 MIN, 44 SEC

Eddie Lin writes the blog DeepEndDining.com and he is the author of Extreme Cuisine.  He celebrated Tet, or Vietnamese new year with Ann Le, author of The Little Saigon Cookbook.  

For Tet, Ann served a braised pork belly and egg dish, slow cooked in a ceramic pot.  She also made a caramelized shrimp dish.  A traditional Tet dish is banh chung, or a sticky rice cake with meat, wrapped in a banana leaf.  In the Vietnamese tradition, all the food is prepared ahead of time so that no work needs to be done during celebration.  As in the Chinese tradition, no scissors or knives are to be used.

 Banh Chung

Sticky Rice

Braised Pork with Egg

Shrimp Pot

Guest Interview Saving the World with Beer 6 MIN, 40 SEC

Fermenting RevolutionChris O'Brien is a beer activist.  He advocates the craft beer movement, which he argues is better for the environment and the community.  Now there are about 1500 craft breweries operating in the U.S. than there were decades ago.  Some small brewers are now even growing their own hops.

Some sustainable beers are:

Wells and Young's Banana Bread Beer, made from fair trade ingredients.

5 Seasons Brewing makes organic beer.

Hopworks organic beer.

A catalog of local breweries is here.

Music break: The Sting by The Ragtimers

Fermenting Revolution

Christopher Mark O'Brien

Guest Interview Koodies 3 MIN, 23 SEC

Phil Lempert is the Supermarket Guru.  He's created a social networking site for kids who are "foodies," also called "koodies."  

Guest Interview Date Places in LA 9 MIN, 39 SEC

Lesley Balla is the Los Angeles editor for Tasting Table LA.  She recommends the following places for a first date:

Angeli Caffe
7274 Melrose Ave.

The Mercantile
6600 Sunset Blvd.

Drago Centro
525 South Flower Street

Osteria La Buca
5210 Melrose Avenue

40 N Mentor Ave., Pasadena

Chameau - **Closed for rennovation. Open for catering.
339 North Fairfax Avenue

8338 West 3rd Street>

2930 North Beverly Glen Circle

8474 Melrose Avenue


Evan Kleiman

Jennifer Ferro
Harriet Ells

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