Search This Blog

Let's eat.

From Big Sur's killer cliff-clinging eateries to Salinas' unparalleled produce, this blog aims to sniff out all things Monterey County can stomach, via picture and prose, curiosity and appetite, hand and mouth.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It's Cooking in The Kitchen

In any house worth hanging in, the best room is the kitchen. That's where great sharing—conversation, snacks, wine, food fantasies—really simmers. And that's one reason why Kitchen Studio of Monterey Peninsula (899-3303) on the border of Seaside and Monterey on Canyon Del Rey is a cool spot: Virtually all its many rooms are kitchens, and beautiful ones at that.

Yes, there are other reasons. For one, Steven Whyte sculptures are on display through the end of May.

And there are all kinds of sleek surfaces and samples and stuff to lose track of time stroking and staring at. These are different drawer fixtures in a room filled with fun and inventive elements.

Here's a wild water spout. Arty.

And a recycled cork ceiling. If that's not cool, I don't know what qualifies.

My favorite reason to love The Kitchen, though, is this: GM Jillian Clark and company are doing a "Breakfast Series" to benefit the Food Bank for Monterey County. A $20 donation feeds three local families for a day and earns access to a demo-tasting in the main-event kitchen, like Tuesday's chocolate adventure with Scott Lund (above, with silky chunck of cocoa butter) of the artisan, ooh-la-la Lulu's Chocolates. The 9:30-10:30am date includes juices, espresso and breakfast.

Lund took tasters through a wheel of bitter choc and cocoa butter, white and dark, refined and powdered, raw and processed. Some interesting morsels:

• Good chocolate melts in your mouth because cocoa butter responds to body temp—no melt, and you're working with a vegetable-oil based chocolate (imposter!).

• "Chocolate is a commodity," Lund said. "There are only 12 makers in the country, and only one in California." Lulu's buys in bulk, 30,000 Swiss-style pounds per contract, delivered 5,000 pounds a pop, from the Golden State's Peter's Chocolate. "The Swiss flavor is why people love Lulu's," Lund added.

• Real white chocolate is actually off-white because cocoa butter is that color.

• Dark chocolate is healthier—it has a lot more (good) fat and less sugar than other chocoloates, and lots of antioxidants. But: Grandma Lulu only ate milk chocolate and lived to 99.

One breakfastgoer's lap dog foreshadowed the next event there, Saturday's 2-4pm Animal Friends Rescue Project Benefit Pawty. Brandon Miller of Mundaka does a cooking demo, Scott Campbell Photography shoots pet portraits, Cornerstone Wellness Center does a Pet Biofeedback Therapy presentation, Quail Lodge conducts mini massages (for two-leggeds), Paradise Catering provides teas and Ventana pours wines. $40 to a good cause, 50 person max, RSVP to 394-3303.

The next Breakfast Series event is Tuesday, June 15, with tea master Shoko Matsuda leading "Tea Time: A Journey for the Senses." Come Tuesday, July 6, Charlotte Muia of Fattoria Muia Olive Oil leads a 15-oil tasting called "The Mysteries of Olive Oil Revealed." Call the above number for one of the limited slots available.