Ciudad LA Avocado Blogger Event

by Marla on April 26, 2010 · 26 comments

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Book signing with Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger“Be sure to bring your camera and appetite!” read the invite.

A lovely invite to join the California Avocado Commission and the Too Hot Tamales at Ciudad-LA restaurant this past weekend.

One of the benefits I have recently realized about living in the OC is that I am pretty darn close to LA.  It means I can get to one of the best cities for everything food.  In the past few months I have met so many bloggers.  So many new friends. From Tartelette’s photo workshop, the Food Blog Forum, the Share Our Strength Bake Sale and now a trip to downtown LA for this event at Ciudad.  Did I get lost again?  But of course!

Marla & Sophia from Burp and Slurp blog, California Avocado lunch

Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken are the Too Hot Tamales.  Their show was on the Food Network for quite  few seasons and they have also authored five cookbooks together.  They are the owners of Ciudad restaurant in downtown LA and Border Grill in Santa Monica.  Ciudad has a Latin focus and Border Grille is Mexican themed.  Susan can now be seen on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters.  She received an episode win and the next stop is the champions round.  Both women were an absolute bundle of energy and a joy to learn from.  They are seasoned chefs that know a whole lot about how to season food to perfection.

Learning about the avocado was a treat, I use this fruit frequently around here.  Did you know the avocado is a fruit??  They are filled with healthy fats and lend themselves perfectly to salads, cooked meals, sweets and savories.

Bowls of guacamole and Too Hot Tamale chefs collage.

We had an interactive Guacamole Contest.  Foodie bloggers were separated in groups of 2 & 3 and were timed to create inspirational/creative guacamole recipes.  Each recipe was different and each delicious.  Susan and Mary had a blast tasting and judging our creations.  My partners were Erika from In Erika’s Kitchen and Rachael from Chick’s with Knives.  There was a huge assortment of perfectly prepped ingredients on the table—–(wish I had someone prepping for me at home like this!) The  groups were judged on the name as well as flavor.  Our was “Pure Guac LA.”  My partners chose to keep it really simple.  They wanted to showcase the clean, creamy flavor of perfectly ripe avocados.  It was delish, but I would have also gone with some of the other enticing ingredients on the table.

My favorites from other bloggers included the “Pomocado Guac” bursting with pomegranate seeds.  I enjoyed Sophia’s “Kimchi Mole” which had chunks of pickled kimchi in the mix.  I LOVED the winner’s guac “Spud Not: Guac Fully Loaded.”  It was a decadent, creamy guac filled with chunks of smoky bacon.

Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken teach food bloggers about cooking with avocados.

The chefs gave a wonderful cooking demo that included 5 avocado based recipes.

As each course was prepared, we got to enjoy each nibble at a lovely sit down lunch!

Salad, tacos and dessert using avocado.

Lunch menu with avocado as star ingredient.

Recipes from the Event

California Avocado Bacon and Tomato Salad

Crispy California Avocado Tacos

Chicken and California Avocado Skillet Chilaquiles

California Avocado with Yogurt Honey and Lime

Video from the Event

Here is a clip of the Too Hot Tamales preparing the Chicken and California Avocado Skillet Chilaquiles recipe.  Don’t mind my editing skills, or lack there of!

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 FoodFitnessFreshair April 26, 2010 at 5:20 pm

This sounds like tons of fun! I wish more food blogger events were going on in Philly. I would love to partake in a guacamole contest! Avocados are becoming more than just a treat in my diet. I love them!


2 rebecca April 26, 2010 at 8:45 pm

wow what a cool menu and you do live in a cool place enjoy lol Rebecca


3 sweetlife April 26, 2010 at 9:51 pm

what a great event, it looks like you and sophia had a great time, oh so many avocados how did you restrain yourself? I love the two hot tamales, they have great cookbooks



4 Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) April 26, 2010 at 11:32 pm

I am so jealz that you got to hang out with such cool people, bloggers, and had such a fab time!!!! Soon, very soon, I hope to be right there with ya my friend! you’re a total milf, too, of course. and Sophia, love that girl too. You’re both too awesome for words!


5 marla April 27, 2010 at 5:28 am

Averie, we need you here soooooo bad. I can’t wait to pal around with you! You have so many buddies here in soCal. Seeing your face at events is gonna be awesome.


6 grace April 27, 2010 at 3:38 am

oh man, am i jealous! the avocado is one of the world’s greatest treasures and that’s all there is to it. :)


7 Faith April 27, 2010 at 4:05 am

What a fun day! I love that guac contest, and the menu sounds fantastic! (Especially those crispy avocado tacos! :) ) Great coverage of this event, Marla!


8 Ally @ Sweet & Savory April 27, 2010 at 8:26 am

What a fun food event to attend! And all the different ways they used an avocado…who would have thought?


9 A Canadian Foodie April 27, 2010 at 9:53 am

I cannot believe you met these two chefs – I LOVE THEM and used to watch their show all of the time when the Food Network first came out and they were in it. They are incredible chefs. I have to read this more carefully when I get home. I am so excited to find out about this. My daughter lives in Palo Alto and I do get to CA – if they teach or offer cooking classes – I am SOOOO in!


10 marla April 29, 2010 at 5:08 am

Valerie, you would have had so much fun with us at Ciudad. Definitely your kind of thing. Mary Sue and Susan were really so genuine, and super fun to spend time with. I can’t wait to meet you someday. If you come out this way you must let me know.


11 Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather April 27, 2010 at 10:44 am

What a fun event! I love avocados. This morning I had toast topped with avocado eggs and for lunch i’m having avocado in my wrap. I just can’t get enough of that tasty fruit! I’ll have to check out those recipes for some fresh ideas.


12 Michelle April 27, 2010 at 11:36 am

It all looks delicious! How funny to see everyone lined up to take pics of the food.
: )


13 Rosa April 27, 2010 at 1:29 pm

A great day indeed! I love guacamole and avocados!




14 sophia April 27, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Marla, I’m still dreaming about that fried avocado. Everything tastes better deep-fried, yeah? And it was GREAt to see you in person! Hee.

Averie, I insist you move your honey buns over here! Pronto!


15 Rose @ The Bite Me Kitchen April 27, 2010 at 2:40 pm

How fun!

I love avocados!!!!!!


16 Cheryl W. April 27, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Oh my gravy! This was an awesome post. I had so much fun reading it, and the pictures are so drool worthy. Thanks for posting!


17 Sonja {Active Foodie} April 27, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Great recap! Mmmmmmmm, now I want some more avocados! It was so fun seeing you there :)


18 Cara April 28, 2010 at 6:18 am

Sounds like so much fun! I love avocados. My favorite guacamole is the “crunchy guacamole” served at a local Mexican joint – it has smoked almonds, toasted corn nuts, jicama and pepitas – and it’s seriously addicting!


19 marla April 28, 2010 at 3:12 pm

Cara, that crunchy guac sounds amazing! I have never had anything like it. Love the idea of the toasted corn nuts & smoky almonds.


20 elra April 28, 2010 at 7:35 am

Look like a wonderful event, everyone look so cheerful. I saw the post over at Sophia, I thought I come by and say hello to you.


21 LilSis April 28, 2010 at 10:01 am

What a fun event! I’ll be honest and admit that I’m jealous! That must have been so much fun meeting everyone and watching the Too Hot Tamales do a cooking demo. I love avocados and could literally eat them every day. I actually made some awesome guacamole last night! I bet the contest was a blast!

Great photos, too!


22 tasteofbeirut April 28, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Love avocado and love these two; I used to watch their show way back and loved it; sound like you had a grand old time meeting all these ladies!


23 theUngourmet April 29, 2010 at 9:19 am

What a terrific experience! I loved the video! These gals are so fun to watch. 😉


24 Lori @ The RecipeGirl April 29, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Looks like it was a fun event. I have a tough time getting to these events that are all the way up in LA! Too far for me to drive for the day.


25 Shelly Borrell May 1, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Great photos! I linked to them from my blog, Nibbles of Tidbits. I had a guest blogger at the event with a new camera that’s not nearly as good as yours. She’s going to be returning it, ha. Enjoyed your report. Thanks, Shelly :)


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