Miami’s Michelle Bernstein gave a select group of Los Angeles food fans a taste of the 305 over the weekend at an event billed as “the definitive ‘Boozy Brunch'”, and those who were there are likely still feeling the “Bern,” in the best possible way. The Lexus-sponsored affair, part of the Los Angeles Food & Wine festival, took place at Hollywood’s Milk Studios, with the soundtrack to the sit-down meal provided by none other than Questlove from The Roots.
“I don’t know if my cooking can live up to your music,” Bernstein said to Questlove in fron of the gathered guests before the 1st course was served Saturday. Luckily for those who paid over $100 to attend the meal, the celebrated chef’s food more than met the musical challenge– the four-course meal sang its own melody, perfectly in harmony with the smooth sounds of Questlove’s DJ set, which was heavy on 1970’s soul music and soft rock classics (think songs such as Ambrosia’s 1979 hit “Biggest Part Of Me”).
The James Beard Award-winning chef treated guests to a first course of egg yolk carpaccio with tiny shrimp and wispy potatoes, a unique tease that whet the appetite. Next came a creamy polenta topped with seared cauliflower, pickled garlic, capers, raisins and, in a nod to her Latin heritage, marconas from Spain.
By the time the main course (a fantastic cap of rib eye with caramelized brussel sprouts) came through, foodies in the house were feeling groovy, and perhaps a bit boozy, too (each course was paired with carefully constructed cocktails).
“It’s about amazing ingredients, layered flavors and simplicity,” the chef says of her cooking style. “My style of cooking is inspired by my own food memories and it’s the simple, soulful cooking that I remember from my travels….I cook the food I love and I think that love translates to the diners.”
Sure enough, those who were lucky enough to get a taste of the Miami-born Bernstein’s labor of love Saturday won’t soon forget what they ingested (especially the final course of the day, a flavorful banana tres leches doused in bourbon gel). ‘Boozy Brunch’ just might be the only way to brunch in LA, or Miami, from now on. If only Questlove could provide the soundtrack every weekend!