My guest this week is Nguyen Tran with his just released book ” ADVENTURES IN STARRY KITCHEN: 88 Asian Inspired Recipes from America’s Most Famous Underground Restaurant.”  

starry kitchenIn 2009, deep into the recently cratered American economy, newly unemployed Nguyen Tran and his new bride, Thi, launched an underground—and most definitely illegal—restaurant in their apartment in North Hollywood. Within several weeks, their underground operation became the Number 1 Asian‐ fusion restaurant on Yelp in all of Los Angeles, catching the attention of celebrity chefs like Roy Choi and culinary tastemakers like Los Angeles Times critic Jonathan Gold—not to mention the city health inspector, who threatened to arrest Nguyen if he didn’t shut down immediately. Dismissing the threat completely, Nguyen and Thi operated their restaurant, Starry Kitchen, in “black ops mode” until they eventually went legit, turning Starry Kitchen into a mainstay of Los Angeles’s burgeoning food scene.

Nguyen chronicles this remarkable DIY story in full—from the restaurant’s unlikely origin to its shiny new brick‐and‐mortar restaurant in Echo Park, including all the misdemeanors, milestones, mishaps and amazing meals that contributed to the restaurant’s success. Fully illustrated with color throughout, the behind‐the‐scenes tales are paired with 88 (a lucky number in Chinese culture) recipes for Pan‐Asian comfort food, mouthwatering and easy‐to‐make dishes like Singaporean Chili Crab w/ Buttermilk Beer Beignets, Pandan Churros, and Starry Kitchen’s trademark Crispy Tofu Balls.

Nguyen and wife Thi Tran

Nguyen and wife Thi Tran

Nguyen Tran is co‐founder and self‐proclaimed chief instigating officer of Starry Kitchen. Prior to running Starry Kitchen, “this beautiful accident gone right,” Nguyen worked in the film business for almost a decade producing, selling, and marketing indie films. He grew up in Dallas, Texas, and lives in Los Angeles, where he helps runs Button Mash, his most recent culinary adventure in Echo Park, and an underground crab delivery service (that he won’t even give us details about).

Don’t forget…come see me at the Orpheum’s Celebrity & Chef Cookoff next Tuesday June 13, 6:00 p.m. at Intrust Bank Arena.  Get tickets here!

Want some more wine FUN?  Check out these two events that I’m doing at Botanica.

June 21 –Warm Weather Wines for Summer
The temperature is HOT and so are these wines! Light, crisp, refreshing and bursting with summer flavor. Join Guy Bower, “The Good Life Guy” on an informative tasting journey of wines perfect for summer entertaining. You will learn about the grape varieties, vineyards, winemaker technique and food pairing ideas as we taste these wines together.

July 26 – Rosé Rocks
You can still enjoy the flavors and aromas of big bold red wine during summer months, just think pink. A selection of world class Rosé, from bone dry to softer fruit forward wines. These wines go great with a wide array of food or a summer evening with friends on the deck.

Good Life Guy’s Wine of the Week: 2014 J.Lohr Los Osos Merlot
232213-j-lohr-los-osos-merlot-2014-label-1491828139This Merlot is dark in the glass, with lots of oak, vanilla and caramel aromas against a black-cherry and chocolate-cake backdrop on the nose. Soft and chalky tannins frame the sip, where blueberry, vanilla and chocolate-cream flavors prove lush and inviting.  Wine Enthusiast 90 “Best Buy”

Get the technical stuff here 🙂

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