Cooking Class 2.0
The new cooking classes feature unfamiliar ingredients, star chefs, wine socializing, and many eating opportunities. Get excited about putting on that apron again.
Food Truck Cuisine
Get in on the food truck craze and learn how to make some of the best dishes being served around the country from Chef Pam Schwartz. We’re talking spicy Korean pork tacos; poblano quesadillas; and grass-fed beef burgers with arugula, cambozola, and bacon jam. Schwartz also takes the time to demonstrate useful knife techniques. $69 at Sur La Table, surlatable.com
Men on Cooking
Chef Chad White of EGO Culinary Trends loves to teach “bromance” cooking classes for the guys. These three-hour, hands-on classes started with Valentine’s Day dishes to woo sweethearts, and now include the upcoming “Get Your Grill On.” Scheduled for July 16, it goes way beyond the burger. $65 at Cups Culinary, cupslj.com
Asian Market Tours and Meals
If unfamiliar produce, noodles, condiments, and seafood intimidate you, get demystified with the following tour-and-meal combos: 99 Ranch Market tour and dim sum at Jasmine, $54 through Great News! with Katherine Emmenegger; Nijiya Market tour and lunch at Sakura Restaurant, $54 through Great News! with cookbook author Mineko Moreno (next class is on July 11), great-news.com; Thuan Phat market tour and hands-on cooking demonstration at Saffron, with Thai cookbook author and restaurateur Su-Mei Yu, $95, saffronsandiego.com.
This evening demonstration class is set in the warehouse of the local seafood wholesaler. Catalina Offshore Products’ Tommy Gomes has created a party-like atmosphere that combines cooking, eating, drinking, socializing, and even a bit of education about sustainable seafood. Plus, they usually have a knife sharpening company available to do demos and sharpen your knives for free. Chefs have included Melissa Mayer, Chad White, and Jenn Felmley. Check their Facebook page for upcoming events. $45 at Catalina Offshore Products, catalinaop.com
Venissimo’s “Make Mozz & Ricotta” classes—taught at the East Village shop either by “Cheese Wiz” and Venissimo owner Gina Frieze or Chef Jack Fisher of NINE-TEN—demonstrate the ins and outs of cheese making and their tricks to doing it successfully. Learn all of this while sipping wine and snacking on cheeses and other items from the shop. Plus, you get to take home samples. $45 at Venissimo Cheese, venissimo.com
How to Choose the Right Olive Oil
Now available: fresh, quality olive oils, whether from local harvests at Temecula Olive Oil Company, statewide from California at We Olive in La Jolla, or international at Coronado Taste of Oils.
Step up to the bar at these three olive oil shops and taste a variety of oils to find flavors that you’ll enjoy and use—as a condiment or for cooking. Here’s how to sample oils like a pro:
1. Smell. Swirl a small amount in a glass to release the scent and then inhale. Try to identify what you’re breathing in. Is it strong? Does it smell like herbs or fruit? Or is it mild?
2. Taste. Take a bit of a slurp and let the oil spread around your mouth. When you finally swallow, do you get a bit of spice in the back of your throat?
3. Decide. Typically, early harvest oils tend to be strong and brash leaving that tickle in the throat. If you prefer mellow and buttery, look for end-of-harvest oils, pressed from olives that have fully matured. Also, consider tasting blends of varietals that capture a flavor that speaks to you.
4. Discern. Regardless of the flavor profile you prefer, the oil should have three attributes: fruit, bitter and pungent. It should taste fresh with nothing flat or neutral about it.