Kavalan Tasting @ Lock & Key

Back again for another tasting! This time around, Kavalan was the highlight of the night. Kavalan is a Taiwanese distillery owned by King Car Group, and they have won numerous awards for their whisky. Tonight, we got to try the Concertmaster Port Cask Finish, the King Car Conductor Single Malt Whisky, the Ex-Bourbon Oak Single Malt Whisky, and the Sherry Oak Single Malt Whisky.

Since it was a Taiwanese Whiskey, Chef Cyndi Tran decided to pair the whisky with Taiwanese fusion food! For the first bites, we got homemade scallion pancake with braised beef, cucumber, hoisin, pickled carrot, and garlic oil to go with our Kavalan Concertmaster. 

Our first course consisted of a Sprouted Mung Bean Salad with shrimp, pickled eggplant, watermelon radish, tomatoes, spinach, baby celery, crispy shallots, and chili passion fruit vinaigrette. To pair with, we had the King Car Conductor. In my opinion, it is hard to pair a light appetizer such as a salad with a whisky, but I enjoyed both the dish and the whisky! 

For our entree, we had the roasted beef tenderloin with stir fried long beans, baby bok choy, carrots, bean sprouts, sesame, black bean, hoisin sauce, and citrus coriander glaze. This was my favorite course of the meal- the meat was so juicy and flavorful! This was paired with the Kavalan ex-Bourbon Oak, which basically means that this whisky was put into old bourbon barrels. Loved the pairing of these two! 

Last but not least, we had a Taiwanese Sponge Cake with lemon mango curd, papaya mousse, lychee and plut, and spiced peanut brittle. This was my friend's favorite course, and it was delicious with the Kavalan Sherry Oak. We both enjoyed the Sherry Oak the best as it had a nice light fruity taste! 

Another fantastic dinner and tasting hosted by Lock & Key! I love how they are able to appropriate the event to the specific types of whiskey they offer. I did not expect Lock & Key to host a Taiwanese dinner, and I love their versatility! Thanks again Lock & Key for hosting, and hopefully I will be back soon! :)

Menu for reference 

Menu for reference 

Napa Valley Grille Re-Opening

1100 Glendon Ave Ste 100
Los AngelesCA 90024

Commemorating their 15th year anniversary, Napa Valley Grille has re-opened their doors after a $2 million renovation. The entire restaurant has been remodeled including the interior dining room, private event space, and outdoor furniture with earth tone colors. Upon entering the restaurant, we were very impressed at the tall ceilings and the cavernous like rooms. There are multiple dining rooms perfect for a private event space, and they even added a private room encased with wine storage!

Napa Valley Grille also introduced Chef Adrian Vela as their new executive head chef. He has worked under chefs such as Joel Robuchon and Charlie Palmer, and brings with him a seasonal menu using local ingredients while keeping to the classic California cuisine that the restaurant offers. After sitting in one of the smaller rooms, we decided to order a couple appetizers to start as well as a glass of wine.

Wagyu Meatballs, beef, pancetta, fried green tomato, fresh herbs, romesco- Meatballs are always a fantastic choice, and this was no exception. The tomato was plump and juicy, and the crust was nice and crispy on the outside. It served as a great complement to the meatballs, and the marinara sauce was thick and creamy. 

Oven Roasted Mussels, crispy pancetta, sweet onions, charred tomato, Chardonnay- the mussel broth was amazing, and we could not stop dipping the bread in it! The sauce had a subtle smokey taste and was bursting of flavor. 

Roasted Vegetable Flatbread, brussels sprouts, heirloom carrots, cauliflower, garlic, corn, herbs- The crust was thin and crispy, and we loved the toppings! Everything tasted great together; it was a very Californian appetizer to start. 

For the entrees, we got the Chef's special lobster ravioli and the Steelhead trout. The house-made lobster ravioli with shrimp, chervil, and watermelon salad as my favorite from the night! The inside was stuffed with lobster, and the chilled watermelon shrimp salad was the perfect pairing to the ravioli. The bearnaise sauce that was fantastic as well as it added a light citrus taste to the overall dish. 

The steelhead trout with roasted asparagus, Meyer lemon risotto, harissa, and micro sorrel was a solid dish; the fish was tender and the risotto was nice and creamy. 

For dessert, we got the Butterscotch Bread Pudding as it was highly recommended as well as the Chocolate Pot De Creme. I have a giant sweet tooth, and the Butterscotch Bread Pudding was perfect for me! The marshmallows were toasted to perfection and the chocolate crisp was a great contrast to the soft bread pudding. I drenched my bread pudding in the brown sugar sauce, and it was yummy! 

The Chocolate Pot de Creme was smooth and creamy, and even though it was viscous, the chocolate flavor was on the lighter side! The pistachio biscotti paired really well with the chocolate.

We had a fantastic night at Napa Valley Grille; the restaurant was gorgeous! I used to pass by this restaurant back when I was at UCLA, and the renovations have really transformed the restaurant! Thanks for having us- so glad Napa Valley Grille is back! Like them on Facebook or follow them on Instagram to keep up to date with their opening~