At the beginning of April, stuck at home with limited items in her cupboard and a shortage of many staples on the shelves at local grocery stores, Westchester’s Cory Birkett took to Facebook. Someone that has always loved to cook, she was looking for new meals for the age-old question of “What’s for dinner?” She created the “Quarantine Cooking Group” as a way to share recipes and get some inspiration from friends, but with so many people looking for ideas on what to feed their families, the group quickly grew.
“Even people who love to cook get stuck in a rut. During quarantine, people have become adventurous because of limited ingredients and are working within their pantry,” said Birkett a realtor with ERA Matilla in Playa del Rey. “I was surprised by how it has grown. It started off with a few friends and now we have a lot of people sharing what they are making throughout the day. While 90 percent of the people are from Westchester/Playa, we have someone from as far away as Italy and even a few professional chefs.”
In the upcoming weeks, Ayara Thai will temporarily close for four months so the restaurant can embark on a construction project that will see it double in size and add a full-service bar. While Ayara is undergoing renovations, Westchester siblings Vanda, Peter and Cathy Asapahu will be filling the neighborhood’s culinary gap with their pop-up restaurant, Ayara Luk. Not ones to be stagnant, the close-knit trio are using this opportunity to create a restaurant that serves dishes inspired by their “experiences as first generation Thai-American,” and seeks to push the boundaries of what people have come to expect from Thai Food. Continue reading →
With the holidays now in full swing, local restaurants are enhancing their menus with specialty dishes, drinks and desserts that are designed to highlight the flavors of the season and showcase the talents of their chefs.
Updated. “Have you seen how well my squash are doing?,” asks a gardener on a recent summer day at the Emerson Avenue Community Garden (EACG). It’s not a hard question to answer as the garden is currently in full bloom with its 38 community plots teeming with fruits and vegetables including tomatoes, different varieties of kale and lettuce, beets and strawberries. Continue reading →