Food and Friendship… Al Fresco

Food and wine editor Bonnie Graves teams with renowned Chef David LeFevre of Manhattan Beach Post and his good friend, Chef Giuseppe Tentori, for the perfect South Bay brunch and wine pairing, hosted in the beautiful outdoor entertaining space of a private Manhattan Beach home.

We all know that good food is made great when shared with great friends. But when the chefs themselves are also great pals, you know you’re in for a memorable meal. That’s the case with Chef David LeFevre of local favorite Manhattan Beach Post, who is hosting a new collaborative series called “Can You Dig It?” in which he’ll pair a farmer and a chef for an extraordinary brunch that celebrates both friendship and farming. We caught up with David for his inaugural kick-off weekend, featuring produce from Maryann Carpenter of Coastal Organics farm and guest chef Giuseppe Tentori, who flew in from Chicago for the fun.  

Giuseppe and David cooked together in the trenches under Charlie Trotter in Chicago back in the day, and this past year both of these talented young chefs realized lifelong dreams of opening their own establishments. Tentori’s Boka and GT Fish & Oyster are runaway hits in the Windy City, while LeFevre’s MB Post has entirely redefined dining in the South Bay. As LeFevre puts it, “Cooking again with Giuseppe, now that we both have our own places, is really like coming full circle for me.”  

Happily, we at Southbay were able 

to corral these two busy guys for a very special lunch served al frescoin the gorgeous backyard of local foodies Bill, Susan and Ashley Weintraub of Manhattan Beach. Like a lot of us, Susan had simple plans for improving her outdoor dining space, but once Matt Preuss of The Cutting Edge Landscape in Redondo got involved, the project expanded with gorgeous results.  Passionate about dining, the Weintraubs’ home is one where food, wine and restaurants are hot topics—a place we wanted to share with our foodie readers too. Enter Mitch and Paula Langstein, also Manhattan Beach residents and winners of a dining contest offered on the OurSouthBay Facebook page. The lucky duo invited two other local couples to share this culinary experience with their hosts.

Incorporating Maryann’s gorgeous produce into our Southbay brunch was the main goal of Giuseppe and David when it came to menu planning. Served alongside MB Post brunch classics like pecan sticky buns and LeFevre’s wildly addictive bacon-cheddar biscuits were inventive dishes like Giuseppe’s gorgeous red beet rice balls served atop arugula fresh from Coastal Organics, a dish made perfect with the addition of some serious black truffle shavings. Similarly, carrots pulled from Maryann’s farm just hours before they’re used make for a heavenly carrot cake that’s light years apart from one made with dusty, industrial veggies.

 

In keeping with our theme and in homage to Giuseppe’s roots, we poured some amazing artisanal Italian wines pulled from the portfolio of boutique importer Rinascimento Wine Company. Owner Justin Gallen excels in sourcing small-lot wines that are often made by the farmers who grow the grapes. Standouts from our lunch were the wines from Cirelli, made with organically grown fruit from the Abruzzo region of Italy. The refreshing acidity of the 2010 Trebbiano, a widely planted white in the area, and the easy-drinking red fruit profile of the 2009 Montepulciano, epitomize how Italians view wine—as a condiment to good food and a conduit to good friends. We had plenty of both at our festive lunch.

While many chefs make token use of sustainable, local produce, Chef David LeFevre is an outspoken advocate who genuinely digs digging in the dirt. He’s a farmer’s chef and one who also believes in cultivating the careers of his colleagues—a rarity in what can be a cutthroat business.  He’s proof that both freshness and friendship are integral ingredients in any great chef’s arsenal. Note that both these young chefs have just been nominated for James Beard awards. Fingers crossed from all of us here at Southbay to this deserving duo.

 

The Menu

First Course

Sticky buns with pecans and brown sugar
Bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuits with maple butter
Belly button bagel, poppyseed, cream cheese and strawberry jelly

Second Course

Beet arancini with shaved fennel, arugula and Winter Perigord truffles
Turkey sausage patty with sage, cavolo nero and maple
Nueske’s bacon with rosemary, brown sugar and chili

Third Course

Benedict on a bacon cheddar biscuit with arugula 
La Quercia prosciutto and hollandaise
Chimichanga of scrambled egg, chorizo spiced pork, pepper jack cheese, yam and Jimmy’s mom’s salsa verde
Blueberry lemon skillet cake with Noble Tonic No. 1 vanilla maple syrup

Fourth Course

Nante carrot cake with cream cheese icing, candied walnut and pickled carrot
Polito Farms citrus salad of ruby grapefruit, blood orange, tangelo and pomegranate

The Wine List

Moscato d’Asti, Varja (Piedmont, Italy—2010) $22
Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Cirelli (Abruzzo, Italy—2010) $15
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Cirelli (Abruzzo, Italy—2009) $16
Sant’Antimo Sangiovese, San Polino (Montalcino, Italy—2009) $22

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