Food As Art: The Ultimate Culinary Experience in Los Angeles


The Aster’s rooftop restaurant, Lemon Grove, recently launched a new culinary pop-up series called “Food As Art: An Explorative Culinary Series.” The star of the evening was guest chef Alavro Clavijo, whose innovative and artistic approach to food captivated everyone, including myself. The event featured an exquisite eight-course meal that left a lasting impression.

The culinary adventure began with a variety of mouthwatering snacks that set the tone for the evening. Each bite offered a delightful combination of flavors and textures. One standout snack was the tender scallops on yuca toast, served with pol sambol and vegan coconut yogurt. The scallops’ delicate sweetness paired perfectly with the spicy pol sambol, creating a harmonious taste experience.

Moving on to the main courses, each dish showcased Chef Clavijo’s mastery. One standout entrée was the parsnip mushroom tartlet, featuring parsnip cream and pickled oyster mushrooms. The earthy flavors of the mushrooms blended seamlessly with the creamy parsnip, while the truffle elevated the dish with its elegant touch.

Another highlight was the Maine lobster accompanied by a yucca leaf kimchi, white garlic sauce, pears, and Caribbean plum broth. The perfectly cooked lobster was tender and succulent. The interplay between the spicy kimchi, subtle sweetness of the pears, and fragrant broth created a delightful dance of flavors.

Chef Clavijo’s expertise in transforming simple ingredients into culinary marvels was evident in the white grouper dish. The tender and flaky grouper, served with pil-pil and fermented cauliflower, showcased a harmonious blend of traditional and contemporary techniques. The addition of kohlrabi provided a refreshing crunch to every bite.

For those who enjoy meat, the wagyu rib eye was a true indulgence. The melt-in-your-mouth rib eye was expertly paired with morel mushrooms, savoy cabbage, and culona bearnaise sauce. The rich umami flavors of the wagyu were enhanced by the earthiness of the mushrooms, while the savoy cabbage added a crisp and vibrant contrast.

The dessert course presented the grand finale of the evening with the remarkable Mambe. An opera of mambe featured mambe ganache, honey marshmallow, and lemongrass ice cream, creating a complex and satisfying combination of flavors and textures. Chef Clavijo’s mastery was evident in every spoonful, with the richness of the ganache balanced by the delicate lemongrass ice cream, and the honey marshmallow adding a touch of sweetness.

Reflecting on my experience at Food As Art: An Explorative Culinary Series with Guest Chef Alavro Clavijo, I feel immense gratitude for being part of such an extraordinary evening. Each dish presented itself as a work of art, showcasing the chef’s creativity and passion for his craft.

Lemon Grove, with its stunning views and inviting ambiance, provided the perfect setting for this gastronomic journey. The event went beyond food’s utilitarian purpose and transformed it into a form of artistic expression.

If you ever have the opportunity to attend Food As Art in the future, I highly recommend immersing yourself in the world of culinary artistry. It is an experience that will tantalize your taste buds, ignite your imagination, and deepen your appreciation for the art of food.

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