Chinese New Year at WP24 {Los Angeles Dining}

WP24-Dining-Room

There are many new names in cuisine and plenty of hot spots to choose from in Los Angeles, yet there’s only one Wolfgang Puck, and he knows how to throw a Chinese New Year feast. Actually, it was more of a night market than a feast, with four food stations serving dim sum, Peking duckling, crispy roast pork, and Szechuan hot pot skewers

WP24-dumplings

As Chinese New Year festivities for the Year of the Monkey began the week before Valentine’s Day, dressing up in red and eating Chinese food was all in the cards for us. We had plenty of events in Chinatown to attend later in the week, but as my darling described it in his post about our dinner, "sometimes a guy just wants to be pampered with fancy Chinese food and cocktails while hanging out with celeb chef Wolfgang Puck on the 24th floor of the swank Ritz-Carlton hotel at his restaurant WP24."

WP24-red-dining-chinese-new-year

And so, I pampered my guy. He couldn't get enough of the night market offerings, going back for more and more plates of dumplings: siu mai, har gow, squid ink Jidori chicken dumpling, and sticky rice filled with Alaskan king crab and sweet Chinese sausage.

Along with the night market selections and a ceremonious lion dance to usher in the Year of the Monkey, Wolfgang served a three-course menu with champagne, wine, cocktails, and probably one of the best desserts I've had in a long time. The menu for the Chinese New Year was traditional with noodles for longevity, jiaozi dumplings, and tangerine-infused desserts (the tangerine creamsicle cake was reason enough to celebrate) all with Chef Wolfgang's signature spin on modern Asian.

My veggie-loving tastebuds were bountifully appeased with a Buddha's feast of savory vegetables and perfectly fried tofu. But as the kitchen made graceful accommodations to my plant-based palate, I must confess: I ate a lobster skewer. I couldn't help it, as I was tempted by my sweetheart waggling the plump skewer of lobster basted in garlic sauce. The juicy bite burst with flavor in my mouth. I looked to see if anyone else noticed as I sank my teeth into the buttery melting lobster flesh, lest the vegan police come and find me. I didn't care-- as that luscious lobster skewer was completely worth every morsel.

wp24 cny skewers

Noodles are traditional fare during the lunar celebration, as noodles symbolize longevity. My sweetheart's first course: Whole Santa Barbara Spot Prawns with XO Glass Noodles.

wp24 cny glass noodle prawn

My dish was the same, sans the prawns, adding tofu to the abundant spool of noodles. The guilty pleasure of my lobster skewer was enough to satiate my desire for something beyond the garden, as the tofu was soft and custardy inside of the crisp golden outer fried skin.

WP24-Tofu-Bowl-Veggies

For the second course, I had more tofu upon stir fried veggies infused with garlic--- crisp and fresh with just enough umami to hold their own. My darling enjoyed his Szechuan Peppercorn Crusted American Wagyu Rib Eye upon Oxtail Shanghai Noodles. Clearly he was in heaven, lapping up every bite, savoring each taste, rolling his eyes in pleasure.

WP24-Tangerine-Creamsicle-iPhoto

The dessert, Tangerine Creamsicle, was an absolute dream. Much like honey during the Jewish Rosh Hashanah (New Year), sweet desserts symbolize a sweet new year. (I had to take an Instagram photo of this delectable thing.) Burst of mandarin orange segments, a fleck of gold leaf, borage flower, crunch of coconut crumble, tang of tangerine. 

WP24-Dessert-Plate-Tangerine-Creamsicle

A citrusy cake as the base, with a creamy tangerine semifreddo at center, topped with a coconut crumble, and drizzled with a delicate honey tangerine sauce. We relished in the creamsicle quality and combination of textures. It is quite possible we asked for one more as we ordered a pot of jasmine tea for two. 

I was lucky enough to get the recipe from Pastry Chef Megan Potthoff for this dessert. I'm sure my own version won't compare, but nevertheless I'll try my hand at it because I love the citrusy taste. Just in case you aren't able to visit Los Angeles and want to taste something exquisite, here's the recipe. By the way, the Chinese word for tangerine sounds like luck, and what luck it is to eat. 

Tangerine Creamsicle

Megan Potthoff, Pastry Chef WP24 by Wolfgang Puck

Yield: Makes 8 servings

Citrus Cake

  • 40 grams Butter, room temperature

  • 90 grams Sugar

  • 2 tsp. Orange zest

  • 45 grams Egg Whites

  • 50 grams Milk

  • 75 grams All-purpose Flour, sifted w/ baking powder & salt

  • ½ tsp. Baking Powder

  • Pinch of Salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a small sheet pan (9” x 13”) with parchment paper and spray with pan spray. Set aside. In a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter, sugar, and zest. Mix on medium speed for 5 minutes. Slowly add the egg whites, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Continue to mix until egg whites are incorporated. Reduce speed and alternate adding dry ingredients and milk. Mix until smooth. Spread cake batter into prepared pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until firm and golden. Let cool completely. Cut the cake to fit the bottom of your loaf pan.

Semifreddo

  • 95 grams Sugar

  • 50 grams Water

  • 115 grams Egg Yolks

  • 160 grams Tangerine Juice

  • 2 tsp. Tangerine Zest

  • 225 grams Egg Whites

  • 95 grams Sugar

  • 375 grams Heavy Cream

Line a 9x5x3-inch metal loaf pan with 2 layers of plastic wrap, leaving generous overhang on all sides. Set aside. In a kitchen aid stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the egg yolks on high speed until light and fluffy. Meanwhile, in a small pot bring the 1st amount of sugar and water to a boil. With the mixer running, stream in hot sugar syrup. Continue to mix on high speed until cool. Whisk in tangerine juice and zest, and reserve in refrigerator. In a large bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form. Set aside. Using a clean mixing bowl, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Increase to high speed and gradually rain in the 2nd amount of sugar. Whip whites until soft peaks form. Fold whites into tangerine/yolk mixture in 2 additions. Finish by folding in soft whipped cream. Pour semifreddo into prepared loaf pan. Freeze overnight.

Coconut Crumble

  • 40 grams Non-fat Milk Powder

  • 40 grams All-purpose Flour

  • 50 grams Sugar

  • 60 grams Coconut, shredded

  • Pinch of Salt

  • 60 grams Butter, melted

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine non-fat milk powder, flour, sugar, coconut, and salt. Add melted butter and gently toss to form small clusters. Spread clusters on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, until sandy and golden. Set aside to cool.

Honey Tangerine Sauce

  • 440 grams Tangerine Juice

  • 60 grams Honey

  • 1 Vanilla bean, seeds scraped

  • Tangerine segments of 2 tangerines

In a small pot bring tangerine juice, honey, and vanilla bean to a boil. Boil until mixture is syrupy and reduced slightly, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Transfer to bowl and cool over ice bath. Add tangerine segments. Cover and chill.

Assembly

Remove semifreddo from loaf pan. Invert on top of a cake rectangle. Slice into 8 portions, they should be 2x2-inch squares.

Place semifreddo on plate, drizzle with tangerine sauce, top with coconut crumble, as well as tangerine segments in sauce.

WP24 900 W. Olympic Blvd. 24th Floor, Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles, CA 213.743.8824