Coral Tree Cafe's Panini-Off Gives Top Honors to Vegan Entry
By Esther Tseng of e*starLA/Special to LAist
The stage was set and the pressers positioned. After countless entries were submitted last December, five finalists emerged to go head to head at The Coral Tree Café Panini-Off last Tuesday, January 19. Brentwood would be the setting to determine just who makes the best panini in town. A rainy January night would prove to be the perfect backdrop, as few things are more comforting than hot-pressed sandwiches.
Cecilia Fabulich’s fusion-esque Shanghai Spice Pork Loin Panini was the sweet-spicy selection of the night and came with a topping of pickled onions. Michael Haddad’s Breakfast Panini with Egg, Prosciutto, Gruyere and Chive Oil was a perfect morning hangover solution. Firefighters crowded around Tsz Chan and her comforting Holiday Ham Panini to ask for seconds (and thirds and fourths - but who’s counting?).
But there would be crowned winners of the night. Nico Juber’s Perfect Panini with goat cheese and turkey bacon was the “People’s Choice” - the results of which were reached by tallying everyone-but-the-judges’ single favorite panini. But it was Chloe Coscarelli’s unique Mango Masala Panini recipe that won the judges’ favor. The Gourmet Institute student, whose recipe included spiced chickpea masala, roasted cauliflower curry and tamarind mango chutney, went home with a $250 gift certificate to Coral Tree.
The judges on hand for the ultimate sammich show-down were Robert Niksefat, Coral Tree Café co-founder, Senior Editor Mar Yvette of Citysearch Los Angeles, Founder of FoodGPS.com Joshua Lurie, Co-editor of LAist Lindsay William-Ross and CEO/Founder of Chefmakers Cooking Academy Richard Klein. In all, $700 was raised for the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firemen’s Fund which is part of the Los Angeles Firemen’s Relief Association and will go towards support for family members of firefighters injured or killed in the line of duty.