You don't have to be a sports fan to be excited about the Super Bowl. There are lots of things worth celebrating this weekend. One is Touchdown Downtown, the giant kick-off party that begins tomorrow afternoon at 4. All you need for this event is a good appetite.
More than 30 downtown restaurants (Angel's Flight, Bernard's, McCormick & Schmick's, Water Grill, Cardini, Checkers . . .) will be serving hot and cold hors d'oeuvres at three locations: The Broadway Plaza (7th and Hope streets), the California Plaza (3rd and Grand), and the pool deck at the Westin Bonaventure (5th and Flower). In addition to cheap eats ($1 to $2 each), there will be bands, street performers and artists of all kinds. No football.
Even DASH, the downtown mini-bus system, has joined the festivities. It will provide free transportation to and from each neighborhood destination.
Sponsored by the newly formed Downtown Marketing Council, a group of 36 area businesses dedicated to promoting downtown Los Angeles as a destination, Touchdown Downtown will be the largest downtown restaurant event ever held.
"We really have our necks on the line," says DMC organizer Holly Barnhill. "We have to do this nicely and neatly."
Tomorrow's event may just be the start of something wonderful. If the turnout is good, DMC has a lot of other excuses to throw a party: The new Convention Center, L.A. Public Library and Pershing Square are due to open in 1993, along with Saturday's unveiling of Metrorail's Red Line.
For more information on Touchdown Downtown, call the 24-hour hot-line at (213) 612-4886.
It's always best to make chili at least one day in advance. The flavors seem to develop better if left to sit for 24 hours. When reheating, add water if necessary and heat slowly to avoid scorching.
ENGINE CO. NO. 28'S VEGETARIAN BLACK-BEAN CHILI 2 cups black turtle beans, soaked overnight 1 dried ancho chile 1 dried guajillo chile 1 bay leaf 4 teaspoons cumin seeds 4 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano leaves 4 teaspoons paprika 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 3 tablespoons olive oil 3 medium yellow onions, cut into 1/3-inch dice 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 pounds Roma tomatoes, or 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans, peeled and diced, juice reserved 1 chipotle chile in adobo, finely chopped 1 tablespoon rice vinegar 1/4 cup chopped cilantro Chopped green onions Shredded sharp Cheddar cheese Creme fraiche Cilantro leaves
Sort through beans and remove any foreign material. Rinse and cover with water and let soak overnight.
Roast dried ancho and guajillo chiles on baking sheet at 375 degrees 3 to 5 minutes to release oils. Allow to cool briefly, then remove stem, seeds and veins. Place in blender with 3/4 cup hot water and allow to stand 5 minutes, then puree. Add more water if necessary to make paste. Reserve.
Drain beans, place in large pot and cover again with fresh water by 1 1/2 inches. Add bay leaf and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer until beans are almost tender.
Heat small heavy skillet over medium heat. Add cumin seeds, stirring until they begin to color. Stir in oregano leaves, shaking pan frequently so herbs don't burn. When aroma is strong, remove pan from heat and add paprika and cayenne. Stir quickly few times. Place mixture in blender and grind into coarse powder. Set aside.
Heat olive oil in large, heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add and saute onions until tender. Add garlic, ground spice mixture, salt and 1/2 ancho and guajillo chile paste and cook 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, juice and about 1 teaspoon chipotle chile. Simmer 15 minutes, add beans and cooking water and continue cooking until beans are tender.
Adjust chiles and salt to taste. Add vinegar and chopped cilantro, cook 5 minutes longer. Adjust seasonings to taste 1 last time. Serve with bowls of green onions, Cheddar cheese, creme fraiche and cilantro leaves. Makes 10 cups, about 6 servings.
Each serving contains about: 334 calories; 184 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 8 grams fat; 53 grams carbohydrates; 16 grams protein; 5.19 grams fiber.
This recipe comes from executive chef Richard Horil of Pavan Restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Los Angeles.
GRILLED ZUCCHINI STUFFED WITH RICOTTA CHEESE 1/2 pound zucchini 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 cup ricotta cheese 1 tablespoon finely julienned fresh basil 4 cloves garlic, minced 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese Salt, pepper
Slice zucchini thin lengthwise and toss in large bowl with olive oil. Over high heat, grill zucchini until tender. Let cool.
Mix together ricotta cheese, basil, garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Place 1 tablespoon cheese mixture at 1 end of grilled zucchini slice and roll up. Stand rolls on end and place on serving platter. Repeat process for remaining zucchini slices. Makes 6 servings.
Each serving contains about: 216 calories; 236 mg sodium; 27 mg cholesterol; 19 grams fat; 3 grams carbohydrates; 9 grams protein; 0.21 gram fiber.