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PARTY LINE : How Green Was Their Salsa


When chefs John Sedlar and Hans Rockenwagner threw a combined staff Christmas party last month, nobody would leave. "They were having too great a time," says Sedlar, chef/owner of Bikini restaurant in Santa Monica where the party was held.

"John finally had to kick my staff out at 2 a.m.," adds Rockenwagner, who celebrated with the staffs of two of the four restaurants he started, Fama and Rockenwagner in Santa Monica.

Held outdoors on Bikini's patio, the menu was geared toward the chilly night air: Heaping bowls of pork and pinto bean stew, hominy, salsas, and stacks of piping hot fresh tortillas, from Bikini; pizzas, vegetable pie, couscous from Fama and Rockenwagner.

The food was set up on the bar and everyone helped themselves. Rockenwagner, who had the flu that evening, skipped the food and sipped hot tea liberally spiked with rum.

Maybe it was the rum, maybe not, but before Rockenwagner went home to bed, the two chefs got up and belted out Carly Simon's rendition of "You're So Vain," with accompaniment provided by a karaoke machine. "We butchered it,' says Sedlar. "I don't know who chose the song, but I think it was probably appropriate."


Sedlar made this fresh green salsa to accompany the pinto bean stew, but it's also terrific on grilled chicken, fish or grilled shrimp.


1/2 zucchini

4 tomatillos

2 Anaheim chiles, peeled, roasted and chopped

1 green pepper, coarsely diced

1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh oregano

3 green onions, chopped

1/2 teaspoon pickled ginger, optional

1 garlic clove, minced

2 teaspoons olive oil

Salt, pepper

In pot blanch zucchini in boiling water about 30 seconds. Remove and dice. Add tomatillos to water and and boil about 4 minutes. Remove, peel and chop.

In medium bowl, combine zucchini, tomatillos, chiles, green pepper, cilantro, oregano, green onions, ginger, garlic and olive oil. Cover. Refrigerate 2 hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes about 2 cups.

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