Posts for April 26, 2012

L.A. Restaurants After The Riots

"After the riots, L.A.'s insularity somehow fostered restaurants with a strength of purpose, even stronger and more specific than they had previously been. Mainstream restaurants began to find their inspiration within L.A.'s communities rather than outside them. You began to see chefs congregating at places like Guelaguetza and Sapp on their days off, and the standard Los Angeles style of service grew to become more like the shared-plates meals at local Japanese izakaya, or Thai coffee shops, or Korean pubs, or Mexican botana bars — almost as a sign of L.A. cultural literacy, but perhaps something more." — Jonathan Gold, on the evolution of local restaurants following L.A.'s 1992 riots, part of the paper's ongoing series exploring the event's impact. [LAT]

Bottomless Beverage Birthday Bash at Bacaro Tomorrow

Bacaro Wine Bar, the first establishment in Santos Uy's L.A. empire, is turning four tomorrow evening on Union Avenue, and not-so-surprisingly, a drunken engagement is going down to mark the occasion. Make that a SEVEN HOUR drunken engagement, as Bacaro is offering an open bar and passed apps from five to midnight tomorrow evening. $20 buys entry for the fete, which will include DJs, along with the near endless indulgence in wine and tapas. In the four years since bringing Bacaro to South L.A., Uy has busied himself by opening Mignon in Downtown and last fall, a foray into Parisian-style bistronomy at the Los Feliz-based Papilles. Bacaro, 2308 S. Union Ave..

Locanda del Lago Presents Five Courses of Capon Tonight

If you're dying to consume entire animals from toe to top, this is basically your week, with full beast dinners held at Batch, Eveleigh, and tonight at Locanda del Lago. The Third Street Promenade Northern Italian continues its "Morso della Bestia" series tonight with a five-course dinner centered on free-range capon, the rooster that's all coq, no balls. Starting with seatings at 7:00 P.M. chef Gianfranco Minuz plans an arrangement of farmers market foliage with dishes like capon tortellini with capon consomme, housemade chestnut tagliatelle with capon offal ragu, and a chilled roulade of capon with spiced fruit mustard and baby frisee, along with the promise of bottomless glasses of house red or white. The $48-per-person menu, which you'll see below in full, is available throughout the restaurant, with reservations recommended at 310-451-3525.

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If You Were Ever Stupid Enough to Think Nutella Was Healthy, You Might Be Owed Some Money

Nutcase wins Nutella suit.

It absolutely kills us to turn on Nutella but ... just in case you were ever misled into thinking that the rich, chocolatey, sinful spread had the same calories as a celery stick (what is wrong with you??), then you should know there's a class-action case you can creep into. NPR reports, "Each claim will pay out up to $20 — that's $4 per jar, on up to five jars — or less, depending on the number of claimants." Contact: Conversely, just be cool. [NPR]

Vu Vet Ryan Turner Joins Santa Monica's West 4th and Jane


West 4th and Jane, Santa Monica's Corner Bistro-influenced New York-style pub, announces the appointment of chef Ryan Turner to its executive chef position. A Portland native, Turner came to L.A. after locavore-driven stints back home and in San Francisco, to join Marina del Rey's Vu as a sous chef to Kyle Schutte, a chef he cites as a huge influence on his classic and contemporary fusion. Turner is putting new dishes on the menu like wild boar ribs, a spatezle mac and cheese, and calamari frites, which the public is invited to come in and try, alongside some beer samples, on May 9 at 7:00 P.M. West 4th and Jane has also introduced a few new tricks, like a daily happy hour from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M. and daily deals like Monday's burgers and beers (both included for $10) and Wednesday Pint Night (free pint glass with every beer bought off draft). 1432 4th St. Santa Monica.

Move Over Pink Slime: Now Granola’s Toxic, Too

Mmm… pesticides

No doubt meat’s been getting a bum rap lately with all this bad news about mad-cow scares, pink slime, and feces-contaminated chickens. But before you get all high and mighty from atop of your tower of tempeh, consider this: Meatless munchies like granola aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. In fact, products from Kashi, the seemingly safe brand of “all natural” cereal and snacks, are loaded with residual toxic pesticides and are all too often wrought with genetically modified soy and corn ingredients. PreventDisease reports that an investigation into the validity of all-natural claims made by Kashi, which is actually a subsidiary of Kellogg's, are mostly bunk.

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Pregnancy Be Damned, Drew Barrymore’s New Wine Hits Stores Next Week

Drew aglow in February.Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

A couple of months back we mentioned that actress Drew Barrymore had parlayed her love of wine-drinking into wine-making. Now we learn that the first bottles of Barrymore Pinot Grigio will go on sale in New York on May 3 for $20 a bottle, and Drew might be a little sad about the timing — given that she won't be able to drink at any of the launch events if the rumors about her being pregnant are true.

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Umami Burger Adds Thousand Oaks Location and Children's Menu, Open May 3

Umami Burger

Another day, another Umami Burger. The tenth location of Adam Fleischman's Japanese-affected burger chain is breaking the seal on May 3rd, with a ribbon cutting ceremony at Thousand Oaks' The Lakes shopping center planned with the nation's new burger king himself and the city's mayor. Consistent with the chain's mission to adapt locally to each zip code it breaches, this new Umami is set-up as a family restaurant, and is the first to feature a children's menu with pint-sized orders of tempura chicken tenders, U-mini cheese burgers, and grilled cheese sandwiches, with accompanying choices of regular and sweet potato fries, apple slices, and cookies.

Umami Burger, opening May 3 at 2200 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd. Thousand Oaks.

Family at Hungry Jack’s Finds Surprise ‘Package’

Hungry Jack or Horny Jack?

An Australian mum was horrified to find a crude drawing in her hamburger takeout this week. Someone had scribbled a man's private parts — the other, low-hanging fruits — inside her burger box. "If they have drawn that in there, what else have they done to my burger?" the disgusted customer wisely asked. This plus the spitting saga equals a big, fat stay-away-from-fast-food. [The Chronicle]

DineLA Adding New Summer and Weekend Dates

DineLA's restaurant week is switching up the program to include new summer and weekend dates, removing the event's previous fall stint but keeping the run in January. Running from July 16 to 27, the basic idea will be the same, while DineLA will offer its first weekend menus on Saturday and Sunday over the eleven-day happening, a nice solution for anyone too harried during the work week to plan dinner. [LAT]

New Cans Make ‘Shotgunning’ Easier

Down the hatch!Photo: SABMiller

Here’s some good news for folks out there with a propensity for binge drinking: Some genius at SABMiller and Molson Coors Brewing (a.k.a. MillerCoors) came up with a way to streamline the consumption of Miller Lite. They’re calling it the “Punch Top Can.” The official word from MillerCoors is that this breakthrough in beer-can technology is designed to increase airflow and reduce “glug” to facilitate a smoother pour. But anyone who’s ever spent time at college fraternity parties, Jets games, or Phish shows will surely recognize it as an air hole that makes shotgunning beers possible. The only difference really is, you no longer need a knife or awl to pierce the can. How’s that for drinking responsibly?

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Ocho Options For Eating and Drinking on Cinco de Mayo

We're legally required to write something about how Cinco de Mayo is really just a commemoration of the Mexican Army's victory over the French in Puebla in 1862 and more like Mexican Saint Patrick's Day in the U.S. rather than something anyone should really give a pinche pedo about. Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, it's time to lead you as far away from Cabo Cantina as possible with a few suggestions for captivating food and drink deals on next Saturday's 150th Anniversary of Cinco de Drinko. While a massive fiesta is planned along twelve blocks of Broadway this Sunday and a Cinco-themed car show will overtake Santa Monica on May 6, we have an itinerary planned to score several decent deals in town, some popping up at tongue-in-cheek locations well-stocked with fine tequila and a few at restaurants getting in on the deal with discounts or specials for customers. Take a look and ten divertido!

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The Blind Barber: A Shave and a Cocktail, Two Bits

New concept, old-timey lookPhoto: The Blind Barber

The Blind Barber, New York's odd coupling of a two-chair barbershop and classic cocktail lounge, will have its first close shave with L.A. when it opens in Culver City on May 17. Eater reports that the throwback concept, which puts a cocktail in the hand of every customer coming in for a trim and features a backroom speakeasy, just cleared the liquor licensing hurdle and might even be soft-opening next week (Update: Guest of a Guest declares that the place opened today, with a menu of grilled cheese in its speakeasy), just in case you want to let that thing on your face grow a few more days (do NOT wait to get that drink in your hand). And just what can you expect here?

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Spring Chickens No More: Poultry Has a Retirement Program

Urban chicken farming is all the rage, so it makes sense that urban-chicken retirement homes are cool now, too. The New York Times turns into an episode of Portlandia visits Portland to spotlight "blissful, pastoral" resting places for past-their-prime poultry. At these coops, birds chase one another, jump for Cheerios, and are protected from "cockfighting hooligans." They do not play bingo. [NYT]

Chris Pratt Has Restaurant-Related Stress Dreams

Anyone who has ever waited tables knows the stress dreams that come with the gig. (If you don't, check out this little roundup of some that servers around the city experience.) Not immune from this phenomenon: Hollywood hotshots. Well, Chris Pratt — Andy on Parks & Recreation, husband of Anna Faris — gets them, anyway. He tells GQ, "They're like the worst nightmare you can have. You're totally in the weeds. You have like six tables. You forgot to put the order in. You're sweating, and you wake up and 'Oh, my God. I'm so glad.'" [GQ, Related]

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