Posts for April 30, 2012

Mangia Gratis Tomorrow at GustoItaliano, Popping Up in Hollywood

While Victor Casanova works to get his Gusto open on Third Street, a one-day pop-up of gourmet Italian products will take over The Hollywood Renaissance tomorrow named GustoItaliano. From noon to five on Tuesday, a gang-load of Italian vendors and food makers will offer unlimited tastings, including beers from Italian microbrewery Birra Valscura, noodles from Pastificio Fabbri, wine from Cantine Innocenti, and cheese made by Consorzio Tutela Grana Padano, among several other providers of authentic Italian food and drink. All are welcome tomorrow at 1755 North Highland Ave., with full details available online.

What Sunny Spot Will Serve at Its Weekend Brunch

Sunny Spot

Starting May 12, Roy Choi and David Reiss' Sunny Spot will bruk out its new weekend brunch menu from 11:00 to 3:00 P.M. every Saturday and Sunday. The menu includes a daytime glimpse at Sunny Spot standards like the chef's head cheese pork terrine Cubano, oxtail stew, and smashing Two-Fisted burger, while fans of the restaurant can try new morning-friendly dishes with a selection of fruit smoothies and breakfast cocktails. Original items include a benedict of salt cod brandade with coconut hollandaise, a plate Korean-style confit eggs with jerk fingerling potatoes and pork belly or hangar steak, fried Caribbean "festival bread" with goat butter and guava jelly, and banana French toast with rum coconut whipped cream. Drinks include a liquor-less smoothie made with coconut milk, fruit, and cracked pepper plus mash-you-up cocktails like a bloody Mary with jerk spices and something called "Death in The D.R." (giving us painful Oscar Wao flashbacks). See the full menu online and catch your first glimpse come Mother's Day weekend.

23 L.A. and Bay Area Chefs Uniting in May For Foie Gras Tasting Menu Fight

Look who's fighting over you now!

This morning we learned that 100 chefs are uniting to take a stand for their beloved foie gras, which is due to be banned in California come July. Whether the group claims the final victory or loss, L.A. will be a big winner in May when the Coalition for Humane and Ethical Farming Standards (C.H.E.F.S) stages a battle pitting a huge crew of famous chefs against each other with simultaneous foie gras tasting menus as their weapons at Melisse, The Royce at The Langham, Lemon Moon, and Animal, full of big name guest chefs from both Southern and Northern California restaurants. Who is participating in this self-styled "battle for foie gras?"

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L.A. County to Target Fraudulent Seafood Issue

After a recent expose revealed that a majority of L.A.'s seafood was being mislabeled, the county is launching a crackdown on the practice under the eye of the Department of Public Health, with a pilot program for inspectors to test seafood species being implemented in the coming weeks. The involved agencies plan to focus on the supply chain, as well as fish packaging and the veracity of menu items. Restaurants and retailers targeted could likely include those in Marina del Rey, El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance, Palos Verdes, and Long Beach, where the original fraudulent samples were initially discovered. [Patch]

World’s 50 Best Restaurants List Announced: Noma Still Tops

Another year, another set of restaurants jockeying for the top spot.

What's interesting about The World's 50 Best Restaurants list, put out each year by Restaurant Magazine in the U.K., is how quickly it's become shorthand for referring to great restaurants. Witness Noma, which almost everyone calls the best restaurant in the world, as if it were an objective fact, not the result of this particular list's rankings. Well, good news for Noma: Today it upheld that ranking for the third year in a row, and is still the best restaurant in the world. (Which means it'll probably still keep cranking out stagiaires.)

Here are the rest of the 2012 picks. »

The L.A. Times Further Drives Tattooed Chefs Theme Into The Ground

Carolynn Spence's hand doubles as a measuring spoonPhoto: Carolynn Spence

Way back in the ancient age of 2005, the New York Times ran a slideshow of chefs' food-centric tattoos starting with Nino Mancari's ink of Alice Waters. Since then, our strange new world of reality TV cooking and food-obsessed media has leaned heavily on this very same theme to showcase the edgy breed of rising star chefs who wear their passions on their sleeves in the form of pigs, apples, and cutlery. From stories in Slashfood and The Huffington Post last year to previous works in S.F. Weekly, O.C. Weekly, L.A. Weekly, and The Village Voice, the idea stopped feeling trendy by the time one stogy Food & Wine reader tried to turn a magazine cover into controversy in 2009.

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Marijuana Restaurant Opens in Oregon, May Get to Stay

Logo designed by that stoner who used to sit and doodle next to you in high school

It's probably just a matter of time before restaurants serving marijuana-infused dishes spread across the increasingly toke-tolerant U.S.: After a joint (heh) called Ganja Gourmet opened in Denver in late 2009, the only question remaining was whether the next big debut would be for those stoners in California or the great ganja fiends of Oregon. While L.A. recently held a series of weed-infused pop-up dinners and Northern California is famous for clandestine marijuana wine, it looks like Ashland, Oregon, is the newest city to claim its very own marijuana restaurant, as Earth Dragon Edibles opened its doors this weekend to serve THC-infused tea, dessert, and Mongolian barbecue to patients with a doctor's medical-marijuana recommendation.

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Eight Tolerable Pieces of Food Art From "The Art of Cooking" at Royal/T

It turns out that food art can be pretty bad, as we learned last Friday at Royal/T's latest (and last in this space) exhibit "The Art of Cooking." Works like a fleshy plush trumpet aside a McDonald's cup and sculptures that look like your five-year-old nephew simply mashed his dinner together weren't uncommon at the show's reveal on Friday night, in addition to a Kenny Scharf that had little, if anything, to do with food (curator Hanne Mugaas swears the flying objects are donuts) and a screechy band that riffed on the theme of eating a single sandwich. Still, there were a few works we actually kind of liked looking at, such as Olaf Breuning's googly-eyed tea kettle collection, Takeshi Murata's dystopian version of Popeye, or Scott Reeder's haunting look into a pot of pasta. Check out eight pieces we liked, plus a few of the crappier ones in this slide show look at Royal/T's "Art of Cooking."

Guy Fieri’s Stolen Lamborghini Found!

Over a year after it was stolen, Guy Fieri's bright yellow Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder was found Saturday night in a storage container in Point Richmond. Marin County officers raided the container with a search warrant and arrested a 17-year-old suspect there who was wanted for an April 13 shooting incident in Mill Valley, in which he allegedly fired a handgun from a motorcycle into a parked vehicle. Is this kid the same person who rappelled into the Van Ness showroom in March 2011 where Fieri's prized car was being stored and took off with it across the Golden Gate Bridge?

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Coalition of 100 Chefs Decides to Fight the Foie Gras Ban

Happy ducks come from California?Illustration: Artisan Foie Gras

A group of 100 chefs from across California, including big names like Thomas Keller, David Kinch, and Ludo Lefebvre, have just submitted an eleventh-hour appeal to the California legislature to overturn the impending ban on foie gras. Though the law was passed over seven years ago, no one seems to have taken it seriously until now with the ban about to take effect in two months. The chefs along with the Golden Gate Restaurant Association have put together a charter that calls for humane, hand-feeding of ducks and geese, and they make the compelling argument (which Ken Frank made in the L.A. Times a couple weeks ago) that the ban will only create a black market for foie gras and more room for cruelty to the birds by less than reputable producers. "It's a stupid law," says Daniel Patterson. "If we want to change how we eat in this country, there are a thousand other ways, like school lunches." Furthermore, these chefs say, the way foie is being produced, via the age-old French tradition of gavage at the state's only foie gras farm, isn't cruel.

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First Look at What Keith Silverton is Cooking at MessHall Kitchen

Test Kitchen reemerged this past Friday night with a sneak peek at MessHall Kitchen, the new restaurant coming to Los Feliz this summer from the owners behind Sotto, Picca, and Short Order. Held at Amy Pressman and Nancy Silverton's Fairfax burger joint, the evening was a "boot camp" lead by another, unrelated Silverton; this time Keith Silverton, a chef whose long career has led him through the kitchens of Jeremiah Tower and Mark Miller, and is known to L.A for his work opening Dominick's, Smitty's Grill, The Spider Club, and cooking at Nonna of Italy.

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50 State Dinners, 2012: Food Pilgrimages You Must Make This Summer

Every year around this time, everyone starts itching for summer (it's so close), and that means it's time to start thinking about where we'll all be going once the weather warms up, which in turn means thinking about what to eat. With that in mind, Grub Street's editors have once again scoured the country looking for fantastic, one-of-a-kind restaurants, no matter which part of the country you wind up in.

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