Posts for November 8, 2012

Oliverio Cooks Up a $500 Truffle Burger

Ever since the day Daniel Boulud introduced a $27 house burger to DB Bistro, then broke the triple-digit barrier with a foie gras and truffle burger, patty-pricing one-upmanship is one of those gimmicks we just have to live with, half-snickering, half-curious along the way. Mirko Paderno of Avalon Hotel's Oliverio is the latest to spring one of these attention-getting burgers on L.A., introducing a new Hamburger al Tartufo for $500.

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Venice Social Introduces Isoceles Sandwiches With Benedicto Gell; Venice Meet Returns Saturday

The Venice Meet

Friday, November 16**, from 6:00 to 10:00 P.M., The Venice Social is introducing a new sandwich concept called Isoceles, cheffed by Benadicto Gell, the former Joe's cook who graced Capri's short-lived pop-up this summer. Gell will be behind sandwiches like tri-tip and American cheese on a roll called "The Super" and a braised pork belly banh mi with jicama and jalapenos, alongside free bread pudding from Schulzie's, a salt tasting with Hepp's, ice pops and gourmet sodas from one Don Hielo, and a $20 cocktail bar from Mothershucker, along with art and an acoustic performance. The event, held at 46 Windward Court, is free, but RSVPs must be made online. The very next day, The open-air Venice Meet is coming back to Abbot Kinney, rain or shine, with free admission yielding more art and indie eats from 11:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Food vendors include jams and pickles from Coldwater Canyon Provisions, Roll'n Lobster Truck, sweet potato pie from Vici Victual, and caramels from Amella.

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A Look at Valentino's 40-Dish Anniversary Dinner Menu, Wednesday November 14

Seafood pasta at ValentinoPhoto: Valentino

Piero Selvaggio's Valentino is celebrating its 40th birthday in Santa Monica next Wednesday and it's going big. The owner is welcoming guest stars like Steve Samson of Sotto, Valentino Vegas's Luciano Pellegrini, Farina's Angelo Auriana, and Drago don-dada Celestino Drago, along with Darrell Corti of Sacramento's Corti Brothers Italian grocery. Dinner will take the form of 40 small bites and 40 wine tastings, influenced by renowned Sicilian chef Ciccio Sultano and dedicated to L.A.'s late Mauro Vicente, with influences from Spain, Greece, the Middle East, and North Africa in the mix. Come see the menu.

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Vim Thai-Chinese Expands to Melrose Location

VimPhoto: Joshua Lurie

Vim, the Thai-Chinese chain with existing locations in Hollywood, Koreatown, and Pacoima, is branching out to its fourth restaurant, taking over the short-lived Sea Minor on Melrose. Among Vim's 103-item menu, fans will find pork jerky, barbecue duck with coconut cream and bamboo shoots, a King crab meat wonton soup, and an oyster omelet. Vim, which dates back to 1980, opened its newest Hollywood outpost about a week ago at the corner of Melrose, just east of Vine Street.

Vim Thai, 5784 Melrose Ave. Hollywood; 323-957-2345.

Little Tokyo's Frances Hashimoto, Inventor of Mochi Ice Cream, Dies at 69

Frances Hashimoto, who invented mochi ice cream at her family's grocery store, Little Tokyo's Mikawaya, died this weekend at the age of 69. Born in an Arizona internment camp, raised in Boyle Heights, and educated at USC, Hashimoto was responsible for the single store's growth into four outlets after taking the business over at age 27, and was a vital proponent of revitalizing Little Tokyo and championing Japanese culture in Los Angeles. The L.A. Times announces that the neighborhood's plaza at 2nd and Azusa streets will be renamed in her honor. [LAT]

Taco Bell Menu Turning Increasingly Experimental, Strange-Sounding

We're not even sure what this is.

As you no doubt know, Taco Bell is killing it with those Doritos Loco tacos, and apparently the success is giving the chain the confidence to go even more loco on its menu. Today Advertising Age runs down all the crazy crap Taco Bell is working on to further the success of its hybrid snacks. In addition to a bunch of desserts — caramel-filled empanadas, churros that look like a take on cheese twists, an triangular ice cream sandwich — there's also a forthcoming series of snacks known as "Loaded Grillers," which will wrap entire servings of nachos and baked potatoes in tortillas for its loaded customers. The Gut-Bust-y approach isn't going unnoticed by the competition.

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Bazaar-Vet Wonny Lee Brings Modernist Lilt to Hamasaku

Lee's Gun-smoked salmonPhoto: Tatiana Arbogast

Contrasts riddle Hamasaku like seams of alabaster through a well-marbled sirloin. Here we have a serious sushi destination, all but veiled in the corner of a West L.A. strip mall, whose name can't help but conjure up images of owner and Imagineer Mike Ovitz, formerly the most feared agent in town. Self-labeled as "Japanese-Californian," this is a restaurant conscious enough of tradition to offer pressed box hako sushi and unpasteurized nama-zake, where the former might be called the "Sarah Michelle" and rolls named after Twilight and Scrubs are among the best-sellers. An angled ceiling seeping serenely into blonde wood walls, with Kanji scrolls and a hand-carved screen signal a sort of conventional Zen austerity, while the room also comes dotted with white tablecloths, banquet chairs, and industry elite. A supermodel famous for her work trying to save the whales may be sitting with a friend at the sushi bar, which unrepentantly serves endangered blue fin tuna.

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Il Covo Closing to Make Room For A.O.C.'s Move

Soon to be A.O.C.

Il Covo opened in the old Orso space in March 2011. The Sean MacPherson-helmed Italian restaurant may have been overshadowed by its ravishingly romantic space, as reps for Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne announce Il Covo's expected closure at the end of the year. MacPherson's loss will be A.O.C.'s gain, however, as the duo's small plates wine bar will be leaving its current home, further west on Third Street, to take over this storied location, which has served multiple generations of L.A. movers and shakers. For small plates-pioneers, Goin and Styne have a lot on their plate, with plans to open a restaurant next year in Montecito and The Larder on Burton Way, plus an AOC cookbook in production, and the unveiling of this new A.O.C. in the early part of 2013 to celebrate the restaurant's tenth anniversary.

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Pollan on 37: ‘It Will Continue and Get Very Expensive’

Mr. Pollan is unfazed.

As we're sure you've heard by now, Proposition 37 failed on Tuesday with 53 percent of voters (or 4.8 million people) voting it down, largely due to a 46 million dollar ad push by food and agribusiness corporations like PepsiCo, Hershey, and Monsanto. In just a month's time, the initiative to require labels on all food that contains GMOs went from polling at more than 65 percent yes, to a majority no, probably because voters were convinced by these ads that the law would raise prices in the grocery store, which isn't the case. Grub Street reached out to Berkeley's own Michael Pollan for his thoughts on the matter, and where California and the rest of the country might go from here. He admits, "This was a disappointing result," but he says, "In the face of $46 million of advertising, probably not surprising."

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Bourdain and Ripert’s ‘Good & Evil’ Chocolate Bar to Make Its Debut

Good & Evil: Anthony Bourdain and Eric RipertPhoto: Melissa Hom

Just as we’d suspected, that “mysterious” Good & Evil chocolate bar that’s co-opted the schtick that Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert put forth in their traveling Good vs. Evil roadshow, makes its big debut at this weekend’s Salon du Chocolat. Philadelphia’s Inquirer spills the beans on the the bar, which is the culmination of more than a year’s work from Ripert and Pennsylvania-based chocolatier Christopher Curtin’s Eclat. To create it, the two trekked deep into jungles of Peru in search of an elusive type of wild-growing cacao believed extinct since 1916.

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Top Chef Seattle Recap: And We’re Off!

Some hopefuls, and their omelettes.Photo: Bravo

Most TV shows would kill for Top Chef’s reputation: In its tenth season, it continues to represent an upper-middlebrow trashy sensibility that purees accessibility, celebrity, and actual talent in a back-stabbery broth of semi-sophistication. Let us sup together!

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FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver Used to Run a Burrito Blog

The burrito bracketologist.Photo: Christopher Anderson/ Magnum

Two billion dollars spent on it and no one noticed this until the day after the election? Apparently. Nate Silver, the New York Times statistician (of FiveThirtyEight blog) whose predictions reached Wine Spectator-ish absurdities of precision ("Based on his necktie, I have upgraded President Obama's chances of being reelected to 77.83% from 77.82%") but proved, in the end, to be spookily accurate, was a baseball stat geek before a political one, but before that, he was ... a Chicago burrito stat geek, a fact buried in an Advertising Age feature on him. Wait, what stats do burritos produce, you ask? Well, none, unless you generate them, which he did at a blog called the Burrito Bracket in 2007, comparing burritos and other Mexican fast food in his then-Wicker Park vicinity in an NCAA-style competition.

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Recent reader reviews on MenuPages

  • Sandbag's See the menu

    “LOVE this place!”

    I've eaten here a few times, and just this week have ordered it for my co-workers. I think they're converted :)

  • 26 Beach See the menu

    “Yummie delivery”

    Nice selection, good food, and fast service. I like it.

  • Cafe Gratitude See the menu

    “Amazing vegan food.”

    Delicious even if you're a carniverous veggie rejecter.


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