Posts for November 26, 2012

L.A. Dodges Scott Disick Sushi Experience

Threatening the credibility L.A.'s food scene has built up over the years, Kardashian accessory Scott Disick promised to open a local location of his celebrity sushi spot, Ryu, following its debut in New York last spring. Today brings a big breath of sweet relief, as Grub Street learns that Ryu is now formally closed just six months after opening, with Disick reportedly quitting several weeks prior, quickly burnt out at trying to out-Katsuya the SBE team.

Of Course European Dairy Farmers Riot With Milk-Filled Hoses

Dangerous for the lactose intolerant, and possibly Cap'n Crunch.Photo: Geert Vanden Wijngaert / AP

If you're like us, you've always wondered what it'd be like to wield a fire hose full of Belgian cow milk against a squad of cops in riot gear. Well, the European Milk Board "unleashed torrents of milk" today outside the European Parliament in Brussels in protest of quotas and unfair pricing schematics, which they say are putting small farmers out of business. Hundreds of tractors were moved into the city center during the protests, and hay bales and tires have been set on fire. Dairy producers sprayed hundreds of gallons of the full-fat stuff at the government building complex, splashing police and passersby in the process. If you happen to be in Brussels, the farmers plan on protesting outside of Parliament until tomorrow afternoon. Bring chocolate syrup. [NBCNews, Related]

Jason Travi Joins Brendan Collins For a Night at at Larry's

Brendan Collins

This Wednesday, Waterloo & City chef Brendan Collins kicks off the first night of a planned guest-chef series at Larry's in Venice. The monthly occasion will welcome peers like Kali Dining's Kevin Meehan, Ken Takayama of Melisse, and Ray's Kris Morningstar to cook a prix-fixe menu alongside Collins. On November 28, Jason Travi (formerly of Spago, La Terza, Riva, and Fraiche) will prepare dishes like clams casino with cracker stuffing and scallop tartare with pork rinds on a $45 seven-course menu, with Collins going dish-for-dish with the chef and reservations available at 310-399-2700. See the full Travi-Collins collaboration menu below.

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Timothy Hollingsworth Plots Casual Taqueria Chain, Post-French Laundry

Hollingsworth at work.Photo: via Gilt City

Over the weekend, The French Laundry released news that Timothy Hollingsworth would be stepping down as chef de cuisine after more than three years in the role, and after a decade in Thomas Keller's Yountville kitchen. The 2010 James Beard Rising Star will remain on board for a careful transition, with Per Se sous chef David Breeden on his way over from New York in January. By mid- to late-spring, Hollingsworth is ready to break out on his own, and he tells Grub Street today that though he may take on a couple of consulting gigs, he actually knows what he wants to do next, and it won't be in another three-star Michelin kitchen. Actually, it involves tacos. See our conversation below.

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Gaucho Chicken Cafe Opens in West Hollywood

It's a good day to be calorie conscious in L.A., as Eater reports on the opening of Gaucho Chicken Cafe, a rotisserie-based, organic, free-range cluck-shop now serving West Hollywood in the former home of Gaucho Grill. The project comes from Argentine owner Adolfo Suaya with Gaucho Grill partner Ricardo Salinas, with a menu from Larry Greenwood, previously of STK, BoH, and BOA. Like the ones at Seasons 52, his menu also restricts your consumption to a calorie count of 400 or less, with dark and white meat served by the quarter, half, and whole, with wraps, sandwiches, and sides like hummus and pita chips, pasta salad, and steamed bamboo, plus servings of Sangria, beer, and wine. 7980 W. Sunset Blvd. West Hollywood.

Vegas Party Train Planning to Leave the Station in 2013

Your trips to Vegas are about to get blurrier

Remember that proposed party train that would ferry drunkards between Vegas and L.A. while putting the "loco" back into locomotive? The concept is chugging closer to reality now that a deal was forged with Union Pacific Railroad last week. The debut of this $100 million dollar "night-club on wheels" is planned for New Year's Eve 2013, though negotiations over laying new track or using an existing one so the train can stretch to Fullerton, plus the construction of a new station in Downtown Vegas, could conceivably dash that optimistic expectation. When it does finally pull out of the yard, train fare may be priced at $99 and include a meal and the first of many drinks to fuel you through the five-hour trip. And speaking of hard-partying, previously announced plans involved a possible contribution from seafood chef Rick Moonen, tapped to lead the on-board menu. Just think, if this vision is actually realized, you'll be sick of Vegas before you even get to Vegas! [The Province]

Hollywood's Great Lunch Debate

It turns out the most hard-fought Hollywood deals concern what to order for lunch in the writer's room. Centering on "nigh-holy" binders full of menus, decisions over what to order can last all morning and usually leave few content, excepting those times when pastrami is flown in from Katz's Deli and pizza arrives from Chicago's Lou Malnati's. Everybody Loves Raymond creator and Umami-burger inspiration Phil Rosenthal even tells The Hollywood Reporter, "We would deliberate [lunch] as hard as any storyline or joke." [THR]

Seasons 52 Opens in Century City Mall

Mall food not served on-a-stickPhoto: Seasons 52

Today's mall-goer wants plank-roasted salmon, bio-dynamic Grenache, and a seasonally shifting menu to put their label-concious savvy on display, leaving Cinnabon and corn dogs to the window-shoppers. The contemporary mass-craving for whole foods is leading to the rapid spread of Seasons 52, a healthy-leaning grill restaurant with a master sommelier-crafted wine list pre-packaged from Darden Group, the same force behind Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Capital Grille, and Yard House.

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Jonathan Gold Rolls Into MessHall For a Fun Time

MessHallPhoto: Allen Lin/MessHall

Fireside tales of a theme-restaurant make us run for our sleeping bags, but Jonathan Gold convinces us to stop sitting on these sharp sticks and just make some s'mores at MessHall, where Keith Silverton is cooking "glammed-up 1940s dinner-party food, like James Beard with a membership in a CSA." Gold clarifies this probably isn't "a destination restaurant," but a market-armed fun house for Los Feliz to hit "when it wants its 'hog chops' served with undercooked grits...or slightly overcooked chicken seared under a brick." Still, the mint juleps and daiquiris are "first-rate"," the oysters "dependably fine," and the burgers "really good" here, the critic says, noting that it's more of a "pie-in-a-jar" kind of place than a palace for the painstakingly prepared "great American dessert." [LAT]

Wolvesmouth's Craig Thornton is King of the Underground Restaurant

Craig Thornton

This week The New Yorker takes a look at Craig Thornton, chef and big chief of the underground dinner-party Wolvesmouth, currently "the toughest reservation in the city." Noting this 30-year-old's "playful, semi-wild bearing of a stray animal that half-remembers life at the hearth," the story lays out his impoverished childhood and rather ascetic adulthood which often finds him abstaining from food, holding court over a flock of "lost boys," and controlling a raging demand from an eclectic group of eaters, sixteen of which are selected from hundreds of applications "with an eye towards occupational balance." Pursued by Top Chef and camouflaging complicated arrangements as mere simple ingredients, one admiring mind says Thornton is "obsessed with obscurity." The chef even spent a short stint making "ugly plates" when he felt the aesthetic beauty of his dishes was overshadowing dinner. His neighbors aren't exactly ecstatic about the popular donation-based underground restaurant he's holding in his apartment, adding fuel to a lasting distrust of authority stretching back to his abusive upbringing where food was scarce and Hellish addict freak-outs the norm.

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Top Chef Seattle Recap: David Rees on Cheese Ball Sophistication and Undercooked Kale

Emeril is not nearly so excited about that turkey.Photo: Bravo

Can we talk about cheese balls? When I was a kid, cheese balls were a gooey talisman of sophistication, a sure sign that I was at a grown-up party featuring classical music and debates about Rite I Eucharist versus Rite II Eucharist. So naturally, this Thanksgiving, I brought a cheese ball to the table in order to class up the proceedings. It had been years since I’d partaken of a cheese ball’s pleasures; I was excited!

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