Posts for December 3, 2012

Fleming's Prime Opens Tonight in Beverly Hills

You know, this kind of thing...

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar soft-opens tonight in Beverly Hills, with a grand-opening fundraiser planned on January 24. The new restaurant includes an updated look for the Newport-based steakhouse chain, which has 64 other locations around the country. Fleming's Beverly Hills is dressed up in glass from concrete to ceiling, allowing guests to watch the street and provide enough room for a two-story wine tower, in a new atmosphere engineered by Agoura Hills' Design Development Company. The new look also includes an open kitchen and the original space's preserved bell truss ceiling. Catch tonight's debut at 5:00 P.M. at 252 N. Beverly Dr and see the full menu online.

Earlier: Beverly Hills Getting Its Eighth Steakhouse in 0.6 Miles [GS]

Watch the Trailer for A Film About Coffee

"There's so much about coffee that we don't understand," says a subject filmed for A Film About Coffee, a forthcoming documentary from Brandon Loper, a San Francisco–based director. From the looks of things, Loper talked to the experts, obsessives, and some philosopher-baristas on his way to understanding the forces that shape coffee culture around the world. Here's his behind-the-scenes production blog, and check out the teaser trailer, straight ahead.

Espresso served in porcelian, arabica poured through a sock. »

Pitfire Pizza Opens in Costa Mesa, Thursday December 6

Pitfire PizzaPhoto: Pitfire Pizza

Pitfire Pizza owner Paul Hibler hinted that rapid expansion was on his mind back in June. This Thursday, his locavore pizza and craft beer concept stretches its wings to Orange County, with the opening of the chainlet's seventh outpost. Opening at 11:00 A.M. on Costa Mesa's 17th Street, this Pitfire will also be the brand's biggest store, taking over an old Marie Callender's with a "Surf City" motif and the concept's signature sight, a rounded, red Mugnaini oven that wood-fires pizzas at 630-degrees. Pitfire's expanded size down south will allow the restaurant to open a private event room, tasting kitchen, and space for pizza classes. Expect a community night on Wednesday evening, open to the public from 5:00 to 10:00 P.M., with 100% of net proceeds going to the Boys and Girls Club of the Harbor Area.

British Restaurant Offers Dim Sum With a Side of Condoms

Seal the deal at their safe-sex lounge.Photo: Daily Mail

Here's one restaurant Kate Middleton probably won't frequent once she recovers from morning sickness hyperemesis gravidarum: Cabbages and Condoms. The Oxford restaurant has the distinction of being the first in the U.K. to offer "leaflets on protective sex when your meal ends," plus other safe-sex-themed goods. The restaurant, a chainlet that's really big in Thailand, reminds customers that "our food is guaranteed not to cause pregnancy" and that purchasing condoms should be as routine as, you know, buying cabbage. After wooing over "fascinating" dim sum and "wonderfully herbaceous" shrimp soup, diners can linger over condom-themed mugs, keyrings, and books, purchases that might seem presumptuous before a third or so date. It still sounds better than Modern Toilet restaurant. [Daily Mail, Earlier]

Last Call at The King Eddy Saloon, Closing December 16

The Edward Hotel, home to King Eddy Saloon

Alas, the reign of King Eddy is drawing to a close in Downtown. We rode our steeds in for a wee dram after Friday's "Taste of Mexico" event only to encounter the expected gallery of Skid Row hangers-on with enough spare change for a drink, jousting with our neighbors as they lamented The Edward Hotel's approaching loss and feared for the possibility of high-priced drinks and a tailored ambiance under new owner Michael Leko. Truly the end of an era, we thought we heard some tranny cough behind the plexi-glass smoking chamber. L.A. Downtown News reports that the two-week warning is being sounded for the King's closure, with the final date of service December 16. Until then, current owner Dustin Croik is holding a "Drink Eddy's Dry" going-out-of-business, all-day happy hour. On the final night of service, he will auction off the bar's decor, piece-by-piece. Just be careful what you bring home.

King Eddy Saloon to Close Dec. 16, Patrons Get Two-Week Notice [LADTN]

Your Tap Water Might Be Giving You Food Allergies

Noooo. First peanuts, then gluten, and now tap water is killing us, too. According to research from New York's Albert Einstein College of Medicine, pesticides lurking in our perfectly tasty, really rather cheap tap water can be linked to food and environmental allergies that might cause tongue-tingling, hives, and even death. Oh, and there's nothing you can do about it.

Read more »

The Rise of L.A.'s "Starbucks Stakeholders"

L.A. City Council is fighting against what it brands "Starbucks Stakeholders." The term is used to describe people (or "modern day carpetbaggers," as The L.A. Times puts it today) who vote in local council elections despite having only bought a cup of coffee in the area, rather than own the traditional home or business there. The rise of these influence peddlers stretches back to 2008, when the city permitted persons doing business in an area to be considered a "factual basis stakeholder," granting the vote to anyone holding a local receipt. Now neighborhood councils are trying to manage the overflow of special interests, be they marijuana activists offering their advocates free pot, Labradors voting in Venice, or developers busing in voters and promising free beer and food. [LAT]

Keith Silverton Decamps From MessHall

Keith Silverton

The past week was mostly an auspicious one over at MessHall, which gained some praise for its fun atmosphere and campy cooking from critics Jonathan Gold and Besha Rodell. However, Los Angeles magazine's Digest blog spies an unforeseen ripple in the Los Feliz waters, as executive chef Keith Silverton reportedly left his position as executive chef less than three months after opening. The restaurant's reps say this was the plan all along, with Silverton merely a consultant brought in to oversee the opening. However, that's the first time anyone's really hearing it and that's what reps are supposed to say. Neither is MessHall a total stranger to such shakeups, having lost is star bartenders right before opening (Is there a slasher running loose through camp?). Nick Erven is taking over as executive chef, supposedly hand-picked for the job by the feeling chef, while Silverton will pursue "other projects."

Breaking News: Keith Silverton Out at MessHall [Digest]

Japanese Katsu Specialist Due For Culver City in January

Culver CrossroadsPhoto: Joshua Lurie

A new development named "Culver Crossroads" is set to open next month at the corner of Sepulveda and Washington Boulevards. A website brands the retail spread as "Culver City's hip fast casual center," though it's mostly stocked with familiar faces like Chipotle, Starbucks, Pei Wei Asian Market, and Jersey Mike's. However, building on 2012's ongoing trend, which has seen the welcome arrival of dish-specific Japanese imports like Tsujita, Soba Sojibo, and Hannosuke, the exciting news here is the coming of Kimukatsu, the self-described "most famous pork cutlet restaurant in Japan."

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Chef Walter el Nagar Pops-Up With Barbershop Ristorante Italiano, at Il Covo

Here's hoping he has knife skillsPhoto: Barbershop

Milan-raised chef Walter el Nagar, whose L.A. credits include Il Grano, La Botte, and Locanda del Lago, is hosting a pop-up preview of Barbershop Ristorante Italiano, a project he hopes to bring to a brick and mortar in the future. From December 19 to January 12, el Nagar tells Grub Street he's hosting a pop-up on the upper floor of the former Il Covo, hosted by Suzanne Goin, who recently purchased the space to relocate A.O.C. Come see the menu.

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What You Missed at Beefsteak 2012

Cort Cass, Matt Selman, and Eric Wareheim with their "meat troll"Photo: Hadley Tomicki

When considering the L.A. revival of the Beefsteak dinner under Eric Wareheim, Matt Selman, and Cort Cass, we admit, our skepticism ran high. After all, does Hollywood really have the stomach to gorge until it "comes out of your ears" or throw temperance to the wind when a drive on the freeway looms on the end of the night? Debauchery, much like democracy, cannot be imposed upon a populace. Still, we jumped on the invitation to St. Vibiana's, which may have never looked more saintly than on Saturday night, packed from the confession booths with hundreds of chairs and starched whites awaiting chaos and bliss at dramatically drawn-out tables. In the spirit of those beefsteak dinners of yore we'd read about, we committed to eating anything that passed our eyes and drinking as much of anything as we could get our hands on.

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Gordon Ramsay’s ‘Spotted Pig’ Is a Project With David Beckham

Really, we can't wait.Photo: Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

Make it stop: Just before taking the field for his final game with the L.A. Galaxy, David Beckham was quoted as saying his next career moves involve business plans with Gordon Ramsay, including a restaurant. "It will be a business thing but owning a restaurant is going to be fun as well," Beckham told the Sun. When we last heard about Ramsay's business plans, of course, they included a preemptive U.K. trademark filing for the name of the Spotted Pig, the New York restaurant owned by Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield. There's been speculation that Ramsay moved to trademark the name of a restaurant he does not own to snipe at onetime sparring partner Mario Batali, a Spotted Pig investor, but we're pretty sure the Gordo-Becks project is the Spotted Pig U.K., or some such attempt. Here's why.

Would you buy a hamburger from these men? »

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