Posts for December 12, 2012

Urbano Pizza Bar Moving To New Grounds After December 22

Urbano Pizza Bar is on the move, Jessica "The Enabler" Gelt, announces in The L.A. Times. Not only is the current Downtown location of this informal Italian taking up new turf at an unannounced address, closing the original in the process, but the ACME Bar Group that owns and operates it, could be taking the fight to Pitfire with a possible expansion to several new locations in the years to come. The current location of Urbano will be used for a new project, to be called Sixth Street Tavern (or did you expect something more original from the owners of one of L.A.'s two separate Library Bars?), opening sometime in the new year. A staffer with Urbano tells us that the current business will be serving until December 22nd. [LAT]

Man Laid Off From Pink-Slime-Producing Company Sues ABC, Jamie Oliver

Oliver.Photo: Getty Images

Back in September, South Dakota's Beef Products, Inc. sued ABC News for defamation, claiming investigative pieces on "pink slime" made by the company crushed demand for the product and forced BPI to close three-quarters of its plants and lay off more than 700 workers. Now one of those laid-off workers, Bruce Smith, is also suing a group of people including ABC News, anti-pink-slime-crusader Jamie Oliver, and school-lunch blogger Bettina Siegel (who says on her blog that she hasn't yet been served with the suit). Smith is seeking $70,000 damages, a number he tells the Daily Mail is low enough to keep the case from going to federal court: "I want the people I have sued. I want them here in the locality where the damage is done," he says. "And if that means not suing for everything I can, so be it." [Daily Mail UK, Earlier]

Gavin Mills Preparing "Feast of the Seven Fishes" at Suzanne Goin's Tavern

Suzanne GoinPhoto: Tavern

This Christmas Eve, Gavin Mills, the British chef who recently left Wood & Vine behind for Suzanne Goin's Tavern, will prepare his version of "Feast of the Seven Fishes," the traditional Italian holiday meal of seafood served before Santa drops down your canna fumaria. For $70, guests will dig into four dishes heavier on shellfish, cephalopods, and crustaceans than actual swimmers, though the meal hinges on servings like wood-grilled sardines with caper and onion relish and a seared halibut with lobster and wild mushroom risotto. A cioppino will, presumably, bring the four planned dishes up to the required number of seven critters, with the full menu below for you to attempt your own math. Reservations can be made at 310-806-6464.

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Income Disparity Between Fast-Food Workers and Executives Keeps Growing

Billions served, millions of employees screwed.

Bloomberg brings us a frown-inducing story today about the income disparity between fast-food workers — like one McDonald's employee in Chicago named Tyree Johnson who works at two restaurants, still can't get 40 hours a week, and makes $8.25 an hour despite having been a loyal employee for twenty years — and recent former CEO Jim Skinner, who made $8.75 million last year. As they point out, depressingly, it would take Tyree Johnson working a million hours, or a hundred years, to make what Skinner makes. Worse: That's totally indicative of the growing wage gap between the one-percenters and everyone else.

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El Criollo Cuban Bar & Grill Invades Burbank

The bar at El CriolloPhoto: El Criollo

El Criollo, la familia Sera's 30-year-old Cuban restaurant with a replanted location in Van Nuys (not to be confused with Culver City's El Rincon Criollo), is now serving Burbank with its lechon asado, camarones al ajo, media noches, and roja vieja. This second sister location, called El Criollo Bar & Grill, cracked its doors on Friday at 916 West Burbank Blvd., featuring an expanded menu, plus a full bar for Havana Club mojitos and Cuba libres over an all-day happy hour from 11:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.

Jonathan Gold Tackling Charles Dickens?

The critic's headshot?

Your occupation--be it waitressing or window washing--is really just a means to super-stardom on the screen or stage. Or so outsiders like to say about all of us hard-working stiffs in L.A. But perhaps there's some fact to the fiction, as Digest reveals that the honorable Jonathan Gold is taking yet another leap into acting this month. The number-one critic is not only juggling his search for new and original tacos with a role as himself in a documentary film, but he's also slated to appear in a twisted Second City production of A Christmas Carol that will feature sporadic appearances by notable personalities, including Susan Feniger and the owner of Valerie Confections, as well as all-around renaissance dudes like Henry Rollins, Ed Begley Jr., George Takai, and Richard Simmons, who will, no doubt, make for the most kinetic Tiny Tim we've ever seen.

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Pipe Bomb Explodes at Palms Jack in the Box

An I.E.D. placed inside of a news rack exploded this morning outside of Jack in the Box on Venice Boulevard in Palms. Fortunately, the ceramic pipe bomb packed just a little more power than a stuffed and breaded jalapeno, causing "limited property damage," but no injuries. Too early to blame animal rights fanatics? Never. [LAT via Eater]

What You Missed at Mo-Chica's "Ceviche Nights" Uni Dinner

No ingredient blurs the line so hard between food-porn and actual porn like uni does, whether exposed in photos, or enticing the imagination and appetite of the eater. The actual gonads scooped from a sea urchin, this provocative-looking delicacy—in immodest shades of yellow and orange—trembles with a rich, creamy lushness; plump and bumpy in a luscious fleshiness, no doubt high among the reasons siren Dita Von Teese shares our love for the shellfish. Though uni is still best when fresh from the shell or slipped on a bed of semi-firm rice, this coquettish urchin continues to captivate the minds of today's chefs, adapted to an uni-lardo crostini at Marea and an uni panino at El Qunito Pino in New York, to Jordan Kahn's uni porridge at Red Medicine in Beverly Hills, and La Guerrerense's sea urchin tostada in Baja. This past Sunday, Ricardo Zarate joined forces with Melisse chef Josiah Citrin and bartender Matt Biancaniello on a four-course dinner stacked with uni, as a preview of the Peruvian master's forthcoming Marina del Rey project, Paiche. The results, as expected, were both sublime and seductive. Take a look at what this threesome cranked out in our slideshow look back at Mo-Chica's first "Ceviche Nights" dinner.

Dum Dums: Soda and Candy ‘May Reduce Brain Function’

Put down those Christmas cookies immediately: New research from UCLA concludes that consuming soda, candy, and sugary snacks for just six weeks could render you dumb, reports CBS. Apparently, in addition to causing things like obesity and diabetes, fructose slows cognitive functions, altering the "brain's ability to learn and remember information." This sounds like something we might have expected after, say, five eggnogs. But now Coke and Tootsie pops, too?

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Patric Kuh Lyrically Sizes Up Spago's Re-Incarnation

SpagoPhoto: Javier Cabral

Adding yet another formidable piece of prose to his canon, Los Angeles magazine's Patric Kuh drops pure poetry on the firm place Spago holds in L.A.'s heart, both before and after this year's remake. Calling Puck's place "the restaurant that carried so many Angelenos into the sea of gastronomy in the days of big hair and padded shoulders," he recalls how the Austrian great "could pierce the white tablecloth's shell of pretension with a single wood-fired pizza," among the many contributions he introduced to today's dining scene, including the open kitchen, "wood grilling with Asian influences," and eclipsing master sauces with farm-labeled produce.

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Will Climate Change Wipe Out the World’s Pasta?

Possibly, says Newsweek (a mag that probably knows a thing or two about being wiped out). In a way-long story called "The End of Pasta," this helpful bit of info appears: "Pasta is made from wheat, and a large, growing body of scientific studies and real-world observations suggest that wheat will be hit especially hard as temperatures rise and storms and drought intensify in the years ahead." Scary! But here's the thing: If climate change gets so bad that it destroys the world's wheat crop, spaghetti will be the least of our concerns, as we'll also be unable to produce things like, uh, bread. [Newsweek]

Jean-Francois Meteigner on Tour of Duty in Vietnam

Bonjour, Vietnaaam!

Meteigner, a crucial tĂȘte-de-pont of French tradition at his own shuttered, sanctified La Cachette in Century City and later—once the white linens had been mostly yanked from L.A.'s tables—the shuttered La Cachette Bistro in Santa Monica, has upped and left the West Coast for Vietnam, taking residence there to cook as the executive chef at An Nam French Bistro at the MGM Grand in Ho Tram Beach, a luxury property slated to open in 2013. The former L'Orangerie chef's plan is to spend a year in southeast Asia, during which he'll meld Vietnamese ingredients with the cuisine naturelle he's spearheaded since his days as a mere lad of fifteen enduring boot camp at Troigois. At that point, the chef will come back to L.A. and open his own "small" restaurant influenced by the more than 100 dishes he's currently creating, featuring dishes like seafood pho with ginger dumplings, frog's legs with star anise, and beef tartare with kimchi and quail eggs.

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