Posts for December 18, 2012

David Lentz's Dad Selling Exorbitant Egg-Nog at Hungry Cat

Big Dave Lentz

Earlier this week, David Lentz, chef and owner at Hungry Cat and husband to Suzanne Goin, told Squid Ink about the "secret eggnog recipe" his dad, Big Dave, makes every year for Christmas. Given the journalistic integrity of the blog in question, we doubt it was a straight product placement, but nonetheless, today Hungry Cat's reps announce that this very eggnog is now being sold at all three locations of the seafood restaurant. No one will reveal what's in Big Dave's secret blend (sort of a requirement, we think, when drinking another man's nog), but at $38 a bottle, it's clearly not from the Farmland team. Does it give us hope that Big Dave looks like a blend of Papa Hemingway and Santa? Kind of. IN any case, Hungry Cat tells us both alcoholic blends and hooch-free versions are available, with a $5 discount on the next batch when returning the bottle.

Paradise Biryani Pointe Opens in Artesia's Little India

The Bibigo of Indian food?Photo: Paradise Biryani Pointe

Paradise Biryani Pointe, which could be described as the Indian Bibigo if one were so inclined, is now open in Artesia's Little India, serving dishes from a tandoor, Hyderabad cuisine, and its eponymous specialty of biryani, the Mughali-descended rice dishes served choc-a-block with meats, veggies, and spices, adapted by multiple regions across the subcontinent. The chain is currently 30-strong, with franchised locations from Santa Clara to Jackson Heights. The newbie in Artesia offers a menu with dishes like goat sukha and goat masala, salmon tikka, Chinese-influenced Manchurian shrimp, and four types of biryani, among both vegetarian and meat-free dishes. The opening in Southern California is part of a growth that will see the chain expand to 45 stores by the end of next year. 18158 Pioneer Blvd. Artesia; 562-666-2334. [IW]

Busted: Brunello Vandal Caught; Maple Syrup Bandits Apprehended

Police in Italy have arrested a suspect in connection with a shocking act of vandalism that destroyed 62,600 liters of producer Gianfranco Soldera's Brunello. The 39-year-old Andrea Di Gisi is a disgruntled former employee, they say, and police are testing his wine-stained jeans to see if they're a match to Soldera's product. Meanwhile, Canadian police announced they've arrested three men in conjunction with the theft of an enormous amount of maple syrup — possibly $30 million worth of stuff — from a Quebec warehouse last August. Authorities are now concerned that the perpetrators actually intended to be caught and arrested so they could end up in jail together. They now suspect this is all part of an elaborate plan to contaminate the world's supply of Brunello with Canadian maple syrup. [Decanted, AP, Earlier]

Watch Aziz Ansari Go On a Po’ Boy Crawl

While on tour in New Orleans, the comedian tried a shrimp po' boy at Domilise’s, then chased it with a fried oyster and shrimp variation at Verti Marte. Not the first time we've seen Ansari wolf down sandwiches on-camera; the man can eat. His opening act, Chelsea Peretti, came along for the ride.

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Cafe Gratitude Bringing Organic, Vegan Mexican to Melrose

What'd you say about my madre?Photo: Gracias Madre

"I Am Furthering My Economic Interests in Los Angeles." Yup, Cafe Gratitude has additional plans to spread its crunchy cooking and crackpot philosophy through the city, as Eater reports the coming of the brand's Gracias Madre restaurant to a space in West Hollywood. If you don't know what "gracias" and "madre" means by now, we're deporting you back to Connecticut. Everyone else can probably figure out that this is Gratitude's Mexican arm, serving vegan, cashew-cheese enchiladas and tacos with tortillas made from organic heritage corn, some of which already graces the brand's original menu that we hate to admit is pretty damn good for expensive rabbit food.

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Tommy Lasorda Handing Out 300 Free Hams Tonight

Former Dodgers manager and past Ultra Slim Fast pitchman Tommy Lasorda will join Big Blue Wrecking Crew vets like Bobby Castillo, "Sweet" Lou Johnson, and Paul "Not Quite As Sweet" Lo Duca tonight for a giveaway of 300 free hams at the Dodger Stadium parking lot tonight from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M. Lasorda will be partnered with his old friends from Farmer John, as well as Ralph's, City Council big-wigs like Eric Garcetti, and several Echo Park community organizations to help families in need with some holiday pork and all the appropriate fixings. [MLB]

LaBrea Bakery Closing December 31, Reopening January 4

La Brea BakeryPhoto: La Brea Bakery

La Brea Bakery officially closes on December 31, giving you almost two weeks to satisfy your holiday carb levels from the original location of this rustic bread authority. Founded by Nancy Silverton in 1989 aside Campanile, the brand helped turn this former Spago pastry chef and master baker into a national name when she sold a major share of the brand in 2001, complete with her original starter, to the Irish food company IAWS. It wouldn't be long before her old-world pane Toscana, baguettes, and olive-studded ovals tore through the country's designer grocery stores. Following the shutter, the La Brea label is confirming its rebirth in a retail location just up the street on January 4, taking over the Rita Flora Building, as originally sussed out by Eater. The new store will be open daily from morning to early evening, selling LaBrea Bakery breads and baked goods, grilled panini, sandwiches, salads and sides, and espresso drinks.

La Brea Bakery, 460 S. La Brea Ave. Mid-City; 323-939-6813.

Shaquille O’Neal Is Making ‘Luv Shaq’ Vodka

Because the world was just crying out for another novelty vodka, the company that teamed up with Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino to bring that ill-fated casein-fortified vodka to the clubs is now developing a new variety with Shaquille O’Neal called "Luv Shaq." The Post reports that the new vodka will not contain gluten or sugar, two things no one should ever anticipate to be in their vodka anyhow. O'Neal's new beverage will be coconut-flavored, easy to drink, and seems ready-made for novelty signature cocktails, but just watch out: Some Sex on the Beach, after all, can now lead to a drink called a Luv Shaq Baby, or worse, a Luv Shaq on the rocks. [NYP, Earlier]

Japan Bringing MaiDreamin' Maid Cafe to Little Tokyo

For anyone still in mourning for the most deviant aspect of Royal/T after the cosplay cafe closed this summer, fear not, Japan is coming to your rescue. Anime News Network announces the coming of MaiDreamin, a chain of cos-play maid cafes spread across eleven locations in Japan. The "theatrical entertainment" enterprise will land in Downtown's Little Tokyo next year, "no earlier than summer," following a six-month session on the casting couch. [Akihabara Maid Café Opening Branch in Los Angeles [ANN]

Hobbits and Hollywood Stars Rally to Save Henry's Tacos

Return of the King

Studio City's legendary Henry's Tacos is facing its final days of existence due to the landlord's Sauron-like greed. But one tiny little Hobbit was brave enough to stand up to the evil, as wee actor Elijah Wood rallied to the ramparts on Sunday, leading a human army said to be 500-strong. Wood was joined by such mighty forces as Breaking Bad actor Aaron Paul The Great and George Lopez, handy with his hatchet. Lopez bought the assembled crowd tacos for an entire hour of the eat-in, as Paul and Wood circulated a Twitter petition to try to save Henry's as a "precious" historic-cultural monument. The assembled crush of citizens may not have saved Henry's from the scimitar just yet, but was enough to make Henry's close on Monday, just to gain strength for the epic battle that awaits. [Contact Music; Patch]

Watch Roy Choi and Eddie Huang Share Tacos at Guisado's

New York chef Eddie Huang is back in L.A. this week for part two of a three part series that finds him exploring the city's eating scene for Vice (which just deemed our fair burg "the undisputed worst place in the world"--blame those ding-dongs at Diablo Taco). In this episode, Huang hangs out in Boyle Heights with Roy Choi, who could probably help the BaoHaus chef chisel those offensively doughy arms then point him to a better tattoo artist/gold dealer (or is that just our fake-ass L.A. "materialism" showing its true colors?). Instead, their time is spent attempting complicated handshakes and talking like two mystical homies before inspecting the pig parts at a carniceria on Cesar Chavez and going through the masa-making process. Naturally, the guys find extra time to share their feelings of displacement as first-generation Asian Americans, 'cuz that's what friends are fooor! Anyway, they chow down on a few tacos at Guisado's and generally commit to a life as longtime companions. Check out the two urban taco fabricators in this video below.

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Watch Pro Wakeskaters Ride a Cranberry Bog

Red Bull invited two professional wakeskaters — they're like wakeboarders but more hard-core since they're not bound to the board in any way — to travel to Wisconsin and surf a cranberry-covered bog. It's part of the energy drink's video series about extreme, winch-powered sports, which by definition is almost too marketing-driven to actually be extreme. But still, the video is great.

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Instagram Now Owns All of Your Food Porn

Why won't someone think of the truffles?Photo: Everett Bogue

Come January 16, you will no longer own all of those quasi-tilt-shift sirloin-steak photos, washed-out croquembouches, and artfully blurry Thumbelina carrot snaps you took on your phone. It turns out that Instagram, which is now owned by Facebook, is changing its user policy so that it can use all public photos taken with the app at any time, for any reason it wants to. The good news is that your cake pops may soon be in Everyday With Rachael Ray, but the bad news is that no one will pay you for that and your career as a cake-pop photographer will never take off.

Why is this happening? »

Adorable Kid Convinces Hasbro to Make Gender-Neutral Easy-Bake Oven

Coming soon in silver and black.

Crisis averted: That New Jersey teen who started a petition beseeching Hasbro to manufacture and market a more unisex Easy-Bake Oven met with executives from the toy company, who told her that a redesigned silver-and-black model is in development and will debut at the New York Toy Show in February. McKenna Pope, who is 13, felt bad for her little brother, who'd asked for an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas but feared the social repercussions and stigma of turning out brownies with a girly-swirly purple-and-pink toy in the company of his macho, bench-pressing 4-year-old friends. Pope's petition elicited support from 40,000 concerned citizens, Bobby Flay, dozens of other chefs from around the country, and lots of reporters from the predictable array of tabloid news programs. [ABC, Earlier]

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