Posts for December 21, 2012

Sabzee Mediterranean Market Opens in Encino

A large new supermarket dedicated to Mediterranean food opened up on Ventura Boulevard in Encino today. Called Sabzee, taken from the Farsi word for "herbs," this grocery store stocks fresh spices and produce like figs, grape leaves, and guava, along with kosher and halal meats, including lamb chops, kebab, and souvlaki to take home. In addition, Sabzee prepares gyros, shawarma, sandwiches, and sides like hummus and tabouleh, as well as desserts like baklava, for eating on-the-go at the store's deli. Sabzee describes itself as a "one-stop Greek, Persian, Indian, Russian, Israeli, and Middle Eastern grocery store," featuring a stable of breads from quite a few of these countries at an in-store bakery, plus a flower shop and a forthcoming department for wine and beer.

Sabzee Mediterranean Market, 17461 Ventura Blvd. Encino; 818-745-1313.

La Monarca Flutters Over to Pasadena

Premium panaderia La Monarca Bakery expanded to its fourth location this week with a move to Pasadena. In addition to the excellent conchas, coffee, crossiants, buñuelos, and tres leches, Eater reports that the new storefront is also selling savory, open-faced molletes and chorizo quiche at 1001 Mission St. [Eater]

Sasabune Taking Miru 8691's Strip Mall Space

Sasabune II: Electric BoogalooPhoto: Joshua Lurie

Blame Kazunori Nozawa and his successful SugarFish empire once you see every big name in L.A. omakase start to spin off into new locations. Sasabune, once a singular, dear sushi experience on Sawtelle before climbing the corporate ladder to a glass-and-steel skyscraper on Wilshire, appears to be taking over the former home of Miru 8921 on Olympic in Beverly Hills. Rub your eyes and it's still there, with more generic signage than Sushi Stop and squeezed between a Quizno's and Dawn Barnes' Karate Kids.

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Canadian Prison Pizza Parties Are Now Banned

Hold the pepperoni, and everything else.

In September, Canadian Public Safety Minister Vic Toews put an end to years of sanctioned fast-food parties held for inmates when he issued a directive condemning them. The practice was widespread in prisons across Canada for many years and doubled as a food drive for groups like Doctors Without Borders. Under the program, inmates used their own money to order outside food, while food drives took place on the outside. "Canadians were concerned that dangerous and violent prisoners had across the board access to pizza parties and BBQ socials," a spokesperson for the government tells the CBC. Greg McMaster, a convicted murderer who has spent 34 years of a life sentence in jail, says his fellow inmates raised $50,000. "If someone's in an outrage that I enjoy a piece of KFC twice a year," he told the CBC, "I would say their priorities may be a little askew." [CBC]

King Taco Security Guard Fires Weapon in Cypress Park

Show me your hands!Photo: Sam Howzit/Flickr

The King Taco location in Cypress Park was the site of both a robbery and stray gun fire last night, the former at the hands of crooks, the latter from a store security guard. LAist reports that as two perpetrators were fleeing the scene with stolen cash, the guard fired his gun twice in the air, either because he thought it would scare the thieves or because he's watched Hot Fuzz way too many times. The crooks got away and the trigger-happy security guard was in hot water with the LAPD, but fortunately no one was harmed. In any case, you probably don't want to do that. [LAist]

Twelve Interesting Christmas Food Traditions From Around the World

Did you know that KFC is now a huge Christmas thing in Japan thanks to a 1970s ad campaign?Photo: .tamoteru./Flickr

In America, we have our sugar cookies, our rib roasts, and our candy canes. The French have bûche de Noël. In Italy, there's panettone and the Feast of the Seven Fishes. But you may not be as aware of these other festive traditions from around the world. Like, for instance, the potato, cheese, and anchovy casserole known as Jansson's Temptation that's a traditional part of the Julbord (Christmas smörgåsbord) in Sweden? See a dozen of our favorites below.

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The Hudson Closing For Three-Week Renovation, December 23

The HudsonPhoto: The Hudson

More than three years after opening on Santa Monica Boulevard, The Hudson is giving itself a facelift for the holidays, with plans to shutter after Sunday night's service and reopen on January 17. Sources with the restaurant say there will be a nip and tuck to the interiors, including an expansion of the kitchen's culinary program, so the popular West Hollywood destination can put further focus on its food offerings. The restaurant opened in October 2009 in a quick turnover, so owners want to now go over the place with a fine-tooth comb, adding more attention to detail and repairing accumulated wear and tear.

Louisville Man Sues Maker’s Mark Bourbon House for Alleged Racism

Maker's Mark Bourbon House in Lousiville.

Andre Mulligan and his brother met with representatives at the Maker's Mark Bourbon House and Lounge in Louisville last August in order to book a party for the following day. "During the meeting," Mulligan alleges in a complaint filed this week in Jefferson County Court, "the officials from Maker's Mark demanded to know the ratio of 'black people' to 'white people' attending the event." When Mulligan told them the party would be "100 percent African American," management allegedly replied that the restaurant would not host the event. When his party showed up at the restaurant the following night, they were turned away at the door. Mulligan is now suing the restaurant's operators for costs and punitive damages for violating the Kentucky Civil Rights Act.

The liquor company's statement. »

Katt Williams Causes Trouble at Subway While Suge Knight Gets a Manicure

Repeat offender Katt Williams was detained by LAPD in front of a West Hollywood Subway last night in response to an alleged disturbance at the foot-long purveyor. Much to the reassurance of public safety, the cops later released the comedian, handing him back his marijuana and a .45 caliber pistol after determining that he was only loitering while his manager, Suge Knight, got a manicure next door. For their troubles, a Subway employee brought the twosome free sandwiches and denied any incident took place. [TMZ]

J. Gold Stands Beside Spago; Besha Rodell Thinks Cortez Is Killing It

Cortez

"The first responsibility of any great restaurant is to keep you in the bubble, the soft-serve cocoon of illusion where you forget the world exists for anything but your pleasure. And the newly redesigned Spago...gives good bubble." So speaks Jonathan Gold, masterfully batting clean-up on the re-do of Puck's flagship. The critic feels "the Hollywood fun that Barbara Lazaroff once brought to the restaurant has been bleached right out of the place," much as he once worried about Spago spelling a death sentence for haute cuisine in L.A., fretting that Puck's "considerable talents [were] being wasted on glamorized snack food." Still, he approves of the restaurant's revival, finding the kitchen's grasp of modernism an asset to "reestablishing it as an international culinary destination." Despite Tetsu Yahagi's "fresh take on Japanese cooking," Gold concludes that "while the wild king salmon may be grilled over Japanese bincho charcoal, flavored with yuzu kosho, and served with those maitake mushrooms, it is still essentially a French presentation, ideally enjoyed with a glass of Austrian wine. You are still at Spago. All is right with the world." [LAT]

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Guy Fieri Is Now Dr. Guy Fieri

He will school you.Photo: Corbis, Getty Images

The Donkey Sauce titan and Food Network personality was given an honorary doctorate on Tuesday by his alma mater, UNLV. The school thanked Fieri for his public service and continued support of its hotel college's fund-raising efforts. "[T]here is no place better in the world to get a hospitality degree than UNLV," the chef said during commencement. "It allowed me to get the mental game it takes to win in the big leagues." Now that he's got multiple TV shows, a successful restaurant chain, and many cookbooks under his belt, let's hope that Fieri will move on to teaching, because he'd obviously be the best professor in the world. He'd wear Hush Puppies with a suit and bring gyozas with Bleu-Sabi sauce to class. He'd carefully hear out all of your problems and then maybe hit on your sister. [UNLV via Eater]

The Hermosillo Starts Serving Fried Peppers, Bao, and Frito Pie

Fried pickles and jalapeños with buttermilk ranchPhoto: The Hermosillo

El Hermosillo, Highland Park's old dive that was converted into a wine and beer bar by Bar Covell and L&E Oyster Bar owner Dustin Lancaster back in April, is now serving a short menu of bar-friendly foods, replacing the local trucks that would sometimes collaborate with the joint. Zagat reveals a selection that includes frito pie with pepitas and the option of pulled pork, kale salad with pomegranates, fried pickles and peppers with the annoying use of the word "cukes," sweet sausage, steamed bao, and the obligatory plate of Brussel's sprouts with farm house cheddar, among the limited options. The new dishes come from former L&E Oyster Bar pastry chef Deborah Gorman, founder of New York's Gourmet Sorbet. [Zagat]

Umami Wants Its "End of the World" Burger To Be Your Last Meal on Earth

The end of your digestive health, if not the planetPhoto: Umami Burger

Let's face it. If the world was ending today, you might as well ball out and go to Providence, spend your savings at N/Naka, or bum-rush LudoBites before you meet your maker. Saving your last meal for an experimental burger with corn relish might be a little risky to go out on. But this isn't stopping Umami Burger from getting in on today's apocalypse hype, releasing an "End of the World" burger that throw Central American flavors like mole, queso fresco, and corn relish atop coffee-braised short rib and your standard-issue Umami patty (the same toppings are also offered on fries). The burger is available today, and if we don't all disappear into the great big ring of fire, possibly through the weekend at most Umami locations.

Watch This Outback Steakhouse Ad With Scary, Singing Leftovers

If you've ever opened your refrigerator door and found yourself, minutes later, deep in conversation about Sartre with a dish of beef stroganoff or slab of fennel gratin, don't watch this video — it will probably hurt your feelings. For everyone else, the idea here is that holiday-meal leftovers are creepy, so instead of eating them, let them fester until they develop perfect pitch and start singing Christmas songs. Then go to Outback Steakhouse and eat there. After all, Bloomin Onions don't cry out when you pull them apart limb from limb.

What's up with that turkey leg? »

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