Posts for December 27, 2012

Mark Estee Brings Campo to The Slopes

After getting our attention by calling us a "ho," S. Irene Virbila passes the word that renowned chef Mark Estee just opened a sister location to his seasonal Reno restaurant, Campo, up at Mammoth Ski Resort. The Chez Panisse, Lespinasse, and Gary Danko vet's latest venture offers handmade pizza and pasta on lunch and dinner menus, with salumi, fritto misto, and burgers to build back the strength of ski bunnies, flakes, and snowboarders. 6201 Minaret Road, Mammoth; 760-934-0669. [LAT]

Fraiche Finally Folds in Santa Monica

Well, Junior's in ain't, but nonetheless, Fraiche is finally folding in Santa Monica. The shutter caps off a tumultuous stumble into irrelevancy despite a stirring debut with Jason Travi in the kitchen. Over the years, the restaurant's demise, or worse, was predicted many times, with the original Culver City location calling it quits in May, after witnessing "E" from Entourage and Benjamin Bailly both stop short of throwing it a life-saver. And yes, we do mean "short" in both cases (Oh!). Eater]

L.A. Trades Over 2,000 Guns For Groceries

It was that time of year again when L.A. trades Ralph's gift cards in exchange for residents' high-powered arsenals. Yesterday, over 2,000 guns were turned in through two drive-in collections system, including 75 assault rifles, which fetch $200 in groceries compared to the $100 offered for rifles, handguns, and shotguns. At least no one turned in any rocket launchers this time around**. [NBC]

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Watch This Supercut of Kids Eating Warheads for the First Time

"Fight through it," some guy encourages, off-camera, as a little girl with pigtails winces. "Fight through it!" Here's a bunch of kids (and a few babies, too) trying Warheads candy for the first time on video. This all may seem sour or sweet, depending on your feelings about kids, coercion, malic acid, and/or candy. Even if you've never eaten a Warhead before, the video is bound to leave a somewhat funny taste in your mouth.

Four minutes of pain. »

U2 Korean Barbecue Replacing Manna on Olympic, With or Without You

U2Photo: Joshua Lurie

We'd love to tell you that The Edge has decided to scrap his plans to violate Malibu's bluffs for the gentler charms of a Korean restaurant, but alas, there's only room for one bulgogi-business branded with a pop-music tie-in. In any case, U2 AYCE Korean is set to open next month in the former home of Manna on Olympic, coming from the owners of Las Vegas Strip restaurants that are bleached named Ginseng and Kimchi. Specializing in all-you-can-eat dak galbi and strapped with a salad bar, U2 is currently eying an opening on January 13, because well, as Zach Brooks says, "You gotta have chicken."

U2 Korean BBQ, 3377 W. Olympic Blvd. Koreatown; 323-732-9292.

Downtown's Grand Central Market Getting Yuppified

Grand Central Market

Big changes are coming to Downtown's Grand Central Market, the nearly 100-year-old Broadway arcade that's currently home to over 30 food vendors. With the help of consultants, owner Adele Yellin plans to retain as many of the existing stalls "as possible," while making room for new, bouzier enterprises. So far, Thai restaurant Soi 7 is the first to be announced, with a project called Sticky Rice. In addition, the Times tells us the market will embrace businesses selling fresh foods, including produce, beer, sushi, charcuterie, and cheeses in its basement, with a helpful hand from the designer of San Francisco's Ferry Building. First, the place will get a good scrubbing-down, to be followed by the implementation of an outdoor seating area, wi-fi, and power outlets for that guy in the clunky glasses to write his Great American Novel aside a $3.95 cup of coffee. Already Jonathan Gold is warning the developers, "If they touch Roast-To-Go, I will be down there with a machete." Stay tuned to see if he connects when the market reopens this fall. [LAT]

Hot and Spicy Soup Burned a Hole Through a Man’s Stomach

Though we've already heard about the London line cook who crumpled after eating ghost chiles, the teenage girl who froze her stomach with liquid nitrogen cocktails, and, of course, the Scottish guy who ate too many Brussels sprouts and almost died, the Year in Vengeful Meals would not be complete without an eleventh-hour appearance from Chinese Death Soup, so here goes: A 26-year-old man with no previous stomach troubles was hospitalized in Wuhan, China, after he enjoyed hot pot at a local restaurant. The unnamed man ordered the spiciest, "numbing hot" soup, vomited blood, and doctors say the chile- and Sichuan-peppercorn-addled soup "burned right through his stomach tissue." This allegedly happens often enough that medical professionals have started calling such cases "hot pot patients" after they're sorted out in the ER. [RocketNews via Foodbeast, Earlier]

Junior's Deli Closing on December 31

Another legend lostPhoto: Mark Peacock/Flickr

Junior's, Westwood's 53-year-old destination deli for cheesecake and Dr. Dre sightings, is closing, with owners citing a dispute with their landlords (surely one of the most revisited trends in L.A. restaurants this year). The final day for this classic will be December 31 at 5:00 P.M., with second generation co-owner John Saul telling CBS, "With these [landlords] we've always negotiated and we've always, always come to an agreement. This time, for some reason, he basically said they don't want us here...It's terrible; this isn't how you start a new year."

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Besha Rodell Regifting L.A. With a Star-System


Minutes after we mourned the disappearance of a star-system for rating L.A.'s restaurants, L.A. Weekly critic Besha Rodell appears to be rekindling the format in 2013. Not only that, but she's even adding a fifth star to S. Irene Vibila's discontinued Death Star four-star system, which created a black hole upon its disappearance. "The Weekly has traditionally eschewed a star system," Rodell writes, who felt liberated without the pressure of rating restaurants over the last few months. "But in light of the starless vacuum that exists in L.A. today, we believe one could only add value for our readers." Of course, the great Patric Kuh still stars his reviews in Los Angeles magazine, but the skies were mostly dark for our two weekly critics in 2012.

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Top Chef Seattle Recap: David Rees on Oyster Bogs and Old Turkey Bones

Hey, a fully functional oyster paddy.Photo: Courtesy of Bravo

Greetings from North Carolina! I’m home for the holidays, celebrating Christmas with family and friends. I hope you’re blessed as well. I know many of you read these recaps because you’re interested in my “meal memories” and “fondest foods,” so let me share some of the edible highlights of the holiday:

Watch out for "Team JalapeƱo Business." »

10 Ways Dining Changed in L.A. in 2012

Forbidden ingredients, critical shakeups, and restaurants returning from the grave. True to their very nature, dining trends come and go. But some developments signal shifts that will probably stay at the table for years to come. Join us today as we hark back to ten such spreading shifts in our food and restaurant landscape. And if you want to catch up on what's been happening in other major metropoli under Grub Street's watch, make sure to check out our sister sites throughout the day for the latest movements in Foodlandia.

McDreamy Attempts to Save Coffee Company

That hair could fight Chapter 11.

Patrick Dempsey, who plays Dr. Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd on Grey's Anatomy, wants to rescue something for reals: He's leading a group that's striving to buy Tully's Coffee, a Seattle-based company that recently filed for bankruptcy protection. If Dempsey succeeds, he'll save more than 500 jobs in over 100 stores, as well as give thousands of women the caffeine they need to try to jump his bones. [HuffPo]

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