Posts for January 3, 2013

First Look at Guisado's, Now Open in Echo Park

Listen closely and you'll hear L.A.'s culinary cognoscenti hiss and moan about the great hordes of ho-hum local Mexican restaurants that basically churn out the same basura. Among the notable names turning against that tide is Ricardo Diaz, whose inspired and attentive takes on Mexican cooking are found at the owner's Bizarra Captial in Whittier and Cook's Tortas and Dorado's Ceviche Bar, both in Monterrey Park. Opening Guisado's in Boyle Heights in 2010, Diaz partnered with longtime real estate agent Armando De La Torre to debut a taqueria that would really catch L.A.'s attention, showcasing thick, handmade tortillas precisely engineered (with Midwestern, not Mexican, corn) to play perfect support for the restaurant's titular slow-cooked stews and braises; spicy, heady flavor-grenades that put competitors' ubiquitous skirt steak asada and pork butt pastor in their proper places, garnering awards and distinctions along the way.

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Meadowood’s Christopher Kostow to Cook With Animal Boys on January 14

Michelin three-star Meadowood chef Christopher Kostow will be making a jaunt down to L.A. from the Napa Valley this month to cook with friends Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo at Animal. The three worked together in 2009 when Kostow invited the boys to participate in the Twelve Days of Christmas series they do at Meadowood, which just finished its fifth year. The deal is eight courses for $135, with proceeds going to benefit Cancer for College, and this all happens on Monday, January 14. Call 323.782.9225 for reservations or go here for more info.

David LeFevre Plans New Manhattan Beach Restaurant

David LeFevre, the mastermind behind M.B. Post, is opening a second restaurant. Continuing L.A.'s current trend of lyrical names (The Hart & The Hunter, Hinoki & the Bird), it will be a 30-seat seafood restaurant named Fishing With Dynamite, with a raw bar and according to The L.A. Times, local fish and products from "really exceptional seafood areas of the world -- Alaska, Chesapeake Bay, Maine," prepared with imagination and care. Current plans are to see the 1,100-square-foot restaurant open this spring. [LAT; Earlier]

TiGeorges' Chicken Closing After Ten Years in Echo Park

LaGuerre

Another local favorite is sadly biting the dust. L.A. Downtown News reports that Georges LaGuerre is closing his Haitian restaurant, TiGeorges' Chicken, after serving Echo Park for ten years. Citing a economy and coming almost three years after a fire ripped through the restaurant's roof, LaGuerre is apparently heading back to Haiti to dedicate himself to the coffee-export business he started with his father in 2007. As noted, TiGeorges' was a beacon for L.A.'s Haitian community in the wake of the country's calamitous 2010 earthquake, while the rest of us will simply miss his avocado-wood, rotisseriepoulet and good cheer come the end of January, when the business plans to shutter. [LADTN via Squid Ink]

Where To Find Haggis in L.A. This Month

Tam O'Shanter: "Hard-hearted harbinger of haggis"Photo: TJMWatson/Flickr

Atwater Village now has two Scottish restaurants working Los Feliz Boulevard. But the area is still typically bereft of haggis, Scotland's signature sausage. A traditional companion to Scotch, haggis typically lands with the dimensions of a medium-sized stone in a balloon of sheep stomach stuffed with the lamb's heart, liver, and lungs, along with a mixture of oats and fat. Maybe for obvious reasons, the potent delicacy's importation has long been banned in the U.S., despite repeat efforts to free the beast.

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Sashi Chef Yoya Takahashi Joins Hamasaku

Smoked salmon with apple cevichePhoto: Hamasaku

Hamasaku, Michael Ovtiz's West L.A. sushi spot, recently brought in a new head chef to work alongside executive chef Wonny Lee, whose modernist flare we recently explored here. Coming from Manhattan Beach's Sashi, Kyoto-born Yoya Takahashi is already swapping out the restaurant's white rice for partially-milled haiga mai, which bears a similar texture but retains its inner layer of nutrient-rich rice germ. He's also adding new dishes like box sushi using unagi and tamago and the salmon with apple ceviche you see above. As per a press release, we also learn, he's a bit of a Deadhead.

Former Little Joy Bartender Opening Gloria's Kitchen

PupusasPhoto: Javier Cabral

After 20-years behind the bar at Echo Park's Little Joy, Gloria Ramirez is turning your tips into her dream project, as she opens up her own restaurant this Saturday right next to the haunt, in the former home of Phnom Penh Restaurant. According to The Eastsider, Gloria's Kitchen is a 45-seat Mexican-Salvadoran diner open Tuesdays through Sundays. Ramirez tells the blog she "loves to cook" and is looking forward to bringing her carne asada to Portia Street.

Gloria's Kitchen, 1305 Portia St. Echo Park.

[ESLA]

Foursquare Gives Restaurant Owners More Ways to Check-in on Customers

Foursquare overshares your ramen-eating habit.

It's unlikely to provoke the kind of outrage that followed Instagram's terms-of-service changes that gave the company more control of users' food porn, but Foursquare is now allowing participating merchants broader access to data revealing the eating, drinking, and spending habits of its users. Wired reports that Foursquare has amended its privacy policy, and starting January 28, the company will hand over more data to restaurant owners, for example, who will know the exact dates and times of any user's visit.

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What Jason Travi is Cooking at littlefork, Open Tomorrow in Hollywood

Littlefork, the newest project from A-Frame and Sunny Spot owner David Reiss, opens to Hollywood tomorrow evening at 5:00 P.M. Overseen by Sean Knibb, the designer behind both of Reiss' Westside restaurants, this is not your typical Walk-of-Fame adjacent glamor tour awaiting its turn on TMZ. The relatively subdued and medium-sized room is more like a deconstruction of a nuclear family's living quarters, hung in vintage floral print wallpaper, a patio wall buzzing in bright blue light like the world's biggest bug zapper. Little Fork heralds a return to the limelight for chef Jason Travi, the Spago vet who made a big impression on L.A. while working alongside Gino Angelini at La Terza and as the opening executive chef of Fraiche in Culver City. Travi spent some time away away from the scene in 2009 to relish his role as a new father, before tackling numerous consulting gigs and special appearances. Tomorrow, he's back with a personal passion project.

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Top Chef Seattle Recap: David Rees on Healthy Food and Sexy Knives

The judges are very amused.Photo: Bravo

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope some of you have made a resolution to treat the recappers in your life with more respect.

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Wretched Excess: More Writers Complaining About the ‘Tyranny’ of Fine Dining

Daniel Humm and Grant Achatz: not actual tyrants.Photo: Jed Egan

"The meal felt like a form of torture," writes Corby Kummer in the February issue of Vanity Fair. But he's not referring to Guy Fieri's Times Square restaurant; he's recounting his meal at the French Laundry. In “Tyranny — It’s What’s for Dinner,”, Kummer argues that the world's most celebrated restaurants are becoming increasingly rigid in how they treat customers, and Graydon Carter agrees. To these two, it's almost criminal that Per Se and Alinea serve multiple courses, cost hundreds of dollars, take hours to finish, and don't allow diners to ask for substitutions. (Carter’s restaurants, on the other hand, are so relaxed that you usually need a special phone number and at least a B-list celebrity on your arm to score a table — but hey, at least you can get your salad dressing on the side!) Kummer believes that Chicago's now-closed Charlie Trotter's is the root of the problem that's making a generation of young chefs "no longer willing to take orders" from the one percent.

The horror! »

Japanese Curry Chain Opening Store in Brentwood

Curry House CoCo IchibanyaPhoto: Joshua Lurie

Curry House CoCo Ichibanya, the Japanese curry empire with over 1,200 locations back in Japan and local stores in both Torrance and Rowland Heights, is coming to Brentwood. CoCo will replace a shuttered Rubio's on Wilshire with its proprietary curries made with seventeen spices, available on cuts as wide-ranging as hamburger, sausage, spinach, clams, and Chinese dumplings, and customizable by size, heat level, and toppings like natto, squid, and fried chicken.

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Shark Fin Ban Upheld in Federal Court

The upcoming Chinese New Year will likely be the last at which California restaurants can legally serve shark fin soup. In a ruling Wednesday, a federal court judge upheld the ban after two Asian American groups sought to stop it on the grounds of discrimination. Under the law, passed in 2011, finning is already illegal but the sale of previously procured shark fins can still go on until July 1, 2013. [Marin IJ]

A.O.C. Staying Put Until New Location Is Ready

Suzanne Goin's plans to shutter A.O.C. after New Year's Eve have been dashed for now, as the wine bar and small plates restaurant will remain open in its original location until construction is completed on the Third Street space it is set to replace, with estimates currently at about a month more. As part of this extended stay, business is on as usual at A.O.C., with foccacia night planned this evening and a moving sale discount on wines served with dinner.

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