Posts for January 21, 2013

Man Fatally Shot at El Sereno Taco Truck; Silver Lake Deliveryman Killer Gets 77 Years

More crime, and even a little punishment today, in the city's fast-paced food scene. On Sunday morning, a 27-year-old man sadly succumbed to his wounds after being shot on Saturday night at a taco truck on Huntington Drive in El Sereno. Angel Serna Mancilla reportedly got into an argument with another man, who pulled out a pistol and shot Mancilla while he ordered his food, before fleeing the scene in a white sedan. But where there's random violence, sometimes there's also justice. The Eastsider spreads the word that Jose Beltran, the alleged gang-banger who shot and killed Garage Pizza deliveryman and El Chavo employee Juan David Vasquez Loma in August 2011, was sentenced by an L.A. Court on Friday to 77 years in prison for the crime. Hopefully, there may be similar justice for Mancilla as well. [ESLA; LAT]

Walter el Nagar's Barbershop Moving to Mar Vista

Keep this guy away from Floyd's

Now that the former Il Covo space is making its transition to become the new home of Suzanne Goin's A.O.C., Barbershop, Walter el Nagar's Italian pop-up housed in the Third Street restaurant, is also switching locations. Starting January 30, find the ex-La Botte chef partnered with Piccolo's Mario Vollera over in Mar Vista, serving a $65 five-course menu through February 16 at La Petite Crêperie from Wednesday through Saturday beginning at 6:30 P.M. Menus will change each week, the first of which we have for your looks below.

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Mofongo Massive: Old San Juan Opens in Atwater; Dominican Food Festival Comes to Culver City

Old San Juan

Craving Caribbean cuisine? You're in luck. Squid Ink spies the opening of Old San Juan in Atwater Village, a rare example of an authentic Puerto Rican restaurant serving Taco Town. Coming from owner Ramon L. Galindo and P.R.-born Pinot Bistro and Loteria-vet executive chef Luis Castro, the 91-seat restaurant serves consciously-plated Borinquen staples like bacalao fritters, rice and peas, mofongo with chicharron, arroz con pollo, cuajitos guisados, and three types of flan, as well as a few vegetarian versions to get the meatless hooked. Speaking of hooked, the restaurant will also serve beer and wine, with a small store attached offering essential cooking tools and ingredients. And what's a good Latin Caribbean restaurant without a pork fixation? Fortunately, Old San Juan's got everyone covered with a potential whole pig roast in the works for weekends to get them hollering, "Puerto Rico...ho!" What else is appearing on the horizon?

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Guy Fieri to Open Winery and Event Space in Sonoma

Guy Fieri, who grew up in rural Humboldt County, California and opened his first restaurant in Sonoma in 1996 before becoming a TV celebrity, is now branching out into the wine business. A year ago he bought a piece of property in Santa Rosa with five acres of vineyard on it, and as the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reports, he's planning to attach a public tasting room to an existing house (lately used as a crash pad for his friends), and use the place for wine-related events throughout the year. Whether the labels on his estate wines will have his spiky-haired mug on them, and whether they'll be called Pimpin' Pinot and Rockin' Rosé, remains to be seen.

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Mozza Cooking at The Strand House, February 11

Mozza's butterscotch budino

Nancy Silverton can cook anywhere and make it worth your while, be it her Italian multiplex in Hollywood or stuffed inside of a truck in a Santa Monica parking lot. On Monday, February 11, Silverton and Mozza exec chef Matt Molina are storming Manhattan Beach's Strand House to take part in the first 2013 event in the restaurant's Culinary Masters series, which last year featured such stars as Jonathan Waxman and Jose Garces. The duo will prepare a $100 menu ($50 with wine pairings from Rombauer vineyards) including dishes like pig's trotter with cicoria and mustard, Mozza's beloved brown butter ricotta and egg raviolo, bufala mozzarella with crushed lemon bagna cauda and bottarga, pancetta-wrapped quail, and Silverton's to-die-for butterscotch budino. It's a natch that reservations will sell out fast, so get on it at 310-545-7470.

Chris Cosentino Believes In the Circle of Life

"An egg is the beginning of life, oysters are all-encompassing, and blood is stuff of life. It’s a very powerful, personal dish with a lot of meaning." —The Top Chef Masters winner on his "last meal" dish of blood sausage, oysters, and duck egg. He sometimes serves it at his San Francisco restaurant, Incanto. [First We Feast]

Santa Barbara Film Festival Presents "Screen Cuisine"

Sunday will see the U.S. premiere of Peru Sabe, starring Ferran Adria and Gaston Acurio

The Santa Barbara Film Festival kicks off its 28th year this Thursday, stretching for eleven days in the adorable, adobe-roofed retreat. The event, a little like the town itself, has grown from a small gathering of artistic weirdos to a major Hollywood star spot, complete with 190 screenings and events and appearances from actors like Daniel Day Lewis, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams, and Leonardo DiCaprio. So don't be surprised when Daniel Plainview sidles over and drinks your horchata at Super Rica. Fittingly, the Festival is throwing its arms around everyone's expanded interest in the culinary world this year, with an included sidebar of food-focused documentaries called "Screen Cuisine." What's showing?

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There's Actually Going To Be A Little Kids Cooking Show

Look out, Ms. Cleo. Last week, we pleaded for some unscrupulous network to just get it all over with and turn L.A.'s emerging trend of little kid chefs into another dispensable reality show. Now, Eater L.A. is reporting just such a thing is really, actually going to happen. Junior MasterChef, a U.S. version of an existing U.K. and Aussie show, is currently looking for kids eight to thirteen years old with a passion for cooking, with the additional squeam-inducing request for parents to "bring out that inner pushy stage mum and help your kid try out." One has to wonder if this kind of thing is really necessary. After all, hasn't Guy Fieri already been impersonating a rambunctious thirteen-year-old for years? [Eater]

What's New For dineLA's Restaurant Week, January 21-February 1

West Hollywood's new RivaBellaPhoto: Tatiana Arbogast

DineLA's Restaurant Week is upon L.A. once again, and this time it doesn't have mean old Campanile to push it around. Starting today, well over 260 local restaurants are offering three-course tasting menus over lunch and/or dinner, with notable marquee names like Nobu, Bouchon, Drago Centro, Petrossian , Picca, and Craft among the many joining in on the action, which extends through February 1. You can start your browsing on dineL.A.'s website, where the full roster of options is on display. But as Restaurant Week is a mighty fine time to catch up with the city's quick-pace of openings, we've sifted through the long list to see which new restaurants are among those participating. Come take a look.

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Waiter Risks His Job to Defend a Special-Needs Child

Michael Garcia at Laurenzo’s Prime Rib in Houston.

When Michael Garcia overhead a regular insult a 5-year-old customer with Down syndrome at Laurenzo’s Prime Rib in Houston, he didn't stay quiet. "My personal feelings just took over,” he told KTRK. “And I told this man, 'I'm sorry, I can't serve you.'" As the boy chatted with his family and the restaurant staff about his recent birthday, a group of customers at a nearby table got up and moved to the back of the restaurant. After Garcia overheard one patron say, "Special needs children need to be special somewhere else," he flat-out refused to serve the table, and the customers promptly left the restaurant. Someone give this man a raise. [NYDN]

What Can We Call "Two-Buck Chuck" Now That The Price Is Changing?

Bid adieu to "Two-Buck Chuck"Photo: Kables/Flickr

Big news in bargain belligerence this weekend, as Trader Joe's announces a 25% price-hike for its notorious best-seller, Charles Shaw wine, better known to the wino-world as "Two-Buck Chuck." The company cites increased costs as the reason for this 50-cent spike in the price, with only California stores guaranteed to be affected by the change. Somehow, it's hard to see this really mattering to the budget-conscious consumers of Fred Franzia's infamous wines. Much more concerning is what we're going to call the stuff now.

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Unsuccessful Starbucks Robber Leaves Store With Coffee

"Please leave room for milk."

Police say a Huntsville, Alabama man entered a Starbucks bright and early yesterday morning and demanded cash from the nearest barista, who regretfully informed him that the register drawer was stuck and would not open. Robber Phillip Sawdey was offered a coffee instead. Police arrested him in the parking lot, drink in hand. Sawdey was charged with venti larceny, though the charges will likely be dropped to "grande" in court. [WHNT]

Padma Leash Me Makes Her Debut on SNL’s ‘Top Dog Chef’

Saturday Night Live spoofed Top Chef this weekend by turning the show's cast into puppies. Tom Collie-cio ordered the contestants to make a dish out of ingredients from a torn-open garbage bag. The challenge's obstacle? A ringing doorbell at random intervals. Host Jennifer Lawrence put her Golden Globe–award-winning acting chops to good use by playing a dog who puts "a whisper of urine" on top of her brunch dish. Mario Barktali loved it.

Woof. »

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