Posts for January 22, 2013

Former Café Gratitude Employee Compares Co-Workers to Rob Lowe on Parks & Rec

Café Gratitude may not be in S.F.'s Mission District anymore (the company closed that and several other locations last year, but they're still in Berkeley, Santa Cruz, and L.A.), but the Mission still remembers them and their I Am Fulfilled house salad and their I Am Comforted baked yams. As was discussed quite a bit during their legal kerfuffle of 2011, the owners encourage employees to take Landmark Forum seminars and they host Landmark-esque retreats of their own. One such former employee — and friend of Mission Mission — had an epiphany recently about all her former coworkers, whom she describes as "diet-obsessed, culty, [and] overbearingly and unrealistically optimistic": They're all literally exactly like Chris Traeger, the character Rob Lowe plays on Parks & Recreation.

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New Menu at Spice Table; Open House at FarmShop on Sunday

Bryant Ng of Spice TablePhoto: Tatiana Arbogast

Arcadia: L.A. Weekly breaks down ten of the city's must-try restaurants. [LAW]
Brentwood: Farmshop is holding an Open House this Sunday to celebrate the first birthday of its market. From 4:00 to 7:00 P.M., the public is invited for tastings of food, beer, wine, and menu dishes, including eats from Hepp's Salt Barrel, Wild Poppy juice Co., L.A. Creamery, and Nicasio Valey Cheese. No reservations required. [GS]
Citywide: The Counter is now serving new, leaner bison patties for its health-conscious clientele to build their own burgers. [GS]
Downtown: Bryant Ng's The Spice Table is releasing a whole new dinner menu inspired by the chef's recent travels to Southeast Asia, featuring dishes like dried pho with marrow broth, duck rice, and grilled country pork chops. [GS]
Hermosa Beach: This Monday, Abigaile is hosting a night of global cuisine prepared by a mix of six chefs, including Jet Tila, Dean McDermott, Code's Jorge Valines, and Tony DiSalvo. A six-course tasting menu is priced at $65, with reservations at 310-798-8227. [GS]

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Happy Hour at Fleming's Possibly The Only Thing in Beverly Hills Not Trying to Gouge You

At first we ribbed Fleming's Prime for bringing yet another steakhouse to the beef-blocked arteries of Beverly Hills. But it actually arrived with one hell of a happy hour, bringing a rare deal to fancy-pants North Beverly Drive. Upon opening each afternoon, the restaurant offers "Five for Six 'Til Seven," an affordable stretch featuring five small plates, cocktails, and wines by the glass for just six dollars until 7:00 P.M. Dishes change on occasion, but always include the restaurant's cheese and bacon-topped Prime Burger, along with dishes like tenderloin carpaccio and a jumbo shrimp cocktail, backed by palate-washes like a Jim Beam Manhattan and cava and Cointreau Ruby Slipper. Knowing the 90210, you'll probably pay more for parking than to get your fade on. 252 North Beverly Dr.

What Brendan Collins Is Cooking With Jason Fullilove at Larry's, January 28 in Venice

Larry'sPhoto: Larry's

This coming Monday, Waterloo & City chef Brendan Collins will welcome hop-scotching former Tar Pit, current LACMA chef Jason Fullilove to cook by his side at Larry's, the Venice-based beer bar where he holds down double duty. Part of the restaurant's "Cooking With Friends" series that will embrace future guests like Ray's Kris Morningstar and Kali Dining's Kevin Meehan, the two chefs will prepare a joint $45 menu that is served from 6:00 to 10:00 P.M., featuring East-West mash-ups like uni with Asian pear, pickled daikon, and a lapsang souchong gelee with squid crackers, a curry chicken sausage, black kale, poached apple, and manchego flatbread, and a banana-dulce de leche trifle with peanut butter ice cream for dessert. See the full menu below and make reservations at 310-399-2700.

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Is Lemonade The Produce-Centered Counterpart To Umami Burger?

It would sure seem that way, considering Alan Jackson (the chef, of course, not the honky-tonk hat model) continues to dominate L.A.'s chef-driven, fast casual landscape with his Lemonade chain, which is opening in its eleventh location next month in Larchmont. But beyond sheer numbers and widespread growth, the two chains occupy a somewhat similar spirit, with their well-organized, clean-lined spaces, endless ambition, and a shared dedication to hand-made, ingredient-focused servings that up the ante for what is technically fast-food. In a sort of yin-yang, one pushes burgers, the other a fresh selection of seasonal, ready-made hot and cold dishes, sandwiches, soups, braises, and salads. Both have also self-shrunk themselves to smaller versions like U-Mini and Lemonade's LAX locale. And today, we learn there's another Lemonade on its way this spring.

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What to Eat at Arc Food & Libations, Opening Any Day Now in Costa Mesa

Noah Blom's Arc Food & LibationPhoto: Joshua Lurie

Noah Blom, co-owner of Costa Mesa's Shuck Oyster Bar, is going solo with a new restaurant called Arc Food & Libations. Currently in the middle of staff-training, the restaurant is another in the emerging roster of wood and brick-clad locavores making everything in-house and preparing dishes over an open fire. So, what's on the menu?

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Lifestyle Cafe Focuses on The Heart-Healthy in El Segundo

Lifestyle CafePhoto: Tatiana Arbogast

Somehow there always seems to be more room for a healthy, light lunch spot in L.A. El Segundo's brand-new Lifestyle Cafe is just such a nook, opening to the town's Main Street last Thursday with a health-conscious menu that begins on oatmeal and egg slider sandwiches and ends with fruit smoothies, salmon and quinoa tuna salads, and pannini starring those old SoCal standbys, chicken, ahi, and turkey, all at a price point just below ten dollars.

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Here Are Five Videos of Mutant Eggs-Within-Eggs

Speaking of things that are both creepy and chicken-related, a YouTube phenomenon was born recently when a guy named Sean Wilson cracked open a very big chicken egg only to reveal it contained another entire chicken egg, shell and all. But Wilson's hardly the first lucky fellow to stumble upon the mythical, elusive egg-within-an-egg. Check out Wilson's moment, straight ahead, then see four other bewildering videos of overstuffed ouefs.

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City Sip Calling It Quits in Echo Park, Closing January 31

City SipPhoto: City Sip

Nicole Daddio's four-year-old wine bar, City Sip, will be closing on January 31. The place tried hard to kick-start its heart in September, reopening with a new look and Gloria Felix-designed menu, and promising a renewed devotion to more fun and less wine-snobbery. During its run, City Sip was an early proponent of the currently booming neighborhood and admired for its embrace of local artists, both on the wall and in front of the glass. Echo Park Now confirms that the restaurant is now on sale, while pop-ups, like the currently running MSG from Alma chef Derrick de Jesus will be hosted in the space through March.

Echo Park wine bar, CitySip, put up for sale [EPN]

Can Fan Art Save Twinkies?

Day of the Dead Twinkies by Nancy Peppin.

The fate of Hostess is still in limbo, but one artist is bringing attention to the nationwide outcry for more Twinkies. Nancy Peppin makes Twinkie-inspired art, using mediums such as watercolor, mixed media, and creative writing to express her love for the "ultimate American food icon." It gets stranger; her "Twinkies in history series" shows how she thinks Charles Darwin and Leonardo da Vinci would have portrayed Twinkies in journals and books. One of her pieces includes the prolific passage, "Twinkies radiate out from the spring St. Louis breeding area to the summer nesting habitats throughout the world. Populations are heaviest in the North American 7-11 meridian." So is her beloved, possibly extinct Twinkie now just a cultural artifact?

She did title a painting 'The Last Snack.' »

A Look Into Grill 'Em All, Now Open in Alhambra

B├Ąco Mercat might have the umlaut and Wolvesmouth may have the savage name. Picca has the decibels and Voltaggio all the tats (plus his own front-man with the last name "Dickinson"). Still, no restaurant comes close to being as metal as Grill 'Em All, the brick-and-mortar riff on the Great Food Truck Race-winning mobile restaurant now open and terrorizing Alhambra's Main Street. The snug SGV diner shrieks with character. On one side, a cartoon mural depicts a wizard cavorting with medieval burger trolls, while Rob Halford sautes you from the wall, Lemmy grimaces at your table, and Ronnie James Dio is commemorated in all his concentrated glory.

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Watch This Creepy Chicken Licken Fast-Food Ad From South Africa

Hey, don't worry, that creepy white guy in the Rayon tie and sweater vest who watches you from the street every time you enjoy some fried chicken on the privacy of your balcony — who happens to also haunt your family picnics and is the same guy who ogles you while you wait for your laundry to finish drying — isn't coming to come murder you later on, he just wants you to save him a thigh. This drab new ad for South African fast-food chain Chicken Licken's new "Soul Fire" line shows that even fast-food stalkers need a little bit of new flavor every now and then.

Creepy people get hungry, too. »

Homaro Cantu on Miracle Berries, Chewing Tin Foil, and the Best Peanut-Butter Cookies Ever

Homaro Cantu uses his noodle.Photo: JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images

Eight years ago, the Chicago chef Homaro Cantu, who regularly serves guests edible menus and "prints" flavors like broccoli and Cheddar using rapid prototyping machines, was contacted by a friend on behalf of a chemotherapy patient who could no longer taste food. "She said everything she chewed tasted like metal and rubber," he says. Because the 36-year-old chef develops flavors and invents techniques for corporations in his spare time, Cantu approached the problem of the chemo patient's lost appetite like any other fully funded research project, synchronizing his innovative and do-gooder impulses. He ordered thousands of spices and industrial flavor compounds, and back in the restaurant kitchen, he and his team set out plates of rubber bands and aluminum in at the top, like some demented food pyramid. "My pastry chef and I got to work," says Cantu, "chewing on tin foil and rubber for weeks at a time in different combinations with other ingredients just trying to figure out how to change the taste."

"Our product will be cheaper than sugar." »

McDonald’s Lied About Selling Halal Food

How do you slaughter your animals?

For food products to be billed as halal, they have to be prepared according to strict Islamic dietary laws. The criteria specifies which foods are allowed (pork, for example, is forbidden) as well as how the food must be prepared. If God's name isn't invoked before an animal is slaughtered, no dice. McDonald's has two franchises in the country that sell halal products, and both are in Dearborn, Michigan, home to one of the nation's largest Arab and Muslim communities. But Ahmed Ahmed, a special McChicken sandwich detective, discovered that one of the Dearborn locations wasn't complying with Islamic dietary laws.

Lawsuit time. »

Here’s That Tim Hortons–Ryan Gosling Coffee Mug You’ve Been Waiting For

Good morning! Canadian chain Tim Hortons is introducing a very, very limited-edition movie tie-in: an official Ryan Gosling Gangster Squad coffee cup. The Ontario-born actor gave an interview to movie site in which he professed an admiration for the movie tie-ins of his youth, specifically Burger King's Dick Tracy soda cups. “I thought I might get a cup out of this deal,” said Gosling. The interviewer suggested the coffee-and-doughnuts chain would be a good fit.

Gosling agreed. »

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Recent reader reviews on MenuPages

  • Sandbag's See the menu

    “LOVE this place!”

    I've eaten here a few times, and just this week have ordered it for my co-workers. I think they're converted :)

  • 26 Beach See the menu

    “Yummie delivery”

    Nice selection, good food, and fast service. I like it.

  • Cafe Gratitude See the menu

    “Amazing vegan food.”

    Delicious even if you're a carniverous veggie rejecter.


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