Posts for January 24, 2013

The Viceroy Now Serving Late-Night Stoner Food

The Ultimate BurgerPhoto: The Viceroy

If you find yourself with a craving for chilaquiles, nachos, and chicken and waffles at 11:00 P.M. on a Friday night, well, let’s just say we’re impressed you managed to turn off Adult Swim, hoist yourself from the couch, and meet up with your friends. The Viceroy is hoping just such a miracle occurs, launching a new 11:00 P.M. happy hour on Fridays and Saturdays with a menu of munchies made by its restaurant Whist and cocktails from Cameo Bar.

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Gourmet Grilled Spam With ‘Flamin’ Hot’ Cheetos Actually Looks Pretty Good

Save room for dessert.

Jerky canapés, Red Bull reduction sauce, pan-seared Spam with Tostitos "queso-dip" mashed potatoes, and other assorted snack-size garnishes make up this stunningly beautiful bodega-sourced tasting menu at the Bold Italic. It can't all be farmers' markets and heirloom beets, writes Jessica Saia, because "life's about as fair as the trade of these ingredients." At least there's a lot of Pepto, poured into stemware of course, served as a digestif. [The Bold Italic]

No More Mystery Fish: McDonald’s Will Use MSC-Certified Sustainable Seafood

Okay, so they lied about selling halal food, but redemption is right around the corner for McDonald's: Now you can eat their fish sandwiches guilt-free (provided that your only reservations about eating a Filet-o-Fish stem from seafood sustainability issues). McD's will become the first national restaurant chain to adopt the Marine Stewardship Council’s (very attractive!) blue ecolabel on its fish packaging in restaurants nationwide, a hallmark of responsible sourcing practices. The marketing technique is going swimmingly so far!

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Tip Top Sandwiches Expanding To Fountain Valley

Tip Top SandwichesPhoto: Joshua Lurie

Garden Grove's banh mi stop Tip Top Sandwich is expanding its Vietnamese vision with the introduction of a new shop in Fountain Valley, the planned third address in the mini-chain. Tip Top is set to open soon in the 5,000-square-foot home of a former Blockbuster Video, an expanded location that will include 120 seats and outdoor seating to serve its selection of eleven sandwiches, assorted pastries, and fresh-fruit smoothies.

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Metal Shards Prompt Recall of Annie’s Homegrown Frozen Pizzas

The Berkeley-based maker of organic and natural pastas and pizzas has announced a voluntary recall on its entire line of frozen pizzas. According to an FDA press release, a "fine metal mesh screen" at a third-party vendor became loosened during the milling process and disintegrated into the flour that eventually became Annie's dough, and while no illnesses or incidents have yet been reported, the manufacturer warns that small pieces of metal mesh may be out there, lurking inside frozen pizzas stamped with "best before" dates ranging from "09Jan13" and "14Sep13." Full refunds for all pizzas potentially affected are being issued; more information is available here. [Annie's, USFDA]

Fig Finally Springs Its New Wine Label

Fig's new Pinot NoirPhoto: Fig

Remember the wines that Fig restaurant was working on with former Sona-sommelier and current La Fenetre-winemaker Joshua Klapper? The dream is finally becoming a reality, as Fig plans to officially launch both its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir next week. The Santa Maria-sourced wine, which sports a drawing of a pig on its label, is currently available both to drink at the restaurant and to take home as a carry-out product, with the red coming in at $42 and the white at $36.

Here Are Ten Photos of Vegetables Being Used to Operate iPhones

A little mushroom three-way action.Photo: Fun!

You're probably aware that the surface of your iPhone responds to fingers, but not pens, because of the capacitors that are built into the layered screen. Other than a few inconvenient workarounds, it was thought that few options outside of expensive styluses were available, until a man named Norihide Nishi figured out that the cheap, sturdy, and organic king oyster mushroom did the job just fine. Nishi's photo of the mushroom stylus in action was retweeted more than 8,000 times, which of course inspired other users to see what worked. And hey, look at that — all sorts of other veggies have the natural capacitance to operate the iPhone's screen. You may now use baby carrots to get through Temple Run 2.

Bitter melon! How come you scroll so good? »

Introducing Trader Joe's "UpChuck!"

We've been bested. Our search for a new and improved nickname for Charles Shaw's famous "Two-Buck Chuck" in the face of a state-wide price-increase this week stops with this new customer favorite: "Upchuck." Presumably, the moniker will be used as both a noun and verb when considering the legendary budget wine. [NYDN]

Rachael Ray Yet Again Denies Salacious Rumors About Her Husband

The (allegedly) happy couple.Photo: Getty Images

Today the web is abuzz with a fresh rumor about Rachael Ray's husband, John Cusimano, and his alleged affinity for the Checkmate Club, a swingers club in Manhattan. Rumors have swirled about Ray's marriage pretty much since it began, all of which Ray and her PR team have vehemently denied. For instance, just a year into their marriage, the Enquirer published a piece interviewing a sex worker who claimed Cusimano had hired her multiple times to spit on him and put her feet in his mouth. Divorce rumors then swirled for several years, forcing Ray to issue multiple denials and tell various talk shows how "flattering" all the negative publicity was. And now, the Enquirer reaches back "several years" again with these sightings of Cusimano at Checkmate. But, boring as it may be, the fact remains that Ray and Cusimano remain married after seven and a half years, and they remain gazillionaires. The end. [NYDN]

Matt Biancaniello Teaching Trippy Cocktail Tradecraft at K&L Wines, May Take-Over Hump Days at Cliff's Edge

Biancaniello

Bartender Matt Biancaniello is truly one of a kind, with his farmers market-driven cocktails making use of arugula, aged balsamic, and fresh herbs, and drinks sporting such stuff as foraged bay leaves and emu eggs. Nonetheless, the former Library Bar leader (and potential Cliff's Edge guest star) is offering to share his secrets next Thursday at K&L Wine Merchants in Hollywood during two classes concentrating on “culinary cocktails.” Biancaniello will take a small group of drinkers through the process of making four wine-based beverages, with a step-by-step walk through the ingredients, many of which he’s foraging himself. Yes, you’ll learn how to make a candy cap mushroom-infused byrrh with white peppercorn-infused honey and cream made from foraged wild sage, but you’ll definitely be on your own next time you’re looking for all the ingredients. The seminars and tastings are priced at $20, with .

Bartender Matt Biancaniello Mulls Westside Plans [GS]

Criminals Ransack Girl Scouts’ Cookie Cash Boxes

Do-Si-No-You-Didn't.

The first sighting of Girl Scouts is one of the happier moments of the winter season. It's the excitement of Groundhog Day, times ten. The troops are huddled outside a bookstore, in the freezing cold, hawking some of the best packaged cookies ever made — while building a lifetime of skills and confidence! This is our country at its best. But a few awful Americans see this as an ideal time for crime. Two men allegedly stole nearly $400 from a Girl Scouts cash box at a Massachusetts store, and they're being held on charges of unarmed robbery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and shoplifting.

There's more. »

Spago Adds Extra Helping of Priviledge to AKA Hotel Guests

Here's yet another reason to envy the one-percent: AKA, the luxury long-stay hotel in Beverly Hills, is now teamed up with nearby Spago to offer an in-suite dining menu from Wolfgang Puck's famous flagship. Each suite in the hotel will now be able to access signature items from Spago, as well as a changing list of daily specials. If that's enough to make you see green, the restaurant is also offering preferred seating at Spago and VIP back-door entry to hotel guests. Presumably, you can still park out front as long as your car cost six-figures.

Watch the Mythbusters Popcorn Explosion That China Is Apparently Obsessed With

While this country continues frittering away precious productivity time scrutinizing panic-stricken squirrels and an ever-expanding procession of Grumpy Cat memes during the workday, a video of Americans blowing up a popcorn-maker is burning up bandwidth in China. The clip, which comes from an episode of Mythbusters, has become such a hot topic that Chinese Central TV — the most watched news network on Earth — recently devoted a segment to it. In it, the Mythbusters crew, with the help of Alton Brown, takes on an antiquated, and potentially explosive, popcorn popper that’s popular with Chinese street vendors.

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Sake House by Hikari Closes in Santa Monica

Sake House by HikariPhoto: Hadley Tomicki

Sake House by Hikari, the popular Japanese lunch spot and bro-tastic nighttime hang in Santa Monica, is currently closed, with an unresponsive phone and space undergoing extensive surgery. Not related to Hikari in Culver City, the now-shuttered space specialized in teriyaki, sushi rolls, and tempura, filling a needed niche for some of the area's worker bees in search of affordable sashimi once mid-day struck. Still, it will hardly be missed by the Tar & Roses/Fig crowd. No word on what's planning to take its place, or whether this is just a temporary shutter at this point.

Top Chef Seattle Recap: David Rees on Naked Sushi and Human Centipede Chicken

The real Steve Zissou probably makes a mean fried chicken.Photo: Bravo

Kristen’s absence hangs like a druid’s shadow over the Top Chef kitchen. The chefs still can’t believe Kristen refused to throw Josie under the bus. Meanwhile, Josie picks at her sock while justifying her behavior during last week’s elimination — she admits she feels a little guilty. On the other hand, she reminds us “I’m not here to lose,” which is said by all reality-show contestants to justify their ungodly behavior. Just once I’d like to hear someone try this line on St. Peter. They’d be sent straight to hell in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.

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25 Cent Tacos at Wahoo's On Friday; Susan Feniger Giving Out Free Indian Eats in Hollywood

Wahoo's Fish Taco

Sometimes, mostly hinging on what makes the menu, cheap and free food just isn't worth one's time and effort, even if those alliterative F-words are still two of the most welcoming in the English language. Tomorrow, the Wahoo's Fish Taco Chain turns 25 and is offloading its fish tacos for just 25 cents apiece at all of its locations. Tacos don't typically impact the wallet to such a degree that one needs quibble about the price or search fruitlessly for a discount, and given that the last two mahi-mahi tacos we ordered there took us out of the eating game for a full day, we'll most like refrain from revving our own engines, but leave you to make your own decisions in life when it comes to this one.

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Wahlburgers’ Reality Show Will Air on the History Channel

An icon of our times.Photo: Getty Images

The esteemed network that has brought us such classics as Pawn Stars and Swamp People will also air the historically significant Wahlburgers reality show, per the New York Daily News. "Walhberg brothers Mark, Donnie and chef sibling Paul have begun filming on a reality TV show that will follow the entrepreneurial family as they build their burger brand, aptly named Wahlburgers," they report. Because, you know, it's gripping to watch complete unknowns make history struggling to hit it big!

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How Clover Promises To Be Different From Every Other New Juice Bar, Opening Today in Mid-City

Clover's juicesPhoto: Clover

It's a perfect time to be on the fresh-pressed juice bandwagon, as a new depot for the stuff seems to open every week, owned by kitchen-vets, experimentalists, celebrities, and famous nutritionists alike. Today, a new one from hospitality group Cardiff Giant named Clover opens on La Brea, and it seeks to be a little different from its ilk.

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Pabst Blue Ribbon Is Really Maybe Buying Twinkies

A new hipster food group emerges from the rubble of bankruptcy.Photo: Ubcule/Wikimedia, http://freebeercoupons.com

They threatened as much last November, and now it really seems that the private-equity firm that owns Pabst Brewing Company is going for it and will make a bid to buy Twinkies from the liquidating Hostess Brands, creating the most potentially formidable confluence of hipsterdom and nostalgia to ever enter the free-market economy. “We are working diligently to get a deal done,” a representative from the company tells Bloomberg, which means it could only be a month or so before everyone will be bringing Ho Hos, Ding Dongs, Fruit Pies, and Devil Dogs to your next house party along with twelve-packs. In six months, Drake's Cakes may even replace Irish whiskey shots and accompany shotgunned-PBR at bars across the country. [Bloomberg, Earlier]

Is L.A. Having Trouble Stomaching Fair Restaurant Criticism?

One L.A.Weekly reader found Rodell's criitque of Black Hogg "disgusting."

Chefs and restaurateurs have had a pretty simpatico deal go when it comes to the things critics write in L.A. For years, there have been two major voices weighing in on where we eat, with one poetically highlighting the best of what L.A. has to offer but steering clear of telling us where not to spend our cash, and the other doling out two stars to places that for all appearances are on fire. Online, mock-epic puff pieces with nary a bad word litter the scene. That's why we've welcomed the a new voice in the balanced reviews of Besha Rodell. From the get-go, she hasn't been afraid to serve up nuanced reports on the potential exemplified by so many of our exciting restaurants, while being brutally honest about their execution or lack-thereof. Last week, this honest tendency got the critic in hot water, as the letters section of L.A. Weekly is rife with blow-back from the blasts she dealt Black Hogg last Thursday.

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Ranch Dressing Is Ruining America’s Endangered Chicken-Wing Supply

Who eats chicken wings with ranch dressing?Photo: iStockphoto

Your halftime snacks are in the danger zone: Thanks to last summer's drought, chicken-wing prices are up to an average of $2.11 per pound in the Northeast. The USDA says that's the highest recorded price ever, and we believe them. (As a comparison, three years ago the all-time high was $1.47 per pound.) This means a mere 1.23 billion chicken-wing segments will be consumed during the Super Bowl, LiveScience reports, down 12.3 million from last year.

A conspiracy of Ranch dressing manufacturers. »

A Different Kind of Soda War: Violent Dispute Over Big Peach

An ugly fight erupted in Dallas yesterday, and it all started over an argument about Big Peach soda. But we're still not quite sure why a Dallas man and woman were fighting over the soft drink. Maybe one person was guzzling it and not sharing? Or one supports Coke's anti-obesity ad while the other is team Pepsi? But the fight sounds brutal; a box of chicken, a glass jar, a tire iron, and a pillow were all used as weapons. The man is being held on a charge of aggravated assault. [Earlier, Earlier, Dallas Morning News]

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