Posts for January 25, 2013

Meal Time With Bill Maher at Kate Mantilini; Sheryl Crow Ducks Snoopy Reporters at Craig's

Bill MaherPhoto: David Shankbone/Flickr

This week, The Hollywood Reporter counted Kate Mantilini and BLD among the top power-lunch destinations in town. This week, such shining stars as Bill Maher, Girls' Adam Driver, and uh, Pat Sajack, hit the former, while Mandy Moore and Minka Kelly bonded at the latter. Elsewhere, David Schwimmer took his wife out to Gino Angelini's new RivaBella, Sheryl Crow sought to avoid answering questions about her disgraced ex at Craig's, a couple of those Real Housewives did what they do best, acting scandalous with young studs and talking trash on one another's restaurants, and Zoe Saldana offered the best endorsement for a vegan diet yet while dining at Real Food Daily. For all this and more, look on to today's Celebrity Settings.

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The Search For Sustainable Soul Food in L.A.

Simply Wholesome on SlausonPhoto: Simply Wholesome/Facebook

Fried chicken and crispy pig ears are among today's current rages in L.A., while South L.A. is still a hot-spot for Southern soul food. But in a town closely associated with healthy diets, it may come as only a small surprise that the town is talking about a healthier approach to such dishes. Today, the L.A. Times talks with Byron Hurt, the filmmaker behind a new televised documentary called "Soul Food Junkies" that explores the traditional Southern diet and its impact on health and culture. Hurt tells the paper, "It's hard for people to wrap their head around making modifications to something they grew up with, but if we open ourselves to the possibility that we can make those changes and it can still be good." No sooner does Hurt speak than Intersections South L.A. reminds readers of Simply Wholesome, the longstanding, fresh take on soul food in Windsor Hills.

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California Bakery Makes ‘Kaepernicking’ Into a Cake

Now kiss it.Photo: TannerScholtes/Twitter

Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick's tattooed bicep provides the inspiration for a Super Bowl cake that's being made by Modesto-based Village Baking Company. Their phone is likely ringing off the hook with orders after the thing appeared on SB Nation, but anyway, fun! This dude's flexed bicep is, of course, the stuff of memes now, and trademarks. [TannerScholtes/Twitter via SB Nation]

Blue Palms: The Brewery?

Blue Palms Brewhouse in Hollywood

In an interview with Food GPS this week, Blue Palms Brewhouse proprietor and Ohio-born Leatherneck Brian Lenzo lays out a long-range vision for his dedicated brew bar. After recounting his days in "urban city combat" as an active-duty Marine, the beer that first made him fall in love with craft brew (Firestone DBA), and his penchant for hiring fellow Mid-Westerners, Lenzo reveals that he's hoping to have "my brewery open someday soon," with plans to retain some of his extensively trained staff, rather than see them enlist in the thick ranks of those going on to work at other breweries. Lenzo is also pursuing other possible locations of Blue Palms to "open the experience of craft beer to other cities that haven't experienced it yet and do it right." His first target? Back in his Ohio hometown.

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Mario Batali Would Like You to Quit It, Please

"I just wish people would be nicer to me. Sometimes I feel like there's a big target on my back. I put a lot of love into the world and I really, truly mean well. I know scrutiny is part of the job, but we all have feelings. For some people, the more well known you are, the more vulnerable you feel. I'm a very sensitive person, what can I say?" —Alyssa Shelasky gets Mario Batali to talk about what makes him sad. [Table&Travel]

Local 1205 Slips Back To "B" Rating on A.K.

Local 1205, the Abbot Kinney market opened by The Otheroom-team in Venice, is suffering ongoing peaks and valleys when it comes to its health department grade. According to Yo! Venice! the business saw its A-grade slip to a B-grade last summer, before cleaning up its act to regain the A in October. However, the restaurant fell back to its B-rating status recently, served violations for, among other things, improper thawing and cooling, and minor disrepair and cleanliness issues. Of course, some of our favorite KTown restaurants also rock B-ratings, but well, this ain't one of them. And considering the place recently started slinging oysters from a raw bar, as well as its, premium prices, it just might not be long before that 80% mark sings out like a Scarlet letter. After all, this is still a trendy street where appearances matter.

Evan Funke's Porchetta Parks on Pennsylvania

Funke and his porchetta truckPhoto: Zach Brooks/Midtown Lunch

Evan Funke's porchetta sandwiches may be the must-have dish of the season. At the least, the city hasn't been this excited about a food truck since 2009. But until today, the former Rustic Canyon chef's six-dollar porker has been a little elusive, running around town on secret missions and popping up at Wine Expo on Friday nights. Today, Midtown Lunch reports that the truck now has a semi-permanent place on 26th and Pennsylvania, found in this stretch of Santa Monica at least three times a week.

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There’s a Sriracha Chocolate Bar! Here Are Fifteen Other Things We Must Add Sriracha To

Listen up, Taco Bell.

Now that you can get Creamy Sriracha Sauce at Subway, and now that there's a whole cookbook and blog devoted to the stuff, and the secret is out that this esteemed hot sauce is the best thing to spice up eggs, pizza, or whathaveyou, people are putting sriracha in/on everything. Chocolate, for instance. Someone has even made some sriracha stiletto heels (sauce not included). Allow us to suggest a few more things that would definitely benefit from a dose of rooster sauce.

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Drakes Bay Oyster Company: Not Dead Yet

The deadline for the eviction of Drakes Bay Oyster Company from federal waters — waters near Point Reyes that the Department of the Interior says should now return to being a preserved wilderness — has been extended to March 15, and as the Press-Democrat is reporting, lawyers for Drakes and the DOI are in federal court today in Oakland fighting about the closure, and whether the government used "bad science" to decide on the eviction. At the very least, the oyster purveyor could get a stay and remain open for a while longer while this is resolved. [Press-Democrat, Earlier]

Hot Doug’s Owner Doug Sohn on His New Book and What He Could Teach the Harvard Business School

Hot Doug's book, coming July 16.

You've got your Baylesses and your Achatzes, but if you want to talk Chicago culinary ambassadors to the world, you need to stop at a little storefront on an industrial side street that calls itself "the Sausage Superstore." "Hot Doug" Sohn's hot-dog joint stands at the nexus of everything in Chicago food — reverence for meat; the gleeful mix of high and low food culture (it was Doug, after all, who got the only ticket for serving foie gras during the mid-aughts ban); streetwise smartassery as the cornerstone of one's brand identity; and, not least, a serious commitment to doing one of Chicago's staples better than a million other guys. Now the stop on every tourist's and food-TV host's itinerary is coming to book form in July (appropriately titled Hot Doug's: The Book), combining Doug's own story, as told to Kate DeVivo, with stories from his customers about how his encased meats have changed their lives. We spoke with the great man himself about how he came to write a book, and what he thinks Hot Doug's has to tell the Harvard Business School.

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Chipotle Opening Tomorrow At Crenshaw Plaza

Chipotle plans to burrito-fy Baldwin Hills tomorrow at the debut of a new location at Crenshaw Plaza. The 2,200-square-foot outpost of this widespread attempt at Mexican fast food is enticing guests with a Facebook contest that punishes awards winners with free burritos for a full month. So if you've been seeking a new and thorough month-long colon cleanse, you just may want to enter.

Gold Mines Cortez To Find Shrunken Small Plates; Rodell Rousts Chatty Waiter and Uneven Execution at Le Ka

The table is set at Le KaPhoto: Ali Khan

Jonathan Gold takes on Cortez today, noting that it's not for everyone. Specifically those who can't stand hour-long waits, "crowds...noise, screechy jazz...[And] well-meaning servers who are slightly impatient with the idea of service." The critic warns, "Cortez, like Cookbook, is an enterprise whose customers are pretty much self-selecting — if you belong here, you know who you are." Painting a pretty picture of precise, produce-intensive small plates, Gold puts the emphasis on the word small, telling us that "the size of its portions, at least the non-vegan ones, makes the usual sort of small-plates sharing almost impossible," leaving one's table-mates swiping and licking the quickly ravished bowls. "Tiny portions are great in principle...," he writes, "but there may be a reason so many of the regulars at Cortez fit nicely into skinny jeans. And by the time you finish ordering, you are going to have spent a shocking amount of money." [LAT]

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Chicago's Shawn McClain Opening Five50 Pizza Bar in Vegas

Five50 Pizza BarPhoto: Aria/Rockwell Group

Chicago chef Shawn McClain, the 2006 winner of a James Beard for "Best Chef in the Midwest," Esquire's 2001 "Chef of the Year," and one of the only Windy City chefs to claim victory on Iron Chef, is opening his second Las Vegas restaurant this spring. Though the San Diego native still holds down a vegetarian fine-dining restaurant named Green Zebra in Chicago, his career is increasingly focused on Sin City as of late, where he operates Sage at The Aria Resort. McClain's next project is Five50 Pizza Bar, a Rockwell Group-designed Italian concept combining small plates, charcuterie, and handmade pastas with his take on wood-fired Sicilian and New York-style pizza, along with a showcase of craft beer.

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Pepsi Removes Brominated Vegetable Oil From Gatorade, Keeps It in Mountain Dew

You've probably been up at night, worried sick about all the brominated vegetable oil you've consumed in your lifetime. No? Really? It's one of the yuckier ingredients in soft drinks, and studies have linked it to brain, fertility, and thyroid problems, as well as early onset puberty (kids are horny enough!). We'll hit you with the good news first: PepsiCo is taking the shady ingredient out of its Gatorade formula. But since soda companies are senseless, Pepsi is still using it in Mountain Dew and other soft drinks. Brominated vegetable oil is banned in Japan and the European Union, and it's actually a patented flame retardant. There's no putting out the fire on this growing war against soda. [Earlier, AP]

Cheech Marin and John Sedlar Planning "Joint" Dinner, Tuesday in West Hollywood, Man

Beer, I said beer!

Cheech Marin, the legendary, L.A.-raised comedian whose own nickname supposedly stems from a bag of chicharrones, is going to be appearing aside chef John Sedlar over dinner at Playa in West Hollywood next Tuesday evening. Surprise, surprise, Cheech and his new partner plan to prepare a meal entirely based on weed. No, not a meal with actual weed in it, like the one between Starry Kitchen and Laurent Quenioux last year, but more like a pun-filled menu with dry tongue stuck in cotton-mouthed cheek. What's on the menu?

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Questlove Dreams of Jiro

"Hit me!"

"I was like Popeye to spinach. Member when Michael Jackson tried that tonic in the "Say Say Say" video and it made him dance? You don't? Google it. I didn't dance, but damn if I wasn't in my head doing TAMI show James Brown splits singing "Nightrain" (Sting fans feel me ... yes even my referenced references have footnote references, which makes ME not Dennis Miller the king of references Mr David Cross)." —Questlove is the latest celebrity to dream of Jiro Ono and make a pilgrimage to his ten-seat restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro. During his intense, Instagram-chronicled meal, the four-hour-massaged octopus sent Questlove into a referential tailspin and made him feel just as fly as the Godfather of Soul. [Questlove/Instagram, Earlier, Earlier, Earlier]

Chef Michael Lomonaco Taste-Tests Macarons at Home, Eats Pig-Brain Croquettes at Atera

Lomonaco at Resto, where he had an escarole and pear salad.Photo: Melissa Hom

Though Porter House's Michael Lomonaco runs one of the city's most popular steak houses, he's no carnivore. Aside from the obligatory meat tasting, he actually eats super healthily. "My wife is a pescatarian, so I tend to mirror what she eats," he says. This week, that included quinoa risotto and beet juice. Of course, it's not all vegan this, gluten-free that for a man who spends the bulk of his time in a kitchen that serves up Cowboy Rib Steaks and Lamb T-Bone chops. "January and February are restaurant catchup months for me," he says. "I go to see what new openings I missed during the later fall and December months, when I'm too busy." 2012 was particularly hectic for him with the opening of Center Bar, his small-plates-centric restaurant, but Lomonaco makes up for lost time by hitting Resto, Cascabel Taqueria, and Atera. Read all about his admiration for Matthew Lightner's vegetable dishes and what it's like to dine at your own restaurant in this week's New York Diet.

“Clean, lean, and green.” »

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