Posts for February 1, 2013

Exploring Rihanna's Giorgio Baldi Habit; LeAnn Rimes Breaks Down at Hugo's

Typically goes for the spaghetti with tomato sauce and fried calamari appetizerPhoto: MIKeARB/Flickr

Avid celebrity hunters have probably noticed that Rihanna is always at Giorgio Baldi. Is she really that much of a carb-freak or is this just the same sighting endlessly being regenerated by the blogosphere? It turns out the singer is actually pretty hooked on the place, as she tells Rolling Stone that she eats there three times a week. In fact, she even moved to the Palisades just to ease her access to Italian take-out, and has her own waiter named Marco. Guess we know now where she gets "Drunk on Love" and starts "Breakin' Dishes." In other news, LeAnn Rimes lost her composure and cried while leaving Hugo's, Walter White had a family meal at Napa Valley Grille, Kim Kardashian enjoyed dinner at Nobu with Serena Williams, and Lindsay Lohan graced Dan Tana's with a frazzled new look. All this and more in today's Celebrity Settings.

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Brite Spot Starts Serving Stumptown

Great news for Echo Parkers who no longer want to suffer the smug vibe at Silver Lake's Intelligentsia: Brite Spot, which has been in the midst of many a great change as of late, started serving Stumptown coffee, cappucinos, lattes, and the like, courtesy of its own espresso machine, which the diner just got working today.

Ryan Sweeney Cures L.A.'s Hunger

"When I first got into this, so many people would say, 'There’s this great void, the wasteland of Los Angeles,' and I don’t know why that was so offensive to me, but it was. I was dead set on making people feel that Los Angeles was very legitimate…In L.A., we’re hungry...We are so big and when we start getting motivated and moving in the right direction with craft beer, we’re going to be the most massive market."—Surly Goat, Little Bear, and Verdugo Bar owner Ryan Sweeney, on the rise and spread of L.A.'s beer culture. [Food GPS]

Papaya King Abdicates Its Throne In Hollywood

We're sadder to see the signage go than the hot dogs

Plunking a Papaya King down in Hollywood sounded pretty good on paper. But frankly, we'd rather negotiate for a bacon-wrapped street dog than funnel our money to SBE's empire of clubs that would have us rejected at the door for some sort of trespass against high fashion. Not sure that's how the entire Walk of Fame set feels, but nonetheless, Sam Nazarian's hospitality group is dismantling their New York import to make room for more club space. Eater reports that Papaya King's classic signage is no more hanging above Wilcox Blvd., as the restaurant is closing to make room for an expanded version of Sayer's Club. Cleo and Mercato di Vetro's Danny Elmaleh will hatch a new menu for the venture, which will keep earlier hours, opening in the afternoon. [Eater]

Wolfgang Puck Sued...Again

If anyone can identify with the "Mo' Money, Mo' Problems" axiom in life, it's gotta be Wolfgang Puck. It feels like dude is never not being sued. TMZ reports that the chef's D.C. restaurant, The Source, is the target of a new lawsuit filed by a patron claiming she was smashed in the noggin by a waitress with a "heavy metal water pitcher," causing her a concussion, lost income, and medical expenses. Obviously, taking a solid vessel to the dome has got to hurt. A little harder to prove? Whether the restaurant itself is liable for the incident due to negligent training. Or maybe it doesn't matter, as usually the chef just settles. [TMZ; Earlier]

Gold Drops L.A.'s Top Ramen; Scattergood Seeks Out Porchetta

Ramen at Daikokuya

Head-noodle-in-charge Jonathan Gold sums up the city's ramen scene this week, letting loose that L.A. is "still in the throes of its ramen frenzy, a swelling orgy of bamboo shoots, tree-ear mushrooms and soft-boiled eggs," and revealing that "Little Tokyo, Little Osaka and the South Bay sprout ramen shops the way they used to breed sushi bars." The critic then drops a top ten list, leading off with the Tsujita, which he deems "so far ahead of its competition that the others may as well not exist," much "like Ginza Sushiko in the early 1990s or Rex among Italian restaurants a decade before that." The great one also breaks down worthy competitors, including "chewy" noodles at Ramen Iroha, Yamadaya's "altar of pig," red bombs at Mottainai, and his off-menu specialties at Shin-Sen-Gumi. [LAT]

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Aramis the Sick Lion Is Getting By on Elk Burgers in Texas

Here's a guy who probably doesn't mind a little horse DNA in his hamburgers every now and then. Aramis, an African lion living at the In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue Education Center in Wylie, Texas, hasn't been feeling too well. "This African lion is very, very sick," the local NBC affiliate explains. "All he wants to do is eat elk meat." Problem is, of course, dude needed to take his pills and no one had any elk filet lying around. Or so it seemed: the local Twisted Root Burger Co., which also grills venison and boar burgers, had just gotten a 50-pound shipment yesterday morning, so now the center's staff have been able to slip Aramis his meds by tucking them into the chop meat. "I think it's awesome," says restaurateur Jason Boso. "I mean a lion and me, we have a lot in common. We eat buffalo, and elk, and venison, and so I need to help my brother out."

Elkburger Helper! »

Priorities: Eighth Grader Chooses Fried Chicken Over Young Love

They've surely broken up by now.Photo: Reddit

A hormonal adolescent has penned the most honest ode to fried chicken we've ever seen (and Grub Street has seen a few). This note — apparently found on the floor of an eighth-grade classroom — reflects teenagers coming to terms, as we all do, with how best to balance our love lives and our love of fried chicken. Kids, they grow up so fast. [Reddit via Mashable]

TiGeorges' Chicken May Be Saved!

Georges LaGuerre

Last month, we learned that TiGeorges' Chicken owner Georges Laguerre would be closing his Haitian hub in Echo Park before February to go back to his homeland and focus on a family coffee business. Now, it appears Laguerre will be staying in L.A. KCET reports that th owner will most likely relocate or upgrade the business and is currently searching for a beer and wine license, but is not leaving the city or TiGeorges behind, despite original reports that he was closing forever being on target. In fact, when the news hit, it apparently brought Laguerre help from municipal agencies, allowing him to envision a future for his temple of Haitian chicken and community. With so many favorite restaurants closing recently, we were probably due for a good turn like this. It's especially encouraging to see the city work to hold onto a cultural asset like this one. Hats off to LaGuerre! [KCET]

What to Eat at Bamboo Izakaya, Open Today in Santa Monica

Skewered shishito pepper at BambooPhoto: Bamboo Izakaya

Having unshackled itself from Santa Monica Place's expendable Dining Deck and after shuttering their U-Sushi concept, the owners of Ozumo are opening a new Ocean Avenue izakaya today called Bamboo. The restaurant takes over the old location of Dominique Crenn's dearly-missed Abode, with chef Toshio Sakamaki arranging a wide selection of small plates, robata, sushi, and sashimi on a menu mostly adhering to tradition, but often displaying a sensibility merging European and Japanese appetites. Let's take a look at the menu.

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Applebee’s Fires Server for Posting ‘I Give God 10 Percent’ Receipt, Defends Its Actions

But does God serve Weight Watchers entrees?Photo: Reddit

Details have emerged about the customer who wrote, "I give God 10 percent, why do you get 18?" on a receipt and refused to leave a tip. Pastor Alois Bell delivered the holier-than-thou message at a St. Louis Applebee's, where she was dining with a party of twenty. Bell asked to have the check broken up into increments so she could avoid paying the mandatory 18 percent tip, and then proceeded to cross out the $6.29 auto-gratuity. Chelsea Welch, a waitress (but not Bell's sever), posted the photo online "as a lighthearted joke." After it went viral and Bell got outed, she called Applebee's to demand that the restaurant fire everyone involved in the scandal. Welch lost her job.

Jesus Christ! »

Make It Stop! Now Doritos Will Launch Taco Bell-Flavored Chips

Taco Bell and Doritos are like that new couple that just can't stop with the PDA. Following Monday's news that the Bell will release a new Doritos Cool Ranch-flavored taco shell, today Frito-Lay declares "I love you more" by committing to a new Taco Bell flavor of Doritos. Whoa, meta. According to the L.A. Times, the flavor will roll out for a limited time in April and carry the labels of both junk-food giants on the bag. We've done this to ourselves, America. [LAT, Earlier]

Burger King U.K. Admits There May Be a Little Horse in Its Whoppers

Who's going to broil your wild horses?

Looks like someone got a little creative with the custom blend, messed up in the slaughterhouse, or didn't wipe down the grinder too carefully: Burger King announced that contrary to an earlier assertion, there are in fact "very small trace levels" of horse DNA in its products, but that it has taken action in order to cut out the horse-contaminated meat from its supply chain. It is thought that the multinational Silvercrest Foods bought meat from a "non-approved supplier" in Poland, and the fast-food chain hadn't been able to detect equine DNA earlier this month when it performed tests on its patties, in part because "testing for equine DNA is not a standard practice used in beef production." [Guardian UK, Earlier, Earlier]

Ben & Jerry’s Announces Liz Lemon Greek Frozen Yogurt

30 Rock is over, but the show's leading lady is cryogenically frozen in the form of Ben & Jerry's. Liz Lemon Greek Frozen Yogurt will hit stores this spring, and it comes with a blueberry-lavender swirl. Proceeds will benefit the Jumpstart charity, an education organization supported by Tina Fey that serves children in low-income neighborhoods. That's awfully nice. But our beloved Liz would want full-fat cream in her dessert. [Earlier, Vulture]

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