Posts for February 7, 2013

Downtown's St. Vincent Court Cleared of Outdoor Dining, Restaurateurs Fear For Livelihoods

Los Angeles Theatre

Restaurant and cafe owners encircling Downtown's St. Vincent Court are despondent over a crackdown on outdoor dining in the enchanting alleyway off Broadway, considered by many to be the life blood of these mostly Middle Eastern eateries. Despite a flourishing scene of outdoor tables and an al fresco food court, L.A. Downtown News notes that the outdoor seating is unpermitted and totally illegal, with a long-stewing battle over their presence running over this week, as notices finally forced owners to remove their courtyard tables. The crackdown stems from the frustrated feelings of the owners of the Los Angeles Theatre, who claim the crowded patio restricts access inside their landmark, costing millions in lost filming and event revenue. On the other side, restaurateurs worry the removal of these tables will kill their livelihoods, despite the fact that their impromptu seating is against the law. Sevan Garden owner Bgos Miaramoglu simply tells the paper, "I’m finished."

City Cracks Down on St. Vincent Court Outdoor Tables [LADN]


Massive Meat Robbery Foiled in Glendale

If you haven't heard, Tide recently overtook your mom's television as the go-to item for junkies and crack-heads to steal. A 44-year-old man was nabbed by police on Tuesday after trying to steal 21 packages of pricey meat cuts and eleven bottles of cleaning detergent from a Glendale Vons, a combined value of $864. And he may have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn't for the store's meddling loss prevention team, one of who took a punch from the meat-thieving mastermind, who was pulled over shortly after hitting the road. [LAT]

Twisted Metal: Frysmith Food Truck Becoming a Four-Week Pop-Up

The first week finds the truck turning into SoupsmithPhoto: Frysmith

Frysmith's ambitions have always been bigger than just chugging around town judging from the stint it spent providing its fry-recipes-on-meth at Hollywood's Loaded, its own line of ketchups, and The Soupsmith Truck it put on the road in 2012. Now Frysmith is turning its original concept on its head for four weeks of a morphing pop-up concept, starting February 18 and stretching through March 17. What do these fry kids have in store?

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Dr. J's Vibrant Cafe Resurfacing In Downtown, Still Has Nothing To Do With Julius Erving

The other Dr. J, that is

Downtown vegans have a new reason to rejoice, as Blog Downtown announces the pending arrival of Dr. J's Vibrant Cafe, the second iteration of the meat-free restaurant which is due for Main and 4th Streets. First, the bad news: Although there may be only one Dr. J in our books, the restaurant has nothing to do with the great Julius Erving. Instead, the titular heroine here is Taiwanese health food guru Dr. Juliet Tien, a holistic nutritionist behind her own "Vibrant Academy," cookbook scribe, and maker of a frozen foods line, who previously had a location in Westwood. The good doc's Downtown space will hold about 100 seats, offering a tea and smoothie bar, organic, "macrobiotic Ayurvedic and gluten free" fusion dishes, and a grocery section. The 2,700-square-foot space, designed by Kevin Tsai, is just starting construction and will include al fresco dining on a patio.

Incoming Dr. J's cafe promises healthy, healing foods [BD]

One Nation Under Fermentation: FLOTUS Tweets Kimchee Recipe

"Last week, we picked Napa cabbage in the garden," Michelle Obama tweeted last night. "Now, we're using it to make kimchi in the kitchen." The first lady even provided a recipe, which, with five Thai chili peppers per two heads of Napa cabbage, is pretty spicy. And awesome. [FLOTUS/Twitter]

Rodell Reviews The Parish; Gold Cuts Across The City

The Parish

If there's one word in food we'd like to see banned this year, "gorgeous" might be the number-one target, overtaking "amazing" as the latest vacant catch-all in verbiage. Anywhoo, Besha Rodell thinks Casey Lane's The Parish is just that, a "triumph of atmosphere...that embraces you like the romance of an old movie" with less to say on the plate. Like many who came before her, she raves about the cocktails and Epoisses-topped burger, tucking into John Coltharp's "twists on classics" and finding "much of the food...seductive." Then comes the less magical news, as the critic posits, "the Parish's strength lies in elevating grease," finding her confounded over the high prices, the kitchen running out of dishes, somnolent service, and lack of appeal once the meal is moved outside. Missing the fleeting pub touches, she notes, "Take away that room, that grand bar, that view out those long windows, and you're left with some decent food and some less than decent service." [LAW]


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Top Chef Seattle Recap: David Rees on Sourdough Starters and Tom’s Mean Girl Tendencies

Slightly less intense than Deadliest Catch.Photo: David Moir/Bravo

According to my calculations, there are only four chefs left: Josh, Sheldon, Brooke, and Lizzie. And they all miss Stephan. That means he’s captured the hearts of 100 percent of the chefs on the Alaskan cruise ship as it pushes deeper into American’s last frontier, and his smiling face will be the last image in their minds before being torn apart by wolves.

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Sazon Latin Fusion Saying Goodbye To Culver City Space

So long, Sazon!Photo: Sazon Latin Fusion

Sazon Latin Fusion, the healthy-leaning pan-Latin restaurant led by Claudia Kihui's dreams of running her own kitchen, is soon to be closing in its current location on Washington Blvd. The owner-chef, who is staying open for a little while longer to serve her home-style take on mofongo, pollo saltado, and flan, tells Grub Street, "It is official. Escrow opens tomorrow, it is a matter of few days or weeks. I must move on, put myself together again, take a vacation. I will not give up on my cooking, I am giving up on the location." While Kihui charts a new path, the location, which opened over four years ago upon the promises of a new mixed-use building across the street that never materialized, is soon to be available for someone else to take advantage of an increasingly heating scene, with nearby success stories like Roy Choi's A-Frame, the perpetually packed Corner Door, and the coming of Chocovivo to the block. Update: Sazon's last day of business will be on February 27.

Benjamin Bailly Joins Public Kitchen & Bar As Chef De Cuisine

Won't you come home, Ben Bailly?

How's this for a round of musical kitchen chairs? Lauded French chef Benjamin Bailly (Petrossian, Fraiche) recently decamped from his position at Cliff's Edge, ceding the way for Public Bar & Kitchen chef Vartan Abgaryan to fill the executive chef shoes at this atmospheric Silver Lake restaurant. Now we learn that Bailly is, funnily enough, cooking at Hollywood's Public Kitchen & Bar as Tim Goodell's chef de cuisine, essentially reversing roles with Abgaryan. While Abgaryan has completely redesigned the menu at his new post, Bailly is currently working with Goodell to oversee some changes on Public's, with a new brunch menu to be released next Sunday. Still, the switch to a role under a famous chef like Goodell suggests Bailly may be more interested in stepping out of the limelight just to cook and work at the moment. See Public's Winter dinner menu, which bears updates from the new team, down below.

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First Full Look Into AOC, Now Open In Its New Third Street Home

AOC, the seminal wine and small plates destination that Lucques chef Suzanne Goin and sommelier Caroline Styne opened nearly ten years ago on Third Street, reopened last night in a new, more open location further west on the street. The restaurant officially took over the former home of Hollywood power-spot Orso, replacing its most recent incarnation, Sean MacPherson's Il Covo. Illuminated and expanded under designer Claire Stansfield, the new AOC maintains the old tenant's best assets like fireplaces and marble flooring, with a more contemporary, de-cluttered appearance, which includes the implementation of new bay trees surrounded by an edible garden on the charming patio.

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Applebee’s Scandal Inspires Good Tipping

And that's how it's done.

Remember the pastor who wrote, "I give God 10 percent, why do you get 18?" on a receipt and left no tip at Applebee's? She's unintentionally inspiring acts of actual goodwill. A server (at an unidentified restaurant) posted on Reddit that a customer wrote, "We don't give the imaginary man in the sky shit! So enjoy!" and left a 20 percent tip. Nice. People are still pretty pissed about Appleebee's decision to fire Chelsea Welch, the waitress who posted the pastor's receipt online, but they're taking out their anger by overtipping random servers.

Best kind of therapy. »

Beyond Cocktail: The History, and Future, of Flair Bartending

There's more to flair than Cocktail.Photo-illustration: Jed Egan

Chris Cardone launches an empty beer bottle into the air in front of me at the Beatrice Inn and catches it behind his back in one fluid motion. The ceiling of the below-ground room is a piddling seven feet high — not much space to flip bottles, but enough for Cardone to twirl the tins of a Boston shaker, windmill barspoons between his fingers, and toss 750s of gin and Campari from palm to palm behind his back as he prepares a negroni.

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Sexy Mixology TV Show Is Ready for Prime Time

We'll watch, but you have to give this guy a part.Photo: H. Armstrong Roberts/Corbis

The writers of The Hangover teamed up with Ryan Seacrest's production company and are making a show for ABC called Mixology, Deadline Hollywood reports, that is incredibly likely to feature at least one gravely serious, eccentric, and apron-wearing Brooklyn hipster-type bartender who steadfastly refuses to make appletinis but falls in love with a girl who only drinks Bacardi Razz and Tab on ice, which is actually a great drink.

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