Posts for February 8, 2013

Fresh And Easy Is Imploding; Win a Lunch Date With Jonathan Gold

Santa Monica Patch reports the Fresh and Easy slated for Wilshire Blvd has been delayed indefinitely. The store met neighborhood resistance during community hearings, and seemed unable to gain further traction since then. The giant Magnolia Audio sits abandoned. On the flip side, Tesco management advised all of its customers and associates this week no store will be closed despite last December's news of an US-exit. This type of policy flip flop seems befitting of politicians, not so much grocery chains. The death-watch on this on remains. [Patch]

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Chipotle Raising Prices Soon; Chains Profits From Skinny Menu


After weathering rising commodities costs most of last year, this week Chipotle revealed it will most likely raise prices mid-2013 to the tune of $0.20 to $0.30 per burrito. Of course the blame is being placed on the poor cows, but the 1.3% rise in food costs at the end of 2012 also included higher tomato, corn, and dairy prices. While Chipotle only wants to apologize to its customers once for jacking up the price of its assembly line produced burritos, it intends to increase the conversation with its customers through an onslaught of new traditional advertising venues throughout 2013. [NRN]

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Tinga Reboots Renee's Sooner Than Expected

The change in Santa Monica is happening quicker than previously reported at Renee's Courtyard. Despite original rumors of maintaining Renee's for a few more months, the Tinga team has temporarily shuttered the bar and will reopen Renee's only until mid-March. Eater reports this changing of the guards also means Tinga Santa Monica's menu will no longer be the chic Mexican cuisine so praised by Jonathan Gold.

Previously: Renee's Courtyard Cafe Sold To New Owners. Is Vintage Santa Monica Disappearing [Grub Street]

Jewish Journal Bemoans LA’s Lack of Haute Delis

In the February issue of Jewish Journal, Jessica Ritz pens a thorough plea for LA pastrami lovers to step up the game and join the “neo-deli” bandwagon. In the 1500-word essay, Ritz lays out the status of the current movement which has spread from Portland to New York and back to the West Coast. She visits some LA eateries purportedly attempting to transform deli dishes (Gorbals, Mezze, Adam Gertler at This is Not a Pop Up) and finally, gets a great sound bite from David Sax himself. While we can all take heart in her conclusions (“we’ve got it pretty good already”), we can’t help but dream of Jeff’s Gourmet’s fleeting old-fashioned pastrami. Like Ritz, we would also like a side of a “damn fine” coleslaw because even the version found at Langer’s is but a “vehicle for mayonnaise”. [Jewish Journal]

Blvd Coffeehouse Cafe Opens in Woodland Hills

Finally, an alternative to Starbucks

Weenie Shack in Woodland Hills has been replaced by an independent coffee house named Blvd Coffeehouse. It’s rather amazing what a darker coat of paint and new lighting fixtures did to the old hot dog shack. The new cafe now feels welcoming, especially with a new bar meant to provide an intimate coffee-drinking experience. So far, the neighborhood loves it. The coffee house still has a kitchen, so visitors can find a bratwurst sandwich during lunchtime if they're missing weenies.

Blvd Coffeehouse Cafe 21014 Ventura Blvd Los Angeles, CA 91364

Anthony Bourdain’s Going to Be on Archer, Too

Kevin Gillespie isn't the only food-world luminary getting the Archer treatment. The Taste co-host Anthony Bourdain, it turns out, will play "Bastard Chef" on an upcoming episode, and here's the screencap to prove it. "I hung around the Archer parking lot until they gave me some work," he wrote on Facebook earlier this month. [Helen Cho/Twitter, Earlier]

Vietnamese New Year Celebration Comes to O.C.


Vietnamese New Year Festival, Tet, is being celebrated at the Garden Grove Park starting today. The organizers tout 200 booths including dozens of food vendors. Regional eats from all over Vietnam can be found in one park - sugarcane juice, dried squid, che, banh beo, egg rolls, pork balls, half hatched duck eggs, banh mi, etc. Beyond the bites, expect a large crowd being entertained by fireworks, lion dancing, a “cultural village”, pagents and talent shows. Entrance fee is $5, and free for those in ao dai on Saturday. On Sunday, there will be parade through neighboring Westminster. The festival runs until Sunday, February 10, and detailed hours can be found at Tet Festival’s website. [GS]

Ex-LAPD Cop and Alleged Triple Murderer Enjoys Chick-Fil-A, Loves Bourdain

Chris Dorner supports Chick-Fil-A's freedom of expression.

While Southland law enforcement officers continue the manhunt in the snowy Big Bear mountains for Ex-LAPD officer Chris Dorner, interesting tidbits concerning his lifestyle continue to surface. The alleged cop killer published a verbose manifesto on Facebook and the tome revealed everything from his beef with a high school assistant principal, to his favorite food TV personality, to his favorite sandwiches. Near the end of the composition, Dorner declares his adoration for Tony: “Anthony Bourdain, you’re a modern renaissance man who epitomizes the saying ‘too cool for school’”. A few paragraphs later, Dorner wants America to know Chick-Fil-A “make[s] some damn good chicken”. Police tells the public Dorner’s last known residence is in La Palma, and Dorner himself lists both La Palma and Cerritos as his previous addresses. Chick-Fil-A opened its first ever stand-alone restaurant in Cerritos in March of 2007 and perhaps Mr. Dorner battled his “severe depression” with a Spicy Chicken Sandwich Deluxe, then browsed the Cerritos mall.

Christopher Dorner Manifesto Posted Online [ABC7]

Kevin Gillespie Was on Archer Last Night

Funner than a Quickfire Challenge.

Former Top Chef competitor Kevin Gillespie made a guest appearance in an episode of Archer last night called "Midnight Ron," which was otherwise chock-full of obscure pop-culture references. The Atlanta-based chef played a truck-driving "transvestite rapist," naturally. Vulture got the lowdown from executive producer Matt Thompson. [Vulture]

Watch an Opera Flash Mob Take Over a British Restaurant

On Sunday, a flash-mob opera troupe burst into Surrey's very staid-looking Bel & The Dragon restaurant, interrupting diners to break into a rousing rendition of "Dance of the Cachucha" and other favorites from The Pirates of Penzance. The Godalming Operatic Society reports that customers were "pleasantly surprised." Watch the video for yourself (things get started around the 26-second mark), and send good wishes to the poor little boy who looks like he wants to crawl under the table. Earbuds recommended.

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Oops! Frozen 'Beef' Lasagna Dinners Found to Contain Up to 100% Horsemeat in the U.K.

WHOA!Photo: Gabriela Herman

Following the news that six U.K. retailers were selling burgers that contained varying amounts of horse, then the revalation that Burger King's patty supply contained "very small trace levels" of equine DNA, it's now being reported that the U.K.-based food manufacturer Findus has been selling frozen lasagna dinners that purport to be beef but may actually be up to 100 percent ground horse chuck.

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