Posts for February 11, 2013

First Public Fruit Park Opens in South Bay; Adam Horton Joins Whist

Avocado treePhoto: Emdot/Flickr

Brentwood: Compartes Chocolatier's Jonathan Grahm recently opened 100 pop-ups in Japan and is expanding his local product line. [LAT]
Century City: David Myers' new Hinoki & the Bird is a huge hit with Hollywood producers, with the creators of Mad About You and Friends already regulars. [THR]
Citywide: Ziggy Marley is considering his own Ital restaurant in L.A. Fire 'pon Cafe Gratitude dem! [Eater]
Culver City: Eatalian Cafe's Antonio Pellini is conceptualizing a new multi-tiered-business called Enjoeat that combines a bakery and gelato shop with a more formal Italian restaurant. [Eater]
Del Aire: A public fruit orchard is now open in the South Bay, offering citrus, avocado, apple, peach, plum, and passion-fruit trees among the many fruit-bearing trunks. [Digest]

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Maker’s Mark Is Watering Down Its Bourbon

What can drinkers expect from the new, 84-proof Maker's?Photo: Courtesy Maker's Mark

There are more bourbon barrels than people in Kentucky at the moment, but the sharp uptick in demand is crushing supply, and now, as a means of staving off a bourbon shortage, the distillery that produces Maker's Mark announced it is taking the seemingly extraordinary measure of lowering the alcohol-by-volume content of its product. As you can imagine, some drinkers are going nuts over this.

The full statement. »

Supper Liberation Front Chefs Open a Santa Monica Taqueria

Fish tacos at Tacos Punta CabrasPhoto: Tatiana Arbogast

Supper Liberation Front chef Josh Gil once provoked Westside L.A.'s wildest Mexican food dreams by teasing about a creative Oaxacan restaurant named Mitla with the Bricia Lopez of Guelaguetza. The project never happened as planned and Gil went off to work for BLT Steak. Fortunately, Gil is still serious about giving local Mexican cuisine a boost, as Eater finds the chef re-teamed with his SLF partner Daniel Snukal to unveil a new Baja-style taqueria in Santa Monica.

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Sergio Perera and Greg Bernhardt Team Up For WineBar@CoffeeBar

Greg Bernhardt

Sergio Perera, the modernist veteran of the kitchens of Andoni Aduriz, Jean Georges Vongrichten, and Juan Mari Arzak who popped up at Marcona this summer, is teaming up with Church & State and The Kitchen Table consultant Greg Bernhardt on a new Downtown concept. The chefs are taking over evenings at Spring Street's CoffeeBar for a confusingly named pop-up called WineBar@CoffeeBar, serving short beer and wine menus alongside a selection of twelve dishes that Examiner finds priced just above ten dollars each. Reflecting the two chefs' respective experiences, the menu includes both Spanish tapas and New American cooking in harmony, including potato soup with chorizo, mushrooms with poached egg and Idiabazal cheese, and jamon on ciabatta on the Iberian side, and oxtail soup dumplings, cured snapper with sansho peppers, and bourbon apple brulee on the other. Currently, WineBar@CoffeeBar is running Tuesdays through Sundays at 600 S. Spring St. in Downtown.

Chefs Sergio Perera & Greg Bernhardt launch WineBar @ CoffeeBar [Examiner]

J. Gold Finds Le Ka's Fine Bistro Food "Trapped In The Body of a Nightclub"

"There is a name for restaurants like this. They are called lounges."

Remi Lauvand's cooking may be "very" good, but Jonathan Gold is a little perplexed at his new Downtown restaurant, Le Ka, since "food seems like such a secondary thing" here. "There is a name for restaurants like this. They are called lounges," the critic warns, while taking in the beautiful patrons and grating techno tunes. And though he loves Lauvand's attentions, from his adroit sourcing to his French technique, he dubs Le Ka "a modern French bistro trapped in the body of a nightclub," trying to eat the pigs' feet and head cheese from your plate while you're distracted. Some of the small plates may fail, with wild boar albondigas coming off like an Applebee's version of tapas, but Lauvand scores when he sticks to the beat of his own Gallic expertise and strays from trying to please the electro-entranced masses. [LAT]

What to Eat at La Monarca Bakery, Grand-Open in South Pasadena

Ricardo Cervantes and Alfredo Liva's La Monarca Bakery stands head and shoulders above your average L.A. panaderia, adding a gourmet approach to the world of made-from-scratch Mexican bread and pastries. Last Thursday, Monarca grand-opened its fourth location, taking over space in a historic South Pasadena building with help from Puebla-born architect Jose Antonio Gonzalez, formerly of Gehry Partners. In addition to the expected display of guava and dulce de leche-filled cuernos, single-origin Oaxaca-sourced coffee, fluffy tres leches, cookies, Mexican chocolate, and fresh-from-the-oven baguettes, the new Monarca serves new ranchero and veggie quiches, cold brew coffee, open-faced cazuelas, and a variety of products including olive oils from Baja and Guayeco fruit spreads sourced from Aguascalientes. Come take a look at the newest space in the Monarca empire and the delicious spread of goodies in our slideshow look at the Pasadena location.

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Ruth Reichl Calls the Star System ‘Stupid’

"As a critic, I really hated the star system. It’s stupid and insulting to readers. I’d sometimes give a restaurant a lower rating so people would leave a restaurant saying I wrote a three-star review, but only gave two stars. But as an editor, I would never get rid of it. When you run a four-star review, it gets talked about all over the world." —The former Times restaurant critic and Gourmet editor isn't a fan of New York bagels or Yelp, either. [Daily Front Row]

Settebello Pizzeria Spreading to Oxnard

Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana, currently L.A.'s most meticulous purveyor of authentic, thin-crust Neapolitan pie, is bringing its wood-burning oven and imported ingredients to a new valley. The restaurant, which had its start in Salt Lake City, Utah, opened to Pasadena in 2011, and holds a degree from The Vera Pizza Napoletana, is confirmed to open its fifth location in Oxnard's The Collection shopping center, just off the 101, joining such unlikely bedfellows as Yard House, Menchies, and Toby Keith's Shit-Kicking Rodeo of Bad Ribs and Worse Beer I Love This Bar & Grill.

Mountain Dew Introduces Kickstart, a Morning Soda

Officially endorsed by fedora-wearing, tattooed men.

For those of you who wake up and chug Red Bull (looking at you, Alex Stupak), PepsiCo's out to get you. The company is launching a new Mountain Dew drink that's intended for breakfast time. Kickstart is made with "real fruit juice" (read: 5 percent juice), "the right amount of kick" (a potentially lethal jolt of caffeine), and artificial sweeteners. Though Kickstart does have far less caffeine than energy drinks like Red Bell, PepsiCo's taken the liberty of labeling the two flavors "energizing orange citrus" and "energizing fruit punch," and has packaged it to look like Monster. Subtle. Maybe Taco Bell inspired this — in May, it introduced an awful "mixology" beverage called MTN DEW A.M., consisting of Mountain Dew and orange juice. Kickstart will be available nationwide starting February 25; it'll appear at college libraries and morning pregame parties on the 26th. [Earlier, Earlier, Earlier, AP]

LAPD Pursuit Ends In Crash at Wurstkuche Venice

Damages at Wurstkuche VenicePhoto: Ty A./Yo! Venice!

A Ford pick-up truck being chased by police on Sunday night concluded its reign of terror after colliding into the Venice location of popular German restaurant Wurstkuche. The chase began when police started pursuing a driver said to be driving recklessly at Washington Blvd. near the beach. The driver, who NBC reports is a parolee, refused to pull over and careened up Lincoln, striking a cyclist while running a red light, and smashing the truck through the exterior wall of the restaurant, taking out windows and masonry. Two customers were injured in the crash, while the driver was arrested and also required medical attention. [Yo! Venice!; NBC]

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