Posts for February 12, 2013

Chinese New Year Celebrations Continue in Chinatown and Alhambra This Weekend

Lion Dancing

While some say the Chinese are no longer in Chinatown, the Chinatown Business Improvement District is hosting the 14th Annual Chinese New Year Festival Saturday & Sunday, February 16 & 17, 10:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M. Calbi BBQ, Crepe N Around, Frysmith, Gourmet Genie, Greasy Weiner, Jogasaki Burrito, Sweet E's Bake Shop, Trailer Park Truck, Tropical Shave Ice, and Yalla Truck are all expected on both days. A craft beer garden featuring three L.A. breweries will be curated by Eagle Rock Brewery. The event details page is here and in case anyone still doesn't know: this is the year of the snake.

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King Hot Dog Opens in Former Location of Puppy Mill

King Hot Dog, serving Korean influenced fanciful wieners, is now open in Koreatown on Western Ave. The 1100 square feet restaurant used to be the site of World Puppy and Grooming, but now dishes out flat screen TVs, free wifi, and forcedmeat in the style of Dog Haus. Following the opening of Stall 239, this is the second street-inspired stand to open in as many weeks in Ktown. King Hog Dog 151 N. Western Ave, Los Angeles; 323-460-4744. [Ktown Directory] [Eater]

‘Bitter Barista’ Loses His Job After Wittily Complaining About Customers Online

Cup this, jerks!

Because we greatly value and love giving book deals to service industry employees who secretly jot down all the stupid, pushy, and embarrassing things customers say and then publish them online later, a former barista in Seattle who keeps a blog called Bitter Barista has been fired, Sprudge reports, but will no doubt soon publish a book filled with all sorts of fun observations. After he was outed as the sardonic blogger, the Seattle Times reports, Matt Watson tried to explain to his boss that Bitter Barista — "thoughts from behind the counter (and other reasons why I hate you)" tagline and all — was satire, but to no avail. Now he's determined to keep going, so get ready for more insights like, "Every time someone orders an extra-hot-no-foam latte, an angel rapes a puppy." Also, to be on the safe side, you may want to check that you're ordering your coffee the right way. [Sprudge, Seattle Times, Related]

Bon Appetit Names Animal as Part of America's Most Important Restaurants, Other Chefs Forget L.A. Exists

Animal's Chefs

How much longer do L.A. restaurants need to beat on the drums in order to be heard? Bon Apetit, one of the few remaining food magazines in the country of national importance, just released a "20 Most Important Restaurants" piece. In it, Andrew Knowlton, a known friend of L.A., lists more than a handful of restaurants in NYC, but demurely offered Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo "as the guys guys who introduced stoner cuisine to the masses". It's difficult to say which set of potheads begs for beef heart or veal brains in the middle of the night, but at least the NYC based critic remembered one restaurant in Los Angeles as the accolade for L.A. stopped there.

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Robert Parker Protégé Antonio Galloni Leaves The Wine Advocate to Launch New Web Venture


Wine geeks, take note: A major changing of the guard is at hand. Antonio Galloni, who has been a critic for Robert Parker's extremely influential magazine The Wine Advocate since 2006, is busting out on his own next month with a new web-based publication,, aimed at younger wine consumers.

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Lesbian Couple Accepts Duff Goldman’s Wedding Cake; Meanwhile, Business Thrives at Homophobic Baker’s Shop

Equal cake for all.

After Sweet Cakes by Melissa owner Aaron Klein refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple, Ace of Cakes star Duff Goldman stepped in and offered to bake and deliver one for free. Even though Laurel Bowman and her fiancée had already enlisted another baker in Portland, they said yes, of course — you can never have too much cake. But this story doesn't have a cookie-cutter, happy ending: As the state attorney general's office decides whether Klein violated the Oregon Equality Act, business is booming at Sweet Cakes. Klein is standing by his decision to discriminate, and people are supporting him; he recently sold out of cupcakes. If this leaves you feeling ill (and makes you hate cupcakes), know that you can take action: Bowman and her fiancée are asking anyone who's moved by their story to donate to Pride Northwest on their behalf. Now, that's a good wedding gift. [Earlier, Oregonian, HuffPo]

Planned Parenthood's Food Fare Kicks of 2013 Festival Season

Joe MillerPhoto: PPLA

The most historied charity food festival in Los Angeles belongs to the efforts of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles chapter. It is an event produced by a progressive group of LA women and began with a cooking demonstration by grand dame Julia Childs herself. Year after year, PPLA fills the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium with foodies rooting for preventative medicine and quality reproductive health care for all. With over 90 participating restaurants such as Corner Door, Ammo, Craft, Church and State, Drago Centro, Hart and the Hunter, Maison Giraud, Milo and Olive, Salt's Cure, Superba Snack Bar, Rays and Stark Bar, Sotto, Tar and Roses, and more, the PPLA Food Fare has withstood the demands of LA “foodies” since the invention of the word.

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Yet Another Heart Attack Grill Customer Dies

The Quadruple Bypass Burger.Photo: Heart Attack Grill

John Alleman, a 52-year-old unofficial spokesman for Las Vegas's death-happy Heart Attack Grill, has died after suffering — yup — a heart attack. Alleman reportedly ate at the restaurant nearly every day, despite owner "Doctor Jon" Basso's warnings that Triple Bypass Burgers really weren't everyday food. This follows two similar incidents last year. How long before someone takes action here?

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Last Minute Valentine's Day Round-Up of Things That Don't Suck

Semi Sweet's Chocolate Ding-a-LingsPhoto: Semi Sweet Bakery/fb

Valentine’s Day is merely two days away. There are plenty of options still available even for the uninspired. The young Allumette is running its full regular menu, as is the veteran MB Post which promises none of the prix fixe shenanigans. Daniel Schemtob’s new TLT (The Lime Truck) Food is running an anti-Valentine’s regular menu featuring a peanut butter bacon rice crispy for three friends. The intimate Gorge is concurrently running a Valentine's Day menu along with its full a la carte menu. For those seeking absolutely zero diversion from the process of romance making, here are some interesting prix fixes, shared concepts and local chocolates.

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Justin Warner’s Dinner Tab at Masa Triggered Credit Card Company Alarms


The country's most expensive restaurant is so pricey that it sends up red flags in credit card company software, apparently: After the Brooklyn-based Food Network star Justin Warner had a meal with his girlfriend at high-, high-end sushi restaurant Masa and paid the bill, he got a text from Chase checking in to confirm the $1284.73 tab was legit. Which, in a way, could be a really good marketing strategy for the restaurant. [Justin Warner/Twitter via Price Hike, Earlier]

Coroner Says Woman’s Massive Coca-Cola Habit Played a Part in Her Death

Stick to the small size.

Three years ago, Natasha Harris, a 30-year-old mother of eight in New Zealand, died of a heart attack. But a coroner says Harris, who allegedly swilled up to ten liters of Coca-Cola per day — "twice the recommended safe limit of caffeine and more than 11 times the recommended sugar intake" — did herself in with soda, reports the BBC. She drank so much, in fact, that her teeth had rotted from decay and she'd go into intense withdrawal symptoms when deprived of her chosen beverage.

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Propose at Fazoli's and Eat Free Spaghetti for a Year

If you're desperately in love with both a life partner and spaghetti, please contact a Fazoli's store manager before kneeling down (in front of a plate of stuffed pizza sticks) on Valentine's Day. All pre-approved couples engaged at Fazoli's on Valentine's Day 2013 receive vouchers for a year of free spaghetti. After proposing, and possibly finishing that Club Italiano gordita piada, the lucky couple will be entered into a $500 catering effort by Fazoli's for the planned wedding. There are 217 Fazoli's, but L.A.'s only branch is in Chino Hills: 13015 Peyton Dr. (909) 364-2444 . You get no free pasta if she blurts out no. [QSR]

Fabio Viviani Shows Us ‘The Fort Knox of Pasta’ at Siena Tavern in Chicago

Fabio Viviani didn't win Season 5 of Top Chef, but he was clearly one of the show's winners in real life, his madcap Italian charm— part Mastroanni, part Marx Brother— made for TV. (Not surprisingly, he won Fan Favorite at the season's end.) The Los Angeles-based chef and restaurateur (Cafe Firenze, Firenze Osteria) turned it on for us when we visited Siena Tavern, his new Chicago restaurant which opens this Saturday, and it's fun to be told with full Italian braggadocio that his walk-in is "the Fort Knox of Pasta" or that his mother's lasagna recipe is going to lead to America giving "birth to a new concept of lasagna." But the next moment it becomes clear that he's serious, even reverent about Italian food, and that he's very earnest about opening in a city with a serious food rep and measuring up to the caliber of chefs already working here. In the first of two five-minute videos exclusively for Grub Street, Fabio talks about the housemade pasta program at Siena Tavern and invites us into his Fort Knox; on Thursday, he'll talk pizza. Watch the video below.

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The Blame Game: Europe’s Horse Crisis Is Giving a Viable Food Source a Bad Name

Trigger was a friend, a star, and probably some French person's eventual dinner.Photo: Bettmann/Corbis

Who knew something as innocuous as frozen lasagna would ever set off a huge international food scandal? After European officials discovered that lots of meat labeled as "beef" was actually "horse" (or possibly donkey), people are, you know, pissed off. Rightfully so, but the problem here is that horsemeat is getting an even worse reputation than it already had, when it's the world's broken food maufacturing systems that are the real problem.

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P Gators Southern Grill Opens in North Hollywood

P Gator

Creole chef Paul Hiles planned a ribbon cutting for last November, but continued construction delays pushed back grand opening until end of January. P Gators promises the flavors of "Atlanta, Mobile or New Orleans" at the North Hollywood Arts District restaurant, located in a mixed-use building (which translated to ventilation system extending up through six stories). Despite Southern cooking being known for heavier dishes, Hiles promised healthier versions of greats such as jambalaya and turkey meatloaf. Perhaps our hopes for bona fide poboys and boudins aren't dashed after all which means P Gators might be the perfect place to celebrate Fat Tuesday. [Patch]

P Gators Southern Grill 11049 Magnolia Blvd #7 North Hollywood

O.C. Receives Another Injection of Slater's 50/50

Just three short months after opening its first Los Angeles-area branch, Slater's 50/50 is back to satiating Orange County's need for its magical blend of beef and pork between buns. The Lake Forest location, open now, will still offer near-limitless burger combinations chosen from twelves cheeses, 20 sauces and more than 30 toppings. Best of all, burger lovers can cleanse their palate with 100+ beers on tap, making Slater's possibly the easiest path towards two simultaneous health issues in Southern California.

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Bloomberg Declares Mission Sort of Accomplished in War on Salt

Reduced sodium!Photo: iStockPhoto, Creative Commons

The mayor who puts salt on Saltine crackers and allegedly chows down on popcorn so sprinkled with sodium that it hurts his guests is nonetheless pleased with a New York City–led initiative that's resulted in several companies reducing the sodium contents of their products. Kraft, Unilever, Heinz, Butterball, Goya, Starbucks, and ConAgra are among the manufacturers who are making the dinner table less salty.

Who's cutting down. »

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