Posts for February 14, 2013

Ludo Storming Williams-Sonoma This Saturday

Time to hit your Rosetta Stone CDs, as Ludo Lefebvre is crashing Beverly Hills' Williams-Sonoma this Saturday for a cooking demo and in-store signing of his LudoBites Cookbook. The O.G. pop-up champion is ready to get busy, appearing as a judge on The Taste, throwing a dinner party at Animal next Friday, and poised on the verge of opening his first fixed solo venture in Hollywood. Starting at 2:00 P.M. on February 16, 'Ludes will provide fans a little face-time, offering cooking tips, and giving them a glimpse of his John Hancock. Reservations for a copy of the book can be made at 310-274-9127. [Facebook]

Johnny Rockets Salutes The Nation With Questionable Ketchup Art

With liberty and tomato concentrate for all.Photo: ConspiracyofHappiness/Flickr

"I pledge allegiance to the sauce that graces the dogs of America." Johnny Rockets on Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade is putting crappy ketchup to good use this coming Monday, bringing in local Madonnari artist Cynthia Kostylo to construct a replica of Mt. Rushmore out of Heinz ketchup (damn, that Warren Buffet sure knows how to move weight). We're guessing the mural isn't exactly to scale, but the public still invited to come scrutinize the piece, grab some free french fry samples, and make a little ketchup art of their own from 4:00 to 6:00 P.M. on President's Day. Who knows? You just might discover that you're the John Constable of condiments.

Johnny Rockets, 1322 Third St. Santa Monica.

800 Degrees Acquires Neighboring Space To Focus On Take-Out Orders

800 Degrees' pizza verdePhoto: 800 Degrees

Since it would be untoward of us to allow a 24-hour period to pass without some news from Umami Burger's central command, we're pleased to find Adam Fleischman's 800 Degrees finally engaging in a little expansion. Unfortunately, the news won't finally fulfill the early predictions that this flash-fired pizza concept would become the world's next hottest chain, but nonetheless the restaurant is taking over its Westwood Village neighbor for a take-out only venture that will allow desk-jockeys to forgo the original joint's snaking lines and take their pies on the road.

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El Bulli Reopening for the Sake of Method Acting

Ferran finds his light.

El Bulli, the now-closed bull's-eye of modern food fetishists, is going to reopen for a full month in the near future. And no, you still won't be able to get in, as the restaurant is not exactly making itself available to the public. The Catalonia home to Ferran Adrià's endless culinary experimentation and avant-garde eccentricities closed in 2011 but will reportedly spring back to life to aid the production of a fictionalized film based on the restaurant's final year in business, adapted from Lisa Abend's book, A Season in the Kitchen at Ferran Adrià's El Bulli. According to the Daily Meal, the restaurant's reemergence is being staged specifically for the yet-to-be-cast actors to immerse themselves in Adrià's world, upping the odds that the speriphied olives may be juggled at some point by Javier Bardem (or whoever ultimately plays Adrià).

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Vegans Conquer The Staples Center

Not only does The Staples Center enjoy random visits by Will Ferrell and his gynecologically-named alter-ego, but it's also Peta-approved. LAist spies a volley of air-balls vegan eats being served at the arena, with meat-free sloppy joes, sushi, burgers, and hummus plates making it the most vegan-friendly NBA venue on earth. Of course, the news doesn't exactly do much for California's crunchy reputation, nor it is really helping The Lakers much, but at least we can point to something taking the number-one spot at The Staples Center this year. Go Aramark! [LAist]

L.A. Chefs Confess: Valentine's Day Dinner Is Hard To Do

Tasty or gouge-y?

If anyone wants to know who's really desperate on Valentine's Day, look no further than our local restaurants, who have so thoroughly penetrated our own inboxes with pleas for their dining schemes tonight that they basically make this dork look like Wilt Chamberlain. But of course, if you really want to be cool in 2013, you must have a jaded approach to Valentine's Day and any warm and cuddly emotion that doesn't drip with irony. So it goes that some of our local chefs admit that while they'll happily take your cash tonight, they're not sure the V-Day rush is necessarily the greatest evening to experience their cooking, letting L.A. Weekly know their true feelings regarding the holiday.

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What Happens If You Send the Dish Back?

Apparently there is a restaurant in Japan that will fine you if you order the salmon roe with rice and leave even a single bite of food. That fine is then donated to the fishermen who risked their lives to get the food. It seems the owner used to be a fisherman himself. [Gold Rush Japan via Gawker]

Watch Ricardo Zarate Break Down Paiche

Following a safe strain of light jazz more fitting for a local cable access show, The Daily Meal shares a few minutes with L.A. and Lima's shared culinary hero, Ricardo Zarate. Ditching his chef whites for a super sexy ivory button-down, the chef offers the first direct word in months on his plans for Paiche, the restaurant he's bringing to Marina del Rey this spring. Zarate is turning away from branding the project a cevicheria as originally expressed, instead refining the concept into a "Peruvian izakaya" that wears the South American nation's Japanese heritage on its sleeve. "It's going to have a very strong accent on seafood but with a Japanese flair," the chef says. Cooing his most coveted ingredients like a modern-day Mariano Melgar ("aji amarillo...rocoto, the choclo"), Zarate then offers tribute to the restaurant's namesake river monster, the 600 pound prehistoric fish he's helping to bring back from endangerment by getting The States hooked on its sweet, soft flesh. Hear Zarate divulge his plans for Paiche in the below video.

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Valentine’s Day Essentials: Condoms, Lube, and a Side of Fried Chicken

Going to be a good night.Photo: Reddit

What is it about fried chicken that screams romance? The crunchy exterior? The supple skin? The juicy insides? The bones? Last week we sympathized with a lovelorn teen torn between choosing fried chicken and passion (he chose the chicken, naturally). And one grown-up has things similarly figured out: Check out this receipt from someone who's clearly preparing for a romantic night. The enterprising customer picked up some lubricant, condoms, toothpaste, a toothbrush, and then stopped over at the deli for that crucial deal-sealing purchase: eight pieces of fried chicken. Looks like someone got lucky. [Reddit, Earlier]

Monster Energy Drinks Changes Its Label to Seem Less Frightening

"Dietary supplement" no more!

Seemingly in an effort to increase transparency and rehabilitate its image following the news that its product was cited in reports of at least five deaths, Monster Beverage Corp. announced this week that it will change the ways its products are classified. They will be "beverages" going forward and no longer considered "dietary supplements." After the parents of the 14-year-old Maryland teen who had died after drinking two Monster Energy drinks filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer, it was revealed that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had been monitoring the brand since 2004, logging 37 incidences of "adverse reactions" such as arrhythmia and dizziness. The shift means that the information printed on the side of Monster Energy drinks will now be presented as "Nutrition Facts" instead of "Supplement Facts," and since the caffeine- and taurine-loaded drinks are now considered "food," the company — its methods and its ingredients included — will be subject to increased scrutiny from the FDA. [AP, Earlier, Related]

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Top Chef Seattle Recap: Spiritual Rice Washing and Fatherhood

It's like a very fancy firing squad.Photo: Bravo

David Rees isn't here today. He says he had a cruise previously planned, but I suspect he just needed some time off given the Sisyphean task that is recapping a show, week after week, always having to invent new ways to say that Padma looks high. Whatever the reason, Rees will be back next week — provided his cruise doesn't break down and get stranded at sea so long that people have to wade through feces — but until then the job falls to me, so let's get to it.

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Ramen Hayatemaru Arrives In West L.A.

Ramen Hayatemaru

The good news continues to pour in for West Los Angeles ramen-heads, as another well-known Japanese noodle chain announces its coming arrival on Olympic Boulveard and Barrington, taking space in the strip mall that long sheltered Raku just a stone's throw from Little Osaka. Ramen Hayatemaru's origins are traced to Hokkaido, Japan, where the outfit specializes in a short menu of six miso-concentrated Hokkaido-style broths, popularized here by chef Munetsugu Okuhara, with handmade noodles of medium girth and rich sauces imported from the chain's factory in Sapporo.

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Watch Nigella Lawson Talk About Her Former Job As a Chambermaid

Last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Taste's Nigella Lawson revealed that in a gap year before university, she wanted to do anything to earn a living except clean restrooms. Of course, she ended up getting a job as a chambermaid in Italy. But Nigella enjoyed snooping around, trying on everyone's clothes, and going through their drawers. See how her nosy behavior manifests itself today.

"You put their scent on." »

Fabio Viviani on Pizza: 'If You Have a Functioning Brain, You Love Deep Dish'

In the second of our two videos with Fabio Viviani, Top Chef fan favorite and chef of the new Siena Tavern, which opens Saturday in Chicago, he talks about pizza— how he feels about Chicago deep dish, why Neapolitan style pizza isn't the end of the subject in Italy, and how Siena Tavern's pizza oven is "the Ferrari of pizza ovens." Then watch him make us a margherita pizza... and you won't have any doubt from the way he flips the dough that this is someone who's made a few pizzas before. Watch the five-minute video below.

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Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Will Start Selling ‘Miraval’ Wine

Everyone wants to know whether they'll use natural or synthetic corks.Photo: EPA/Corbis

Terroir! Just in time for Valentine's Day comes the news that the two swooniest movie stars to ever hold hands are going into the wine business: Bloomberg reports that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are putting their names on a line of rosé made from grapes grown on Chateau Miraval, their thousand-acre estate in Provence. The wine used to be called "Pink Floyd" but will now be known as Miraval, and while the label doesn't look like a Chanel ad, it does carry the names "Jolie-Pitt and Perrin"; the latter is that of a fifth-generation winemaker whose family owns the famous Chateau Beaucastel in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and he tells Bloomberg he'll be overseeing the ferments and sharing the profits. Miraval rosé will be the first release, with a white coming in the summer and a red wine next year. The best news yet is that Pitt and Jolie are reportedly "in full agreement on style" on the taste of the fermented grapes. "If you knew Brad and Angelina, you would see they are in search of perfection in everything," says Perrin. "They’re thinking long term." [Bloomberg]

Watch the Trailer for A Place at the Table, the Tom Colicchio-Produced Documentary About Hunger

It's an awful statistic: One out of every two kids in the United States at some point will be on food assistance. A Place at the Table aims to bring awareness to the hunger epidemic in America by showing how unhealthy, expensive food poses serious risks. Tom Colicchio's an executive producer and appears in the trailer, saying, "There's a lot of education that needs to happen around what is healthy food." Jeff Bridges also stars. On March 1, this documentary hits select theaters, iTunes, and OnDemand.

"One nation: Underfed." »

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