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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Food in the Media

Chris Cosentino and the Dangers of Being a TV Chef

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Wed, Oct 1, 2014 at 1:15 PM
TV camera - SHAUNA ALEXANDER/FLICKR
The fourth annual MAD symposium took place at the end of August in Copenhagen, and as usual many talks are being released to the public in the weeks after the symposium. This morning, a video was released titled "Be Careful What You Wish For," and features Chris Cosentino talking about the darker side of food television. 

It's an important talk, and highlights very clearly the pitfalls of moving out of the kitchen and onto a TV set. Cosentino tells his story with amazing honesty, recounting the damage his life as a television celebrity did to his business, his health and his self esteem. And it brings to light a fascinating contradiction: the fact that cooking's new celebrity status might be hurting the chefs it lionizes. 

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chef Walter el Nagar - WALTER EL NAGAR
  • Walter el Nagar
  • chef Walter el Nagar
To tell the full story of how chef Walter el Nagar found success in Los Angeles requires access to a world atlas. The abbreviated version: After bouncing around from kitchens in Italy, Norway, Mexico and here in this town with his Barbershop pop-up, el Nagar officially settled down in August after announcing he had teamed up with Adam Fleischman's AdVantage Restaurant Partners to start Barberia. The brick-and-mortar is scheduled to open in DTLA by spring 2015.

It was an improbable collaboration, considering the duo's first encounter. According to el Nagar, Fleischman made reservations at his Abbot Kinney pop-up and cancelled last minute. "That little accident put everything in motion — and here we are, a step away from having our first restaurant together." All's well that ends well, and as recent pop-up previews of Barberia suggest, it appears as though this story has a happy (and tasty) ending. El Nagar shared a few words about his nomadic journey and what to expect at his new, permanent address. 

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AMAZON
  • Amazon
Banh Mi Day with Andrea Nguyen
Viet World Kitchen's Andrea Nguyen, author of The Banh Mi Handbook, is coming to downtown's Grand Central Market for a food tasting and recipe showcase featuring variations on the Vietnamese sandwich banh mi. Using ingredients from GCM vendors, Nguyen will demonstrate and offer tastings of different banh mi sandwiches, using recipes pulled from her cookbook. In addition, several vendors will create and present banh mi variations, which will be served the entire day at the market as specials. These include Horse Thief BBQ (smoked pork belly banh mi), Belcampo Meat Co. (duck banh mi) and Valerie at GCM (smoked salmon banh mi).
WHAT: Banh Mi Day with Andrea Nguyen
WHEN: Friday, Oct. 10, from 6:30 - 8 p.m.
WHERE: Grand Central Market, 317 S. Broadway, DTLA; 213-624-2378.
COST: Demos and tastings are free; Nguyen's book will be for sale. 

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Bulgarini Gelato - TERRENCE RORIE
  • Terrence Rorie
  • Bulgarini Gelato
Every year, we wander through this town, cataloging the best stuff we can find — taco trucks and gelato shops and espresso served in unlikely places — and then publish a whole big list in our annual Best of L.A. issue. Because it's fun, and because even though some of these won't surprise you, many of them will. Here are ten of the best and sweetest things you'll find in Los Angeles dessert kitchens — from ice cream dishes to bakeries to the pastry chef herself. 

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lamb biryani, chicken curry and garlic naan at Biriyani Kabob House - BARBARA HANSEN
  • Barbara Hansen
  • lamb biryani, chicken curry and garlic naan at Biriyani Kabob House
Little Bangladesh's restaurant row is growing. Yes, there is such a restaurant row. It runs along West 3rd Street between Western and Vermont Avenues and around the corner onto Vermont. The latest addition is Biriyani Kabob House in the first block west of Vermont. The restaurant is named for its signature dish biriyani, which is a mixed rice dish with roots in southern Asia.

Like the other restaurants — Bangla Bazar, Swadesh, Deshi and Aladin — it serves curries, biriyanis, breads and other dishes drawn from a mix of Bangladeshi, Indian and Pakistani cuisines.  Unlike the others, it does not double as a grocery. But it does have halal food, free Wifi and genuine home cooks — a Bangladeshi woman whose 90-year-old mother sometimes comes in to help.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Beer

4th Game of Thrones Beer Is on Its Way

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Tue, Sep 30, 2014 at 1:18 PM
HBO
  • HBO
With the latest beer linked to the hit HBO series set to debut Oct. 1, it's apparent that Game of Thrones fans are also beer fans (we're not surprised). The first two releases in HBO Licensing’s partnership with Cooperstown, NY-based Brewery Ommegang, Iron Throne Blond Ale (spring 2013) and Take the Black Stout (fall 2013) sold out in just a few weeks. The most recent release, Fire & Blood Red Ale (spring 2014), flew off the shelves just as quickly, despite being brewed at almost twice the volume of the previous releases. (Who’s been drinking all this ale, the Hound?!)

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ChocoChicken to-go - ANNE FISHBEIN
  • Anne Fishbein
  • ChocoChicken to-go
Back in August when I reviewed ChocoChicken, one of my main complaints was the chocolate overload of the endeavor. The chocolate-flavored chicken itself wasn't that bad, but the heaping on of more and more chocolate items — from sides to cocktails — made for a wholly unbalanced meal. 

Now, it appears that the owners of ChocoChicken have decided to dial back that chocolate dependence. Eater reports that the restaurant has launched a new menu which relies far less on gimmicky chocolate sides, and focuses instead on things that might act as a foil to the chocolate chicken (which remains). 

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Garlo's Pie Shop in Westwood - B. RODELL
  • B. Rodell
  • Garlo's Pie Shop in Westwood
Step into Garlo's Pies, the new Westwood pie shop, and it's likely a good-looking bloke with a broad Australian accent will bound up to you and happily regale you with all kinds of facts about the operation. "G'day!" he'll bellow. "First time here? Yes? Great! That means I get to do more talking!"

There's something about Australians playing up their Australian-ness for American enjoyment that makes me a wee bit queasy, but that's because, being Australian myself, it's what's been expected of me my whole life. Just because I hate the shtick doesn't mean you will. If I take the jaded scales from my eyes, I can see how Garlo's sunny outlook would be welcome and inviting when you're in the market for a quick, cheap lunch. 

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Cortado at Andante Coffee Roasters in Echo Park - TIEN NGUYEN
  • Tien Nguyen
  • Cortado at Andante Coffee Roasters in Echo Park
Happy belated National Coffee Day — or not, since every day is national coffee day, isn't it? Just little over a year after it opened its first location on Beverly Boulevard, Andante Coffee Roasters opened a second shop in Echo Park on Monday, taking over the space formerly occupied by The Hedgehog at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Mohawk Street. Should you happen to need a caffeine fix before your beer one, note that the cafe is mere footsteps away from Mohawk Bend.

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Mozza's butterscotch budino - ANNE FISHBEIN
  • Anne Fishbein
  • Mozza's butterscotch budino
Believe it or not, the holiday season isn't that far away. A few months may seem like a long time, but if you're an event-planner or a baker or pastry chef or candy-maker or chocolatier, it's really not. Which is why we're already inviting you to a holiday party. This year we wanted to have a different kind of food and drink event, one that showcases and celebrates our town's best bakers and pastry chefs and bartenders, while at the same time having a party where you can buy holiday gifts AND we can raise money for a worthy cause. 

So this December 7, on a Sunday afternoon in The Majestic and The Reserve downtown, we're having a holiday dessert and cocktail party, to which you're invited to come and eat cookies and drink holiday cocktails, buy some new cookbooks by local chefs and shop for gifts and give some money to Food Forward, which will also make sure that no cookie gets left behind. Called Sips & Sweets, you can even bring your kids to this one. Happy holidays — a few months early! So who's coming?

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