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Friday, November 21, 2014

MRS. FISH
  • Mrs. Fish
As above, so below. Mrs. Fish – a new downtown L.A. hangout from the same team that runs rooftop restaurant and bar Perch – is opening Saturday the newly remodeled basement of the same Pershing Square-adjacent building, with a vibe and food program that can potentially further change the way people eat, drink and party in the new downtown.

Instead of walking into the historic building's lobby as you would to catch the elevator to French-bistro-inspired Perch, entering the futuristic Mrs. Fish requires you to go through two nondescript doors further down the block and then down a tunnel-like concrete staircase, before entering a 6,800-square-foot, multi-tiered interior space anchored by a stage for live music.

Its bricolage interior blends classy nostalgia with hip, rock 'n' roll nightclub (think: a motorcycle in a glass-enclosed case, pre-distressed wrought-iron banisters, a 5,500-gallon suspended fish tank wrapped around the exposed concrete pillars), and its food and drink options show equal imagination.

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Drink at Brilliantshine, one of the bars to make it onto PUNCH's list of L.A.'s best cocktail bars. - ANNE FISHBIEN
  • Anne Fishbien
  • Drink at Brilliantshine, one of the bars to make it onto PUNCH's list of L.A.'s best cocktail bars.
This week's must-read food stories from around the web:

The tiny hamster is back! Occasional L.A. Weekly contributor Farley Elliott has created yet another tiny hamster video, this time showing the joys of hamster Thanksgiving

Nestle is creating a drink that claims to be exercise in a bottle.  

The L.A. Times shares the sad news that JiRaffe in Santa Monica will close after Valentine's Day

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Native Wellington and Pies from Native Foods
  • Native Wellington and Pies from Native Foods
Sorry to be all vegan activist-y, but if you eat turkey on Thanksgiving, you're an asshole. Seriously, why would anyone want to participate in what some estimate to be the slaughter of approximately 45 million birds when there are so many delicious alternatives that didn't used to be alive? Besides, it's not like turkeys ever did anything to us. If anything, turkeys have enhanced our lives as the inspiration behind those drawings children make when they outline their hands in pencil. And don't act like you don't enjoy those drawings because we've all seen enough refrigerator art in our lifetimes to know you do.

Luckily, if you live in the greater Los Angeles area, you don't have to eat turkey as an array of restaurants are serving vegan meals that will both fool your dad into thinking he's eating "real" pumpkin pie and make you lose a beltloop. Some are open Thanksgiving, some are hosting events earlier and others are selling prepared meals, but whatever you choose, you'll sleep well that night partially because you ate too much and partially because you'll know you made the right decision trading dead bird for lentil loaf. 

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Boba - MONTEREY PARK NIGHT MARKET
  • Monterey Park Night Market
  • Boba
Since earlier this year, the Monterey Park Chamber of Commerce has been hosting a slew of night markets at Barnes Park, in what was touted at the time as the Southland's first long-term, city-sponsored event of its kind. It's called the Monterey Park Night Market (or MPK Night Market) and tonight (Friday!) will be their last soiree of the season.

Festivities will run from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., and vendors will be serving up items like fried squid, rice balls, skewers, takoyaki, potato swirls, buns, tacos, and falafels. Notable food trucks include Seoul Sausage and Middle Feast from the Food Networks' The Great Food Truck Race. 

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

NOAM BLEIWEISS
  • Noam Bleiweiss
The James Beard Foundation has continued to make inroads into the Southern California market over the years, picking up on Los Angeles’ years of producing quality culinary talent and unrivaled restaurants while doling out lifetime achievement awards to the city’s biggest chefs (read: Nancy Silverton). They’ve even begun to migrate their ongoing event series’ to the West Coast, most recently with October’s Local Flavor from Coast to Coast event at downtown’s Vibiana.

This weekend, however, James Beard is headed for the Southern California desert in a big way. Currently underway is a collaboration of sorts, between longtime chef and three-time James Beard Award-winner Jimmy Schmidt and Corazon y Miel’s own Eduardo Ruiz. The former has of late been overseeing the kitchen at Morgan’s in the Desert, a high-end farm-driven restaurant on the grounds of the La Quinta Resort, while the latter, Ruiz, is a James Beard nominee and previous Zagat 30-under-30 notable.

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Ben Ford - FRANK OCKENFELS 3
  • Frank Ockenfels 3
  • Ben Ford
Ford's Filling Station L.A. LIVE finally has an official opening date: Dec. 3. Chef Ben Ford's new downtown restaurant, which will be similar in concept to the Ford's Filling Station that closed over the summer in Culver City, will anchor the Marriott Hotel at L.A. Live, and there's even been chatter (which we could not confirm) that the concept might become a staple at other Marriott hotels around the country.

What we could confirm are the chef's favorite L.A. restaurants. Here are the 10 places in L.A. that Ford craves the most. 

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click image Kreutzwald Library Restaurant and Lounge - UNIQUE HOTELS
  • Unique Hotels
  • Kreutzwald Library Restaurant and Lounge
Long Beach’s newest bar, the Brass Lamp, won’t really be a bar at all — at least not in the traditional sense of the word. It’s not a dive bar where the well drinks are over-poured and there’s still carpet on the walls. It’s not a sports bar lined with flat-screen TVs, offering Bud Light pitcher specials. And it’s definitely not a speakeasy where you sip pre–Prohibition era cocktails with your nose up and pinky out.

Instead, the Brass Lamp will be filled with enough comfy chairs and reading material to call itself Southern California’s first book bar: a rare breed of drinking establishment that appeals to loners, literary dorks and creative thinkers alike.

But what the hell is a book bar anyway, and why does L.A. need one?

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GEORGE PRIOR
  • George Prior
For the past month, George Prior has been drinking ten cans of Coca Cola every day, all to prove a point that 50 percent of all Americans ingest that same amount of sugar every day. If you're doing the math, that equates to nearly a half-pound of sugar entering your body on the daily.

An everyday follower of the paleo diet, Prior clocked in at a healthy 168 pounds before beginning the experiment nearly a month ago. Today he's gained 20 pounds and has been documenting the journey on his website and social media channels. 

We caught up with the Los Angeles native who, as of press time, is on his 28th day of Coke. 

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Chicory salad at Bestia - ANGELA MATANO
  • Angela Matano
  • Chicory salad at Bestia

Janis Joplin’s “Get It While You Can” would be a good anthem for persimmon season, which is happening right now. The urgency of eating and appreciating this oft-overlooked fruit is underlined by its relatively short season, which begins in October and ends in February.

One of the most popular varieties of the orange-fleshed fruit, the Fuyu, originated in Japan. The Fuyu is a “non-astringent variety,” according to Califuyu, the California Growers Association, which means they don’t cause the mouth to pucker up if not completely ripe, like the native American persimmons grown in the South or the more common pointed Hachiya variety.

The Fuyu can be eaten while still crunchy and translates well in many dishes, from sweet to savory. The Hachiya often can’t be eaten until they are quite soft, and would work well in puddings and cakes. Regardless of which kind you buy or what you put them in, just be sure to eat up before they disappear. Here's a few places around town that are taking the persimmon to new heights this season:

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cooking

Celebrate Thanksgiving as Our Forefathers Did, With a Heritage Bird

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Wed, Nov 19, 2014 at 9:03 AM
click image The oldest variety of turkey in the United States, the Narragansett - MARY'S TURKEYS
  • Mary's Turkeys
  • The oldest variety of turkey in the United States, the Narragansett
It’s that time of year again; time to plan your Thanksgiving menu. Whether you’re in charge of cooking everything, just show up with a pie or simply plan to watch football while eating your way into a tryptophan-induced food coma, there’s one thing everyone has in mind: turkey. And since it might just be the only day of the year that you sit down with a large roasted bird and a dozen ebullient friends and family members, you’ll want to do it right.

But what exactly does that mean when it comes to shopping for a turkey? There are so many options these days. Though it might seem easier to dismiss buzzwords such as "heritage breed," "local," "organic," "free-range" and "heirloom" as mere fodder for an episode of Portlandia, they are actually important things that could lead you to a healthier and more delicious bird.

Here's why you should consider eating a heritage bird this year, and a few farms that sell them: 

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