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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

my-drunk-kitchen-amazon.jpg
Hannah Hart shared her first My Drunk Kitchen video on YouTube for her best friend when they were on opposite sides of the country. While drinking several glasses of wine, she demonstrated how to make a grilled cheese sandwich. The video went viral, and the rest is Drunk History. No, that’s a different show — drunk narrators are enjoying a surge in popularity at the moment.

Hart, who currently lives in Los Angeles, has now been making My Drunk Kitchen for three years now this August Dey Street Books released her cookbook, My Drunk Kitchen: A Guide to Eating, Drinking, and Going with Your Gut. You probably won’t find the book in the cooking section of your local bookstore — look for it in the humor section.

If you've seen the show, you might think this is a missed opportunity, since the web series actually does contain the occasional useful tip for making such problematic dishes as eggplant Parmesan and tackles culinary challenges like English toad in the hole (in one of the best episodes).

However, the book is not the same as the show. And the recipes included don't really make you think of moving the cookbook to the cooking section – these are recipes for Saltine nachos and cream cheese taquitos.

Mostly there are pages of Hart’s puns and lighthearted life advice. Hart's videos spoof cooking shows, but her book doesn't really spoof cookbooks; it's more of a comedic pep talk for her YouTube and Twitter fans, who are legion.

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Wine Cellar (Moet & Chandon) - REN KUO
  • Ren Kuo
  • Wine Cellar (Moet & Chandon)
While standing in the wine department of a Whole Foods recently, I witnessed something that I see most everywhere wine is sold. Two seemingly well-established couples walking in tandem scanned the bottles. One woman said: “What do you think of this one?” The reply came from one of the men in the group, the one who “knows wine.”  Right. He inspected the bottle, and then said: “It’s too young.”

Translation? I don’t know, but I want to sound like I do.

Real translation? 90% of wines produced today are made to be consumed within one year of release, and aren’t intended to be held for more than five years from the year they were made. While that isn’t the case for all wines produced, it’s a pretty solid rule of thumb for the ones you might buy at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.

Here are answers to some other basic questions about aging and collecting wines. Because you never know when you'll be trapped in the wine aisle at a Whole Foods, do you?

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Sea salt ice cream with caramel ribbons from Salt & Straw - T. NGUYEN
  • T. Nguyen
  • Sea salt ice cream with caramel ribbons from Salt & Straw
This weekend will be, as it so often is around this time of year, really, really hot. Ice cream weather, in other words, and all the more reason to go to the Arts District tomorrow, where, between 2 p.m. and 10 p.m., Salt & Straw's ice cream truck will be parked outside Blacktop Coffee, scooping a choice selection of its quite terrific ice cream.

The truck, in fact, has been scooping there for the past few Saturdays; last week's menu of flavors included sea salt with caramel ribbons, salted malted chocolate chip cookie dough and Stumptown coffee with Compartes' Love Nuts.

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Burger at Meat District Co. - COURTESY MEAT DISTRICT CO.
  • Courtesy Meat District Co.
  • Burger at Meat District Co.
Here's a way to get people in the door: The new Pasadena meat-focused restaurant Meat District Co. is giving away free burgers to the first 100 people in their door , Tues., Sept 9. But not just one free burger — they're giving each of these 100 people a free burger every week for a year. That's a lot of free burgers. 

Meat District Co. is, as you might imagine, a meat-themed restaurant serving burgers and steaks that they bill as "100% natural ‘Never Ever’" meat, meaning it's hormone, steroid and antibiotic free. They serve a bunch of different kinds of burgers — an American burger called "old faithful," a truffle burger, a surf and turf burger, salmon, turkey and veggie burgers.

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You're probably looking at some trans fat - FLICKR/STEPHANIE CHAPMAN
Despite legal bans and doctors’ warnings about trans fat, nearly one in 10 processed food products sold in the United States still contains it, according to a new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Yet most foods that contain trans fat don't list it on the label, so consumers are unwittingly eating it, according to the research.

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FACEBOOK/DUNKIN' DONUTS
Going back to work after the Labor Day weekend just got a little easier, at least for Dunkin' Donuts fans who live in or near Santa Monica. Well, easier if you want to spend your early morning lining up with doughnut lovers badly in need of caffeine.

The first Dunkin' Donuts in Southern California will officially open its doors at 5 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 2 at their new Santa Monica location, at 1132 Wilshire Blvd. Pink carpet. Mascots. A "special California-inspired donut." Welcome to Los Angeles.

For those of you who live for this sort of thing, note that the first 100 people in line will get swag (tote bag, etc.) and the very FIRST person in line will get free coffee for a year. Maybe just pretend its the Rose Parade and spend your day off on Wilshire in a lawn chair. Bring a thermos, since eventually you'll be able to refill it with Dunkin' Donuts' very best. 

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The house special lobster, New Port Seafood's signature dish - LUKE MINES
  • Luke Mines
  • The house special lobster, New Port Seafood's signature dish
Say farewell to waiting two hours, or more, at the San Gabriel New Port (two words, by the way, in the title of the restaurant, to distinguish it from the city of Newport) Seafood  – either in the parking lot or hovering over the large crustacean tanks in the lobby.

New Port Seafood is officially opening its new location Tuesday, Sept. 2, on La Cienega’s Restaurant Row and will feature reservations, a full bar, outdoor dining patio and its Cantonese-style seafood dishes. The soft launch of the restaurant, dinner only, is this Friday, Aug. 29. Let the (new) lines begin. 

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Andrea Nguyen - ARIANA LINDQUIST
  • Ariana Lindquist
  • Andrea Nguyen
If you’ve ever searched the Internet for anything related to Vietnamese food, likely you've stumbled upon Andrea Nguyen’s excellent website, Viet World Kitchen.

Because this is where you go if you have a question about how to make basics like nuoc cham or nuoc mau, and because  after you go there for those recipes, likely you’ll stick around to read about her experiments with Sriracha, say, or to consider her take on all the pho shops in El Monte.

In addition to being a fantastic online compendium of Viet-related food and culture, Nguyen has written several terrific offline resources as well: cookbooks, namely, including the fantastic Into the Vietnamese Kitchen: Treasured Foodways, Modern Flavors.

In July, Nguyen released her fourth book, The Banh Mi Handbook: Recipes for Crazy Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches, a terrific history and recipe book dedicated to the iconic Vietnamese sandwich.

Thus you'll find recipes for everything from the bread itself to all sorts of fun fillings (cold cuts, as you might expect, but also things like also Sri Lankan-style black curry chicken).

The book is very much a handbook: It's not much bigger than a mini iPad, meaning you can tote it around and contemplate the components of your ideal banh mi while on the subway, in line at Tsujita, etc.

We talked to Nguyen (no relation) about her new cookbook, sandwich history and why we might want to re-consider the price we'd pay for a banh mi. A recipe from her book — an edamame pâté — follows. Consider it a condiment for tomorrow’s lunchbox.

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click image Pizza with mozzarella - MALCOLM BEDELL/FROMAWAY.COM
  • Malcolm Bedell/FromAway.com
  • Pizza with mozzarella
After performing exhaustive research (with lots of charts, graphs, diagrams, calculations and footnotes), scientists in New Zealand have determined that mozzarella is the best cheese for pizza.

Their findings, “Quantification of Pizza Baking Properties of Different Cheeses, and Their Correlation with Cheese Functionality,” were published in the Journal of Food Science on July 21.

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Ice Cream & Gelato

8 Terrific (and Ice Cold) Los Angeles Popsicles

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Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 8:44 AM
Popsicles at Popshop - JARED COWAN
  • Jared Cowan
  • Popsicles at Popshop
Popsicles are having a moment in the spotlight, just in time for the next heat wave (otherwise known as our permanent summer). More sophisticated than the classic ice pops bought off your local ice cream truck, this new breed of frozen treats showcases luxurious ingredients (Valrhona chocolate), farmer’s market finds (fresh berries) and unusual pairings (avocado and vanilla).

Another trend in frozen treats: seasonal ingredients. This means flavors come and go depending on what’s available — the only downside being that your favorite flavors may soon be MIA, so get them while you can. The upside? New flavors to keep you coming back. Sweet Rose Creamery's menu changes monthly.

From an English ice lolly to a Mexican paleta, popsicles appeal to just about everyone, especially on a hot day. For artisanal twists on an American classic, keep reading.

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