A "Value" Whole Foods Is Coming to Silver Lake, the Return of Naugles and More: This Week in Food

Whole Foods Playa Vista, L.A.'s newest store
Whole Foods Playa Vista, L.A.'s newest store
Whole Foods

Didja hear? That new Whole Foods in Silver Lake isn't actually going to be a Whole Foods at all. It's going to be the first location of "365 by Whole Foods Market," the company's cheaper version of Whole Foods, geared toward cost-conscious millennials. According to The Eastsider, the high-end organic grocery store chain announced this week that it renegotiated its lease on the former Ralph's so it could open the "value-oriented" 365 more quickly, hopefully by late next year. For competitive reasons, the company isn't saying whether the originally planned restaurant and bar is part of the new concept, but judging by the store's name, expect a whole lot of organic, house-brand products straight from the Whole Foods teet. Like a Fresh & Easy but more ... American?

The L.A. Times wrote this week about small-level changes happening in Historic Filipinotown, an area identified as a food desert. With few grocery stores and lots of fast-food joints, the story highlights an initiative that has placed fresh fruits and vegetables into corner stores throughout the area. Costs are kept low by purchasing through a local CSA, which, in turn, also supports local urban agriculture efforts. Store owners say everything they've been putting out each week gets sold, and it seems to be a model that could be replicated in other food deserts, where convenience stores are quickly being forced to take on the role of grocery store.

Edible Brooklyn editor Jesse Hirsch went to that controversial journalism bootcamp sponsored, in part, by agriculture giant Monsanto and lived to tell about it. For an essay published at Eater, Hirsch divulges details about the highly structured "Orwellian" tour he and 19 other ag writers received at Monsanto's lab and headquarters in Missouri. His behind-the-scenes photos and narrative don't necessarily expose anything new (except to remind us that journalists are still on the case), but it did come at a time when the complex issues about GMOs are back in the news. Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed 275-150 the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act — one of those horribly named bills that actually does the opposite of what it says. It denies states the right to pass their own GMO-labeling bills and sets up an oversight process only if a company wants its products to be labeled "GMO-free" (they can still be labeled "natural" even if they contain GMOs). Unsurprisingly, the bill is being called "the Monsanto Protection Act" by activists, including those in the three states that already passed their own GMO-labeling laws but would not be able to implement them if this passes in the Senate. A vote could happen as early as September.

Praise the old-school Del Taco gods! Naugles has returned! After showing off the addictive-yet-lard-free beans at Tacolandia this year, OC food blogger Christian Ziebarth has finally realized his dream of bringing back the historic Mexi fast-food chain. The good news is that prices are low and the food is as comforting as a 1960s gringo taco can be. The bad news is, the new Naugles is in an industrial park in Fountain Valley and the lines since last weekend's opening have been loooooong. Our compadres at the OC Weekly wrote up a good primer on what you need to know before you go, which you should most definitely do. 

In L.A. openings, closings and announcements: Church Key chef Steven Fretz is working on a new seafood restaurant, Fin and Fire, which will open in the Arts District in less than a year; Bill Chait–backed Spanish-via–North African sandwich-and-skewer window Moruno opens today at the former Short Order space at the Original Farmers Market; Studio City's the Bellweather, started by a former Father's Office chef, starts serving next week; David Asprey's weird buttery Bulletproof Coffee finally opened in Santa Monica last weekend; and if you want to keep up with all the drama going on at Scratch Bar (Is it open? Is it moving? Are the partners even still talking to each other?!), Eater scraped through the Yelp clues to try and make sense of it all.  

Tweets o' the Week: 

Events: 

Saturday, Aug. 1-Sunday Aug. 2: Big Bite Bacon Fest
It's a porky good time at the second annual Big Bite Bacon Fest, which brings everything from apps to 'zerts made from (what else?) bacon to the Queen Mary in Long Beach. Sure, the bacon trend died out years ago but that doesn't mean we don't still appreciate the salty goodness of sizzling pork belly. 

Sunday, Aug. 2-Monday, Aug. 3: Mei Lin Guest Chef Dinner at Birch
L.A. chef Mei Lin won the last season of Top Chef but hasn't been back in town to cook since. Here's your chance, for $125, to eat five courses from the buzzed-about young food wizard, when she collaborates with Brendan Collins and his chef de cuisine at Birch in Hollywood.


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