Today is National Cheeseburger Day so it's only fitting that it's a day many are spending recuperating from the meaty, cheesy coming out party for Burgerlords, a project that very well may be the country's first blog-to-table restaurant. After several years of posting submitted images of local burgers and every gif of cascading cheese and '80s McDonalds goodness on its endlessly scrollable Tumblr page, brothers Fred and Max Guerrero (whose family owns #burgerlord OG The Oinkster, plus Maximiliano and Little Bear) are going brick-and-mortar. After launching an Instagram and a website and loading them with some coy "coming soon" posts, it was announced that after a year of planning, Burgerlords was ready for its debut. But first, in typical L.A. fashion, there was a pop-up event, held last night at Fred's Highland Park gallery Slow Culture. Photos from the night show a classic-style, yellow-cheese burger along with a nutty vegan patty version. Burgerlords will turn its Tumblr followers into real-life customers come mid-October when Burgerlords IRL opens in Chinatown underneath Ooga Booga on Broadway.
Halfway around the world, another notable switcheroo is about to take place, this time not from blog to restaurant but from restaurant to farm. More specifically, chef René Redzepi of Copenhagen's Noma is closing his influential new-Nordic restaurant at the end of 2016 and moving the entire operation into a decrepit, graffiti-covered crack-den-looking skate park, whose roof will become a farm and its interior a new location of the restaurant. In a New York Times feature, Redzepi says he was inspired by chef Dan Barber and his Blue Hill restaurant and farm, which keeps the restaurant in New York City and the farm in upstate, but maintains an obsession with ingredients and seasonality that the two chefs obviously have in common. With rooftop farms all the rage and diners caring more and more about local sourcing, Redzepi, as usual, is setting a trend that takes us back to our roots (har har) in an attempt to move food forward.
Zagat announced its 30 Under 30 lineup for this year and L.A.'s class of 2015 is filled with awesome young people from all edges of the hospitality sphere. Proving it takes more than just an executive chef to make a thriving food culture (though there are several of those — like Diablo Tacos' and Osteria La Buca's), Zagat's list includes pastry chefs (from Hatchet Hall and WP24), beverage personnel (from Sprout Restaurant Group and The Spare Room), and managers (from Jon & Vinny's, Honeycut and more). Click here for the full list.
Eater launched it's anticipated new L.A.-based video series this week, Dining on a Dime, featuring food writer (and former LA Weekly contributor) Lucas Peterson as the host. In the first eight episodes, Peterson and a film crew hit up cheap eats across the city, focusing on one place for each two-to-five-minute segment. What's really great about the series so far is that most of the cheap places it features are (unsurprisingly) found at street vendors, but better still, they're all in parts of town most diners would rather read about than actually drive to. Maybe the series can convince the food-obsessed hoardes that some of the best food in this city lies in the grid streets of South Los Angeles, East L.A., Compton and Watts. And that these neighborhoods are not to be feared or flown over, but explored fearlessly and eaten through with gusto.
We all knew it was coming: Taco Bell is finally admitting defeat and closing its fast-casual upscale taco concept that landed in Huntington Beach with a giant thud last year. U.S. Taco Co. and Urban Taproom not only has one of the shittiest names in the history of shiftily named restaurants (where is this "urban" of which you speak?), but from the sugar-skull logo to the lack of alcohol permit (so much for that taproom), it was doomed from the start. Anyway, Taco Bell is already on to its next attempt to be relevant to millenials beyond drunken drive-through runs with the announcement a few days before of Taco Bell Cantina, which will basically just be a Taco Bell with booze. The interior is swaddled in street art, like another certain taqueria concept we know, and it will serve beer, wine and frozen alcoholic drinks, including one flavored like the Mountain Dew Baja Blast soda. The first is already open in Chicago and a second is scheduled for San Francisco. Lord help us all.
Tweets o' the Week:
there's so much to think about in this paragraph pic.twitter.com/VZXmPQZ8XL— Alex Shephard (@alex_shephard) September 16, 2015
1. Do you freeze stock in ice cube trays? 2. Did you ever drunkenly mistakenly put one in your whiskey? 3. Did it taste like booze soup?— Besha Rodell (@BeshaRodell) September 17, 2015
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Guys, the farm is the fucking table. Think about it.— Shit Food Blogger (@shitfoodblogger) September 16, 2015
Saturday, September 19: Michelada Invitational
It's about damn time someone celebrated the original beer cocktail with its own mini festival. The Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet is having its first-ever michelada competition as they search for the best in Southern California. You'll get to drink your way through the hopefuls and listen to Mariachi Los Colibri and Little Willie G of Thee Midnighters in the meantime.
Saturday, September 19: L.A. Cider Fest
Gluten free and full of history, craft cider has officially landed in L.A. Journey through the wonderful world of cider, with options from both local and national makers, at the first L.A. Cider Fest, which will also include craft beer and food trucks. It's like apple juice but with booze!
Thursday, September 24: Casa Noble Tequila Single-Barrel Release Dinner
David Yan of Casa Noble joins chef Ken Johnson at Dia de Campo for four courses of seasonal Mexican selections paired with tastes of Casa Noble tequila. Get your tequila neat or in a mixed cocktail and if you upgrade to the VIP package, you can take home a bottle yourself.