Eater's Cheap Eats Week Doesn't Address the Real Issues, L.A.'s Juice Tipping Point and More: This Week in Food
Juice Served Here
Is L.A's cold-pressed juice scene at its oversaturation tipping point? Probably, according to a well-reported Racked piece that describes the last two years of hyper-speed growth of the country's juicing scene, which, of course, has been centered in health-conscious L.A. The story quotes the CEO of Pressed Juicery as saying that there are 22 juice stores in a 1.4-mile radius of one another out here ("That's asinine," he also says), and a cursory search on Yelp proves that claim to be true in multiple parts of town. But there's a limited market for $12 juices, and all those yoga-going, disposable-income customers may be tapped out. Aside from the logistics of trying to move a perishable product in an oversaturated market, there just aren't enough people to buy it. The Pressed Juicery CEO put it succinctly: "It's reached a point where there is more juice out there than people actually consuming it."
It's Cheap Eats Week at Eater, which means that in addition to a full barrage of content about budget dining in each of its markets, the big-dog editors in New York have been participating in a food challenge of privileged proportions, which gives them only $10 a day for three square meals. It's being dubbed "The Contest," and readers all over the country have been chiming in on their own cheap-eats secrets, playing along as the editors strategize to survive on way more than what feeds the majority of the world each day. Because while $10 a day may not seem like enough money to eat the amount of prepared food we are used to consuming (especially when "cheap eats" for us usually still includes fries and a drink), that's still about $8 more than half of the world has to survive on per day, making the gamelike Contest a slap in the face to those who live with its realities every day.
L.A.'s Eater team found a few ways to get by on $20 per day in neighborhoods such as Hollywood and Highland Park, and editor Matt Kang did one day in HIghland Park on only $10. Farley Elliott also wrote some great personal essay pieces about his favorite affordable L.A. spots, too. Bummed, however, that nowhere in any of its coverage this week did Eater take the opportunity to recognize the poverty and food-justice issues that continue to plague urban areas across America (and especially in L.A., where, according to the L.A. Food Policy Council, half a million households can't afford sufficient food). Eating on bare-minimum finances is more than something to do when you're challenged. It's a starting point for a conversation about food justice and poverty that needs to happen, like, yesterday.
Someone finally did something useful with all the #foodporn we've been posting to Instagram over the years, using the data to determine which cities post the most about certain dishes. Of course, poutine is mostly 'grammed in Canada and currywurst is king in Germany, but most surprising is how much New York dominates in most of the categories, from pizza and bacon to jerk chicken and sushi. L.A. leads with the most posts about katsu and bulgogi, beating out both of those dishes' home countries for the honor.
Very sad news from the All Flavor No Grease camp this week: Travione "Tray" Mason, a member of the team responsible for some of the best Americanized Mexican food in South L.A., was shot and killed at a house party Saturday night. Owner Keith Garrett reopened his popular home-driveway grill operation a few days ago, but the news hangs heavy on the L.A. street food scene and our condolences go out to Garrett and his crew.
In L.A. restaurant goings-on: Hakkasan closes in Beverly Hills, Scratch Bar shutters in Beverly Hills with plans to open again elsewhere (you can still find chef Phillip Lee at The Gadarene Swine) and Blue Bottle Coffee continues its L.A. takeover with a third location, this one on Beverly Boulevard.
Tweets o' the Week:
"Ariana Grande will not face donut-licking charges" is my favorite headline of all time.— Mike Metz (@UnemployedEater) July 13, 2015
Screw national ice cream day. EVERY DAY IS ICE CREAM DAY.— Matthew Kang (@mattatouille) July 15, 2015
Sunday, July 19: Tennessee-Style Indoor Picnic
Lucques owners Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne pull out all the stops for their Tennessee-style indoor picnic, inspired by Goin’s visit to the famed Blackberry Farm in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. Think: sweet tea–brined fried chicken served with pulled pork “sundaes” with coleslaw and baked beans, succotash with cherry tomatoes and black-eyed peas and house-made biscuits with honey butter.
Sunday, July 19: L.A. Grow
Sit down to a seasonal, farm-to-table dinner catered by Jennie Cook's Catering, featuring veggies grown by RootDown L.A., a South Central–based nonprofit whose goal is to empower high school students to build stronger communities by cooking and growing healthy food, right where they live. All proceeds go to RootDown L.A.
Monday, June 20: Union Grain Dinner
Chef Bruce Kalman of Union in Pasadena is teaming up with Chris Bianco from the seminal Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix for a family-style, charitable dinner at Union Restaurant that pays tribute to the humble grain. Enjoy a farm-to-table dinner (including lots of stuff made with grains from Grist & Toll), plus a screening of part of The Grain Divide, a doc that explores growing concerns about modern wheat.
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