Pizza Rat Was a Quitter, How Asian-Americans Are Changing OC Dining: This Week in Food
OC's Asian-American chefs, restauranteurs and Imstagrammers
Portraits by Danny Liao and Dustin Ames
Of course the biggest thing in food news this week would be a viral video not of a cat but of a rat. And not just any kind of rat but a New York City subway rat as he tries to shlep an entire slice of New York pie down the stairs before abandoning the effort and looking back in longing sadness at the meal that could have been. Many people stood with Pizza Rat in solidarity, and hashtags like #weareallpizzarat, #iampizzarat and #leavingyourdreams forced everyone to think about both our love of pizza and the great existential metaphors of life and regret. Heavy shit for a rat video. When that pizza slice is too big, you call a friend or cut it up into pieces and take what you can. There's always a solution, and Pizza Rat didn't think of one. Instead, he quit. To those who said "#PizzaRat is basically a more modern bald eagle," we must ask: What kind of mascot do we want for America ?
Speaking of Americanism, a 24-year-old man punched a senior citizen earlier this week for asking that he not take so many samples of Nutella waffles at a local Costco. The puncher could face 11 years behind bars.
Our sister alt-weekly down in Orange County published a great cover story this week spotlighting the Asian-Americans currently dominating the buzzy local restaurant scene there. The godfather of OC Asian chefs is undoubtedly Roy Choi (who actually graduated from high school in tony Villa Park), but the piece is all about the new generation of chefs and entrepreneurs cropping up since Choi found success in L.A. From Iron Press to Afters Ice Cream to Dos Chinos, the story's young Asians (all males, it should be noted) are quitting stable corporate jobs and pursuing their foodie dreams. The story also gives credit to OC's food Instagrammers, who are overwhelmingly Asian and whose images are crucial to driving customers to new places.
The two 21st-floor restaurants at 811 Wilshire downtown are finally open again after a power outage more than a month ago caused electrical problems that took until this week to fix. The Thursday reopening also came with news of a very good deed. While Takami Sushi and Elevate Lounge were closed, owner Emil Eyvazoff — who is also behind the upcoming 71Above restaurant at the US Bank Tower with chef Vartan Abgaryan — kept all 100-plus employees on his payroll at a personal cost of almost $250,000. Now you can eat your Edo-mae sushi and spy on the pretties in the Standard rooftop pool with a good conscience.
Tam O'Shanter, one of L.A.'s oldest restaurants, has a new executive chef, who is starting just in time to release a new fall menu. Juan Escamilla comes to the Tam from Union in Pasadena; he also has worked at Electric City Butcher in Santa Ana and Bouchon in Beverly Hills. He also was the chef de cuisine at LaMill Coffee and the sous chef at 320 Main in Seal Beach. The fall menu includes classics such as Toad in the Hole (filet mignon, Yorkshire pudding, Burgundy wine sauce) and Scottish salmon. Also look out for the new Chef Juan Specials, which will change every week and showcase Escamilla's favorite dishes.
As it readies for its October expansion and move into the old Ammo space on Highland, Salt's Cure announced via email that it is adding a full bar and expansive cocktail program, which will feature the handiwork of Daniel Zacharczuk. Zacharczuk comes from Honeycut and the Walker Inn and was previously at the Varnish. He will be working with chefs and co-owners Chris Phelps and Zak Walters on crafting drinks that are as simple and straightforward as the dishes. Matt Ahern of Next Generation Wine Co. will continue to curate the wine list.
Tweets o' the Week:
LA food scene defenders are already scouring the streets for Taco Rat. #PizzaRat— Mike Metz (@UnemployedEater) September 21, 2015
Wait! "Cold brew" means they actually brew the coffee differently? It's doesn't mean "coffee that's cold"? And everyone knew this but me?— Ira Glass (@iraglass) September 22, 2015
For the longest time I thought Fetty Wap was a Zankou sandwich and 679 was some place east of Pasadena.— sheigh (@sheigh) September 23, 2015
Sept. 25-27: Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival
Eat affordable lobster meals ($23 for a whole, steamed lobster and fixins) and listen to live bands, from “hulabilly” to taiko drumming to indie rock, at the Port of L.A. Lobster Fest at Ports O' Call. Although these lobsters weren’t caught at the Port — they’re shipped in all the way from Maine — it’s still a lot more fun to eat shellfish by the ocean than in a stuffy restaurant.
Saturday, Sept. 26: Circus Maximus Supper Club
Robert Castañeda, aka "Chef Bean," is hosting another whimsical dinner show featuring contortionists, sword swallowers, gypsies, lavish dancers, magicians and music along with a prix fixe dinner of exotic bites at the old Coco Laurent space.
Monday, Sept. 28: Kristen Kish Guest Chef Dinner
It’s ladies night at the Strand House, where Top Chef season 10 winner Kristen Kish will cook up a five-course dinner alongside Laura Díaz Muñoz, winemaker at Napa Valley’s Galerie Wine Collection.
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