Processed Meats vs. #smugvegetarians, Killer Halloween Food Coverage and More: This Week in Food

Processed Meats vs. #smugvegetarians, Killer Halloween Food Coverage and More: This Week in Food

The World Health Organization threw carnivores into a tizzy this week with the release of a study that proclaimed processed meat is a carcinogen in the same category as smoking and asbestos (vegetarians, you can wipe that smug look off your face now because we'll get to you later). Early reports sounded pretty dire, saying that processed meats such as hot dogs, bacon and sausages have been linked to colorectal, pancreatic and prostate cancer and noting that each 1.8-ounce portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent, according to agency estimates. So should we all go vegetarian now and avoid the inevitable resulting slow, cancerous death? Probably not (sorry, animal lovers). The report doesn't provide much context for this new categorization. Thankfully, The Verge broke it down for us, saying, first, that putting red meat in the same category as smoking does not mean it carries the same level of risk (aka it's much, much smaller). Plus, it's been pretty well established for a long time that eating a ton of processed and red meat is not the way to go for overall health. That 18 percent risk increase with each portion of processed meat? "This is about the degree of risk increase from many other colon cancer risk factors, including obesity, physical sedentariness and low vegetable or grain intake," says their source. As for all you #smugvegetarians who took to Twitter to laugh at us meat eaters for killing ourselves, may we direct you to this also recent study that found 10 percent of vegetarian hot dogs contained meat, and 2 percent of them contained human DNA. What the hell are we putting into our bodies?

The award for best Halloween food coverage this year for sure goes to Munchies, which wrote about a guy who gets blood from human donors, occult cocktails that "taste like delicious nightmares" and a shitload of haunted places (including an Olvera Street restaurant where West Coast editor Javier Cabral goes ghost hunting for a woman named "La Consuela") and then posted a sharply dry defense of the pumpkin-spice-everything craze that always infects this time of year (an excerpt includes the sentence: "I think they’re making them because time has proven this flavor to serve as a really charming, special, seasonal treat that brings happiness, light and positivity into our lives"). Thanks for not clogging our feed with more syrupy sweet cocktails and boring Halloween stories this year. We salute you!

In case you missed it, Washington Post's restaurant critic visited L.A. this summer and did a beautiful little package about the dining landscape in our fair city. A video talks about our obsession with avocados (which is apparently fascinating to East Coast types) and there's a feature story overview that includes interviews with everyone from Bill Esparza to our own critic, Besha Rodell. A map of the places he visited along with mini reviews for each is a great primer to hand off to anyone looking to get to know this city better through its food (or just to make your non-L.A. friends jealous). We may not be a city filled with excellent fine dining, but damn it if we don't have good tacos. 

Trois Familia — that new French-Mex brunch spot run by the trifecta of Ludo, Jon and Vinny — opened for business Tuesday, serving the first 50 people who walked through the door. We got the background on the place, why they bought the location and the inspiration for the dishes. Eater has the opening menu and some gorgeous interior photos. 

Colonia Taco Lounge closed without warning in the last week, but fret not, gourmet taco lovers in Southeast L.A., the restaurant is only moving to Whittier, to be closer to (a) humans and (b) chef Ricardo Diaz's other restaurants, Colonia Publica and Bizarra Capital. 

Chef Ricardo Zarate's modern Peruvian pop-up Once ended last weekend, after more than three months doing weekends at Santa Monica's Santino's. Starting next weekend, Zarate's Latin American culinary skill can be had again, this time at smoke.oil.salt, which is launching a Sunday tapas brunch service designed by the former Mo-Chica chef. Zarate was named consulting executive chef at smoke.oil.salt after the departure of Perfecto Rocher earlier this year. Tapas brunch will run every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Expect a blend of traditional Spanish food with a pan-Latin touch. 

Tweets o' the Week:


Yes, Halloween is tomorrow, but Dia de los Muertos is officially celebrated on Sunday. If you can't make it to the cemetery to honor your lost loved ones, we rounded up the best ways in L.A. to eat and drink through the celebration of the dead. 

Saturday, Oct. 31: Dry River Brewing Launch Party
Downtown's latest neighborhood brewery is having a launch party for the release of its first three beers. But since the experimental Boyle Heights operation isn't allowed to have a tasting room, the beer is flowing down the street at Osso. On tap will be Lady Roja (a mild sour), Copper Witch (a hoppy farmhouse) and the poly-fermented, barrel-conditioned, Belgian-style ale Xibalba.

Wednesday, Nov. 4: Tam O'Shanter Holiday Wine Dinner
Get a start on your holiday dinner planning at this wine dinner at one of L.A.'s oldest restaurants, where Tam's in-house wine expert Brien McNally will guide you through tastings of select wines from around the world. Wines will be paired with a four-course meal crafted by new executive chef Juan Escamilla. 

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