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American

Monday, February 18, 2013

L.J. WILLIAMSON
  • L.J. Williamson

See also: A Last Look Inside Bahooka Restaurant Slideshow

Another surviving remnant of Tiki culture in L.A. will soon sleep with the fishes when

Bahooka Ribs & Grog closes in March. That means no more drunken treasure hunting for maraschino cherries and stray shreds of pineapple at the bottom of giant icy bowls of coconutty cocktails. No more eating ribs under dusty plastic macaws. And no more Ruffus, the giant 36-year-old fish who chomps carrot sticks like cigars in Bahooka's lobby.

Located in undersea Rosemead (at least that's what the shipwreck atmosphere would have us believe), just down the street from the faux-snow topped Clearmann's North Woods Inn, Bahooka first opened in 1967 at its original West Covina location. It moved to Rosemead Blvd. in 1976, and there it has stayed, playing host to hipsters, boozers and youngsters for more than a generation.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

We always suspected Cinderella was just a golddigger. How much would you be willing to fork over for a birthday cake for your little princess? How about $112.05 for a 6-inch cake at Disneyland Disney World? (To be fair, that includes a "princess" balloon centerpiece, crystal-adorned tiara, photo-op with Cinderella AND tax and gratuity. But not lunch. That's separate.)

Disney World's new "Her Royal Highness Package" is being offered at the Orlando, Fla. theme park's Cinderella's Royal Table restaurant (upstairs in Cinderella's Castle), according to the Disney Food Blog (not associated with the Walt Disney Co.). The vanilla or chocolate cake is decorated with your choice of Ariel, Aurora, Belle, Cinderella or Tiana. According to the park's advertisement for the package: "Each princess cake design features a plastic princess bodice [they mean a bust, but Disney doesn't say 'bust'] atop a cone-shaped cake decorated to represent the chosen princess' dress. This cone-shaped layer is set upon a round cake, perfectly decorated to showcase the chosen princess."

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Agriculture

Is the War on Food Terror Useless?

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Wed, Sep 14, 2011 at 2:20 PM
This California farmer was given money from the Department of Homeland Security to buy a lock for his dairy barn. - ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • Associated Press
  • This California farmer was given money from the Department of Homeland Security to buy a lock for his dairy barn.

A report released by the Associated Press yesterday, September 13th, found that the post-9/11 plan to protect the American food supply is mostly ineffective and unorganized. Over the last 10 years, $3.4 billion has gone into "food counter-terrorism" -- all without an official person or department in charge of the fight.

Apparently defending our food involves too much bureaucracy, too little organization and the lack of a concise plan on how to fight food terror.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pulled pork sandwich at Salt's Cure - A. FROUG
  • A. Froug
  • Pulled pork sandwich at Salt's Cure

In our two part interview with Salt's Cure's Chris Phelps and Zak Walters, we learned that the two chefs will drive all the way to Napa Valley to buy the pigs for their West Hollywood restaurant. These aren't the kind of challenges you expect when you open a restaurant that serves only California ingredients, but to buy these happily chubby pigs, you make the exception.

Given the extreme care these chefs take in finding their pork, is it any surprise that their braise is a multi-step, multi-temperature lovefest? You reserve the fat, you let the meat slowly melt into its braising liquid at the lowest of temperatures, and then you let it soak up all of its juices as it cools. We just have one extra request. Please, for the love of meat, don't buy your pork from Ralph's.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Chris Phelps and Zak Walters at Salt's Cure - ANDREW FROUG
  • Andrew Froug
  • Chris Phelps and Zak Walters at Salt's Cure

In part one of our interview with chefs Chris Phelps and Zak Walters of West Hollywood's butcher-shop-turned-restaurant Salt's Cure, they explained that wet aging is hocus pocus and that the pigs they buy from Napa Valley live more glamorous lives than we do.

In part two, the chefs reminisce about their culinary careers, how they met and the challenges they face in operating a restaurant that serves only products from California. Check back later for their pulled pork sandwich recipe. It requires little else beyond a whole lot of pig, but it's given all the love and care in the world.

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Chris Phelps and Zak Walters from Salt's Cure - A. FROUG
  • A. Froug
  • Chris Phelps and Zak Walters from Salt's Cure

If it's manly to love meat, there are no two manlier men in Los Angeles than chefs Chris Phelps and Zak Walters of Salt's Cure. The two opened Salt's Cure to supply local restaurants with specialty products such as house-made bacon and sausages, but all it took was for them to cook their meats themselves for the rave reviews to begin pouring in. Within weeks of their opening, the LA Times had declared it one of the best brunches in town and Jonathan Gold called their BLT "the essence of late summer." Behold the power of bacon.

Phelps and Walters met while working together at seafood-centric restaurant The Hungry Cat, and years later, it was a shared dream of one day hosting a whole pig roast on the beach that reunited them and eventually led to Salt's Cure, now a restaurant serving brunch, lunch and dinner only using products from California. In part one of our interview, the two discuss how they find their happy pigs and calves.

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Friday, July 1, 2011

saveur_comfort_food.jpg

Yes, we know we are supposed to be at the farmers market cooing over those Blenheim apricots meant to be slowly savored and imagining the simple tomato-basil salads that will satisfy us after just a few bites with their intense summer flavors. But even this time of year, some nights all we really want is a generous bowl (maybe two) of good old fashioned macaroni and cheese (fine, a little fresh parsley to freshen it up wouldn't stink). Enter Saveur magazine's recently released The New Comfort Food cookbook.

The "new" aspect here is the diversity of recipes, a melting pot of American pot stickers and split pea soup, as well as the fresh focus -- or at least compared to their 1950s predecessors (Not to fear, that patty melt recipe still calls for American cheese should you so desire, but cheddar and Swiss are offered up, too).

That macaroni with ham recipe gets a few tablespoons of fresh parsley, the creamy corn chowder is made with peak-of-season summer corn, and the grilled lamb chops are served with minty salsa verde rather than your grandmom's mint jam. We like to think of it not as "new" comfort food, but more going back to the way the American plate looked before the processed cheese, canned chowder, frozen corn and microwave invasion.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011

American

American Gastronomy: A State By State Food Map

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Mon, Apr 25, 2011 at 10:00 AM
American Gastronomy - COURTESY LUCY STEPHENS
  • Courtesy Lucy Stephens
  • American Gastronomy

We are not a united food states of America. Despite the commonalities, we are a nation of unique regional foodways. Who better than an artist, and a British artist at that, to show those food traditions to us?

Meet Lucy Stephens, graphic artist and book designer. Inspired by a visit to California this February, the London-based artist created this map that captures many of America's diverse regional food specialties, but leaves out others. Why no California sand dabs in California? Or barbecue ribs in Illinois instead of Tennessee? Keeping in mind that everyone thinks their X better represents their state better than someone else's Y, read on to find out the process that led to this map.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

American

The Mashed Potato: A Chef Survey

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Tue, Nov 23, 2010 at 3:00 PM
NICHOLAS DYNAN, WBUR RADIO
  • Nicholas Dynan, WBUR Radio

Chances are, this is how Thanksgiving Day is going to look if you're cooking dinner: You're going to make sure you have a defrosted turkey on hand, get some pies in the oven, and then tackle a sack of potatoes. According to the USDA, the average American consumes more than 120 pounds of potatoes annually, and many of them end up in mashed form. Even with heirloom or organic tubers, the opportunities to enhance the flavor and texture of mashed potatoes are seemingly endless.

This year, we talked to 6 Los Angeles chefs to get their take on what type of potato to use, how to cook the potatoes, to peel or not to peel, how to mash the cooked spuds and which dairy products to add. Something to keep in mind as you do your market shopping and set a pot of water on the stove to boil. Turn the page...

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

American

2nd Lunch: Unscheduled Corned Beef at Johnnie's Pastrami

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Wed, Jun 23, 2010 at 9:30 AM
This one is Bob's; much love to Johnnie - BEN CALDERWOOD
  • Ben Calderwood
  • This one is Bob's; much love to Johnnie

Bob's Special--a hot pink mass of corned beef served over cole slaw and under two melting slices of Swiss on a blimp-like French roll--marks a departure from the norm at Johnnie's Pastrami, the Culver City sandwich shack worn as smooth as the fob on a Manhattan cabbie's keys. It takes a certain amount of restraint to show up at Johnnie's and not order pastrami, but in this case, discipline yielded a new favorite dish.

Bob apparently specializes in the collision of salty and sweet, and here lies the advantage over Johnnie's scrappy, steamy pastrami. Granted, you sacrifice the mellow, bovine tang of Johnnie's classic jus, but you are rewarded with hyper-corned, maximally saltly shreds of stewed beef rebounding off the sweet, milky crunch of the slaw, an arch-traditional composition of 99-percent shredded fresh green cabbage with a dash of carrot, slicked with mayo and buttermilk. The balance sells the sandwich, and a generous squirt of hot mustard seals the deal. Finishing even half of a Johnnie's hot pastrami sandwich can be an ordeal, but the Bob's Special basket was wiped clean in about 20 minutes, including the fork-ready remainders swimming in mayo and oil at the bottom. And this is fairly lean corned beef, with none of the disconcerting chemical iridescence that results from low-quality cures and too-long stays in the walk-in.

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