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Friday, August 29, 2014

Sea salt ice cream with caramel ribbons from Salt & Straw - T. NGUYEN
  • T. Nguyen
  • Sea salt ice cream with caramel ribbons from Salt & Straw
This weekend will be, as it so often is around this time of year, really, really hot. Ice cream weather, in other words, and all the more reason to go to the Arts District tomorrow, where, between 2 p.m. and 10 p.m., Salt & Straw's ice cream truck will be parked outside Blacktop Coffee, scooping a choice selection of its quite terrific ice cream.

The truck, in fact, has been scooping there for the past few Saturdays; last week's menu of flavors included sea salt with caramel ribbons, salted malted chocolate chip cookie dough and Stumptown coffee with Compartes' Love Nuts.

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Burger at Meat District Co. - COURTESY MEAT DISTRICT CO.
  • Courtesy Meat District Co.
  • Burger at Meat District Co.
Here's a way to get people in the door: The new Pasadena meat-focused restaurant Meat District Co. is giving away free burgers to the first 100 people in their door , Tues., Sept 9. But not just one free burger — they're giving each of these 100 people a free burger every week for a year. That's a lot of free burgers. 

Meat District Co. is, as you might imagine, a meat-themed restaurant serving burgers and steaks that they bill as "100% natural ‘Never Ever’" meat, meaning it's hormone, steroid and antibiotic free. They serve a bunch of different kinds of burgers — an American burger called "old faithful," a truffle burger, a surf and turf burger, salmon, turkey and veggie burgers.

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You're probably looking at some trans fat - FLICKR/STEPHANIE CHAPMAN
Despite legal bans and doctors’ warnings about trans fat, nearly one in 10 processed food products sold in the United States still contains it, according to a new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Yet most foods that contain trans fat don't list it on the label, so consumers are unwittingly eating it, according to the research.

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FACEBOOK/DUNKIN' DONUTS
Going back to work after the Labor Day weekend just got a little easier, at least for Dunkin' Donuts fans who live in or near Santa Monica. Well, easier if you want to spend your early morning lining up with doughnut lovers badly in need of caffeine.

The first Dunkin' Donuts in Southern California will officially open its doors at 5 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 2 at their new Santa Monica location, at 1132 Wilshire Blvd. Pink carpet. Mascots. A "special California-inspired donut." Welcome to Los Angeles.

For those of you who live for this sort of thing, note that the first 100 people in line will get swag (tote bag, etc.) and the very FIRST person in line will get free coffee for a year. Maybe just pretend its the Rose Parade and spend your day off on Wilshire in a lawn chair. Bring a thermos, since eventually you'll be able to refill it with Dunkin' Donuts' very best. 

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The house special lobster, New Port Seafood's signature dish - LUKE MINES
  • Luke Mines
  • The house special lobster, New Port Seafood's signature dish
Say farewell to waiting two hours, or more, at the San Gabriel New Port (two words, by the way, in the title of the restaurant, to distinguish it from the city of Newport) Seafood  – either in the parking lot or hovering over the large crustacean tanks in the lobby.

New Port Seafood is officially opening its new location Tuesday, Sept. 2, on La Cienega’s Restaurant Row and will feature reservations, a full bar, outdoor dining patio and its Cantonese-style seafood dishes. The soft launch of the restaurant, dinner only, is this Friday, Aug. 29. Let the (new) lines begin. 

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Andrea Nguyen - ARIANA LINDQUIST
  • Ariana Lindquist
  • Andrea Nguyen
If you’ve ever searched the Internet for anything related to Vietnamese food, likely you've stumbled upon Andrea Nguyen’s excellent website, Viet World Kitchen.

Because this is where you go if you have a question about how to make basics like nuoc cham or nuoc mau, and because  after you go there for those recipes, likely you’ll stick around to read about her experiments with Sriracha, say, or to consider her take on all the pho shops in El Monte.

In addition to being a fantastic online compendium of Viet-related food and culture, Nguyen has written several terrific offline resources as well: cookbooks, namely, including the fantastic Into the Vietnamese Kitchen: Treasured Foodways, Modern Flavors.

In July, Nguyen released her fourth book, The Banh Mi Handbook: Recipes for Crazy Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches, a terrific history and recipe book dedicated to the iconic Vietnamese sandwich.

Thus you'll find recipes for everything from the bread itself to all sorts of fun fillings (cold cuts, as you might expect, but also things like also Sri Lankan-style black curry chicken).

The book is very much a handbook: It's not much bigger than a mini iPad, meaning you can tote it around and contemplate the components of your ideal banh mi while on the subway, in line at Tsujita, etc.

We talked to Nguyen (no relation) about her new cookbook, sandwich history and why we might want to re-consider the price we'd pay for a banh mi. A recipe from her book — an edamame pâté — follows. Consider it a condiment for tomorrow’s lunchbox.

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click image Pizza with mozzarella - MALCOLM BEDELL/FROMAWAY.COM
  • Malcolm Bedell/FromAway.com
  • Pizza with mozzarella
After performing exhaustive research (with lots of charts, graphs, diagrams, calculations and footnotes), scientists in New Zealand have determined that mozzarella is the best cheese for pizza.

Their findings, “Quantification of Pizza Baking Properties of Different Cheeses, and Their Correlation with Cheese Functionality,” were published in the Journal of Food Science on July 21.

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Ice Cream & Gelato

8 Terrific (and Ice Cold) Los Angeles Popsicles

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Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 8:44 AM
Popsicles at Popshop - JARED COWAN
  • Jared Cowan
  • Popsicles at Popshop
Popsicles are having a moment in the spotlight, just in time for the next heat wave (otherwise known as our permanent summer). More sophisticated than the classic ice pops bought off your local ice cream truck, this new breed of frozen treats showcases luxurious ingredients (Valrhona chocolate), farmer’s market finds (fresh berries) and unusual pairings (avocado and vanilla).

Another trend in frozen treats: seasonal ingredients. This means flavors come and go depending on what’s available — the only downside being that your favorite flavors may soon be MIA, so get them while you can. The upside? New flavors to keep you coming back. Sweet Rose Creamery's menu changes monthly.

From an English ice lolly to a Mexican paleta, popsicles appeal to just about everyone, especially on a hot day. For artisanal twists on an American classic, keep reading.

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The author, shortly before filming.
  • The author, shortly before filming.
Last night I made my national primetime television debut—which, as a print journalist, are words I specifically went to school to avoid ever having to say.

But as much as I've tried to hide behind my bylines, pseudonyms and nom de plumes, it was only a matter of time before a beer TV show rolled into Los Angeles and I felt obligated to go to the auditions and offer to be a consultant, a sounding board, a guide through the heavy female presence in beer here—anything to ensure that all the facets of craft beer in my hometown were properly recognized.

Instead, they asked me to be a beer judge. For a semi-serious reality-TV-style brewing competition. Featuring two of the most unconventional characters on the global craft beer scene.

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Dahi batata puri.  - JAMES GORDON
  • James Gordon
  • Dahi batata puri.
The first time you enter Surati Farsan Mart is a potentially overwhelming experience. The place resembles a Jewish deli more than a restaurant, and during peak hours, the line can stretch out the door. The clientele are loud and almost entirely Indian. There are more women dressed in saris than jeans. In line, a child is eloquently begging her mother to order her a sweet (or two), and is triumphant when she agrees. Another woman is methodically checking her shopping list; Surati Farsan Mart, in addition to sweet shop and restaurant, is the local place to get puffed rice and cracker mixes dusted with chili.

There are three TV monitors hanging on the wall, which display hundreds of unfamiliar words that may as well be written in Sanskrit: dahi batata puri, pav bhaji, kasta kachori. They presumably refer to food. You ask a nice man at the counter the appropriate questions (what is that?), which are answered with an air of practiced patience. After some rudimentary education, you place your order, only vaguely aware of what you’ve agreed to eat.

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