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Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014

Food Safety

Tomatoes, Salad Kits Sold at Vons and Costco Recalled

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Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 12:40 PM
Roma tomatoes - FLICKR/ANDERSBKNUDSEN
Taylor Farms of Tracy, Calif. is issuing a recall of some lots of tomatoes and salad kits that contain them because they may be contaminated with salmonella, according to the Associated Press.

The produce company issued the voluntary recall Saturday night, Sept. 13,  for Expo Fresh Roma tomatoes shipped to Costcos in Los Angeles and Hawthorne, as well as to Las Vegas and to Tacoma and Lynwood in Washington. Only tomatoes listed as packed on Sept. 5 or 6 are affected.

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FARLEY ELLIOTT
  • Farley Elliott
The progressive northward expansion of Baja’s culinary influence has already landed on the shores of L.A. This year’s Tacolandia hosted a handful of Baja legends, including La Guerrerense and Tacos Kokopelli, while plenty of L.A. chefs have made their way south to learn and collaborate with luminaries named Javier Plascencia, Juantxo Sanchez and Jorge Vallejo.

There’s something undeniably exciting about the growing availability of Baja cuisine in Los Angeles — the way it’s changing our own perceptions of Mexican food, the way it highlights little-seen ingredients while co-mingling tradition and modern techniques. Maybe you’re one of those in-the-know souls who’ve been driving to the Valle de Guadalupe for years now; for everyone else, now there’s scarcely a need to drive further than Long Beach.

Running on back-to-back nights next week, acclaimed Baja chef Roberto Alcocer of Malva Cocina de Baja California will be hosting a seven-course dinner at a secret space somewhere in Long Beach.

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AMAZON
  • Amazon
News flash — not all vegans love salad.

Actually, that's not true. Vegans love salad. What vegans don't love is the sorry excuses for salads we're often served at restaurants, barbecues, family dinners and work potlucks. You know the type — iceberg lettuce with pre-packaged carrot slices, rubbery cherry tomatoes and some bottle from Ralphs claiming to be dressing.

Luckily, there's help in eradicating shitty salad from home and picnic tables everywhere. Terry Hope Romero's new cookbook, Salad Samurai, includes 100 recipes, ranging from tempeh taco salad bowl to Nicoise bento boxes, that prove that salads are a lot more than what you have to eat before the real meal comes.

A few of Romero's recipes will be highlighted during the 41-year-old's appearance Monday, Sept. 15, at Mohawk Bend as part of the Authors Worth Celebrating Series. These include a hearty salad that is "fun to eat with a steak knife," Romero says,  a "very summer-y recipe featuring delicious summer tomatoes" and others that will " feature things like soba noodles, roasted beets, creamy horseradish dressing and seitan made to taste like bacon."

And, sadly, while Romero says that the event might feature "a chocolate torte or a chocolate kind of thing," there will not be a dessert salad. 

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a Tokyo cat cafe - FLICKR/MSSARAKELLY
The Catfe is indeed coming to Los Angeles. Half a year after announcing a kickstarter to fund America’s California's first cat café, Carlos Wong, the guy behind the venture, is bringing his concept to fruition, albeit a fleeting one.

From Oct. 2-5, Wong will partner with Chinatown BID and Best Friends LA, a no-kill shelter, for 4 days of catty awesomeness. There will be cats for petting (and adopting, but only if you’re over 18). There will be costumed maids. There will be butlers! Also DJs and entertainment, such as the epic band Lolita Dark, may be on hand to amuse the cat lovers who are too busy to fly to Osaka.

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Think of a ketchup factory, and you might conjure up images of a vast concrete universe, maybe Henry Ford, maybe Fritz Lang steampunk if you're lucky. But probably not the actual place in Sierra Madre where Molonay Tubilderborst (yes, that's the name of a ketchup, not a Peter Jackson creature) is made.

Ketchup-maker Nick Coe makes his $7 artisan ketchup in the gorgeous foothills of the San Gabriels, beside an olive grove in a place that looks more like a bed-and-breakfast with a quaint U-pick farm in back. Vintage vehicles sit prettily in an old garage. Old marmalade jars and an even older linograph are part of a little de facto museum in the back of what actually is a factory, albeit a very small, impossibly charming one. 

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Bottles of Sriracha sauce at Huy Fong Foods - T. NGUYEN
  • T. Nguyen
  • Bottles of Sriracha sauce at Huy Fong Foods
If you're the sort of person who passes time watching how things like crayons and bubblegum are made, maybe now would be a good time to Google Map your way to Irwindale. Because Huy Fong Foods, manufacturer of an enormously popular Sriracha sauce, is located in that very industrial city, and every Saturday between Sept. 13 and Oct. 25, the company will host public tours of its enormous 650,000 square foot factory.

Huy Fong actually began offering tours of its facility in February, but even if you went then, you'll probably want to go again now: The fall season is chile-grinding season, or the four months out of the year when some 30-40 truckloads of red chile peppers are delivered to the factory, ground and made into sauce. Thus these Saturday visits give you a chance to see the entire manufacturing process, from soup to nuts or, as it were, from peppers to Sriracha. 

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Lou Amdur, with wine - ANNE FISHBEIN
  • Anne Fishbein
  • Lou Amdur, with wine
Last year Lou Amdur opened Lou Provision & Wines, a small, smartly curated wine shop next to Jessica Koslow’s Sqirl which had a look so sparely decorated that it required a stroll amongst the few bottle-filled tables to realize that it was a go-to place for great, affordably priced wine from around the world, musky ciders, and an almost whimsical selection of canned sardines.

Now, Lou Provisions & Wine has closed. But roughly a mile and a half away, in the crook of a L-shaped strip mall in Los Feliz, Amdur has established a spanking new 1,600-square-foot incarnation of his brand — Lou Wine & Tastings. Recently, we caught up with Amdur to chat about what we'll find at Lou 3.0.

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Cheebo - RACHAEL NARINS
  • Rachael Narins
  • Cheebo
Los Angeles is a salad-loving town — we practically invented the genre. You can find salads everywhere, in convenience stores and white tablecloth restaurants. But finding one that's worth eschewing the rest of the menu for? That was a tricky proposition.

And because a salad has a pretty broad definition, we added some criteria for picking the ten best. These are full-portion, green-leaf salads that can stand alone as meals, and that can be vegetarian options — although many of the restaurants we visited offered protein as an addition. (That's also why the stellar Tricolore at Mozza is not on here; the integral dressing is not vegetarian.) Since so many of our options don't have meat, a lot do include nuts and cheese. All of our choices are available year round, meaning seasonal salads at places like Gjelina and Bäco Mercat don't appear. We didn't include build-a-salad restaurants, and there are no Chinese chicken or Caesar salads included, because those probably need their own list.  

What were we looking for? Mostly, something that just plain tastes good with no one component overwhelming the others. It couldn't be one-note and the dressing had to have some piquancy. There needed to be a certain level of originality, even if the salad has been around for years. The price couldn't be outrageous (hello, The Ivy) and it had to be fresh and made to order. Because in a town where you can find a farmers market open every day, you want seriously fresh greens on your plate.

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Salt & Straw ice cream - LEELA CYD
  • Leela Cyd
  • Salt & Straw ice cream
At this rate, we can all skip the trip north to Portland, because all their best food seems to be coming here. Stumptown's already here, Andy Ricker's opening his wildly popular Pok Pok this fall in Chinatown — and much sooner than that, specifically this Saturday, Sept. 13, the Portland-based small-batch ice cream company Salt & Straw is opening its long-anticipated doors in Larchmont Village. Now all we need is Nong's chicken and rice cart and the people who actually live in Portland can stop complaining about Angelenos relocating to their town — because we won't have to.

Of course we've been able to get Salt & Straw before now, thanks to the freezer case at Joan's on Third and the Salt & Straw ice cream truck that drove around town this summer. (Thank you, thank you.) But this is the first brick-and-mortar outside Portland for owner Kim Malek and head ice cream maker Tyler Malek, the cousins who launched the ice cream company in 2011. 

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Miran Oh, owner of Healing Coffee Roasters - CHRISTINE CHIAO
  • Christine Chiao
  • Miran Oh, owner of Healing Coffee Roasters
With Healing Coffee Roasters, Miran Oh has added hyper-locally roasted specialty coffee to the menu of java options, caffeinating the edges of the Mid-Wilshire area that sees two Starbucks locations within miles of each other.

Open since May 1, the shop is still somewhat new and relatively unknown to the neighborhood, unassumingly sandwiched amidst a retail hodgepodge on Pico, just a little over a block west of La Brea. You can tell as much if you stop by for a brew, at which point you'll catch a first-time customer inquiring when the café was opened or a nearby resident enthusing about having it in the neighborhood.

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