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Food Fight

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

T. NGUYEN
  • T. Nguyen
Trader Joe's now has its own house brand of Sriracha sauce. Which, if you walked into the store with hummus on your mind and thus were not prepared to see rows and rows of the sauce innocuously lined up next to packages of dried kimchi (also apparently a new item, though maybe not one that we're particularly eager to try), you may or may not have nearly dropped your free sample-sized cup of coffee in surprise.

That Trader Joe's has a house brand Sriracha sauce, though, makes sense. A sizable part of the population is completely obsessed with the Thai hot sauce, especially Huy Fong's version (see: a cookbook, lollipops, attire). Thus we couldn't resist comparing Trader Joe's Sriracha to the ever popular Rooster sauce. Some Food Fights just write themselves.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Lists

Top 5 Places to Eat in L.A. if You Couldn't Make it to SXSW

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Wed, Mar 20, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Breakfast Taco at Bar Amá - PAUL BARTUNEK
  • Paul Bartunek
  • Breakfast Taco at Bar Amá
While everyone from musicians and comedians to tech bloggers, indie filmmakers and anyone with frequent flier miles was traipsing around Austin last week for the annual South by Southwest, there's a good chance you were stuck at home, avoiding all social media. Otherwise, you would have been inundated with tweets, Vines, Tumblr posts and Instagrams showing the rest of the world just how awesome Austin can be. And, granted, there's a lot to love about the liberal city encased in a sea of South Texas personality, but can't we all find ways to enjoy ourselves right here in Los Angeles?

With that in mind, we've compiled a list of the five tasty things that people at South by Southwest are looking to eat in Austin, and our own seriously delicious Angeleno versions.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Best of L.A.

10 Best Dishes in L.A. for Homesick New Yorkers

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Tue, Feb 26, 2013 at 5:55 AM

ANNE FISHBEIN
  • Anne Fishbein
It's easy to start nodding off when people drag out the old "New York vs. Los Angeles" debate; it's a tired one, and largely a comparison of Big Apples to orange groves, anyway. But after Bon Appetit listed its 20 most important restaurants in America and New York outshone L.A. by a factor of six, it got us wondering: Where do East Coast transplants like to eat when they're missing New York?

Die-hard New Yorkers may grumble forever at the idea of re-creating that perfect slice of pizza or ordering up a true Brooklyn bagel on the West Coast, but Los Angeles is doing a lot of great things with the foods that Gothamites have traditionally considered to be sacred territory. Here are 10 dishes that New Yorkers love to lament the loss of after moving to the City of Angels, from pizza to bagels to cheesecake, that Los Angeles is making fantastically well -- and often without regard to the way it's "supposed" to be made back east.

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Monday, February 18, 2013

Afghan Cuisine

Food Fight, Kabul-Style: Afghan Express vs. Azeen's

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Mon, Feb 18, 2013 at 10:29 AM

Kabuli Palao at Azeen's Afghani Restaurant - C. JOLLY
  • C. Jolly
  • Kabuli Palao at Azeen's Afghani Restaurant
Afghanistan, on a map: land-locked, sandwiched between questionable neighbors, ringed by mountains, crisscrossed by dangerous (and often impassable) roads. No wonder Afghan cuisine is limited to what can be grown domestically -- importing fresh food is a life or death enterprise. So, in the restaurants of Kabul you'll get ample lamb, chicken, rice, naan, and sturdy vegetables like cauliflower and potatoes. You will not easily find beef, pork (this is a Muslim country, after all), fish or salad.

The ingredients are scant but Afghan food is hearty and delicious: heaping piles of dumplings, platters of rice, stewed meat and vegetables. This cuisine is not for dainty eaters nor those with sensitive stomachs; it's designed for farmers and fighters. While Los Angeles has hundreds of Middle Eastern restaurants, there are only two in the area that specifically focus on Afghan food. Here we put them head to head.

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Croissant at Maison Giraud - G. SNYDER
  • G. Snyder
  • Croissant at Maison Giraud
In his 1989 novel The Great Fire of London, renowned french author Jacques Roubaud spends a rather large section expounding the features of the ideal Parisian croissant, told in the kind of deliberate detail you'd expect from a professor of both poetry and advanced mathematics:

[T]he croissant that might be labeled the archetypal butter croissant, presents the following features: a very elongated rhombus, rounded at the tips but with an almost straight body (only the plain croissant, and it alone, has a lunar, ottomanlike look)--golden--plump--not too well-done--nor too white or starchy--staining your fingers through the India paper that wraps or rather holds it together--still warm (from the oven it's only recently left: not yet cooled) [...] It has three principal components, and three interlocking meaty compartments protected by a tender shell that lends it certain similarities to a young lobster.

It wasn't long ago that finding a great croissant, one that essentially resembled a fine slab of French butter empowered with crunch, flake, and tenderness, was a exercise that ended in either disappointment or compromise. Times have changed, it seems. After sampling a host of croissants from some of the most serious bakeries in L.A., we narrowed in down to the top three bakeries, all of which opened within the past year. Did 2012 mark the coming of the croissant renaissance?

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Food Fight

Assembly-Line Pizza Fight: Clusi Batusi vs. PizzaRev

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Tue, Sep 25, 2012 at 9:31 AM

Spicy Meatball pizza at Clusi Batusi - G. SNYDER
  • G. Snyder
  • Spicy Meatball pizza at Clusi Batusi
Some have it called the "Chiptole-ization of pizza." Some have described it as the city's "next big one" in the world of casual dining. Whatever you call it, quick-service pizza joints, which specialize in customizable pizzas cooked in minutes flat and served counterside, are quickly becoming the new hotness in Los Angeles.

The business model created by Adam Fleischman's 800 Degrees in Westwood has proven extremely popular with consumers, inspiring several new pizza contenders, two of which we put to the test today (another is Blaze Pizza, an Irvine pie-slinger that plans to have a Pasadena location open by late October).

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Monday, June 25, 2012

table setting at Post & Beam - ANNE FISHBEIN
  • Anne Fishbein
  • table setting at Post & Beam
Eddie Huang, the New York chef and writer, has spent a lot of time recently discussing issues of food, culture, race and authenticity. A couple of weeks back it was a fascinating discourse with Gilt Taste features editor Francis Lam about Asian culture and food and whether it's "fair for chefs to cook other cultures' foods." Today, Huang took on chef Marcus Samuelsson, dissecting both Samuelsson's new memoir Yes, Chef, and his incredibly successful Harlem restaurant, Red Rooster.

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Food Fight

Lay's Classic BLT Flavored Chips vs. a BLT Sandwich

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Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 9:00 AM

BLT Sandwich and Classic BLT Lays - T. NGUYEN
  • T. Nguyen
  • BLT Sandwich and Classic BLT Lays
We love potato chips. We love BLTs. Usually we eat our BLTs with a side of chips; sometimes we put the chips in our sandwich, just for a little extra crunch. But what if the sandwich could be put in the chip, instead of the other way around? Lay's helpfully tries to answer that question with its Classic BLT Flavored Potato Chips. "It all starts with farm-grown potatoes," the bag says, lest you feared the potatoes were grown elsewhere. "Then our chefs add a delicious blend of bacon, ripe tomatoes and cool lettuce to our all-natural seasonings for the classic taste of a fresh-made BLT." Taking that as a challenge for this Food Fight, we stacked these chips against a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich from the Village Bakery and Cafe.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Burgers

Spicy Food Fight: Fukuburger vs. Kalbi Burger

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Tue, May 8, 2012 at 10:30 AM

Spicy Jeju-Do Burger at Kalbi Burger - G. SNYDER
  • G. Snyder
  • Spicy Jeju-Do Burger at Kalbi Burger
Though it may be more anecdotal than anything else, there is a popular theory that during South Korea's recession in the mid-to-late 2000's the country's young unemployed masses became especially enamored with a dish called buldak, or "fire chicken," a sauce-covered stir fry that was prepared so hot in some kitchens that too deep an inhale whilst chewing could cause a nosebleed. Apparently it served as a pseudo-stress reliever; the face-melting burn of pure capsaicin stimulates the release of feel good endorphins, buoying your mood when paired with an equally potent bottle of soju. The super-hot fad swept the country for a few years before smoldering out. (concurrent with the economy's improvement, interestingly enough).

You can find buldak in Koreatown too, including some howl-inducing versions LAPD might find useful if they were ever aerosolised them. But this food fight doesn't involve buldak, thankfully, instead focusing on a much tamer relative: the spicy hamburger, a specimen which proved to be rarer in this city that one might guess. But what could pump up a recession-addled brain with serotonin better the dual pleasures of a dank cheeseburger and a hefty dose of throat-searing gastric havoc?

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Taco Bell's Doritos Locos Taco - T. NGUYEN
  • T. Nguyen
  • Taco Bell's Doritos Locos Taco
"Consumers said that's more than just interesting, it's like 'where have you been my whole life,'" Taco Bell's chief marketing and innovation officer Brian Niccol told Forbes recently, about the public's reaction to the Doritos Locos Taco. This taco concoction is exactly what you might think it is: A regular Taco Bell beef taco with one giant Nacho Cheese Dorito chip that serves as the shell. Indeed, the Doritos Locos Taco successfully filled a void we didn't know existed; its sales led Taco Bell to a successful quarter, and there are plans to roll out Cool Ranch-flavored shells this year.

Our initial taste test of the Doritos Loco Taco, however, was decidedly underwhelming. This led us to wonder whether the deconstructed version -- a taco, a Dorito -- is greater than the sum of its parts. And so, for this Food Fight, we grabbed a bag of Doritos from a liquor store not too far from our local Taco Bell, and went in to find out.

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