Friday, August 29, 2014

  • 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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Pizza with mozzarella - MALCOLM BEDELL/FROMAWAY.COM
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 television 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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David Solmonson and Lesley Jacobs Solmonson - GARRETT MARKENSON
  • Garrett Markenson
  • David Solmonson and Lesley Jacobs Solmonson
Squid Ink contributor Lesley Jacobs Solmonson and her husband David Solmonson wrote The 12 Bottle Bar "with the hope of offering an inexpensive and accessible approach to classic cocktails," Lesley Jacobs Solmonson says. The book is not meant to be a complete guide to spirits or cocktails. "Instead, we like to call it a 'road map' to lead the home enthusiast through the hows and whys behind making mixed drinks," she says.

Below are two excerpts from the Solmonsons' book. The first is about ice, which the authors believe is a key component of a well-balanced drink. The second is a recipe for the Clipper Cocktail, a little-known stirred drink in which the proper use of ice is key to the cocktail’s success.

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Jambon beurre sandwich at Petit Trois - B. RODELL
  • B. Rodell
  • Jambon beurre sandwich at Petit Trois
Petit Trois, the new bar/eatery from Ludo Lefebvre next to Trois Mec, has been fairly quiet during the day recently. At night the space is jam-packed with drinkers and diners, indulging in cocktails, escargot, steak frites and more. But the daytime crowd has not been a crowd at all, more like a trickle. 

This is presumably because the offerings during daytime hours consisted of two sandwiches, wrapped in paper and available to-go as well as eat-in. And while it was fun to sit at the marble bar and unwrap your sandwich, it wasn't exactly a complete restaurant experience. 

This is all about to change. Next week Petit Trois will begin serving the full menu all day long. 

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Le Creuset Releases iPhone Case, Plus 5 More Phone Cases For Food Dorks

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Wed, Aug 27, 2014 at 9:39 AM
LeCreuset iPhone cases. - VIA LECREUSET.COM
  • Via lecreuset.com
  • LeCreuset iPhone cases.
Attention cooking nerds: Le Creuset, the gorgeous, expensive, French enameled cast iron cookware, has just released a new line of iPhone cases

Sadly, the cases are not actually made of cast iron, though that would make them a tad heavy. Presumably they're made of plastic. The cases fit an iPhone 5 or 5s, come in red, blue and green, and look like the lid of a Le Creuset pot. They cost $20.

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click image Ramen Burger Churro Ice Cream - TAMMY LA
  • Tammy La
  • Ramen Burger Churro Ice Cream
Summertime is the perfect time to indulge yourself  in sweets and desserts. Popsicles, frozen yogurt and ice cream may be the typical sweets that come to mind when you think of the hot weather, but that was so yesterday. Luckily for us, many new, up-and-coming businesses have been creating innovative foods that have surpassed novelty status. From ramen churros, to milky soft serve with a side of honeycomb, here are five newcomer sweets that are not only taking over summer, but are here to stay.

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Chardonnay tasting - MATT MILLER
  • Matt Miller
  • Chardonnay tasting
Only a half a tank of gas away from Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo (SLO) wine country is what Napa might have been like in the 1970s, and how Santa Barbara was before the boom of Sideways.

About 45 minutes north of Santa Barbara’s famed Santa Rita Hills and Santa Ynez Valley lies the lower part of San Luis Obispo County. Most people know this coastal stretch of the 101 as the Pismo Beach area — or if you’re a traveler who enjoys wine, as the place you stop to get gas while driving up to Paso Robles.

While there, you might take a moment to absorb the cool ocean air blowing in from the west, or observe the green hills to the east. But if you were to follow that cool breeze over those hills, you’d discover a stretch of wine country that you probably didn’t know existed.

So I ask you: If you’ve never heard of SLO wine country, why do you think that is?

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