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Restaurant News

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Restaurant News

An Elegy For Red Medicine

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Thu, Sep 25, 2014 at 6:00 AM
Trout roe with peas and lemon curd at Red Medicine - ANNE FISHBEIN
  • Anne Fishbein
  • Trout roe with peas and lemon curd at Red Medicine
Late yesterday afternoon, Sept. 24, it was announced that Red Medicine will be closing. The pioneering restaurant from owner Adam Fleischman and chef Jordan Kahn issued a statement explaining that new building ownership and the resultant rising overhead costs (code for: new owners have raised the rent) have caused the owners to sell the restaurant.  The last day of service will be Oct. 31.

Red Medicine has been controversial since its opening in Beverly Hills in 2010. Named after a Fugazi album and helmed by a pastry chef, the modernist Vietnamese cooking had people sharply divided from the get-go. The restaurant was also not afraid of courting scandal. Soon after opening, front of house manager and partner Noah Ellis famously kicked L.A. Times restaurant reviewer Irene Virbila out of the restaurant and then released a photo of the anonymous critic. In 2013, they again made national headlines for shaming no-show customers by name on Twitter. 

Both of these acts were seen as heroic by restaurant folks, but they also turned a lot of customers off. And they may have detracted from where the public's focus should have been, which is with Jordan Kahn's cooking.

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Friday, September 5, 2014

Duc Pham, center, with his team at Blossom in Silver Lake - S. LAU
  • S. Lau
  • Duc Pham, center, with his team at Blossom in Silver Lake
It's 5 o'clock on a Saturday and Duc Pham, owner of Blossom Vietnamese Restaurant, is opening a bottle of Sancerre.  "Around this time, I always like a nice glass of white wine for a little lift."  It's a well-deserved reward, which helps him maintain some sanity while juggling his DTLA and Silver Lake restaurants and prepping the newest addition to his mini-empire, a third Blossom in Chinatown.  

This particular day started at 7 a.m. and included driving out past Rosemead to pick up egg noodles, then hauling some Danish teak tables and chairs he collected from a shuttered restaurant.  The noodles are for the restaurant's popular mi trung thit kho pork belly dish.  

The furniture replaces a long communal table in Blossom Silver Lake's atmospheric, downstairs dining room, and will serve as reservations-only seating for a new family-style chef's menu concept featuring special off-menu dishes, which Pham will cook himself, such as a whole baked sea bass served with traditional fixings and rice papers for wrapping.  
  
Pham is something of a jack of all restaurant trades — owner, chef, bartender, interior designer, handyman — but he says he's happiest when he's in the kitchen.

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Friday, August 29, 2014

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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Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday, August 25, 2014

Italian Cuisine

Wildcraft (Re)Opens Today in Culver City

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Mon, Aug 25, 2014 at 9:52 AM
Pappardelle with bologneses, thyme, olive oil, and grana padano at Wildcraft. - JASON SPETH
  • Jason Speth
  • Pappardelle with bologneses, thyme, olive oil, and grana padano at Wildcraft.
About six weeks back, Wildcraft Sourdough Pizza announced that they'd be closing and reopening as a more upscale Italian concept. Well that reopening is happening today. 

Led by chef Tin Vuong (also of Little Sister, Abigaile, and Día de Campo), the new iteration, now simply called Wildcraft, is a modern Italian restaurant with a focus on Northern Italy. Vuong has brought in Bryant Wigger, previously of Trattoria Napoli. The space has been redesigned by Bishop Pass, with an eye towards giving it the feel of a Fellini Film. 

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"Mary Had a Little Lamb" at Recess Eatery in Glendale - COURTESY OF RECESS EATERY
  • Courtesy of Recess Eatery
  • "Mary Had a Little Lamb" at Recess Eatery in Glendale
The busy stretch of York Boulevard between Avenues 50 and 52 in Highland Park is about to get another restaurant. The 3,500-square-foot site, formerly home to the Verdugo Pet Store, has been leased by Sevan Abdessian, owner/chef of Recess Eatery in Glendale, who plans to open a second Recess restaurant there in 2015.

The new Recess will offer a similar menu to Abdessian’s current location at the north end of Brand Boulevard, with a California-meets-Mediterranean play on comfort foods, from fresh pastas and seafood to gourmet burgers and hearty salads. Many menu items will continue to have whimsical names, but with a HLP-specific twist, like the fish and chips entree rechristened “the Duke of York.”

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Trejos Tacos artist's rendering - COURTESY OF SPACECRAFT
  • Courtesy of Spacecraft
  • Trejos Tacos artist's rendering
A former Taco Bell on South La Brea will start serving tacos again in 2015, but it’s a safe bet they won’t be made out of Doritos. The former fast-food joint is getting transformed into Trejos Tacos, actor Danny Trejo’s long awaited foray into the restaurant world.

Back in 2011, L.A. Weekly first broke the news that Trejo, best-known for starring in Robert Rodriguez’s Machete films, was planning to enter the food business. At that time, the tough-guy actor told the Weekly that his plan was to open a Mexican restaurant called Trejo’s Place in Huntington Beach. Those plans never came to fruition, but Trejos Tacos looks to be green-lit for an early 2015 opening.

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Famous Dave's Big Slab plate contains one-and-a-half pounds of pork. - FAMOUS DAVE'S
  • Famous Dave's
  • Famous Dave's Big Slab plate contains one-and-a-half pounds of pork.
In case you’re an efficient eater and want to get all of your daily calories in just one meal – not to mention a week’s worth of saturated fat – the Center for Science in the Public Interest has helpfully released a list of the highest-calorie restaurant meals.

In generous use of the word “restaurant,” the Cheesecake Factory tops the list, selling dishes with the most calories and the highest concentrations of sodium, saturated fat and sugar, according to the CSPI, a nonprofit health-advocacy group.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Do you love potato salad? Maybe you're one of more than 4,000 backers who collectively contributed more than $40,000 in less than a week to Zack Danger Brown's now infamous potato salad Kickstarter, whose goal was initially set at $10. With ample publicity from nearly every corner of the mainstream media — earlier this week, Brown was interviewed by Good Morning America, Buzzfeed, and participated in a Reddit AMA — the donations are still pouring in by the minute. It seems everyone wants a piece of this potato salad.

In fact, Brown is struggling to come up with new rewards for his thousands of backers. He initially promised backers a bite of the potato salad, but now he's upped the ante by offering to live stream the making of the potato salad, use better mayo and multiple recipes. He's even contemplating ordering trucker hats that say "I love potato salad." But the truth is, not everyone's going to get a bite of this Ohio-made potato salad.

It turns out, Kickstarter is flooded with a new crop of local campaigns inspired by Brown's success. Here's a look at the best L.A.-based Kickstarters from Brown wannabes — who might actually share their product with you if you go fund it. 

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

Apocalypse

Red Lobster Restaurants Face Uncertain Future

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Mon, Dec 23, 2013 at 11:34 AM

In a move sure to set the culinary world and classy guys everywhere reeling, Darden has announced that it will either sell or spin off its Red Lobster restaurants.

Adding to the devastation, the company, which also runs Olive Garden and other fine-dining establishments, said it will suspend the opening of new Olive Garden locations and slow down new locations for LongHorn Steakhouses.

Why, you ask? Dear God, why??

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday, November 15, 2013

Pizza

Hollywood Pies Reopens: Deep Dish Pizza Fans Rejoice

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Fri, Nov 15, 2013 at 7:00 AM

Hollywood Pies' deep dish pizza - RACHAEL NARINS
  • Rachael Narins
  • Hollywood Pies' deep dish pizza
Hollywood Pies in Mid-City is again open for business, every Tuesday through Sunday night. If you want to stop in for a kickass dinner, or to pick up a pie for takeout, that's all you need to know. Well, that and which pizza you want to call ahead and order.

What you might be scratching your head and asking is: "Didn't they abruptly announce they were closing, just a few weeks ago?" The answer is, yes, they did. Four weeks ago, in fact.

While we were praising them in our Best Of issue for having the best deep dish pizza in the city, the owner was posting a note on Facebook announcing he was closing the doors. Now, thanks to a major change of heart and some serious begging from fans, it's back open.

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