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Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday, October 24, 2014

Brunch

10 Best L.A. Restaurants for Gluten-Free Brunch

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Fri, Oct 24, 2014 at 8:00 AM
The Must's Cholo Fried Rice with pork. - B. DOUGLAS
  • B. Douglas
  • The Must's Cholo Fried Rice with pork.
Brunch. You'd think it was invented in Los Angeles, the way we revere this epic, midday meal.  Come the weekend, we line up for it on unshaded sidewalks, among the crowds of sunglasses and messy hair, and we wait patiently, determinedly, like we're in line for Prince tickets. There's a bevy of brunch restaurant round-ups out there, including our list of the best spots in L.A.  And sure, even if you're gluten-free you can find the antidote to Saturday night's transgressions at any of these places — typically something scrambled or fried, hold the toast.  But you don't want to eat huevos rancheros and goat cheese omelets every. single. weekend. 

Thankfully, a truly satisfying gluten-free, carb-full breakfast is easier to come by these days.  Sweet, savory, from the griddle, or in a mini cast iron skillet — the options are almost as endless as the wait time. So, when eggs just aren't gonna get the job done, here are 10 brunch finds that will.

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Burgers

Belcampo's Fast Burger Is Only $5

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Fri, Oct 24, 2014 at 7:00 AM
Belcampo Meat Co.'s Fast Burger - T. NGUYEN
  • T. Nguyen
  • Belcampo Meat Co.'s Fast Burger


To the list of great things to eat at Grand Central Market, add yet one more: Belcampo Meat Co. just added a Fast Burger to its menu. And it's $5.

The Fast Burger is essentially your ideal burger stand or drive-through burger: a three-ounce patty made with grass-fed beef, melted housemade American cheese, lettuce, tomato, thin slices of onions. That's it. It's simple. It's terrific.

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Gardenia by Shaile - CLARISSA WEI
  • Clarissa Wei
  • Gardenia by Shaile
Standing in front of a coffee shop in Huntington Beach, Shaile Socher is taking a photo of the potted succulents on the table. It looks like a typical centerpiece.  “I won an award for this piece at the San Diego Cake Show,” she says. 

It’s made out of sugar and the detailing is exquisite. Everything down to the texture and the color of the plant is lifelike. The leaves are plump and fleshy, shaded so that they look hauntingly realistic. You can’t even tell it's not a real plant — unless you touch it.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pasta

6 Great L.A. Restaurants for Pasta

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Thu, Oct 23, 2014 at 12:23 PM
lasagna at Milo and Olive - ANGELA MATANO
  • Angela Matano
  • lasagna at Milo and Olive
According to the National Pasta Association, October is National Pasta Month. And while most of us don’t really need a reason to consume mass quantities of carbs, in spite of the world conspiring against us with a variety of scare tactics, why not take the opportunity to celebrate and savor some spaghetti?

In Los Angeles there are copious choices for Italian food and many of these restaurants get accolade upon accolade. While these are well deserved – we will always love you, Bucato! — there are some overlooked gems that deserve a little of our attention. So we’re here to sing the praises of a sextet restaurants, all with fantastic, homemade pasta.

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Beer

5 SoCal Beers Made With Chili Peppers

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Thu, Oct 23, 2014 at 8:50 AM
Ballast Point habanero sculpin - BALLAST POINT
  • Ballast Point
  • Ballast Point habanero sculpin
Craft beer in Los Angeles has been made with so many bizarre additions these days, we barely flinch when we come across an IPA brewed with Syrah grapes or an English mild infused with coffee. One increasingly popular beer ingredient that still stops our taste buds dead in their tracks, however, is the chili pepper.

That's right: some of the most popular types of chili peppers — from jalapeños to habaneros — which are usually used to bring spice or smokiness to food, are now being used as flavoring agents by breweries across Southern California. The results give new meaning to the term “firewater.”

To be fair, the trend towards spicy beers has been floating around San Diego for a while, with old guard names like Ballast Point and Stone Brewing experimenting with special draft-only chili-laden rarities since at least 2012. But it's a new day of acceptance for these once off-putting pepper beers. No longer mere novelties resigned to intense spiciness or off-putting heat, many chili beers are now more subdued (and more frequently made) brews, bringing tongue-tingling properties into a bizarre-yet-intriguing liquid form.

As a secondary home for some of the world's most spice-happy cuisines (is there such a thing as mild Korean tofu soup?), Southern California is the most appropriate place for this concept to flourish. Here are five beers that take one of the weirdest craft beer adjuncts to new, palatable heights.

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Gary Menes - T. NGUYEN
  • T. Nguyen
  • Gary Menes
A farm grows in Long Beach. 

This would be an approximately 5,000-square-foot one called the Gladys Avenue Urban Farm, founded in 2010 by Captain Charles Moore. Earlier this year, Moore leased the farm to none other than Gary Menes, the chef and owner of Le Comptoir, who very much knows his way around vegetables. It's not uncommon these days to find Menes here, navigating the grounds with a watering can in hand. The farm is densely organized — "It's like Tetris in here," Menes says — but you can make out the beans crawling up trellises, and you don't have to squint to see the squash and berries. 

If all goes according to plan, this farm (and the farmers market, as necessary) is where he'll be getting the produce for Le Comptoir, which will shift from itinerant pop-up to permanent restaurant at the Hotel Normandie, hopefully, in November.

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Charm City Cakes West's Cupcakes. - LINA LECARO
  • Lina Lecaro
  • Charm City Cakes West's Cupcakes.
Hello Kitty fans are a voracious bunch, and her creators, the Sanrio company, are out to satiate fans in more ways than one for her 40th Anniversary. Kitty-themed cuisine is here — in conjunction with the highly anticipated Hello Kitty Convention, coming to MOCA at the Geffen Contemporary on Oct. 30, and the Japanese American Museum's Hello! Exploring The Supercute World of Hello Kitty exhibit celebrating the colorful character running now through April 26.

Starting this Friday, Oct. 24, restaurants in L.A. are getting in on the feline fun and festivities in a big way, with the Hello Kitty Hungry Hunt, a hop-around-town scavenger event featuring food and drink items inspired by the colorful cat. To participate, people can simply go to each of the eleven restaurants and order their Kitty items. Each dish or drink comes with a collectable pin of Kitty holding the representative food from that restaurant.

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click image A California Thursdays fresh Asian noodles bowl - CENTER FOR ECOLITERACY
  • Center for Ecoliteracy
  • A California Thursdays fresh Asian noodles bowl
Nearly 1 million students in California, including in Los Angeles, will be test subjects for an experimental school food approach – feeding them freshly prepared, locally grown foods. It’s part of a statewide pilot program called California Thursdays that seeks to do something audacious – serve California food to California students. The kickoff is Thursday, Oct. 23. 

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Ricardo Zarate at Paiche - ANNE FISHBEIN
  • Anne Fishbein
  • Ricardo Zarate at Paiche
We started hearing rumors three days ago that Ricardo Zarate had been ousted from the three restaurants where he serves as executive chef/owner: Picca, Mo Chica and Paiche. After contacting some of the interested parties and being told the whispers were just "rumor-mongering" we thought maybe a small dispute had been blown out of proportion. But then yesterday Eater reported on the rumors and the L.A. Times followed suit

So what's really going on? Zarate did not respond to several messages seeking comment. But we spoke to Bill Chait, the restaurateur who shares ownership in Picca, as well as numerous other restaurants in L.A. He implied that the situation was much more complicated than it seems. "It's incredibly unsavory to be having this conversation in public," Chait said. But, he added, there is no way for the restaurants to continue without some level of involvement from Zarate. 

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Paula Deen - COURTESY: PAULA DEEN
  • courtesy: Paula Deen
  • Paula Deen
On her recent trip to Los Angeles, Paula Deen taped a number of television shows (Fox and Friends, etc.) and holed up in the Montage Beverly Hills, where she did a few more interviews, including one with us. Thus on a weekday morning, we chatted with the white-haired queen of Southern cooking in her hotel room, as Steve Harvey ("I just love him") pointedly played on her television and her husband (who does indeed bear a striking resemblance to Ernest Hemingway) lounged in the next room. Her sons showed up eventually, but while we talked it was just us and her and her publicist.

Deen, who looks less garish and more petite in real life, wore less makeup than you'd think and no shoes at all — and yes, her hair was perfect — as she answered our pre-approved questions. (Nothing about racism or the recent media firestorm that cost her her Food Network show and most of her endorsements.) It was a very friendly chat, maybe because of those pre-screened questions. But while Deen talked, predictably, about her new show, she also managed to throw in a few bits about Rachael Ray, new trends in Southern cooking, and where she likes to eat in L.A. 

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