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Thursday, November 20, 2014

NOAM BLEIWEISS
  • Noam Bleiweiss
The James Beard Foundation has continued to make inroads into the Southern California market over the years, picking up on Los Angeles’ years of producing quality culinary talent and unrivaled restaurants while doling out lifetime achievement awards to the city’s biggest chefs (read: Nancy Silverton). They’ve even begun to migrate their ongoing event series’ to the West Coast, most recently with October’s Local Flavor from Coast to Coast event at downtown’s Vibiana.

This weekend, however, James Beard is headed for the Southern California desert in a big way. Currently underway is a collaboration of sorts, between longtime chef and three-time James Beard Award-winner Jimmy Schmidt and Corazon y Miel’s own Eduardo Ruiz. The former has of late been overseeing the kitchen at Morgan’s in the Desert, a high-end farm-driven restaurant on the grounds of the La Quinta Resort, while the latter, Ruiz, is a James Beard nominee and previous Zagat 30-under-30 notable.

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Ben Ford - FRANK OCKENFELS 3
  • Frank Ockenfels 3
  • Ben Ford
Ford's Filling Station L.A. LIVE finally has an official opening date: Dec. 3. Chef Ben Ford's new downtown restaurant, which will be similar in concept to the Ford's Filling Station that closed over the summer in Culver City, will anchor the Marriott hotel at L.A. Live, and there's even been chatter (which we could not confirm) that the concept might become a staple at other Marriott hotels around the country.

What we could confirm is the chef's favorite L.A. restaurants. Here are the 10 places in L.A. Ford craves the most. 

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click image Kreutzwald Library Restaurant and Lounge - UNIQUE HOTELS
  • Unique Hotels
  • Kreutzwald Library Restaurant and Lounge
Long Beach’s newest bar, The Brass Lamp, won’t really be a bar at all — at least not in the traditional senses of the word. It’s not a dive bar where the well drinks are over-poured and there’s still carpet on the walls. It’s not a sports bar lined with flat screen TVs offering Bud Light pitcher specials. And it’s definitely not a speakeasy where you sip on pre-Prohibition-era cocktails with your nose up and pinkie out.

Instead, The Brass Lamp will be filled with enough comfy chairs and reading material to call itself Southern California’s first book bar: a rare breed of drinking establishment that appeals to loners, literary dorks and creative thinkers alike.

But what the hell is a book bar anyway and why does L.A. need one?

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GEORGE PRIOR
  • George Prior
For the past month, George Prior has been drinking ten cans of Coca Cola every day, all to prove a point that 50 percent of all Americans ingest that same amount of sugar every day. If you're doing the math, that equates to nearly a half-pound of sugar entering your body on the daily.

An everyday follower of the paleo diet, Prior clocked in at a healthy 168 pounds before beginning the experiment nearly a month ago. Today he's gained 20 pounds and has been documenting the journey on his website and social media channels. 

We caught up with the Los Angeles native who, as of press time, is on his 28th day of Coke. 

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Chicory salad at Bestia - ANGELA MATANO
  • Angela Matano
  • Chicory salad at Bestia

Janis Joplin’s “Get It While You Can” would be a good anthem for persimmon season, which is happening right now. The urgency of eating and appreciating this oft-overlooked fruit is underlined by its relatively short season, which begins in October and ends in February.

One of the most popular varieties of the orange-fleshed fruit, the Fuyu, originated in Japan. The Fuyu is a “non-astringent variety,” according to Califuyu, the California Growers Association, which means they don’t cause the mouth to pucker up if not completely ripe, like the native American persimmons grown in the South or the more common pointed Hachiya variety.

The Fuyu can be eaten while still crunchy and translates well in many dishes, from sweet to savory. The Hachiya often can’t be eaten until they are quite soft, and would work well in puddings and cakes. Regardless of which kind you buy or what you put them in, just be sure to eat up before they disappear. Here's a few places around town that are taking the persimmon to new heights this season:

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cooking

Celebrate Thanksgiving as Our Forefathers Did, With a Heritage Bird

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Wed, Nov 19, 2014 at 9:03 AM
click image The oldest variety of turkey in the United States, the Narragansett - MARY'S TURKEYS
  • Mary's Turkeys
  • The oldest variety of turkey in the United States, the Narragansett
It’s that time of year again; time to plan your Thanksgiving menu. Whether you’re in charge of cooking everything, just show up with a pie or simply plan to watch football while eating your way into a tryptophan-induced food coma, there’s one thing everyone has in mind: turkey. And since it might just be the only day of the year that you sit down with a large roasted bird and a dozen ebullient friends and family members, you’ll want to do it right.

But what exactly does that mean when it comes to shopping for a turkey? There are so many options these days. Though it might seem easier to dismiss buzzwords such as "heritage breed," "local," "organic," "free-range" and "heirloom" as mere fodder for an episode of Portlandia, they are actually important things that could lead you to a healthier and more delicious bird.

Here's why you should consider eating a heritage bird this year, and a few farms that sell them: 

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click image Coffee - FLICKER/JEN
  • Flicker/jen
  • Coffee
Here’s some sweet news for those who love the bitter taste of coffee: According to a new study, drinking three to four cups a day can slash the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 25 percent. That’s compared with drinking no coffee or less than two cups a day.

And it doesn’t have to be caffeinated coffee, either. "A recent meta-analysis suggested that consumption of both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee is associated with a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes," the study says.

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SATYA MURTHY/FLICKR
For some of us, most of the joy of Thanksgiving comes from the long hours in the kitchen, sweating over a hot bird, mashing potatoes, rolling out pie crusts and making cranberry sauce from scratch. But not many of us. 

For the rest of us, there are a number of options. You can go out to a restaurant for Thanksgiving. You can do all the cooking and hate every minute of it. You can ignore the entire dumb thing altogether. Or, you can get a Thanksgiving meal to-go, serve it in the comfort of your own home, and get all the joy with none (or less) of the cooking. You can even pretend you made it yourself. We won't tell your guests. 

Here are six great places where you can get your holiday feast to-go: 

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Deep fried turkey leg from The Pikey - THE PIKEY
  • The Pikey
  • Deep fried turkey leg from The Pikey
Making your own Thanksgiving dinner is a lot of work. There's hours of recipe scouring, shopping and prep work to do before you even get to the day's-worth of actual cooking. And with Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, if you haven't already begun to plan, you might as well retire the apron this year and make a reservation instead.

Dozens of restaurants across Los Angeles will be open on Turkey Day, some serving their regular menus, but many more offering custom feasts and prix fixe dinners full of both traditional and non-traditional goodies that easily rival mom's (sorry mom!). The range of meals available is as diverse as the chefs who create them, meaning the turkey-as-main-course concept is only the beginning. 

Turn the page for our picks of where to go on Thanksgiving, when all you want to do is eat good food and not worry about the dishes:

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Opening party for the inaugural Golden State of Cocktails at the Paramour Mansion, - B. RODELL
  • B. Rodell
  • Opening party for the inaugural Golden State of Cocktails at the Paramour Mansion,
The Golden State of Cocktails, a California-based cocktail conference that debuted early this year, will return for a second year in January. The conference, which has events for industry professionals as well as the public, will take place Jan. 26-29 in downtown. 

Consumer events (events open to everyone) include a series of spirit-specific dinners at various L.A. restaurants (Scopa Italian Roots, Commissary at the Line Hotel), and Westside and Hollywood bar crawls. Industry programming (open only to members of the food and drink industry) includes seminars on vermouth, the history of Irish whiskey and various bartender skills. 

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