The biggest news in L.A. this week was that two Los Angeles restaurants made Bon Appetit magazine's list of America's 10 Best New Restaurants 2015. Not only that but California swept the top three with Petit Trois and Gjusta landing in the second and third spots. These placements are totally deserved and a nice national ego boost considering that L.A. rocked the nominations, then got shafted at the James Beard Awards in May. Thanks for not being an East Coast snob and acknowledging how great it is to eat in L.A., BA!
On the L.A. food world's shit list this week is the San Bernardino Police Department, which tweeted several photos bragging about a “successful” crackdown on illegal vendors, including one of two officers rolling away a full fruit cart on a sweltering day and another of a truck bed full of fresh flowers. As if confiscating someone's small business wasn't enough to earn the ire of street-vendor advocates everywhere (“Gonna go buy some elotes right now just cuz,” was one response), the photo shows two cops pushing the cart in front of a processed snack–filled liquor store, which is presumably now the legal option for San Berdoo residents to get their afternoon bite. It has yet to be seen if any of this enforcement is helping San Bernardino in its struggle to emerge from bankruptcy, clear its streets of hard-core gangs or shed its reputation as “a broken city … a distillation of America’s urban woes.” But we're guessing probably not.
now I'm writing an Esquire storyClifton's Brookdale Cafeteria on Broadway downtown is readying for a grand reopening next month, and the stories and photos already are coming in. The September issue of Los Angeles magazine includes a great feature on the five-year renovation project, which included several divine interventions and religious epiphanies for owner Andrew Meieran and his team. In the end, the space — which is a massive, multistory food and nightlife venue with multiple eateries and bars — has a restored interior very similar to its dense, forest-inspired original. Check out a photo gallery of it all at Eater and get ready for downtown's most significant restaurant opening yet.
Another downtown restaurateur, Jesse Gomez, got some airtime this week with a story for Munchies in which he describes how and why he opened Yxta just off Skid Row in 2009, years before anyone else dared to go near there for an upscale dining experience. Those people who laughed at him when he first suggested opening in that 'hood? They're now kicking themselves, of course, as rents have skyrocketed in L.A.'s hottest neighborhood. Gomez was a pioneer (and is also a Latino). Glad to finally see him getting some of the credit he deserves.
And finally, all you basic bitches can rejoice: The Pumpkin Spice Latte — Starbucks' most successful seasonal drink of all time — is now going to start using real, actual pumpkin. So, you know, you really get that decorative gourd taste when you're drinking all that milk and sugar with your caffeine.
Tweets o' the Week:
Will you be my nutritionist? https://t.co/RLIy6POzo0
— Adam Roberts (@heyadamroberts) August 21
My high school English teacher gave us xeroxed Esquire stories to study for writing 2015
Saturday, Aug. 22: L.A. Taco Festival
Grand Park does it again — hosting another free festival in the heart of downtown L.A. This time, it's all about the taco, and Kogi, Tacos el Gallito, Homeboy Industries, Danny’s Tacos and more will all be slinging to support Jovenes, a youth shelter in East Los. As a bonus, you can eat your tacos at the first ever PROUD Picnic, an event for LGBTQ couples and allies, happening on the park's other end.
Saturday, Aug. 22: Gyoza Eating Championship
Nisei Week is almost over — what better way to celebrate Japanese-American community than by eating a shit-ton of gyozas? None that we can think of — so not only will we be there cheering on seven of the world's top competitive eaters but we also have an insider: One of our own will be chowing down in the name of journalism.
Thursday, Aug. 27: Queen Mary Mixology Dinner
The Queen Mary is an Art Deco masterpiece moored in the Long Beach Harbor. And if guided tours or old-timey sea travel aren't your thing, you can still enjoy the stellar on-board food and drink at their Barrel Dinner Series, which invites local bartenders to have a pre-Prohibition mixology-off. Drink up.