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Ben Calderwood

Avery Wild Ale in its own words; Credit: Ben Calderwood

Brace Yourself for Avery Barrel-Aged Wild Ale No. 5

Of microbrewers with nationwide reach, Avery Brewing Company is unmatched. No one so eagerly flouts mass-market expectations, experiments with wild abandon and challenges conceptions and pre-conceptions about what makes a good beer better than Avery. Everything that emerges from Avery's Boulder, Colorado-based brewhouse is big, from their "simple" Champagne and......
The signature U-Zen roll; Credit: Flickr/framboise

Simple, Fresh, Familiar at U-Zen Sushi

U-Zen Sushi may not be particularly high on L.A.'s wholesale fish totem pole, which means the sushi and sashimi at this 17-year old hangout are not as vibrant as those at some of the city's glossier outlets. But the chefs at U-Zen have toiled in near obscurity for almost two......
Chef-approved curry pan; Credit: Kevin B.

Only Order This: Curry House's Curry Pan

The sit-down outpost of Asian retail food titan House Foods, Curry House is the epitome of Japanese casual dining, a benign establishment for diners suspicious of the non-native menus found elsewhere in the South Bay. Every dish is submerged in a gravy-like slurry the color of Indian warpaint, a fusion......
Piccolo's tiny two-by-five gianduja cream puffs; Credit: Ben Calderwood

Submitting to Wine and Dessert at Piccolo

Sometimes all you have to do is listen. Last night's dessert at the expanded Piccolo Venice consisted of bignole, ten pastry puffs barely larger than the dimples on a baby's cheeks, each filled with chocolate-hazelnut cream, and a fragile, vin santo-enriched panna cotta. We debated the accompanying wine, circling around......
We do it so you don't have to: Jin Jiang's defeated crispy duck; Credit: Ben Calderwood

The Trials of Westside Chinese: Jin Jiang

This week's Trials of Westside Chinese proves the axiom that there is very little in the way of palatable Chinese cuisine within the neighborhood of the 405. In fact, some of it may be outright disgraceful. Squid Ink fantasized that Jin Jiang, the encyclopedic Canto-American banquet spot just east of......
Republica Del Cacao's antique brown 75% chocolate tiles; Credit: Ben Calderwood

The 70% Solution: Tasting Notes on Republica Del Cacao Dark Chocolate

The 70% Solution journeys up river from Guayaquil, Ecuador's most populous city, in search of the sometimes problematic, sometimes magnificent Arriba cocoa bean and the burnished dark bars of chocolate rookie Republica Del Cacao. Producer: Republica Del Cacao, Ecuador Bean: Ecuadorian single origin Arriba. Content: 75% cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa......
This one is Bob's; much love to Johnnie; Credit: Ben Calderwood

2nd Lunch: Unscheduled Corned Beef at Johnnie's Pastrami

Bob's Special--a hot pink mass of corned beef served over cole slaw and under two melting slices of Swiss on a blimp-like French roll--marks a departure from the norm at Johnnie's Pastrami, the Culver City sandwich shack worn as smooth as the fob on a Manhattan cabbie's keys. It takes......
Climbing the hill to the temple entrance; Credit: Ben Calderwood

Hsi Lai Vegetarian Buffet: Chew With Purpose

Most people visiting Hsi Lai Temple, the 15-acre Hacienda Heights campus of Taiwan's Fo Guang Shan Buddhist order, seek spiritual rather than culinary restoration. This is born out by the contents of Hsi Lai's vegetarian lunch buffet, served daily in a sprawling dining hall beneath the main shrine. Traditionally "stimulating"......
Seed vault entrance; Credit: Mari Tefre/Svalbard Globale Seed Vault

Peek Inside the Doomsday Seed Vault Tonight

The National Geographic channel is offering a rare glimpse inside the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) tonight at 9 p.m. as part of the final installment of its How The Earth Changed History three-part miniseries. Nicknamed the doomsday vault, the Svalbard seed bank is a joint public-private biodiversity bank of......
Fresh zaru tofu with candied ginger and syrup; Credit: Ben Calderwood

Stellar Tofu at Meiji, Gardena

Kumidashi supreme tofu, produced fresh on-site every morning save Tuesday at Meiji Tofu's barely-there Gardena storefront, is rapturous, and comes closer to capturing the sacred alchemy of milk and rennet (i.e. cheese) than any ersatz conurbation of vegan-friendly binders and flavorings I have ever encountered. It will immediately bias you......
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