Fast food restaurants really stepped up their novelty-foodstuff game this week with the announcement of Taco Bell's Quesalupa and Carl's Jr.'s American-as-fuck Thickburger, topped with hot dogs and potato chips. The Quesalupa is like a steamed taco shoved into a buttery bread suitcase and hits the national market after sweeping success in the apparently down-for-whatever test market of Toledo, Ohio.  

Some of the best news we heard all week is confirmation that craft beer is having little to no impact on California's drought. Sure, it takes around five barrels of water to make one barrel of beer, but the entire state's production (which, by volume, is among the highest in the country) only uses the same amount as a 640-acre almond orchard. With over a million acres of almond orchards in the state, the craft beer industry is a paltry consumer. However, the drought may affect beer production in other ways, mainly cost and water sources. 

Food and Wine put up a series of maps that show the birthplaces of 30 popular cocktails. Some are obvious (bet you'll never guess the origin of the Manhattan), while others are more surprising (how the hell did Brussels invent the Black Russian?). L.A. is also where the Moscow Mule and Harvey Wallbanger got their start, so you're welcome, world. 

NPR Food published a good piece about a thriving chain of supermarkets that are changing the way that groceries are being sold in food deserts. Though the story centers on the Brown's Super Stores in Philly, the tactics and concepts they've been testing there could easily be brought to L.A.'s communities that struggle for access to healthy food options. (Hint: it's not an IndieGoGo-funded fast food restaurant.)

Another NPR story this week talked about how sushi is changing as we overfish, and yet we still can't seem to shake our love of bluefin tuna. The fish was just moved onto the “vulnerable” list, making it in danger of extinction. They even got Jose Andres on the record justifying (then backtracking) on his “Tuna Celebration” dinner, which has since been postponed. 

Regan Hoffmann makes an interesting case for why we should all respect the Jell-O shot, mainly because it wasn't invented by bored teenagers, but by 1800s cocktail god, Jerry Thomas (plus, there's that whole molecular gastronomy element). Hoffmann unearths the interesting history of this gelatinous booze vessel and reminds us that the best part of being young and dumb is the liberty to slurp down enough sugary alcohol to puke it up later. Hey, we all gotta start our drinking careers somewhere, right?

In L.A. restaurant openings, closings and goings-on, Smoke's Poutinery will open in Hollywood June 15, The LA Times has an early look at Ceremony in Studio City, and — gasp! — the Pasadena location of the Melting Pot has closed. There, there, don't cry. 


LA Weekly