This might have been a shortened week (how was your meaty holiday?), but it was still full of news, the coolest being that Golden Road Brewing is opening a freakin' taproom inside Grand Central Market. Hell yes. Also: finally. It's about time L.A. County's breweries (32 and counting) started infiltrating non-beery food spaces, as they do in places like Portland and San Diego. Integrating craft beer into everyday life is the best way to make L.A. a legit beer town — and we have a lot of lost time to make up for. Plus the thought of drinking a pint of Wolf Among Weeds while annihilating a Wexler's pastrami sandwich inside the city's historic food court just makes us giddy.
Last week, Vietnamese sandwich chain Lee's voluntarily recalled 100 tons of meat products after an inspector found them labeling the stuff as “USDA approved” when they weren't. Everyone freaked out and instantly turned Lee's into a sandwich pariah. O.C. Register, bless their heart, dug deeper into the case and found the real reason the meat was recalled. It's not because the meat was not USDA-approved in the first place, but because Lee's was modifying certain USDA-approved meats (by cooking it or mixing them together) after the fact and keeping the label on them. Not that this makes it any less illegal, but it is slightly less creepy than imagining we've all been eating mystery meat that no regulating agency had ever seen.
L.A. Magazine posted a great piece about how the oil spill is affecting Santa Barbara's seafood. Thankfully, the area's prized uni, spot prawns and rockfish are still safe to eat, but getting to them has turned out to be a lot harder since many of the traps are in unreachable areas. It's unclear yet how this will affect prices, but local fishermen are losing out on a lot of product daily.
Alma is moving back to an à la carte menu — at least during weekday dinners. The downtown restaurant originally started exclusively serving $95, 10-course tasting menus as a way to help redefine the restaurant experience. (We should note here that not everyone thought the tasting menu format was Alma's best course of action.) Now you can get a glass of wine and some snacks for under $40, except on weekends when the tasting menu still rules supreme.
In openings and closings, Brian Malarkey is moving his Sunset Strip seafood restaurant, Herringbone, to Santa Monica and replacing the Hotel Mondrian eatery with another yet-to-be announced concept. In the meantime, the original will be staying open, meaning that, yes, there will be two Herringbones existing in L.A. at the same time.
In new restaurant news: Portland's Blue Star Donuts announced this week that it's opening a location to serve its brioche-style gourmet doughnuts in Venice (can Voodoo be next please?). Barrel Down started serving beer and whiskey (and apparently popcorn cauliflower!?) at its new beer hall downtown. And Sambar, Akasha Richmond's new Indian-inspired eatery in Culver City, is now soft open.
Tweets o' the week:
That thing where you can tell a restaurant is giving away free food based on which Instagrammers are posting from there at the same time.
— Zach Brooks (@midtownlunchLA) May 27 2015
Sat., May 30: L.A. WineFest
Lots of wine and beer will be flowing at the 10th annual L.A. Wine Fest, which brings vino from Ventura, Malibu, Santa Barbara and Temecula along with picks from Italy, Argentina and Sonoma to the historic Raleigh Studios.
Sat. May 30: Pairing Is Caring
L.A.'s boutique online bottle shop Inside the Cellar is hosting its second annual fundraising event, which is to say, you get to drink lots of good local beer and feel good about yourself for it. This time, they're hosting a mini beer festival on the patio at Traxx inside Union Station and hiring a personal pizza chef to create pies to pair with beer from eight L.A. breweries.
Sun., May 31: Taste of the Eastside
East L.A.-ers might have a bone to pick with the title of this festival, but Taste of the Eastside features the best of Echo Park, Silver Lake, Los Feliz, Atwater Village and Highland Park's restaurants and bars (okay, so some of that is bordering northeast L.A.) for a day of hangs at the sprawling L.A. River Center and Gardens.