The internet inevitably freaks out over a few things: cute cat photos, blatantly racist celebrities and now — thanks to an unfortunate new item found at a Brentwood Whole Foods — asparagus water. Not just the food world but the whole international worldwide web took an image viral earlier this week that showed $5.99 bottles of tap water that had been gently sealed with three fresh stalks of asparagus inside. The product was a new one, created and labeled by Whole Foods. It was found in L.A., at the Brentwood location, where residents will spend just about anything to ensure their organic, fair-trade well-being. The plot thickened when Whole Foods actually made a response to the “asparagus water scandal” (which was originally started by Los Angeles Magazine associate editor Marielle Wakim, who Instagrammed the pic while shopping there on Monday) and said it was all a misunderstanding and the product was pulled from shelves. It wasn't supposed to be overpriced spa water at all, they said (that's still available with cucumbers in it for $2.99); “It was meant to be water with the essence of vegetables and/or mushrooms to be used as broth.” OK, guys.
Whether you're a starving child in Africa or a too-busy Silicon Beach tech guru, the moment of not-eating is on the horizon: Soylent 2.0 is now available for pre-order. The liquid meal replacement, invented by an Atlanta software engineer, that first emerged as a powder a few years ago has been retooled as a ready-to-drink bottle that has all the vitamins and nutritious soy protein and algae you need in a single, 400-calorie, flavorless serving. For $29 a month, you can drink nothing but Soylent, as its inventor has done, and feel the raw power of a futuristic goop that's been “engineered to deliver all essential nutrients and provide an even release of energy.” You won't miss tacos at all.
It's only been five months since San Francisco chef Richie Nakano lost his blood-and-sweat-built restaurant Hapa Ramen to a greedy investor, but at least he has a sense of humor about it all. In an illustrated feature for First We Feast, Nakano gives a humorous look into the life cycle of a modern chef, from culinary school (“You just changed your Instagram handle to add the word chef before your name”) to comeback chef (“Articles about you that have been nominated for James Beard Awards: 2”). Private chefs, child prodigies and food-truck bros are not spared from the scathe.
Munchies has a great feature on Smokin' Ed Currie, the man who invented the world's hottest chili pepper: the Carolina Reaper. We got to know Ed and his fellow pepper heads last month at the first California Hot Sauce Expo, where the legend himself was on hand to sling bottles of hot sauce and some of the coveted red peppers. “It's like licking the sun,” Currie says. Instant regret is also involved.
On the (relatively quiet) L.A. openings-and-closings front: Good Eggs delivery service is leaving the city and its 9,000-square-foot warehouse in Elysian Valley — permanently (wonder if it has anything to do with that monthlong closure earlier this year?); Petty Cash Taqueria is opening soon in the Arts District and is hosting a few “test kitchen” nights next week with major-name chefs, from Wes Avila to Javier Plascencia; and Black Hogg in Silver Lake will become a second outpost of Ohana Poké Co. as early as next week.
Tweets o' the Week:
I need to eat
Well there's food at this rest area
Friday, Aug. 7: Brew at the Zoo
Hang out after-hours at the Los Angeles Zoo, where you can sample beers from more than 60 local and craft breweries, jam to live music, enjoy pop-up zookeeper talks and munch on pub grub available for purchase, all while experiencing close-up animal encounters.
Saturday, August 8: Burgers and Beer
Our first Burgers and Beer extravaganza will take over Exposition Park, featuring all-you-can-stuff-in-your-face samples of more than 35 of L.A.’s favorite burgers, along with tastings from 30 of the region’s breweries. Read through this week's Summer Dining Issue to learn about why burgers are so important to L.A., then get ready to eat and drink through it all.
Sunday, Aug. 9: To Live and Dine in L.A.: Live Mixtape
Have you ever heard a battle rapper freestyle about a Korean-fusion meal? Or watched as a historic Italian restaurant menu is sung as an opera aria? Probably not, since it's all happening for the first time when To Live and Dine in L.A. turns the Los Angeles Public Library's historic menu collection into an unprecedented crosscultural, multimedia show at the Regent Theater.
Wednesday, Aug. 12: Collesi Beer Dinner
Chianina in Long Beach, the country's only restaurant to serve its namesake beef, now does another rarity: an Italian craft beer dinner. Over four courses, chef David Coleman will present dishes — from scallop crudo to a slab of Piedmontese rib-eye — that pair perfectly with Collesi's lineup of superb Italian ales, from the Triplo Malto to the amber Rossa.