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Sampler Platter: Umami, Cacao Mexicatessen, Flavors of Belize

August 5, 2009 | 11:39 am

CompartesMexican delis, Venezuelan coffee, Belizean restaurants and a few new resto openings and closings in today's roundup of food news.

  • Jonathan Grahm of venerable Compartes Chocolatier has been chosen as Oprah.com's "chocolate expert" and gives a tour of his shop and factory. (Get his recipe for English toffee.)
  • Cacao Mexicatessen opens in Eagle Rock. Food GPS 
  • Flavors of Belize to open on La Brea. Grub Street Los Angeles
  • Cobras & Matadors closes in Los Feliz; new Umami outpost to open soon. Eater LA
  • Crop scientist seeks niche growers for mirai, the world's sweetest corn. Telluride Watch 
  • Venezuela seizes processing plants of two of the country's biggest coffee companies. BBC 
  • Favorite drinks of the rich and famous. (Oliver Reed's list includes almost everything except rubbing alcohol.) World's Biggest Cookbook 
  • Bikini-clad baristas fill cups at Torrance coffeehouse. Los Angeles Times 
  • A Japanese couple who were charged a $1,200 lunch bill at a Rome restaurant turn down a free trip to Italy. ABC Australia 
  • LAUSD looks to regulate companies whose foods are sold at school fundraisers after salmonella-tainted frosting is recalled. Los Angeles Times 
  • To celebrate Barack Obama's birthday, Domino's Pizza outlets in Washington gave away samples of their new Chocolate Lava Crunch Cake. In other news, the pizza chain that can barely turn out edible breadsticks is trying a lava cake. NBC Washington

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: One of Jonathan Grahm's chocolate creations, which uses organic Vermont maple syrup and a beautiful antler print. Credit: Angela Smith / For The Times