Daily Dish

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Category: 5 Questions

5 Questions for Greg Daniels

DanielsGreg Daniels is executive chef of Pasadena's Haven Gastropub & Brewery. The Southern California native and graduate of the California School of Culinary Arts creates dishes that pair with the restaurant's craft beer and cocktails. Today, in particular, that's foie gras. Haven Gastropub & Brewery is hosting a seven-course prix-fixe dinner, along with chefs such as Brendan Collins of Waterloo & City and Jordan Toft of Eveleigh. See Haven's blog for more information.

What’s coming up next on your menu? Bone marrow, rabbit, sustainable bluefin tuna, pig's ears, beef tendon and blood biscuits. The biscuits have been fun -- we added pork fat and blood, and we'll be serving them with bone marrow butter, and a Hatch chile jam. 

Latest ingredient obsession? Fat. Duck, pork, goose, foie gras, bacon fat. We've found that animal fats just add that certain something you can't get from oils. I bathe daily in beef tallow -- it really makes your skin glow.

What restaurant do you find yourself going to again and again? Puffy Taco in Whittier. I grew up around the corner from it, and every time I'm out that way, I have to stop and eat two puffy tacos (ground beef and potato, in a fried masa shell, with all the gringo fixings), strips Texanos (chips with cheese, avocado sauce and salsa) and a fresh lemonade. Honestly, I could eat these every day, and it would never get old. It helps that the same family is still running the joint after all these years, and they're just awesome people.

What’s the last non-food-related book you read? "The Idiot's Guide to Fatherhood." That was the book my wife gave me to let me know she was pregnant with my daughter. It was an awesome way to find out. Madeleine is 3 months old now, and I still consult the book for advice!

Favorite kitchen soundtrack? Social Distortion, Mariachi el Bronx, Ryan Adams, Jay-Z. We really like to mix it up in the kitchen. Everyone has a different taste in music, and we can go from alt-country to hip-hop without skipping a beat.

Haven Gastropub & Brewery, 42 De Lacey Ave., Pasadena, (626) 768-9555, www.havengastropub.com.

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5 Questions for Chris Cosentino

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5 Questions for Chris Cosentino

ChrisChris Cosentino is executive chef of Pigg, the all-things-pork stand opening inside Umamicatessen downtown. Since his first executive chef position at Incanto in San Francisco, Cosentino has co-created Boccalone Salumeria, gained recognition for his expertise in offal cookery, appeared on the Food Network's "Next Iron Chef America" and even started a line of clothing and shoes.

What’s coming next on your menu? There are so many things at Pigg that I'm excited about,  including a selection of cured hams that are not typically available here. My favorite is Broadbent from Kentucky, which has a smooth, buttery texture with subtle flavors of maple and apple. We're also making brainaise, which is aioli with cooked and blended pig brains, served with fries and crispy pig ears. 

Latest ingredient obsession? This is not an ingredient you’ll see at Pigg ... but lately it has been sea urchin bottarga, which has so much depth of flavor. I serve a cold salad of beef tendon, Meyer lemon, soft herbs and then I grate the sea urchin bottarga over the top. It's my version of surf 'n' turf.    

What restaurant do you find yourself going to again and again and what do you order? I've been consistently eating at Bäco Mercat for both lunch and dinner. I really like everything, but the bazole is such a great lunch with the al dente noodles, delicate herbs and a combo of pork and beef topped with a sizzled egg. For dinner, I love the chicken liver and foie gras mousse with kumquat marmalade.

The one piece of kitchen equipment you can’t live without, other than your knives? My spoons for tasting. I have an obsession with collecting them and I have so many I even have names for them. Big Bertha is one, and I also have a spoon called the Palladin, since it was given to me by Jean-Louis Palladin back when we did an event together ... he spooned me.   

What’s your favorite breakfast? I am a sucker for a great bagel, cream cheese and some smoked fish.  For everyday, I have multigrain toast with peanut butter, a piece of fruit that is in season and an Americano coffee. I always have to have an Americano.

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Photo: Chris Cosentino

5 Questions for Joseph Elevado

Joseph Elevado of Livello in Beverly HillsJoseph Elevado is the executive chef at l'Ermitage Beverly Hills, where he opened the restaurant Livello last year. He's worked for Nobu Matsuhisa and Masaharu Morimoto and at Social House in Las Vegas and Mexico. The Italy-meets-Asia menu at Livello features Elevado's classic techniques and Japanese aesthetics: oysters with ponzu gelee and sambal; spaghetti carbonara with edamame and Benton bacon; "soy ragu" of spicy kurobuta pork; and sea urchin and snapper crudo with olive oil, citrus and shiso.    

What’s coming up next on your menu? Coming up for this spring, we are going to feature a dish of warm spaghetti and toasted bottarga with anchovy-shiso pesto and organic olive oil. I love bottarga and am looking forward to this dish. 

Latest ingredient obsession? A few months ago I think we used harissa in everything. Lately it seems like we’ve been finishing everything with Katz organic olive oil from Napa. 

What restaurant do you find yourself going to again and again? Ever since moving to L.A. I’ve been going to or taking people to either Animal or Son of a Gun. At Son of a Gun, I can always go for their fried chicken sandwich, with the spicy b&b pickle slaw, and rooster aioli. That combined with a cold beer or martini is all right with me. 

The one piece of kitchen equipment you can’t live without, other than your knives? Kunz spoons. They are hands down the most instrumental and fundamental pieces of equipment for me in the kitchen. 

What’s your favorite breakfast? My favorite breakfast is a childhood favorite of Spam & eggs (two over-easy eggs on top of white rice). I don’t eat it too often anymore, but when I do, I am a happy camper. 

What’s the last non-food-related book you read? These days I enjoy audio books on the ride to and from work when I am in my car, and if that counts, the last book I “read” was "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" by Seth Grahame-Smith.  

Livello, 9291 Burton Way, Beverly Hills, (310) 278-3344, www.lermitagebh.com.

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Photo credit: Peden Munk

5 Questions for Adam Levoe

AdamAdam Levoe is the executive chef of Golden Road Pub, the restaurant at Golden Road Brewing, the L.A. brewery opened by Tony Yanow and Meg Gill last year. Levoe, a home brewer, says his dishes are meant to go with a cold brew. On the menu are snacks such as pretzels, meatballs and risotto fritters, pulled pork and duck confit sandwiches, steak with Schwartz Stout reduction. Plus lots of vegan options: a cheesy potato sandwich and portobello Philly, among them. 

What’s coming up next on your menu? With spring coming up, some lighter, warmer-weather dishes are in the near future for the pub. One new item I’m actually pretty excited about is popcorn. Working up a few different vegan and not-so vegan savory popcorn variations. 

Latest ingredient obsession? As it always has been and always will be, anything pork, although currently, I have been challenged to use new ingredients in new applications to create unique and tasty vegan dishes without using soy-based imitation meats and proteins and such.

What restaurant do you find yourself going to again and again? Tacos Ariza. I probably go there three or four times a week for the al pastor burrito with two salsa verdes.  

The one piece of kitchen equipment you can’t live without, other than your knives? Definitely the coffee maker, can’t live without it.

Favorite day off away from the kitchen? Well I haven’t taken one of those yet this year, but I do love Mondays, and any day I can spend with the girl I love, eating delicious food and drinking beer, is a great one.

Golden Road Pub, 5410 W. San Fernando Road, Los Angeles, (213) 373-4677, www.goldenroad.la. 

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5 Questions for Tim Goodell

TimRestaurateur and chef Tim Goodell is the founder of Domaine Restaurants. He and his wife, Liza, opened acclaimed French restaurant Aubergine in 1994 in Newport Beach and then Troquet at South Coast Plaza a few years later. Goodell has since launched several restaurants, including the upscale burger chain 25 Degrees, the pan-Asian Red Pearl Kitchen and, most recently, Public Kitchen & Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood.  

What’s coming up next on your menu? Thinking about spring down the road ... any of the veggies forthcoming: peas, rhubarb, baby artichokes, ramps. Spring vegetable tart with young artichokes, asparagus, tomatoes on the vine, pine nuts, farm egg and Pleasant Ridge Reserve [cheese].

Latest ingredient obsession? Pig trotters -- black truffle and pig trotter sausage, crispy pigs' feet galette with roasted chestnuts, to use in stocks to create depth and richness, crispy pigs' feet salad with frisée, poached egg, hand-torn croutons and red wine vinaigrette.

The one piece of kitchen equipment you can’t live without, other than your knives? The Vitamix food blender for soups, purees, smoothies. I even puree the dry oatmeal for the chocolate chip cookies I make for my kids' lunches. Roasted cauliflower soup with three curries, pancetta, Greek yogurt and tiny croutons.

What restaurant do you find yourself going to again and again? Sushi Shibucho for omakase. This is sushi at its purest, by far the best in the O.C. I'm usually the only non-Asian there. Sometimes, the chef is even rude. I have seen him ask non-Asians to leave the bar and go to a table so his Asian customers can have the spot at the bar.

What’s your favorite breakfast? The Italian cappuccino and a "jumper cable" [an unofficial coffee drink there made with cold-brewed coffee, heavy cream and sometimes vanilla] from Martin Diedrich’s Kean Coffee. Cream of wheat with brown sugar, raisins, butter and cream from the Galley in Newport Beach.

Public Kitchen & Bar, Roosevelt Hotel, 7000 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 769-8888, www.domainerestaurants.com.

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Photo: Tim Goodell at the Public Kitchen & Bar. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times.

5 Questions for Govind Armstrong

Govind Armstrong
Chef Govind Armstrong, along with restaurateur Brad Johnson, recently opened Post & Beam at the Crenshaw Plaza in Baldwin Hills. Armstrong grew up in L.A., working in restaurants such as Spago and Campanile before spearheading Chadwick's, then opening the late Table 8 and 8 oz. Burger Bar on Melrose Avenue. Post & Beam boasts its own garden and Armstrong's rustic California cuisine: turkey sausage meatballs with wood-roasted tomato sauce, sirloin steak with beef butter, long-cooked greens with smoked ham hock, and wood-oven pizzas.   

What's coming up next on your menu? I’m really looking forward to our spring menu and using more ingredients from our garden at the restaurant. One of the pizzas I’ll be introducing is a wild ramp pizza with morels. 

Latest ingredient obsession? Honey powder and Balinese long peppercorn.

The one piece of kitchen equipment you can’t live without, other than your knives? The Alto-Shaam smoker and holding oven.

What restaurant do you find yourself going to again and again? I don’t get out that often, but when I do I probably end up at Lawry’s more than I should for their prime rib with creamed spinach and a baked potato, with a big martini.

Favorite kitchen soundtrack? Chopin's lullabies, while I'm cooking at home with my new baby!

Post & Beam, 3767 Santa Rosalia Drive, Los Angeles, (323) 299-5599, www.postandbeamla.com.

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5 Questions for Casey Lane

Casey Lane of the Tasting Kitchen in Venice
Casey Lane is executive chef of The Tasting Kitchen in Venice. The Abbot Kinney eatery boasts a daily changing menu drawing on Italian, French, Moroccan, and Spanish cuisines. The Texas native attended culinary school in Portland followed by stints at Bluehour and clarklewis. Lane brought his craft to Southern California in 2009 with the debut of The Tasting Kitchen and now, the 2011 James Beard Award  nominee plans to open the Parish, an English gastropub in the former Angelique Cafe space downtown this spring, and Itri, a pasta shop on Melrose later this year.

What’s coming up next on your menu? Octopus! I have plans to offer rotisserie octopus at the new pasta space we’re planning to open later this year on Melrose [Itri], and I can't get it off my mind.

Latest ingredient obsession? Vegetables of all sorts! Too much winter has made me anxious to get back into spring veggies, and composed vegetable plates are hitting the menu with more and more frequency.

What restaurant do you find yourself going to again and again? I am over the moon for Son of a Gun right now. The food is fantastic; the fact that I can eat an amazing fried chicken sandwich and drink vintage champagne makes me think they designed this place for me.

The one piece of kitchen equipment you can’t live without, other than your knives? A mortar and pestle! I mean, come on! It's as essential as your knives.

What’s your favorite breakfast? Fried chicken and waffles!

Tasting Kitchen, 1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, (310) 392-6644, www.thetastingkitchen.com.

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5 Questions for Wes Lieberher

Wes Lieberher, executive chef at Beer Belly in KoreatownWes Lieberher is executive chef of Beer Belly, where he turns out duck fat fries, beer-braised pork belly skewers and Jidori chicken wings to go with the Koreatown pub's list of American craft beers. A little about Lieberher: He's from Philadelphia, gave up a career in music after he developed tinnitus, forced himself to like mushrooms, and was the only non-Korean competitor in last year's Korean barbecue cook-off at the Korean BBQ Festival (and took home the trophy). 

What's coming up next on your menu? My menu at Beer Belly changes weekly, keeping with the beer-inspired comfort-food theme.... Our newest mac 'n' cheese, the Loaded Baked Potato Mac 'n' Cheese, is for the bold of heart. The cheese base for the mac 'n' cheese is always homemade and is made with a special craft beer each week. I'll also be putting our popular fried chicken into sandwich form in a Philadelphia Amoroso roll with pickled cabbage, asiago and beer-roasted corn and sriracha aoili. 

Latest ingredient obsession? Well, since we opened Beer Belly my latest ingredient obsession has been craft beer. It's been a blast thinking of new and different ways to use craft beer in my recipes. The possibilities seem endless.   

The one piece of kitchen equipment you can't live without, other than your knives? A whisk! I love making sauces by hand, and it'd be a nightmare to stir without my whisk. It's a great workout too!

What’s the last non-food-related book you read? "I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell" by Tucker Max. And I thought I was crazy.

Favorite kitchen soundtrack? Without a doubt the favorite soundtrack in our BB kitchen is Joy Division and New Order.

Beer Belly, 532 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 387-2337, www.beerbellyla.com. 

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Photo credit: Yume Han

5 Questions for Charlie Parker

CharliepicCharlie Parker is executive chef of Freddy Smalls, the West L.A. newcomer on Pico Boulevard. Parker grew up in northern California and most recently was chef at Daniel Patterson's Plum in Oakland. He's also worked at Ubuntu in Napa with Jeremy Fox, who consulted at Freddy Smalls, and at Manresa in Los Gatos. His Freddy Smalls menu features pristine small plates to go with a focused cocktail list, inluding: house-made charcuterie such as rabbit mortadella and oxtail terrine; bacon gougeres; flash-grilled steak tartare; and the "new school" chicken parm, "a West Pico remix."   

Latest ingredient obsession? Fermented vegetables. They’re really rich in nutrients, fiber and are just overall really good for your digestion. Kohlrabi is one of my top favorites, but of course you can ferment all kinds of other vegetables. 

Favorite kitchen soundtrack? I mix it up, but right now it’s all about "The Low End Theory" by Tribe Called Quest.  

The one piece of kitchen equipment you can’t live without, other than your knives? It has to be the grill; it just affords so many options for different dishes. 

What’s your favorite breakfast? Not for the faint of heart –- it’s a fried egg sandwich with cilantro slaw, bacon, crisp pig ears and romesco sauce. We serve this on the late-night menu at Freddy’s.  Oh, and a Bloody Mary with extra horseradish! 

What chef has most influenced you? David Kinch. His singular style of American cooking, his ingredient-driven, modern technique are an inspiration. I worked at his restaurant, Manresa, in Los Gatos, and it is still one of my favorite places to dine as well. 

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5 Questions for Giselle Wellman

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Photo credit: Gary Copeland.

5 Questions for Giselle Wellman

Giselle

Giselle Wellman is executive chef at Petrossian West Hollywood, the caviar purveyor's Robertson Boulevard restaurant. Wellman's an alumna of the kitchens of Jean Georges, Alinea, Bouchon, Jack's La Jolla and Del Posto. She's made her mark at Petrossian with a mix of caviar classics and her own take on California cuisine. Up next, a lot of foie gras....  

What's coming up next on your menu? Because Los Angeles won’t be able to serve foie gras soon, our menu will feature some new goie gras options. I even have a foie gras ice cream that will go in between warm brioche and house-made raspberry jam for dessert.

What restaurant do you find yourself going to again and again? Red Medicine is never a disappointment. Jordan Kahn is making some extraordinary dishes and original flavor combinations. I have to admit that sometimes I’ll be eating at another restaurant and crave chef Kahn’s coconut bavarois for dessert, so I’ll ask for the check and get dessert at Red Medicine. 

The one piece of kitchen equipment you can’t live without, other than your knives? I'm torn between the VitaMix and the electric mixer. They both make my life so much easier! I don't know what I would give up!

Favorite kitchen soundtrack? Because we have an open kitchen, we don't get to listen to music often. So on Saturday at 9 a.m. I take advantage of the one hour we have to prep before we open the doors for business. The music is so loud that you can hear it from the street! Because I’m Latina, I usually pick Shakira which I am embarrassed to tell the world, but it’s true.  

What's the last cookbook you read –- and what inspired you to pick it up? "Home Cooking with Jean-Georges." It's  the kind of food I love to cook at home. The recipes are simple and any aspiring cook can follow along and make well-balanced, great food. I worked for Jean-Georges and I still respect him so much. 

Petrossian West Hollywood, 321 N. Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood, (310) 271-6300, www.petrossian.com.

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Photo: Giselle Wellman.

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.