Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Animal Husbandry

Follow the Butchers


I’ve recently started following L.A.’s artisanal butcher shops on Twitter, a brilliant use of the social media for the home cook.

If I open my Twitter account, between tweets on the developing Syria crisis, José Andres’ travels in Spain, Scrivener and iA Writer updates, and our own Food section's tweets, McCall’s Meat & Fish Co. notes they've got in “Wild Black Grouper, Skate Wing, Black Cod, Salmon, Tuna, Scallops, Halibut, Black Bass, Branzino, Clams, Mussels." Not to mention Berkshire pork and fresh calves’ liver. I read the post and my mind instantly switches over to planning the weekend's menu. 

Amelia Posada and Erika Nakamura, the two women behind Lindy & Grundy Meats have used social media to churn up a frenzy of anticipation for their new Fairfax Avenue butcher shop. Via Twitter, they might report that the butcher case is now stocked with “beef & bacon grind, rack of lamb, lamb loin chops, pork chops, fresh chickens, bone marrow, sirloin tip steaks, london broil, rancher steaks” or “fresh Mexican chorizo and have just made a batch of espresso chili with marrow.”

Then comes a flash from Grindhaus, the little sausage shop that could, trumpeting “Spicy Beef w/Garlic, Bratwurst, Kielbasa, Pork w/Grn Chilis, Spicy Italian, Wild Boar, Chkn Chorizo."

By the time I get to the farmers market, I’ve already got a main course in mind and can build my shopping around it. Sweet.

To note: Both butcher shops and sausage shop are open Sundays.

McCall’s Meat & Fish Co., 2117 Hillhurst Avenue, Los Angeles; (323) 667-0674; www.mccallsmeatandfish.com. Twitter handle @mccallsmandf 

Lindy & Grundy, 801 N. Fairfax Avenue (at Waring), Los Angeles; (323) 951-0804; www.lindyandgrundy.com. Twitter handle @LindyGrundy

Grindhaus, 5634 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; (610) 906-2677; www.GrindhausLA.com. Twitter handle @GrindhausLA.


The Sweet Tooth: Paso Almonds brittle

Guinness cupcake for Dad? Sugar Blossom Bake Shop has you covered

L.A. Times' Battle of the Burgers: Vote, or the Godfather will break your legs 

— S. Irene Virbila

Photo: Butchers Amelia Posada, left, and Erika Nakamura of "Lindy & Grundy's" on Fairfax Avenue. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times

Seriously pig

Pigfest menu blog At 7:30 sharp this past Saturday,  I strolled in the door of Mozza2Go and into the adjoining Scuola di Pizza with some friends in tow, ready to do some serious eating.  I mean really serious. 

While guests next door at Osteria Mozza are dining on ricotta and egg raviolo and duck al mattone, those lucky enough to score a reservation for the weekly Cena di Maiale are feasting on all and sundry parts of the pig.

Chef Chad Colby gets in a whole animal every two weeks from farmers who raise each animal with care. This week, it happened to be a Gloucester Old Spot pig, a traditional British breed that’s white with black spots. It’s a beautiful animal, Colby enthused, as early arrivals crowded around the open kitchen supplied with wood-burning oven and wood-burning grill. 

Three billowy foccacie sat on the marble counter top ready for tasting. This was real foccacia, dimpled and slicked with olive oil. I loved the one covered with pickled red peppers. Glasses of prosecco in hand, the guests milled around and chatted with the chef, ogling the packets of fresh sausage wrapped in caul fat sizzling on the wood grill, and the wooden boards loaded with house-made cured meats.  

When the chef tapped his glass, we obediently sat down at the broad communal table. He welcomed the 20 guests, introduced the pig and the handmade salumi and let us have at it. Platters whizzed up and down the table, family-style, along with a picture-perfect giardiniera of pickled vegetables. “It’s like eating at Nancy’s house,” the chef told me earlier. Nancy being, of course, Nancy Silverton.

Continue reading »

Going whole hog at Oliveto in Oakland

301 When the sky is gusting rain, it's hard to think about traveling north. But if you love pork, plan on heading up to Oakland the first week of February for this year's annual whole hog dinner at Oakland’s Oliveto restaurant. The dates are Wednesday, Feb. 3, to Saturday, Feb. 6.

Oliveto chef Paul Canales gets started early making prosciutto, sausages, terrines and pates. An e-mail from owner Bob Klein reports that they’ve just received five wild boar and have a total of some 25 whole animals arriving from farms Oliveto works with throughout the year.

The menu isn’t finalized yet, but here are some favorites from previous years that will certainly be included: pappardelle nere with pork heart and wild mushroom ragu; Piedmontese braised pork shoulder with sausages, borlotti beans, wild boar spareribs and pig skin; choucroute garni with spit-roasted pork “pastrami,” belly rib and grilled classic frankfurter.

As for new items, wrap your taste buds around these: Friulian bread and pork dumplings with pork and date sugo; carved fresh roast ham with crackling and kumquat-clove gravy; and wild boar scalloppine alla Count Pavel Stroganov with chanterelles, caramelized onions, sour cream and sage rice. But the killer dish has to be sobressada and sbriciolono: traditional Catalan spreadable spicy salame and Tuscan wild fennel salsiccia cruda (raw sausage) with lard piadina (flatbread) and wild arugula. It all sounds heartbreakingly delicious.

As you can imagine, reservations for the annual pig fest go fast, so if you want to participate, make those reservations now online at OpenTable or by calling the restaurant at (510) 547-5356.

You also might want to check out Oliveto’s inspiring Oliveto Community Journal, which features stories (and short films) about the restaurant, food issues and small farmers.

Oliveto Restaurant, 5655 College Ave., Oakland, (510) 547-5356.

-- S. Irene Virbila

Drawing by Maggie Klein

The down and dirty on raising livestock in the city


Novella Carpenter, the author of the new memoir "Farm City," may have created her own slice of rural life on the mean streets of Oakland, but what about enterprising urban farmers here in Los Angeles? Where does one start?

I spoke with Erik Knutzen, co-author with Kelly Coyne of the 2008 book "The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City."

Knutzen and Coyne have been tending to their 35-foot-by-100-foot garden in Echo Park for 11 years, and their blog Homegrown Evolution is chock full of day-to-day tips for aspiring urban land tillers.

If you're lucky enough to have a backyard at all, the first thing to do is get your soil tested for things like lead and other pollutants.

"Everyone says very good things about Wallace Labs," Knutzen told me. "It's a little more expensive, but they'll get on the phone with you. This can be very important, as it's sometimes difficult to interpret the results if you're not a soil geek."

Even if your soil is tainted, the raised-bed method works in a pinch and requires only a couple of feet of soil and some wood.

Although Knutzen and Coyne aren't urban livestock raisers like Carpenter -- they keep four hens for egg-laying purposes -- Knutzen directed me toward the section of the City Municpal Code regarding animals.

This section is vague when it comes to backyard livestock, but the Department of Animal Regulation guidebook's Additional Permit Requirements (dated Aug. 27, 1998) states that rabbits, pheasants, chicken, turkeys, ducks and any other kind of fowl must be kept at least 35 feet away from the next property (and at least 20 feet away from your building).

If your fowl likes to stretch its vocal cords in the early morning -- like, say a rooster -- you're going to have to back that up to a 100-foot distance.

Continue reading »

State Senate committee votes against some animal antibiotics

The California Senate Food and Agriculture Committee passed a bill, by a 3-1 vote, to phase out the use of non-therapeutic antibiotics in animals raised for food.

Senate Bill 416, by Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez (D-Shafter), next goes to the Senate Education Committee.

Florez made school meal programs the initial target of the bill, which would forbid schools from serving meat or poultry treated with non-therapeutic antibiotics after Jan. 1, 2012.  By 2015, the ban would apply to all animals raised for human consumption in the state. 
“We tell people to take antibiotics only as prescribed for the very reason that they not develop resistance to these drugs they may need when they are truly sick,” Florez said in a statement. “Then we feed those same antibiotics daily to the animals they will consume.”  

Several food producers and organizations opposed the bill. Among objections are that the provisions reduces the illness prevention tools that farmers or ranchers have and that banning non-therapeutic drugs could lead to an increased use of therapeutic antibiotics.
Another Florez bill, which would require food growers and processors to promptly report a positive test for any food-borne illness to the California Department of Public Health, also passed the committee Tuesday. Senate Bill 173 would also give state public health authorities the power of mandatory recall.

-- Mary MacVean

Photo: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times



Want to be a beekeeper? Here's how.

urban beekeeper Many thanks to everyone who has written in about Tuesday's urban beekeeping story asking about bees, beekeeping and honey.

If you are interested in getting started as a beekeeper, here are a few resources:

Good luck harvesting bees and discovering the magic of your very own honey.

-- Lori Kozlowski

Photo: Amy Seidenwurm checks on the honeybees that she and her husband, Russell Bates, keep in the backyard of their home in Los Angeles. Credit: Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times

Urban beekeepers know it's more than just honey and money

Beekeeper It's an unusual hobby, but backyard beekeepers are working to revive the lost art of apiculture. In a story in L.A. Times, Lori Kozlowski explores the world of urban beekeeping, an especially vital service as colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon in which worker bees abruptly disappear from a hive or colony, continues to strike in Europe and North America.

Kirk Anderson bought his first honeybees from a Montgomery Ward catalog in 1970.

The 3-pound cage came in the mail, and as he opened it and fed the bees sugar water, his lifelong passion with
Apis mellifera began.

Nearly 40 years later, Anderson, 61, calls himself an urban beekeeper, and he cares passionately enough about bees that he does house-call rescues throughout Los Angeles County.

Anderson gets 20 calls a week. He fishes the insects out of Jacuzzis, removes them from chimneys and shakes them from trees.

Click here to read the rest of the story on urban beekeeping.

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Amy Seidenwurm (pictured) and fellow beekeeper Russell Bates have 50,000 bees in their backyard and helped start a club called Backwards Beekeepers. Credit: Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


Recent Posts
5 Questions for Thi Tran |  August 6, 2012, 8:00 am »
SEE-LA hires new executive director |  July 31, 2012, 9:34 am »
Food FYI: Actors reading Yelp reviews |  July 31, 2012, 9:16 am »
Test Kitchen video tip: Choosing a bread wash |  July 31, 2012, 6:04 am »



About the Bloggers
Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.