Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Bread

Vegan recipe for the day: Whole wheat flatbread with caramelized onions and dates

Whole
This flatbread is delicious fresh out of the oven, or when it's a few days old; simply toast it in a hot oven before serving. Click here for the recipe. (It's our latest offering for Vegan Month of Food.)

-- Rene Lynch

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Photo: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

A dining guide for USC and UCLA grads

Waiter 

Graduating from college is kind of a big deal.

After four or more years of midterms and finals, Mom, Dad, and every other relative in the western United States will want to see little Josephine Bruin or little Tommy Trojan shake the dean's hand and move that tassel from right to left.

The big question is: how to feed them all after the ceremony and into the weekend?

We picked 10 restaurants, with a variety of price ranges and cuisines, where UCLA and USC graduates and their families can celebrate a well-deserved brunch or dinner. (And thank goodness that true-blue and cardinal-red blood need not be shed in a battle over one of these restaurants: USC’s graduations begin this weekend on Friday, and UCLA’s are not until mid-June.)

So, class of 2009, after you toss your hats, get ready to fill your bellies:

Continue reading »

Tax day deals for those tax day blues

A 

Restaurants are offering an edible tax break today. Among them: T.G.I. Friday's and P.F. Chang's. At T.G.I. Friday's, diners earn $5 Bonus Bites cards for purchases (excluding alcohol and taxes) of between $15 and $25 or $10 cards for purchases of more than $25. P.F. Chang's is offering 15% off your food bill. McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants is also offering cheap drinks, a $10.40 menu, and diners can get a $10.40 certificate toward future purchases.

$10.40, get it? 10-40?

-- Rene Lynch

We're all a-Twitter @LATimesFood

George Wilhelm / Los Angeles Times

Matzo is so not just for eating. Try license plates?

The first seder of the eight-day Passover holiday is this evening, and for bread-loving, observant Jews, it can be rough just having matzo for their bread fix, even though making matzo has a story all its own.

But as these movie-makers show, matzo can be lots of fun if you're not at the dinner table.

--Mary MacVean

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How sinful is that breadstick? Olive Garden, Red Lobster put nutritional info online

Olive-garden

Is it better to eat through life knowing how (or how not) fattening your dinner is? Now's the chance to find out. The Orlando Sentinel reports that Orlando-based Darden Restaurants, which owns Olive Garden and Red Lobster, among others, now lists its restaurant menus'  nutritional information online.

While Kim Hays at the Sentinel seems to be happy that Darden has outed itself, I can't help feeling like the Muppet Grover in the children's tale "The Monster at the End of This Book" -- I know this stuff is bad for me, but do I want to know how bad? And I know I'm going to have to look eventually.

Hays did spoil a bit of the surprise, stating "an Olive Garden breadstick and a Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuit are 150 calories each."

What about you? If you've got the nerve to look, are these calories more or less what you expected? Do you wish more restaurants would post nutritional information on their websites or on their menus in the restaurants?

-- Whitney Friedlander

Photo: Olive Garden's Tuscan garlic chicken, which has 1,020 calories. PR News Foto / Olive Garden

Bye bye, delivery guy -- we've turned our kitchen into a pizza parlor

We turned today's Food section over to one of our favorite foods: pizza. We've got everything you ever wanted to know, or needed to know, about pizza.

Seriously.

You probably think you cannot make good pizza at home because you lack a pizza oven. Well, think again. Times test kitchen manager Noelle Carter shows you how to line your oven with fireproof bricks*** so you can achieve that trademark crispy crust. (You can also watch her do it in the video.) All good pizzas start with homemade dough, so we've got a recipe for that as well as recipes for pizza Margherita (and a no-cook sauce) and potato pizza. We've also got a look at variations on that theme.

But let's say you're not the cook-at-home type, or you want your pizza, and you want it RIGHT NOW. Times restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila takes you on a tour of the best gourmet pizza spots in town and here's a list you'll definitely want to bookmark, as well as a locator map. (And by the way, did you ever wonder how we got from regular old-fashioned pizza to gourmet pizza? Check out this cool pizza chronology flash graphic.)

What's that? You say that you can't get good pizza west of Manhattan? Then check this out. And then check out this list of places were you can buy it by the slice.

Finally, here's a photo gallery look at testing out pizzas in The Times' test kitchen, from start to finish, and here's a recommended wine to wash down that slice of 'za.

(***Note that we said fireproof bricks. If you use the regular ol' bricks you've got piled up in the yard, they could explode. And that's not a good pizza topping.)

-- Rene Lynch

These biscuits bring back happy childhood memories

Harris Ranch Restaurant biscuits

Reader Selena Toyson wrote to Culinary SOS to ask for the recipe for the buttery biscuits at Harris Ranch Restaurant: "They reminded me of happy memories of my childhood." The folks at Harris Ranch were happy to oblige, and Times Test Kitchen Manager Noelle Carter adapted the recipe for home use.

Here you go, Selena! Enjoy.

Culinary SOS is one of our most popular features. If there's a restaurant recipe you'd like to add to your files, write to us at food@latimes.com and we'll do our best to track it down for you. In the meantime, here's a photo gallery of other SOS requests we answered recently.

Photo: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

Sampler Platter: Corned beef, soda bread, Shamrock Shakes and potatoes

Competitive eater Pat Bertoletti, winner of the first-ever Stroehmann Sandwich Slamm, on March 16, 2009 in New York City. Potatoes au gratin by Daniel Boulud. Irish Stew. Lemon-Lime blueberry soda bread. Credit: Los Angeles Times Did you know that few people in Ireland eat corned beef on St. Patrick's Day? It doesn't matter. We do.

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Competitive eater Pat Bertoletti, winner of the first-ever Stroehmann Sandwich Slamm, on Monday in New York City (Credit: Mario Tama /Getty Images). Potatoes au gratin by Daniel Boulud (Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times). Irish Stew (Anacleto Rapping / Los Angeles Times). Lemon-Lime blueberry soda bread. (Credit: Los Angeles Times).

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.