Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Charity

A pig and beer dinner benefits cancer research


It was pouring rain that was nearing snow in the mountains, and “the city folk” who’d driven up to ReRide Ranch still wanted to go see the pig, joked rancher Lefty Ayers. They insisted, even though his house was plenty warm, with an elk pot roast in the iron pot in the fireplace.

But trudge out to see the pig the guests did. It was, after all, a female Berkshire-Hampshire pig that would go to slaughter the next morning and become part of every one of the many dishes chefs Bruce Kalman and Gavin Mills would make that week to raise money for a cause many chefs had grown fond of: Alex’s Lemonade Stand, which raises funds for childhood cancer research.

Kalman, of Urbano Pizza Bar in downtown Los Angeles, and Mills, executive chef at Wood + Vine in Hollywood, got their pig on Thursday and went to work for a dinner for about 75 people Sunday at Urbano. The event was named “Pig & Beer,” with beers for each course chosen by Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune, known as the Beer Chicks. It started out with a “Pig-Tail Hour” and ended with chocolate-covered smoked porter bacon with truffle salt.


In between, the dishes included porchetta that cooked five hours in Urbano’s pizza oven; ravioli with red stripes of pig blood pasta and stuffed with ricotta, bacon and greens; “Gavin’s luscious pig cheeks”; a pork roulade stuffed with dates; pizzas with Brussels sprouts, bacon and Parmesan cream; shaved vegetable salad with slices of crispy pig’s ears and Meyer lemon. Dessert included an apple bacon upside down cake with bourbon whipped cream. Mills, who buys a half pig a week from ReRide, is known for his charcuterie and made spleen pâté, head cheese and country pâté.

The staff at Urbano donated its time, and the products were donated too; tickets were $50, and 100% of the proceeds went to Alex’s Lemonade Stand. A couple of hours before the guests arrived, Kalman directed the staff to get wood burning in the ovens. A little later, the charcuterie was sliced, herbs were pulled from stems, sauces heated.

Continue reading »

Eat My Blog charity bake sale on Dec. 10

Eat My Blog

The fourth Eat My Blog charity bake sale since it started in 2009 takes place on Saturday, Dec. 10, at Pita Jungle in Pasadena. The sale, started by Cathy Chaplin of Gastronomy Blog and Laurie Moore of G-ma's Bakery, has raised more than $12,000 since 2009 for the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank.

The blogger-hosted bake sale features more than 50 local bloggers and restaurants "joining oven mitts" to benefit the foodbank. Look for treats such as coconut milk tres leche cakes from Echo Park’s Xoia, dulce de leche Rice Krispies treats from Kate Wheeler of Savour Fare, and Oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookies from Esi Impraim of Dishing Up Delights.  

Participating restaurants include Border Grill, Cake Monkey, Crème Caramel LA, Delectable Baked Goods, Farmshop, Fruit + Flour, Good Girl Dinette, Isabella’s Cookies, Magnolia Bakery, Manhattan Beach Post, Market on Holly, Rivera, Shortcake, Sotto Restaurant, SQUIRL, the Daily Dose, Xoia and XT Patisserie. Among the blogger bakers are 52desserts.com, appropriatedmuffin.blogspot.com, designnomad.blogspot.com, glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com, sippitysup.com and theletmeeatcake.blogspot.com, to name a few. 

Saturday, Dec. 10, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Pita Jungle, 43 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, (626) 432-7482. 

3 Events: Spice Table beer dinner, Joan Nathan, Josiah Citrin at Joe's


Craftsman & Spice Table: On Dec. 6, Spice Table chef Bryant Ng and master brewer Mark Jilg create a beer-pairing menu to celebrate the season. The evening starts with a casual reception with appetizers such as grilled spareribs with caramel sauce and crab egg rolls and hot mulled beer. The planned dinner menu (subject to change) is: foie gras satay and pineapple pickle (Craftsman Acorn Saison); watercress, grilled lamb heart and persimmons (Craftsman Spruce); a "palate cleanser" of Craftsman stone fruit sour beer; skate sambal and rice (Alesmith Yulesmith Imperial IPA); and eggnog with “Santa’s Little Helper” stout cream and spiced coconut sugar cookies. The cost is $65 per person. Reception begins at 7 p.m.; dinner at 8. Seating is limited; email sharon@thespicetable.com for reservations.

Jewish-French cuisine: The Culinary Historians of Southern California present cookbook author Joan Nathan speaking about the "Food of the Jews of France" at the Downtown Central Library on Dec. 10. Nathan last year published "Quiches, Kugels and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France," an exploration of the culinary traditions of French Jews, who melded regional cooking with Jewish cuisine, including Ashkenazic, Sephardic and Provençal Jewish food. She points out that while the Jews of Alsace cooked with goose fat and sauerkraut, those of the south cooked with oil and garlic. Some Jewish families in Provence have been there for more than 2,000 years, making it difficult to differentiate Jewish from Provençal food customs (fougasse, the Jewish holiday bread, for example). Open to the public and free. Dec. 10, 10:30 a.m.

Mark Taper Auditorium, Downtown Central Library, 630 W. 5th St., Los Angeles, www.chscsite.org. 

Josiah Citrin at Joe's: Joe's Restaurant features chef Josiah Citrin of Mélisse in the second of its series "12 Chefs, 12 Months, 12 Charities" on Thursday. Citrin will prepare a dinner benefiting St. Vincent Meals on Wheels. On the menu: artichoke soup and confit tomatoes with parmesan croquette; Maine lobster Bolognese over fresh cappellini with basil and brown butter truffle froth; black bass en écailles, king oyster mushrooms, radicchio and kabocha squash; prime beef rib-eye and braised beef cheek with dijonnaise, white mushrooms and red wine jus; and passion fruit soufflé glace with coconut, pistachio and lemongrass. The cost is $95 per person, plus $35 for an optional wine pairing. Call for reservations.

1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, (310) 399-5811. 


5 Questions for Tara Maxey of Heirloom LA

Food GPS' Pig & Pints (think pork, beer, ice cream)

What's hot: Recipes from the L.A. Times test kitchen

-- Betty Hallock

Photo: Chef Bryant Ng at the wood-fired grill at Spice Table. Credit: Ricardo De Aratanha/Los Angeles Times

Hollywood nightclub hosts a Thanksgiving turkey giveaway


Los Angeles nightclubs are known for their long lines, dance music and killer style, but what about some good, old-fashioned Thanksgiving turkeys?

For the third year in a row, the Muse Lifestyle Group, a hospitality company that represents restaurants and night life venues such as the popular Playhouse nightclub in L.A., is getting in the holiday spirit by holding a turkey giveaway Tuesday. Muse will provide turkeys to residents of the Hollywood Community Housing Corp., a nonprofit that houses low-income residents who are disabled by HIV. The residents and their families will receive reusable tote bags filled with turkeys, stuffing mix and cranberry sauce. Last year, Muse gave out 700 turkeys to families of the HCHC.

Muse and Playhouse staff will distribute the turkeys at the Hollywood Metro station at 1678 N. Western Ave. from 4 to 7 p.m. Families can take part in a festival with arts and crafts, face painting, a photo booth, silent movies and music. There will be plenty of fair snacks such as cotton candy, pretzels and popcorn as well as catered fare provided by Muse restaurants Chi Dynasty and Joe's Pizza.


Last-minute Thanksgiving questions? We can help!

Spork Foods wishes you a very vegan Thanksgiving

The ultimate Thanksgiving guide

-- Jenn Harris


Photo: Flier for the Playhouse turkey giveaway. Credit: Muse Lifestyle Group.

L.A.'s best female bartenders battle for breast cancer research

On Sunday, a touring bar-tending competition called Speed Rack lands at the historic Blossom Room at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. It pits 18 of L.A.'s finest female bartenders against each other in a fast-and-furious test of speed and accuracy with the goal of naming the fastest lady mixer in the West.

Los Angeles is the third stop of a 10-city tour that began in New York City and will continue with stops in San Francisco, Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, Chicago and Washington, D.C., before returning to New York in May 2012 for the national finals where one speedy woman will be crowned Miss Speed Rack.

All of this intoxicating cocktailing is being done with the goal of raising $75,000 for breast cancer research, education and prevention.

Yours truly will be one of four judges at Sunday's competition, which lasts for four tipsy hours (3 p.m. to 7 p.m.) in the very same room that the first Oscar ceremony was held in 1929. Joining me will be cocktail consultant Aidan Demarest, Hollis Bulleit of Bulleit Bourbon and cocktail writer and enthusiast Ted Haigh. 

The contestants (who are listed after the jump) will each make a round of cocktails from a list of 50 industry standard recipes and be scored according to their stealth and the accuracy of their pours and presentation.

Speed Rack was created by Ivy Mix and Lynette Marrero of the New York group Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails and sponsored by liquors including Absolut, Beefeater, Jameson and Plymouth. L.A. support was provided by 213 and the L.A. branch of the U.S. Bartender's Guild.

The event is open to the thirsty public. Tickets cost $20 and can be purchased at speedrackla.eventbrite.com. Admission includes cocktails, punch, mocktails, food and beer from Abita Brewery.

The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel Blossom Room, 7000 Hollywood Blvd., L.A.

Continue reading »

Nudie Foodies: Would you bare all for charity? Here's your chance

Pamela_Braun Food bloggers are taking it off -- taking it ALL off -- for a good cause.

"Nudie Foodies" is a new cookbook featuring food bloggers, including several from L.A., posing nude with strategically placed items covering all the naughty bits. Proceeds from the cookbook, available online for $27.95, go to AmeriCares to help provide relief to Japan in the wake of the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami earlier this year.

The food blogging world, like the rest of the world, felt stunned and helpless after the double tragedies, which were then compounded by food shortages and subsequent damage to a nuclear power plant. Food bloggers watching from afar rallied with countless fundraisers, online bake sales and collections to raise money for the victims.

"Nudie Foodies" is one such project.

"It was really hard to grasp the magnitute of the problems over there," said Pamela Braun, who writes the saucy Los Angeles food blog My Man's Belly. "We were all trying to figure out a way to help, and then Salty Seattle called me and asked me if I would do it. I said sure, why not."

Continue reading »

3 Food Events You Should Know About: L.A. Mag's Island Style Cook-Off; Taste of Farmers Market; Bommer Canyon BBQ

Neal Fraser 2 Pupu, L.A. style: Los Angeles Magazine's Island Style Cook-Off is underway, celebrating pupu this month. Four Angeleno chefs accepted the challenge to creatively interpret the Hawaiian appetizer, and the resulting dishes are on the Web for all to judge. There are also recipes posted to try at home. Voters will determine which two will go to the event finale, where the chefs will vie for the Hawaiian Islands Master Chef title. Taste the pupu creations for yourself and sip some island-style drinks (with umbrellas, of course) when the final throwdown commences June 29 at Santa Monica’s Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows. Tickets are $20 per person, available online at lamagislandstylecookoff.eventbrite.com. Check out the competing chefs and their entries below:

Mark Gold Mark Gold from Eva Restaurant: Roasted foie gras with sushi rice, tea-smoked plum and grated yuzu.

Neal Fraser from BLD Restaurant: Hawaiian tuna poke, wasabi tobiko and sambal crème fraîche. 

Eric Greenspan from the Foundry on Melrose: Chile-glazed Spam with saffron pineapple risotto and coconut-crusted shrimp.

Brendan Collins from Waterloo & City: Seared foie gras, char siu tete de Spam, caramelized pineapple sherbet and five-spice brioche.

Taste This! The third annual Taste of Farmers Market, a tasting tour of the market’s restaurants, bakeries, confectioners and grocery shops, returns next month. On July 12 from 5 to 9 p.m., visitors can sample dishes of worldly origins and witness cooking demonstrations by Evan Kleiman, host of KCRW-FM (89.9)’s "Good Food" program. The event is a celebration of the Original Farmers Market, which opened in July 1934. Ticket prices range from $35 to $65, available online at www.farmersmarketla.com or by calling (323) 933-9211.

BBQ in Bommer Canyon: Generally not available to the public, Bommer Canyon in Irvine opens its ranch-style doors July 10 for the annual Bommer Canyon BBQ. Slow Food Orange County will host the event, which features a barbecue chicken dinner accompanied by live music and guest speaker A.G. Kawamura, former secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Proceeds will benefit local nonprofits committed to the principles of Slow Food, including community gardens and farmers markets. Tickets are $50 per person, available online at www.brownpapertickets.com. 1 Bommer Canyon Road, Irvine, slowfoodoc.org.


The Sweet Tooth: Paso Almonds brittle

Father's Day dining guide 2011

Q-&-A with Fig executive chef Ray Garcia

--Caitlin Keller

Photos: Los Angeles Magazine's Island Style Cook-Off entries. Credit: James and James Productions 

Big, splashy Los Angeles Food & Wine fest coming to L.A. Live in October

WolfgangAspen has the Food & Wine Classic; New York, the Food Network Wine & Food Festival; and Miami, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Now the founders of Pebble Beach Food & Wine want to bring a splashy, all-star, multi-venue food fest to L.A.: Los Angeles Food & Wine, scheduled for Oct. 13-16 at L.A. Live (as well as locations in Santa Monica and Beverly Hills).

More than 100 celebrity chefs are expected to take part in demos, seminars, lunches, dinners and after-hours events, with tastings from more than 300 wineries. Chefs are to include Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, Wolfgang Puck, Nancy Silverton, Marcus Samuelsson, Masaharu Morimoto, Tyler Florence, Michael Chiarello, Michael Mina, Sang Yoon, David Myers, Rory Hermann, Walter Manzke, Sherry Yard, Josiah Citrin, David Myers and Ludo Lefebvre. 

Puck recently announced that he would split from the American Wine & Food Festival, which he hosted for almost 30 years. "It has been my pleasure and honor to host the American Wine & Food Festival ... benefiting the Los Angeles chapters of Meals on Wheels," Puck said in a release. "I couldn't be happier to continue with this great organization and evolve the festival by ushering in this fresh, new concept." Part of the proceeds from LAFW will benefit Meals on Wheels. 

The LAFW founders -- Coastal Luxury Management, Dick Clark Productions and Anschutz Entertainment Group -- say the event will be "the first crossover culinary event in the country featuring celebrated food and entertainment personalities," involving celebrities from television, film and sports. In other words, they're going Hollywood.   

-- Betty Hallock 

Photo: Wolfgang Puck. Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images.

3 Food Events You Should Know About: Farmers-market band auditions; Orange County Food & Wine Festival; Breadbar kicks off Hatchi Truck Stop

Truckstop Bring the noise: Aspiring musicians, step out of the garage and onto one of Santa Monica's most respected stages: the farmers market.  The Sunday Main Street farmers market is looking for bands to answer the call to play live music from   July through June 2012.  Although the applicants may not be reviewed by Simon Cowell, musicians should brace themselves for cultured farmers market shoppers including high-energy kids and their workout-gear-wearing moms. All bands with original work and/or music geared toward a family environment are encouraged to apply this month. Bring your A game, an application, and come hungry for avocados and a shot at the big leagues.

O.C. food fest: Sponsored by the Brea Rotary Club, the Orange County Food & Wine Festival is kicking off Saturday at the Crevier Classic Cars museum from 5 to 10 p.m. Guests with an affinity for fast cars, silent auctions and live music  -- not to mention great food and wine -- are sure to enjoy themselves. The event additionally features a raffle for a river cruise in Europe and the chance to win a 528i BMW. Tickets are available online, $65 for individuals and $125 for couples, with all proceeds going to local charities.

Park it: Hatchi Truck Stop, a monthly guest-food-truck series at the Breadbar in Century City, kicks off Thursday with the heavy-metal-themed Grill 'Em All truck. "Truck Stop" takes place on the last Thursday of every month from 6 to 10 p.m., part of the Hatchi Guest Chef Series curated by chef Noriyuki Sugie. The menu from Grill 'Em All's Ryan Harkins and Matthew Chernus will feature: Molson beer and cheese soup with rrisée, lardons and bacon vinaigrette; "behemoth-style" meatballs with barbecue sauce, bacon, smoked cheddar and Funyuns; duck confit poutine with Wisconsin cheese curds and rosemary; foie gras and fig-stuffed pierogi with white truffle crème fraîche; and peanut-butter-and-jelly three ways — canapé, ravioli and shot. Menu items are priced at $8 each, but there's a $32 minimum purchase per guest. Call for reservations. (See the rest of the year's schedule after the jump.)

10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Century City Westfield Shopping Center; (310) 277-3770; Breadbar.net.

-- Max Diamond 

Continue reading »

A roundup of restaurants (and bake sales) donating to relief efforts in Japan


Restaurants across Los Angeles are donating some of their profits to the tsunami-relief effort in Japan. Here is a list of restaurants -- and a couple of bake sales -- giving to aid organizations such as Red Cross:

  • Cube Marketplace & Cafe: The La Brea cafe has created a "Red for Red" fundraiser, in which 100% of sales from three different glasses of red wine will go to Red Cross, until Tuesday. 
  • El Tepeyac: On Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., all sales will be donated to UNICEF.        
  • Japon Bistro: Japon Bistro is offering a series of sake tastings, encouraging donations from guests, which will go to Red Cross. The event costs $50, and Japon Bistro will contribute $10 from every ticket sold to the relief effort. The sake tastings are about every two weeks, until Aug. 25.
  • Katsuya: Drink up, because all sales of the "Katsuya Fresh Cocktails" go to the Red Cross
  • L.A. Bakesale for Japan: Mirroring a previous Bakesale for Haiti by San Francisco chef Samin Nosrat, the event is organized by Tavern's pastry chef, Breanne Varela.  Any and all bakers are encouraged to bake goodies, bringing them to Black Cat Bakery on April 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Find out more through Varela’s blog. 
  • Typhoon: On Sunday, the airport restaurant is throwing an event, "Jazz for Japan," consisting of 12 hours of jazz beginning at 11 a.m. A day pass costs $30, with ticket proceeds going to the Red Cross.  
  • Umami Burger: On Tuesday, Umami is giving $1 for every burger sold to the Red Cross. 
  • Fresh East: The pan-Asian restaurant has placed a Red Cross donation box at the front counter and has promised to match the total amount of donations that are received by the end of this month.  
  • Koi: The sushi-scene spot introduces two new menu items for the next month -- the Rising Sun Roll ($18) and the Koi Fusion Shot ($4) -- and until April 22, 100% of the money from both will go to the American Red Cross relief efforts through Koi's charitable foundation, Just a Little.
  • Panda Express: Through the end of March, more than 1,300 Panda Express locations and more than 1,800 associates nationwide will donate funds to help with the disaster in Japan. Panda Express will match 100% of the proceeds to support the American Red Cross and the Tzu Chi Foundation.
  • Royal/T: From April 17 to 19, the cafe will host the next installment of David Haskell's and chef Joseph Mahon's "Magnum" culinary pop-up series for three evenings of gastronomy with wine, beer and sake pairings. Royal/T and Magnum are working in collaboration with Tomo Kurokawa to donate a portion of the proceeds from the dinner and a silent auction to benefit a chosen restaurant or sake brewery in northern Japan. Reservations can be made by calling (323) 798-4648 or by emailing magnumdh@gmail.com.
  • The Cellar: This weekend only, the Cellar in Fullerton will be serving a four-course prix fixe dinner (including sushi and pork chop and a green tea creme brulee) to benefit the relief efforts in Japan. Ten dollars of the $45 price will go directly to the Red Cross. Space is limited, and reservations are recommended by calling (714) 552-5682.
  • Forage, Black Cat Bakery, BLD, Chefs Center of California and Angeli Caffe: These are all host sites of a National Bake Sale for Japan that will be held on April 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bring your baked goods to one of the sites and raise funds for Peace Winds Japan, the largest Japanese disaster- and emergency-response non-government organization. The money will go to on-the-ground relief efforts, including medical and sanitary supplies, blankets and clothing. Those interested in baking should deliver items between 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. Additionally, donations can be made online.
  • Online Bake Sale to Help Japan: More than 70 food bloggers are participating in a bake sale that will take place auction-style (think a mini EBay for treats) on March 30. All proceeds will be donated to food bank Second Harvest Japan.

[Updated, March 28: A listing for Innovative Dining Group was removed; its relief effort campaign is not ongoing.]

If you know of any other restaurants helping out or events taking place to assist with disaster relief in Japan, let us know in the comments section below.

-- Max Diamond and Emma Wartzman

Photo: A Japanese Red Cross workers surveys damage from the earthquake and tsunami. Credit: EPA / Japan Red Cross Society / FRC



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.