Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Combo Plate

Combo Plate: Tea is tops, hidden sugars, lickable furniture and more


--Thirsty? There's nothing quite like a refreshing ... cup of hot tea. Drinking tea is better for you than drinking water because it not only quenches and rehydrates but comes with added health benefits, claims a new study. Time magazine has the full pour.

--Quite the sweet tooth: The average American consumes at least 64 pounds of sugar per year, and the average teenage boy at least 109 pounds. You think you don't eat that much sugar? Think again: Check out this look at the hidden sugar in your food at the Huffington Post.

--More food predictions for 2011: Chef Jose Andres says we'll be eating our veggies this year -- and we'll like it. Two other predictions, via Inc.: Finger limes will become more widespread (they're a very cool citrus already familiar to readers of David Karp's weekly Market Watch report), and restaurants will have more tasting menus. Good news for folks, like me, who can never decide what we want: Now we can try it all.

--And it will never melt: If you're going to have an ottoman, might as well make it an ottoman shaped like an ice-cream sandwich, am I right? This one will set you back a cool and creamy $1,050. More details at Incredible Things. Indeed.

--Partying like a Celtic? Last week, scientists unearthed a 6,000-year-old winery in Armenia. This week brings a similarly welcome discovery: Archaeologists have discovered evidence that a 2,550-year-old Celtic settlement was home to some pretty high-quality suds. "Thousands of charred barley grains unearthed ... came from a large malt-making enterprise," according to a paper published online earlier this month. Thus, this conclusion in Wired: "Early Celtic rulers of a community in what's now southwestern Germany liked to party, staging elaborate feasts in a ceremonial center. The business side of their revelries was located in a nearby brewery capable of turning out large quantities of a beer with a dark, smoky, slightly sour taste."

--You'll get no argument from me: Twinkies can help you lose weight. Really. That's what Mark Haub, a professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University says. I somehow missed this story when it first made the rounds in November, but I still feel compelled to share the good news.

--Got any suggested links for Combo Plate? E-mail me at rene.lynch@latimes.com

-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo credit: Incredible Things

Combo Plate: World's oldest winery, foodspotting on the horizon and more

That's some vintage: A UCLA-led team reported Monday that it had discovered a 6,000-year-old winery in an Armenian cave, replete with everything needed to produce vino, including a grape press, fermentation vats, storage jars, wine-soaked pottery shards and even a cup and drinking bowl. Read more in today's L.A. Times.

Waste not, want not: If you collect rainwater, use a low-flush toilet and take a three-minute shower, this is going to make you mad: Turns out that California farmers are wasting a ton of water. And, surprise, surprise, they could stop all that waste if they'd just do their jobs more efficiently.

Blog Spotting: Are your Meyer lemons coming in like crazy? The Merry Gourmet has your answer: When life gives you lemons, make Meyer Lemon Almond Cake, above. (Twip of the day: Follow @merrygourmet.)

Just plain wrong: 55 turtles smuggled aboard plane in snack food boxes.

Raising dough: Mashable reports that Foodspotting -- a locator guide for grub -- raised $3 million in funding. Its master plan: Become the "Pandora of the food world."

Got any links for Daily Dish? We're always looking for news plus anything thats weird, funny or especially yummy. E-mail me at rene.lynch@latimes.com or DM me on Twitter @renelynch

-- Rene Lynch

 Photo: The Merry Gourmet

Combo Plate: Pantyhose in the kitchen, diaper cakes and long live the King

Rainbow_flan -- Am I the only person unfamiliar with the term "diaper cakes"? I saw the term whiz by me online, and while I followed the trail, I had visions of layered cakes, fancy decorations or smartly appointed turnovers. Well, Lil Sugar schools me: Diaper cakes are a baby-shower mainstay, and they are definitely not edible.

-- Blogspotting: When's the last time you saw a recipe call for pantyhose? Exactly! Check out the layered rainbow flan over at Ravenous Couple. Your Twip of the day: Follow them @ravenouscouple

-- Before, meet after: Frankly, I could spend all day looking at kitchen remodeling photos. Unfortunately, I don't get paid to do that. But this scratches the itch, via the Kitchn.

-- Proceed at your own risk: To commemorate Elvis' birthday, the Web was abuzz last week with all manner of recipes that called for peanut butter, bacon, bananas or all three. And then there was this recipe for peanut butter bacon cupcakes, which also calls for, among other things: 1/4 cup of bacon grease, two packages of cream cheese, and a pound of bacon. No wonder the King is dead.

-- Download & laminate: Dontcha wish there were, you know, a cheat sheet for navigating the supermarket? Darya Pino over at the Huffington Post had the same idea. And she created this cool flowchart. 

-- Don't mess with vegetarians: They're suing two federal agencies for ignoring a vegetarian alternative to the traditional food pyramid — despite skyrocketing obesity and diabetes rates. Our Health section has the story: "Doctors' group sues USDA over vegetarian alternative to food pyramid."

--Rene Lynch
twitter / renelynch

Photo credit: Ravenous Couple

Combo Plate: Tea making, a calorie-conscious bacon mac 'n' cheese and more

--John Lennon was many things. Among them: He stunk at making a cuppa. Check out this Christopher Hitchens story over at Slate on the proper way to make a cup of tea, and what the Beatle was doing wrong. (I had no idea that making tea was much more complicated than hot water meets leaf-filled baggie on a string. But then, I'm a coffee drinker.)

--Blogspotting: The bacon mac 'n' cheese over at Teenie Cakes. It's my kind of recipe: It calls for bacon, nearly two cups of shredded cheese, eggs, heavy cream ... and low-fat sour cream. Hey, you gotta cut calories where you can. (Twip of the Day: Follow @teeniecakesblog)

--Worth the time: Set aside 10 to 12 minutes to watch this series of short videos on pan frying (one video will automatically lead to the next video) It's all about how to get that perfect sear without setting off the smoke alarms. Unless you are a professional chef, I guarantee you will learn something.

--There's an app for that:No time to read food labels? Our Mary Forgione explores an app that does the heavy lifting for you.

--Light bulb moment?BlogHer is trolling for ideas for panels for BlogHer Food, being held in Atlanta in May. If you've got an idea, they want to know about it.

--Gotta see this picture: The New York Times' Mark Bittman declared this one the food story of the day. And we have to agree. But may we also add: EWWWWW! Beef fat clogs Houston Ship Channel.

Got any links for Combo Plate? Always on the lookout for something newsy, yummy, funny or weird. E-mail me at rene.lynch@latimes.com

--Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo credit: Teenie Cakes

Combo Plate: Sex versus food, grasshopper cupcakes and more

-- She's a soothsayer: If you are going to read one 2011 food-trend story, make it this one at 5 Second Rule.

-- How many of these things get stolen? Switchedhas a story about the rise of iPads at your favorite restaurant: A Chicago steakhouse -- Chicago Cut -- has purchased about40 iPads to allow customers to browse through its 750 wines -- all searchable by price, variety and region. "I've already seen an increase of wine per customer of 20%," says the restaurant's managing partner.

--Blogspotting: the grasshopper cupcakes over at Chez Us. The cupcakes' name stopped me for a nanosecond, but they are so gorgeous I'd probably eat them even if they weremade out of grasshoppers. Luckily for me, the name is a nod to the peppermint kick in the batter. (Twip of the day: Follow them @chezus.)

-- Yeah, I know this is a beer commercial. Yeah, I know they're trying to sell me some beer. But if you're trying to put your hand in my pocket, I appreciate it that you're clever, creative and visually arresting while doing it.

-- Stop the presses!! The O.C. Weekly reports that real bagels have been sighted in south O.C.

-- Survey says: Women think about food more than sex, according to this Time report. What do you think? Vote below:


Got any links for Combo Plate? Always on the lookout for something newsy, yummy, funny or weird. E-mail me at rene.lynch@latimes.com

-- Rene Lynch
twitter / renelynch

Photo: Chez Us

Combo Plate: waffled grilled cheese, hangover 'helpers,' celebrating the black truffle and more


--Adding to the menagerie: Eating L.A. tells you why Black Cat Bakery -- taking up residence in the old Mani's space on Fairfax Ave. -- is such an appropriate name. (And it's not just because it joins Black Dog Coffee and Animal in the neighborhood.)

--Got some Christmas money burning a hole in your pocket? Patina celebrates the black truffle next Tuesday and Wednesday with multi-course menus that include a black truffle peasant salad, butter poached Maine lobster with truffle, and a brown butter truffle sorbet for dessert. The three-course menu starts at $95.

--I could have used this three days ago: The Guardian offers up hangover cures from around the world. And at least one of them -- you'll know it when you get to it -- just might make you sick.

--Get Bizzy: Mashable's 10 apps to watch in 2011 includes Bizzy, poised to compete with Foursquare for sharing your favorite things to see, do, buy, eat ...

--Best idea I never thought of: The Spiced Life offers another use for that waffle maker -- waffled grilled cheese, above -- inspired by Dorie Greenspan's cookbook, "Waffles from Morning to Midnight."

Got any links for Combo Plate? Always on the lookout for something newsy, yummy, funny or weird.

-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Waffled grilled cheese. Credit: The Spiced Life

Combo Plate: Skull crazy, underground supper clubs go legit, cooking school chronicles and more

Skull --Ever wonder what's inside a jack-o-lantern? A skull, of course. Courtesy of Skull-A-Day, which has got to be on the craziest niche blogs out there. We're putting it on our favorites list. Happy Halloween weekend, everyone!

--Trends: The underground supper club has hit the mainstream, even making it into an episode of this season’s “The Next Food Network Star.” Now that its outlaw allure has somewhat faded, what’s the next phase in its evolution? Going legit. Elina Shatkin has the scoop over at Toque.

--Food fight: South Korea's seafood-crazy culture is up in arms over a culinary controversy: Some say eating octopus heads is hazardous to your health. And in South Korea, them's fighting words.

--One smart cookie: Our colleague Krista Simmons is hitting the books. And the stoves. And the spatulas.... She's going to cooking school. Specifically, the Ecole de Cuisine in Pasadena. She's also posting weekly updates on what she's learned and what she's botched. So come along for the ride!

--Blogspotting: Do you think "gluten-free" is a fancy way of saying "healthy" or "boring"? Check this out: Candy-filled chocolate doughnuts. Oh, and they're gluten-free. Courtesy of Tartelette. (You can follow her on Twitter @sweettartelette.)

Got any links for Combo Plate? Email me at rene.lynch@latimes.com

Photo credit: Skull-A-Day

Combo Plate: Disaster dining, naan hunting, a pasta quiz and more


-- Glenn Beck is sponsoring disaster preparedness kits. Depending upon which side of the aisle you are on, you are either cueing up one-liners about the apocalypse and end times, or you're thinking "That's not a bad idea..." and "You know, we do need some earthquake kits...." [Time]

-- Don't despair if you don't know your agnolotti from your gemelli. Peruse this handy dandy guide, and take a "know-yer-pasta" QUIZ! [Jeff Houck]

-- Blogspotting: I asked friends on Twitter -- you are following @latimesfood, right? -- about their favorite blogs. Today's pick: Blackened Out. It's about New Orleans food, drinking and all-around NOLA good times. Great blog name, too. Thanks to @jshushan for the tip.

-- Have you ever seen a story on the side of a beer bottle? [Slashfood] (Author's note: If you can still read the side of the bottle, you're not drinking enough.)

-- The New York Times on the original California cuisine -- courtesy of Sunset Magazine. (Includes cool pic of Sunset headquarters.)

-- If you dream of a "Green Acres"-kind of life: The USDA announced $18 million in awards for beginning farmer and rancher training and mentoring programs. [National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

-- Does anyone know where we can find Peshwari naan on the Westside? A reader would like to know, and Daily Dish would like to help: Let us know in the comments section below.

-- Any tips for Combo Plate -- a hot news story, something that made you laugh, or a food blog that you simply must share? E-mail me at rene.lynch@latimes.com 

-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Combo Plate: Kimchi crisis, sweet fundraiser and more

-- Sweet Benefit. Spago pastry queen Sherry Yard is sponsoring a benefit showing of the documentary "Kings of Pastry" on Friday night that will feature a question-and-answer with French pastry chef Jacquy Pfeiffer, whose quest for his Meilleurs Ouvriers de France certification (honoring the best craftsmen in the country) is the focus of the film. There will also be a dessert tasting put on by a few of Yard's favorite local pastry chefs. Tickets are $75 and will go to the Southern California Careers Through Culinar Arts Program for high school students. For more information, call (818) 704-9979.

-- Virginia Paca is a one-woman food bank: Her backyard garden in Pasadena is more than a feast for the eyes. It provides food for friends, for families on the economic edge, for the homeless at a Pasadena food bank.

-- There's a kimchi crisis. And South Koreans are up in arms.

-- The new LudoBites pop-up location will be Max Restaurant in Sherman Oaks.

-- Rene Lynch

Twitter / renelynch

Photo: A cherimoya tart from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen. Click here for the recipe. Photo by Eric Boyd.

Combo Plate: Rustic roast beef, WeHo Taste Art, kitchen cleanup and more

-- I found the above video for a "rustic" barbecue roast beef oddly mesmerizing perhaps because it's the antithesis of anything slick, cool or overly produced. I like his use of food prep gloves, throaty Sam Elliott-esque narratio, and the grunts and groans of approval. And I have questions such as is that guy using a machete?!? (His knife skills made me a little nervous.) And why the mystery -- no money shot, but a thumbs up? It looks like he takes something out of his mouth when he prepares to tastes the final dish. What is it? I like to imagine it is a corncob pipe. I found this video on Denver Food Guy's Twitter feed.

-- This sunflower adorned wedding cake is also billed as "rustic." IMHO, that's false advertising. This cake is so pretty that I'd have a hard time taking a knife to it.

-- Food meets art in Taste Art. Each Tuesday in October, West Hollywood restaurants pair with art galleries to create "one-of-a-kind art-inspired dining experiences...The night will be accompanied by remarks from the chef, sommelier and gallery curator and/or artist." Hosted by The Avenues: Art, Fashion and Design District and Los Angeles Times Magazine, a portion of the proceeds go to the West Hollywood Library Fund. Click here for details.

-- This has been a hot topic of late: kitchen cleanliness. The New York Times (and a very brave writer) take it up a notch by inviting an inspector into his home. Find out whether he made the grade.

-- Yahoo readers pick the best chocolate chip cookies -- in America!

-- Got any links or tips for Daily Dish? E-mail me at rene.lynch@latimes.com.

-- Rene Lynch


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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.