Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Dining

Ceviche Project pops up at L&E Oyster Bar

Ceviche projectThe pop-up series Ceviche Project, featuring, well, ceviche (and other seafood dishes), is showing up at L&E Oyster Bar in Silver Lake on Easter Sunday, offering a five-course tasting menu with wine pairings. 

"The majority of dishes are composed of fresh seafood marinated in citrus, accompanied by vegetables, fruits, seeds, spices and chiles....," says an announcement.  

The brunch is at 1 p.m. Tickets, which are $60, must be purchased in advance. For tickets and more information, go to the Ceviche Project website. 

Meanwhile, look for S. Irene Virbila's review of L&E Oyster Bar in this week's Saturday section or online. 

L&E Oyster Bar, 1637 Silver Lake Blvd., Los Angeles, www.leoysterbar.com.

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Hollywood Farmers Market fires manager

Downstairs at the new Blossom in Silver Lake

-- Betty Hallock

Simmzy's No. 2; Plan Check + Tomo Coffee; Mohawk Bend Film Fest; more

MadteaSimmzy's, Manhattan Beach's craft beer bar and gastropub, plans to open a second location in the Long Beach neighborhood of Belmont Shore later this month. The Long Beach Simmzy's will have an expanded menu from chef Anne Conness. www.simmzys.com.

Mohawk Bend is hosting its first film festival, featuring an hour (3,600 seconds) of Michael Rousselet’s 5 Second Films. Mohawk Bend will be screening three hour-long loops of the films on Tuesdays, starting next week. To commemorate the event is a new “Film Maker” cocktail -- Cismontane’s Black's Dawn coffee stout and Fog’s End Monterey Rye ($10). 2141 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, www.mohawk.la. 

Sawtelle Boulevard gastropub Plan Check announces a partnership with Tomo Coffee, its neighborhood coffee roaster. Plan Check now serves French press Tomo Coffee, roasted on the Mississippi Avenue cafe's Diedrich roaster. 1800 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 288-6500, www.plancheckbar.com. 

Josiah Citrin, chef-owner of Mélisse in Santa Monica, says he has opened burger stand Sure Thing Burger in Lahaina, Maui, with partner Scott Picard: beef, pork, veggie and turkey burgers with Citrin’s sauces and bun recipe. Citrin and Picard say they're looking to expand Sure Thing Burger in other U.S. cities. 790 Front St., Lahaina, Hawaii, (808) 214-6982.   

The London West Hollywood hotel offers "Mad Hatter" tea service for the month of April at Gordon Ramsay's Boxwood Cafe: canapés and tea sandwiches; scones with Devonshire cream and lemon curd; polka-dot-topped cupcakes; poached strawberries and coconut foam; heart-shaped fruit tarts; and a selection of teas. 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. daily. $28 per person (with Champagne, $40). 1020 N. San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood, (310) 358-7788, www.thelondonwesthollywood.com. 

Mercato di Vetro launches a Monday special: any pizza or pasta and a Peroni beer for $15. 9077 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, (310) 859-8369, www.sbe.com/mercatodivetro.

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There's cannabis in my pesto: 4/20 "Herb Dinner"

Palate Food + Wine in Glendale shutters

Underground Vietnamese, literally, in Silver Lake

-- Betty Hallock

Photo: "Mad Hatter" tea service at the Boxwood Cafe by Gordon Ramsay. Credit: The London West Hollywood.

Another 'Herb Dinner,' on 4/20

Weed + Chinese herb dinnerThere's onion bacon cannabis tart, cannabis epazote pesto and more at the second "herb dinner" from the Laurent Quenioux-Starry Kitchen collaboration LQ + SK on April 20. The "(Weed+Chinese) HERB Dinner" will seat 100 at a secret downtown location and cost $100 per person, with tickets available for purchase online.

According to the LQ + SK newsletter, "no need for a medicinal card" for admittance. Though meanwhile, Nguyen Tran of Starry Kitchen says he has his. Five courses will be paired with cocktails by Daniel Nelson of the Writers' Room (see the full menu after the jump). Consume at your own risk? The effect "is pretty minimal," says Tran. "It's not about getting high, it's about the taste."

Jonathan Gold writes about the first LQ + SK "herb dinner" later this week; read about it in the coming Saturday section or online.  

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Southeast Asian desserts galore

Check out "Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard"

Vodka goes vintage: Karlsson's Batch 2008 Gammel Svensk Röd

-- Betty Hallock

Photo credit: LQ + SK Newsletter

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Underground Vietnamese: Downstairs at the new Blossom Cafe

A new hot spot is the subterranean level of the recently opened Blossom Cafe in Silver Lake

A new hot spot at the Sunset Junction intersection of Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake (i.e., hipster central) is the subterranean level of the recently opened Blossom Cafe. When you enter at street level, you're immediately facing the host stand, where you'll be asked whether you want to sit upstairs or downstairs. Upstairs is charming enough, with exposed brick walls and sleek tables; a few couples might be sitting upstairs. Say you want to sit downstairs and the host might pause for a few seconds, then say, "A couple of people just left, so I think there's room." 

And so you take the staircase down into a wide, dark, sort of creepy concrete-floored hallway. You'll see dim light coming from a doorway on the right. It opens into a quirky, packed dining hall with a communal table and recessed nooks that are booths for two. The furniture is mostly blond wood tables with boxy chairs or those ubiquitous Eames seats. The lights are clear tubes of LED string lighting that run across whitewashed beams on the ceiling. In the back is a boxy, all-glass wine room and slightly bizarre built-in terrariums. 

The second location for the original downtown Blossom, there's also a stark marble-topped bar, where the bartender might be wearing a World Dodgeball Society T-shirt and asks if your food is "pho-bulous." There's draft La Chouffe and Tripel Karmeliet. With all that tangy fish sauce, you might want to go with a Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc. And there are oysters. It all comes together as a perfect fit for the neighborhood: draft beer, more Vietnamese food (in addition to Gingergrass on Glendale, Pho Cafe, also on Sunset, and the space formerly known as Soy Cafe on Hyperion), wine, oysters and a speakeasy vibe.

4019 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 953-8345, www.blossomrestaurant.com.

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Dear Mr. Gold: Dinner without a face

Get your hands on "Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard"

Vodka goes vintage: Karlsson's Batch 2008 Gammel Svensk Röd

-- Betty Hallock  

Photo: The downstairs space at the Blossom Cafe. Credit: Betty Hallock / Los Angeles Times

3 Things: Pig & Beer; 1886's cocktails; 'Food Forward'

OrchidThere's a flower in my cocktail: Spring cocktails are in bloom at 1886 Bar at the Raymond in Pasadena, where head barman Garrett McKechnie and staff have created a new seasonal drinks list. Highlights include the Wild Orchid: Torontel Pisco, Vergano Bianco vermouth and Grand Marnier with a little hefeweizen, served up with an orchid garnish. The Cinablossom (not to be confused with the "cinnamon challenge") mixes gin with lemon, cinnamon-bark syrup and a fire for a table-side garnish of freshly toasted cinnamon. The Vintage Caprice Flight features three vintages of 1886's Beefeater Gin barrel-aged Caprice. First try it freshly made with Beefeater Gin, dry vermouth, Benedictine and orange bitters; then aged at 4 months; and finish with the 12-month vintage. 1250 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, (626) 441-3136, www.theraymond.com. 

On the TV: Sunday's first episode of Season 2 of "Game of Thrones" isn't next week's only TV premiere. On April 5 at 10 p.m., "Food Forward" debuts on PBS, a documentary series about chefs, scientists, farmers, fishermen, teachers and others creating a more healthful food system. Shot in New York, Detroit, Milwaukee and Oakland, the series aims to celebrate the pioneers and visionaries who are developing alternatives to our food system, such as John Mooney, who set up a space-age hydroponic farm on top of a historic building in the West Village of Manhattan. The series addresses other topics such as school lunch reform, sustainable fishing, grass-fed beef and soil science. 

Pork, with suds: Bruce Kalman of downtown’s Urbano Pizza Bar and Gavin Mills of Hollywood’s Wood + Vine are hosting "Pig & Beer" on Sunday at Urbano, a porky feast with beer pairings by “The Beer Chicks” Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune, to benefit Alex's Lemonade Stand. The chefs picked a free-range, acorn-fed pig from ReRun Ranch in Hughes, Calif., to be cooked and presented by the duo. The two chefs will alternate in presenting and discussing each course, "from the savory and sweet to the weird and wild." Growers from ReRide Ranch, Weiser Family Farm, Coleman Farms, Thao Farms and more are contributing produce. 4 p.m. “PigTails”; 5 p.m. dinner. $50 per person. Call for reservations, or email [email protected] 630 W. 6th St., Los Angeles, (213) 614-1900, www.urbanopizzabar.com. 

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-- Betty Hallock 

Photo: The Wild Orchid at 1886 Bar. Credit: Acuna Hansen.

Brisket tacos: Jonathan Waxman's Mexican Passover

Jonathan Waxman's pulled beef brisket tacos at Rosa Mexicano
Beef brisket tacos, huachinango "gefilte fish," matzo chilaquiles.... It must be Passover at Rosa Mexicano. It's the 10th anniversary Rosa Mexicano’s Mexican Passover dinner, and this year's Latin-inspired versions of Seder specialties were created by Jonathan Waxman, chef-owner of Barbuto in New York, cookbook author and a pioneer of California cuisine. (Rosa Mexicano has brought on Waxman as culinary advisor to develop seasonal menus including Foods of Baja and Day of the Dead.)  

So on Waxman's Mexican Passover menu are: charoset, with dates, coconut, tangerine, pomegranate, almonds, cinnamon and rose apples; hierbas amargas (Passover maror), a beet, romaine, scallion and avocado salad with horseradish, parsley and matzo; huachinango “gefilte fish,” or red snapper dumplings with jalapenos; and pulled beef brisket tacos. What, you've never had sangria at Seder? The sangría de Passover is Herradura silver tequila, apple and lemon juices with Manischewitz reduction.

Mexican Passover at Rosa Mexicano is available April 6 to 13 at both L.A. locations. 

 At L.A. Live, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 746-0001, and 8570 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, (310) 657-4991; www.rosamexicano.com.

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Video: Spring ragout 

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5 Questions for Josie LeBalch

-- Betty Hallock

Photo: Pulled beef brisket tacos. Credit: Rosa Mexicano

Dear Mr. Gold: Dinner without a face

JgoldDear Mr. Gold:

On Saturday I attended an intimate luncheon where a common theme was our mutual love of good food. One of the guests announced that she was no longer eating anything with a face. While I greatly respect people's choices to modify their diets based on health, politics, etc., I thought, why does someone need to announce this at the table? Isn't this like "I speak French" or "I go to the gym every day?" What are your thoughts on this (btw, I eat everything).

Julie Brosterman, via Facebook

Dear Ms. Brosterman:

I've been to those dinner parties! And as you may imagine, I have been on the other end of that "anything with a face'' statement many, many times. (I'm not sure where it comes from, actually -– a cursory Google search turns up Courtney Stodden, David Hasselhoff and Princess Daisy from the "Super Mario Bros." movie although I'm pretty sure it predates all of them.)

And it's hard to tell where the bright line between face/no face might be: It's not as if the people dropping the bombshell tend to do so while nibbling on jellyfish salad or even cracking open an oyster, a faceless, insensate, non-polluting animal that even animal-rights philosopher Peter Singer once said was OK to eat, although I believe he's since reconsidered. When it comes to preparing soft-shell crabs, which require the cook to snip the faces off the living crustaceans with a sharp pair of kitchen scissors, I can even see your friend's point. 

Still, as dismaying as the assertion may be, it is relevant at table, where dinner is presumably being discussed. If you wish to express your displeasure by ordering the tete de veau -- well, I raise my hat to you.

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Is your coffee Handsome? 

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3 Events: Make beer, eat sakura sushi, more

-- Jonathan Gold

Photo credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times.

3 Events: make beer; cherry blossoms at Chaya; Finesse mag

Brew

Home brewing: On Saturday, the Institute of Domestic Technology offers a home brewing class at the historic Zane Grey Estate in Altadena. The workshop will take students through the process of brewing beer from scratch using malted barley: from mash to sparge, boil, chill and fermentation steps before bottling and conditioning. The hands-on class is geared toward both the beginner and those who want to move beyond extract brewing. Tastings include brews similar to what's created in class and styles that inspire. Students will bottle and carbonate a batch to take home and enjoy. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. $195 (includes lunch, snacks, ingredients and supplies). Sign up online at www.instituteofdomestictechnology.com.  

Cherry blossom fest: Chaya downtown is celebrating spring with a two-week cherry blossom festival on its outdoor patio from April 16 to April 27. Chef de cuisine Atsushi Kenjo has created a cherry-blossom-inspired menu of small plates and drinks. (This year marks the 100th anniversary of the national cherry blossom festival; in 1912 the city of Tokyo gave 3,000 cherry trees to Washington, D.C.) On Kenjo's menu are dumplings, sushi rolls and “picnic fare” ($5 to $8) such as steamed barbecue pork bun; shrimp shao-mai with soy mustard dip; asparagus-wrapped Angus New York strip with balsamic ponzu; farmers market kai lan with soy-garlic chile oil; and sakura-leaf-steamed Alaskan snapper. The sushi bar will feature cherry-infused menu items ($5 to $6) such as: beef carpaccio with aged cherry balsamic; tai sakura sushi with cherry blossom leaves; and a garden inari sushi boat. Cocktails such as the Cherry Bellini with cherry sorbet ($8) and Sakuratini ($8) also will be available. Monday to Friday evenings from 4 p.m. to close. 525 S. Flower Street, Los Angeles, (213) 236-9577, www.thechaya.com.

Bistro prix fixe: Bouchon in Beverly Hills fetes Thomas Keller's casual dining issue of Finesse magazine on Wednesday with a $65 prix fixe menu: poireaux en vinaigrette et oeufs mimosa or escargots a la Bourgignonne; aile de raie au confit de fenouil et oignons or boeuf Bourgignon; and beignets or assortiment de macarons. Dinner is followed by a kitchen tour; diners also will receive a signed copy of the magazine. 235 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, (310) 271-9910, www.bouchonbistro.com.   

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Photo: Your home brew operation probably doesn't look like this. A bottling of Steelhead Extra Pale Ale at Mad River Brewing circa 1995. Credit: Shaun Walker/AP. 

Sotto celebrates Easter with nose-to-tail lamb menu

Sotto

On Easter Sunday (April 8), chefs Steve Samson and Zach Pollack of Sotto will offer a special nose-to-tail lamb menu, channeling, as they do, the traditions of southern Italy. Dishes include Sardinian pane frattau with livers and cardoons; tongue with fregola, salsa verde and olives; and grilled leg of lamb with egg, lemon and artichokes. They are available a la carte and are priced at $15 to $18.  

To complement the dishes, Sotto has a new wine list curated by wine director Jeremy Parzen, featuring "both classical and radical" winemakers from southern Italy and the natural winemakers of Northern California. Dinner only, call for reservations.

9575 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 277-0210, www.sottorestaurant.com.

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-- Betty Hallock

Photo credit: Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times

Lunch with David Gelb, director of 'Jiro Dreams of Sushi'

"I'm not an expert at making sushi," says David Gelb, with a pair of chopsticks poised above a plate of tuna sashimi at Sugarfish by Sushi Nozawa downtown, "but I'm an expert at eating sushi." 

After filming 150 hours of footage at Sukiyabashi Jiro, the famed Michelin three-star sushi bar in Tokyo's Ginza district, the 28-year-old director of the documentary "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" knows a thing or two about nigiri and maki. "I like that the seaweed here is crispy," he says of a toro hand roll, into which he deftly pours a drop or two of soy sauce. 

Gelb's film is set to premiere in Los Angeles on Friday, and he has just returned from its debut in New York. The movie, which showed at last year's Tribeca Film Festival and was bought by Magnolia Pictures, has captured the attention of more than just food lovers, as Gelb has been talking up sushi-porn scenes and the importance of rice preparation on the media circuit. Naturally, the fooderati are drooling.

"I think I was lucky," says Gelb, dressed in a black T-shirt and bright blue Adidas sneakers. "Part of it is that there hasn't been a film about this level of sushi." Although reviews have been mixed, he says the goal was to film something "restrained and elegant" instead of relying on the "reality show kind of camera" usually aimed at food and cooking subjects. "I wanted to show sushi as an art form."

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.