Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Elina Shatkin

Algemac's is back... sort of. Former Glendale coffee shop gets its sign

Algemac's Coffee Shop in Dec. 2009

Built in 1937, Algemac's Coffee Shop closed in 2006 and was gutted in 2008, but as of this morning, it got its old sign back. Sadly, Algemac's won't be reopening as a coffee shop. It will be a community center, according to Curbed LA.

Located on San Fernando Road at the corner of Glendale Avenue, Algemac's was a staple of Googie architecture, and preservationists fought hard to save it. They weren't entirely successful, but they reached a compromise with developers who agreed to incorporate the original Algemac's facade into the design of the new building. [More pictures after the jump.]

-- Elina Shatkin

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Sampler Platter: L.A. Tamale Festival canceled; Five Guys Burgers expanding; bacon is the new black

Marina Guzman, makes tamales at the fabled Los Cinco Puntos market

East Coast fast-food chain Five Guys Burgers and Fries strikes a blow at the greasy, artery-clogged heart of homegrown burger chain In-N-Out with aggressive plans to expand throughout California. More food news below...
--The most heartbreaking casualty of the global economic collapse: The 5th Annual Los Angeles International Tamale Festival has been canceled.
--Doughboys to open by end of year ... maybe. Blackburn + Sweetzer
--Signal Mountain, Tenn., passes nation's first green food resolution. Treehugger
--Five Guys Burgers and Fries, which already has locations in Carson and Cerritos, will expand aggressively in California, with 300 new locations. Fast Food Maven
--Platine chef Jamie Cantor makes it into this week's issue of People magazine (p. 134) with recipes for apple cranberry pie and pilgrim punch. Platine will be on hand at this weekend's Unique Los Angeles gift fair.
--Eater LA launches Sexiest Chef contest.
--Cute and inevitable: the periodic table of cupcakes. Jezebel
--White House pastry chef Bill Yosses makes a marzipan-and-chocolate sculpture of the executive mansion complete with pet dog Bo. Daily Mail
--Bacon lovers can proclaim their love for the other white meat on clever limited-edition posters, T-shirts and aprons that declare “Bacon is the New Black." 4505 Meats
--The 500-calorie McRib is back -- with a bonus advertising fail.
--Low-maintenance turkey and leftovers revamped. Goop
--Food Network offers 12 Days of Cookies (through Dec. 12).
--With revenues down, AMC theaters officially ban all outside snacks. Smart Spending
-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Marina Guzman makes tamales at the fabled Los Cinco Puntos market in L.A. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Small Bites: Fork opens in Montrose, Lazy Ox reveals menu and microbrews

Forkintheroad Knife, Spoon and...: Fork, a casual neighborhood eatery from local chefs Michael Ruiz (Bistro Verdu, Ingredients) and Gail Connell (Gourmet A Go Go catering), officially opened Tuesday in Montrose. The menu mixes French, Italian and American comfort food alongside a wine list curated by Jeff Zimmitti of Rosso Wine Shop. Highlights include: duck confit salad; country pate; a braised pork, Fontina and grilled onion panini; classic roasted chicken; steak and fries; local white sea bass with eggplant ratatouille and beurre blanc; and sauteed red chard with caraway seed and chili flakes. 2263 Honolulu Ave., Montrose. (818) 248-2100, www.forkmontrose.com.

Neighborhood Canteen: After a year of planning, chef Josef Centeno (Lot 1, Meson G, Opus) and restaurateur Michael Cardenas (Boa, Katana, Sushi Roku) plan to open the Lazy Ox Canteen in Little Tokyo sometime next week, Dec. 10 at the latest. "We could open today," Centeno says. "The restaurant itself is finished." They're waiting on final inspections and permits.

Centeno, who left Echo Park eatery Lot 1 three months after it opened, has an ambitious vision for Lazy Ox, and it's reflected in an eclectic menu that features pan-fried skate wing with ham-hock collard greens and shellfish béarnaise; charred octopus with garlic rappini and a preserved lemon vinaigrette; khlii (Moroccan-style beef jerky); cod brandade fritters with yuzu aioli; brick-roasted mussels; Jersey cow Ricotta agnolotti with pancetta-tomato sauce and Pecorino; and more. "We'll be grinding our own meat for burgers, grinding our own sausages, making our own pates," Centeno says. "We'll be getting in our own whole baby pigs and we'll confit them and cook them in our brick oven."

Lazy Ox will also have a wine list, 12 microbrews on tap and a small selection of bottled Japanese microbrews (including Ryujin Shuzo brewery's Ozeno Yukidoke IPA) that will, according to Centeno, be sold in the United States for the first time.

It's not fusion. It's not small plates. So what is it? "New American with global influences," Centeno says. Or as he has oft repeated, "It's basically everything we like to eat." 241 S. San Pedro St., L.A. (213) 626-5266, www.lazyoxcanteen.com.

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Pasadena's newest piece of street art, "The Fork in the Road," located at South Pasadena Avenue where it meets St. John Avenue. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

Sampler Platter: LudoBites debuts at Royal/T, Padma poses nude, the strongest beer in the world

Chef Kris Morningstar, middle, chats with a customer at Mercantile in Hollywood.

Ludovic Lefebvre is the man of the hour as his latest pop-up restaurant debuts tonight in Culver City, plus other non-Ludo food news.
-- Kevin Eats previews LudoBites 3.0, which debuts tonight at Royal/T with a wine list curated by Domaine LA.
-- Teenage Gluster and his mom teach chef Ludo to make a mole.
-- A Cadbury descendant crusades against Kraft's potential takeover. Wall Street Journal
-- Street Gourmet LA tastes Samuel Adams' Utopias, the strongest beer in the world.
-- Thieves steal $100,000 of donated food, toys in Orange County. NBC Los Angeles
-- Louisiana restaurants sue vendors after point-of-sale hack. PC World
-- Pregnant "Top Chef" host Padma Lakshmi poses nude for magazine. Hindustan Times
-- Potatomato pops into Mercantile.
-- China welcomes back Canadian bacon. AFP
-- J&D's, the folks who make bacon salt, bring you these new bacon products: BaconPOP popcorn, bacon ranch dressing and bacon-flavored envelopes.
-- Tacos El Fenix: The real Baja fish taco. Gourmet Pigs
-- Some Premium Edge cat foods recalled due to thiamine deficiency. L.A. Unleashed
-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Chef Kris Morningstar, middle, chats with a customer at Mercantile in Hollywood. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times.

Small Bites: 9021Pho opens in Beverly Hills, Alcove to get a bar, Lazy Dog Cafe opens in Valencia

Jon Hamm, 38, of Mad Men relaxes at the Alcove in Los Feliz

Pho in Beverly Hills: As its name implies, 9021Pho serves pho (four types, to be exact) in the 90210 ZIP Code. The restaurant, which opens today, is overseen by chef Kimmy Tang, who emphasizes market-fresh produce and a health-conscious menu of stir-fry dishes, bento boxes and other Vietnamese eats. 490 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, CA.

Alcohol at the Alcove: The upscale market inside the Alcove Cafe and Bakery will reopen as a bar in early 2010. More details to come. 1929 Hillhurst Ave., L.A. (323) 644-0100.

Lazy Dog gets its day: On Monday, the latest outpost of expanding pan-ethnic chain the Lazy Dog Cafe opens inside the Valencia Town Center. (Soft opening this Thursday.) The brainchild of father/son duo Thomas and Chris Simms (dad is the founder of the vaguely New Orleans-y Mimi's Cafe chain), Lazy Dog's menu is a magpie collection of the most accessible dishes from around the world: pizza, pasta, hummus, burgers, wok-fried dishes, tacos, fish and chips, ribs, pot pies, salads and more. Plus, it has a full bar. 24201 Valencia Blvd., Valencia. (661) 253-9996, www.lazydogcafe.com.

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Salon's "sexiest man living," Jon Hamm, 38, of "Mad Men" relaxes at the Alcove in Los Feliz. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times.

Sampler Platter: Meat grown in a lab for first time; we're wasting more food than ever; road food flowchart

HamburgerbeakerWould you eat meat grown in a lab? Or drink wine made by a stockbroker? This and more in today's food news roundup.
-- Scientists reportedly grow meat in a lab for the first time! Telegraph
-- Eating the Road debuts its Where Should I Eat? Chain Restaurant Flowchart.
-- After East, David Judaken's next venture will be Hollywood nightclub MY Spot. Eater LA
-- Music to inspire chef José Andrés: Elton John, Ennio Morricone, Counting Crows. KCRW
-- Every Thanksgiving turns into a pie fight at Mommie Helen's in Colton. Wall Street Journal
-- The 99 Cent Chef makes holiday stuffing cupcakes with cranberry frosting.
-- A wave of MBAs and bankers turn winemaking into the second career du jour. New York Times
-- Americans waste more food than ever before -- nearly 40% of the food supply. Discover
-- Philadelphia restaurant firebombed. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
-- Full Yield dietary program thinks health savings start in the company cafeteria. New York Times
-- Where Washington D.C.'s elite go to eat: Komi, Charlie Palmer, the Palm, the Oval Room, Bombay Club, Ben's Chili Bowl and more. CNN
-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times

Small Bites: 50% off at the Smoke House; Pinkberry introduces chocolate yogurt; Stone Fire Pizza reborn as Oak Fire

Smoke House Burbank Half off at the Smoke House: If you're not utterly sick of food by the day after Thanksgiving, old-school steakhouse Smoke House will be offering 50% off its entire menu Friday from 3 to 11 p.m. Slip into a red leather booth, order a basket of its famous cheese bread and sip a martini while soaking up the ambiance of this classic restaurant, which celebrated its 63rd birthday in October. Reservations recommended. 4420 W. Lakeside Drive, Burbank. (818) 845-3731, www.smokehouse1946.com.

Pinkberry goes brown: The fro-yo purveyor will make its newest flavor, chocolate, available in California on Friday.

The name game: It didn't happen in summer as Greg Morris had planned, but Stone Fire Pizza has finally and officially rechristened itself as Oak Fire Pizzeria & Pub. Morris, the man behind the Spanish Kitchen, the Belmont, the upcoming Olive and most recently the Oaks gourmet market, made the change to eliminate any brand confusion with a similarly named L.A. chain (cough, cough, Pitfire Pizza). In addition to thin-crust and deep-dish Chicago-style pies, it boasts a full bar with artisanal liquors and a rotating selection of microbrews. 829 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood. (310) 659-8848, www.oakfirepizza.com.

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo credit: Jill Connelly / For The Times

Sampler Platter: Hardee's in Pakistan, bacon flights in Palm Springs, stolen bees in Matamata

Hardee's in Lahore, Pakistan

Bee thieves, suggestions for food that should be thrown at celebrity chefs and all sorts of pre-Turkey Day food news.

-- Thieves steal more than a million bees from New Zealand beekeeper. NZHerald.com
-- Ten celebrity chefs and the foods that should be thrown at them. Westworld
-- CKE Restaurants opens first Hardee's in Pakistan. Associated Press
-- White House menu for state dinner for Prime Minister Singh. ABC News
-- Xiao long bao at Tampa Garden in Reseda. Stuffy Cheaks
-- People learn to cook from restaurant chefs so they can save money by cooking at home. Chicago Tribune
-- Even vegetarians hate Tofurkey. CNN
-- It's time for the annual Butterball hotline horror stories. Chicago Sun-Times
-- Eating LA digs Cheeky's in Palm Springs with its flight of four kinds of bacon and pumpernickel waffle.

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Hardee's in Lahore, Pakistan. Credit: Business Wire

Small Bites: Street's new seasonal menu, Kitchen 24's new cupcakes, Agura's new happy hour

Kitchen24hollywood Word on the Street: This Friday, Susan Feniger's Street officially debuts its new seasonal dinner menu, featuring: Argentinian/Italian ricotta dumplings simmered in brown butter and lemon with celery root puree; black-eyed pea fritters; lamb kafta meatballs; Moscow-style eggplant; toasted amaranth, chicken and spoon bread dumplings; beef tenderloin schnitzel; honey-glazed Peking quail; barbecued Hawaiian pork wrapped in banana leaves and slow-cooked over a marinade of sugar cane, pineapple and soy; and more. The new lunch menu, which debuts on Saturday, also has several additions: mini Kobe beef chili dogs; crispy lamb taquitos; Vietnamese pulled pork sandwiches; Andouille sausage and shrimp gumbo; Moroccan spiced winter squash with roasted chestnuts; Burmese lettuce wraps with lentils, toasted coconut, peanuts, fried onions and sesame ginger dressing; Hawaiian ono sashimi in spicy sesame mayo; and more. 742 N. Highland Ave., L.A. (323) 203-0500, www.eatatstreet.com.

Cocktails and cupcakes: Kitchen 24's pastry chef, Daisy Roman, recently launched a featured daily cupcake at the 24-hour Cahuenga corridor diner. Flavors include: chocolate (Monday), carrot (Tuesday), vanilla (Wednesday), pumpkin (Thursday), winter mint chocolate (Friday), buttered pecan (Saturday) and red velvet (Sunday). Kitchen 24 also debuted four seasonal cocktails, including the Sweet-Tartini with muddled cranberries, Tanqueray, elderflower liqueur, cranberry juice and lime juice; and the Hot Spiced Cider with unfiltered apple juice, Jim Beam, orange liqueur and a secret spice syrup. 1608 N. Cahuenga Blvd., L.A. (323) 465-2424, www.kitchen24.info.

C'mon, get happy: Sushi and Japanese fusion restaurant Agura, the latest addition to La Cienega's restaurant row, recently launched a happy hour that features 50% off drinks and $3 to $5 small plates of salmon nachos, fried popcorn shrimp, spicy tuna and yellowtail rolls, shrimp-wrapped spring rolls, unagi avocado rolls, takoyaki and more. (10 p.m. to midnight Monday to Saturday and 6 p.m. to midnight Sunday). 514 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood. (310) 289-1940, www.aguradining.com.

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: The interior of Kitchen 24 in Hollywood. Credit: From Kitchen 24.

Sampler Platter: sushi fraud, Paula Deen hit with flying ham, Portland's food carts, 11 restaurants in 11 hours

Celebrity chef Paula Deen

The TV queen of Southern food gets whacked with a ham at a charity event while Food Marathon leads intrepid gluttons on an epic restaurant crawl. More in today's food news roundup.
-- Sushi fraud! DNA tests reveal that "tuna" is often fake or endangered species. Wired
-- 13 restaurants in 11 hours: the 11 in 11 Food Marathon 
-- Portland's food carts, from New Mexico to poutine. Los Angeles Times
-- Hershey needs over $17 billion to top Kraft's offer for Cadbury. Wall Street Journal
-- Salon launches a food section
-- Paula Deen hit by a flying ham! WHEC
-- Police drop theft charges against two students who didn't tip. The Morning Call
-- Ben & Jerry's makes Maple Blondie ice cream in honor of Olympian Hannah Teter
-- Gift suggestion for beer lovers: "The Naked Pint." Brand X
-- OpenTable unveils list of 70+ L.A. restaurants that offer private dining services
-- The four acts of Ondal's spicy crab soup. Eat, Drink & Be Merry
-- Six reasons bacon is better than true love
-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Celebrity chef Paula Deen. Credit: Dr. Billy Ingram / Getty Images

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.