Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Europe

Sampler Platter: Agura sushi soft-opens, absinthe in Rome, Halloween cupcakes

It looks innocuous, but the Diavaolo, a chocolate milkshake with 80-proof absinthe, packs a big punch. It's served at Latte Piu, one of two

A cupcake so cute it's scary, a Roman milk bar and a new sushi restaurant on La Cienega lead our food news roundup.
-- Teetotalers may be more depressed than drinkers. Time
-- Absinthe in a chocolate shake? Welcome to Latte Piu, a milk bar in Rome that’s patterned after "Clockwork Orange's" Korova. Los Angeles Times
-- Agura sushi on La Cienega soft-opens. Blackburn + Sweetzer
-- Figs, cupcakes, Guy Fieri and seven more things David Chang and Anthony Bourdain hate. Grub Street LA
-- San Diego Meat Co. recalls 925 pounds of beef products due to E. coli threat. Los Angeles Times
-- Red Mango has a new seasonal flavor: pumpkin spice.
-- Most adorable Halloween cupcake ever? We Love You So
-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: It looks innocuous, but the Diavaolo, a chocolate milkshake with 80-proof absinthe, packs a big punch. It's served at Latte Piu, a milk bar in Rome. Credit: Baxter Holmes / For The Times

First American competes in Golden Spurtle World Porridge (a.k.a. oatmeal) Making Championship

Matt Cox's Oregon Orchard Oat Brulee will be the first ever American entrant in the Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship in Scotland this Sunday.

To my mind, oatmeal is the most boring food on Earth. On its own, without nuts or raisins sprinkled in, it’s the equivalent of a blank canvas aching for paint. If you're into the conceptual, po-mo weirdness of bare walls and dudes sitting at pianos not playing a note, then oatmeal is probably the perfect food for you -- you and Oliver Twist. After all, gruel is only a tiny cultural leap away from its big-city cousin, oatmeal. When Dickens' titular orphan hero asks, "Please, sir, might I have more?" (I'm paraphrasing here), that's how we, as readers, are meant to understand how utterly wretched his life is. For God's sake, the boy is begging for oatmeal.

But if the culinary trends of the last decade have taught us anything, it's that one era's poverty food is another's gourmet treat. (In a world where millions starve to death, the privilege of being able to complain about oatmeal is not lost on me.) So this Sunday (which also happens to be World Porridge Day, a terrific event that helps feed children in some of the poorest countries around the globe), an international array of chefs who take oatmeal way too seriously will gather at the 16th Annual Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship in Carrbridge, Scotland, where they’ll do their best to gussy up the tabula rasa of the breakfast world. And for the first and only time in the history of this storied oatmeal-cooking competition, an American entrant has stepped onto the field of battle.

The hopes, dreams and culinary pride of our nation rest on the shoulders of Matt Cox (of team Bob’s Red Mill), who will pit his Oregon Orchard Oat Brûlée against the best oats from around the world. Cox's signature oatmeal is a brûlée-topped wonder of steel-cut oats studded with a fruitful bounty of Oregon pears, cherries, hazelnuts and distilled spirits.

We don't know what odds the bookies have laid down, but Cox has the potential to blow the lid off the oatmeal world. You can cheer him on via Twitter or try the recipe that he spent months perfecting for yourself. Go, Team Oatmerica!

[Recipe after the jump]

Continue reading »

Sampler Platter: Baja Fresh to franchise Calbi BBQ truck, 1,500-calorie Craz-E Burger, world's largest cupcake

A farmer sprays riot police with milk from a cow's udder during a demonstration in front of E.U. headquarters in Brussels.

Angry dairy farmers dousing police officers in milk, a franchised nouveau food truck and fake restaurant receipts top today's food news roundup.
-- Baja Fresh has acquired the Calbi BBQ truck and will franchise the concept. Nation's Restaurant News
-- Fresh & Easy is expected to end the year with a loss. Fast Food Maven
-- 1,316-pound Guinness World Record cupcake is unveiled at a breast cancer benefit. Breitbart
-- Farmers spray police officers with milk -- from live cows! -- at a protest against falling milk prices in Brussels. New York Times
-- Need to generate a fake restaurant receipt for your expense report? Expense-a-Steak will do it for you. Wall Street Journal
-- Meet the 1,500-calorie Craz-E Burger: beef patty, bacon and cheese on a Krispy Kreme doughnut. New York Daily News
-- Although banning fast-food eateries probably won't reduce obesity rates, some people love the soda tax idea. Los Angeles Times
-- Can an anthropomorphized pickle with skinny legs, high-top sneakers and a baseball cap make frozen pickle-juice popsicles seem cool? Bob's Pickle Pops
-- Can a 20-minute Web-only "rock opera" featuring the exploits of fake rocker White Gold get people to drink milk? Los Angeles Times
-- Six tips to get you the most out of dineLA 's Restaurant Week. LAist
-- The Obamas spend their 17th wedding anniversary at Blue Duck Tavern. Positively Barack
-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: A farmer sprays riot police with milk from a cow's udder during a demonstration in front of European Union headquarters in Brussels. Dairy farmers drove hundreds of tractors into the center of Belgium's capital on Monday in the hope of pushing farm ministers into backing more funds to help them survive the milk price crisis. Credit: Yves Logghe / Associated Press

Sampler Platter: Esquire names Bazaar as Restaurant of the Year, McDonald's to open at the Louvre, Doughboys reveals new exterior


Fast food comes to France's fanciest museum; news on Doughboys and the Gold Room; and all sorts of food-crime news in today's food news roundup.
-- The Bazaar by José Andrés is named Restaurant of the Year by Esquire. Rivera makes the magazine's Best New Restaurants of 2009 list. And RH and West Side Tavern are included on Esquire's list of Another 15 Places Not to Miss. Eating Las Vegas
--McDonald's to open at the Louvre. Los Angeles Times
-- An E. Coli-laced hamburger patty that paralyzed a woman exposes flaws in the food safety system, especially ground beef production. New York Times
-- Doughboys reveals its new exterior. Blackburn + Sweetzer
-- Echo Park's Gold Room gets polished up. The Eastsider LA
-- More on the Capitol City sports bar, which we peeked into a few weeks ago. Los Angeles Times
-- New York City public schools limit bake sales. Gothamist
-- Insanity hot sauce fells British columnist. Times Online
-- Pasadena, Texas, woman eats ex-hubby's goldfish after a fight over jewelry. Houston Chronicle
-- Man gets 18 months in prison for hot dog theft. Telegram
-- Fourty-four tons of rotting kosher bison meat stink up South Dakota town. Yahoo! News
-- Curry festival spices up London. CNN
-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Tobias Hatfield poses by his bison herd on his ranch outside Williams, Ore. Credit: Bob Pennell / Mail Tribune / Associated Press

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.