Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Events

Un Petit Porc returns to Gram & Papa's [with menu]

PorcUn Petit Porc returns to Gram & Papa's on Tuesday, June 19, and Wednesday, June 20. It's a porchetta-menu collaboration between chef Ludo Lefebvre, Gram & Papa's owner Mike Ilic and sneaks store Undefeated's James Bond -- the same trio who teamed up for the inaugural Un Petit Porc in December. 

The menu includes: bagna cauda and aioli; pork-belly wrapped pork shoulder with potato dinner rolls and orange jam slaw, or arugula sandwich with tomato confit and burrata on country bread; broccolini with chile, garlic confit and Pecorino; fries with escargot butter; and creme fraiche panna cotta with caramel. And the cost is $49 per person.

Reservation lines open at 1 p.m. on Friday, June 15, at (213) 624-7277. Three seatings are available for the porchetta dinner, at 6:30 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.  

Gram & Papa's, 227 E. 9th St., Los Angeles, www.gramandpapas.com.


Father's Day 2012 dining guide: Freebies, cocktails and more

Kitchen gadget: Nut mill

Taco Tuesday: Tacos al vapor

-- Betty Hallock

The Times' Taste food festival is coming, Sept. 1-3

The Taste, the Los Angeles Times’ annual three-day food festival, will take place Sept. 1 to 3 at the Studios at Paramount. Five events will highlight Southern California's culinary scene, each featuring unlimited food and drink tastings from standout local restaurants, along with cooking and mixology demonstrations, wine seminars and panel discussions. Tickets are on sale now at latimes.com/thetaste

  • Field to Fork Saturday, Sept. 1, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    Russ Parsons, The Times’ Food Editor, hosts an event inspired by fresh, local ingredients and the pleasure of cooking seasonal dishes. Tastings and presentations will explore the delicious offerings available at neighborhood farmers markets and in backyard gardens. 
  • Cocktail Confidential Saturday, Sept. 1, 8 to 11 p.m.
    Jessica Gelt, food and night life writer for The Times, hosts an evening dedicated to cocktail culture, specialty elixirs and party-worthy bites.
  • Flavors of L.A. Sunday, Sept. 2, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    Jonathan Gold, Times restaurant critic, hosts a day of authentic dishes from around the world – via Los Angeles’ best restaurants. Activities and panel discussions will offer up-close access to the area’s best homegrown and L.A.-based chefs.
  • Dinner & Drinks Sunday, Sept. 2, 8 to 11 p.m.
    Betty Hallock, Times Deputy Food Editor, hosts an evening of tastings paired with craft beers, custom cocktails or fine wines. Highlights include Gastropub Alley, a beer panel and drinks demonstrations.
  • Labor Day Picnic presented by Target Monday, Sept. 3, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    Noelle Carter, Times Test Kitchen Director, hosts a holiday get-together with burgers, tacos and bánh mì. Chefs and home cooks will demonstrate favorite recipes with an ice cream social topping off the afternoon.  

A limited quantity of $185 all-access passes is now available, offering admission to all five events. Single-event tickets are $50. Times members receive an exclusive 20% discount on individual tickets. A portion of ticket sales will benefit Collins College of Hospitality Management at Cal Poly Pomona and the Los Angeles Times Family Fund’s Summer Camp Campaign.

For more information, go to latimes.com/thetaste,facebook.com/TheTasteLA and @TheTasteLA.


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Chichen Itza's habanero-eating contest is back


How hot can you handle? If you can endure up to 350,000 Scoville heat units, you might be a contender for Chichen Itza restaurant's second annual Chile Habanero Eating Contest. Chichen Itza's looking for contestants for the contest on June 17, part of the Father’s Day celebration at downtown’s Mercado La Paloma.

Specializing in the cuisine of the Yucatan peninsula, Chichen Itza utilizes plenty of ultra-hot chiles habaneros. These small, round capsaicin grenades rate 150,000 to about 350,000 on the Scoville scale, which means they're really hot -- hotter than scotch bonnets and hotter than bird's eye chiles. Each contestant will face a basket of habaneros. The person who eats the most chiles in 20 minutes will win a $50 gift certificate from Chichen Itza.

The contest starts at 2 p.m.; contestants can register prior to the event or up to one hour before the contest time at the restaurant. Five contestants will be selected by special drawing to participate. 

3655 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 741-1075, www.chichenitzarestaurant.com. 


Food FYI: The art of processing chickens

Food porn: Caramel-drizzled chocolate cheesecake cupcake

Langer's celebrates 65th anniversary with free pastrami sandwiches

-- Betty Hallock

Photo: Bob Carey / Los Angeles Times

2012 San Sebastian Gastronomika kicks off Oct. 7

2012 San Sebastian Gastronomika

Start planning now! The 2012 San Sebastian Gastronomika kicks off Oct. 7. And this time the French are coming as the Spanish Basque gastronomy conference pays tribute to “the country that brought us Carême (a.k.a. 'the king of chefs and the chef of kings'), Escoffier and Nouvelle Cuisine.” 

Who’s crossing the border for the 13th annual event? So far super-chefs Alain Senderens, Pierre Gagnaire, Michel Bras and Alain Passard. Representing the great legendary restaurants, Anne-Sophie Pic (the only woman in France to have obtained three Michelin stars) and Michel Troisgros and for the new wave bistros, Iñaki Aizpitarte of Le Chateaubriand and Yves Camdeborde of Le Comptoir. Many more chefs, both young and in mid-career are promised, including a strong contingent of pâtissiers from France. Could that mean macaron king Pierre Hermé?

And those stellar names are just the guests of honor. With Spanish Basque chefs so much in the news and on the check lists of gastronomes around the world, the San Sebastian food event draws top chefs from all over the globe to participate, hobnob with friends, and fan out to eat in San Sebastian’s best restaurants. For participants, there will be workshops, classes and lectures, plus bartenders competing in the 2nd International Gin and Tonic Contest. 

With five months left to go, the program is still in the planning stages. One piece of advice: If you think you might like to attend, make a hotel reservation now. You can always cancel. The site has a list of hotels and bed and breakfasts starting at 80 euros (about $98).

For more information on the Oct. 7 to 10 conference, go to www.sansebastiangastronomika.com.


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-- S. Irene Virbila


Photos: 2011 San Sebastian Gastronomika. Credit: San Sebastian Gastronomika

Rabbit, it's what's for dinner at Locanda del Lago

Locanda del Lago

Rabbit may not be the first meat that comes to mind when trying to decide what's for dinner, but today at Locanda del Lago restaurant in Santa Monica, there's rabbit on the menu -- lots of it.

Executive chef Gianfranco Minuz has created a five-course meal celebrating the flavors of rabbit as part of the restaurant's ongoing Morso della Bestia, Bite of the Beast, monthly dinner series that occurs the last Thursday of every month. This month's menu will highlight produce from the Santa Monica farmers market and De Bruin Brothers rabbit, a breed that's been fed a diet of alfalfa, oats, wheat and barley. Dishes will include a roasted rabbit loin, rabbit shoulder and belly risotto, rabbit liver and roasted rabbit leg. The dessert, a chocolate cake, is thankfully void of the long-eared creature.

The five-course meal begins at 7 p.m., is $48 per person and includes unlimited litros of house red and white Italian wine (not including tax and gratuity). Reservations are recommended.

231 Arizona Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90401 (310) 451.3525


Today's Eat Beat: Sweet and savory scones

Live discussion: Lunchtime with Jonathan Gold

Free cocktails! Lola's celebrates 16 years of apple martinis

-- Jenn Harris


Photo: Interior of Locanda del Lago. Credit: Emanuela Cottu for Locanda del Lago

Sang Yoon debuts Private Kitchen for Chris Cosentino cookbook

BeginningsSang Yoon is throwing a dinner party at his new Private Kitchen on May 31 in honor of chef Chris Cosentino's new cookbook. Cosentino, of Incanto and Boccalone Salumeria in San Francisco and Pigg in Los Angeles, has just published "Beginnings: My Way to Start a Meal" and will be there to sign books, which will be available for purchase.

A welcome reception will feature the Bloody Roman (Cosentino's take on a bloody mary with beer and an oyster) and passed salumi cones and lardo-wrapped fruit from Boccalone. The family-style dinner will feature several courses from the cookbook along with wine pairings: marinated sardine and nduja crostini; fava beans, strawberries and Pecorino salad; braised pork and clams; asparagus, spring potatoes, crème fraîche and caviar; warm cherries with saba zabaglione.

Held on the enclosed patio of Yoon's test kitchen at Helm's Bakery, the dinner kicks off an inaugural series of upcoming events. The dinner is $90 per person and takes place at 8:30 p.m. Limited seating; contact host@lukshon.com or (310) 202-6808 to purchase tickets. 

Sang Yoon's Private Kitchen Patio at Helm's Bakery, 8758 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles. 


Found! Vintage juicer

First Impression: End of Communism at Rivera

-- Betty Hallock

Photo: "Beginnings: My Way to Start a Meal." Credit: Olive Press.

First Impressions: End of Communism menu

ohn Sedlar's Rivera restaurant is offering a special End of Communism menu
When you are eating piroshki off of a photo of Lenin, chicken from a plate stenciled with a chile-powder hammer-and-sickle, or chocolate eggs off of a Soviet flag, you know you are probably in a John Sedlar restaurant, albeit one mysteriously serving proto-Russian food instead of one dedicated to the Spanish-speaking diaspora. And if you visit Rivera this month, you will notice that the video-montage wall is dedicated to Red Square instead of Madrid, that the servers seem to be of Russian descent, and that half the people in the dining room seem to be eating tiny blini with golden caviar instead of freshly pressed tortillas with "Indian butter.'' You will be handed an End of Communism menu along with the regular one.

In 1992, Sedlar was part of a brigade of American chefs, also including Simon L.A.'s Kerry Simon, invited to march in the first post-Soviet Russian May Day parade in Red Square, and also to prepare grand dinners for officials of the newly formed state. The food in Moscow then was pretty awful, Sedlar reports -- many of the chefs were basically starving, he says, and they regarded the Americans' pineapples and bananas, which none of them had ever tasted, as miracles.

When Sedlar came back to Los Angeles, he devised a menu of lightened Soviet-era dishes for his (long-deceased) Santa Monica restaurant Bikini, with prices denominated in dollars and rubles. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of that trip, he put the dishes on his Rivera menu, also listed in dollars and rubles. (If you happen to be visiting from Yaroslavl, it's a bargain -- Ukrainian-style venison borscht with boiled potatoes is a mere 755 rubles, a steep discount from the 965.6 you'd expect to pay if you looked at this morning's exchange rate.)

It probably goes without saying, but Rivera, even this month, is not the first place you'd come for authentic Russian cuisine -- it is a collection of riffs, such as stroganoff made with salmon instead of beef, served with a "tamale'' of lightly cooked cabbage; crisp-skinned chicken "KGB" on a bed of kasha sauteed with garlic and bacon as if it were spaetzle; blini topped with smoked cabbage as well as caviar and crème fraiche. And then there's that chocolate egg, filled with pistachio crème.

The End of Communism menu runs until the end of May. 1050 S. Flower St., downtown, (213) 749-1460.


First Impression: Beachwood Cafe

The Mark Zuckerberg wedding menu

Test Kitchen Tips: Fish grilling basket

-- Jonathan Gold

Photo credit: Amy Scattergood

A foie gras fest at Wilshire restaurant

As the future of foie gras hangs in the balance, here comes another all-out-foie dinner in opposition to the pending ban on the production and sale of fattened duck liver in California. On June 3, Wilshire restaurant's Foie Festival takes place on its patio with chef Nyesha Arrington and guest chefs Ray Garcia of Fig, Kris Morningstar of Rays & Stark Bar, Vartan Abgaryan of Public Kitchen & Bar, Micah Wexler of Mezze and Jordan Kahn of Red Medicine. Ticket are $110, with part of the proceeds benefiting C.H.E.F.S., the Coalition for Humane and Ethical Farming Standards, which opposes the coming ban on the production and sale of foie gras in California. 

The chefs encourage supporters to sign the C.H.E.F.S. online petition at chefstandards.com.

6:30 p.m. cocktails with limited open gin bar sponsored by No. 3 London Gin; 7:30 p.m. seated dinner. Tickets are available by phone or email to Wilshire general manager Nick Fielding: nick@wilshirerestaurant.com.

2454 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 586-1707, www.wilshirerestaurant.com.


Pantry: San Pellegrino Pompelmo

Ghost chile pepper comes to L.A.

Food FYI: More issues with milk

-- Betty Hallock

Photo credit: M. Spencer Green/Associated Press.

Sausage heaven at last at Mozza

Scuola di Pizza will be hosting a salumi bar where you can enjoy different house-cured meats and accompaniments
Chad Colby, the chef at Mozza2Go and Scuola di Pizza, is nuts about salumi. And now, finally, you can join in. Starting May 31 and running every other Thursday after that, Scuola di Pizza will host a salumi bar where you can enjoy different house-cured meats and accompaniments as well as a couple of grilled entrees and various vegetable dishes and wash them all down with wines from Mozza partner Joe Bastianich's winery.

The restaurant has been working for more than a year to get the permit to dry-cure salumi in house, and has built a separate dry-cure room to accommodate the sausages. Meat for the salumi comes from Colby's popular Saturday night Whole Hog family dinners, for which he butchers an entire heritage-breed pig.  

6610 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 297-1130, www.mozza2go.com.


One-night stand at Beer Belly

Behind the scenes at the Beards

Dessert tastes better with a gold spoon?

-- Russ Parsons

Photo credit: Chad Colby

Paula Wolfert speaking in Los Angeles on Saturday

Paula WolfertMark this one on  your calendar: Paula Wolfert, the queen of Mediterranean cooking, will be speaking at the Culinary Historians of Southern California meeting Saturday at the Central Library downtown.

Wolfert, who has probably done more than any other person to teach Americans about the cuisines of the area, will be giving a presentation based on her newest book, "The Foods of Morocco," a fresh return to the cooking that first brought her to public attention in 1973 with her first book, "Couscous and Other Good Food From Morocco."

The event will begin at 10:30 a.m. in the Mark Taper Auditorium at the Los Angeles Public Library's central branch, located at 630 W. 5th St. Admission is free and there will be refreshments and discussion afterward. Reservations are not necessary, but if you have questions you can call (323) 663-5407.


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— Russ Parsons

Photo credit: Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times.


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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.