Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Fast food

Meet the new Burger King bacon sundae

BK-Bacon-Sundae

How do you up the classic ice cream sundae made with vanilla ice cream and swirls of hot fudge and caramel? Maybe rainbow sprinkles? If you're Burger King, you add bacon.

The fast food restaurant chain has launched a  limited-edition summer menu, and the star of its lineup of summer barbecue-inspired burgers and fries is none other than a bacon sundae. The new dessert features vanilla BK soft serve, chocolate fudge, caramel and bacon crumbles. If that's not enough bacon for you, the sundae is garnished with a piece of thick-cut hardwood-smoked bacon for dipping.

The rest of the menu reads like the chalkboard at a barbecue restaurant you'd find somewhere in the South, with items such as the Memphis pulled-pork sandwich, Carolina barbecue sandwiches, Texas barbecue sandwiches, frozen lemonade and sweet potato fries.

The sundae and the rest of the menu are available starting this week at participating Burger King locations.

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-- Jenn Harris

twitter.com/jenn_harris

Photo: Bacon sundae from Burger King. Credit: Noel Barnhurst / Burger King / Associated Press.

Food Events: Homebrewing demo; sweets from the Regency era; 'Fast Food Nation' lecture

Eagle rock 600

Homebrew demo: This Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., learn how to make your own beer at Eagle Rock Brewery. Spruce up your brewing skills and acquire new techniques and recipes as co-owner and brewer Steve Raub demonstrates homebrewing with his very own Full Moon Bock. The cost is $10 per person and includes lunch and a pint of one of Eagle Rock Brewery's house beers. 3056 Roswell St., L.A., (323) 257-7866, eaglerockbrewery.com.

Bride-cake and apple tarts: On Nov. 12, author and Jane Austen expert Kirstin Olsen will lead a discussion on cakes and pies in the Regency era at the Los Angeles Public Library. Presented by the Culinary Historians of Southern California, Olsen will address sweet and savory pies, in addition to the "bride-cake" mentioned in "Emma," with recipes for dishes from the 1800s provided. The event begins at 10:30 a.m. and admission is free. 630 W. 5th St., L.A., (213) 228-7000, lapl.org

Fast foodFast food, revisited: "Fast Food Nation" author Eric Schlosser visits L.A. on Nov. 17 to lecture on "Fast Food Nation Revisited: The Link Between Food Justice, Worker Justice, and Immigrant Justice" at Occidental College. The event is free and open to the public but an advance registration is requested. The lecture starts at 6 p.m. 1600 Campus Rd., L.A., (323) 259-2500, oxy.edu.

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Take a Bao opens in Studio City

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--Caitlin Keller

Photo, top: Craft beer at Eagle Rock Brewery. Credit: Krista Simmons / Los Angeles Times

Photo, lower: Props for restaurant chain Mickey's Burgers in "Fast Food Nation." Credit: Matt Lankes / Recorded Picture Company

Take a Bao opens in Studio City

BaoTake a Bao's newest addition on Ventura Boulevard is now open. After opening the fast casual restaurant in the Century City Westfield mall three years ago, the trio of owners decided to expand with a second location in Studio City.

In conjunction with American tastes and French technique, chef Gavin Portsmouth's Asian-inspired menu explores dishes from all over Asia. There are traditional Chinese steamed, filled bao buns (made in the San Gabriel Valley), fresh noodles, local produce and all-natural meats.

The buns are rolled out flat and then stuffed with various fillings such as duck confit, fried chicken and slaw or a Korean barbecue short rib. Besides the eatery's bao, other offerings include salads, noodles such as the "drunken tomato tamarind" and rice bowls. With a locally sourced menu, the restaurant's desserts come from Milk on Beverly Boulevard while Silver Lake's LA Mill supplies its coffees and teas. Rumor has it, the chocolate s'more bao is a crowd pleaser, but there are others in case marshmallows aren't your "thing": a banana Nutella bao, a beer float and a macaron ice cream sandwich made the cut-off too.

11838 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, (818) 691-7223, takeabao.com.

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-- Caitlin Keller

Photo credit: Mieko Takechi Arquillos

McDonald's McRib sandwich is back

McDonald's McRib is back on the menu

The McRib pork sandwich returns to McDonald's menu again this year. The health-conscious are appalled (it has 500 calories, 26 grams of fat and 980 milligrams of sodium, according to a Reuters story), but McRib fans are ecstatic. It seems the barbecue-sauce-smeared boneless pork patty molded into the shape of ribs just can't stay away — remember the 2005 "McRib Farewell Tour"?  

Last year the McRib returned to McDonald's nationally for the first time in 16 years, and the company's sales rose 4.8% in November.  

This year it's available at all McDonald's locations through Nov. 14. Read Twitter reactions to the McRib at Money & Co

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Photo: The McRib. Credit: McDonald's

More musings on deep-fried butter

DeepfriedA writer from the Health section -- yes, Health -- goes to the Orange County Fair for more than funnel cakes: 

Let's face it -- going to a county fair is like getting a free pass to junk food land. All bets are off, and no one gives you the admonishing finger if you follow a platter-size funnel cake with a deep-fried Oreo chaser. In fact, while carrying around the deep-fried butter I was bestowed admiring glances from other fair-goers. You have to love a place that offers something called a "Coronary Combo" of deep-fried butter and chocolate covered bacon.

Of course, eating the artery-clogging treat (and the rest of the stuff I'll tell you about in a minute) was all done in the name of journalistic investigation. Or something. I was here to find out if fair foods are all they're cracked up to be. Are they really worth the calories and the extra hit of Metformin, even if it's a once-a-year thing?

Click here for more. 

See next Monday's Health section focusing on dining out. What if chefs could trim up to 25% of the calories from their dishes without sacrificing taste?  The L.A. Times asked chefs from local restaurants Ammo,  Melisse and Street to see if they could trim up to 25% of the calories from their dishes without sacrificing taste. Also: restaurant letter health grades deconstructed and a look at a new healthy fast-food restaurant chain created by former McDonald’s executives.     

Photo: Deep-fried butter with whipped cream. Credit: Jeannine Stein/Los Angeles Times.

Restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila finds 'The Obama' pizza in Paris

Meg1 When I was in Paris last month, I arrived on the same day the collaborative Paris food blog Paris by Mouth was celebrating its first anniversary. The picnic was at Canal St. Martin in the 10th arrondissement, a couple of blocks, as it turns out, from my hotel.

Jet lag hadn’t clobbered me yet, so I ambled over for the festivities, where I met the blog’s founder and co-editor, Meg Zimbeck, and her co-editor, Barbra Austin (wearing a paper crown for the occasion). Pastry chef and food blogger extraordinaire David Lebovitz was in attendance. Cookbook author Dorie Greenspan showed up wearing some quirky eyeglasses. And a little later,  Patricia Wells joined the group and poured some of the quite delicious Côtes-du-Rhône made on her Chanteduc estate in Provence. She was in town to work on an app for her early book "Food Lover’s Guide to Paris." I also met food writer Jane Segal, who was once Wells’ assistant in Paris. We all sat (or stood) by the canal, talking and enjoying the beautiful day.

At a certain point, Meg ordered pizza from Pink Flamingo Pizza, specifically “the Canal1 (1 of 1) Obama,” which has bacon and pineapple chutney (for Hawaii) on top. Actually, the combination is fun, especially on the thin crust made with organic flour and good sea salt. And -- get this -- the pie was delivered right to the picnic site.

Here’s Meg showing off “the Obama.” And here’s a link to her earlier blog post about the pizzas. It turns out it’s standard practice for the pizzeria to deliver to Canal St. Martin. Who knew? On warm evenings, the banks are lined with neighborhood folks enjoying an impromptu pique-nique with wine. If only I could get Stella Rossa Pizza Bar or Sotto or the new Pizzeria il Fico to deliver to the beach! 

Looking for a budget meal in Paris? This is it.

Pink Flamingo Pizza, 7 rue Bichat, 10th arrondissement, Paris; 011-33/1-42-02-31-70; Métro Jacques Bonsergent. Closed Monday.

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-- S. Irene Virbila

Follow me on twitter.com/sirenevirbila

Photo credit: S. Irene Virbila / Los Angeles Times

 

Chick-Fil-A declares Cow Appreciation Day 2011: Get your free meal on

Chick-Fil-A declares Cow Appreciation Day. Wear a cow costumeget a free meal.

Cow_appreciation_Day_Chick-Fil-A

Chick-Fil-A restaurants nationwide are handing out free meals and entrees Friday. But there's a catch: You'll have to dress up like a cow in honor of Cow Appreciation Day. You can locate your local Chick-Fil-A here:

If you dress partially like a cow -- maybe tack on some udders, or pin on some construction paper spots? -- it will earn you a free entree item. But if you dress head to hoof and saunter up to the counter, it will get you a full free meal. Same goes for calves, er, I mean kids.

It's the latest publicity campaign for the fast-food chain that's all about chicken. (Its mascot is a cow urging you to -- of course -- eat more white meat.) The gambit seems to be working: The Internet has been buzzing about the free food offer for hours.

Do you have a leftover cow costume from Halloween's past? And if you did, would you be brave enough to walk into a Chick-Fil-A store wearing it? If you answered in the affirmative, then you'll want to get in on this action too: Take a picture and submit it. The fast-food chain will be handing out free meals as part of a photo contest.

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Twitter.com /renelynch 

El Pollo Loco is feeling the heat

Pollo
Apparently, people aren't so crazy about the chicken anymore. So El Pollo Loco is trying to reinvent itself. As The Times' Sharon Bernstein reports in the Business section, other "fast casual" places have supplanted it, relegating it to the realm of "fast food." Didn't know there was a difference? There's a lot of interesting background on this underreported industry. Among the features being considered:

It has dropped slow-selling items like steak tacos and tried to create buzz with a limited-time offering of fish tacos. New side dishes meant to appeal to more upscale consumers include sweet-potato fries, sweet corn cakes and grilled cut corn.

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-- Russ Parsons

Photo credit: Mariah Tauger/ Los Angeles Times

Lawmakers unhappy over 'Happy Meal' lobbying

Happy_meal 
The restaurant industry is quietly — and successfully — fighting back against the enactment of so-called Happy Meal bans, which forbid restaurants like McDonald's to hand out toys with children's meals that are high in calories.

Moving under the radar so stealthily that in some cases local politicians and anti-obesity activists missed it entirely, lobbyists in Florida and Arizona backed successful efforts to take away the power to enact such bans from cities and counties. In Nebraska, a proposed statewide Happy Meal ban died in February, even before its first legislative committee hearing. Read more in today's Business section:

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File photo: A Happy Meal box and toy. (Jeff Chiu / AP Photo / October 2, 2010)

 

Brace yourself for a hike in fast-food costs

Mcdonalds 
You're going to have to fork over more money for that burger.

McDonald's Corp. is looking to increase the price of some menu items as it tries to deal with the rising cost of beef and other ingredients.

And the home of the Golden Arches i not alone. The restaurant industry is expected to raise prices in the face of rising commodity costs, and grocery stores began raising prices last year. Click here to read more on rising food prices.

What do you think about McDonald's and others raising prices? Are you surprised? And are you prepared to pay more?

-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Karen Bleier / AFP/Getty Images

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.