Daily Dish

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Category: Food Holidays

Thanksgiving 2011: Restaurant roundup

Turkey 600

Thanksgiving draws near and if you're suddenly panicking about preparing the meal of the year, you have options. There's no shortage of restaurants that will be cooking up delectable feasts -- both traditional and wildly creative -- to help you and your family get through the holiday in style. Below is a list of choices.

Bouchon Bakery: Bouchon's recently added bakery, in the first-floor lobby of the Beverly Hills bistro, is lending a helping hand to those making meals at home this year with desserts and breads available for purchase. Apple, pumpkin and pecan pies as well as pumpkin cream cheese macaroons, turkey-shaped shortbread and cornbread will be available for pickup Nov. 14-24. 235 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, (310) 271-9910 ext. 621, bouchonbakery.com.

Cafe del Rey: Celebrate your Thanksgiving by the sea with Cafe Del Rey’s three-course menu, served from 1 to 8 p.m. Select from an assortment of dishes including butternut squash and burrata agnolotti; free-range turkey breast with duck sausage, haricot vert almondine, cranberry sauce and pan gravy; or go the nontraditional route of pan-seared Maine scallops with cauliflower puree, corn succotash and warm pancetta vinaigrette. The Thanksgiving menu is available for $55 per person, with a kids menu for $18. 4451 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey, (310) 823-6395, www.cafedelreymarina.com.

Cecconi’s: Cecconi’s is serving a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for $45 per person (children 10 and under $25) beginning at 2 p.m. Diners will feast on turkey, gravy, seasonal vegetables and mashed potatoes garnished with truffles. There will also be an additional fall-inspired menu offering butternut squash tortelli with amaretti crumble; butternut squash and Gorgonzola pizza with shaved black truffles; and ricotta and pumpkin cake. 8764 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (310)-432-2000, www.cecconiswesthollywood.com.

Cleo at The Redbury:  For $65 per person ($32 for kids ages 5 to 12, free for kids under 5), Cleo restaurant is serving "Cleopatra’s Feast" for Thanksgiving.  Chef Danny Elmaleh has prepared a family style menu featuring roasted Brussels sprout hearts; pumpkin salad; za’atar; preserved lemon- roasted turkey with apple cider gravy; and a dessert platter.  Seatings will be at 1, 3, 5 and 7 p.m. Reservations can be made at www.sbe.com/cleo or by calling 323-962-1711. 1717 Vine St. (at the corner of Hollywood and Vine, next to Bardot), Hollywood.

Plenty more options after the jump!

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The Sweet Tooth: Fall treats, L.A.-made

Compartes Chocolatier's spicy Mexican hot chocolate skull popsForget the bagged Halloween candy. Get your sugar fix with these seasonal sweets, all handcrafted in Los Angeles:

Compartes Chocolatier's spicy Mexican hot chocolate skull pops are made from single-origin dark chocolate and infused with spices like cayenne and cinnamon. The pops, hand-painted with gold glitter, cost $5 and can be purchased at the chocolatier's Brentwood location. 912 S. Barrington Ave., Los Angeles, (310) 826-3380, compartes.com.

Pasadena artisan creamery Carmela is making batches of pumpkin spice ice cream, currently on the farmers market-inspired menu. Co-founder Jessica Mortarotti suggests serving the ice cream as a float with a good spicy ginger beer (see below). 2495 E. Washington Blvd., Pasadena, (626) 797-1405, carmelaicecream.com

Pasadena artisan creamery Carmela is making batches of pumpkin spice ice creamI Heart Pies is a Los Angeles-based pie company specializing in sweet and savory pies made with simple, fresh ingredients. In addition to the traditional pumpkin and pecan pies, its fall offerings include playful flavors such as purple forest pie, made with Dutch spice cookies and black currants, and cracker jack pie with a rich, salted caramel mousse, a layer of peanuts and chocolate mousse in a cookie crust. Pie prices are $16 to $25 and can be purchased at the North Hollywood farmers market on Saturdays or online at iheartpies.com.

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-- Caitlin Keller

Photo credits: Compartes (top) and Jessica Mortarotti (bottom)

Dia de Los Muertos 2011 at Hollywood Forever

Day of the dead 600

On Oct. 22 L.A.'s "Dia de Los Muertos" -- a.k.a Day of the Dead -- will be celebrated at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Throughout the cemetery's grounds, traditions such as sacred ceremonial tributes and altar creations will pay homage to beloved, departed souls.

EnchiladasAnd expect Mexican food, lots of it. Mexican eats -- tamales, sopes, enchiladas, tacos, tostadas, champurrado and more -- will be available from an array of vendors including restaurants like La Parrilla in West Covina, praised for their corn tamales and potato sopes.

Gates open at 12 p.m. and close at 12 a.m. Check out ladayofthedead.com for event details. [UPDATED: An earlier version of this story said Hollywood Forever was the only cemetary to host a Day of the Dead celebration; there are others.)

6000 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A., hollywoodforever.com.

ALSO:

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--Caitlin Keller

Top photo credit: Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times

Bottom photo credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

Keeping cool in L.A.: Today is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day

Ice Cream Sand600

Whether part of the food truck scene or as a creamery's menu staple, ice cream sandwiches are a frozen treat geniusly invented to get the best of both worlds -- cookies and ice cream -- in the realm of sweets. Angelenos can get their fix from local producers with flavors, from classic to wacky, to satisfy a spectrum of cravings during summer's warm months. Or, as it so happens, on National Ice Cream Sandwich Day.

Beachy Cream: Made in small batches with local and organic ingredients, Beachy Cream’s ice cream sandwiches are made with a spin on names and flavors sure to fit the SoCal scene: Key Lime Cowabunga, Strawberry Surfer Girl, Surfin' Safari Chocolate Chip and Ginger Wipe Out. These tasty treats can be found on the streets of Malibu, at select stores and online. Beachycream.com

Father's Office: A recent addition to the menu, ice cream sandwiches are now offered at the Culver City location. Creations include the hazelnut and foie gras ice cream on oatmeal cookies and the buttermilk ice cream and raspberry sorbet on lemon shortbread. 3229 Helms Ave., L.A., (310) 736-2224, fathersoffice.com

MILK: The brightly colored sandwiches are made of fresh macarons and ice cream flavors such as grasshopper (mint chip), Thai tea, rocky road, coffee toffee and red velvet. 7290 Beverly Blvd., L.A., (323) 939-6455, themilkshop.com

Sweet Rose Creamery: Located in the Brentwood Country Mart, the shop bakes its cookies on site daily, and ice cream flavors change regularly in accordance with what's in season at the farmers market. Classics include fresh mint with homemade chocolate chip and salted caramel while August's ice cream flavors include melon, summer corn, peaches 'n' cream and watermelon granita, among others. 225 26th St., Ste. 51, Santa Monica, (310) 260-2663, sweetrosecreamery.com.

More after the jump:

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Father's Day dining guide 2011

Chixsandwich
Every May, moms are showered with Champagne brunches. Once Father's Day rolls around, dads should get to indulge gastronomically too, and we're not talking chocolate-covered strawberries. Sure, golf, a Dodgers game, a hike, even fishing are all nice gestures.... But we're thinking beer, burgers and such.

Susan Feniger's Street: After the eatery ran it as a special on the lunch menu at the request of a regular, the burger’s success landed it a permanent spot on the menu. Made with all-natural Angus beef, Vermont white cheddar, homemade pickles and yuzu kosho sauce, the Brioche Cheeseburger is a burger lover's burger especially when paired with the Ridge Zinfandel, the Godfather cocktail (Jameson Irish whiskey, Maker's Mark and amaretto liqueur) or the Lost Coast Downtown Brown, with aromas of roasted malt and cocoa. 742 N. Highland Ave., L.A., 323-203-0500; eatatstreet.com.

Bouchon Bouchon: Ground in-house by Bouchon's very own butcher, the beef patty is made of chuck, sirloin and brisket. It's served on a brioche bun with aged cheddar from Hudson Valley, New York; butter pickles; bibb lettuce and heirloom tomatoes. Le Burger Bouchon is great paired with the restaurant's specially crafted beers: The Blue Apron by Brooklyn Brewery is a heavier and fuller-bodied Belgian ale while the White Apron by the Russian River Brewing Co. is a lighter, crisp pilsner. 235 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-271-9910; bouchonbistro.com.

Drago: In honor of pops, the Santa Monica flagship is pairing its pints with a five-course pork tasting menu. A menu consisting of head cheese, pig trotter croquettes and pork belly displays snout-to-tail utilization in full effect. Optional beer pairings for the "Festa del Papa" include the Ommegang Abbey Ale and Ayinger Brewery's Celebrator Doppelbock. 2628 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-828-1585; celestinodrago.com.

A-Frame: Chef Roy Choi created the Double Cheeseburger in homage to the Korean-owned burger stands scattered throughout South L.A. Inside its toasted brioche bun, the thin salt-and-peppered patty is topped with white cheddar, tomato confit and pickled red onion. A single splash of Tapatio is what makes this burger a true West Coast staple. Suggested pairings are a Dogfish IPA or a Hitachino Nest beer. 12565 Washington Blvd., L.A., 310-398-7700; aframela.com.

Salt's Cure Salt’s Cure: Free-range and grass-fed, the house blend of Santa Barbara beef is sandwiched in a perfectly toasted poppy seed bun. Wagon Wheel Cheese from Cowgirl Creamery and house-cured bacon from Tamworth pigs get nice and cozy with the 7-ounce patty, making for quite the mouth-watering burger. 7494 Santa Monica Blvd., WeHo, 323-850-7258; saltscure.com.

Son of a Gun: So it's not a burger, but the fried chicken sandwich from Son on a Gun is not to be missed. With a spicy b&b pickle slaw and rooster aioli, chef Vinny Dotolo’s inspiration for the sandwich stems from Bakesale Betty's, Chick-Fil-A and McDonald's. Best paired with Mama's Little Yella Pils, Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale or try the Hopf Helle Weisse. 8370 W. 3rd St., L.A., 323-782-9033; sonofagunrestaurant.com.

Rustic Canyon Wine Bar: Comprising distinct flavors -– sharp cheddar, onion fondue, bread and butter pickles and an herb remoulade -– the Niman Ranch Burger is a complete burger eating affair with hand-cut French fries. The seasonal kitchen recommends pairing the medium-rare patty with Reissdorf Kolsch, a light and refreshing German beer from Cologne, a strongly hopped amber ale like Red Seal Ale from North Coast Brewing Co. or the Orval Trappiste Ale, a longer roasted and therefore very rich Belgian ale (made by monks, no less). 1119 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-393-7050; rusticcanyonwinebar.com.

--Caitlin Keller

Top photo: fried chicken sandwich

Credit: Son of a Gun restaurant

Your Mother's Day dining guide [Updated]

Eggs 
Mother's Day is coming up: It's May 8. Here's a look at some restaurants and bakeries offering up Mother's Day specials in and around Los Angeles. Please let us now in the comments section below if we've missed any, and we'll continue to update this list:

Continue reading »

Celebrating Purim and Esther, the vegetarian queen

Hamantashen 

The joyous festival of Purim, which begins Saturday night, commemorates the deliverance of the Jews of ancient Persia from danger. So why not celebrate with a menu that honors those roots? Read more in this week's Food section story by Faye Levy about a Middle Eastern vegetarian feast that's fit for a queen: Queen Esther.

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--Party like it's Purim

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--L.A. Times Test Kitchen tip: Cleaning mushrooms

Photo: Hamantaschen with poppyseed filling. Credit: Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times

How about a slice of pie for National Pi Day?

Boysenberry
It's March 14 -- National Pi Day, a day to celebrate the number that is beloved by math geeks and wizards the world over: 3.14.

For those of you who, like me, doodled during math class, here's a refresher: Pi represents the relationship between a circle's diameter (its width) and its circumference (the distance around the circle). And I know this because that's what I read over at PiDay.org, the website dedicated to this numerical phenomenon.

I also know this: You can celebrate National Pi Day with a slice of pie. How about this beauty from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen: Boysenberry-Strawberry glazed Pi...er, I mean Pie.

If you know any bakeries or restaurants celebrating with great deals on pies or desserts, let us know in the comments section below.

RELATED:

--More pie and fruit desserts from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen

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-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

Happy Mardi Gras 2011! Eat, drink and be merry this Fat Tuesday

King-cake 
Mardi Gras 2011 has been a celebration of excess, but it's not over yet. You have one more day -- Fat Tuesday -- to party hard before the clock strikes midnight.

So show us your beads!

Fat Tuesday is also known by another nickname, Pancake Day. That's a reference to clearning out the cupboards of goodies like sugar and eggs before the fasting begins. And what do you make with sugar and eggs? Pancakes and cakes. Above, we've got a king cake decked out with Mardi Gras beads courtesy of Times Test Kitchen Manager Noelle Carter. Here, she shares a recipe from her personal files.
 
Why does all this merriment come to a crashing halt at midnight Tuesday? 'Cause that's when Lent, and the traditional fasting, begins.

Nola.com has plenty of New Orleans coverage, including lots of Mardi Gras parade pictures. Enjoy!

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--Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo credit: Noelle Carter

New Year's listings update: Family style at Rustic Canyon, and more

 Rustic Canyon

Rustic Canyon, a Santa Monica neighborhood favorite, is giving family and friends reason to rejoice for 2011 with a special farmers market-driven menu. Served family style, the dinner consists of eight selections showcasing Santa Monica farmers market produce, such as a winter vegetable panzanella with burrata cheese and salsa verde, braised short ribs with Brussels sprouts and pancetta, and an apple quince crostata. Share and share alike.  

1199 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; (310) 393-7050; www.rusticcanyonwinebar.com.

SEE OUR UPDATED LISTING OF NEW YEAR'S EVE DINING OUT OPTIONS.

-- Max Diamond

Photo: Rustic Canyon chef Evan Funke, left, at the Santa Monica farmers market. Credit: David Karp/For The Times.

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.