Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Food on Film

Now streaming on Netflix: 'Chew on This' TED Talks

70230751Had enough of Food Network shows? Bored by yet another food-themed reality show? Here’s something that might tax your brain and intrigue you at the same time.

Now streaming on Netflix, a collection of TED talks gathered under the title “Chew on This.” They’ve put together 14 episodes, one as short as four minutes, most 15 minutes or so. Think of them as food shorts.

Talks include Dan Barber's (Blue Hill, NYC, and Blue Hill at Stone Barn) “How I Fell in Love With a Fish.” Mark Bittman lectures on “What’s Wrong With What We Eat,” while Ann Cooper, the "renegade lunch lady"  talks school lunches.

My interest tends more toward pizza-obsessed author Peter Reinhart on “Bread,” and maybe Dan Barber’s “Foie Gras Parable.”

I can see now, though, I'm not going to be able to wrest the remote control out of husband's hands until baseball season is over.  

Sorry, the talks are not available as DVDs, only the streaming format. 


Do cookbook editors hate Southern California?

A chef speaks out in favor of foie

The foie-gras-while-you-can-menu at Melisse 

-- S. Irene Virbila

Photo: Netflix

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.


Take a Bao opens in Studio City

Tar & Roses aims for December opening

Gearing up for "The Next Iron Chef"

--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

Caitlin Williams Freeman and SFMOMA's latest edible art offering

Zurier_Arabella-233x334Caitlin Williams Freeman is the in-house pastry chef at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's rooftop cafe. The former UC Santa Cruz photography student co-founded Miette. Then in 2001, in what she thought would be a temporary stint, she started making pastries for her husband James Freeman's Blue Bottle Coffee locations.

When his company landed a spot on SFMOMA's rooftop, Williams Freeman used the opportunity to channel her love for paintings and photography into her baking. Now the cookies and cakes available -- for visual and literal consumption -- at the coffee bar pay homage to artworks on view in the museum's galleries.

Constantly coming up with new ideas for art-inspired desserts, edible spinoffs have included a Katharina Fritsch ice cream sandwich, with poodle-shaped chocolate cookies sandwiching vanilla ice cream; a fudgsicle-take on Ellsworth Kelly's Stele I (located in the sculpture garden); and a Thiebaud cake inspired by the museum's large collection of Bay Area artist Wayne Thiebaud's paintings.

The latest addition to the menu is a popsicle created in reference to Santa Monica-born artist John Zurier's painting "Arabella," included in the "The More Things Change" exhibition, on view until Nov. 6. The popsicle, made of fresh spearmint ice milk and strawberry, costs $5 and will be available up until the exhibition's closing day.


The next dessert in the works will be ...

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Nigel Slater's 'Toast' coming to Nuart Theatre in October

Food writer and cook Nigel Slater's bestselling memoir Toast: The Story of a Boy's Hunger, an autobiographical account of his childhood told through food -- 1960s British food, that is -- was made into a film by Ruby Films for BBC1 in 2010, starring Helena Bonham-Carter and Freddie Highmore.

Clancy Sigal, who reviewed the book for the Los Angeles Times in 2004, says "I don't know when I laughed so hard at such a poignant story as Nigel Slater's boyhood.... Among its many delights, his memoir is an easily digestible lesson in how to let your stomach heal your hungry heart" (read the full review here).

The film will be showing at the Nuart Theatre for one week, starting on Oct. 7.

Nuart Theatre, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd., West L.A., (310) 281-8223, landmarktheatres.com.


Shin-Sen-Gumi to open in Little Tokyo

Atwater Crossing Kitchen to open for dinner

Pancake floor pillows

--Caitlin Keller

4 Food Events You Should Know About: Good Food Festival Film Series; Crepe Night at La Cachette; Eat Real Festival; Farmer's Dinner at Patina


Harry's Berries at Patina: On Wednesday, Patina will host an exclusive five-course vegetarian Farmer’s Dinner. The dinner will showcase seasonal produce from Harry's Berries, a 40-acre family-owned farm in Oxnard. Executive chef Tony Esnault will use summer ingredients in dishes to be served at the event,  including a chilled yellow tomato soup, stuffed zucchini blossoms, a seasonal glazed vegetable mosaic, poached duck egg, wild mushrooms and a dessert created with Harry's Berries strawberries. 141 S. Grand Ave., L.A., (213) 972-3331, patinarestaurant.com.

Food on film: On July 13, the Santa Monica Farmer's Market and Slow Food Los Angeles present the next installment of the Good Food Festival Film Series. At Santa Monica's Aero Theatre, two screenings will focus on food waste prevention. Director Jeremy Seifert's "Dive!," an American documentary, looks at the issue at home, where more than 250 million pounds of food goes to waste every day, while French New Wave pioneer Agnès Varda's "The Gleaners & I" focuses on the tradition of gleaning used for centuries in France, following both rural and urban scavengers. For tickets, go to fandango.com. 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica, (310) 260-1528, americancinemathequecalendar.com.

Crepes galore: Crepe night at La Cachette Bistro is every Wednesday. Prepared by crepe master Pierre-Lo, the menu changes from week to week but promises a selection of sweet and savory offerings. Get a classic Nutella and banana or go for the ham and cheese. 1733 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, (310) 434-9509, lacachettebistro.com.

Eat Real: In celebration of good food, the Eat Real Festival takes place July 16 and 17 at Helms Bakery in Culver City. Food skills, hands-on DIY demos and eats from popular food trucks and local restaurants are on the agenda at the two-day festival, which highlights local, sustainable ingredients. Activities include a cookbook swap July 17, a kimchi class with Lauryn Chun, an urban bee keeping demo, beer and wine gardens and a homemade goods competition. Entrance is free and all food at the festival costs $5 or less. 8800 Venice Blvd., L.A., eatrealfest.com.


'The Trip'

LAX eateries

Buffet it 

-- Caitlin Keller

Photo: Patinarestaurant.com

Food culture: 'The Trip' now playing


When asked by the Observer to tour the English countryside's finest restaurants, actor Steve Coogan brings along friend and "Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story" co-star Rob Brydon. Traveling through the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales with 10 restaurants on their itinerary, the comic duo constantly try to one-up each other with celebrity impersonations of Sean Connery, Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman and Anthony Hopkins, to name a few. Director Michael Winterbottom's largely improvised project makes for a witty film about food, friendship and the nature of comedy. Now playing at Landmark and Laemmle theater locations. 


Summer classes at Le Sanctuaire

Queen of guilt-free dining

Fire up the BBQ on Father's Day

--Caitlin Keller

'Bitter Feast' and sleepless nights for Mario Batali

Batali Here's a sneak peek at what's coming in this week's Food section:

Gina McIntyre interviews Mario Batali, the chef who turns up in a cameo role in the new low-budget satirical horror film "Bitter Feast," which was designed by writer-director and self-professed foodie Joe Maggio to send up the contemporary culinary culture. The movie, which premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June and heads to DVD this week, tells the story of Peter Gray (James LeGros), the chef at a new American eatery called Feast, who abducts a food blogger after he publishes a rumor that Gray's television show is about to be canceled.

Despite the untold hours that Batali had spent in front of the camera, he said he was quite nervous about acting — he's much more comfortable being himself on screen. "Generally, when I'm doing my shows, it's completely improvised so there's no way I can mess it up," he said. "The idea of having to nail three lines and eye contact and blocking and everything petrified me. For two days, I didn't sleep."

Read more: "Mario Batali: chef, movie star."

-- Gina McIntyre

Photo: Mario Batali. Credit: Mark Von Holden

Capturing that L.A. look in 'The Kids Are Allright'

The Venice family home where lesbian moms Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore) are raising their teenage kids in the new movie "The Kids Are All Right" is decorated with pages-from-a-catalog furniture and just a touch of earth-loving bohemianism, down to the Indonesian teak dining table and chairs in the kitchen, says production designer Julie Berghoff. Which is key, because much of the drama unfolds around eating -- and drinking. Read on at our Home blog about capturing the L.A. look.

Photo: Director Lisa Cholodenko, center, with actresses Mia Wasikowska, left, and Julianne Moore on the set of "The Kids Are Allright." Credit: Suzanne Tenner

The 'Eat, Pray, Love' trailer is here


The pie is divided three ways on "Eat, Pray, Love" -- you either love it, or you hate it, or you're a guy.

I fall into the first category. It's one of only a handful of books I've kept after reading. And I do not lend it out to anyone, for fear that I will not get it back. (And because I underlined passages and scribbled personal notes throughout.) Julia Roberts was, IMHO, the perfect casting choice for the movie. Check out the trailer. Can't wait!

-- Rene Lynch
On Twitter @renelynch

A real-life 'Princess' talks fat, segregation -- and shares a recipe for gumbo

Picnik collage Leah Chase’s philosophy is simple and delicious: “I always say we solve the problems of the world right here in this dining room over a bowl of gumbo.”

The 87-year-old Chase is a chef, author and TV personality nicknamed the Queen of Creole Cuisine whose popular New Orleans restaurant Dooky Chase has served up fried chicken, jambalaya and gumbo for more than 50 years. She's also the real-life inspiration for the Disney animated film "The Princess and the Frog," which arrives on DVD this week.

During the 1960s, Dooky Chase was a gathering place for members of the civil rights movement. Celebrities also have flocked to her restaurant. Even President Obama has dropped by. “I served him gumbo, and the first thing Mr. Obama did was put hot sauce in my gumbo. I said, ‘Mr. Obama, you don’t put hot sauce in my gumbo.' ”

John Musker and Ron Clements, who directed “The Princess and the Frog” -- a fairy tale set in 1920s New Orleans about a waitress who dreams of opening her own restaurant -- visited Dooky Chase when they were doing research for the film. They were immediately smitten. “The indomitable Leah Chase, who rose from waitress to owner and operator (with husband Dooky) ... was our inspiration for Tiana,” said the filmmakers in a statement. “We spent a wonderful evening with Leah at her restaurant, where we enjoyed not only her mouthwatering Creole cuisine, but her warmth as a she shared the story of her life and her philosophy of food bringing people together. She is one of America’s great ladies.”

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.