Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Food art

Royal/T in Culver City closes this month

Royal t 600

Royal/T, the Japanese maid cafe, eatery and art space in Culver City, is closing at the end of July.

Opened in 2007, Royal/T brought Los Angeles weekly Tokyo Nouveau Champagne brunches, waitresses dressed in playful maid uniforms and the cafe's signature milk tea, among many culinary- and art-related workshops, exhibitions and events.

The shop bids farewell with final events held at its space beginning this weekend. Saturday, from 10 a.m. to noon, Royal/T hosts a tea workshop with Paper Architect. Learn tips and tricks for planning an ultimate tea party from Nancy Caldwell while munching on an assortment of sandwiches, scones, desserts and freshly brewed tea. Purchase tickets online at www.royaltworkshop.eventbrite.com.

A closing brunch will mark the final cafe service at Royal/T on Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with live music featured throughout the afternoon. The cafe's last scheduled shindig is a pop-up dinner in collaboration with Cordero Negro from 6 to 9 p.m. July 26 and 27. The evening's 12-course tapas tasting menu is $45 per person and will include dishes like chorizo sausage with succotash and saffron corn veloute, herbed goat cheese, stuffed pequillo peppers with basil infused olive oil, and Spanish flan. Make reservations online at www.corderonegro.com/popup.

What's next? Royal/T's owner Susan Hancock plans to take the brand on the road with various events and pop-ups.

8910 Washington Blvd., Culver City, (310) 559-6300, royal-t.org.


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Photo: Royal/T storefront. Credit: Royal/T

Duff Goldman to open Cakemix on Melrose

Cakemix to open on MelroseDuff’s Cakemix is about to open on Melrose Avenue this week, a decorate-your-own cake shop from celeb baker Duff Goldman. (Think Color Me Mine or Build-A-Bear, but with cakes.) 

It's next door to Charm City Cakes West -- the L.A. outpost of the Baltimore bakery featured in the Food Network's reality-gateau show “Ace of Cakes” -- which isn't open to the public. 

Cakemix, on the other hand, is for anyone off the street who wants to go crazy with a pastry bag of buttercream. The shop also will sell whole already-decorated cakes, cakes by the slice and coffee. 

Would-be decorators get a baked cake with their choice of cake and frosting flavors. (It costs $36 for a 6-inch cake or $52 for a 9-incher; cupcakes are available, too.) Then have at it with buttercream, fondant, food coloring and sprinkles. Airbrush it in the "airbrush shower," even. 

“It’s for people who’ve never decorated a cake before and want to get creative,” Goldman says.

Click here to read more about Duff's Cakemix.  

Duff’s Cakemix, 8302 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 650-5555. 


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Photo: Duff Goldman cuts fondant to decorate a cake. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

Architectural cake-off at M&A in Silver Lake

M&AcakeoffExperimental architectural center Materials & Applications in Silver Lake is celebrating its 10th birthday with a cake-off. Fifteen Los Angeles-based architects and designers have been invited to create architectural birthday cakes. These will be raffled off at M&A's birthday party on Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m.

The designers contributing architectural cakes are: 

Predock Frane (Hadrian Predock); Chu + Gooding (Annie Chu); Escher GuneWardena Architecture (Frank Escher); Gensler (Ian McDuff); Deegan Day (Yo Oshima); Deutsch (Chris Becker); Patterns (Marcelo Spina and Georgina Huljich); Noah Riley Design; Warren Techenin; Barbara Bestor; MASS (Ana Henton with Sugarbird Sweets & Teas); Osborn (Michael Pinto); Modal Design (Daniel Monti); Taalman Koch; and Andy Goldman.

"It's our 10th birthday, we have to have cake at the party," says M&A founding director Jenna Didier. "One of our board of directors said, 'Let's have architects create cakes.' 

We just asked them to make sure the cake was a minimum of 10 inches by 10 inches and at maximum would still fit on the shelf of a refrigerator. People have taken liberties...."

The cake-off gala is an official event of Los Angeles Design Week and is a fund-raiser for M&A, a nonprofit organization that produces full-scale architectural installations. A bike tour of architectural gems around Silver Lake kicks off the days' festivities (register here: 10-year-bike-tour.eventbrite.com).

Funds raised by the raffle and bike tour will go to support future M&A projects in its open-to-the-public courtyard and in blighted urban sites targeted for the coming year. Admission is $10 and includes a raffle ticket to win a cake and gift certificates and gift baskets from local businesses.

The raffle will be emcee'd by musician and TV's "Lie To Me" star Brendan Hines. The CoolHaus ice cream truck will be selling its architectural-themed frozen sundries; 10% of proceeds will go to benefit M&A. 

1619 Silver Lake Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 913-0915, www.emanate.org. 


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Noma's Rene Redzepi and Lars Williams at UCLA

Redzepi2Nobody had expected to witness a few handfuls of crickets meet their death, shoved into a blender and whizzed up with mold-inoculated barley. But that, according to Noma chef Rene Redzepi and Nordic Food Lab research director Lars Williams, is how to make one version of a sauce known as garum

Along with cricket garum (which tastes like soy sauce) and fermented barley, Redzepi and Williams served seaweed ice cream, cucumber "spice" and carrot "vinegar" at a UCLA lecture titled “The Exploration of Deliciousness,” part of a course series on science and food. Deliciousness, Redzepi says, is the point of both Noma, the Copenhagen restaurant known as "the best restaurant in the world" thanks to an annual list published by S. Pellegrino, and the nonprofit research facility Nordic Food Lab.

But it is where and how Redzepi and Williams discover deliciousness that has drawn the attention of the culinary world -- amongst the sea arrowroot that grows along Danish beaches, the 125 types of horseradish in the Nordic region or its 263 varieties of seaweed, or ants that taste like kaffir lime leaf (yes, ants), for example.

"It's a difficult challenge to get excited about those ... so put it in something delicious," says Redzepi, who in fact does get excited about ingredients that are otherwise underutilized and overlooked. The man -- someone who mandates "the need to understand horseradish" -- waxes passionate about sea arrowroot: “I never would have dreamed that there was a plant that wasn’t coriander or even in the coriander family that tasted like coriander!”

Dried cucumber powder is an example of a variety of fruit and vegetable "spices" (the Nordic version of spice, anyway), dried at a certain temperature to achieve caramelization and heightened sweetness. "Vinegars" are made with kombucha -- "an extra live creature in the kitchen," notes Redzepi. Williams says microbes, including various fungi and bacteria, are big in the Noma kitchen. Lately, fermented peas have become "peas-o," their take on miso. "It's a working title," Redzepi says. 




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Photos: Betty Hallock/Los Angeles Times

The Art of Cooking at Royal/T opens Friday

"The Collectors" by Olaf Breuning
The Art of Cooking, curator Hanne Mugaas' food-and-art-themed exhibit, opens Friday at Royal/T, the 10,000-square-foot Culver City Japanese cosplay "maid" cafe and art space. On display will be abstract paintings, digital prints and fashion from artists who explore food in their work: Olaf Breuning, Jim Drain, Yoshitomo Nara and Lisa Sitko, to name a few. 

Artist Takeshi Murata's digital 3-D prints feature empty beer cans and fast-food cups. Viktor Kopp’s paintings focus on chocolate bars. Amy Yao shows clothing ornamented with hot dogs and bananas. Scott Reeder makes abstract paintings using raw and cooked spaghetti. And Kenny Scharf paints doughnuts floating in surreal skies. Performances include Charles Irvin's "Fantasy Sandwich" and Tyson Reeder's "Egg Fugue."

The show will be on display through Aug. 1. 8910 Washington Blvd., Culver City, (310) 559-6300, www.royal-t.org.  


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Photo: "The Collectors" by Olaf Breuning. Credit: Royal/T

For the opening of MOCA's 'AV Club,' pupusas by Roy Choi


"Transmission LA:AV Club," curated by the Beastie Boys' Mike D, opens today at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA downtown. It's a 17-day festival of art, design, music, film and food, featuring exhibits, concerts (Santigold, Diplo), even an interactive coffee bar. And listed among the participating artists -- which include Mike Mills, Peter Coffin and Takeshi Murata -- is Kogi's Roy Choi. For each week of the festival Choi's creating a new dish, to be served from a Kogi truck parked outside the Geffen on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. 

This week it's Choi's version of pupusas. There's one topped with tofu, fried egg and a 35-ingredient salsa (a work in progress, says Choi), served with a salad of mint, pickled ramps, pickled strawberries and asparagus. A "PBJ" pupusa is topped with peanut butter, salsa and pickled strawberries. Mike D's a vegetarian, "so it's my present to him," Choi says.

Kogi at the Geffen: Fridays April 20, April 27 and May 5, dinner 6 to 10 p.m.; Thursdays and Saturdays, April 21, April 26, April 28, May 3 and May 5, lunch 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner 6 to 10 p.m. For more information about "Transmission LA:AV Club," see www.theavantgardediaries.com

Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, 152 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles, www.moca.org.



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Photos: Top, Roy Choi, far left, and Mike D, far right, discuss pupusas with a Canadian television show host. Bottom, pupusa with egg, tofu and salsa. Credit: Betty Hallock/Los Angeles Times

More photos after the jump.

Continue reading »

The plein-air plate: Monet at the Royce in Pasadena


Painter Claude Monet may best be known as a founder of the Impressionist art movement, but the Frenchman was also a serious gourmand. The Royce restaurant at the Langham Huntington hotel in Pasadena created a special lunch inspired by Claude Monet on Saturday -- one of a few experiential meals the storied hotel has hosted lately, including a foie gras dinner last month with D’Artagnan owner Ariane Daguin. Next at the Royce will be "Gastronomy in the Garden" in August, an outdoor dinner in the chef's organic garden.

On Saturday, chef David Féau created four courses inspired by and dedicated to the life and work of the painter. Artist Nori Green, whose tapestries are on display at the Royce, started the afternoon with a lecture on Monet's life at Giverny, relaying anecdotes of his famous lunches, where "Monet was the only one allowed to cut the meat."

Féau's "Green on Green" (pictured above) was an homage to Monet's "The Waterlily Pond: Green Harmony," 1899, with legumes, peas, flowers and a dark sauce made of kale and a lighter sauce made of asparagus. The thin spears of asparagus were arranged to resemble the bridge in the painting.

The Royce at the Langham Huntington, 1401 S. Oak Knoll Ave., Pasadena, (626) 568-3900.


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Photo: Chef David Féau's "Green on Green." Credit: The Royce at the Langham Huntington.

Lunch with David Gelb, director of 'Jiro Dreams of Sushi'

"I'm not an expert at making sushi," says David Gelb, with a pair of chopsticks poised above a plate of tuna sashimi at Sugarfish by Sushi Nozawa downtown, "but I'm an expert at eating sushi." 

After filming 150 hours of footage at Sukiyabashi Jiro, the famed Michelin three-star sushi bar in Tokyo's Ginza district, the 28-year-old director of the documentary "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" knows a thing or two about nigiri and maki. "I like that the seaweed here is crispy," he says of a toro hand roll, into which he deftly pours a drop or two of soy sauce. 

Gelb's film is set to premiere in Los Angeles on Friday, and he has just returned from its debut in New York. The movie, which showed at last year's Tribeca Film Festival and was bought by Magnolia Pictures, has captured the attention of more than just food lovers, as Gelb has been talking up sushi-porn scenes and the importance of rice preparation on the media circuit. Naturally, the fooderati are drooling.

"I think I was lucky," says Gelb, dressed in a black T-shirt and bright blue Adidas sneakers. "Part of it is that there hasn't been a film about this level of sushi." Although reviews have been mixed, he says the goal was to film something "restrained and elegant" instead of relying on the "reality show kind of camera" usually aimed at food and cooking subjects. "I wanted to show sushi as an art form."

Continue reading »

5 Food Events: Moveable Feasts; HopHead Heaven; Can You Dig It?

Food events in Southern California

Moveable Feasts: The Los Angeles Nomadic Division hosts its second Moveable Feasts dinner on Feb. 19. Last month, the dinner was held at Lucques and this month it will take place at Soho House in West Hollywood. This month's event honors Andrea Bowers, an L.A.-based multimedia artist and activist whose work makes political statements by focusing on social issues. Tickets are $200 per person and includes a three-course dinner with wine as well as a special, artist-designed object. RSVP by contacting [email protected] 9200 Sunset Blvd., L.A., (310) 432-9200, sohohousewh.com.

HopHead Heaven: Library Alehouse in Santa Monica is celebrating local bitterness with an 11-day fest featuring hoppy brews from Southern California. The alehouse will be pouring beers like Eagle Rock Populist, Bootlegger’s Knuckle Sandwich, El Segundo Blue House Citra Pale, Smog City IPA, Ladyface IPA and Golden Road Point the Way IPA, among others. Small bites like street tacos, sriracha honey wings and habanero shrimp ceviche will be available to pair. 2911 Main St., Santa Monica, (310) 314-4855, libraryalehouse.com.

Can You Dig It? On Feb. 24, M.B. Post's chef David LeFevre is kicking off a quarterly series where he'll be hosting a guest chef and featured farmer. The program will feature a three-course meal of small plates at $65 per person with optional wine pairing. For the inaugural event, LeFevre is hosting chef Giuseppe Tentori of Boka and GT Fish & Oyster in Chicago to highlight produce from Maryann Carpenter of Coastal Farms in Santa Paula. 1142 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach, (310) 545-5405, eatmbpost.com.

Colman Andrews dinner: Brentwood's Farmshop is hosting a four-course dinner on Feb. 28 with dishes from "The Country Cooking of Italy" by Colman Andrews. Andrews, co-founder of Saveur magazine and the recipient of eight James Beard Awards, will be present at the event to sign copies and discuss his latest release. The event costs $90 per person and includes dinner and a signed copy of the book. 225 26th St., Ste. 25, Santa Monica, (310) 566-2400, farmshopla.com.

Zinfandel Festival Paso Robles: Paso Robles is hosting the 2012 Zinfandel Festival March 16 to 18. The festival turns 20 this year and will celebrate with barrel tastings, winemaker dinners and vineyard tours throughout the weekend featuring Zinfandel blends from more than 150 wineries. See pasowine.com.


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Photo: Cous cous from Manhattan Beach Post. Credit: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times

Culinary workshop on Gothic desserts at the Getty in March

GettyOn March 1 and 2, Getty Center educators Nancy Real and Robin Trento are leading a culinary course that explores the world of Gothic art and cuisine.

The group of 20 participants will tour the exhibition "Gothic Grandeur: Manuscript Illumination, 1200–1350," with their hosts before preparing desserts similar to those found in the medieval courts of Europe.

Real and Trento are incorporating recipes to enrich the historical components of the course and will discuss Gothic history that influenced the time period's desserts, such as the uses of spices and sugar. Panforte di Siena, for example, contains cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper, evidence of the Arab countries' influence on European cuisine because of the use of spices.

After the tour, the class will retreat to the Getty's private dining room, where participants, with the help of their instructors, will prepare desserts representative of the period and countries of origin of the manuscripts featured in the exhibition, such as lavender pudding from England, krapfen from Germany, torta bonissima and panforte di Siena from Italy, marzipan from Spain and pignolat from France.

The workshop is $75 per person.

1200 Getty Center Drive, L.A., (310) 440-7300, www.getty.edu.

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Image: "The Dragon Pursues the Woman Clothed in the Sun Who Receives the Wings of an Eagle," about 1255-1260. Credit: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. Ludwig III 1, fol. 21v


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