Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Food Network

Small Bites: Fuego opens in Long Beach, Sol Cocina opens in Newport Beach, Debbie Lee at Gyenari, the new lunch menu at Water Grill


"Latin coastal" in Long Beach: Fuego restaurant is now open in the new Hotel Maya in Long Beach, with a menu that's "coastal Latin American." The executive chef is Jesse Perez. The indoor-outdoor dining room overlooks the waterfront of Long Beach, with 360-degree views. On the menu: shrimp ceviche with chile roja; duck al pastor tacos; chile relleño with pork carnitas; Yucatan-style pork “two ways"; and ancho chile grilled rib eye. Tequila tastings are delivered on a vintage dumb waiter to guests seated in the lower bar area (where there are leather and mohair tequila chairs). Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Hotel Maya, 700 Queensway Drive, Long Beach, (562) 481-3910, www.fuegolongbeach.com.

"Baja-inspired" in Newport Beach: SOL Cocina restaurant and bar has opened on Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach. Executive chef Deborah Schneider is serving "Baja-inspired" dishes such as sauteed tangerine shrimp, mango-lobster tostadas, and ceviches, as well kurobuta pork carnitas and buttered tequila-steamed clams. The bar stocks more than 50 varieties of tequilas and mezcals. 251 Pacific Coast Highway, Newport Beach, www.solcocina.com.

Debbie does Gyenari: The judges on "The Next Food Network Star" raved about Debbie Lee's cooking. If you want to find out what the fuss was all about, you might want to try Gyenari in Culver City, which bills itself as an "upscale Korean BBQ destination." Lee, a Los Angeles-based restaurant consultant who made it to the final three of the Food Network competition, has revamped Gyenari's menu. Lee calls her style "Seoul to Soul," in homage to her unconventional upbringing: Her parents were Korean immigrants who settled in the South. Lee was raised on collard greens and fried chicken, and wasn't introduced to Korean food until she was well into her teens. Now, she puts a Korean spin on traditional Southern fare. On the menu at Gyenari: a SeoulTown Po' Boy made with sesame shrimp tempura, cilantro slaw and chile tomatoes; a crispy chile-crusted snapper with soy bean succotash and twice-fried pork belly; and pan-seared pork chops with Fuji apple gravy and kimchee smashed potatoes. 9540 Culver Blvd., Culver City, (310) 838-3131, www.gyenari.com.

New lunch menu at Water Grill: Chef David Lefevre has unveiled a new lunch menu, with salads such as Sea of Cortez white shrimp Caesar salad and sandwiches such as albacore tuna confit and lobster roll. Entrees include Cedar Key clam and sweet corn orechiette with Niman Ranch bacon and sweet basil and Alaskan halibut sauteed and basted with lavender, Meyer lemon and Madagascar vanilla bean oil. The current oyster selection: Malaspina, Fanny Bay, Evening Cove, Kumamoto, Bagaduce and Beausoleil. 544 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 891-0900, www.watergrill.com.

-- Betty Hallock and Rene Lynch

Photo: Gyenari. Credit: Glenn Koenig/Los Angeles Times.


"The Next Food Network Star" contestant Debbie Lee to appear at BLVD 16

Debbie Can't get enough of food-centric reality TV? After reading the feature in today's Food section on "The Next Food Network Star," I'll bet you're all worked up to see it. Well, if you don't have cable or you simply don't want to watch the show in your lonely living room, you can head to BLVD 16 on Sunday, where chef Simon Dolinky will pair up with one of the show's local contestants, Debbie Lee, to create a special meal in order to celebrate the show.

A viewing party for the debut episode of Season 5 will commence at 9 p.m. Reserve for dinner in advance.

BLVD 16 at the Hotel Palomar Los Angeles-Westwood, 10740 Wilshire Blvd. (310) 474-7765.

--Jessica Gelt

Photo: Debbie Lee

Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Neptune's battle in the north

Altonbrown This Saturday and Sunday, Alton Brown (who you could call the Bill Nye of the culinary world), Michelin darling Thomas Keller and Hawaiian food guru Sam Choy will appear at the Monterey Bay Aquarium for a food-fueled event called Cooking for Solutions. The festivities, which celebrate sustainable wine and seafood, will include demos, dinners and a sustainable-foods fair.

Cooking for Solutions happens to coincide with San Francisco’s 10th Annual Oyster Festival (Saturday), which takes place at Fort Mason. There will be a “shuck and suck competition,” as well as musical performances by Michael Franti and Spearhead.

Which seafood fest will emerge king?

Only the ocean-loving eaters who venture north this weekend will find out.

-- Krista Simmons

Photo: Alton Brown. Credit: Food Network.

Cat Cora, Emeril Lagasse, Stanley Tucci hosting James Beard Foundation Awards


Emeril Lagasse, Zov Karamardian and Julia Child at a Beard Foundation benefit in 2001.

The James Beard Foundation hands out its chef, book and other food world awards May 4 at Lincoln Center in New York, and the foundation has announced the hosts for the ceremony: chefs Cat Cora and Emeril Lagasse and actor Stanley Tucci.

The awards were established in 1990 and are named for the author and teacher James Beard, a longtime resident of New York.

Two-time Golden Globe- and Emmy Award-winning actor Tucci plays Paul Child, Julia Child's husband in the summer movie "Julie and Julia." Cora is the first and only female on Food Network's "Iron Chef America." She has written two cookbooks, "Cat Cora’s Kitchen" and "Cooking From the Hip." Another Food Network star, Lagasse is the chef/proprietor of 10 restaurants and the author of many cookbooks.  

-- Mary MacVean

Photo by Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

Cake making turns to combat duty on 'Last Cake Standing'

James-Rosselle-with-final-c A producer with the Food Network was on the line, pitching cake designer James Rosselle on its biggest, baddest cake challenge yet, "The Last Cake Standing," which starts Sunday. Competitors vie for $50,000 and the title of the "Best Cake Artist in America."

In other words, it was a golden opportunity for the 28-year-old from Whittier (at right) who is looking to open an appointment-only designer cake shop for his fledging business, Elle Cakes. Orders start at $600 and go skyward from there. You can check out a photo gallery of some of his cakes here.

So what did he tell the Food Network? "I told them I had to think about it."

Absolutely nothing against Food Network, said Rosselle, who had already competed in three similar contests for the network and emerged undefeated. But the challenges are so physically and emotionally grueling, he said -- "the audience just sees the tip of the iceberg" -- that he had to do some soul searching and determine whether he was ready to do it again.

Now wait a second. Are we still talking about baking cakes?

If Rosselle sounds like a battle-weary soldier, it's not by coincidence. The melding of two of the most successful genres in TV history -- reality competition and food programming -- have been an unbridled success.

But they get their traction from driving contestants in ways that the regal and genteel Julia Child  would never have imagined.

Continue reading »

A taste of Susan Feniger's Street

Susan Feniger at her new restaurant, Street Chef Susan Feniger, half of the Too Hot Tamales duo responsible for restaurants Border Grill and Ciudad and countless Food Network appearances, will step into her own spotlight Monday when her long-awaited Street restaurant debuts in the former Highland Grounds spot.

Located on Highland, a bit north of Nancy Silverton's Mozzas on the Melrose intersection, Street concentrates on the formula that worked for Feniger's other restaurants -- an upscale take on cultural cuisine. Sticking mostly to Asian-inspired street food dishes, the dinner menu is broken down into small plates meant for sharing, then noodles, stews and curry dishes. There are also entrees made in the wood-burning oven. After Monday's dinner opening, the restaurant will serve lunch and Sunday brunch (the former probably being a welcome treat to the workers at the nearby row of production houses as well as nearby residents).

This past Saturday, Feniger and her Street staff hosted a sampling party. Those in attendance included comedian Will Ferrell. (Diners in the interior courtyard had an only-in-L.A. experience as an LAPD helicopter hovered nearby as it searched the adjacent neighborhood for someone or something.)

Keep reading below as we share a taste of what's on the menu at Street.

Continue reading »

Ha ha haters -- Rachael Ray is laughing all the way to the bank

RayRachael Ray knows there are haters out there. And she couldn't care less. (Would you, if you were making an estimated $18 million a year?) As she says in her "ABC Nightline" interview:

"If you spend so much time thinking about the people who dislike what it is you're doing, you're doing a disservice to the people that employ you," she says. "I'm not employed by those people. I work for the people that want the type of food I write [about], the type of food we share with people."

Ray also says anyone could have done what she's done.

"I absolutely 100 percent believe that," she says. "I'm a waitress from upstate New York. Anyone that likes chatting, that likes to cook, certainly. Could have happened to anybody."

Read the rest of the article about the interview here. And find out what Ray's mom had to say when her daughter stripped down for an FHM photo shoot.

Where do you come down on this Food Network star? Are all the haters out there just jealous of her success? Or is the criticism deserved?

-- Rene Lynch

Photo: Jack Plunkett / Associated Press

Food Network-sponsored festival headed to L.A. in 2010?

Tomc2Why can't L.A. host as many food festivals as cities half our size? (We're looking at you, Miami.)

In Florida's most fashionable city this past weekend, foodies mingled with some of the nation's best-known chefs, such as
Tom Colicchio and Tyler Florence, while noshing on high quality fare at the 2009 South Beach Wine & Food festival (sponsored in part by the Food Network). This is on top of the annual Miami Wine Festival, which takes place in April, the Deering Seafood festival in March and Miami Spice in August.

"There’s nothing like it in the world," said Florence via cellphone Friday from his hotel in Miami of the city's largest annual event, South Beach's Wine & Food Festival.  "It is spectacular."

Florence said he was excited to make "Squid ink angel hair pasta for 1,000 people" for a Friday night gathering. "We’re tossing it with a warm uni butter and then shredding bits of pancetta before topping it off with a tablespoon of caviar." Now that doesn't sound too bad, does it?

Open question to Daily Dish readers: why aren't there more similar weekend events with celebrity chefs in Los Angeles? We are the second-biggest city in the country, after all, with stars aplenty based right here (several notable L.A.-based personalities made the trip to Florida, chief among them Jose Andres, who found himself at the center of a bit of controversy after Mario Batali dropped the f-bomb at the fest while introducing him in front of the King of Spain).

Continue reading »

Yet another cooking competition coming your way: 'The Chopping Block'

Chopping_block_3One of the commercials debuting during NBC's Super Bowl coverage: A sneak peek of the network's new reality cooking show, "The Chopping Block," starring Marco -- no last name necessary -- as the "world's greatest chef."

Cue the sinster lighting, the dramatic music, and the dark musings of British Michelin star chef Marco Pierre White of the U.K.'s "Hell's Kitchen":

"Before you kill something, think about it," Marco says amid interspersed snippets of cooking contestants driven to the edge of despair. "Kill something for the right reasons. Kill it to eat it."

The show debuts March 11 and features eight couples, each competing to win $250,000 and a shot at their own restaurant.

It's too soon to say for sure, but the show looks like "Top Chef's" fan favorite competition, kitchen wars, meets Gordon Ramsay's "Hell's Kitchen" meets "Chopped." It's just the latest TV show to join the cooking competition party (and the latest to use cleaver-as-logo).

But what do you think? Are you planning on tuning in?

Here are more details from NBC:

Continue reading »

Food Network's 'Chopped': TiVo worthy?


Did you watch the premiere of "Chopped," the Food Network's new cooking competition, hosted by Ted Allen? What did you think? Read more about the new show here.

-- Rene Lynch

Photo: Food Network


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