Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Frozen foods

Hello Kitty and the Sanrio gang are coming to Yogurtland

Sanrio characters Hello Kitty, Little Twin Stars, TuxedoSam and Badtz-Maru are all coming to a Yogurtland near you

Sanrio characters Hello Kitty, Little Twin Stars, TuxedoSam and Badtz-Maru are all coming to a Yogurtland near you. The popular make-your-own-dessert chain has announced that it has partnered with Sanrio Inc. for a second year to launch a special line of limited edition, co-branded merchandise.

Character-themed products are set to show up at participating Yogurtland locations beginning July 10 through Labor Day weekend.  

Each character will be featured on a spoon and a biodegradable yogurt cup with a depiction of a U.S. city. The Hello Kitty spoon and cup, featuring Hollywood, is scheduled to roll out July 10. The TuxedoSam spoon and cup is set to launch July 24 and showcase an illustration of the art deco-inspired city of Miami. The Little Twin Stars spoon and cup, featuring the city of San Francisco, is to launch on Aug. 7. The last spoon and cup release is to feature Badtz-Maru and the beaches of Honolulu, on Aug. 21.

In addition to the free Yogurtland spoons and cups, a Hello Kitty plush toy (dressed in a Yogurtland uniform), key chains, buttons, tote bags and money coin purses featuring all four characters are to be available for purchase ($2.50 - $13.50).

If having your very own Hello Kitty Yougurtland plush toy isn't enough Sanrio lovin', Hello Kitty, Badtz-Maru and TuxedoSam are to make appearances at the Yogurtland Universal City location on July 10 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Guests can enjoy free frozen yogurt and take photos with their favorite characters. Launch events are also set for Miami on July 24, San Francisco on Aug. 7 and Honolulu on Aug. 21. 

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-- Jenn Harris
twitter.com/jenn_harris

Photos: From left, a Hello Kitty biodegradable cup, a Hello Kitty plush toy and the Sanrio for Yogurtland spoons. Credit: Yogurtland and Sanrio

What we're reading now: iron chefs, paint chips, edible mysteries and the New Yorker

Quiz 

Wake up sleepy heads! Here are your morning must-reads, should-reads and wanna-reads:

-- Is "Pirates Cove Peach" a Ben & Jerry's flavor? Or a Pottery Barn paint chip? The cool kids over at Mental Floss.com put together this quiz that will challenge you to tell the difference. (I barely passed. I am taking it as a sign that I need to buy more ice cream. You know, to study the flavors.) 

-- Why cast iron is a "green" choice for cookware. I was especially intrigued by the detailed seasoning tips. Now, where did I put that lard ...

-- It's only Tuesday, but I'm already calling this my food blog find of the week: Mystery Lovers' Kitchen. Come for the foodie-ness of it all, stay for the books. Who knew there were so many food-related mysteries? (A few that caught my eye include author Cleo Coyle's coffeehouse mystery series or the White House chef series by Julie Hyzy, which has such catchy titles as "Eggsecutive Orders," "State of the Onion" and ... wait for it...."Hail to the Chef.")

-- The New Yorker' has a colorful and intriguing profile of John Mackey, the co-founder and chief executive of Whole Foods Market who defied the critics who said he'd never make it selling "hippie food to hippies." Or, as the current issue of the magazine puts it:

The man who has perhaps done as much as anyone to bring the natural-foods movement from the crunchy fringe into the mainstream is also a vocal libertarian, an orthodox free-marketer, an admirer of Milton Friedman, Ronald Reagan, and Ayn Rand. In the 2008 Presidential election, he voted for Bob Barr -- Ron Paul wasn’t on the ballot.

Save this one for breakfast. It will take you awhile -- but it's worth it.

-- Rene Lynch
On Twitter @renelynch

Illustration credit: Mental Floss.com

Chef Rocco DiSpirito pitches frozen food to a tough room at BlogHer food conference

Bertolli

Rocco DiSpirito just might be the bravest man alive.

The celebu-chef -- who did not appear to be carrying any firearms or other form of self-protection -- sauntered into the middle of several hundred hooting, hollering, amped-up-on-coffee food bloggers, and attempted to sell them on frozen food. That's right, he was pitching Bertolli's new line of frozen foods to a group of (mostly) women who spend their spare time crafting recipes, cooking, and photographing, blogging, reading and commenting about all manner of food, glorious food.

I told you he was brave.

Rocco was one of the bold-faced names on hand for BlogHer Food '09, the first BlogHer conference  dedicated solely to food bloggers. About 300 people were in attendance for the sold-out Sept. 26 event at the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco. It was so successful that discussions are already underway for a second food-dedicated conference, said Lisa Stone, co-founder and chief executive of BlogHer, an online community hub for more than 22,000 female bloggers on a variety of topics including politics, news, technology, family and, obviously, food.

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Free Slurpees at 7-Eleven on Saturday

A child drinks a Slurpee at a 7-Eleven store in Canoga Park. Credit: Francine Orr / For The Times.It's free Slurpee day at 7-Eleven on 7/11. The chain of convenience stores is celebrating its 82nd birthday by offering free Slurpees throughout the day at many of its locations. (Docstoc has a handy list of participating stores in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura and Riverside counties.)

If one neon-colored, highly sweetened, semi-frozen drink isn't enough, show up on Friday night at the North Hollywood 7-Eleven on Vineland Avenue and Vanowen Street, where the first 100 die-hard fans will receive a one-year supply of Slurpees. (Officially, that means one Slurpee per week for one year.) Talk about brain freeze.

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: A child drinks a Slurpee at a 7-Eleven store in Canoga Park. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeels Times

Bacon: Put it in ice cream

Bacon4 David Leibovitz's story in this week's Food section, "31 Flavors? Think Outside the Carton, Homemade Ice Cream Lovers," definitely fires up the imagination when it comes to the wonderful world of ice cream, what with flavors like buckwheat and carrot cake.

But what really piqued my interest was a recipe from his blog, David Leibovitz: Living the Sweet Life in Paris. The former Chez Panisse pastry chef and author of "The Perfect Scoop" has a recipe for candied bacon ice cream.

Yes. Candied bacon ice cream.

And yes. I had to try it. Couldn't help myself.

Truly amazing! The ice cream has a thick custard base sweetened with brown sugar, with just a little extra flavoring from rum or whiskey (we chose whiskey) and vanilla (you've also got the option of adding a little ground cinnamon for added spice). Churn the base until it's almost frozen, then fold in some chopped fresh candied bacon and freeze. The results? Perfection.

Try it on its own or be creative. David suggests adding the candied bacon bits to homemade coffee ice cream or even avocado ice cream. I'm thinking next time I might just scoop a little of this goodness over a nice, hot waffle with a drizzle of maple syrup. Redefine breakfast a little.

In the meantime, this gets No. 27 on my list of 1,001 things to do with bacon.

Click below for more.

— Noelle Carter

Photo: Noelle Carter

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David Lebovitz invites you to think outside the pint

Buckwheat 

Does the name David Lebovitz ring a bell? If you are like the rest of us, you read his blog to be transported to his dreamy, edible life in Paris. (You can follow his equally amusing/transporting feed on Twitter @davidlebovitz) This week, Lebovitz's writing arrives closer to home: He writes our cover story in today's Food section about ice creams, and his quest to look beyond plain old vanilla. Above: buckwheat ice cream.

Photo: Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times

Freeze! It's a challenge from Egullet

What's in your freezer?

When a challenge from Egullet to go cold-turkey on grocery shopping landed in my in-box, I found myself answering the culinary call-to-arms out loud:

"Do you spend $100 a week on groceries?" YES!! "If so, we have a plan to put that $100 back in your pocket quicker than you can say 'stimulus.' " ALL RIGHT!! "Join me in a week without shopping, as we feast on the bounty of our refrigerators, freezers and pantries." I WILL!!

The idea is to forgo your grocery shopping for one week and pocket the savings. Instead, forage in your pantry, freezer and refrigerator to piece together meals from the long-forgotten bounty: the hodgepodge of frozen pork parts, the half-empty box of macaroni, the unopened jar of salsa.

Think of it as the ultimate Top Chef quick-fire challenge with Rice-a-Roni and canned tuna. I’m a bit of a freezer junkie myself. Right now mine is home to several dozen stray cookies (household baking rule: half the batch must be saved for later), homemade pasta sauces (re-warming instructions included should my husband feel the sudden urge for spaghetti), and a growing collection of chicken livers (I suppose for last-minute Tuscan chicken liver crostini, but I’m not really sure).

Full steam ahead for a week of shortbread crostini a la Bolognese!

And be sure to check out Egullet's post regarding "some simple rules” to abide by. Hmmm. Could they be concerned I might eat that frozen brisket from 2002?

--Jenn Garbee

Deep-fried cupcakes? This Is Why You're Fat

Cupcake

Do you like to look at pictures of "deliciously gross food" such as this cupcake that has been deep fried and then drenched in chocolate syrup and topped off with sprinkles?

Well, someone out there does. Within three days of launching this month, a blog and website dedicated to food porn -- the aptly titled ThisIsWhyYoureFat.com -- pulled in more than 3 million pages views. (The blog's subtitle: Where dreams become heart attacks.)

"We thought it was a very good idea, but we were both very surprised at how it caught on." That's one of the co-creators -- she prefers to be identified as Creator No. 1 and declines to be identified because she and her partner are in the media and want to avoid making themselves part of the story behind the blog, to keep the focus on the food.

A little mystery never hurt either.

"It started because we were joking about how there are all these really nasty pictures of fatty foods floating around on the Internet. We’re like, "Do people really eat this? Are people posting these photos as a badge of honor?'"

They started collecting images on Feb. 1 and launched Feb. 9, and it's been pinging around the Internet ever since, thanks in no small part to mentions by Time, The Atlantic, the New York Times, etc.

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Taking stock of what matters most (like olives)

You'll never guess what Times Food Editor Russ Parsons finds when he braves the elements -- and cleans his fridge out of all but the essentials.

What are the absolute must haves in your fridge?

--Rene Lynch

'Food, Inc.' film looks at corporate impact on what we eat

FoodincFood writers Eric Schlosser ("Fast Food Nation") and Michael Pollan ("The Omnivore's Dilemma") move to the big screen in "Food, Inc.," a film that looks at what's happened to the production of food in the last few decades.

Producer-director Robert Kenner's movie, which had a screening Thursday night at Sony, covers a range of issues, from the effects of corn syrup on health and farming, to the ways animals are raised and killed, food-borne illnesses and the plight of farmers. The filmmakers, as you might guess from this image from the movie, don't like a lot of what they see.

"The idea that you have to write a book to tell people where their food comes from shows how far removed" they are from it, Pollan says in the film.

"Food, Inc." opens in June in 20 cities, Kenner said. It was shown at the Toronto Film Festival. Warning to squeamish meat-eaters: Shots in chicken houses, slaughterhouses and elsewhere could be tough to watch.

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.