Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Fun With Food

Royal/T in Culver City closes this month

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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

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

International foodie spring flings

Paris cookbook fairIf you're thinking about traveling this spring -- and not by car -- here are a few international destinations to consider:

The world's largest cookbook fair will take place in Paris in the spring. "Ooh la la" is right. The Paris Cookbook Fair happens March 7 to 11 with the first three days set aside for professionals to gather, with the final two days opened to the public. The fair brings together cookbook devotees for book presentations, cooking demonstrations, cheese and wine tastings, food exhibitions and of course cookbook purchasing. For more information, check out www.cookbookfair.com. Chocolate bar

The Mast Brothers, Rick and Michael, are heading to Belize to connect with their cacao suppliers and celebrate chocolate during their first annual Chocolate Week in April, from the 14th to 21st. The two brothers own and operate Mast Brothers Chocolate in Brooklyn where their handcrafted bars of chocolate are individually, not to mention beautifully, wrapped and sold at their tasting room, on their website and at online stores such as Dean & Deluca. The brothers are inviting chocolate lovers to join them on their voyage to Belize to visit their farmers, eat, drink and partake in other adventures while abroad. For more information, email chocolateweek@mastbrothers.com.


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Andrew Zimmern from 'Bizarre Foods' to stop by Royal/T in January

Andrew Zimmern On Jan. 13, Royal/T Cafe and Andrew Zimmern, the TV personality behind the Travel Channel's "Bizarre Foods," will team up for a pop-up dinner themed "California Dreaming."

The pop-art-inspired exhibition space in Culver City is hosting the culinary event, which will reflect Zimmern's take on California cuisine while introducing Angelenos to innovative ideas and out-of-the-ordinary foods.

The five-course dinner menu will feature sea urchin and yellow-tomato-vegetable aspic; linguine; a veal tongue tartare and chile-braised lambs tongue quesadilla; a grilled Broken Arrow Ranch venison chop and a cioccolato orrare da gustare for dessert.

Tickets to the event are $150 per person and can be purchased online.
8910 Washington Blvd., Culver City, (310) 559-6300, royal-t.org.


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Photo: Andrew Zimmern. Credit: Stuart Freedman / Travel Channel

'Bought, Borrowed & Stolen': 20 years of Allegra McEvedy's secrets

Allegra McEvedy Book CoverAllegra McEvedy has been cooking professionally for more than 20 years, working her way through a batch of restaurants in London, most notably the River Café and the Cow, in addition to stints at American eateries Rubicon (now closed) and Jardinière in San Francisco, and New York's Tribeca Grill. The Cordon Bleu alumnus was chef-in-residence at the Guardian for three years, has had a column in the Evening Standard and a seasonal food slot on Robert Elms' show for BBC London.

McEvedy's fifth book "Bought, Borrowed & Stolen: Recipes and Knives from a Travelling Chef" comes out this month. The cookbook traces 20 years of recipes, not to mention knives, from food diaries recorded during her travels. The English chef discusses her favorite fall food, her recently released cookbook and the time she spent on the West Coast, with the Los Angeles Times:

Q: What knife, of your collection, is your current favorite or most used?

A: Well, as you probably can tell I have a bit of an emotional attachment to all of my knives, so although it's hard to choose a favorite I am finding myself reaching for a beautiful example of the craft that I bought in New York about five years ago. It's the younger sibling of one I picked up when I was working at Tribeca Grill in '96; both are made by Michael Moses Lishinsky [of Wildfire Cutlery]. All his knives are full tang meaning the metal extends all the way to the base of the handle. And being someone who embraces difference, I love that he uses heat-treated steel, as opposed to the more fashionable stainless. I also like the fact that it's one of only two knives in my 70 strong collection that I can trace back to the maker. My favorite job for this beauty, where it really excels, is smashing cloves of garlic; Mr. Lishinsky may have created the perfect shape of the flat of the blade with this one purpose in mind!

Continue reading »

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 ...

Continue reading »

Speculoos slowly spreading through L.A.

Speculoos NEW Some say Speculoos is the new Nutella. It looks like peanut butter but tastes like the gingerbread, cinnamon-flavored cookie it's made from, known as biscoff. (You may know the flavor from those cookies handed out on Delta airlines.) The popular Belgian cookie via paste is making its way over the Atlantic and now it's coming to food trucks, slowly but surely.

If you've been fortunate enough to have stumbled upon the spread while abroad, chances are you've returned home with a new sugary obsession to share. Lotus Bakeries introduced Speculoos to the U.S. market this year; but even so, most Americans don't know about it yet. A gradually increasing number of food trucks are looking to change this. Wafels & Dinges in New York sells its own version (called Spekuloos) and offers the spread as one of many waffle toppings, as does L.A.'s Waffles de Liege.

In the height of the food truck boom, will Speculoos ever really catch on, on the street food scene? George Wu of Waffles de Liege believes it will. "If the popularity of Liege waffles grows," says Wu, "more people will get a chance to try Speculoos, and as a result, more people will talk about it and experiment with it on different food; and before long, it'll be a kitchen staple like Nutella."

Fingers crossed, Waffles de Liege's use of the cookie-made-spread will cause a domino effect of sorts among other Southern California food trucks and thus the spread of scrumptious Speculoos.

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Golden State-shaped cutting boards

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A Brooklyn-based husband-and-wife design duo made state-shaped cutting boards for their wedding last year and, after lots of oohs and aahs, decided to turn their craft into a business venture on Etsy.

The cutting boards are made from Plyboo, a butcher block architectural plywood made from 100% rapidly renewable bamboo. They can be cut to resemble any state -- even Maryland (see below) -- featuring a heart engraved over wherever you call home. Sold for $40 each, the boards can be purchased at etsy.com/shop/AHeirloom. Maryland


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Photo credits: Amy Stringer-Mowat

Outstanding in the Field comes to town in November

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Outstanding in the Field -- a mobile supper club, if you will -- is finishing up its 2011 farm-to-table tour with a two-day stop in Hollywood. The big red-and-white bus tours the nation from coast to coast once a year, setting up table at diverse locations like ranches, sea caves, mountaintops and even urban landscapes; in this case, community garden Wattles Farm (just a couple blocks off Hollywood Boulevard).

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Wattles Farm master gardeners Toby Leaman, who is also president of the Wattles Farm board of directors, and Reed Poverny will host the events Nov. 2 and 3.

The event on Nov. 3, featuring chef Jamie Lauren of Vodvil LA, is sold out, but there's still availability for the dinner on Nov. 2; Outstanding will be announcing the guest chef for Wednesday's event shortly.

Tickets are $220 per person and include a reception with wine and passed appetizers, a tour of the farm and a dinner using local ingredients. Outstandinginthefield.com.

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Survival cooking demo at High Desert Test Sites workshop

High Desert Test Sites workshop

Artists Danielle McCullough and Gabie Strong will lead a sun-print cyanotype-process workshop, "Blast Site: A Workshop for Conjecture," on Nov. 12 at the High Desert Test Sites headquarters in Joshua Tree.

The workshop explores survival in the high desert, primarily grounded in post-apocalyptic science fiction, plant guides, archaeological archives and 20th century art history. The day's itinerary includes a guided hike through Blast Site, a cyanotype-process printing demonstration using sunlight and materials gathered from the desert floor, a survival cooking demonstration and a barbecued vegetarian lunch.

The lunch is part of an overall arts experience, incorporating native vegetation. Mushrooms marinated in a homemade vinegar and desert aromatics will be seared on hot rocks in a fire pit and served on mesquite flour flatbread, with pickled nopalitos, homemade yogurt and pinion seeds. Alcohol-based tinctures and teas derived from an assortment of local desert plants will be served to workshop attendees too. 

Registration for the workshop is $120 per person. Highdeserttestsites.com.


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Photo credit: Gabie Strong and Danielle McCullough, Blast Site: A Monument for Future Failures, 2011. Cyanotype fabric, painted leather, slipcrete, silver, ash, paint, pallets, wood, 16mm film with pen and ink,  and 16mm projector. Installed in at Shangrila, New Moon exhibition, Joshua Tree. Photo courtesy of Gabie Strong.


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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.