Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Junk food

The end of the Hostess Twinkie?


Say it ain't so.

Hostess Brands Inc., the makers of Twinkies, those beloved spongy yellow cakes with the cream filling, filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday.

What does this mean for Twinkies lovers? According to our sister blog Money & Co, the bankruptcy filing should not affect the sales of the company's Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Ho-Hos and other sweet treats.

This is the second time the Texas-based company has filed for bankruptcy. Hostess was originally called Interstate Bakeries. Ripplewood Holdings took over the bankrupt company in 2009 and renamed it Hostess Brands.

Twinkies have been around since Hostess was founded in 1930. Other Hostess favorites include Zingers, Suzy Q's, Donettes and Snoballs.


Today's Eat Beat: Green apple chicken salad

Cookbook Watch: 'French Bistro Seasonal Recipes'

DIY confab Craftcation lands in Ventura, March 22-25

-- Jenn Harris

Photo: A twin pack of Hostess Twinkies. Credit: Paul J. Richards /AFP/Getty Images.

Checking in on the Heart Attack Grill in Chandler, Ariz.

Arizona has been full of arguably bad ideas for many years. I should know, I grew up in Tucson and lived through the impeachment of Gov. Evan Mecham and the release of the Public Enemy hit "By The Time I Get to Arizona." These days there is the controversy surrounding Gov. Jan Brewer's stance on immigration and Maricopa County Sherriff Joe Arpaio's penchant for dressing his inmates in pink underwear.

So it comes as no surprise that a restaurant named Heart Attack Grill, which serves free fat-laden food to customers who weigh in at over 350 pounds, exists in Chandler, a Phoenix suburb. I had known about the place for a while and had succeeded in forgetting about it before it suddenly appeared in the news last week. On Wednesday the Associated Press reported that the restaurant had closed due to the sudden death of its 29-year-old, 575-pound spokesman, Blair River.

Continue reading »

Lawmakers unhappy over 'Happy Meal' lobbying

The restaurant industry is quietly — and successfully — fighting back against the enactment of so-called Happy Meal bans, which forbid restaurants like McDonald's to hand out toys with children's meals that are high in calories.

Moving under the radar so stealthily that in some cases local politicians and anti-obesity activists missed it entirely, lobbyists in Florida and Arizona backed successful efforts to take away the power to enact such bans from cities and counties. In Nebraska, a proposed statewide Happy Meal ban died in February, even before its first legislative committee hearing. Read more in today's Business section:


--3 food events you need to know about

--This wine is a stunner

--A reason to fly? Campanile to open at LAX 

File photo: A Happy Meal box and toy. (Jeff Chiu / AP Photo / October 2, 2010)


'When did coffee stop tasting like, well, coffee?'

Has the quest for the perfect cup of joe gone too far?

Photo credit: Los Angeles Times

Beer cheese and pizza-sized pretzels: Dodger Stadium's new menu items for 2010 season

Dodger Stadium Victory Knot giant pretzel Few things about sporting events make me giddy. I mean, I like the cheering, the good-natured rivalries, the spirit colors -- but the part that really makes me swoon? Game food. So when it comes to baseball -- where it is completely acceptable to hang out with friends and guiltlessly down hot dogs and beer -- I say count me in.

Dodger Stadium understands that the food gets (almost) as much attention as the game. So Executive Chef Joseph Martin and restaurant partner Levy Restaurants have made sure that when the Dodgers play the Arizona Diamondbacks on Opening Day next Tuesday (April 13), fans will be able to munch on exciting new food while warming those bleachers.

New on the menu is the giant Victory Knot pretzel with beer cheese dipping sauce, gourmet Niman Ranch sausages and the spicy Picante Dog, back by popular demand (literally -- it has its own Facebook fan group which was dedicated to bringing it back from menu dormancy).

The new pizza-sized Victory Knot is made with two pounds of dough, topped with sea salt and served with three dipping sauces -- chipotle honey mustard, sweet cinnamon crème, and beer cheese. The calorie information wasn't available when we wrote this, but we can surmise that it's best not to try and eat one by yourself -- it’s supposed to serve four.

If hot dogs and beer cheese don’t sound like something you want to stomach for nine innings, three Health Plate carts serve healthier fare: spicy shrimp cocktail, fresh seasonal fruit salad, curried chicken lettuce wraps and sushi. Spicy tuna rolls at a baseball game, though? I might just stick with my $5 Dodger Dog.

(Keep reading about Dodger Stadium's new grub after the jump.)

Continue reading »

KFC doubles down, reality bites for 'Survivor' producer, and a potato chip bag that turns into a bowl

Down--What? KFC's new Double Down sandwich isn't health food? But how can that be?

--Monica Beresford-Redman, the wife of a top reality TV show producer and the owner of a Brazilian restaurant and nightclub in Palms, has been found dead in Cancun, and her husband reportedly has been taken into custody. "Survivor" producer Bruce Beresford-Redman told police that his wife vanished. The reality, police say, is that he strangled her.

-- A new licensing deal sees Ecoist turning unusable or obsolete packaging from Lays, Cheetos, Fritos, Tostitos and SunChips into an assorted variety of items including purses, clutches and place mats. Or a potato chip bowl.

--Rene Lynch
On Twitter @renelynch

Photo: a Double Down sandwich. Credit: KFC

Junk food is the new Hollywood villain

Researchers at Dartmouth Medical School analyzed the use of food, beverages and restaurant brands in the top 20 movies for each year from 1996 through 2005. They concluded: "Food, beverage, and food retail establishment brands are frequently portrayed in movies, and most of the brand placements are for energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods or product lines. Movies are a potent source of advertising to children, which has been largely overlooked."

Read the rest of the story at our Booster Shots blog:

Photo credit: Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times

A Super Bowl stadium built entirely of snacks; I gained 20 pounds just watching

The Big Game Snack Food Stadium - Watch more Big Game Bonanza

Help! My eyes are bleeding! I just watched a 2-minute, 37-second video in which an announcer gives a play-by-play of the building of a 110,428-calorie Super Bowl stadium made entirely of fatty snacks.

Sponsored by Break Media and done in the noble pursuit of "meaningless Internet spectacles," the snack stadium -- snadium? -- consists of a butter-frosted field; stadium seating made of cookies, crackers and wafers; a Hershey bar jumbotron; cold-cut-and-cheese stadium trim; Slim Jim goal posts; hot dog, burger and doughnut fences; Twinkie and Ho Ho tailgaters; a hoagie blimp; and football teams consisting of carrot sticks and uncooked Vienna sausages.

Whew. Since Break Media dubs itself "the Internet's premier entertainment community for men," this borderline psychopathic display of food-based craftiness makes perfect sense. What else will men obsess over if not wrapping a burger in a glazed doughnut and dipping it in frosting while casting come-hither glances at a bunch of uncooked Vienna sausages with green olive football helmets?

Oh, right. Beer. And the big game itself, of course. I'll be watching with a few male companions of my choice and I'll be wearing a miniskirt made of guacamole and a top crusted in corn chips.

-- Jessica Gelt

Video credit: Break Media

Who's to blame for obesity? And who should pay?

It's Monday. We're all starting our diets. Again. So here's some food for thought from Health:

While experts argue over whether to blame individuals, society, fast food or families for the rapid rise in obesity rates, the perhaps more pressing question is what to do about it. The answers are pouring in -- from radio talk shows, blogs, editorial pages -- amping up the feelings of the already fed up.

Read the rest of the story here, and in a related piece with the provocative headline, "Fed up with fat and saying something about it."

What do you think? Are fat people just getting their just deserts -- should they pay more for their actions? Or do those skinny types need to shut their pie holes?

-- Rene Lynch

Photo credit: Joe Raedle / Getty Images

The churro man tries to get ahead in the slow lane

El Churrero
-- the Churro Man -- sidesteps tamale carts, squeezes between bumpers and beggars, working 24 lanes of idling vehicles.

He walks through shimmering exhaust clouds, hawking sombreros teetering atop his head and sweets held aloft in a blue basket. His churros are warm and moist. "Churros here," he yells. "If they're not hot, you don't pay."

Deciderio Mauricio Cantera first waded into the sea of traffic at the gateway to California in 1968 and set eyes on the bored and the hungry as they waited, fidgeted and honked, inching toward the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

This isn't a traffic jam, thought Mauricio. This is a swap meet on wheels.

To American border crossers, the ragtag knots of vendors have long evoked wonder, pity and annoyance -- symbols of disorder and desperation at the shabby entrance to the developing world.

But there's much more to it than that. Read the rest of Mauricio's story here, in this special report from the border:

Photo: Deciderio Mauricio Cantera moves through traffic at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


Recent Posts
5 Questions for Thi Tran |  August 6, 2012, 8:00 am »
SEE-LA hires new executive director |  July 31, 2012, 9:34 am »
Food FYI: Actors reading Yelp reviews |  July 31, 2012, 9:16 am »
Test Kitchen video tip: Choosing a bread wash |  July 31, 2012, 6:04 am »



About the Bloggers
Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.