Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: scene setter

Mozzarella makers come to Hawthorne

Cheese1 

While the rest of Los Angeles was flocking to the Times building to see the Governator speak, I rushed away in search of another import: fresh mozzarella and ricotta cheese made by Angelo & Franco.

The grand opening of the company's small cheese factory in Hawthorne had a quite a turnout  —possibly due to Hawthorne’s close-knit Italian community (or perhaps it was the free catering by chef Antonio Pisanello and Il Forniao).

Franco Russo, a third-generation artisan cheese maker, is a native of Bagnoli Irpino, a village in Italy's Campania region so renowned for its mozzarella that there are 10 family-owned formaggio "factories" – impressive considering the town’s population of just 3,000. He and Angelo Tartaglia, the company's chief executive, grew up together and decided to take their knowledge to the U.S. 

“At first, I thought the reason why America didn’t have good mozzarella was because of the milk. Then we figured out it was the timing, the process and the tradition,“ Tartaglia says.

The two are hoping that their small-production cheeses — produced using Italian-made machinery and their almost-instinctual knowledge of cheese  — will tap into Angelenos’ increasing demand for fresh mozzarella. Mozza's Nancy Silverton and Santa Monica cheese shop owner Andrew Steiner have sparked local interest on a small scale, but this team is aiming for distribution in Whole Foods, Bristol Farms and Costco.

Upon cutting the red ribbon Thursday that officially opened the Angelo & Franco Factory, one of Hawthorne’s representatives encouraged attendees to join the city’s third annual Italian Festival/Bocce Tournament on June 13 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Memorial Park (3901 W. El Segundo Blvd.; free). Best believe that if there’s fresh cheese, we’ll be there.

-- Krista Simmons

Photo credit: Angelo & Franco

Hollywood's BoHo makes shabby chic

BoHo-pizza In today's Calendar section, we take a closer look at BoHo, which is located in the old Charcoal space across from Amoeba and next to the ArcLight. Owned by Adolfo Suaya and designed by Kristofer Keith of Spacecraft, the place was created using materials purchased on crazed thrift-store benders. There was also a lot of rifling through junk that had accumulated in various employees' garages. The downside of all this clutter? People steal it, says Keith.

To see a very cool photo gallery, and to read more about the food (including a tasty Korean barbecue pizza with sides of kimchi and chili paste, take that Kogi), click here.

BoHo, 6372 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 465-8500.

-- Jessica Gelt

Photo: Bianca-Verde pizza, by Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times

Scene Setter: A scientific look at the Lab Gastropub

ThelabOK, maybe I exaggerated just a little bit. This story about the Lab, which ran in today's Calendar section, is about as scientific as, well, a beaker full of beer. But it is a closer look than we've done before (like we put the Lab under a microscope).

Of particular note is the fact that University of Southern California Hospitality is working tirelessly to create a bona-fide "Restaurant Row," on Figueroa just off-campus. With McKay's and Rosso Pizzeria already in the mix, it will be interesting to see what director of hospitality Scott Shuttleworth (who was the former director of operations for SBE's Restaurant Group), will come up with next.

For the story and a delicious photo gallery, click here.

-- Jessica Gelt

Photo of the Lab's Black Angus beef burger by Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

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 »

Scene Setter: Yxta

YxtaWe blogged about downtown's newest Latin restaurant, Yxta, before it opened. Today a larger story ran in the Calendar section. Interestingly, owner Jesse Gomez, who also owns Highland Park's El Arco Iris, says that when he was planning Yxta he had no idea that so many upscale Latin restaurants would be converging on downtown. Provecho, Rivera and Casa all opened fairly recently, but Yxta is a special case because it's on the industrial side of downtown (6th and Central) and has a pretty captive audience since the dining options in those parts are few.

A bit of trivia for you: The restaurant is named for the Loyola Law School professor and novelist Yxta Maya Murray. Gomez took a class from her and has held a fondness for the unusual name ever since.

Yxta, 601 S. Central Ave., L.A. (213) 596-5579. www.yxta.net.

-- Jessica Gelt

Photo of Yxta's tostadas de atun by Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.