Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Soda Pop

When is a shrub not a bush? Hint: when you can drink it

I had never heard of shrub until my friend Patsy brought me a bottle of raspberry shrub she’d made from an old family recipe. It seems to be a New England thing, dating from colonial times, made from an extravagant amount of raspberries cooked with sugar and when cool, dosed with vinegar. A gorgeous raspberry red, it made a wonderful drink with a little gin and sparkling water. I even poured a little of the vinegary sweet-tart syrup over ice cream. Patsy tells me she likes it on blintzes and in her yogurt.

Baco 1 (1 of 1)I just came across the sweetened vinegar-based drink again -- at Bäco Mercat -- where chef/owner Josef Centeno makes his own shrubs aka "drinking vinegars." They’re used for his alternative to Coca-Cola, namely “sweet and sour soda.” And also cocktails made with a variety of spirits. Centeno creates his shrubs with whatever’s in season — Meyer lemon, red grape, black mint, etc. He’s even made a chile-lime vinegar for their version of the margarita.

 As customers get into the idea of drinking vinegar, he’ll sometimes give them a small bottle of, say, tangerine drinking vinegar, enough to make two sodas. Those sweet little bottles are not for sale yet, but maybe soon.  

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Movie popcorn equals three Quarter Pounders with butter?

Would you order three Quarter Pounders just for yourself -- or for your kid -- and then slather the buns with 12 pats of butter and wash 'em down with some sugary pop?

Well, that's what you are doing when you settle in with a popcorn and a soda at one movie theater chain. A study by the Center for Science in the Public Interest found that a medium popcorn at this chain contained a whopping 1,200 calories, 60 grams of saturated fat and 980 milligrams of sodium.

1,200 calories? That's an entire day's caloric allotment for some.  

Even worse: That's the calorie count without the "buttery" topping. Find out which chain, and see if your local movie theater was included in the study:

Does this make you mad?

-- Rene Lynch

Photo: Matthew Staver / Bloomberg

Sampler Platter: Top 100 Wines of 2009, best late-night diner, best gay bar, Soda Pop's sandwich shop opens this week, tofurky gravy soda

Stan Augustyn handles oils at Givaudan-Roure Corp.

The world's grossest soda and manicured nails made to look like bacon are in today's food news roundup.

Main Street merchants want a crack at the Santa Monica Farmers Market. Santa Monica Daily Press

Soda Pop's sandwich shop to open this Wednesday on La Cienega at Beverly. La Brea Dining Japanese restaurant to open at Crescent Heights and West 3rd Street. Blackburn and Sweetzer

While the rest of the world tries to reduce its plastic use, Aussie winemaker Peter Yealands switches to plastic wine bottles. Stuff

Playboy names Original Pantry Cafe as a Top 10 Late-Night Diner

TripOut names the Abbey as Best Gay Bar in the World. Brand X

• Nov. 23 is the New Yorker's food issue with John Colapinto on the secrets of the Michelin guide, Calvin Trillin on poutine, Adam Gopnik on cookbooks, Mimi Sheraton on spit cakes; Evan Osnos on Beijing's love of wine, Raffi Khatchadourian on the Givaudan flavor factory and more.

Jones makes tofurkey and gravy soda (read: carbonated vomit). Chicago Sun Times

Wine Spectator will announce its Top 100 Wines of 2009 on Wednesday. Members get a sneak peek today.

• Prospectors set to drill for Shackleton's booze in Antarctica. Metro

• Meat manicure: bacon nail tips. Jezebel

All About Beer celebrates 30th anniversary edition: "Revolution!" versus "What Revolution?"

Elizabeth Hurley's diet tips: vodka and one meal a day. Daily Mail

• Yes, people do win McDonald's Monopoly game. (Daily Finance) In other news, McDonald's will open 1,000 new restaurants in 2010. CNNMoney.com

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Stan Augustyn handles oils at Givaudan-Roure Corp. Credit: Joe Tabacca / For The Times

Lawmakers ready to raise the cost of that Pepsi


Here's today's lesson in economics (and passing the buck): State lawmakers have swiped more than $450 million from the recycling fund to cover the state's bills. But they have yet to pay it back. The upshot? Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is poised to sign a bill that will charge consumers an estimated $295 million more per year on beverage containers. Read more here.

Photo credit: Daniel Acker / Bloomberg

Sampler Platter: Grilled chicken wars, cheeseburgers & nutrition labeling [Updated]

Calf's liver and onions balsamic. Credit: Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times

Catching up on end-of-the-week food news, from tapeworms in salmon to Coke Zero in Venezuela...

  • Venezuela bans Coke Zero. Will Hugo Chavez stop at nothing?! Los Angeles Times
  • Chain restaurants, senators agree on nutrition labeling law. Bloomberg
  • The grilled chicken wars continue. El Pollo Loco to KFC: There's beef in your chicken.  Los Angeles Times
  • Phoenix chef turns 5,000 pounds of liver into a supposedly tasty meal for prison inmates. ABC15
  • Ethiopian-born scientist and Purdue University Professor Gebisa Ejeta wins 2009 World Food Prize for his research on sorghum. Kansas City Info Zine
  • La Grande Orange Santa Monica has great cheeseburgers, says A Hamburger Today.
  • Even after all those food contamination scandals, the CDC says food-borne illnesses are still under-reported. WebMD

[Updated, 7:40 p.m.: This post – and its headline -- earlier referred to a Chicago Sun-Times story about a man who claimed a restaurant's undercooked salmon gave him a 9-foot tapeworm. It turns out that the story was from 2008 and  it is  unclear from follow-up reports what became of his claim.]

--Elina Shatkin

Photo: Calf's liver and onions balsamic. Credit: Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times


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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.