Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Sweets

David Myers to open Comme Ca Bakery; Boule closes

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Boule Atelier, the stylish WeHo pastry shop on La Cienega Boulevard, has closed its doors.

Owner David Myers (whose empire of restaurants -- Sona, Comme Ça and, most recently, Pizzeria Ortica in Orange County -- continues to expand) and baker Hidefumi Kubota told the Daily Dish that they would be putting their energies into a new Comme Ça Bakery instead.

Fans of the shop's macarons, chocolate sables and sea salt caramels might ask, why close Boule? "It’s pretty simple," Myers says. "We’ve had incredible demand for our breads. I’m so passionate about what Hide’s doing and he’s so talented when it comes to baking bread. Unfortunately, our location [at Boule] doesn’t give us the right space to delve deeply into bread."

Comme Ça Bakery's retail shop will be down the street from the current Boule location on La Cienega, and is set to open this summer, next to the space planned for Myers' forthcoming second outpost of Ortica. Myers is moving the bread baking operation into a 10,000-square-foot facility in Culver City. (Comme Ça Bakery also will be offering the bread wholesale.)

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The Bazaar: It's a four-star experience

If you follow the culinary travels of Times restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila, you know that four-star reviews are almost unheard of. (Check out this list of our top-rated restaurants of the last five years, and you'll see that her last four-star review came in 2005.)

Well, move over Joel Robuchon. You've got four-star company. Here's how Virbila starts this week's review:

Olives that flood your mouth with flavor. A foie gras lollipop wrapped in cotton candy. The definitive shrimp with garlic. Innocent-looking bites that shoot smoke out of your nostrils.

How to describe the experience at the Bazaar by José Andrés in the new SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills? Fellini-esque, a gastronomical circus, a flirtation with the flavors and soul of Spain?

Los Angeles has never seen anything remotely like this exciting restaurant from Spanish chef José Andrés.

Read more about S. Irene Virbila's four-star experience, and check out more photos of the Bazaar -- as well as its signature dishes -- here.

And the video is must see.

--Rene Lynch

Where is your Nutella jar from?

PolishnutellaMany readers have written in about last week's Nutella story, to share stories and recipes and generally to register their love for the stuff.  A number of people have also said they believe Nutella does taste different, depending on its place of manufacture.  (One reader confessed that she's begged friends to smuggle back jars in their suitcases from Germany.) So when I found a stack of squat jars of Polish-made Nutella at an Armenian grocery in Glendale this morning, I had to buy one -- and eat what's turned out to be the vast majority of the contents. (Research.) The German and Italian-made Nutella both seem a bit thicker and slightly less sweet than the American product, which is actually made in Canada.  However, the Polish-made Nutella tasted, to me, more like the contents of the North American jars.  What do you think?  Where is your jar of Nutella from? 

Sadly, the locator on Nutella's website does not give place of manufacture.  Italian Nutella is available at Bay Cities Italian Deli (check out this post from L.A. blogger Hobson's Choice), 1517 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica. (310) 395-8279.  German Nutella is available at Alpine Village Bakery, 833 Torrance Blvd., Torrance. (323) 327-2483.  Polish Nutella is available at Avakian's Grocery, 1100 S. Glendale Ave., Glendale. (818) 142-3222.  If you'd like to share your source, please comment below.

-- Amy Scattergood

Photo by Amy Scattergood

Small Bites: Cube 3-day sale starts today, wine at El Prado (and if you act fast, it's half off), Sugarbird Sweets at the Hollywood Farmers Market

Sugarbird_5   

Three-day sale at Cube: It starts today and ends Saturday. Gourmet shop/restaurant Cube is overhauling its pantry. Artisan-crafted products are on sale for 40% off -- in store and online at www.cubemarketplace.com. On sale are products including imported truffles, estate olive oils, rare honey by Ames, Bee Raw and Apicoltura Floriano, single-source chocolates from Domori, aged balsamic vinegars, fruit and vegetable vinegars by Gegenbauer, ceramics by Mary Judge, a selection of items from Cake Monkey. 615 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 939-1148.

The wines of El Prado: It's official. The beer hall (and we're not talking PBR) that has Echo Park smitten now has wine. And tonight will be your last chance to enjoy that wine at half off (and Champers priced at cost). Cobbled together by Julian Davies, the wine list includes several eye-catchers, such as a Château la Canorgue Côtes du Luberon as well as a Cabernet Franc from the Plouzeau family of winemakers in Touraine, France. 1805 W. Sunset Blvd., (213) 483-8609, www.elpradobar.com.

Sugarbird Sweets: Kei Okumura (full disclosure: a friend of mine) of Sugarbird Sweets is now selling her delectables at the Hollywood Farmers Market, appropriately at the Carmela Ice Cream stand. If on the day after Valentine's you're still wooing the one you smooch (what, dinners at Taco Zone wasn't enough?), then you'll be glad to know that Okumura's heart-shaped strawberry marshmallows and heart-shaped passionfruit rice krispies treats will be available on Sunday at the market. At the Hollywood Farmers Market, on Selma Avenue, toward the entrance at Vine Street. 

-- Betty Hallock

Photo: Sugarbird Sweets

Original See's Candies building may win historic designation

Sees_candyShe showed up at City Hall with boxes of See’s candy to hand out, although that wasn’t why Charlene Nichols was treated Thursday like a milk chocolate cordial.

Los Angeles Cultural Heritage commissioners politely turned down her samples of milk almond, vanilla buttercream and maple walnut candies but agreed to consider her recommendation that the original See’s chocolate factory be designated a city historic-cultural landmark.

The two-story structure at 135 N. Western Ave. hasn’t been the site of a candy box assembly line for decades, but Nichols urged that it be recognized as the birthplace of Charles Alexander See’s confectionery dynasty.

Read more here.

Photo credit: See's

Correction: An earlier version of this post said the commission had agreed to the designation, rather than agreeing to consider it.

Happy World Nutella Day!

WndToday is the 3rd annual World Nutella Day, the unofficial holiday upon which we celebrate the glorious hazelnut-chocolate spread. World Nutella Day was set up by bloggers Sara Rosso and Michelle Fabio, who had decided that they loved the stuff so much that it warranted it's own day. And why not? People celebrate Arbor Day and a whole lot of other things less critical to a sustainable and happy world order than trees and (for some of us) Nutella. 

My last blog post about Nutella generated a lot of comments from its fans, who are legion. So many that I wrote a story about Nutella -- and how you can make your own at home. Check next Wednesday's Food Section to read it. 

So -- you knew this was coming -- what's your favorite way to eat Nutella? If you need inspiration, check out many of the blog posts popping up today, such as David Lebovitz's, in honor of Nutella. 

Nutella is available at many grocery stores and Italian delis, including Ralph's, Pavilions, Bay Cities and La Bottega Marino. Or see Nutella's website, Nutellausa.com, which has a very handy store locator.

-- Amy Scattergood

Photo: Sara Rosso and Michelle Fabio

Barack Obama on a cupcake -- and a lollipop

Obama

Prepare to see a lot more of President-elect Barack Obama.

And we're not just talking about the White House, CNN and the front page of every newspaper in America because Obama has managed to transcend race unlike anyone else in the history of the world.

Mrs. Beasleys has Obama cupcakes and cookies to order. Ken Harris, the company's chief executive, is marking the moment with this sentiment: "Mr. Obama’s inauguration is a momentous occasion for all Americans. And we’re happy to know that these cookies and cupcakes along with our other baked goods will become a part of many celebrations, small or large."

Obama's likeness is being immortalized on lollipops made by Chocolate.com. (These lollipops are not being sold ready-made at the site -- they were prepared to launch their new line of edible chocolate art. That said, they've made several batches to order for inaugural events on the East Coast.)

I wonder what Obama the food critic would say about these.

-- Rene Lynch

Photos: Mrs. Beasleys, Chocolate.com

This week's L.A. Times Food recipes

Empanada

All recipes that appear in the L.A. Times' weekly Food section are tested and perfected in our test kitchen before they're deemed fit to print. (That means you don't have to worry about a trial run before serving one of our recipes to company -- rest assured, it should work the first time out of the gate.)

Here's a look at this week's recipes:

Pan bagnat

Black bean and chorizo soup with cumin toasts and salsa verde

Pasta with broccoli and Italian sausage

Gordon Ramsay's Pineapple soufflé with Thai curry ice cream

Dandelion greens and goat cheese empanadas

And here's a look at our top recipes for 2008.

-- Rene Lynch

Photo caption: Flaky dandelion greens and goat cheese empanadas. Photo credit: Irfan Kahn / Los Angeles Times

Sending out an S.O.S. for Gordon Ramsay's souffle

Souffle2_5 Typically, our S.O.S. requests come from outside the building: Readers go to a restaurant, fall in love with a particular dish, and ask Times Test Kitchen manager Noelle Carter to work her magic and get the recipe.

And, as you can see, she's happy to oblige.

This week's S.O.S. request -- for Chef Gordon Ramsay's pineapple souffle with Thai curry ice cream -- comes from inside the building.

Read more, and get the recipe, here.

(And if you have a request, e-mail us at food@latimes.com or contact Noelle directly at noelle.carter@latimes.com)

Photo credit: Stephen Osman / Los Angeles Times

Your Test Kitchen questions, asked and answered

Brownies

We're glad so many of you enjoyed the list of our favorite L.A. Times recipes for 2008 — thanks for taking the time to write us. We also received two recipe questions that might be of interest to more than just the folks asking, so here goes.

Bob e-mailed to say:

In your recently published recipe for midnight chocolate brownie bites, should one use light or dark brown sugar and should one use salted or unsalted butter?

Thanks for your e-mail, Bob. The recipe calls for "3/4 cup packed brown sugar," so your question is a good one. Times Test Kitchen manager Noelle Carter — who tests and perfects all our recipes before they go into print — says you can use either. Noelle also said the "default" for all our recipes is unsalted butter — so always assume the recipe calls for unsalted butter unless it specifically says otherwise.

Rimona e-mailed to say:

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