Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Trends

More slurping on Sawtelle: Miyata Menji to open Wednesday

Shop_2Sawtelle is booming with another round of new restaurants, and the next anticipated opening is Japanese import Miyata Menji — the tsukemen joint that has taken over what was the former gr/eats space. A bold move with Tsujita L.A., which serves ramen and tsukemen at lunch, directly across the street?  

Japanese comedian Tetsuji Miyata brings his Miyata Menji concept to L.A. from Osaka, where noodles dubbed TG2-D and KK100 are served in ramen and tsukemen (in the latter dish, noodles are served separate from the broth, into which they're dipped). On the menu are just two items: tonkotsu ramen with pork broth, teriyaki beef, shallots and fried tomatoes, and tsukemenwith steamed noodles, anchovy cabbage, grated cheese (optional), minced pork, vegetable potage, tomato and croutons. Um, wow. 

"Very simple," says Miyata Menji general manager Aki Kanda. "Like the In-N-Out" of ramen. 

The menu comes with instructions for eating tsukemen: "1. Enjoy flavor of wheat from noodle! 2. Try few noodle by itself then feel flavor, texture. 3. Dip noodle into broth & noodle little by little. 4. Enjoy all ingredients with noodle little by little. 5. When you finished half of noodle, grind pepper to noodle and enjoy!"

On Wednesday, Kanda says Miyata, who performed in the theater group Shampoo Hat under the umbrella of entertainment conglomerate Yoshimoto Kogyo, will appear at the grand opening.  

Miyata Menji, 2050 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 312-3929, www.miyatamenji.com. 

(P.S. In case you're keeping track of new Sawtelle restaurants, Korean soon tofu spot Seoul House of Tofu opened two weeks ago, serving soon tofu — spicy tofu stew — and bulgogi combos. 2101 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 444-9988.) 

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Photo credit: miyatamenji.com

'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 »

Classic British dinners inspire stationery. Bangers & mash, anyone?

British food The stationery-obsessed graphic designers behind Present&Correct incorporate Britain's traditional food staples into their designs with classic English dinner-inspired letterpress note cards. Packaged in takeaway bags, dishes in paper form include pie & peas, roly-poly & custard, jelly & ice cream and bangers & mash. When it comes to the country's food culture, these iconic retro English eats are still fun to reminisce about. The note cards can be purchased individually (£2.75 per card) or as a pack of eight  for £12.50. Presentandcorrect.com.

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Photo credit: Presentandcorrect.com

Spotted at the Hollywood farmers market: La Nogalera walnut oil

Walnuts 600

La Nogalera walnut oil comes from the combined efforts of three walnut growers in Santa Barbara County. Hibbits Ranch, La Nogalera and Rancho La Viña have orchards along the Santa Ynez River between Buellton and Lompoc in the Santa Rita Hills wine appellation, where deep fertile soils and a cool coastal climate make for not only a prominent Pinot Noir but a premium flavored walnut oil, too.  Walnut oil

The walnuts -- older heritage varieties such as Concord, Placentia, Payne and Lompoc -- are roasted before being pressed, resulting in a nutty aroma and flavored blend (from $17) that can be drizzled over salads, pasta, even a bowl of ice cream.

La Nogalera walnut oil is available at gourmet markets and wine tasting rooms in the Santa Ynez Valley, Lompoc, Orange County and Los Angeles regions. The oil is also sold at the farmers markets in Santa Barbara, Solvang, Ojai, Santa Monica and Hollywood.

8615 Santa Rosa Road, Buellton, (805) 245-9457,lanogalerawalnutoil.com.

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Photo: Hibbits Ranch walnut grove. Credit: Sblandtrust.org

Limited edition at Heath Ceramics

Heath 600 sharp

Heath Ceramics is a mid-century American pottery company based in Sausalito, Calif. In 2008, the company -- owned by husband and wife team Robin Petravic and Catherine Bailey -- extended its production to include a studio and showroom in Los Angeles, just east of the Beverly Center, for small custom works by potter and director Adam Silverman.

These limited edition pieces (made at the Sausalito factory) are from the seasonal collection available online April 1 through Oct. 1. (Espresso set, $72; bud vase set, $110; iced tea set, $275; salt & pepper, $80).

Heath Ceramics Los Angeles, 7525 Beverly Blvd., L.A., (323) 965-0800, heathceramics.com.

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--Caitlin Keller

Photo Credit: Heathceramics.com

Colored cutlery: Laguiole steak knives

Laguiole Summer always seems to bring about either all white -- or bright and bold colored -- kitchenware. If you're veering on the color spectrum side of dinnerware, these steak knives by Laguiole might just find a home as cutlery on your dining -- or outdoor patio -- table this season. Made in France, each blade features Napoleon's exclusive bee crest. $78 for a set of six. Available at Anthropologie.com.

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Photo: Laguiole steak knives. Credit: Anthropologie.com

Five-star dining ... in a Vietnam cave

Cave
Leave it to our friends in Travel to find this offbeat dining destination:

Halong Bay, about 100 miles east of Hanoi, is in the running for inclusion in the global campaign  New7Wonders of Nature. What's so special about Halong Bay? Not only does it have nearly 2,000 limestone islands, many of them are hollow, with massive caves. Several operators offer excursions on the bay, but Emeraude Classic Cruises says it offers something a little different: dinner.

"Halong Bay from the deck of the ship is an incredible sight," said Kurt Walter, general manager of Emeraude. And "viewing it from the interior of Drum Cave is a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

Click here for the photo gallery:

-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

(Emeraude Classic Cruises)

'Top Chef': What's that guy's name again?

Blue crab Wednesday night's episode of "Top Chef" offered embarrassment at every turn: Angelo awkwardly admitted that he was all-too-familiar with crabs (and not the edible kind); Amanda made an amateur version of canned minestrone soup; chefs flipped over not being able to get the flesh out of their blue crustaceans; Steven made a salad from wilted lettuce slopped with a boatload of dressing; and Angelo suggested that the couscous dropped in a cow pasture could be salvaged.

Sure, the episode had high points too, like Ed's jumbo lump crab with Thai basil mango and cucumber salad (yum!) and Kenny and Angelo battling for control like elephant seals during mating season. But as I said before, the producers would be hard-pressed to match the group dynamic and talent of Season 6.

Even Time magazine is questioning if the show has lost its edge. (Like Josh Ozersky, I'm still having a hard time connecting to the contestants enough to remember all of their names.) In our recent Daily Dish poll, 60% of users agreed that the show had cooled down, 29% said no and 11% just wanted to see more of Ms. Lakshmi regardless of the circumstances.

Wednesday's hour of cheffing fell short for several other reasons, though. The dishes' warm-you-up  "rusticity", as guest critic Patrick O'Connell called it, was an odd pairing for the summertime swelter that's finally setting in here in SoCal. And the outdoor elimination challenge was a gimme compared to last season's campfire cookout -- the new crew got stoves, grills, microwaves, where the others were left to an open flame and sheer will. Yet somehow the Season 7 crew still had trouble pulling off decent dishes.

A couple of the contestants took the tools and ran, though: Andrea and Kelly managed to present perfectly cooked five-spice rubbed grilled pork loin with roasted beets and apples with enough time left over to bang out a lovely little crisp. Kelly going out on the oft-avoided dessert limb showed the will to take a risk, something that Progresso-inspired Amanda and Tim should take heed of. And then there was Kenny's winning hot-and-sour spiced eggplant and Kenny's broccoli couscous, which had Padma the curry stickler pleased. Maybe there's still hope yet.

So, what do you think about Season 7's cast?

-- Krista Simmons

Follow me on Twitter @kristasimmons

Photo: Blue crab. Credit: Steven Morton

Notes from the Test Kitchen: Fried chicken galore

Chix1 Apparently, there's more than one way to fry a chicken.

When I started researching the Food story, "Back to basics: Fried chicken, made at home," I was amazed at how many recipes there were for the classic comfort food.

I decided to test a bunch of recipes to see which methods worked, and why. I looked for every possible variation: Buttermilk versus brine versus rub. Complex versus simple seasoning. Size of bird. Type of fat. Deep fryer or pan (and if pan, what type). Lard or oil. Temperature. I even researched how to drain the fried birds: rack versus paper bags versus paper towels (and are the towels flat, or do you crumple them?).

I chose 11 recipes, ranging from classics to just-released cookbooks. There was Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock, Kansas City's Chicken Betty (courtesy of Jane and Michael Stern) and James Villas, the Lee brothers and the Bromberg brothers, Thomas Keller and David Chang. I included recipes and variations on the theme from David Rosengarten, Nancy Oakes, Frank Stitts, Gray Kunz and Peter Kamisky.

And because the only way to do a true comparison is to test variations side by side, I decided to test all the recipes at one time. Yeah, it sounded great in theory, but the execution turned out to be more than a little daunting.

Continue reading »

Reese is Ree, craft night, root beers, doing something sweet and more

Kitchen
--The Pioneer Woman's story is headed to the big screen, with Reese Witherspoon in the starring role. Yeah, we can see that. When she arrived at USC, Ree Drummond thought she'd left small-town living, planning on a big-city career in Chicago. But then a cowboy happened. Which was good for us, because then the Pioneer Woman blog happened. And the bestselling cookbook. And crash hot potatoes.

--AOL is partnering with celebuchefs to launch a recipe and foodie site, KitchenDaily. Might as well just bookmark it now.

--Check out this root beer recipe that packs a potent punch: Definitely for the 21-and-older set. 

--Jealous. I want this life: How about a regular craft night with friends, lemon curd optional? 

--While everyone else was going on and on about green beer and Irish soda bread on St. Patrick's Day, Steph was writing about clever ways to fend off sugar cravings at her Noshtopia blog, which manages to write about dieting without ever making you feel guilty. (Twip of the day -- follow her always fun feed @noshtopia.)

Photo: Ree Drummond, a.k.a. The Pioneer Woman, poses for a portrait in the kitchen of her newly remodeled lodge near her home on the Drummond Ranch outside of Pawhuska, Okla. Credit: Shane Bevel / For The Times

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.