We’re smack in the middle of Los Angeles’ acclaimed restaurant week, and for those of you in Southern California through January 25, a bevy of eateries are participating in dineLA. This is an event where participating restaurants craft an exclusive menu, lunch or dinner, that best represents them — just at a fraction of their regular prices.
For those who participate in dineLA for the adventure, and want to venture away from the more traditional dishes you can find at most restaurants, you’re in luck. We discovered nine innovative dishes that have piqued our interests this season.
Check them out below. As with most cases during dineLA week, reservations are highly recommended.
Found at A Frame, this Cracklin’ Chicken combines the moistness that comes from beer can chicken with the rich, bold flavors that can only be found at this Hawaiian Soul Food spot. With a beauty like this, it’s no wonder this chicken item has become one of A Frame’s signature dishes.
Made with dulce de leche and vanilla bean gelato, Art’s Table is serving up this sweet rendition of bread pudding made from croissants as part of their dineLA menu. Croissant Bread Pudding checks off a lot of the boxes for anyone with a sweet tooth.
A dry-aged steak is an experience that beef lover should have once in their life. APL Restaurant is serving a ribeye that’s been dry-aged in the restaurant’s famous 1,000 square foot chamber. Man, imagine the flavor waiting to be unlocked within that steak.
The duck confit fries from Belcampo are one of the best fries I’ve had the privilege of trying in Southern California. Belcampo takes them to a new level by throwing in crispy duck leg confit, duck gravy, and white cheddar.
Fans of hard shell tacos can find Blue Plate Oysterette’s Lobster tacos stuffed with Maine lobster, shredded lettuce, jalapeños, and drizzles of a “cheesie” sauce and truffle oil. A huge departure from the hard shell tacos I enjoyed in college, but a welcome one.
The key to a solid bowl of ramen is a rich broth, and Hinoki + The Bird’s Lobster Ramen does not shy away from that. This decadent dish features butter poached lobster swimming in a seafood broth and hand-made ramen noodles.
I haven’t been a fan of longanisa sausage for long, but since trying it, the Filipino ingredient has become too delicious to quit. Ma’am Sir’s Longanisa Burger serves up an entire patty filled with those juicy Filipino flavors. Wonder if I can request a double patty here?
Fans of the Impossible Burger will want to check out Mohawk Bend’s Big Mohawk, a meatless play on McDonald’s prolific Big Mac Sandwich. It features two vegan Impossible Meat burger patties, shredded lettuce, vegan American cheese, pickles, onions, and special sauce on a sesame seed bun.
We don’t always experiment in the kitchen. As a whole, we stick to what we know, and in the United States, we know eggs — chicken eggs, to be precise. Chicken and egg are synonymous here in America; so much so that we embrace it as our dominant age-old question, “What came first, the chicken or the egg?”
But there are other eggs to explore and experience. The average person might only have a range that begins with scrambled and ends with poached, but more curious chefs are out trying everything from croc to rhea. Let’s see all the kinds of eggs people are taking for a culinary spin.
At first glance, an emu egg looks like a puzzling decorative piece in a rich person’s home that you do not understand and yet cannot stop examining. It’s a dark bluish green, like that of a Sedona hippie’s jewelry. A single emu egg weighs roughly two pounds, which could arguably be a dozen chicken eggs. In this YouTube video, user Sean Trank cracks open this sucker and unveils a massive omelette opportunity we could all easily share.
If you were a child and came upon an ostrich egg, your default assumption would be that it’s a dinosaur egg. But no, the monstrous bird that is the ostrich is real and its eggs are enormous rounded white blocks of smooth ivory coloring. Given that an ostrich egg is typically around three pounds, you can either make the world’s biggest batch of potato salad or cook up an egg breakfast that could feed an entire diner. This YouTube video from theRandom123boy perfectly displays the enormity of an ostrich egg and the result is an omelette that can feed a family.
It may not surprise you that eggs from these lurking, floating beasts can prove somewhat fishy, but that’s why people like to boil them. Crocodile eggs are certainly enjoyed in certain parts of Australia, though they’re likely a tougher breed of human altogether. Just don’t take the eggs from out in the wild. Crocs aren’t fans of a lot of things and they for sure hate that. For a super unique example of how folks can consume croc eggs, YouTube account SuperBlueTaurus posts this video that highlights an ice cream shop in the Philippines that infuses them in their ice cream. Chill move? You decide.
Rheas are a lesser known flightless bird that look just as suspicious as an ostrich or emu. A rhea egg is about two pounds and it has a rather intense exterior. If you soft-boil it, head’s up, it’s not easy. However, it does deliver a flavor that The Independent‘s Samuel Muston described as “more complex and daintier than a hen’s egg.” As cumbersome as it may seem to cook this egg, a YouTube vid from F4TCT gives a succinct how-to on handling it.
Bet you weren’t expecting to see these on the list! It’s true though. Weaver ant eggs are notably high in protein and enjoyed throughout Southeast Asia. They make for a popular salad dish, especially in Laos and Thailand. Given that the ants snack on mango leaves, they can even be used as a substitute for lemon juice in some recipes. If your curiosity gets the best of you and you’re dying to try them, peep this video from YouTuber darrenb3, as he shows us how to make a Thai ant egg salad.
Naturally, we assume only kings and queens eat quail eggs. They love ’em! Aside from pheasant, that’s all they really talk about eating in movies. In truth, quail eggs are enjoyed by all walks of life across the world, from being a hard-boiled topping for hamburgers or hot dogs in South American nations or as the Filipino street food kwek-kwek, which is basically deep-fried quail eggs on a skewer. In this YouTube video from My Money My Food, quail eggs are prominently featured in one village’s meal.
For a country whose most gluttonous holiday focuses on a roasted turkey, it’s curious how turkey eggs aren’t a regular staple of the modern American diet. This may have something to do with how rarely turkeys lay eggs, compared to a chicken. See, hens start laying eggs around five months and keep a quota going of nearly one a day. Meanwhile, turkeys start at about seven months and only lay an egg twice a week. Still, turkey eggs were more regularly consumed across the states, back when wild turkeys would roam through homesteads. YouTube user shadricosuave’s video shows a turkey egg’s distinct spotted appearance, making you think twice before cracking due to it’s appealing aesthetic.
These might be more popular among Americans if Aesop’s Fables proved true and golden goose eggs were a thing. But alas, these are pretty standard, albeit with a rather dense yolk. While they’re also larger than chicken eggs, goose eggs can be cooked pretty much the same way. You just have to time it right. And you can make the fanciest omelette ever with goose eggs according to this video from Way Out West Blow-in blog.
Dark dots cover the tan-brownish eggs of your friendly, local black-headed gull — well, local if you’re in certain parts of Asia, Europe, or North America. Still, as they come from only one type of gull, these eggs are rather rare, available for a few weeks only right before summer starts. If you’re lucky enough to score a few, you’ll quickly notice that their yolks are more red-orange than you’re used to. You can see the brilliant hue of the yolk well in this video from YouTube account RollingDiaries.
With a pale olive green color that looks like the walls of your stylish aunt and uncle’s remodeled bathroom, pheasant eggs are aesthetically pleasing from the start. Beyond that, they have a rich flavor and probably empower you to make bold decisions. Royalty snack food can sometimes do that to a person unprepared. YouTuber AlaskaGranny shows us just how to properly cook these pretty little eggs.
Typically smaller than a golf ball and sometimes more oblong than you’d expect, turtle eggs are a treat to some. The taste of a turtle egg is up for debate, however, with some finding it packed with more flavor than that of a chicken, while others consider the taste just a tad too curious. Its preparation varies, from a simple splash of soy sauce before sucking out the goods to battering them up and smoking them along with a side of barbecue sauce. Check out this video from thetuttletribe, where he shares all the deets on eating one of these tiny eggs on their own.
A duck egg is only slightly bigger than a chicken egg, but its benefits are apparent to any chef or baker. WIth less water and more fat, duck eggs can be cooked the same as chicken eggs for the most part. Duck eggs arguably work as magic, by the way. With them subbed in, omelettes will be fluffier, cookies are chewier, and cakes rise better. For a more in-depth look into the comparison between duck and chicken eggs, YouTuber Christopher Ruzyla provides us with this informative vid.
Guinea Fowl Egg
You can come at these eggs like you do chicken eggs. Just remember that their shells are harder than what you’re likely used to. Their insides can also prove creamier with less egg white. Guinea Fowl eggs can be good in cakes and pies or enjoyed by themselves, given the handsome flavor profile. Heads up, though, these aren’t as plentiful and easy of a find as other eggs. Rainbow Gardens posted up this YouTube video wherein she shows us how to poach this rare egg.
While duck confit may already be considered a delicacy on its own, Tabañero Hot Sauce and FOODBEAST decided that creating a duck confit torta recipe would be the next best thing.
For some background, duck confit is one of the fanciest dishes to come out France. By cooking the duck legs in duck fat for several hours, duck confit is known to be remarkably delicious.
FOODBEAST and Tabañero decided to elevate the succulence of this duck confit torta even more by searing the duck on a skillet before serving. The torta is then topped with a creamy, yet spicy Tabañero mayo, shredded romaine hearts, and sliced avocado.
While this dish may seem a little advanced for some at-home cooks, Tabañero and FOODBEAST have you covered every step of the way. It’s only appropriate the Tabasutra position for this kitchen adventure is “The Virgin.”
For the duck confit
4 duck legs
1 12 oz jar of duck fat
1/4 c brown sugar
3oz Tabañero Sweet & Spicy
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp dried cumin powder
1 tbsp dried coriander
For the accompaniment
1 Bolillo Roll or Torta Bun
1/4 c chopped cilantro
1/2 quick pickled red onion (1/2 cup sliced red onion, 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, 1 tbsp sugar, 1/2 cup warm water, soak for 30 min.)
1 c shredded romaine heart
1 avocado, sliced
½ tbsp Tabañero
1 tbsp mayonnaise
In a roasting pan or stock pot, pour duck fat over your duck legs. If needed, add olive oil until the legs are covered. On the stove, bring fat up to a simmer and cover with foil. Put into preheated 350 degree oven and cook until duck is tender, approximately 2-3hrs. When tenderness is achieved, chill duck in the fat till fully cooled.
Remove legs from fat and shred meat into a mixing bowl. Discard bones and reserve duck fat in separate container. Season with all the ingredients for the duck confit and incorporate well.
In a skillet, sear duck until crispy with the reserved duck fat and season to taste. Mix mayo and Tabañero in a small bowl.
Toast torta buns and then spread mayo on top. Place the seared duck on buns and build torta with pickled onions, avocado, shredded romaine and cilantro. Serve!
What if I told you that the piece of fried chicken above was real chicken… but no bird had to be killed to make it? Would you believe me?
Well, whether you do or not, that’s what the above piece of chicken is. And it’s a world first.
Cultured meat producer Memphis Meats unveiled their newest lineup of “clean poultry” meats, which included pieces of duck and chicken that were grown in cultures and didn’t require the death of a single animal to produce.
While Memphis Meats and other cultured meat producers around the world have displayed their ability to create pieces of lab-grown, or “clean,” beef in the past, this is the first time that any company worldwide has been able to develop a piece of real poultry from just cultured poultry cells.
Photo courtesy of Memphis Meats
The company did invite a group of taste-testers to a kitchen in San Francisco to sample the chicken and duck for themselves. The chicken was prepared Southern style and deep fried, while the duck was served a l’orange. According to the Wall Street Journal, tasters described the chicken strip as slightly spongier than a chicken breast, but almost spot-on in terms of flavor. All of them said they would eat it again.
Photo courtesy of Memphis Meats
It definitely looks like a piece of chicken breast when cut open, as well.
Memphis Meats develops their cultured meat products in preparation for a future where traditional forms of meat production are no longer sustainable, since they use up too many of our natural resources, especially water and land. By culturing the meat cells and turning them into real meat products, Memphis Meats claims they can use up to 90% less water, land, and greenhouse gas emissions whilst eliminating the need for slaughterhouses.
Their efforts are backed by animal-welfare advocates, including PETA, which normally is against any form of animal consumption.
Memphis Meats aims to have their production scaled up and cost down to a point where they can sell their meats in stores by 2021.
Hey, if it tastes good and helps save the planet, I’m totally down.
Hint: no cream of mushroom soup or marshmallow topping
Yankee has provided a brief rundown of the foods eaten at the first Thanksgiving, which was celebrated during the fall of 1621 at the Plymouth Colony in modern-day Massachusetts:
…venison was a major ingredient, as well as fowl, but that likely included pheasants, geese, and duck. Turkeys are a possibility, but were not a common food in that time. Pilgrims grew onions and herbs. Cranberries and currants would have been growing wild in the area, and watercress may have still been available if the hard frosts had held off, but there’s no record of them having been served. In fact, the meal was probably quite meat-heavy.
Likewise, walnuts, chestnuts, and beechnuts were abundant, as were sunchokes. Shellfishwere common, so they probably played a part, as did beans, pumpkins, squashes, and corn (served in the form of bread or porridge), thanks to the Wampanoags.
The magazine also mentions a few items that were not eaten at the feast: “Potatoes (white or sweet), bread stuffing or pie (wheat flour was rare), sugar, Aunt Lena’s green bean casserole.”
Silicon Valley is known for a multitude of landmarks, including the garages Apple and Google were started in, the Facebook campus, and the IBM Almaden Research Lab. The one landmark, however, that perhaps garners the most universal praise from the best and the brightest of the area is Chinese restaurant Chef Chu’s.
Started by Lawrence Chu in 1970, Chef Chu’s has been the go-to place for the Bay Area’s tech elite, celebrities and politicians. Tennis superstar Serena Williams, platinum-selling artist Justin Bieber and former Intel CEO Craig Barrett have all frequented Chu’s establishment. The late Apple founder Steve Jobs also used to be a regular before he became a recognizable tech titan.
“He’d come in here as a nobody,” Chu told Mercury News in a 2012 interview. “He’d wait 45 minutes to get a table and all of a sudden he’s on the cover of Time Magazine. I was busy making a living. I didn’t know who he was.”
In the mid-1980s, when then Secretary of State George Shultz needed to hold an emergency meeting with other high-ranking officials in the Reagan administration, he held it at Chef Chu’s.
Even though he’s been in business for 45 years, the 72-year-old Chu still goes to work with seemingly the same passion and drive he started with. He’s frequently in the kitchen helping the staff and tries greeting every single customer that walks through the door.
Silicon Valley futurist Paul Saffo once said: “No restaurant has had the longevity of Chef Chu’s for either quality of the food or popularity with the valley’s movers and shakers. It’s as vibrant and lively as it’s ever been.”
Most recently, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has become a regular at Chef Chu’s.
Chu tells NextShark: “Mark Zuckerberg comes in here all the time. Him and his wife Priscilla came here last Sunday. Their parents too, they moved from the East Coast.”
Even with all the celebrity attention, Chef Chu believes in one core philosophy when treating customers: “Whoever comes in here, we should treat them the same. For a simple reason: they all pay the same price. Whether they’re an engineer, doctor, governor.”
Aside from his restaurant, Chu has published three cookbooks, started a catering business, and created his own cooking classes.
Chu, born in China and raised in Taiwan and Hong Kong, stayed behind when his family moved in the early 1960s to Californiawhere his father went from being an architect to a restaurateur in Silicon Valley. A couple of years later, at the age of 20, Chu moved as well.
His first job was as a busboy at Trader Vic’s, a Polynesian restaurant in San Francisco. He recounts: “In the restaurant, we worked so hard and I found out that I loved restaurants. It’s very famous as well. I was there; I met all celebrities there. I was a busboy, waiter, bartender. Then I told myself, one day I want to do something like this. Maybe not a busboy, but I want to do something of my own.”
At the time, he was trying to woo his future wife, Ruth Ho, who was then a PhD student at Stanford University. He’d often joke to her that he was also a PhD: poor, hungry and determined. Chu successfully wooed not only his future wife, but also his future father-in-law, who was a successful entrepreneur.
“I told the father that I had a dream. I said I want to open fast food Chinese restaurants in America. The father liked me. They all liked me in a sense, but they never asked my education. They only said, ‘This guy is 25 years old and has a dream.’ ”
It was in 1970 that Chu decided to follow through on his dream of starting his own restaurant, opening his first fast-food Chinese restaurant in a space that used to be a small laundromat between a beauty salon and appliance repair shop.
Six months later, he took over the beauty salon’s space in order to expand his venture into a sit-down restaurant. Three years after that, with money he saved over the years and from an investment from his father-in-law, Chu purchased the entire complex and completely renovated his restaurant, including the installation of a state-of-the-art kitchen.
Although by then a successful restaurateur, Chu wanted to be a chef and worked tirelessly to learn from the chefs he hired at his restaurant, perfecting his culinary skill through practice and trial and error.
“I worked my butt off. I collapsed in my bed every day. I cooked for 20 years in the kitchen.”
After his father’s restaurant was closed down by the health department, Chu went to college for two semesters to learn how to properly run a restaurant in order to make sure the same fate wouldn’t befall his own restaurant. To this day, Chu takes cleanliness and hygiene at his restaurant as one of his top priorities.
“Personal hygiene is very important. That’s 24 hours every second, every minute of the job. When you decorate the plate, everything on the plate should be edible. You cannot just put a flower there because it looks good. Everything on the plate should be edible.”
Initially, Chu wanted to open a chain of Chinese restaurants all over the country but he eventually decided to just focus on one. At 72, he’s still learning and regularly travels to Asia to discover new culinary secrets.
“People always ask me why I have only one restaurant. ‘Why do you work at 72? Why don’t you hire people and open two or three restaurants?’ The type of restaurant that I run is totally different than the type of restaurant that you run. It takes a lot of hard work but ultimately you must be a leader.”
“You have to have a great team behind you. For them, it is just another job. For me, it is my life. Most people work for me 20 to 30 years and retire. Why? They knew that they could trust me and that I would not let them down and that I was passionate. You have to demonstrate that you are a true leader.”
Chu is not the only successful person in his family. His middle son, Jon M. Chu, is a successful director who has helmed films like “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never” and “Step Up 2: The Street.” His other son, Larry Chu Jr., has joined his father in the kitchen and plans to take over the restaurant someday.
“Since Larry joined me [it has] allowed me to cut about 50% of the worry.”
Even with all his knowledge and success, Chu admits that he will forever be a student that doesn’t stop learning, to which he credits as a major reason for his success.
“Most people [say], ‘Chef Chu, you should retire. You have all the money in the world.’ I’m coming here [because] I’m proud of what I do. I’m making history. I believe my philosophy, my method. I trust my instinct. I trust my burning desire that we put 100 percent in the business and don’t stop improving. I don’t say change for the sake of change. Don’t stop advancing. Don’t stop because the world is running, the world is changing.”
Your days of basic Hot Pocket consumption might be on pause, at least for one day. Introducing the Deviled Duck Ham & Pimento Cheese Pocket Pastry.
Ding. Your microwave just announced the complete transition of your frozen brick pastry to the volcanic treat that gives the roof of your mouth third degree burns. For some reason, even though this food takes minutes to prepare instead of the hours actually involved creating a pastry dough and filling, the three minutes you’ve been waiting is the longest of your life.
Longer than your child’s birth. Longer than the Lord of The Rings marathon you watched that included all alternative endings, deleted scenes and never-seen-before footage. Longer than the Catholic wedding you just attended that included the ceremonial rites of a newly ordained bishop before the nuptials.
But your pocket has arrived. And within minutes, similar to your late-night fast food cravings, you’re semi-full but not satisfied (whilst also tending to your burns). Then, the thought occurs. What if someone made an elevated version of this pocketed pastry. What would it look like? What would be inside? AND WHY HAVEN’T I TASTED IT YET?!
Chef Jeff Boullt of Orange County’s Social has finally created a pocket pastry that brings the best nostalgia of your guilty microwave pleasures combined with the perfect mixture of contemporary and delicious ingredients. The pocket is outfitted with deviled duck ham (what?!), pimento cheese and finished with a smoked onion jam.
Southern Californians and lucky travelers will have a single day to experience this delight during our 1-day cheese festival, FOODBEAST Presents Ooze Fest on Saturday, October 10 in Santa Ana, CA. We’re premiering 20+ cheese creations, with your ticket giving you access to all of them. Oh, and it includes craft beer tastings. Yeah, you should get on this.
Early bird pricing for the festival continues until 5 PM on August 27th. $40 General Admission, $65 VIP – which gives you access to the food an hour ahead of general admission.
We’re still accepting vendor applications for the festival, although space is limited. If you’re interested in debuting a new and original cheese item, please send us a line here.