Pining for Moby

If you’re native to Los Angeles, you’re lucky. You grew up in one of the most culturally diverse cities in America and you were raised with a palate that’s had the opportunity to savor everything from sticky Korean chicken wings, superior seafood and indisputably the best tacos north of the border.

If you’re new to Los Angeles, you’re also fortunate. Our city’s food scene has swelled in the past five years, giving rise to more chef-driven restaurants than ever. Food trucks have taken a back seat to beautiful brick and mortars, where atmosphere is just as important as what is on the plate.

This expert knows what Los Angeles is all about—unique cuisine, changing tastes, fresh ingredients and a creative look on what it means to bring people together over a good meal.

Expert: Moby, Founder of Little Pine Restaurant, Musician

Green Rockstar: A vegan for almost three decades, Moby has worked with organizations like Greenpeace to promote education on climate change.

Moby’s highly anticipated organic vegan bistro opened last November to a community that had been clamoring for the new restaurant ever since news had broke in early spring. Located on Rowena Avenue in the trendy neighborhood of Silver Lake, Little Pine has fast become one of the city’s most talked about restaurants. We sat down with Moby, celebrated songwriter, musician, DJ, activist and owner of Little Pine to get all of the details on his new creative venture.

Q: What inspired you to create Little Pine?

Moby: I’ve been a vegan now for 28 years. In that time, veganism has completely transformed. Twenty-eight years ago being a vegan was just … sad. There were only a handful of vegan restaurants in the world. Now, Bill Clinton is a vegan, Miley Cyrus is a vegan and it’s become so much more mainstream. I am also an investor at another vegan restaurant here in LA, Crossroads, and it’s great to see all of these celebrity vegans come out of the woodwork —Johnny Depp and Paul McCartney eat there all of the time. As veganism has become more popular, so has the quality of the food. Twenty years ago, vegan food was your typical beans and rice—now vegan food has become so interesting and sophisticated. The goal here is to have a fairly cohesive Mediterranean approach to vegan food; in a broad sense, drawing in from France, Italy, Spain and the Middle East.

Q: Tell us about your work with Greenpeace and focusing on the issue of climate change.

M: As time has passed, I’ve learned that being vegan has many benefits, but the environmental impact of raising animals for food is astounding. Twenty-five percent or more of climate change is a result of animal agriculture—more than every car, bus, boat, and plane on the planet combined. Since there is so much interest in climate change, now my goal is to draw people’s attention to the role of animal agriculture in climate change.

Q: Are you going to use Little Pine to conjure activism in the community?

M: Yes, but in a subtle way. What I’ve found is, as far as promoting veganism, it’s easier to do when you have beautiful food in a beautiful space filled with attractive people. I don’t want to yell at people or be didactic about it; I just want to have a lovely restaurant that happens to be vegan.

Q: The design happening inside is not what you would expect from the Art Deco exterior. The interior has a modern, midcentury look. Tell us about the design process while you were building the restaurant.

M: I’ve always said there are two LA’s: the LA of palm trees and the LA of pine trees. I’ve always identified with the LA of pine trees, like Mt. Baldy and the Angeles National Forest. I wanted Little Pine to have a Scandinavian and midcentury feel, without being too kitschy–just modern and clean, with lots of natural wood. Simple and unpretentious.

Q: How did you and Chef Kristyne Starling come together?

M: [After the departure of our first chef] I spent months trying to find a vegan chef, with no luck. I hired Kristyne to help me find a chef, and we liked working together so much that we decided she would be the chef. She, along with our other chefs and line cooks, may not come from a vegan background, but they’re all bringing their traditional cooking skills to a vegan restaurant. Kristyne also has great relationships with several farmers, which enables us to source as locally as possible.

Q: Are the beers and wine served organic as well?

M: Yes. The criterion is that everything in the restaurant is organic. The only exception to that is that there are certain farmers who can’t afford the certification process, but they are just as, if not more, organic than bigger farmers who can pay to get certified.

Q: First timer’s must-try plate for dinner?

M: The thing I am most excited about is really simple. When I was growing up one of my favorite things was stuffed shells. So our chefs have created stuffed shells with house made vegan ricotta. The dish is served with three giant shells. One is stuffed with a Kalamata olive ricotta and topped with a pesto sauce, another with a lemon and white wine ricotta with a leek sauce, and a ricotta with basil and a classic marinara sauce. There’s also a panzanella salad that’s amazing.

Q: Take us through a typical day at Little Pine.

M: Well, we’re open every day from 7:30 a.m. until midnight, seven days a week. It’s ambitious, but I lived in France a long time ago, and I love how French bistros work; you go for breakfast, then maybe go back for an afternoon tea, and then can even go back for a romantic dinner. I want Little Pine to function like that for our community. Every day we have an afternoon tea service with a sort of modern take on a traditional tea service. We have about 60 different types of tea. I love restaurants in the middle of the afternoon when they’re calm and kind of empty.

Q: What can we expect to find in the retail shop?

M: Basically the city of LA said that because we only have six parking spaces, we had to have a retail space. At first I was turned off by it, but then I got really excited to curate it. It’s pretty much all picked out by me. When possible it has a local quality to it, a lot of the art books are from friends of mine or people in the community.

Q: Does social media affect how you develop your brand?

M: I’m very active on social. I don’t think you can really have a commercial enterprise in the 21st century and not implement it, especially when there is a strong visual component. There’s the design, the architecture, the retail space, the food and it’s all very photogenic, so by definition social media has to be part of it.

Q: Are you working on any other projects in addition to Little Pine?

M: I am putting out a memoir this year. The memoir takes place over 10 years, from 1989-1999. In 1989, I was living in an abandoned factory, making around $4,000 a year. I didn’t have running water or a bathroom. I was a straightedge, vegan, Christian-Bible-study-teaching DJ. Then I moved to New York, got a record deal, started drinking again, and went to the other extreme of degeneracy and debauchery. The book ends at this very low moment when I’ve lost my record deal and my mom had passed away. All these terrible things were happening, and then the album Play comes out. The book is called Porcelain [a song from the album Play] and will be out this May.

Written by Christine Williamson, Locale


Toasting Etiquettes From Around The World


Traveling the world can be a profound experience. Especially when you’re drinking with newfound friends.

Let’s Grab A Beer created this cute video showcasing different toasting etiquettes from around the world. When you’re drinking with someone, it’s probably best to be a bit familiar with customs. For example, did you know you should clink glasses in Germany, but not Hungary?

Check out the video below and learn exactly how to toast like a local. Cheers!


Eat Locally, Strip Globally: Canadian Strip Club Offers Quality, Locally-Sourced Menu


Apparently, there’s only one thing that Vancouver residents love more than watching strippers work it on onstage — and that’s munching on a selection of locally-sourced Vancouver cuisine while enjoying the show. Vancouver gentleman’s club No. 5 Orange discovered the surprising overlap between local food fans and strip club aficionados when they gave their normal food selections a locally-sourced revamp earlier this year. The environmentally friendly overhaul paid off big time, and  according to CTV News, No. 5 Orange’s food-generated revenue has “more than doubled” since the changes.

Of course, credit has to be paid to the local master chef that No. 5 Orange hired to oversee the switch. Chef Stuart Irving, a longtime fan of the gentleman’s club he describes as “Cheers, but with boobs,” took painstaking care to make the menu reflect the quality service and beautiful presentation that No. 5 Orange serves on and off the pole. The new menu features a series of gourmet selections including “Satay Kabobs of either free-range chicken, double-smoked pork belly, or wild sea prawn,” which will make it pretty hard to tell if customers are drooling over the food . . . or the performers. We’re going to take a wild guess and assume that it’ll be a combination of both, and we’re hoping that strip clubs worldwide follow No. 5 Orange’s example. Eat locally, strip globally? Sounds like a plan to us.

H/T Eater + PicThx Dealbreaker


Tastemakers Shows Us How to Be Fresh, Humane, Local Foodies

In 2008, a movie entitled Food, Inc. told us about the importance of organic foods. Now, four years later, has announced a new series called Tastemakers, spotlighting local businesses in major cities across the U.S. who bring “Food Done Right” to their respective communities. Using some of the underlying themes of Food, Inc., Tastemakers will highlight where you can get the most humane, organic, homemade, locally sourced and sustainable products to make your meals.

“As the digital publishing division of Participant Media, TakePart is committed to continually highlighting the issues raised in our films and providing consumers with the most relevant and qualified actions they can take to make a difference,” said Karina Kogan, General Manager of TakePart in a press release.

“TakePart Tastemakers is a great example of our ongoing effort to engage and educate the public about our food system in a way that is both entertaining and actionable.”

The site covers ten major cities across the States:  Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and the Twin Cities — each highlighting 10 businesses for a total of 100 features.

Those of you tired of eating rubbery processed foods from chains or looking for somewhere new to shop for groceries will definitely want to check this out.

via Tastemakers


Swish Swishin’ at Orange County’s Newest Shabu Restaurant [ADVENTURE]

Tabu Shabu Shabu Costa Mesa

Last week Rudeluv and I had the opportunity to finally eat for FOODBEAST without the pesky and annoying company of our publisher Elie. Good thing this opportunity came up on his bowling night. Seriously, the guy has a bowling night.

We were happy to make the measly 5 minute drive from our HQ offices to Tabu Shabu — a new Shabu Shabu restaurant that just opened in Costa Mesa, CA. Rudy had the opportunity to try Shabu for the first time and I was excited to compare this establishment with the many others that have popped up in recent years, as well as compare it my mother’s home rendition of Shabu Shabu.

Never heard of Shabu Shabu? That’s okay, we don’t judge here at FOODBEAST. If you do know, just skip onto the next paragraph. Shabu Shabu is a Japanese meal similar to Sukiyaki or Chinese Hot Pot. You’re given raw meats and vegetables and you cook them in a personal pan of boiling water. Sounds a bit bland at first, but the beauty behind the preparation is the speed at which items are cooked, the fresh ingredients and the sauces to pair with it. Typically, customers are given a ponzu (can be a mixture of soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar and citrus juice) and a mustard sauce. But for me, I can’t get enough of the ponzu, FOR EVERYTHING.

Outside of the nondescript shopping center (boasts Pancakes R US as the anchor) – Tabu Shabu gets it done from the brand perspective. Great interior, over-staffed (which is nice for a new restaurant working out the kinks) and clean branding. When we got asked what we wanted to try, obviously we pushed for a sampling of everything and from the picture above you can tell that the spread was a plentiful.

Tabu Shabu Beef Cuts

Beef, beef and more beef. We got to try all 3 types of beef available at Tabu including the certified angus ribeye (rudy’s favorite), washimi kobe short rib (the american style kobe beef) and the prime marbled rib eye (my favorite). It was definitely nice to have a sampling of different types of beef to compare in one sitting, since most of the time you pick one and immediately scarf it down.

We also got to try the kurobuta pork shoulder, brown Mexican shrimp, jumbo scallops and vegetarian options. Its hard to steer me away from the beef (get it?), but these other options won’t disappoint. Typically, I’m still hungry after devouring the meat/veggie portion of most shabu meals, which allows boosts my excitement for the noodle soup at the end of the meal. Using the broth from which you have just cooked all your meat/veggies, throw some noodles into the boiling water and BAM, insta-meal ender. Pictured below:

Tabu Shabu Noodle Soup

So for our Orange County readers, try to make it out to Costa Mesa for Tabu Shabu. Lunch and Dinner will run you $15-$30 depending on your order. Eat on:

Tabu Shabu
333 E. 17th St. Unit 19
Costa Mesa, CA


Adventure: Satchel’s Pizza (Gainesville, FL)

Every town has that one great restaurant people just continually flock to. Satchel’s Pizza is that restaurant for the city of Gainesville. Great pizza at a good price, what more could you ask for? Plus it sort of helps when it has a sick Junk Store in the back that sells everything you will never need in life. Check out the rest of the post to see what else Satchel’s has to offer.


Adventure: The Jones Eastside (Gainesville, FL)

The Jones Eastside is a restaurant that cooks with organic and locally produced food. Sometimes the cost of these products scare people away from ever trying it, but the quality of the food is worth every cent. Plus it never hurts to splurge a little every now and then. Your taste buds will thank you. Check out the rest of the post to see how this adventure went down.


New Deal Cafe (Gainesville, FL)

It’s amazing how the best places are hidden in unsuspecting locations like a shopping plaza. The New Deal Cafe in Gainesville, Florida is no joke. This has been the best quality food I’ve had since I began school here. Great prices and great food that can all be found in this one spot. If it’s budget friendly for a student, then you know almost anyone can afford it. Check out the rest of the post to see what they have to offer. Till then, eat on!