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News Restaurants Sustainability

Los Angeles’ Recent Ban On Gas Stoves May Endanger Many Asian Restaurants

Photo: jpellgen/Flickr

In an effort to become carbon neutral by 2045, Los Angeles County’s City Council has just passed a motion banning most residential and commercial gas appliances. Statewide, many cities are also responding to climate change, hoping to meet the same goal. Our environment is shifting around us in unpredictable ways and these changes are impacting our way of life.

In LA’s food scene, one popular staple sure to be impacted by the new motion are Asian restaurants. Traditionally, Asian food is cooked using natural gas grills, woks and ovens. For example, in Cantonese cuisine, natural gas gives wok-cooked food their smokey flavor. That signature is called “wok hei” or “breath of the wok.” By comparison, electric woks can’t fully replicate the authentic characteristics of certain Asian dishes.

Electric grills and ovens similarly lack natural gas’ fiery panache. Natural gas is an integral part of Asian and other cultures’ cuisine, identity and heritage. Yet, climate change is a looming bully, indifferent to our cultural perspectives. It’s a challenging pill to swallow as restaurants will not only have to update their cooking appliances, but many cooking methods as well.

With the future of natural gas use uncertain in Los Angeles, let’s hope there’s some middle ground that allows restaurants to maintain traditions without negatively impacting the environment.

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Restaurants Technology What's New

Step Inside LA’s Most Technologically Advanced Dining and Entertainment Establishment

An elevated supper club dinner concept from Miami, MainRo, has just arrived in Los Angeles in the old Beso space. MainRo has big intentions to fill its 7,500 square foot space with a combination of cocktails, dining and theater all in one.

MainRo is definitely lookin’ bougie in the best way with the level of elegance its interior has in combination with state of the art, high tech entertainment. Think massive chandeliers that have 4K mapped screens that move independently, velvet blue booths and electronic dining tables that have its themes modified by touch.

The walls are even covered in reflective art paneling and the stairs by the DJ booth have 4K screens that illuminate when walked on. Knowing that, there is no way in hell you’re stopping me from reenacting the entire Billie Jean music video while going up and down those steps.

The cuisine at MainRo has a similar mindset with the decor in terms of elegance and attention to detail. Their food is locally sourced and will offer a bevy of starters, caviar, platters, soups, sushi, entrees, prime steaks, Japanese Wagyu and vegetarian dishes to create an array of options for every lifestyle and palate.

Decadence is put at a premium on the menu, with diners offered truffle Wagyu bites, Colorado rack of lamb, hot stone Wagyu beef, 36 oz. bone-in tomahawk steak served with homemade sauces or pan-seared Chilean sea bass with caramelized miso sauce.

“We are creating a modern and technological version of the Moulin Rouge, but the difference here at MainRo is you are the star and the show is happening in front, behind and may even be on top of you” says Romain Zago, founder of MainRo.

MainRo is located at 6350 Hollywood Blvd, and is open Thursday through Saturday from 6:30PM to 2:00AM.

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Cravings Features Restaurants What's New

Like a Portal Between France and India, Camphor is the Most Alluring Bistro in Los Angeles

Within the industrial breadth of Los Angeles’ Arts District lies Camphor, an exciting new French bistro that’s surely an alternate universe that finds France and India bordering each other. Where a roasted chicken normally found in a lauded French brasserie is shoved out of its comfort zone with an infusion of garam masala and tandoori spices. It’s a microcosm that treats diners to its own interpretation of ‘gunpowder spice’, an explosive and potent mix of roasted dal (lentils), black sesame, sugar, salt, coconut, chili powder and malabar black pepper, dusted on baby shrimp to give it a charisma and sophistication far beyond its given name.

This tempting portal between the two countries, both rife with their respective culinary traditions, is the creation of accomplished chefs Lijo George and Max Boonthanakit, both of whom met in Bangkok while working at the two Michelin-starred Blue by Alain Ducasse.

“During the pandemic, we were all stuck in our houses, everyone wanted to travel through Instagram, so I was looking at all these places I wanted to go eat. I felt like a lot of other people might have felt that way. So we figured to do a concept that felt like you were transported somewhere else,” explained Boonthanakit. “We wanted to do an in-between of a bistro that was in India and France.”

Chefs Lijo George and Max Boonthanakit

“I was thinking, we have to use Indian spices in our cuisine to give it its own identity,” relayed George, who procured a direct plug from India offering ungraded spices that unlocked the potential of Camphor as a one-of-a-kind bistro in a city known for its culinary range and uniqueness.

Camphor’s singularity manifests itself in the finesse of incorporating Indian ingredients with French cooking techniques. So patrons can expect to be both transported with each bite and juxtaposed to this delicious dichotomy, one that revels in the fundamentals of good food executed with candor and precision.

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Recipes Video

Turning LA’s Iconic Street Dog Into A Pizza

Few foods are more iconic on the streets of Los Angeles than the street dog. Griddle cooked, loaded with onions and peppers, and wrapped in bacon, they’re ubiquitous fare for Angelenos heading home from major events. Slap on some ketchup, mustard, and mayo, and you have a messy but delicious meal.

What happens when you take all of those components and translate them from a hot dog bun to a base of cheesy pizza? Turns out, the results are just as satisfying and craveworthy as the original.

Below is the recipe to make this scrumptious amalgamation between hot dog and pizza.

Ingredients

Pizza Dough

  • 1 448 gram ball of NY style pizza dough (~1 pound)

Mayo Pizza Sauce

  • 1 cup Mayo
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream

Toppings

  • 1 pack of Hot Dogs
  • 1 White Onion
  • 3-4 whole jalapeño peppers
  • 4 strips bacon
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Ketchup and Mustard for garnish

Steps

  1. Toss a pizza stone in your oven and preheat to 550°F, or as hot as it will go if it doesn’t get to that temperature.
  2. Cut hot dogs into thin rounds and set aside.
  3. Thinly slice onions and jalapeños, then fry until softened and the onions are translucent.
  4. Fry the slices of bacon until crispy. Drain and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Combine mayo and heavy cream in a bowl to make your pizza sauce.
  6. Stretch out the pizza dough. Layer on sauce, then mozzarella cheese.
  7. Scatter on peppers, onions, bacon bits, and hot dog slices.
  8. Bake your pizza on the pizza stone until the cheese is bubbling and the bottom is crispy, should take about 5 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and garnish with swirled drizzles of ketchup and mustard.
  10. Cut into 8 slices and dig in!
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Technology

SoFi Stadium Deploys Sushi Robot Army In Preparation for Super Bowl

Photo: AUTEC

The return to outdoor sporting events is back in full swing. Although there have been some cancellations amidst the unpredictable nature of the ‘rona, many events have chosen to weather the storm. Undeterred and ready to deliver the sporting event of the year, Super Bowl LVI remains scheduled for kick off this month. On February 13, it will take place at Los Angeles’ new state-of-the-art SoFi Stadium.  

Few things stir the human need for connection more than live social gatherings. Thanks to an open air design, proof of vaccination isn’t required to attend and the stadium will operate at full capacity. That’s 70,000 seats filled with roaring fans. As you can imagine, there’s many factors to consider when preparing for large scale events like this.

For example, how do you respond to the challenge of feeding 70,000 hungry fans? More importantly, how do you ensure the food is COVID safe? 

Photo: AUTEC

Spearheaded by Taka Hirano, who heads sushi operations, SoFi Stadium has partnered with AUTEC, the leading commercial sushi robot provider in the nation. AUTEC’s sushi robots were especially designed to deliver high quality consistency for the upcoming big game and events beyond.

By deploying models ASM865A and ASM410A, two sleek robots that favor elaborate breadmakers, SoFi can serve 1,300 sushi rolls and 2,400 rice balls each hour to attendees respectively. This makes for a shorter wait time and contactless experience. 

Hirano credits customer satisfaction to the AUTEC partnership, “AUTEC’s sushi robots have been a huge help for both the pre-packaged operation as well as VIP sushi service operations. The food prep times are easier to calculate, giving us an exact timeline on when the food can be served. We have to serve hundreds of customers with a very short preparation time, so the consistency and efficiency provided by AUTEC is a must-have for maximum customer satisfaction.”

Photo: AUTEC

Attendees to this year’s kick off event will get to experience it in a new stadium holding its first ever Super Bowl. And if that doesn’t get your gears going, AUTEC’s automated sushi robots will. The experience will truly offer a glimpse at the coming future of sporting events. More details can be found here.

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Alcohol Drinks

A Beginner’s Guide To Natural Wine

The holiday season usually brings good cheer, especially when there’s food and booze involved. For those who may want to be a bit more conscious about imbibing this season, there’s always natural wines as a healthier alternative to the usual eggnog or stout beers.

But what are “natural wines”? I reached out to Good Clean Fun Founder and CEO Ian Asbury to find out.

Good Clean Fun is a Los Angeles natural wine bar and bottle shop that focuses on sourcing small production wines that showcase sustainable and humane farming practices. Asbury and his team believe that ‘clean’ natural wine makes us — and Mother Earth — feel better from the inside out.

I recently spoke with Asbury to get an introduction to the world of natural wine, from what it is to which ones we should be drinking.

What is natural wine?

If natural wine listed its ingredient list, all it would read is ‘fermented grape juice’. Regular – unnatural – wine adds up to 72 different ingredients like additives & preservatives.

What makes natural wine different from “regular” wine?

In addition to the lack of preservatives and additives, natural wine tastes better, is healthier for the body and is better for Mother Earth. It’s farmed organically, hand-harvested, fermented with native yeast, unrefined and unfiltered.

Is natural wine the same as organic wine?

Natural wine is always organic, but organic wine isn’t always natural. Organic wine can still use lots of the unhealthy ingredients. What makes wine natural is the minimal intervention; rather than manipulating the juice too much, natural winemakers oversee the process to ensure its quality and integrity.

If a wine tastes good, though, does it matter how it’s made?

Things that are made to taste good without the correct approaches have consequences. Wines packed with additives, preservatives, flavoring, and chemicals are harder for the body to break down and often can lead to health issues. These wines are even worse for the soil, and degradation of land makes for weaker and weaker vineyards over time. 

Does natural wine give you less of a hangover? 

Ha – in theory! Alcohol is alcohol and its effects vary, but natural wine tends to have less alcoholic content or percentage than conventional wine, and there’s less for the body to process as well. Natural wine reduces the amount of acetaldehyde in the blood, which essentially means less of a hangover. Plus, natural wine is far less likely to lead to elevated cholesterol!

What are some of the key terms one should know as they begin to explore natural wine?

Minimal intervention means that the winemaker does the least amount possible to the wine throughout the process of making the wine, turning grapes into wine without adding or removing anything.

Zero-zero means there are no added sulfites.

PetNat stands for Petillant Naturel, or the ancestral method of making sparkling wine.

Orange wine is grapes with the skins left on during the winemaking process (as opposed to removing as is custom in white wine production).

Co-fermentation is basically when a winemaker chooses to ferment two different grapes together or combine grapes with other types of fruit.

Whole cluster means the wine was made with whole bunches of grapes including their stems, which was common before destemming machines. It’s seen as an ancient and low intervention method to ferment the grape — stems and all!

Which regions make natural wine?

All over, bruh! You find amazing natural wine domestically from California, Texas, Wisconsin, Virginia, and internationally like Italy, Romania, Slovakia, Chile, etc. Natural wine allows for countries not dubbed ‘Old World’ to have their moment.

What’s the best natural wine region?

At Good Clean Fun, we are loving less conventional regions! We also think that any natural wine is superior to conventional wine, no matter where it’s from. There are so many people and places in the natural wine world doing such special things. If you really want to take a deep dive, lots of people believe wine creation originated in (the country of) Georgia, as well as orange wine (hint: they actually call it amber wine).

If I wanted to go out and buy a bottle of natural wine today, what would you suggest?

Come see us at Good Clean Fun in DTLA and chat with me or any of our staff and we can find the perfect bottle for you. If you can’t make it to us, the best way is to start trying different wines out and find out what you like and don’t like about each. A few that we’re feeling at GCF right now (that you can purchase from us) are:

Bichi Pet Mex Magnum: Show up to a party with the big boy and say ‘let’s fuckin’ gooo’! 

Tessier Riesling says “Hey gurl, it’s warm outside, let’s drink dis.”

Acqua Pazza from The Austin Winery: Oh, you from Texas high plains? Well, I wanna get orange wine high plains. 

Old World Winery Bloom: Put this in a Styrofoam cup with ice. Seriously.

Elliott Family Wines Yacht Rock: If your dad’s favorite band is Grateful Dead, this will also be your dad’s favorite wine. 

We also have a GCF Wine Club, a hand-selected monthly box that includes 4 different bottles, and multiple tiers/levels depending on your wine know-how and needs. Ranging from ‘Table Sh*t’ to ‘Cool Kid Sh*t’ to ‘Baller Sh*t’, it’s a great way to begin or continue tasting and learning about natty wine. It’s also the ultimate gift. No matter your knowledge level, you’re going to enjoy the rotating, curated selection.

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Cravings Entrepreneurship Fast Food Features Restaurants

How Danny Boy’s Pizza Unlocked the Secret to Finally Bringing Authentic NYC-Style Pies to LA

“A piece of the puzzle is the water temperature. New York City water temp 365 days a year comes out of the faucet at 41 degrees. And water temperature is really important for the dough’s quality development.”

And with that, acclaimed chef Daniel Holzman matter of factly solved the conundrum of an authentic New York-style slice finally breaking through in the Los Angeles dining scene. There’s been many who have claimed the NYC-style, but none have come close until Holzman’s Danny Boy’s Famous Original in Downtown Los Angeles.

“Yeast is a living organism, it’s a bacteria, and the hotter it is, the faster it goes. It beats out all the other bacteria and wants the food. If you slow the yeast down, the other bacteria have the opportunity to flourish and you get more flavor development. If you start with 41 degree water, you cool down the dough and you can extend your fermentation process. So you get more flavorful dough with a certain quality to it.”

Of course there’s more to the water temperature, though. You need the best, freshest New York-style ingredients, to ensure the overall quality of the pie. And you need the size to be on point — whether it be 18 or 20 inches remains up for debate still among NYC pizza purists. Also, that pie’s got to hold up, stability is king here. Get that droopy shit out of here as I shake my fist in New Yorker.

I get it, though. You got a lauded chef, with a fine dining pedigree, who knows his New York slices, rocks an iced out pizza chain that would make any rapper look twice, and exudes the bravado and sincerity of all the Five Boroughs — and boom, damn good pizza all up in my tastebuds.

Situated inside Halo, a new dining and retail destination in the heart of DTLA, Danny Boy’s is slinging pies that save me a flight into JFK International Airport. You’ve got the usual suspects here — Cheese, Pepperoni, Meatball — amongst others, all done incredibly and with the gusto and say-it-with-your-chest flavor and quality that any tried and true New Yorker will respect.

How else is a slice of Danny Boy’s worthy of repping the Five Boroughs? It all comes down to how you hold it.

“The thing that makes a New York pizza a New York pizza is that you hold it with three fingers, one with the middle on top, the thumb and the ‘fuck you’ finger on the bottom. And you make a slight fold, then the thing should hold straight and not be flaccid on the tip. Then if you fold it further, it cracks on the bottom but doesn’t break in half.”

After trying a couple slices for myself (and making sure I saved some to take home and maraud later), I have no problem admitting that Danny Boy’s is the best NYC-style pizza in Los Angeles. The crust is crisp, crunching effortlessly without being arid, the ingredients are fresh and flavorful, and the whole experience in helping myself to each slice was simply comforting.

Congrats Daniel Holzman, you’ve cracked the Da Vinci code to bringing authentic New York ‘za into the City of Angels. You’ve dropped all the gems, it’s now on Angelenos to taste the most official, the truly legit on the left coast.

Categories
Culture Food Fashion News Restaurants

A Look Into Surreal Pop Art-Themed Cafe By Artist Joshua Vides

@yungfoodbeast

this is the coolest new cafe in LA ##foodbeast ##joshuavides ##matteblack

♬ Lo – Official Sound Studio

Joshua Vides has made quite a name for himself in the past few years with his distinct and highly-sought after black and white pop art style. Successful collaborations with Fendi and Converse are a testament to how wanted his services and work are in the industry.

In his latest endeavor, Vides links up with serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Afters Ice Cream, Andy Nguyen, to create a one-of-a-kind coffee experience in Downtown Los Angeles. Dubbed Matte Black Coffee, the surreal café is an immersive dive into the stylings of Vides.

Upon stepping into Matte Black, customers are treated to a pop art trip, where reality gets blurred into the dreamlike space. Go ahead and snap a few pics while you sip on tasty drinks like a White Chocolate Lavender Cold Brew, snack on haute macarons and vibe out to the IG-friendly surroundings.

Grand opening is in late August, so follow @matteblackcoffee for further deets!