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Culture Fruits & Vegetables Health Nightlife Plant-Based Restaurants

This Creative Eight Course Plant-Based Meal Is Attracting Vegans and Non-Vegans Alike

As a vegan, I know about all the new products, restaurants and Netflix documentaries. I have vegan friends and share some of the same vegan views. At times, in this vegan bubble of mine, I even begin to believe everyone’s becoming vegan. A simple conversation with a relative quickly dispels that notion. The reality is that within the United States, vegans only make up an estimated 3% of the entire population. That’s like comparing an edamame, to an, I don’t know, elephant. 

A recent study reveals the silver lining, as veganism has increased around 300% in the last 15 years. That’s an incredible explosion within a short space of time. You can credit the internet with this “mushroom” cloud of a diet shift. Whereas the initial conversation siloed around animal rights, over the years it’s expanded to include climate change and personal health and wellness. More specifically, two important factors for any new way of approaching things; advances in technology and just plain ol’ hands-on human ingenuity. 

One person forging her own brand of human ingenuity is Executive Chef Mimi Williams of Counterpart Vegan in Echo Park, California. Using 100% market fresh ingredients and plant-based processes, she creates familiar staples that are nearly indistinguishable from their original meat-based iterations. This is in stark contrast to many vegan spots that feature alternative protein-heavy menus, which are great advances as well, yet different. 

Raised in a small town in the Pacific Northwest, Williams was one of only a handful of Black families in the community. She shared a household with her parents and six brothers of Sicilian/Creole descent. Although she didn’t resemble most of her neighbors, Williams had a strong family support system. One could say she grew up with a traditional family in a non-traditional setting.

While her mother seemingly loved cooking and wanted Williams to learn, she recalls initially being resistant, feeling forced into doing a thing based on her gender expectations. Learning how to cook felt more like work than fun. Noticing that, her father encouraged her to cook things that interested her. That encouragement was the magic needed to open the floodgates of the world of food.

Williams’ was pushed to explore alternative diets during a period in which her father experienced health complications. With his doctor citing less meat consumption as a course of action, her family subsequently became early adopters of a mostly plant-based diet. By this time, Williams had become the de facto cook for her family, with her siblings frequently requesting her food.

At first, it took awhile to adjust to a mostly plant-based lifestyle, but after witnessing her father’s health improve firsthand, she was convinced the diet change was the right decision. These experiences helped Williams develop a perspective on food many Black people don’t have. She discovered veganism some years later during pregnancy after realizing she could no longer consume meat.

Honing her craft at restaurants across America, Williams’ still carries the same spirit of fearlessness and creativity her father encouraged as the current Executive Chef of Counterpart Vegan. Joining the team in 2019, she set about revitalizing Counterpart’s array of offerings. She credits a period of stagnant creativity as the stimuli behind her latest eight course tasting menu.

Consisting of familiar foods inspired by her upbringing, the flavors feel authentic. Some of the offerings include heirloom tomato carpaccio with a tasty and tangy vegan feta, pappardelle made from beets, seasoned squash ravioli and an unforgettable tiramisu as the finale. Williams’ new menu is a fine dining experience vegans and non-vegans alike can enjoy. She says she wants people to walk away feeling a sense of hope, and that when they share, “I didn’t know you could do that with this type of food,” that’s how she knows she’s on the right track.

If you’re looking for some momentary respite from quarantine, while supporting small businesses during the pause of outdoor dining, Chef Mimi will be offering a condensed version of the tasting menu as take-out for two. The dinner package will include a salad, appetizer, pasta, dessert, and likely, two non-alcoholic drinks.

There will be 25 of these dinner plates available to all guests and can be pre-ordered on Tock. The dinner package will be available every Friday and Saturday for pick-up, from 6PM-8PM.

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Restaurants Video

Bang Bang Noodles: LA’s Hottest Street Food Show

Photo: Constantine Spyrou // Foodbeast

Venture out to The York in Highland Park, Los Angeles, and you’ll find more than just your typical pub grub and drinks to enjoy outdoors. Within the bar’s walls resides Bang Bang Noodles, a street food sensation that’s slinging a variety of noodles akin to what you might find on the streets of Xi’an in China.

The owner, Robert Lee, has a lot of Michelin starred-kitchen cred, but left the fine dining scene to set up his noodle stand in Los Angeles. Growing up eating street food classics, he wanted to build something “for my own, that I could relate to, that others could relate to as well,” as he told Foodbeast.

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Special thanks to @reachhard_ & @constantine_spy from @foodbeast for coming thru and showing so much love and support before our break. We did Sellout this week but we will have a new Schedule Out Next Wednesday! Thanks for all the Love & Support! Stay Safe & Eat Safe! . . . . . . . . #凉皮#handpullednoodles #tinglysoup #biangbiangnoodles #biangbiangmian #foodpornstreet #noodledough #bangbangnoodlesla1 #bangbangnoodlesla #tinglycuminlambnoodle #tinglycuminlamb #streetfoodla #shaanxistreetfood #bangbangnoodles #losangelesfood #handpullednoodle #handpullednoodles #biangbiangmien #陕西八大怪 #biángbiángmiàn #油潑扯麵 #bangbangnoodlesla1 #highlandpark #nela #uhygurcuisine #delicious #instafood #foodstagram #noodlelift #noodlelifting

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For Lee, that has been bowls of his noodles, which he stretches, slaps, and pulls to order. They’re cooked in boiling water and served with a spicy, tingly sauce (there’s also a soup option) as well as a bunch of toppings. Lee includes a variety of options, including lamb and shiitake mushrooms as a nod to the Uighur culture in China’s Shaanxi region, the inspiration for his own noodles. Pork, beef, and seitan round out the proteins on the menu.

Lee also includes a Xi’an tomato sauce variety that gets plated with bok choy. The tang of it elevates the noodles to a unexpected yet mouthwatering flavor experience.

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Lets start this week off with a Bang Bang! New BBN Schedule is hot off the press! NEW CALL IN HOURS 6pm-10pm Wed&Thur! Call once or twice to ensure your number gets thru but please do not flood the phone lines with repeated calls we will line up all missed calls and return them ASAP. It may take an hour or two to return calls by it please be patient with us due to our high volume of orders. Thanks for all your love and support. Stay Safe Eat Safe! Thanks again for all the love! Let’s keep Banging! . . . . . . . #凉皮#handpullednoodles #tinglysoup #biangbiangnoodles #biangbiangmian #foodpornstreet #noodledough #bangbangnoodlesla1 #bangbangnoodlesla #tinglycuminlambnoodle #tinglycuminlamb #streetfoodla #shaanxistreetfood #bangbangnoodles #losangelesfood #handpullednoodle #handpullednoodles #biangbiangmien #陕西八大怪 #biángbiángmiàn #油潑扯麵 #bangbangnoodlesla1 #highlandpark #nela #uhygurcuisine #delicious #instafood #foodstagram #noodlelift #noodlelifting

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To learn more about Lee’s story and Bang Bang Noodles, check out the above Foodbeast “News Bites” video.

Photo: Constantine Spyrou // Foodbeast

Bang Bang Noodles is currently open and taking reservations for orders inside of the York.

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Food Festivals Restaurants

New ‘Resy Drive Thru’ Experience Shows How Food Festivals Could Operate In COVID

Photo courtesy of Resy

Food festivals haven’t exactly been a thing since the COVID pandemic hit, as having a ton of people in an area clamoring for food has been a tough challenge. A new collab event between Resy and American Express, however, could provide blueprints on how to run them during a pandemic.

The “Resy Drive Thru” experience, happening in Los Angeles on October 15th and 16th, will have guests go through a driving tour of some of Los Angeles’s best restaurants. At each stop, they will be served a course inside of their car and then guided to the next one by a socially distanced waiter.

Restaurants featured in the experience include L.A. favorites Chi Spacca, Night + Market, Jon & Vinny’s, LASA, and Trap Kitchen. Other restaurant stars in the mix include Konbi, Gwen, Alta Adams, and a dish from chef Nyesha Arrington. Majordomo and Kismet will also provide special items.

The event is going to a good cause, as Resy and American Express will team up afterwards to make a donation to World Central Kitchen. However, it will also serve as a strong example of how one could get multiple restaurants to come together and serve food in a festival-like setting during a pandemic.

Tickets for the Resy Drive Thru go on sale for the general public on September 30th (American Express card holders can buy them 2 days earlier). They can be bought individually or as a group, although group ticket holders must all arrive and travel in the same vehicle throughout the event.

Categories
Restaurants

MENUDO RAMEN Makes Head-Turning Debut at LA Restaurant

Image courtesy of Don Chon Menudo

A Southern California menudo specialist, Don Chon Menudo, is turning heads on Instagram with the recent debut of their newest creation: Menudo Ramen.

Debuted just a few days ago, the Menudo Ramen takes Don Chon’s traditional red menudo and adds noodles to the mix. Each cup of the order also gets topped off with corn, lime, cilantro, onion, oregano, and chili peppers.

While the traditional menudo bowls Don Chon specializes in contain hominy, the ramen version swaps the hominy for noodles.

Don Chon, located in Pacoima, California, is known for specializing in both red and white menudo, but also makes their own handmade tortillas for dipping. They’re a sister restaurant to Birrieria San Marcos, a restaurant that sizzles on Instagram with their birria creations.

When it comes to the Menudo Ramen, the comments so far have been mostly positive, with folks on Instagram curious to try it or saying that it looks good. Others are curious about the addition of corn to the top of the ramen, while some would rather just have the traditional bowls.

Regardless of how you feel about menudo ramen, it’s definitely an interesting combo worth sampling.

Don Chon Menudo is only open on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays from 8 am – 2 pm, so those wanting to try a bowl should head there then.

Categories
Celebrity Grub Restaurants

The Story Behind Ja Rule’s Comically Bad Greek Restaurant Commercial

Ja Rule image adapted from WebSummit on Flickr.

Recently, a video featuring rapper Ja Rule advertising for a Greek restaurant has made its way around the internet. The video, which has garnered over 3 million views on Twitter to date, shows Ja Rule going off for one of his favorite local restaurants, Papa Cristo’s.

For those unaware, Papa Cristo’s is a marketplace and a restaurant that’s been at the heart of the Greek community in Los Angeles for over 70 years. The owner, Chrys Chrys, is a local legend that fires up lamb chops, grilled octopus, and many other Greek specialties hard to find at most other restaurants.

While the viral video itself is mostly getting ripped by Twitter users for the editing (Ja Rule dancing in front of a green screen and slapping the owner’s head on some stock footage), the story behind it is actually pretty intriguing. Foodbeast reached out to Papa Cristo’s to learn more about the video and found that it was part of both a TV show and just general support Ja Rule wanted to give.

According to Papa Cristo’s, Ja Rule created the segment for something called “Pitch Perfect,” a show he created as part of TBS’s “Celebrity Showoff” series. Ja Rule and Chrys chat for a while before coming up with the ad, which the rapper hopes to use to bring light to Papa Cristo’s as well as supporting local restaurants in general.

The full clip will air on June 23rd on TBS, but you can view part of the show in the video above. Papa Cristo’s also mentioned that Ja Rule is helping to raise money for No Kid Hungry alongside supporting family-run local spots.

Categories
Alcohol Restaurants

Wine Brand ‘Bev’ Donates 100% of Sales to Service Workers

 

Bev

Each day, more efforts are being made to combat the effects of the corona pandemic. With cities at a near standstill, somehow life must persist. To lower the risk of spreading the virus further, stay-at-home orders have been passed nationwide. Probably one of the most at risk are the many service workers helping on the local front lines — delivering mail, stocking grocery stores, and providing medical assistance amongst other things. Thankfully, businesses are coming together to support their local service workers.

Venice, California-based wine brand Bev has announced that they will be donating 100% of all sales, online and in-store, to help service workers affected by the Los Angeles dine-in closure mandate. Bev will also be matching the first $3k of donations to a GoFundMe supporting the initiative. To further boost their support efforts, Bev will be distributing in-house hand sanitizer free-of-charge to the elderly and homeless in Venice. The elder and homeless are the two highest at-risk communities without access to essential services. 

With over 72,387 eating and drinking establishments in the city, it’s important to have those willing to step up to help out. Fortunately, uncertain times breeds togetherness. You can support Bev’s Service Workers Relief Fund by donating to the GoFundMe or simply by making a purchase today.

The text to delivery phone number is: 323-289-6964 to place an order.

Categories
Health News Packaged Food

LA Mayor Says ‘There’s No Major Shortage Of Food’ As Major Markets Seek Workers

Photo Courtesy of Ralphs

As more and more folks are staying at home to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, restaurants and public businesses have been temporarily shutting down to help prevent the spread.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti made an announcement this morning to help calm the masses who are desperate to stock their households with supplies in the trying weeks to come.

“Supply chains are completely uninterrupted, and there’s no shortage of food,” Garcetti said as he stood in a Ralph’s Distribution Center in Paramount, CA. With him were executives from major grocery chains such as Food4Less, Ralph’s, Northgate, and Gelson’s.

Stores are short on popular items during this pandemic because of people purchasing more than they need, and as a result, employees are unable to restock from the suppliers in a timely manner. During the livestream the mayor encouraged consideration for others, especially the elderly, when out shopping for supplies.

Kendra Doyel, Vice president of merchandising for Ralph’s, stated that both Ralphs and Food4Less are actually hiring during these trying times to help keep the shelves stocked at a more manageable rate. Those who need to look for work in the Los Angeles area as more business close down because of the virus may consider employment at these major grocery chains during this time of concern over the COVID-19 pandemic.

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#foodbeast Cravings Culture Restaurants Video

A Whole Fried Pig Head Platter Is Served Up At LA Filipino Restaurant

When it comes to pork, Filipinos could write a whole saga on their love affair with the protein. Like there would literally be a sonnet for sisig, a limerick for lechon, a chorus for crispy pata — you get the picture. Consider every part of a pig and Filipinos probably have a dish for it. But Southern California Filipino restaurant chain, Noypitz, has got something that even had me astounded at their take on a pork dish: whole crispy pig head.

It’s not every day you see a whole fried pig head (dubbed Crispy Ulo) served up on a platter, let alone one that’s deep-fried to golden brown perfection. In fact, I doubt I’d ever seen anything quite like this Crispy Ulo platter on any Filipino restaurant menu. But its uniqueness on paper gives way to an iteration of pork that few folks ever get to enjoy. Make no mistake, pork belly is always the fan favorite, but not many realize that head meat offers a next level kind of tender that would make your favorite slow jam jealous. Keep that in mind the next time you’re in the mood for pork and are feeling adventurous.

Noypitz has three locations throughout Southern California, so trust there will be plenty of Crispy Ulo to go around.