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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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.

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


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!

Adventures Pop-Ups

‘Estrano’ Is A Los Angeles ‘Street Pasta’ Pop-Up That’s Deliciously Chaotic In All The Best Ways

“Arroz Con Pollo” Cavatelli
Hibiscus Biang Biang
Brocolli Beef Ravioli
Carbonara Tsukemen Ramen
Grilled Beef Tongue “Loco Moco”
Foie Gras Thai Iced Tea Gelato
Coconut Tomatillo Sorbet

What. The. Fuck. On paper alone the concepts that I was reading off on ‘Estrano’s’ latest pop-up menu had my head spinning. Was this actually real? How? Why? But most importantly, where and when?

The answers to such pressing questions I found in a nondescript alleyway on the outskirts of Los Angeles’ Chinatown waiting in line alongside folks chattering away about what they were about to order, all while a tumultuous soundtrack of Pig Destroyer, Wormrot, Los Master Plus, and Barbara Streisand marauded the airspace. The perfect setting for the aforementioned menu that ‘Estrano’ had ready for the people. I was worked up. So was my appetite.

Helmed by Diego Argoti, a chef with an impressive pedigree working in the lauded kitchens of Los Angeles’ elite Bavel, Bestia, and Chi Spacca, ‘Estrano’ — which aptly translates from Spanish to ‘strange’ — is a pop-up concept that’s here to wreck every expectation you have of what any regular dining experience is. The atmosphere alone that it generates is a precursor to the deliciously chaotic event your meal will be.

Touted as “street pasta” on Estrano’s Instagram profile, this moniker is an understatement to the frenetic adventure diners can experience through site, smell, taste, and feel. The energy is that of an F5 tornado filled with the sharpest kitchen knives. Fun stuff, really. And you feel it in the food itself, where expertly handmade pasta and thoughtfully crafted flavor profiles borne from the depths of an endless well of freaky meet and wake you up like wet towel to bare flesh.

Oh and at a $12 price point per dish, it’s easy to forget you’re eating white table cloth quality and execution.

Hats off to Chef Argoti, who’s put together an unforgettable experience with ‘Estrano’ and flips a stout middle finger at all culinary boundaries and norms.


The Co-Founder Of CPK Just Opened A Roman-Style Pizza Spot

Photo courtesy of ROCA Pizza

We don’t see many Roman-style pizza concepts. So when we heard that the co-founder of California Pizza Kitchen has opened a new spot in Los Angeles, CA, our interest was piqued. 

Rick Rosenfield, co-founder of CPK, and his wife Esther are bringing an elevated fast-casual rendition of Roman-style street food pizza to the Glendale called ROCA Pizza

The artisan dough is long cold fermented for 72 hours, creating an airy rise and satisfying crunch. 

Produce is also sourced from the nearby Santa Monica Farmers’ Market and specialty cheese ordered from Italy. 

Pizza highlights include Soppressata & Burrata, Potato & Porcini, Italian Sausage & Potato, Mixed Mushroom, Pepperoni, Margherita, and Bell Pepper. 

The name “RO” is taken from the Roman origin of this pizza style and “CA” from the restaurant’s California-inspired spirit. 

Currently ROCA is are currently operating as a pop-up at The Americana at Brand in Glendale, and plan to open on the Westside at the Palisades Village and Waterside at Marina de Rey later this year.

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Get To Know LA’s Best Gourmet Fish & Chips

When it comes to fish & chips, Los Angeles is most likely the last city you’d expect to serve up a plate that’s noteworthy enough to tell everyone you know about. But at Fishpop, in the Koreatown neighborhood of LA, Chef Joon is firing up gourmet versions in different and bold flavors that are memorable and scintiliating.

Joon’s culinary pedigree is made up of training under lauded chef Joe Sasto, where he learned the fine art of pasta making. The unlikely connection to fish & chips could have one wondering initially the exact correlation, but once you realize that technical kitchen prowess is key to making a perfect serving of fish & chips, it all starts to make sense as to why Fishpop’s brand of the dish is top notch in the city.

Whether you’re crunching into a sweet & sour homage to Panda Express’ Orange Chicken in crispy fish form, or if you’re like me, and diving face first into the perfect and memorable spicy version, Fishpop guarantees a fierce craving for their food. It’s chef’d up fish & chips, really, all done with the respect and care that even the most humble cut of deep-fried seafood deserves.

The video above illustrates the fine details that go into Fishpop’s mastery of fish & chips, which is more than enough to convince any discerning diner that this is the best version that LA has to offer.

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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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.