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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.

Categories
#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.

Categories
Cravings Design Features Restaurants What's New

DTLA Restaurant Is Serving Up The Most Stylish Pizza Boxes Out There

 

V DTLA

Style and substance. It’s the highly coveted pairing that eludes the masses. Endless swipes on dating apps have proved fruitless. Conscientious visits to our favorite online shops turn up scant results. And the drool-inducing food pics we scroll through on our timeline often don’t live up to the hype in terms of overall quality and taste. But once found, style and substance in tandem make for a memorable anything.

Recognizing this conundrum, V DTLA is a new restaurant in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles’ Jewelry District (fitting, really) that somehow cracks the code and infiltrates the matrix of what looks, tastes, and feels good.

V DTLA

A prime example of V DTLA living up to style and substance is their lineup of pizzas. Here they’re serving up Genovese-style pizzas that are cooked in a custom-built Italian oven in less time than your average Billboard chart-topper. The results are signature offerings that include delectable toppings like, roasted golden beets, fresh basil, rich mozzarella, unctuous balsamic glaze, and savory pepperoni. But wait until they’re served to you in what may very well be the most stylish and chic pizza boxes ever created.

Picture the scene of a piping hot, fresh out the oven pizza served up in a box that’s equal parts elegant Fashion Week invitation and modern, black & gold Vogue cover centerfold. Slide out that warm pie and take in the swank and dapper surroundings that creates a sophisticated vibe within an approachable setting. Neiman Marcus could never.

V DTLA

V DTLA

V DTLA, 515 W 7th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014
Categories
Feel Good Food Policy Food Waste Restaurants

Postmates’ FoodFight! Initiative Aims To Combat Hunger And Reduce Food Waste

Every night in the city of Los Angeles, there’s an estimated 53,000 homeless people that suffer from hunger. Some other disheartening facts about homelessness in LA are that 15% are family units often headed by a single mother and 25% suffer from mental illness.

Further research reveals it to be an epidemic plaguing the second most populous city in the United States. Faced with these staggering statistics, it’s easy to feel helpless. Rent is skyrocketing and neighborhoods are being gentrified as longtime residents are pushed out. With only 1,270 missions and 24 emergency shelters in Los Angeles County, solutions to the homeless equation seem akin to trying to solve time travel.

Despite these facts, I’m of the belief that it’s better to try than to succumb to hopelessness. One brand that shares that sentiment is Postmates. In partnership with Working Not Working and Vice, FoodFight! was launched in February of 2018. FoodFight! is a new initiative started by Postmates to combat hunger amongst America’s homeless population and reduce food waste in the restaurant industry. The Food Waste Reduction Alliance conducted a study in 2014 that found 84.3% of unused food in American restaurants is disposed of, 14.3% is recycled, and only 1.4% is donated.

Los Angeles has fast become one of the most generous contributors to the initiative with 4 of the top 5 restaurants being based within the city. This year, Postmates introduced 41 new cities nationwide to deliver food from participating restaurants to those in need. Emily Slade, Working Not Working’s Head of Growth & FoodFight! Ambassador had this to say:

“If we can eliminate the friction in the donation process by making it as easy as calling Postmates to make the food donation delivery, then we can really make an impact.”

While still in it’s pilot phase, FoodFight! is rapidly expanding as more restaurants are participating nationwide. Although it may not be the end all be all in the fight against homelessness and hunger, FoodFight!’s focus on waste reduction within the restaurant industry is a great step towards improving how we manage our leftover food. As FoodFight! continues to grow, restaurants and non-profits are invited to join the initiative by emailing foodfight@postmates.com.

Categories
News What's New

The Eleven Regional Hot Dogs Everyone Needs In Their Life

There aren’t many things on this green earth that unify, and simultaneously drive apart, Americans quite like hot dogs, besides maybe politics and the NFL (which may as well be the same thing at this point, much to the chagrin of “Stick to Sports” Twitter). Hot dogs are universal in the sense that they’re consumed at every corner of the country. They’re also quite divisive, in that each region has their own spin on the mystery sausage, and which one is the best is a oft-debated subject.

Cities and states lay claim to hot dogs like BBQ and famous nightclubs. The Chicago dog, Dodger dog, Seattle-style dog, Detroit dog — all delicacies that locals will fiercely defend to their graves.

In truth, most of these dogs are remarkably similar: dog, buns, onions, peppers, cheese, and some kind of sauce. The attachment lies in the intrinsic pride that comes with the down-home origin story of each dog, most of which were long ago enough to not be quite remembered, as well as memories of better days and sleepless nights spent with friends stumbling into a hot dog vendor at just the right time.

One such cherished hot dog is Detroit’s Coney Island dog, which combines a Dearborn Sausage Company hot dog with beanless chili, a hit of mustard, chopped raw onions, and, of course, a helping of shredded cheddar cheese. These dogs are a part of the city’s culinary backbone, a place where a preference between local landmark American Coney Island or it’s next-door counterpart Lafayette can strain friendships. 

A few days ago, on Foodbeast’s podcast, The Katchup, hosts Elie Ayrouth and Geoffrey Kutnick were joined by Chris Sotiropoulos, the owner of American Coney Island to discuss the creation of the Detroit’s esteemed Coney Island Dogs. The company’s recent expansion to Las Vegas gives West Coaster’s the chance to try a regional dog that would be otherwise unobtainable. With the Coney fresh on our mind, the Foodbeast office began to think of other specialty dogs out there that we haven’t tried. 

So, we hit the streets and found eleven hometown favorites that we wish we could try, and here they are:

Sonoran Style

 

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The Sonoran hot dog starts with a frank wrapped in crispy bacon. Created in Tucson, AZ, the dog pays homage to the city’s Latino roots by using a split soft roll called a bolillo, and topping that with pinto beans, chopped tomatoes, diced onions, creamy mayo, mustard, and jalapeños. 

Chicago Style

 

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Maybe one of the most famous options on this list, the Chicago-style dog is as much a staple to the city as its biting wind. It uses a steamed Vienna sausage all-beef dog, which is then placed in a steamed poppy seed bun, and painted with the bright colors of tomato slices, sport peppers, dill pickle, chopped raw onion, relish, celery salt, and a drizzle of bright yellow mustard.

Scrambled Dog

 

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The Scrambled Dog was born in Columbus, GA 72 years ago, the brainchild of the late Lieutenant Stevens. This beast of a plate starts with a soft bun, then Stevens’ fresh chili, cut up weiners, more chili, raw onions, dill pickle slices, and a heaping handful of crunchy oyster crackers. 

Seattle Style Dog

 

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A Seattle-style hot dog consists of a grilled, split frank, nestled on a toasted bun that’s been smothered in cream cheese, grilled onions and, often, jalapeños. It makes sense that these are typically eaten during late nights out, because it sounds like something I would make with some potluck leftovers at 2AM.

Tater Pig

 

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This… is what it sounds like. A specialty of the Twin Falls County Fair, this monstrosity does just enough to constitute as a hot dog. Really, it’s a sausage. And it’s stuffed inside of a baked potato. Hence, the tater pig. 

Polish Boy

 

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Cleveland’s late night sausage of choice is a grilled kielbasa (a sausage broadly described as “any type of meat sausage from Poland.” Thanks Wikipedia). Place one of these guys on a sturdy bun, and top it with a handful of fries, coleslaw, BBQ sauce, as well as hot sauce, and you have yourself a Polish Boy.

Dodger Dog

 

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Los Angeles’ Chavez Ravine favorite has both steamed and grilled variations. Either way, the result is a ten-inch pork hot dog embraced in an equally as long bun, marked with relish, mustard, ketchup, and chopped raw onions. 

Carolina Style

 

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This version of the hot dog is popular amongst much of the Southeast United States. Beginning with an all-beef frank stuffed in a soft bun, it’s then covered in chili and piled high with coleslaw. Most people like to add mustard as well, to offset the sweetness of the slaw and savoriness of the chili.

New York Dog

 

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Contrary to every other aspect of their lives, New Yorkers like to keep their hot dogs simple. Strictly boiled in water of mysterious circumstances on a street cart, these dogs are topped with only mustard and sauerkraut for buyers to quickly shove down.

Italian Dog

 

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The answer to every New Jerseyan’s hangover, this dog originated in Newark. Here, bakers make plush loaves of pizza bread, which are like massive pizza crusts. After being split open, the bread is stuffed with a lightly fried dog, onions, peppers, and more deep-fried potatoes than can fit.

Tijuana Dog

 

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The Tijuana dog, though named after the town in Mexico in which it originates, gained it’s fame off the streets of L.A. Sold largely from street carts outside of sports games and clubs, this dog is wrapped in bacon and fried until crispy and snappy. It’s tossed into a soft bun and then served with grilled onions and peppers, mayo, mustard, ketchup, and sometimes a grilled jalapeño to give it some kick.

Categories
Food Festivals News Restaurants What's New

This New Food Festival Is an Ode to the Chicken Strip

Chicken tender fanatics often live out their passion in silence. The dish can draw some serious side-eyes if ordered for dinner during a night out. Once the age has passed where “being picky” is a legitimate excuse for not wanting to try new menu items, the childhood favorite is usually reserved for the occasional bar order or desperate fast food buy. But, those crunchy breaded chicken strips are loved by most for a reason — they’re easily made and moldable to just about any profile. 

Later this month in Los Angeles, tenders will be getting the recognition they deserve, when Off the Menu and John Terzian of the H.Wood Group will be teaming up to throw the city’s first TenderFest at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on November 15. The festival aims to show off the tender’s full potential by bringing together some of the area’s top chicken vendors, including Delilah, Fuku, Raising Cane’s, Hot Mutha Clucker, CAULIPOWER, and Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken.

Additionally, famed chefs Nancy Silverton, Wolfgang Puck, Chris Oh, and Timothy Hollingsworth will each be crafting their interpretation of a tender to serve in front of a panel of judges. The winner of this showdown will be gifted a cash prize to give to a charity of their choice. 

Tickets for TenderFest are available now for $65, which pays for unlimited tenders and beer. The VIP tickets, which run for $175, also include the food and booze, as well as event merchandise, a VIP lounge, access to VIP-only vendor Dave’s Hot Chicken, a gift bag, and a 6 month membership to Off the Menu.

Off the Menu has been throwing dope food-focused events for a while now, and is a consistent source for innovative and creative flavors, which stands out in a Southern California culinary universe that can tend to stagnate on flavor-of-the-month trends.