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Culture Features FOODBEAST Opinion The Katchup

Here Is How The Michelin Guide Can Make Angelenos Care About It

Earlier this year, the Michelin Guide, known by most foodies and insiders as the defining restaurant rating guide, made the announcement of its return to Los Angeles after a nine year hiatus in the city. At the time, former Michelin Guide director Jean-Luc Naret commented on the departure, “The people in Los Angeles are not real foodies. They are not too interested in eating well but just in who goes to which restaurant and where they sit.”

But times have changed since Naret’s verbal slap to Los Angeles, as it is now heralded as one of the most exciting food cities. Fast forward to now and you have Angelenos who are armed with adventurous and curious palates, all eager for a taste of authenticity and the previously unknown all at once. Such a groundswell of interest in cuisine has lead to a foodie movement in the city that’s been influenced by the culinary machine that is the Los Angeles of now. These days new restaurant concepts are fresh and exciting, chefs are emboldened to serve the food authentic to their personal experiences, and equal validity and fanfare is bestowed upon all kinds of eating establishments, whether it be a taco truck roving the streets or posted up outside a tire shop to fine dining restaurants that challenge diners’ tastes and invigorate inclinations.

With such a broad stroke of culinary offerings from all kinds, backgrounds, and formats coloring Los Angeles, is the typically stuffy, white table cloth-leaning, and archaic Michelin Guide even a good fit for the city? And frankly, should Angelenos even care?

The simple answer would be ‘no’, since the Michelin Guide outright called out LA diners and slandered the city on its way out. But being that Visit California has partnered up with the guide to come back to Los Angeles, it’s wise to consider the benefits that the added tourism and influx of dollars it could bring in. But beyond that, why else should the foodies of Los Angeles pay attention to the Michelin Guide?

Eater LA Senior Editor, Farley Elliott, helped answer that question on a recent appearance on Foodbeast’s The Katchup podcast.

“If they don’t put a San Gabriel Valley restaurant on there, if they don’t put a taco truck on there and give one of these places that are everyday dining options a star, people like you are just going to continue to laugh it off and rightfully so.”

Sure, the Michelin Guide has long been the culinary standard of excellence, but what it fails to do in tandem with its longevity is adapt to modern culinary norms. The rigidity in its preference for tasting menu, white tablecloth, European fine dining establishments reflects on a draconian and frankly problematic formula for its lack of inclusion of restaurants outside of such narrow standards.

But here in Los Angeles, the Michelin Guide has a chance to address such criticisms by taking the city for what it is. “Glendale is so different than Venice, it’s so different than Frogtown, and Silver Lake, and Downtown or the Arts District. So [the Michelin Guide] has got to be willing to meet these places where they’re at and understand and respect that obviously what they’re doing is working for the average diner.”

So until the Michelin Guide can start recognizing the Mini Kabobs and Sun Nong Dans of Los Angeles, places where they reflect the everyday dining habits of most folks, then the majority of Angelenos will simply not care or give credence to the merit of it at all.

 

Feature Photo: Steve Lyon
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Cravings Restaurants Video

The Fyre Fest Burger Is A Flaming Spectacle At This Outrageous Burger Joint

In recent years, the craft burger movement hasn’t really evolved that much. The creativity behind the toppings, patties, and accompaniments has grown, but how we think about the burger itself has remained constant.

One restaurant in Downey, California, is out to change all that with their flaming tableside burger presentation.

Photo: Reach Guinto // Foodbeast

Aptly named the “Fyre Fest,” this burger from Lock & Key Social Drinkery is changing how we serve the classic American meal. The burger itself comes with a meaty stack of three cheese-covered patties, drenched in an aged Cheddar Mornay sauce. When it arrives at your table, it comes with a gravy boat filled with truffle demi-glace and a shot of overproof Jamaican rum. The fireworks start when it gets lit on fire and drenched all over your burger, resulting in one of the most flavorsome fork-and-knife burgers you can find.

Lock & Key doesn’t stop with the creative flair there. Their menu offers up a variety of burgers that bring something different to the presentation. Whether that’s their literally smokey Doc Holliday burger or their Filet Mignon-loaded take on a Big Mac, the burgers here are starting to change the discussion on how we approach the old-school sandwich.

You can view some of Lock & Key’s most creative burgers in the above Foodbeast YouTube video.

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#foodbeast Culture Fast Food Features Packaged Food Plant-Based

This ‘Vegan 7-Eleven’ Wants To Change Perception Of Indulgent Plant-Based Food

Photo: Peter Pham

From the 1990s even until now, the main perception of vegan food was akin to a diet of bark and leaves, with little to no crave worthy traits and void of flavor. Later in that decade the concept of plant-based food began to trickle into the mainstream, yet was still relegated to a misconception of having to eat dirt and tofu. If you wanted a burger, it was soy mayonnaise with soy cheese on a soy patty and all you really did was eat a block of tofu on a piece of bread.

Fast forward to now and there’s nut-based products, pea protein, isolate-based products, and mung bean that contribute to a flourishing movement of vegan cuisine. There are now developed flavors, textures, and consistencies that to vegans, are just as good as the “real thing,” yet better because it’s plant derived. But it doesn’t mean vegans can’t have some fun and dive into some junk food. Cue Bestie’s Vegan Paradise in East Hollywood, California — the vegan answer to 7-Eleven.

Photo: Peter Pham

Taking a unique approach of vegan convenience store, Bestie’s was co-owner Alison Shead’s foray into providing a plant-based alternative to mainstream junk food and the convenience of corner stores like 7-Eleven. Along with other co-owners Asia Phoenix and Matt Fontana, Bestie’s Vegan Paradise was a concept that was their niche to fill.

“I’ve always loved grocery shopping. And so for me, to have a place where you can go in and you don’t have to pick up the label to see if it’s something you could eat or to be able to go into a place and not have to walk by meat that’s packaged on the shelf is really awesome. I figured it’d be a perfect fit. It’s a dream come true,” shared Shead.

Yet beyond those initial reasons grew a need to address the whole convenience factor of shopping for vegan products as well.

“We just thought that was something that hadn’t been covered yet. You know there’s other vegan grocery stores around the country or around the world. We just thought something convenient would be beneficial. We’re also only carrying vegan brands so it’s a little bit different. But it’s evolving,” said Shead.  And such vegan brands like Karma Baker and Vegan Hooligans, along with local vegan businesses are stocked at Bestie’s, rounding out an impressive selection of vegan snacks, desserts, and pastries. So think plant-based alternatives to corner store favorites like jerky, Pop-Tarts, chips, and milk, and even unlikely vegan offerings like protein shake powder and smoked salmon.

Photo: Peter Pham

But what 7-Eleven comparison would be complete without hot dogs and mozzarella sticks? And wow does Bestie’s come through in the clutch with plant-based offerings of such beloved convenient bites. Their vegan chili was fantastic and an unabashed topping on their vegan hot dog courtesy of Beyond Meat. As for the mozz sticks? A brilliant cashew-based cheese filling along with a flavorful breading made for one of the best ones I’ve ever had — vegan or dairy-based. So picture the infamous hot dog bar we all are used to, just with plant-based perks.

Though the ubiquitous frigid altars at every 7-Eleven that are the Slushie machines weren’t around, Shead assured me that a vegan soft serve machine was on the way.

Photo: Peter Pham

Alright, so everything checked out on the 7-Eleven correlation, at least from the vegan offerings side of things. Yet the overall appeal with 7-Eleven is their near-universal presence in neighborhoods, something that Shead hopes Bestie’s will be able to address soon when asked about possible expansion plans in the future.

“We’d love to have Bestie’s all over the country. Part of our mission is to provide healthy options to the community. So why stop at the community right here [in Los Angeles], when there’s people everywhere that need healthy options?”

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Hit-Or-Miss

What Superstitious Fans Should Eat For The Super Bowl

If you’re the type of sports fan who wears your hat inside out when your team is losing, or sits on the left side of the couch at the end of games, you’re going to want to listen up for the food versions of your Super Bowl superstitions.

Whether you’re a Rams fan, Patriots fan, or just a degenerate who put down $2,000 on one of those teams, Grubhub, the popular food delivery app, put together a recipe for success using eating trends from both Los Angeles and the greater New England area.

The gist of it is, Rams fans should eat beef shawarma, and Patriots fans should eat sausage pizza if they want their teams to win.

Grubhub came to these conclusions by analyzing the most popular orders put in on days the Rams and Patriots won this season.

On days the Rams won games, beef shawarma was 163 percent more popular in Los Angeles than any other order food order. Followed by mac & cheese, shrimp scampi, chicken alfredo, and ramen.

When the Patriots were victorious, sausage pizza was 181 percent more popular among New Englanders. After that, the most popular foods on victory days were eggplant parmesan sandwiches, ham and cheese sandwiches, pork wonton soup, and cheeseburgers.

Most Popular Food Orders For Rams Wins

1. Beef shawarma (163% more popular)
2. Mac and cheese (115% more popular)
3. Shrimp scampi (110% more popular)
4. Chicken Alfredo pasta (105% more popular)
5. Ramen (103% more popular)
6. Chicken shawarma pita (103% more popular)
7. Penne bolognese (98% more popular)
8. Chicken masala (91% more popular)
9. Baba ganoush (91% more popular)
10.Lamb shank (77% more popular)
___________

Most Popular Food Orders For Patriot Wins

1. Sausage pizza (181% more popular)
2. Eggplant parmesan sandwich (171% more popular)
3. Ham and cheese sandwich (155% more popular)
4. Pork wonton soup (149% more popular)
5. Cheeseburger (127% more popular)
6. Pulled pork sandwich (127% more popular)
7. California club sandwich (123% more popular)
8. Garden roll (116% more popular)
9. Spicy edamame (101% more popular)
10.Eggplant parmesan (92% more popular)

Now you know what your Super Bowl party spread should look like. If you stray away from this formula, expect your team to lose. Hey, I don’t make the rules, I just tend to follow the supernatural ones.

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Restaurants

9 Wild DineLA Dishes We Need To Sink Our Teeth Into

Photo Courtesy of Ma’m Sir

We’re smack in the middle of Los Angeles’ acclaimed restaurant week, and for those of you in Southern California through January 25, a bevy of eateries are participating in dineLA. This is an event where participating restaurants craft an exclusive menu, lunch or dinner, that best represents them — just at a fraction of their regular prices.

For those who participate in dineLA for the adventure, and want to venture away from the more traditional dishes you can find at most restaurants, you’re in luck. We discovered nine innovative dishes that have piqued our interests this season.

Check them out below. As with most cases during dineLA week, reservations are highly recommended.


Cracklin’ Beer Can Chicken

 

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Found at A Frame, this Cracklin’ Chicken combines the moistness that comes from beer can chicken with the rich, bold flavors that can only be found at this Hawaiian Soul Food spot. With a beauty like this, it’s no wonder this chicken item has become one of A Frame’s signature dishes.

Croissant Bread Pudding

 

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Made with dulce de leche and vanilla bean gelato, Art’s Table is serving up this sweet rendition of bread pudding made from croissants as part of their dineLA menu. Croissant Bread Pudding checks off a lot of the boxes for anyone with a sweet tooth.

Ribeye Dry Aged In An Environmental Chamber

 

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A dry-aged steak is an experience that beef lover should have once in their life. APL Restaurant is serving a ribeye that’s been dry-aged in the restaurant’s famous 1,000 square foot chamber. Man, imagine the flavor waiting to be unlocked within that steak.

Duck Confit Poutine

 

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The duck confit fries from Belcampo are one of the best fries I’ve had the privilege of trying in Southern California. Belcampo takes them to a new level by throwing in crispy duck leg confit, duck gravy, and white cheddar.

Lobster Tacos

 

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Fans of hard shell tacos can find Blue Plate Oysterette’s Lobster tacos stuffed with Maine lobster, shredded lettuce, jalapeños, and drizzles of a “cheesie” sauce and truffle oil. A huge departure from the hard shell tacos I enjoyed in college, but a welcome one.

Lobster Pizza

 

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There was a time when throwing lobster on a pizza was unheard of, but Cattle and Claw’s took their shot and it looks delicious. This may be the first pizza I wouldn’t dunk in ranch dressing.

Butter Lobster Ramen

 

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The key to a solid bowl of ramen is a rich broth, and Hinoki + The Bird’s Lobster Ramen does not shy away from that. This decadent dish features butter poached lobster swimming in a seafood broth and hand-made ramen noodles.

Longanisa Burger

 

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I haven’t been a fan of longanisa sausage for long, but since trying it, the Filipino ingredient has become too delicious to quit. Ma’am Sir’s Longanisa Burger serves up an entire patty filled with those juicy Filipino flavors. Wonder if I can request a double patty here?

Big Mohawk

 

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Fans of the Impossible Burger will want to check out Mohawk Bend’s Big Mohawk, a meatless play on McDonald’s prolific Big Mac Sandwich. It features two vegan Impossible Meat burger patties, shredded lettuce, vegan American cheese, pickles, onions, and special sauce on a sesame seed bun.

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Technology

Postmates Launches Delivery Bot That Fits 50 LBS Of Food

Not even delivery drivers are safe from the robot revolution, and Postmates‘ latest revelation is living proof.

Its name is “Serve,” can fit up to 50 pounds of food, and will be able to travel up to 30 miles on a single charge.

“We realized we are in a unique position to create an autonomous delivery vehicle with socially aware navigation that understands how to navigate cities while meeting specific customer needs,” Bastian Lehmann, Postmates co-founder and CEO, said. “We took a design-first approach with Serve that walks alongside people and fits into our communities.”

If the concept of a delivery bot doesn’t give you the heebie jeebies, maybe the fact that Postmates developed a “language for rovers and humans to understand each other’s intentions,” will give you some goosebumps.

Serve is so refined, that it has sensors that tell it when to change direction, when to communicate, and how to make its way through sidewalks.

Over the next 12 months, the delivery bot of the future will be tested in the Los Angeles area, as Postmates continues to look for additional cities to work with.

In that time, Angelenos can order their Salt & Straw, Shake Shack, or anything else on Postmates, while a cute little robot drops it off.

Hopefully it doesn’t turn all Terminator on me when I “forget” my wallet and don’t tip.

Categories
#foodbeast Cravings FOODBEAST Hit-Or-Miss

7 Places in Los Angeles Where You Can Eat Breakfast Any Time, Day or Night

10 p.m. Pancake Party? Count Us In

Written By: Taylor R. Haynes of Locale Magazine

Breakfast has been said to be the most important meal of the day, and, in my opinion, the best. There’s something uniquely comforting and nostalgic about a stack of fresh, fluffy pancakes. Over-easy eggs and toast conjure images of early mornings in sunny kitchens. But, there’s no reason these foods should be relegated to the beginning hours of the day — we should be supporting the idea of enjoying breakfast at any time of day. This is why we especially love basking in the harmless rebellion of breakfast for dinner. We’ve selected the best places throughout Los Angeles to satisfy your craving for breakfast foods, even after the sun has set.

All Day Breakfast in LA

Never Grow Up!

Nighthawk Breakfast Bar

 

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The words “breakfast” and “bar” don’t usually spend much time in the same sentence, unless you’re at Nighthawk, our go-to diner-slash-lounge in Venice. Inspired by the midnight breakfasts sought by rock ‘n’ roll artists after a long night performing on the Sunset Strip, Nighthawk offers everything from brandy-infused French toast to spiked cereal milk cocktails—cocoa puffs and vanilla vodka, anyone? Plus, the lively, retro atmosphere amplifies the carefree vibes.

Nighthawk Breakfast Bar
417 Washington Blvd
Venice, CA 90292
424.835.4556

All Day Breakfast in LA

Drink Your Breakfast

Rossoblu

 

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After dining at Rossoblu, you’ll be convinced maple syrup and whiskey are a match made in heaven. The Italian eatery offers a creative take on the classic Old Fashioned cocktail by swirling Whistle Pig 10-year with Whistle Pig maple syrup and Bonollo Amaro together for a sweet and boozy treat. They call it a Mattina “Breakfast” Old Fashioned, and to complete the experience, the drink is topped with sfrappole, a sugary pastry traditionally found at Italian carnivals.

Rossoblu
1124 San Julian St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
213.749.1099

All Day Breakfast in LA

We Be All Night

The Kettle

 

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The Kettle in Manhattan Beach knows how to crank out the classics. This family-friendly spot is open 24 hours, meaning you can indulge in your childhood favorites whenever the craving strikes. A few highlights from their anytime breakfast menu: crabcake Benedict with orange-cilantro hollandaise, and the buttermilk honey fried chicken and biscuits. We won’t judge if you order both.
The Kettle
1138 Highland Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
310.545.8511

All Day Breakfast in LA

Match Made in Heaven

Roscoe’s House of Chicken n’ Waffles

 

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Roscoe’s is an LA institution. Founded in 1975 in Long Beach and now in multiple locations in Los Angeles, the restaurant has been serving simple and satisfying soul food since. As the name implies, Roscoe’s is known for the decadent fried chicken and waffles—nicknamed the Obama Special after the president visited in 2011.

Roscoe’s House of Chicken n’ Waffles
730 E Braodway
Long Beach, CA 90802
562.437.8355

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The Big Egg-owski

Plan Check Kitchen & Bar

 

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For a more upscale approach to breakfast, check out Plan Check in Santa Monica. Although there are plenty of options for the rest of your crew—in the strange case that they aren’t on your level when it comes to eating breakfast off the clock—we especially appreciate the Pastrami Nosh. Imagine double-smoked pastrami with gooey Swiss cheese, kimchi mustard, pickles and a sunny fried egg. *Starts drooling*

Plan Check Kitchen & Bar
Santa Monica
1401 Ocean Ave, Ste 104
Santa Monica, CA 90401
310.857.1364

All Day Breakfast in Los Angeles

Cereal Killer

Milk

 

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If sugary cereals like Fruity Pebbles or Frosted Corn Flakes are your thing, look no further than Milk. This inspiring dessert shop takes old mainstays like ice cream sandwiches, shakes and sundaes and gives them new life. Indulge in an ice cream sandwich if that fits your fancy, and go wild by having it dipped in Fruit Loops. Visit one of their shops on Midcity on Beverly or in Silverlake.

Milk
7290 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
323.939.6455

All Day Breakfast in Los Angeles

Classics Never Die

The Original Pantry Cafe

 

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Few restaurants are accompanied by the same lore and respect as The Original Pantry Cafe in DTLA. Occupying the corner of Figueroa and James M Wood Blvd, the cafe has served loyal customers since openings its doors in 1924. Today, it is owned by former Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan. There’s a lot of history here, and diners often frequent the cafe for the steaming hot stacks of pancakes and biscuits and gravy. Trust us, you won’t want to miss this legendary gem.

The Original Pantry Cafe
877 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90017
213.972.9279

Categories
Adventures Culture Restaurants

I Shadowed A Fishmonger At The Crack Of Dawn, Here’s What I Learned

“To properly select a quality piece of fish, you have to stand back and look at the bigger picture.”

This mantra was one that stuck to my land-loving soul after following a fishmonger around the seafood markets of Los Angeles.

I parked my car in front of Daikokuya, one of the most prominent ramen houses in Little Tokyo. The yellow street lights shown down on the 4am streets of Downtown Los Angeles. As I waited, I could still see stragglers of the previous night saying their goodbyes to one another.

A black SUV pulls up across the street and my phone rings. It was Liwei Liao, proprietor of The Joint, a unique space in Sherman Oaks, California that blends a specialty coffeehouse with a boutique seafood market. Because of this profession, Liao is a denizen of the world that exists before the dawn.

 

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Liao is a fishmonger who curates the entire catalog for his seafood boutique every morning before the rest of us even hit that first snooze button.

I step into the passenger seat, my nose taking in the wondrous aroma of the freshly brewed coffee coming from his Thermos. Liao introduces himself and we waste no time setting off to two of his favorite fish markets.

When it comes to picking out fresh seafood, I’m a complete novice. To me, all fish smell kind of the same and I wouldn’t begin to know what to look for when it comes to selecting the freshest possible piece of seafood.

That morning, I painted myself the apprentice and Liao the seafood master.

To provide the best selection for his customers, Liao wakes up every morning around 3am to personally hand-select fresh fish and seafood for The Joint. It wouldn’t seem like it, but the early-morning fishmonger community is a bustling one where sushi chefs and seafood proprietors battle the break of dawn — and each other — to get their hands on the catch of the day first.

“I’m curating fish. I’m picking the best that the market has to offer for that day to be able to offer my customers the best,” he explained. “Most markets, they’re ordering off a list and they’re fulfilling the items that they have to sell. I’m okay with not having salmon because salmon is not good that day.”

There were two spots on our agenda that morning.

Right off Alameda Street, inside a nondescript industrial parked, was Luxe Seafood. Constantly maintained with subzero temperatures, the space housed boxes of imported fish I’ve never even heard of — like a bookstore specializing in rare editions.

Tucked away in the heart of Skid Row, nearly impossible to spot unless you were looking for it, was the International Marine Products warehouse. Both veritable seafood metropolises, fish from all over the world are flown in for restaurateurs and chefs to choose from.

As I gawk at the vibrant display of underwater creatures, Liao gets to work inspecting the daily catch.

His eyes dart from fish to fish. His fingers run across the flesh and fins with expert purpose. All a curious dance of measuring the worthiness of the catch.

Different species of fish have different signs and tells to their freshness and their timing.

“There are certain fish that naturally have cloudy eyes within three or four hours of being packed in ice. That would deter some people but then it’s still super fresh.”

During my morning with Liao, he shared with me some cardinal guidelines to follow while looking for seafood.

Moisture

Keep an eye out for the extra moisture. Excessive liquid build-up around the fish fillets is an indication of negative things, such as being previously frozen or not fresh.

Another thing Liwei wanted to point out was the shape of the fins. His fingers lightly graze the fins of an albacore tuna.

“Fins are the most delicate part of the fish that will deteriorate first,” he explains. “You always want to pick a fish that is not beat up, that the moment that it’s caught, it’s taken care of.”

The fin is a good indicator whether the fish was cared for, whether
or not it was thrown around and bruised.

Smell

“If you can smell the fish without having to put your nose to it, often times this means there’s something fishy going on,” Liao says.

The thing I noticed most during my visit to the Los Angeles fish markets with Liao was how both locations we stopped at didn’t excessively smell like fish. In fact, you would have to be inches away from the seafood to actually breath in the oceanic odor. A true sign of a proper fish market.

Posture

“Always select fish that is straight and not bent and/or curved,” says Liao. “Bent fish after rigor mortis could lead to affecting the texture of the fish.”

Liao stresses that in order to properly select a quality piece of fish, you have to stand back and look at the bigger picture.

“There’s always the two things that most people know about,” he says. “Oh look at the eyes, look at the gills. That doesn’t tell you the whole story about the fish. You have to look at the entire fish, the whole anatomy.”

Know the Source

Knowing the farm and the source will identify whether the fish is responsibly farmed, he explained to us, and that farmed fish can be better in quality and often times more sustainable.

“When you see a fish that’s farmed, and it’s got all the right proportions,” Liao points out. “The fins are perfect, the head-to-body ratio is what a salmon should look like, then I know that fish took it’s time to grow. They weren’t pumped with antibiotics or growth hormones or things that may accelerate your growth.”

Urban Myths

You may have heard sayings like: “You shouldn’t buy seafood on certain days, or there is no good seafood on Mondays.”

Other than Sundays (the day fish isn’t typically delivered), or weather permitting, Liao advises there is always something fresh from the market every day. Always ask your local fishmonger what’s best for the day, because the best that day may not be what came in that day.

“Fresh is good, but not always the best.”

Liao also clears up the details about avoiding fish with cloudy eyes.

“There’s many different things that cause cloudy eyes,” he explained to me. “The eyes will turn cloudy naturally when the fish goes bad.”

Usually cloudy eyes means that the fish is not as fresh and that’s what most people hear. That, however, does not reveal the entire story.

“When you look at cloudy eyes, you have to look into the eyes,” he clarified. Liao means that you have to look past the seemingly cloudy surface of the eyeball, and deep into the whole of the fish’s optical apparatus.

There are types of fish that have membranes on the top of their eyes that are used to saltwater. After they are caught, and they’re removed from that salt water environment, their eyes will start clouding.

As Liao drops me back at my car, the street lights are barely turning off as daylight finally breaks. We say our goodbyes, as he invites me to visit The Joint in the near future to enjoy some fresh seafood and a finely brewed cup of coffee. With an unintentional, powerful yawn, I gladly accept his invitation for the near future — eager to test my newfound knowledge of seafood.