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#foodbeast Celebrity Grub Cravings Food Festivals FOODBEAST Video

EDM DJ Marshmello Creates His Own Secret Burger That Features Charcoal Ketchup Leather

For superstar EDM DJ, Marshmello, rockin’ a massive festival proves to be an easy challenge. His ear for what can get a set poppin’ off and the handiwork he wields at his fingertips to mix and manipulate beats has lead to his astounding success in the electronic music world. But did you know those clever hands can craft a mean burger, too?

It’s an off-the-wall thought, but Marshmello has actually created a secret burger alongside Los Angeles burger hub, Plan Check Kitchen + Bar, to enter in the Secret Burger Showdown event from Postmates and Off The Menu. The meaty throw down that pits celebrities and their burger creations against each other is happening on Saturday May 26, as a part of the LA Food Bowl festivities that Angelenos have been experiencing throughout the month of May.

The details in the burger are as eclectic as the sounds Marshmello loves working with. Think Plan Check’s signature ketchup letter infused with charcoal to create the distinct facial features of the DJ right onto the burger’s house-made Swiss cheese. Other tasty trappings include a prime ribeye 28-day dry-aged patty, kombu pickles, onion, watercress, and salt & pepper mayo, all in a crunch bun. It’s a lineup of ingredients that’s just as satisfying as the beat drop after a climactic build up.

If you can’t make it out to the Secret Burger Showdown this Saturday, you can sink  your teeth into the Marshmello Burger by ordering it on Postmates or the Off The Menu app.

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#foodbeast Cravings FOODBEAST Restaurants Video What's New

This Eggs Benedict Bacon Potato Pie Is The Remix Of Brunch That We All Deserve

Say it with me now. Slowly. Eggs… Benedict… Bacon… Potato… Pie. Sure it’s a mouthful to say, but the concept itself is enough to salivate over a mouthful of it.

If the vision’s still a little hazy, let me clear things up for you: Imagine layers of thinly sliced potatoes, melty American cheese, onions and sausage, all embraced in a cloak of bacon and baked. Then this otherworldly brunch pie is crowned with a poached egg and hollandaise sauce.

Concocted by the “Undisputed Breakfast Champ” and YouTube star Josh Elkin in partnership with Plan Check Kitchen + Bar, the Eggs Benedict Bacon Potato Pie is just one of the many crazy brunch items re-imagined by the duo for a ‘Brunch Remix’ menu that is stacked with brunch items that push the envelope on creativity.

Here’s the rundown of the full ‘Brunch Remix’ menu by Josh Elkin and Plan Check Kitchen + Bar:

Eggs Benedict Bacon Potato Pie
Eggs Benny Burger
Tex Mex Benedict Quesadilla
Oreo Cinnamon Cruller

This one of a kind brunch situation is only available Sunday, February 25 to Sunday, March 18, 2018 during regular business hours at all Plan Check locations in addition to brunch hours. So hop to it before you miss out on the official remix and end up settling for more of the same old brunch fare.

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Culture Features

How L.A. Became A Top Food Destination Over The Last 10 Years


K-BBQ Burger from Plan Check DTLA/Peter Pham, Foodbeast

I’ve lived in the Los Angeles area all my life, and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to truly appreciate how lucky I was to grow up in a city where I could walk down a few blocks to get the best tacos of my life, and the next day, enjoy really good Thai food just a couple miles down. And it’s like that, in every region and pocket of the city.

L.A. is a melting pot of delicious food, and while the city is known more for the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, the food scene is finally getting the respect it deserves.

In 2016, Anthony Bourdain named L.A. as one of the most underrated food cities in the U.S., saying, “I think Los Angeles is wildly underrated… man, some of the restaurants that have been opening in the last 10 years are really, really good.”

There have been world-renowned chefs, such as Nobu Matsuhisa, Jose Andres, and Wolfgang Puck, who have all made their way to L.A., opening up celebrated restaurants in the heart of the city. On the flip side, you can go to a taco truck in the sketchy-looking parking lot of a tire shop and still have an enjoyable meal.

A lot can change in ten years, and someone who can attest to that change in the food scene is Stacey Sun, who has served as director of the dineL.A. restaurant week since 2011.

If you’re not familiar with dineL.A., for the past decade they’ve put together a massive initiative where twice a year, you can experience pre-set menus from hundreds of Los Angeles restaurants. They’re often at a more affordable price point, allowing diners to enjoy many of the restaurants that are normally out of their budgets.

Sun and dineL.A. have had their finger on the pulse of the Los Angeles food scene over the last decade, so if there is anyone who can describe how it has changed and evolved over the years, it’s her.

We caught up with Sun to pinpoint the biggest differences the city has seen over the last decade, from the role social media has played, down to the array of cultures offering their own perspectives on food.


Stacey Sun at a dineL.A. media event/Peter Pham, Foodbeast

What have been the main keys to the L.A. food scene evolving over the years?

You have a new generation of young chefs from different cultural backgrounds (think: Filipino, Thai, Mexican) who have shaped and continue to shape L.A.’s food identity. We’re a melting pot of talent that has access to the best produce with an audience willing to try their food.

How has social media affected the awareness of L.A. restaurants?

Social media in general has been great to help promote restaurants and food in L.A. Out of all of them, Instagram has had the biggest impact because it is a such a visual platform which works well for the culinary world. Some dishes photograph well and have that “wow” factor. The same goes for restaurants. Some restaurants are Instagram-friendly where the lighting, décor, and food are on point. It’s all about getting the money shot with guaranteed “likes.” This will drive people (near or far) to that restaurant just so they can get a shot of that food item to post on their Instagram. Restaurants now create dishes with Instagram in mind which shows how powerful the platform is for a restaurant. It’s also a great marketing tool for restaurant partners in our dineL.A. program, and one which we use actively to promote our own dineL.A. program every year.

What is drawing outsiders to the city’s food scene the most?

L.A.’s casual sensibility, wide range of high quality food options, and international variety is a huge draw for visitors. You can have the best waffles at a coffee shop in DTLA for breakfast, followed by tacos out of a truck by a French-trained chef in Venice for lunch, ending with dinner at a California focused fine-dining restaurant in Hollywood. There truly is something for everyone whether you’re on a tight budget or not. And the one consistent theme is that the food quality is always high.

How Has dineL.A. impacted the food scene over the years?

dineL.A. happens twice a year and it’s like the Olympics of dining out. The number one reason why people go out during dineL.A. is to use this time to try restaurants that have been on the “must try” lists and will often go to 3-5 new restaurants during each event because of the value. dineL.A. has opened up dining out at all price points accessible to everyone, foodies and non-foodies. We’ve created a lot of ambassadors for L.A. restaurants. Over the span of 30 days during the Summer and Winter events, diners spend over $50 million at L.A. restaurants. A huge driver of revenue to our city, and we’re so proud of this, seeing as L.A. proudly wears the title of the #1 food city in America (Zagat). Food tourism is becoming an increasingly big draw to Los Angeles, and the dineL.A. program is one for both local foodies and visitors/tourists alike.

What do you think has drawn chefs and restaurateurs to open and experiment in L.A.?

There are several factors. The accessibility to fresh produce and 70-degree weather year-round is very attractive. Also, it is less expensive to open up a restaurant in L.A. compared to San Francisco and New York. You have the option of opening up a restaurant in a strip mall where rent will be less expensive. And the people of Los Angeles are another reason why chefs can be more experimental. Angelenos are adventurous eaters and we give the chefs the freedom to experiment.

Just how much bigger is the food scene in L.A. than it was when you first started dineL.A.?

Ten years ago, L.A. was not hitting the top food destination lists. Fast forward to today, we’re THE place to eat. We were just named the #1 most exciting food city in America. Chefs from all over the world are opening up restaurants in L.A. now because they see th at L.A. gives them a freedom of expression that can only be found here.

Featured Photo by Michel Phiphak

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#foodbeast Culture Features FOODBEAST Hit-Or-Miss Opinion Restaurants

From Music To Meals: Plan Check’s Owner Is A Success Story Of Transitioning Into The Restaurant Industry

The following interview has been edited for length and cohesion

It isn’t out of place to see music industry veterans crossing over into the food service industry, investing in already well-established fast food chains.  Many of us are quite familiar with musicians like Rick Ross and Chris Brown owning a couple Wingstop and Burger King franchises.  But it isn’t often you see someone in the music industry opening and overwhelmingly succeeding at being a restaurateur with their own concept.

Enter Terry Heller: the renowned hip-hop music video director who has gone from working with the likes of Eazy-E, Bone Thugs & Harmony, and Lil Wayne, to serving up some of the best casual gourmet food at his Los Angeles restaurant chain, Plan Check.  

I had a chance to chat with Terry about music and food; two things he and I are both passionate about.  We spoke at length about his transition into the food industry, Plan Check’s unique innovations, and which rapper he would love to work with on his next food collaboration.  It was 11am, a Friday morning..  I was sitting by my dining room table at home, ready to listen intently at every word he said.  After initial introductions, Heller was quick to ask about the tone of our interview, briefly concerned after  a quick scroll through Foodbeast’s recent headlines brought him to a particular article, “Watching This Clam Dig Through Sand Is Quite Disturbing.”  He just wanted to make sure that he would be taken seriously.

I laughed, diffusing any tension built up from both Heller’s concerns and my own apprehension from interviewing someone as accomplished as him, and reassured that this wasn’t going to be some fluff piece.  I could have geeked out about hip-hop and fried chicken with the man for hours on end, but I knew he was busy, and I had a gym session to destroy.  

Curious to learn how one of my favorite casual neighborhood restaurants in Los Angeles came to be, I asked Heller about Plan Check’s origins and his vision into creating the restaurant.  

My fascination with food and restaurants started at an early age… and starting Plan Check was a long time coming.  Plan Check comes from my fascination with architecture, I wanted to be an architect when I was a kid, and because the restaurant’s first location was adjacent to the Los Angeles Building and Safety Department headquarters; so the concept just made a lot of sense.

Going from being a prolific storyteller in hip-hop, to a distinguished restaurateur, Terry wanted to get behind something super familiar without sacrificing a single slice of authenticity.  Switching industries isn’t easy for most people, but for him, it was almost seamless.

Was it a difficult transition to go from hip-hop to restaurants? And did you do anything notably different?

No, it wasn’t particularly difficult for me.  It was both the same: I had a vision, I didn’t give a fuck, I went for what I wanted.  I stayed true to myself, I wanted to be authentic, and really just keep telling stories.  Nothing has changed.

In an industry that continues to push boundaries of taste and concepts, with many well-known celebrities trying to make their mark in the food industry, it can become increasingly difficult to stand out.  Having a marquee name behind the restaurant just doesn’t cut it anymore, and customers expect more from the places they eat.  As a result, there have been quite a few music industry veterans that never quite cut it in the food scene by just banking on their name alone.  Britney Spears’ NYLA restaurant closed within a year, and rapper Flava-Flav, and producers Doug-E-Fresh and Jermaine Dupri’s respective spots didn’t last long either.  

To you, what is it that really makes Plan Check stand out the way it does?

People just connect with the food.  Simple as that.

It was a simple answer, but it makes perfect sense.  They make delicious food without the fluff.  The truths in their authenticity translate to packed houses at each of their four LA locations every weekend.  Their ingenuity has caught worldwide attention, especially with the development of Ketchup Leather.  

How did the Ketchup Leather concept come about?  What was your involvement in the process?  

Well I’m not a chef so I didn’t do any of the cooking,but I was there in the kitchen everyday, hands-on with the whole process.  I knew what I wanted out of the concept, and I wanted to create a tight framework for the restaurant.  But overall, I wanted to create something delicious,something I wanted to eat.  

If you’re not familiar, Ketchup Leather is Plan Check’s housemade ketchup dehydrated by baking it for four hours, creating a leathery consistency that eliminates the problem of having soggy burger buns before your order even gets to your table.  Not only is this an innovative achievement, but is also an unexpected way to have a familiar taste.  

Pioneering new ways to enjoy the ketchup in your burger isn’t the only way Terry and Plan Check are killing the game right now.  Over the last five years, the restaurant has collaborated with other entities like Stussy, Sanrio, and most recently, Linkin Park, to create special pre-fixe menus that get your mouth watering.  

You just dropped a dope limited time meal pack menu with fellow musicians and foodies, Linkin Park, celebrating their latest album release.  How did that conversation start, and how long did it take to create that menu?

This collaborative effort with the band took a while.  Mike (Shinoda) and I were heavily involved in the process.  The three-course menu we developed was inspired by the band’s diversity and love for food.  I was there to taste everything, and was involved in every aspect.  Logo, t-shirts, the experience you’d get at the restaurant, we worked on the price, marketing, everything.

Is this a sign that more food collabs with other musicians are on the way?

You know what, I don’t know yet.  This last one took a while to create and we just launched it.  We’ll see, but yeah, I’d like to.  

Then who is one musician you’d really like to collaborate with on the next menu?

Wow, you know, there are so many musicians that I’d enjoy working with, but definitely Kanye.  I’m a big fan.  I met him briefly on set of his Slow Jams video back in the day and the way he directed his vision… I knew that he would be huge.  His energy, and his drive, I feel like he would really push you to create something great.  

As a fan of Kanye and his music, I would absolutely welcome that collaboration.  Who knows what kind of impact he could have on the food industry.  If this collab menu were to ever happen, one thing is for sure, expect a packed house and lines out the door because everything Ye touches turns into solid gold.  

But that’s something both Terry Heller and Kanye West have in common: People keep buying into their vision.  Kanye makes visual and sonic masterpieces, and Terry masterminds mouthwatering food.  They get people asking for and wanting more.  

What do you think it is about your restaurant that really translates to people and gets them coming back?

Well the food is amazing, there’s that — but I get these emails sent to me everyday about our latest Yelp reviews, and  it makes me happy to get good reviews, but I really focus on the bad reviews because I want to genuinely make the experience better.  II don’t care about the restaurant being cool, I want to make it right.  I want to have a welcoming environment.  I care that you had a good time.  And if you didn’t, I want to know why because I want to fix it to prevent it from happening in the future to you or other customers.  Our business model is “to have a mutual respect.”  We’re not out here trying to be pretentious.  I think we have a great team at every location, and we just want to deliver great food and great service.  

For the years that Plan Check has been around, I’ve remained a fan because of everything they’ve stood for.  Like Terry said, they don’t care about looking or trying to be cool.  They just want to be the best restaurant for the people as they can be.  I recalled celebrating my birthday at their Wilshire location one year and told him how pleased I was when his staff did everything they could to hold me down on a section of the restaurant even when my friends showed up later than I told them to (Filipino time, am I right?).  Not only did they deliver on the service, but they also did not disappoint on the food.  

Can we talk about the fried chicken for a second…because hands down, that’s my favorite item on the menu.  Top 10, probably top 5 fried chicken dishes I’ve ever had.

(Laughs) Yeah, we tried to use a high quality bird — the Jidori chicken.  We prefer to use the thigh because it’s much juicier and retains the flavor.  

Like visual storytelling through music, finding the recipe to success in LA’s cutthroat, fickle restaurant scene is difficult to do.  There’s a lot of planning, research and trials involved, but most of all, it takes a vision and dedication.  With Plan Check, Terry Heller has found a recipe that works: a perfect union of gourmet food without gimmicks, a warm, intimate ambiance, and a welcoming, attentive staff.  The dedication to promoting a culture that respects its guests and providing a vibe that people can rock with is one of the many redeeming qualities Plan Check has to offer.  

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Celebrity Grub Culture Features

Your Inner Teen Will Be Anxious To Try This Linkin Park Menu

Chances are, if you’re reading this, Linkin Park was the soundtrack of your childhood. Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda’s names definitely hit you hard with the nostalgia, and thankfully the band is back with a new flavor, both in their music, and food influence.

Photo by Marc Kharrat/Foodbeast

Los Angeles-based restaurant Plan Check teamed up with Linkin Park to create a limited-run meal pack ($39), with a menu inspired by the band member’s heritages.

“We took direction from the cultural diversity of the band and the food they like to eat,” Plan Check owner Terry Heller said.

Photo by Marc Kharrat/Foodbeast

On the menu will be an Ahi Tuna Tostada, a grilled cheese called “The Heavy,” Kimchi Dusted Fries, an OML (One More Light, their album’s upcoming title) Cruller, and Mandarin & Black Cherry Cream Sodas. On top of that, guests that purchase the meal can get a limited edition Linkin Park t-shirt while supplies last.

The band was at Plan Check Fairfax this past Monday, May 1 to preview the food items and give their official blessing.

“I feel like this is pretty rewarding,” Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda said with a smile, as he grubbed on the KBBQ pork belly grilled cheese. “I’m eating a piece of fat right now.”

Peep the menu below, as the PC X LP Meal pack will run through all of May, at all Southern California Plan Check locations.
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Ahi Tuna Tostada

Photo by Isai Rocha/Foodbeast

This tostada consists of Ahi tuna, jalapeno ponzu, thinly sliced radish, and avocado.
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The Heavy

Photo by Marc Kharrat/Foodbeast

Inspired by Linkin Park’s first single, ‘The Heavy’ is a KBBQ’ed grilled cheese with Americanized dashi cheese, Parmesan-crusted sourdough, and gochujang-braised pork belly.
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Kimchi Dusted Russet Fries

Photo by Isai Rocha/Foodbeast

They are just what they sound like.
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OML Cruller

Photo by Marc Kharrat/Foodbeast

Named after Linkin Park’s upcoming album, One More Light, the OML Cruller has caramelized pineapple, yuzu air, coconut glaze, and a chocolate “disc” bearing Linkin Park’s logo.

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Cravings

Could These New Ketchup Leather Squares Change Burgers Forever?

Ketchup-Leather

Plan Check in Los Angeles is known for their insane dishes. One of the cooler innovations from the Plan Check kitchen is their “Ketchup Leather.” Though it looks more like a Fruit Roll-Up than actual leather, the tangible condiment is actually solidified ketchup.

The purpose of the Ketchup Leather, according to Food Steez, is to keep the sweet red sauce from soaking into the burger bun. Upon contact with the meat patty, the perfect square of ketchup rehydrates itself.

If there’s a takeaway from any of this, it’s that we need more Ketchup Leather in our lives. Our burger buns have been unbearably soggy these days.

Check out the video below of Food Steez’s Plan Check visit.

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Adventures

Salmon Pastrami, Fried Jidori Chicken, Bonito Ginger Beer & More at Plan Check Kitchen + Bar Fairfax

I admit I was a little skeptical when I first read the menu at the new Plan Check Kitchen + Bar in Los Angeles (the brand’s second outpost overall,  just opened in December in the Fairfax District). But between the “salmon pastrami” and bonito-infused beer, can you really blame me for thinking things seemed a little, erm, fishy? (Badumtsss.)

Jokes aside, just like its flagship location, Plan Check Fairfax combines rich, Asian-influenced comfort foods by executive chef Ernesto Uchimura such as fried jidori chicken and kalbi pot roast with an extensive beer, wine, and liquor program helmed by cocktail chef Matthew Biancaniello. Not to mention the big open windows, wooden tables, and plenty of dark metal fixtures and tableware which also happen to make this spot a food porn lover’s stickiest wet dream.

But hey, the food itself didn’t hurt either.

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Sweet Potato Fries

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Fried in beef tallow, lightly sugared, and served with peach ketchup, these were just a little too sweet for me, but perfect for anyone who believes (rightfully) in eating dessert first.

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Oysters on the Half

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Great both on their own or dipped in a slightly spicy yuzukosho cocktail sauce.

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“The Health Kick”

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The key to a successful diet is understanding anything green is fair game. Celery juice, aquavit, mezcal, agave, and lime create a practically detoxifying combination just shy of a juice cleanse. Honest.

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“The Last Tango”

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With a head of St. Germain foam, this gin, strawberry, and balsamic mix tastes a bit like drinking salad dressing. But only in the best (and booziest) way possible.

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“Fish Out of Water”

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Ground shiso leaves float atop bonito-infused ginger beer, agave, and lemon. A little odd, sure, but 100% fun. The salt helps too.

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Salmon Pastrami

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Before this trip, I believed pastrami referred only to specially-cured deli meats, but I am so, so glad I was wrong. The only new menu item at Plan Check Fairfax, the salmon pastrami is served up with brined celery and squid ink cream cheese, neatly dressed atop an everything bagel chip. Buttery and salty, this thing is basically perfect. Just saying.

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The Southern Fry

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Dubbed the “kobe” of chicken, chef Uchimura’s take on jidori deep fries that feathery sonumbitch and sits it atop spicy pimento cheese, duck breast ham, and pickles. This was by far the best, moistest chicken burger I’ve ever tasted (admittedly not a tough category, but still).

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Chef’s Favorite Burger

IMG_1898RS

Featuring chef’s signature dehydrated ketchup leather along with cheese, bacon, hot sauce, and a sunny-side up egg.

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Plan Check Kitchen + Bar

351 N. Fairfax Ave.

Los Angeles, CA 90036