I spent a week eating through Los Angeles’ fast-food and fast-casual scene.

I spent a week eating through Los Angeles' fast-food and fast-casual scene.

I spent a week eating through Los Angeles' fast-food and fast-casual scene.

I spent a week eating through Los Angeles’ fast-food and fast-casual scene. My trip was stuffed with delicious meals, but the most memorable thing I ate, by far, was a chicken sandwich at Howlin’ Ray’s , a Nashville-style hot-chicken restaurant in Chinatown. Howlin’ Ray’s took an already-perfect chicken sandwich to the next level with the use of tantalizing chili powder. That sandwich beat out the amazing meals I had at In-N-Out , Fatburger, and […]

Off Menu: Lucas explores Chinese food in the San Gabriel Valley, this hemisphere’s biggest and best Chinatown

Off Menu: Lucas explores Chinese food in the San Gabriel Valley, this hemisphere’s biggest and best Chinatown

Off Menu: Lucas explores Chinese food in the San Gabriel Valley, this hemisphere’s biggest and best Chinatown

In this week’s episode of “Off Menu,” host Lucas Kwan Peterson heads east of Los Angeles to the San Gabriel Valley, a 20-mile-wide swath that is the biggest and best Chinatown on the continent. Whether it’s hot pot or Taiwanese breakfast or northern Chinese dumplings, it’s possible to find almost every kind of regional Chinese cooking in the SGV. Lucas heads to the restaurant Hui Tou Xiang to chat with David Chan, an amateur […]

Meals, a Food-Centric Label From L.A., Will Make Your Mouth Water

Meals, a Food-Centric Label From L.A., Will Make Your Mouth Water

The slogan of the Los Angeles–based fashion label Meals is “Wear What You Eat.” And if these clothes were food, they would be delicious. The genderless collection—founded by Sam Salad (a pseudonym) and his partner, Rebma (the formerly anonymous designer of the denim label 69)—references rich natural foods in each of the garments. In the mix is a workwear-style canvas jacket and utility pant set that is displayed in a look book with a […]

Photograph by Oliver Maxwell Kupper

The Taste, our annual three-day food festival over Labor Day weekend, is back

The Taste, our annual three-day food festival over Labor Day weekend, is back

The Taste, our annual three-day food festival over Labor Day weekend, is back

Guests roam the Paramount Studios backlot during the Los Angeles Times’ Taste event. The Taste, the Los Angeles Times’ annual Labor Day weekend food festival, begins Friday night at the Paramount Studios backlot in Hollywood. The festival celebrates the city’s diverse culinary scene with unlimited tastes from some of L.A.’s best chefs and restaurants including Osteria Mozza, Burritos La Palma, the Manufactory, Sichuan Impression, Lasa, Guelaguetza, the Bazaar, Ronan, Chichen Itza and Triple Beam […]

The Best of Downtown: Food and Drinks

The Best of Downtown: Food and Drinks

The Palm Downtown is full of delicious food and beverage options. Below are some of the best according to Los Angeles Downtown News’ readers as well as a few picks from our staff members. BEST AMERICAN CUISINE Nixo at the Luxe City Center : The patio view is nice, but executive chef Ben Diaz’s menu is even nicer at this South Park hotel eatery. Among the starters are fried calamari and glazed wings, while […]

To read more of this article click here: www.ladowntownnews.com

To read more of this article click here: www.ladowntownnews.com

ESCALA K-TOWN: ANGELENO FOODIE HAVEN

If EsCaLA’s décor looks as though it’s inside out, it’s by design. The open windows on the NE corner of 6th and S Kenmore Ave in Koreatown, blend the outdoor seating area and the indoor together. But there’s more than just that which bolsters the motif: The interior’s doorway is covered by a shingled roof that gives way to a tiered water fountain and the walls are covered with street art. All of which speak to owner, OG Chino’s story, rife with nods to his time spent working in the arts. And everything, from the gramophone-clustered light fixture to the two disco balls by the kitchen, amount to a casual, inviting milieu; appropriate for dinner, drinks, dates, what have you.

The menu is also reflective of Chino’s Korean and Colombian heritage. Through mutual friends, he connected with celebrated chef, Seoul Sausage’s Chris Oh. Together, they combine traditional Colombian dishes with subtle nods of Asian flair. Their ceviche (most popular dish) comes backed with black sesame seeded rice cakes that look like the inside of a dragon fruit, but only much more flavorful. Made of tilapia, shrimp, corn, and red onion, the spark in the dish comes courtesy of the diced Asian pear. Tamales, empanadas, crispy pork skin guacamole, loaded fried yucca, and a side portion of rice and beans, continue the Latin theme; but the menu’s star—for me—are the Colombian-spiced chicken wings. Perfectly seasoned, crunchy and juicy, these wings (large, I might add) come with a serving of their peppery hot sauce, “Candela,” and lime wedges. Make use of the lime wedges! The added burst of acidity on these wings is revolutionary.

Drinks? From a varied assortment of beers on tap to artisanal cocktails, EsCaLA has drinks aplenty: “El Jefe” features anise-flavored, Colombian liquor Aguardiente, the sweet and bubbly “La Mula Gringa” packs a punch in a tin mug—and they even have the Colombian beer Aguila in a bottle, along with the native soft drinks: Colombiana (which is a champagne soda) and Manzana (apple soda).

One disclaimer: If you’ve been to EsCaLA’s website, no doubt the fried egg, fried chicken and waffle combo caught your eye. This item is only available for brunch. Come during the week; come back on the weekend (if only to eat the chicken and waffle). That’s what I plan on doing. – Isaac Lekach

A SCARLET SUMMER: GRACIAS MADRE

GRACIAS MADRE—
MORE THAN JUST AN INSTAGRAM OPPORTUNITY

We’ve got to admit, when we’re choosing our next watering hole, “vegan Mexican” isn’t exactly the first descriptor that comes to mind. But Gracias Madre, with its succulent-minded aesthetic, is a delicious destination. We’ve hypothesized that the majik that goes into making something as peculiar as cashew cheese taste good might also serve the same purpose in cocktails.

It’s easy to dismiss the WeHo hotspot’s ethos as being hyper neo-hippie. As is trendy nowadays, the restaurant and bar boasts locally sourced, organic produce, and its own website is littered with fodder for cynics and skeptics (“Welcome to a seat at love’s table.”—really?) Before we roll our eyes though, how about letting the booze do the talking?

Beverage Director Jason Eisner tells us, “We make everything by hand, and we work around the clock, so obviously we love what we do, and we love working with one another.” And it shows. As Eisner is readying our drink, we see his staff join together in its preparation, squeezing lime and placing a finishing garnish atop the drink. It’s not unlike the composition of a well-done cocktail. A masterful mixologist is one who treats his ingredients like teammates, working in tandem to coax the best out of each other. A scent here, a flavor there, and the Estrella del Mar arrives at our table flushed scarlet and tasting of summer.

And what says sunshine and balmy days more than the taste of juicy watermelon? Combined with the kick of muddled jalapeno and mezcal’s potent smokiness, the Estrella is tempered with a little lime and agave nectar. A pinch of salt adds a savory finishing touch, and there you have it—summer in a coupe glass.

ESTRELLA DEL MAR

2 oz. ORGANIC MEZCAL
3/4 oz. FRESH PRESSED LIME JUICE
1/2 oz. AGAVE NECTAR
1 TEASPOON ELDERFLOWER LIQUEUR
2 CUBES OF SEEDLESS WATERMELON
2 SLICES OF FRESH JALAPEÑO
2 DASHES OF LIME BITTERS
1 PINCH OF SEA SALT

In a cocktail shaker, muddle watermelon cubes and Jalapeño slices. Add ice and build the rest of the ingredients in the shaker. Shake well. Double strain (fine strain) into a coupe glass. Garnish with homemade pickled watermelon rind.

photography RACHEL MANY

 

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