This post originally appeared on April 27, 2019, in Amanda Kludt’s newsletter “From the Editor,” a roundup of the most vital news and stories in the food world each week. Read the archives and subscribe now.
Last week I went out to LA and managed to fit in some good eating. Some notes from the road:
- I would like to pretend I’m more sophisticated than this, but chef Mei Lin’s tom yum onion (a play on the Bloomin’ Onion) has haunted me ever since I saw it on Instagram. I had to try it. I did try it. And it was so much better than the original that inspired it.
- That said, my biggest takeaway from Lin’s restaurant, Nightshade, is that Max Boonthanakit, just named an Eater Young Gun, is putting out the most innovative and delicious desserts I’ve had in a while. If you find yourself nearby, I highly recommend stopping by for his guava, cream cheese, and white chocolate trompe l’oeil (innovative!) and coconut mousse with lime coconut granita (most delicious).
- I would eat this Sonoratown chimichanga every day of my life if I could.
- The Row development is pretty nuts. It’s a giant collection of warehouses close to Skid Row (one of the largest encampments of homeless individuals in the U.S.) and the Arts District downtown that developers are trying to turn into a destination with restaurants, retail, gyms, spas, and office space. I visited the 45,000-square-foot (!) Tartine/Chris Bianco compound called the Manufactory, which includes a roastery, commissary, market, casual cafe, and dinner-only Italian restaurant. On the Tuesday night we went, the whole place felt like an eerie ghost town. That’s allegedly the vibe on most days and nights, with the exception of Sundays, when hundreds of people flood the complex to visit Smorgasburg there.
- The Chris Bianco-Tartine partnership unfortunately doesn’t feature his famous pizza — it has some flatbreads in the cafe — but the food at its Alameda Supper Club is pretty solid. Get the bread and butter and his crab spaghetti if you go.
- Spoon By H is everything that everyone hyped it up to be.
- I got to be one of the first paying customers at the Firehouse Hotel, a stylish, new nine-room spot in the Arts District. I didn’t get the chance to try the food, but I would be down to throw an event by the backyard fire pit.
- Get to Fiona and get a fruit pie.
- Porridge and Puffs has this miso caramel mochi thing that just blew my mind. The porridge is also wonderful.
Not a food thing, but one stray thought: does LA make you into a worse Lyft rider? Anywhere else I would never take a meeting, listen to a podcast, or eat a scone in a ride share, and I did all of those things — constantly and sometimes all at once — in LA because I had to spend so much time in a car on this trip. Who knew LA could turn a New Yorker into an even worse person?
Opening of the Week: Dear John’s
This is one of my favorite restaurant stories of the year, and I keep seeing it pop up at the top of Eater LA’s traffic reports, so I feel like Angelenos must be into it too.
Basically, two major LA players — Josiah Citrin and Hans Rockenwagner — are reviving a classic Culver City martini bar and steakhouse called Dear John’s. The twist here is a developer is going to knock down the building in April 2021, so there’s a built-in expiration date. I love that they are giving the old gal the swan song she deserves. And also, I figure it must be compelling to enter a project knowing you don’t have to sustain a long-term business.
- Intel: Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar is suing an operation in Chicago that seems to be ripping off both Tosi and Black Tap in one fell swoop; McDonald’s will roll out some of its international items to U.S. locations this summer; Seattle empire builder Renee Erickson opened her newest spot, Bistro Shirlee; a bar that looks like it was designed by Lisa Frank opened in Philly; following the backlash against credit card-only businesses, Sweetgreen accepts cash again; Brooklyn’s Five Leaves opened an outpost in Los Angeles, and it looks better than the original; Olmsted’s Greg Baxtrom opened a casual follow-up restaurant called Maison Yaki in Brooklyn; high-end Italian restaurant chain, and subject of many lawsuits, Scarpetta is expanding to London; Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s 7,300-square-foot seafood restaurant the Fulton AND his JFK restaurant in the old TWA terminal building both open in New York next month; Houston don Bobby Heugel and star chef Justin Yu opened their pretty new venture, Squable, this week; all three restaurants going into a new Chicago food hall are black-owned; the Standard hotel group announced the dining and drinking operations for their first London outpost; the Michelin Guide reached out to over 100 California restaurants on Instagram to get photo rights ahead of their big California guide announcement in June; Gotham Bar & Grill’s Alfred Portale will open his first restaurant in 34 years; lauded New Orleans sandwich shop Turkey and the Wolf has a new restaurant in the works; the people behind one of London’s best restaurants will open a follow-up ”inspired by the buvettes of Paris and the pintxos bars in San Sebastián”; Momofuku’s new CEO is 29 and from the Zabar family; and Stephen Starr will open a restaurant in a new photography museum in Manhattan this fall.
- Why you’re seeing blowfish tails everywhere.
- NYC’s 12 top restaurants serving the underrated food of Puebla.
- A look inside Houston’s very pretty restaurant Vibrant. Have we hit peak terrazo or is this just the start?
- We might not have to worry about the Game of Thrones dragons and their loss of appetite.
- Review: Brooklyn’s coolest new bar that also happens to have a good chicken sandwich, the Fly.
- Please welcome a whole new slew of writers and editors to Eater: Madeleine Davies, Jaya Saxena, Jenny G. Zhang, and Osayi Endolyn.
- What does it say when people stan their local grocery stores?
- Watch: Lucas Peterson explores the significance and history of rice in a new Eater mini-series, Rooted. Episode 1: Farming, cultivating, selling rice at Koda Farms in California. Episode 2: How Anson Mills saved ancient grains of rice from extinction. Episode 3: Gullah legend Mrs. Emily Meggertt explains the importance of her traditional rice dishes.
- Finally, let’s all remember that the World’s Best Female Chef Award (brought to you by people behind the eurocentric and male-dominated World’s 50 Best List) is absurdly sexist.
- GQ’s best new restaurants list. [GQ]
- The tricky way New York’s Hudson Yards development got an extra $1.2 billion in financing. [City Lab]
- Instagram photos are going normcore. [The Atlantic]
- Bon Appetit now has an Avengers-style show uniting the stars from across its universe. [BA/Youtube]
- Ummmm, this Mesamérica LA event looks cool. [LAT]
- Everyone in the Eater slack channels collectively groaned upon seeing Taste’s excellent ’90s food issue, because we’ve been half-heartedly talking about doing one for years. [Taste]
- It’s incredible what politician dads can get away with that politician moms can’t. [NYM]
- It might be illegal soon to steal tips from gig-economy workers. [Vox.com]