Daily Dish
The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles
In praise of ancient fruit -- our historic pears with 12 recipes

We make a lot of fuss over heirloom peach varieties that date back to the 1960s and tomatoes that go back as far as the 1930s. But did you know that the Bartlett pear, that standard California grocery store fruit, actually dates back to the 1770s?

Called the Williams pear in England where it was first found, the Bartlett gets its name from Enoch Bartlett, who was the first person to sell the trees in the U.S. in the early 1800s. (Similarly, it’s original name came from the British nurseryman who introduced it there.)

"Barts" are the predominant pear grown in California, and there are two growing sites with very different fruit. The earliest pears were harvested in August around the Sacramento delta area. They are fine, but the ones being picked about now from the hilly orchards of Lake and Mendocino counties are much better.

And Bartletts are far from an exception. In fact, almost every pear variety you’ll find today has roots no later than the 19th century.

The father of the modern...

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This fork can make your vegetables taste like chocolate

Getting some kids to eat their vegetables is often a challenge. And we'll admit the same can be said for some adults. Maybe it would help if the next time you brought a forkful of broccoli to your lips, it tasted like chocolate.  

The Aromafork is a new product by a Canadian company called Molecule-R designed to trick your taste buds. 

"The initial idea was to reinvent the traditional fork into an improved utensil that would trick people's mind by liberating an intense flow of aromas," said Jonathan Coutu, president of Molecule-R flavors Inc., in a statement. "Nobody teaches us how to properly taste and most of us instinctively concentrate on our taste buds during the tasting experience. The Aromafork demonstrates and amplifies the importance of your nose in the perception of flavors." 

The fork works by using 21 different liquid aromas including chocolate, coffee, banana, passion fruit, mint, almond, peanut, cinnamon, smoke and truffle, butter and more. The aromas are separated into...

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Salt's Cure Cookout, Taste of Mexico, Abbot Kinney Fest

On Thursday, Sept. 25, Salt’s Cure will be celebrating L.A. Beer Week at Verdugo Bar with a patio cookout, part of a monthly partnership between the West Hollywood restaurant and the Eagle Rock bar. Pulled pork sandwiches, housemade hot links and grilled ham and cheese sandwiches will be served. To pair with the food, a selection of craft beers from this month’s beer partner, New Belgium Brewing. Both the Salt’s Cure menu and craft beers from Verdugo’s 22 taps can be enjoyed on the outdoor patio. Prices are $5 to $8 for food; beer prices to be announced. 6 to 9 p.m. Verdugo Bar, 3408 Verdugo Road, Los Angeles, (323) 257-3408; www.verdugobar.comwww.saltscure.com.

The Taste of Mexico Food Festival , an annual celebration of Los Angeles’ Mexican culinary scene, is returning to L.A. Plaza  downtown on Sept. 27. The Farmer's Market Picnic takes place from noon to 4 p.m. Highlights inclu de tastings, a michelada beer garden wi th Montejo and Guelaguetza 's Miche Mobile, cocktail bar, fruit...

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How to get a free Krispy Kreme doughnut, or a dozen for Talk Like a Pirate Day

Ahoy mateys! It's Talk Like a Pirate Day and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts is celebrating with free doughnuts. 

To get a free glazed doughnut, just walk into your local Krispy Kreme and talk like a pirate. If you're short on pirate jargon, the chain released a handy instructional video, shown above. A talking, hook-wielding pirate puppet gives a full lesson on pirate vocabulary at the Krispy Kreme Pirate Academy. 

"Me aims to get your slang up to snuff so yees can hornswoggle those lads and lasses of the bakn' sort into handing over a free piping hot doughnut," says the pirate with a laugh. 

And if you walk into a Krispy Kreme dressed like a pirate, you'll earn a free dozen glazed doughnuts. Krispy Kreme posted a list of appropriate pirate attire on its website. We knew there was a use for that Jack Sparrow costume before Halloween. 

To get you started, here a few suggestions from the Pirate Academy. Maybe start by playing the pirate sympathy card. 

"My parrot hasn't the strength to fly...

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There's a $360 golden surf and turf at Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills

If you've got $360 to spare, you can buy one plate of surf and turf at Oliverio at the Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills. The restaurant's new Golden Surf & Turf is $360, and yes, it comes with a bit of gold. 

The decadent dish includes seven ounces of gilded Kogashima A5 Wagyu beef and half an ounce of Golden Russian Osetra caviar on a bed of saffron risotto.

"The dish is inspired by a traditional offering from Milan, which features saffron risotto and braised veal,” said executive chef Mirko Paderno in a statement. "We wanted to go with a twist on a classic dish that incorporates true Beverly Hills luxury and elegance."

Wagyu beef, gold and caviar? Mission accomplished, chef. 

The restaurant introduced the dish Monday and has already sold 13. The Gold Surf & Turf will be available until the end of October. 

For $360, I'm taking the plate home. Follow me on Twitter @Jenn_Harris_ 

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Easy (after) dinner recipes: Cool down fast with ice cream, sherbet and more!

It's Friday. You've made it. Celebrate -- and cool off -- with homemade ice cream, sherbet and more. The simple recipes come together in minutes, and then all you have to do is freeze them until you're ready to enjoy.

Frozen chocolate zabaglione: Love chocolate? Try a frozen chocolate zabaglione, combining Port in the base with a whipped chocolate ganache before freezing. Fully chilled, the frozen zabaglione is smooth and velvety, the rich chocolate flavor complemented with subtle hints of fruit from the Port. And it makes a perfect dessert for company, scooped into glasses and sprinkled over with chocolate shavings or fresh berries.

Blue Velvet's goat cheese ice cream: For some, the perfect way to end a meal is with dessert; for others, cheese. Why settle for one? At Blue Velvet, the goat cheese ice cream is served with a beet financier cake, but it would work wonderfully paired with fresh strawberries or poached pears. It's also great on its own, maybe as an appetizer or as a...

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Jody Williams' new cookbook 'Buvette' is all about French comfort food

Often on a trip to New York, I’ll find myself in the afternoon or late in the evening seated with friends at a table at Buvette in the West Village, talking, drinking rosé or a pretty Beaujolais, with a platter of butter and anchovy tartinettes or a crock of duck rillettes.

Jody Williams opened Buvette in 2010 and has just opened a second gastrothèque (an eating and drinking establishment dedicated to the serious enjoyment of food and wine) in Paris. Not bad for a self-taught chef, who has been “equally inspired by people and places that I have hungrily pursued, fork in hand, throughout my life.”

Her cooking is relaxed and unfussy, basically comfort food with a French (and occasionally Italian) accent. And her new cookbook “Buvette: The Pleasure of Good Food” (Grand Central Publishing, New York, $30) distills the essence of her little wine bar — with “thoughtful food” — into dozens of recipes for Buvette's signature dishes.

Organized by times of the day, it begins with the category...

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Adam Perry Lang to bring back Serious Barbecue truck to Jimmy Kimmel Live! lot

Remember when grill master Adam Perry Lang decided to create a pop-up barbecue spot in the Jimmy Kimmel Live! parking lot last summer? Lang has announced he's heading back to the lot for three weeks of billowing smoke and the glorious smell of smoked, grilled meat.  

Lang's Serious Barbecue truck will be ready for service Oct. 7. Last year he brought in a 45-foot flatbed with a BBQ, a chimney and a smoker. This year he's added a 21-foot outdoor custom-built cooker by Aaron Franklin, chef-owner of Franklin BBQ in Austin.

Lang plans on cooking up his signature beef short rib, prime brisket, rib eye, New York strip steak and more. 

The truck will be open to the public for lunch Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. until Oct. 24. Lang will also make free lunch deliveries daily to local charities. 

BBQ items are priced at $12 to $42 and it's cash only. 

Lang, who has worked with Mario Batali, Jamie Oliver and opened Daisy May's BBQ in New York, made barbecue in Kimmel's lot last...

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How to get your hands on a marijuana-laced pizza in Los Angeles

With pizza joints popping up on every corner in the city, it's easy to get your hands on your favorite pie. The topping possibilities are almost endless at customizable spots 800 Degrees, Blaze and Pizza Rev. But a new L.A.-based start-up is offering something a little different.

Stoned Oven Gourmet Pizzas is making marijuana-laced pizza. You can get a pizza topped with cheese, pepperoni, vegetables and have some marijuana baked right in. 

Each six-inch pizza contains 250 mg of ethanol-extracted tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as THC concentrate, or the stuff that gets you high. 

The company says its products are available at medical marijuana dispensaries in Hollywood, the San Fernando Valley, Westwood and Upland. You can view a full list of dispensaries on the Stoned Oven Gourmet Pizza website. Each pizza is $10. 

And the best part? They're also available for delivery. And if you want to have a marijuana pizza party (in accordance with all relevant laws, of course), they do...

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Celebrate National Cheeseburger Day with 13 mouthwatering burger recipes

Thursday is National Cheeseburger Day, otherwise known as an excuse to celebrate the wonder that is meat, cheese and a bun. 

Any burger aficionado can tell you, a great cheeseburger is a work of art. Finding the right cheese to pair with your burger can be a serious decision. Do I go with the heat of pepper Jack or a punchy blue? Maybe a mild provolone or a nutty Gruyere will do the trick. 

And when you find the right cheese and burger combination, it's pure magic. Here are 13 recipes to celebrate National Cheeseburger Day with everything from habanero Jack to Cambozola and Swiss. Just make sure you've got plenty of napkins ready.   

Onion-entangled grilled burgers with American cheese

Total time: 20 minutes | Serves: 6

2 onions

2 tablespoons oil

1 pound ground chuck

1 teaspoon salt

6 slices American cheese

6 hamburger buns

2 tablespoons yellow mustard

Cut the onions into the thinnest possible slices, using a mandoline or a very sharp knife. (You should have about 5 1/2 cups sliced...

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Spicy L.A. Sriracha Festival set for Chinatown's Central Plaza

Let the Sriracha flow. The second annual L.A. Sriracha Festival, presented by Food GPS and "The Sriracha Cookbook," is scheduled to take place Oct. 19 at Chinatown’s historic Central Plaza.

The iconic hot sauce with the rooster label is to be celebrated at the festival with tastings of Sriracha-inspired dishes and desserts. To help the fiery stuff go down, local craft beer, cocktails, sodas, iced coffee and iced tea are to be available. 

Some of Los Angeles' participating chefs and restaurants include: Beachwood BBQ's Gabe Gordon, Eagle Rock Brewery Public House's Jerry Su, Eastside Market Italian Deli's Vito Angiuli, Eggslut's Alvin Cailan and Johnny Lee, The Gardene Swine and Scratch Bar's Phillip Frankland Lee, Eric Greenspan of Greenspan's Grilled Cheese, Tui Sungkamee and Jazz Singsanong of Jitlada, Komodo's Erwin Tjahyadi, Marcus Christiana-Beniger of Little Jewel of New Orleans, Mei Lin of "Top Chef" Season 12, Mendocino Farms' Judy Han, Kajsa Alger of Mud Hen Tavern, Nate...

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Easy dinner recipes: 17 great summer slaws that come together in minutes

When you want a bright and refreshing dish for summer, it doesn't get much better than slaw. Crisp and cool, it's the dish to turn to as the weather turns hot. Made with just a few ingredients, slaws are straightforward and simple. And they're fast and easy to assemble -- no cooking required.

When you think slaw, you might think cabbage, or maybe you've even gone so far as to try slaws made from broccoli or carrots. But there's a big wide world of slaw possibilities out there, particularly in the summer, when so much produce is at its prime.

And even though the options might sound endless, slaws are essentially simple things: Take a main ingredient cut into shreds, dress it lightly with something tangy, and finish it with the little touches that add color and crunch.

Whether you're a fan of bell peppers or zucchini, fennel or celery root, spiced curry or tangy yogurt, we have 17 creative recipes for you. Fix the recipes as they're written or use them as a springboard for your own...

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