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Daily Dish
The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles
First look: Grandpa Johnson's, an Art Deco cocktail lounge now open in Hollywood

It's late in the afternoon Thursday and L.A. nightlife veteran Johnny Zander is squinting in the bright sunlight, standing in the doorway to his latest Hollywood venture, Grandpa Johnson's. From the street it looks like a closed vintage jewelry store with two empty glass display cases, but a couple steps inside, through a red velvet curtain, of course, there's a "Gatsby"-esque cocktail lounge. "It's my version of Art Deco, with a nice twist, and modern meets the Stanley Kubrick bar," said Zander, wearing dark shades and a gray hat. "I wanted to create something different, something you don't really have in town." The bar, named after his grandfather, is Zander's first solo project. Known for conceptualizing, designing and opening the Green Door, Hemingway's and Teddy's, Zander designed every detail of Grandpa Johnson's himself.  The smooth wood floors feature black chevron stripes that run across the floor, up the walls and onto the ceiling. The furniture is straight out of a 1920s...

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Easy (after) dinner recipes: Cake, ice cream and more for beer lovers

It's Friday. You've made it. Have your beer and eat it too with these tempting after dinner treats: Beer ice cream: It's the best of beer and ice cream, need I say more? This dessert can't get any easier to make, as it uses only four ingredients and makes a base that comes together in minutes. Have a little patience and give this treat time to chill, and you will be rewarded. Beer zabaglione: Whisk some egg yolks with a little sugar until they take on a bright, velvety sheen, then drizzle in a little beer -- I prefer a Belgian ale. Place the bowl over gently simmering water and keep beating, and in just minutes you have a light and airy custard, faintly sweet and enticingly smooth, no special equipment or waiting time necessary. Beer cake: Richly flavored with aromatic spice and beer -- the author recommends a dark, full-flavored beer -- this cake works well as a dessert, breakfast or snack for any time of the day. You can find the recipe below. BEER CAKE Total time: 1 1/2 hours |...

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A day in the life of Pink Taco CEO and Viper Room owner Harry Morton

On a recent Wednesday, Harry Morton sits at the head of a conference table at the Pink Taco offices on Sunset Boulevard. To his left, a bookshelf displays framed photos of Morton in Vanity Fair and Men's Vogue along with articles on how at 27 years old, he decided to buy the Viper Room. Now 33, he may best be known as a member of the Morton family of hospitality tycoons. His father, Peter, co-founded the Hard Rock Cafes and Hotels, and his grandfather, Arnie, founded Morton's The Steakhouse. He doesn’t look like the typical CEO of a major company, wearing jeans and a crisp white oxford with the sleeves rolled up to reveal a tattoo that reads “karma,” but he is sitting atop a Los Angeles food and beverage empire he’s building himself, one taco and margarita at a time. In Los Angeles, Pink Taco has become a destination for people looking to party on the Sunset Strip with Mexican food, good music and plenty of tequila. But Morton is looking to expand his empire with two more Pink Taco...

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Try the 'world's hottest chile' at Clay Oven

Nothing says "satisfying comfort food" quite like 1.2 million Scoville units (that's the heat of 400 jalapeno peppers combined), right? No? Well, according to chef Geeta Bansal at Clay Oven in Irvine, this kind of heat is definitely on the menu. She's serving a dish featuring the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion chile. Some, including Clay Oven, call it "the world's hottest chile pepper," a tiny red ball of fury, featuring a bumpy texture and a telltale tail. Unfortunately (or perhaps not), the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion is not the hottest pepper, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. It was dethroned in December 2013 and replaced by the Carolina Reaper, which can reach a whopping 2.2 million units on the Scoville scale. Regardless, Clay Oven's lamb dish featuring the scorching chile, called the Shiv, is sure to pack a punch and test the guts of diners. Shiv is a reference to the name of the Hindu god of creation and destruction known for performing a fiery Tandav dance. I predict...

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Introducing the world's first beer pong ball-washer

When you're playing beer pong, and don't pretend you haven't, dirty ping pong balls are often a problem. Sure there's the wash cup (a cup of water you rinse the balls in before playing each turn), but what good does that do if they're all going into the same wash cup, especially after your ball ricochets into a pile of dirt or rolls onto someone's bathroom floor?  Tyler Dobush, founder of the Clean Cup, the first automatic beer pong ball washer, wanted to find a solution. He turned a college engineering project into a way to wash beer pong balls. Dobush has set up a Kickstarter campaign for his invention, and he's hoping beer pong fans with a penchant for cleanliness will help him raise the $40,000 he needs for production.   "Everyone loves beer pong, but nobody likes a set of dirty balls," says Dobush in a promotional video for the Clean Cup. And he manages to keep a straight face.  The washer uses the combination of a high-pressure stream of water and bursts of air to wash the ball....

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Food GPS Fried Chicken Fest, Salt's Cure at Domaine LA, Olvera Street mole fair

The 3rd Annual Food GPS Fried Chicken Festival is back this summer on Sunday, Aug. 17. The fest is from 4 to 7 p.m. in Chinatown’s Central Plaza and is hosted by Bolthouse Farms. Chefs from around Los Angeles will be putting their spin on fried chicken throughout the festivities, with this year's participants including Nakul Mahendro of Badmaash, Ray England of Craft, Alvin Cailan and Johnny Lee of Egg Slut, Jesse Furman of Free Range LA, Homegirl Cafe, Kris Morningstar, Brian Dunsmoor of Ladies’ Gunboat Society, and Jason Travi of Superba. Cocktails and desserts will also be available. General admission tickets are $65 per person in advance, $75 at the door if still available. VIP tickets are $90 in advance, $100 at the door if available. Get tickets at www.foodgps.com/friedchicken. Chinatown’s Central Plaza, 943-951 N. Broadway, Los Angeles. Domaine LA is hosting a tasting on Sunday inspired by the Aperol Brunch Society meetings that have taken place around L.A. all summer. The meal...

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Michael Bonaccorsi Scholarship Fund event at Wally's canceled

Top Central Coast wineries, 50 of them, were set to pour their wines for the ninth annual Central Coast Celebration for Michael Bonaccorsi at Wally’s in West Los Angeles on Sunday. But there was bad news on Thursday: Due to a permit snafu, the event, which benefits the Michael Bonaccorsi Scholarship Fund at Allan Hancock College's department of viticulture and enology in northern Santa Barbara County, has been canceled. A statement from Wally’s tells what happened: “Wally’s has hosted the Central Coast Wine & Food Celebration benefiting the Michael Bonaccorsi sScholarship Fund ince 2004 and over the years we have successfully raised over $300,000. This Sunday’s event was scheduled to be a huge success and was slated to raise an additional $50,000 for the charity. Unbeknownst to us, within the last year the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control has changed their regulations on licenses and permits for wine-related events. Despite our exhaustive efforts with the ABC, consultants and...

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These fruit-flavored beers are not the pits

Summer is a time for stone fruit, and the flavors of peaches, apricots and plums find a natural harmony in beer. Craft brewers exploit this kinship in many ways, from using the fresh fruit in the beers to finding hop varietals that mirror the flavors, so fans have many options for slaking their cravings.   Peaches, nectarines and apricots are relatively common ingredients for brewers looking to fruitify their brews, and Delaware's Dogfish Head Brewery has a delightfully tart take on the traditional Berliner Weisse style. Festina Peche is a summer seasonal beer that is extremely light and refreshing with a great peach-skin mustiness that’s balanced by the brew’s acidity. Local start-up Highland Park Brewery is also making a Berliner Weisse with peaches and nectarines from Masumoto Family Farms fruit. The beer, Lazy Susan, is finishing a secondary fermentation and should be released in a few weeks (brewer Bob Kunz is hoping to bottle much of the batch for release in September as well)....

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Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf to offer $2 Ice Blended drinks

For many, mornings aren’t complete without frozen coffee. To others, these blended confections are just milkshakes for adults. Regardless of the various opinions, we have Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf to thank (or curse) for these now-classic beverages. The company created its Ice Blended beverage 25 years ago, and claims to be the sole inventor of frozen, blended coffee as we know it today. To celebrate the Ice Blended, Coffee Bean is debuting the Summer Open House today from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. The event is one day only. The Summer Open House will feature $2 Ice Blended drinks of all flavors. Besides the classic coffee, vanilla, and chocolate choices from the year-round menu, guests can also take advantage of the deal with the summer seasonal specials. This summer’s choices include Mud Pie and Caramel Brownie flavors. The special will be available at all participating Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf locations, excluding Hawaii, Ralphs and airport stops. The deal applies only to their 12-ounce Ice...

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Dreaming of a seedless mango? Scientists are getting there, but not quite yet

Imagine digging into the flesh of a sweet, ripe mango without having to pause and nibble around that huge annoying seed in the middle. In search of a better mango, researchers at the Bihar Agriculture University in India are attempting a seedless variety, reported The Independent .   Despite multiple media outlets reporting the invention of a seedless mango, BAU researchers have not actually grown a seedless mango, they are simply running tests on a mango called Sindhu.  In 2011, BAU planted Sindhu mangoes, and this is the first year the trees have produced fruit.  The mangoes are a cross between the Ratna and Alphonso varieties of mangoes developed in 1992 by Konkan Krishi Vidyapith, Dapoli agriculture university in Maharashtra, according to  Quartz .  The BAU is just the latest of many researchers in India to conduct trials on the Sindhu mango. The Sindhu weigh a little less than half a pound and have a smaller seed than other types of mangoes, resulting in fewer fibrous bits around the...

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Happy National Tequila Day! Celebrate with 21 recipes for food and drinks

National Tequila Day 2014? That’s today. And we have 22 ways to help celebrate -- with refreshing cocktails as well as creative food ideas. If you love a classic margarita, we've got you covered -- it's only one of a number of cocktail variations we found. Or maybe you're thinking something more substantial, like chipotle roasted salmon? Or grilled corn with tequila-lime butter? Perhaps a cool scallop ceviche with tequila? We've compiled all those and more. Just to get you in the mood, you'll find recipes for the chipotle roasted salmon and a ruby red grapefruit margarita below. Whether you raise a glass, or a fork, remember to enjoy responsibly. Cheers! CHIPOTLE ROASTED SALMON Total time: 35 minutes including marination | Serves 8 to 10     2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce     1/4 cup sesame seeds     1/2 cup tequila     3 tablespoons olive oil     3 tablespoons sesame oil     2 large cloves garlic, minced     4 scallions, green part only, thinly sliced     1/2 cup chopped cilantro     1...

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To make wine glasses look perfect, try this microfiber polishing cloth

While sitting at the bar of Zach Pollack's new Alimento in Silver Lake, you might notice wine manager Ryan Wenger polishing stemware. As he finishes each glass, he holds it up to the light: perfect. What's that he's using to polish the delicate glasses to such good effect? Turns out it's a special cloth from Riedel, the famed Austrian glass company that makes a special glass for just about every wine in the world. “You can find the Riedel microfiber polishing cloth online at Amazon or from Williams-Sonoma,” Wenger says.  When faced with a barrage of wine glasses to wash and dry after a particularly wine-intensive dinner party, that polishing cloth comes in handy. At Williams-Sonoma each cloth costs $8.45.  They really are terrific, polishing the glasses without leaving a speck of lint behind. The texture is different from many other microfiber cloths. It’s very smooth, almost a satin, and thick but flexible.  It comes with instructions: After washing the glass under warm water with...

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