Daily Dish
The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles
El Jefe pop-up at Animal with 'Chef' star Jon Favreau and Roy Choi

If you missed the El Jefe pop-up at Pot restaurant earlier this year, here's your chance to get a taste of the Cuban food truck from the movie "Chef." Another El Jefe pop-up dinner is set to take place at Animal restaurant July 21.  

In celebration of the film, which Jon Favreau starred in and directed, Animal chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo teamed up with Roy Choi, who acts as food consultant on the film, for a special menu. To honor the film's El Jefe food truck, the three developed a Cuban-flavored tasting menu to be served family-style. 

There are 11 items on the menu so far. Possible dishes include roasted mojo chicken, fried corn in garlic-lime butter and grilled Hawaiian blue prawns. There will also be dessert, island beers, wines and possible house-fermented pineapple, jalapeno shandies. 

$9 Cubano sandwiches will be available  as to-go items on the patio, but diners inside will also be able to order them.  Choi will join Shook and Dotolo in the kitchen, while Favreauwill be...

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New Panda Express has customizable orange chicken wraps, salads, boba tea bar

A Panda Express innovation kitchen and tea bar is now open in the Hastings Ranch area of Pasadena. The recognizable panda logo is on the door, but don't expect to walk up to the counter and order a two-item combo in a Styrofoam box. At this new fast-casual concept, customers can order their favorite Panda Express proteins in customizable wraps, salads and stir-fries delivered in classic Chinese takeout containers. 

Around 11 a.m. Thursday, a steady line had formed at the counter, where customers were given a quick rundown of the new format.  Orange-chicken-filled wraps and salads made their way down the line topped with everything from mango and fried shallots to green papaya slaw. 

"If you want to put sweet and sour sauce on your orange chicken wrap, you can do that," said Andrea Cherng, Panda's head of marketing and daughter of founders Andrew and Peggy Cherng. "We just celebrated 30 years at Panda Express and we wanted to think about how we can engage millennials and be relevant...

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'The Taste,' 'Top Chef,' 'Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives' receive Emmy nods

Everyone else may be abuzz over the likes of “Game of Thrones” and “True Detective” when it comes to Emmy nominations, but over here in the Food section we’re only thinking about … well, the food.

Three culinary programs received Emmy nominations Thursday morning, including ABC’s “The Taste”, Bravo’s “Top Chef”, and Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”

Anthony Bourdain of “The Taste” was nominated in the host for a reality or reality-competition program category. “Top Chef” was nominated for the third time in the reality-competition program category and “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” was nominated in the structured reality program category.

“The Taste” requires competitors to impress the judges with just one spoonful of food. The judges serve as mentors for a team of chefs that they select through a blind tasting at the opening of the show. Competitors are challenged to create the single best bite of food for the judges, with the worst taste being eliminated from the...

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Hostess announces the return of the Chocodile

Almost a year after the Twinkie’s return, Hostess is reintroducing its elusive chocolate-covered cousin — the Chocodile.

Available only intermittently on the West Coast before their discontinuation in 1999, the chocolate-covered Twinkies established their own off-market following, as boxes sold online for $30 to $40. Now Chocodiles join Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Ho Hos and Sno Balls on the market again, appearing in stores nationwide this week.

“We see basic consumer trends for Twinkies and we see trends of everything being dipped or wrapped in chocolate, and we thought that by putting the two together we would get a wonderful, fun snack," said William Toler, president and chief executive of Hostess Brands. "And it was always part of our desire, as a part of rebuilding Hostess, to bring out the wonderful icons that we have."

Hostess calledthe return of its Twinkies last year “the sweetest comeback in history ever,” after the brand came back from bankruptcy and started reintroducing its...

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Video: Tiny hamster is back eating tiny birthday cake

What's better than a tiny hamster eating tiny burritos? Nothing, if you're one of the more than 7 million people who watched the video of a tiny hamster eating tiny burritos earlier this year on YouTube. 

But Hello Denizen, the YouTube channel that produced the video, is back with a new video, above, featuring more tiny animals eating tiny foods. 

In the video, a tiny hedgehog has a birthday party with two tiny hamster guests. A frenzied woman with what looks like cake batter smudged on her cheek frets in the kitchen while she bakes, frosts and decorates a tiny cake. It's a layer cake with pink frosting and a red birthday candle. 

The party is complete with a tiny piñata, tiny birthday hats and tiny presents, tied with tweezers. And once again, poker chips serve as tableware. 

The small animals each devour a slice of cake. The party seems to be going pretty well, until the hedgehog decides to go a little nuts. He knocks over its cake, signaling the end of the tiniest birthday party...

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British rocket scientist says he's designed a better saucepan

Cooking isn’t rocket science, but maybe designing cookware is. A professor of engineering at Oxford University has designed a new saucepan that he says heats up faster and uses 40% less energy than conventional saucepans.

The “Flare Pan”, designed by Thomas Povey, is being manufactured and sold by Lakeland, a British kitchenware chain. It was introduced for sale Wednesday, but so far it seems to be available only in Britain, though it can be ordered through Lakeland’s website, with prices starting at about $85. Delivery won't begin until Aug. 25.

Hovey specializes in the design of high-efficiency cooling systems for next-generation jet engines. He is also an avid mountaineer and says that this invention was spurred by the long time it takes for water to reach a boil at high altitudes. He and a group of his students worked three years experimenting with different designs before they came up with one being marketed.

Made from cast aluminum and sporting a series of “fins” around the...

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Gov. Jerry Brown signs off on wine tastings at farmers markets

Skip the peaches and cheese, farmers market guests can now sample wine at farmers markets all over California.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a measure into law Tuesday that allows farmers markets to conduct wine and cider tastings. The bill, AB2488, was approved by the Assembly and the Senate of California unanimously. Wineries and cidermakers can apply immediately for a permit through the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

The wine and ciders must be produced from fruit grown and bottled by the winery and the tastings must be done by the permit holder, a family member or an employee. Also, wine sellers may not sell more than 5,000 gallons of wine annually and may not serve an individual customer more than 3 ounces a day. These provisions are in place to keep the tastings responsible and controlled.

The bill states that each farmers market has to approve these “instructional tasting events” and the market must rope off the tasting areas.

Cynthia Korman, the manager at the Ojai Farmers...

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Easy dinner recipes: Make-ahead sandwiches perfect for picnics, more

Need dinner fast and portable? Whether you're planning a picnic at the Hollywood Bowl or are juggling soccer games or after-school activities, these ideas are great when you're on the go and need an easy dinner solution.

Shooter's sandwich: The shooter's sandwich fills a loaf of crusty bread with slices of well-seasoned grilled steak, chipotle chiles and shiitake mushrooms. After pressing, the meat melds with the bread. Chipotle mayonnaise adds heat. The sandwich comes together in only 30 minutes; make the sandwich first thing in the morning, then leave it in the fridge to press until you're ready to go.

Egg salad sandwich with dill:It doesn't get much easier than this classic sandwich. Chopped hard-boiled eggs are tossed with onion, celery, mustard, vinegar, mayonnaise and a touch of salt for a quick egg salad. The salad is great by itself, but spoon it between two slices of bread with shredded lettuce and fresh dill and you've got a meal that's perfect when you're on the go or...

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Test Kitchen video: Simple tips for summer grilling

Are you giving your grill a workout already this summer? Whether you're a regular grill master or only the occasional weekend warrior, here are a few handy tips to keep in mind as you plan and execute your next meal:

TEMPER YOUR MEATS BEFORE GRILLING

The next time you're going to throw some steaks on the grill, take them out of the refrigerator a little early to take off the chill before cooking. "Tempering" the meat allows it to cook more evenly, so the inside can actually cook as the outside works up a nice char. Place your steaks or other meats in a cool, safe spot indoors to take off the chill; 20 or so minutes for thin cuts and longer if you're cooking something big -- famous Italian butcher Dario Cecchini calls for leaving a thick porterhouse out five to six hours when grilling his bistecca fiorentina (the recipe follows below).

KEEP THE HEAT IN THE GRILL

As you find yourself using the grill this summer, here's a quick tip for holding the heat in the grill as you cook: Keep the...

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Events: Tablas Creek at Tam O'Shanter, Olivi at Chianina, G&Ts at Waterloo & City

Anybody have room to slip a special wine dinner into your schedule? These events can be not only fun but educational. Without having to buy an entire bottle, you get to taste wines from a single producer with food that a chef has designed to show them off. And if the winemaker is in attendance, even better.

Here are a few such dinners coming up.

Tam O’ Shanter, the venerable Los Feliz restaurant, steps up its game with a five-course wine pairing dinner Thursday at 6:30 p.m. with Tablas Creek Winery, the Rhone-style wine specialist founded by wine importer Robert Haas and the Perrin brothers of famed Chateau de Beaucastel in Chateauneuf-du-Pape. The winery will be pouring four wines with a menu from executive chef Mark Kalenderian. The cost is $65 per person plus tax and tip. For reservations, call (323) 664-0228 or visit TamOShanter.com.

Tam O' Shanter, 2980 Los Feliz Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 664-0228.

On Wednesday, July 16, at 6:30 p.m.,  Chianina Steakhouse in Long Beach will have a...

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7 French spots for a Bastille Day fête

Bastille Day is Monday, July 14, and this weekend bistros around Los Angeles are showing off their French pride. If you want to get back to your French roots, or if you took a year of Francais in high school, or if you just have an immense affinity for cheese, this is the holiday for you. Check out these spots for a French meal and certainly a “Vive la France!” chant or two:

Les Noces du Figaro has created a Bastille Day prix fixe menu for $35. The meal includes hors d’oeuvres, an entrée and either beer or wine. The menu includes coq au vin, soupe a l’oignon and escargots.  Les Noces du Figaro, 618 S Broadway, Los Angeles, (213) 622-2116, www.figarobistrot.com 

The Little Door has created an entirely new menu just for Bastille Day. The special menu includes salmon carpaccio, grilled white sea bass and balsamic roasted peaches. A live band will provide background music for the evening. Reservations are made through OpenTable. The Little Door, 8164 W 3rd Street, Los Angeles, (323) 951-...

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How to party like a Frenchman on Bastille Day

Barely have we recovered from celebrating one revolution than we’re hit with another. But while July 4 calls for a menu heavy on grilled burgers, hot dogs and potato salads, the traditional favorites for Bastille Day are a little different.

Though the actual fete day is Monday, there is bound to be plenty of French-influenced partying going on this weekend. And we’re here to help, with a selection of more than a dozen seasonally appropriate recipes that you can mix and match to make your own Bastille Day menu.

You may want to start with gougeres – the ultimate cheese puff. Or maybe it’ll be pissaladiere, like a French pizza with caramelized onions, anchovies and black olives.

You’ll want some dippy kinds of things. Rillettes made with salmon or pork are perfect, just serve them with toasted bread or a neutral-flavored cracker.

For the main course, how about a grand aioli? Make the garlicky mayonnaise an hour or so before the party to relieve any anxiety (aioli can be temperamental, but...

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