Daily Dish
The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles
Rustic Canyon, Huckleberry Cafe, more add 3% employee benefit surcharge

Rustic Canyon, Huckleberry Cafe, Milo and Olive and Sweet Rose Creamery are the latest Los Angeles restaurants to add a surcharge to supplement their employees' healthcare costs. The four businesses, all part of owner Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan's Rustic Canyon family, made the announcement in a newsletter to customers Friday. 

A 3% surcharge will appear on all guest checks beginning Sept. 1. All employees who work 30 or more hours a week will be given a fully covered HMO plan with a carrier, or the opportunity to contribute to a PPO plan. The restaurants have also pledged to add work hours for those who want benefits but don't meet the minimum 30 hours a week. 

The newsletter insists the move was not motivated by the Affordable Care Act, which requires businesses to provide health benefits to employees. Restaurants with more than 100 full-time employees need to comply by 2015, while those with 50 to 100 employees have until 2016. 

"As a community of independent and family run restaurants...

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Vegan Oktoberfest and Huntington Beach and Chile Relleno festivals

Vegan Oktoberfest, the world's first vegan version of the annual German funfair is headed to Santa Monica on Oct. 4. From 1 to 6 p.m., there will be a German beer hall featuring live oompah bands, Bavarian maidens and a selection of vegan craft beer. At admission, guests will be given a beer stein with unlimited refills. A special menu of vegan fare will be provided by Los Angeles vegan restaurants, including Sage Organic Bistro. Attendees can expect potato pancakes, cauliflower hot wings, German-style soft pretzels, fried "chickun," "mac n' cheeze," sausage and potato pizzas. General admission tickets are $40, and it's $55 for VIP admission, which includes access to the event an hour early and designated VIP seating. These ticket prices are valid until Aug. 31, then the price for a general ticket will increase to $45, and to $65 for VIP. A portion of the proceeds will go to Expand Animal Rights Now, an organization dedicated to using the legal system to help animals. Tickets can be...

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Naked sushi is happening in Vancouver, and, yes, it's what you think it is

Ever heard of nyotaimori? It's the Japanese practice of serving sushi on a naked body. It's real, beyond that one scene from the first "Sex and the City" movie. And, for a price, you can now have your sushi served on a naked model in Vancouver. 

Naked Sushi, a catering and events company that supplies this unique service, just launched in Vancouver, reported VancityBuzz. The company employs models to lie very still, sometimes for hours at a time, while partygoers pluck sushi off of their naked bodies with chopsticks. 

A variety of maki and nigiri is arranged strategically on the model's body on their stomachs, legs, chest area, etc. You can also order bento boxes and a variety of appetizers. And prices vary based on what kind of sushi you want, and how long you'd like your naked sushi model to stay at your party. 

"Our team of professional staff and models will create an atmosphere of traditional Japanese elegance that will render your event unforgettable to your guests," writes the...

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Alma patty melt pop-up, Good Girl Dinette pies, Belcampo dinner

Belcampo Meat Co. at Grand Central Market features a weekly rotating dinner menu served on Thursday to Saturday evenings by head chef Robbie Arnold-Starr, highlighting organic Belcampo meat direct from the butcher shop’s farm near Mt. Shasta. Meat is served alongside farmers market produce, and this week's menu includes soft scrambled eggs with herbs, pork belly and honey mustard; punterelle with Asian Caesar dressing; miso lamb with sunchoke puree and crispy sunchokes; and local peaches with ginger, puffed rice, tea, mascarpone and star anise. The three-course menu is $65, with optional wine and beer pairings. Grand Central Market, 317 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, (213) 625-0304, www.belcampomeatco.com.

Highland Park Vietnamese cafe Good Girl Dinette is making pie for Labor Day weekend: licorice-peach and cardamom-nectarine. Order today to pick up 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and 9 a.m. to noon on Monday. Order online, by email or by calling the restaurant at (323) 257-8980....

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Easy dinner recipes: Three simple roast chicken ideas

You can never have too many easy dinner recipes for chicken. It's such a versatile bird, and lends itself to so many flavorings. And did I mention how easy it is to prepare? Check out these options:

Roasted chicken with grape sauce: This recipe turns green grapes into a light but savory sauce, drizzled over freshly roasted chicken. The sauce is bright with the flavor of grapes and a little lemon zest, balanced by sage, chile and garlic.

Chicken thighs with honey, olives and oregano: Chicken thighs are marinated with a simple medley of flavors: red wine vinegar, olive oil, capers, garlic, oregano and olives. Just before baking, the chicken is topped with a little wine and honey, the flavors slowly harmonizing as the thighs bake to golden brown perfection. Don't be intimidated by the total time on the recipe; while it does require a little advanced preparation and marinating time (this can be done first thing in the morning before you start your day), there is very little active time...

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Roy Choi talks burgers and 99-cent fare at his new fast food chain Loco'l

After opening a series of restaurants all over Los Angeles and the infamous Kogi truck, Roy Choi is turning his attention to 99-cent fast food. If you're thinking mass-produced burgers and pink slime, think again.

On the menu at Loco'l, Choi's new healthful fast food project, expect a burger cut with grains and tofu, a special sauce that Choi promises will incorporate all of the flavors of a fast food burger, Monterey jack cheese and charred scallion pickled relish. It's all piled on a long fermented bun, made to taste like a soft bun you'd find at any fast food restaurant. 

"Imagine your favorite restaurant, run by chefs and everything is around $2," Choi told The Times. "We're using our knowledge as chefs to try to re-create a really great fast food burger, because that's what people are addicted to and accustomed to," said Choi. 

Choi and partner San Francisco chef Daniel Patterson are looking to go toe to toe with existing fast food restaurants such as McDonalds, Taco Bell and...

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'Brew Dogs' hits its finale with a Southern California special

The season finale of Esquire Network’s Brew Dogs craft beer show aired Wednesday night and featured the eponymous Scots teaming with some of our local home brewers in a competition to brew the quintessential L.A. beer, and it highlighted some of the best places to find craft beer in town.

It’s tough to argue with the choice of bars highlighted in the episode; the venerable Naja’s Place in Redondo took the top spot, while The Glendale Tap, The Surly Goat, the Daily Pint and Blue Palms Brewhouse rounded out the list.

The top five breweries were likewise unimpugnable. The San Pedro Brewing Company was included in the fifth spot -- a surprise to some people I’ve spoken to, but the buzz around the 13-year-old brewpub is that they’ve stepped up their game and are making some great beers again. Eagle Rock Brewery, Ladyface Ale Companie and Smog City Brewery got the nods in the middle of the list and Beachwood Brewing was named the No. 1 brewery in Los Angeles.

The show did a great job of...

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You're eating sushi all wrong! Tokyo sushi chef teaches proper way to eat sushi

Apparently eating sushi three times a week doesn't make you an expert. According to Tokyo sushi chef Naomichi Yasuda, we've been doing it all horribly wrong.  

In a new video by Vice's Munchies, seen above, the chef explains the right and wrong way to eat sushi. Rule one, eat cut rolls with your hands. We know, we were shocked too when we learned that using chopsticks to shove pieces of blue crab roll into your mouth was not proper sushi etiquette. 

And when you dunk your piece of sushi roll into soy sauce, well, don't dunk it. Just dip what Yasuda says is "enough" to taste the soy sauce, then eat it. And don't ever, ever eat the pickled ginger with your sushi. It's meant to be eaten by itself, after you've eaten a piece of sushi.

Everyone who shoves the unlimited supply of ginger on the table at Sushi Stop onto every single bite of sushi is silently crying. You know who you are.  

And one of the biggest no-no's was how people normally dip nigiri into soy sauce. Yasuda explains how to...

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Blake Shelton talks Pizza Hut, Bud Light and knuckle sandwiches

Pizza Hut has added bacon to its line of stuffed-crust pizzas with the new Bacon Cheese Stuffed Crust pizza. Yes, they've added bacon to a blend of white cheddar, mozzarella and provolone and stuffed their pizza crust with it. And to help them promote the new pizza, which launched Thursday, they've enlisted the help of "The Voice" star and country music artist Blake Shelton. 

"If there was a way to combine awesome with greatness this is what it is," Shelton said. 

A one-topping Bacon Cheese Stuffed Crust Pizza is now available for $11.99.

We asked Shelton a series of very important questions about pizza, what he likes to drink and what food he'd like to throw in Adam Levine's face if he had the chance.

Favorite pizza toppings?

Mushrooms and black olives.

What do you eat when it’s 2 a.m. and you need a snack?

Chips, like corn chips. Doritos.

Favorite beer?

Bud Light.

Hamburger or grilled cheese?


If you were to do your famous finger point at a food item what would it be?


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Easy dinner recipes: Keep cool with 3 summer slaws in 35 minutes or less

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.

Zucchini slaw: Zucchini are great cooked, but they can be just as wonderful raw -- light and crisp with delicate flavor. Shred a couple (or more) pounds of zucchini. Dress it with a light sherry vinaigrette -- it's a bright vinegar with a lighter flavor that won't overpower the zucchini. Add some diced tomato; not only is the color vivid, but the soft tomato really emphasizes the crispness of the zucchini. And it's perfect served simply, with a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts and fresh-shaved Parmigiano.

Daikon slaw: Because daikon is so bland, the choices of dressing and garnish are even more important. Combine the shredded radish with thinly sliced red onion and diced snow peas. Dress it with a rich but tangy sesame oil and rice...

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Stone Brewing's San Diego outpost lives up to the hype

When Stone Brewing Co. opened its first World Bistro & Gardens adjacent to its brewery in Escondido in 2007, there wasn’t much else like it. The large restaurant, bar and beer garden was a statement of permanence for the thriving craft brewery and a marquee destination for visitors to San Diego.

In 2013, the brewery opened its second World Bistro & Gardens in Point Loma’s Liberty Station, and the new compound is a sprawling tribute to the zeal and, yes, arrogance, of the craft brand that sailed to fame on the back of its Arrogant Bastard IPA.

Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens at Liberty Station is as impressive a craft-beer destination as I’ve witnessed. From the voluminous main dining room (once a Navy mess hall) to the smallest of design details that unify the location’s many distinct spaces, Liberty Station feels like the architectural representation of Stone’s renowned beers. It’s big and assertive, but close examination reveals subtleties that belie the initial impressions....

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Weiser and friends throw a farm feast; Melisse honors mentors

Alex Weiser and his family have been farmers market standouts almost since farmers markets started. And so when the Weisers decide to throw a farm dinner, you know it’s going to be good. But this good?

“Feast at the Farm” will be held at the Weiser family farm in Tehachapi Sept. 13 from 3 to 10 p.m. There will be farm tours and music. And a few of the Weisers' biggest fans will be cooking.

Check out this lineup: Evan Funke from Bucato, Jeremy Fox from Rustic Canyon, Brian Dunsmore from Ladies Gunboat Society, Dan Mattern and Roxanna Jullpat from Cook’s County, Jessica Koslow from Sqirl, Erin Eastland from Milo & Olive and desserts from Zoe Nathan, Laurel Almerinda and Shiho Yoshikawa from Huckleberry, Milo

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