Daily Dish The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles
Counter Intelligence: Grab your breakfast in Pas and beautiful noodles in K-town
Cooking the whole fish: Nose-to-tail, seafood-style, with 11 recipes

There are few things easier to cook than a whole fish.

And not only is a whole fish more beautiful to serve than a fillet (once you get past that silly "Eek! It looks like a fish!" reaction -- what are you, in fifth grade?), it tastes better too. Just like any other meat cooked on the bone, fish cooked in the round is moister and more flavorful.

Even better, it's incredibly flexible. You can use almost any cooking technique you can think of, and you'll get a very different dish each time.

Probably the easiest is simply steaming it, in the Chinese fashion: Put the fish on a plate; sprinkle it with shredded ginger, green onions and a little soy sauce; put the plate in a steamer and cook. In 10 or 15 minutes, you'll have a perfectly moist, beautifully fragrant dish.

No, wait, maybe it's roasting: Stuff the cavity with herbs and lemon slices; put the fish on a baking sheet; scatter a few lemon slices over top and bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. The skin will crisp slightly and...

Read more
12 great recipes for grapefruit

It seems to be a peculiarity of the citrus family that extremely different fruits find themselves grouped under a single name. Think “tangerine,” which includes everything from the pinkie-sized Kishu to some of the new varieties such as the Yosemite Gold that are as big as an orange.

And then there’s grapefruit.

In markets today you can find grapefruit and grapefruit kin of all different colors and sizes, from pale gold to deep ruby, from cocktail grapefruit that’s no bigger than an orange to pummelos that are as big as your head.

And while grapefruit hasn’t quite ascended the peaks of trendiness that blood oranges or mandarins have, their distinctive flavor makes them a terrific ingredient in winter desserts and salads, particularly for those cooks not afraid of a little tart. (That flavor comes from a chemical compound so identified with the fruit that it’s called “grapefruit mercaptan.”)

There are some special grapefruit varieties to look out for. The traditional white Marsh...

Read more
Lobster arancini with a view of the Vegas Strip at Giada at the Cromwell

Name of restaurant: Giada at the Cromwell.

Concept: Food Network Star Giada De Laurentiis' first restaurant is meant to feel like you're dining in her home. There are books on shelves, photos of De Laurentiis and her family, and Italian food you'd see the celebrity chef making on her TV show "Giada at Home" on the menu. And in case you forget whose restaurant this is, Giada's name or signature G is on everything from the placemats, to the back of the bar chairs, art on your latte foam, the napkins, serving boards and on a pink sign that simply reads "Giada." There's also a large display of Giada's cookbooks, T-shirts, hats and aprons behind the host stand.

The restaurant has also made an effort to incorporate more technology into the dining experience. There's a photo booth in the waiting area, where you can take photos and send them directly to Facebook. You're presented with a digital menu on an iPad in addition to the paper menu when seated, and your check comes with an iPhone with...

Read more
Happy hour buzz: Pimento grilled cheese and $4 wine at Plan Check downtown

Long week? We get it. That's why we're highlighting a happy hour every Friday. So cut out early, secure a designated driver, and get your drink and happy hour eats on. 

If you're a fan of chef Ernesto Uchimura's fried chicken sandwiches and spicy pickles, your favorites are all available for happy hour at the Plan Check downtown Monday to Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. 

The S.F.C. sandwich, with Jidori chicken, yam preserves, smoked milk gravy and pickled okra is $9 on the happy hour menu; the mixed pickle plate, with Sriracha dill and bread and butter style pickles is $4; and Da Buck Fity wings, with plenty of Uchimura's own hot sauce, are $2.50 each. 

There's also a pimento grilled cheese sandwich with bacon, green chiles and pickles ($8); two ground beef tacos with habanero salsa cheese, guacamole and cilantro ($8); beast fries topped with schmaltz onions, bacon spread and Americanized cheese ($6.66); a roasted portobello stuffed with Swiss cheese fondue, crispy kale and roasted garlic...

Read more
Ricardo Zarate: at Cochon, at Coachella and in your bookstore

On a recent afternoon in downtown Los Angeles, Ricardo Zarate sat sipping from a paper cup of coffee in the lobby of the Biltmore Hotel. The setting — the hotel opened in 1923 with travertine walls, crystal chandeliers, marble fountains and frescoed mural ceilings painted by an artist who worked on the Vatican — was not accidental, but a homecoming of sorts for the Peruvian-born chef.

Zarate is best known for his restaurants Mo-Chica, Picca and Paiche, but his first job in Los Angeles was at a little Japanese joint a few blocks from the hotel, also now closed. And his first L.A. residence, back in 2003, was actually at the Biltmore, where he lived for six months, while he worked on a project at the hotel that never quite materialized.

These days Zarate is in a circumspect mood, having put the melodrama of his last year largely behind him. The backstory goes like this. After many accolades and national and international recognition for his cooking at Mo-Chica, Zarate moved that modest...

Read more