Daily Dish
The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles
Almost like a walk in the woods, fall mushrooms -- with 12 recipes

In some places, one of the hallmarks of fall is a tromp through the woods collecting wild mushrooms. Even in good years that’s an iffy proposition in Southern California and as this seemingly everlasting drought drags on, this has certainly not been one of those. But that doesn’t mean we have to do without mushrooms as the weather turns cool.

While truly wild mushrooms such as chanterelles, matsutakes and porcinis are scarce and expensive, there are other richly flavored mushrooms in the grocery store that can step in as understudies, even if they may not quite make you forget the stars.

Look for steak-sized portobello mushrooms, nested hen-of-the-woods (sold in Asian markets as maitake) and birch mushrooms (buna shimeji if they’re white, hon shimeji if they’re brown). These are all cultivated mushrooms, but they have flavor beyond the familiar buttons.

Indeed, the so-called portobellos are really cultivated buttons that somebody messed up. They were first marketed by a guy who had...

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Halloween for grownups: candy-flavored brews

With Halloween fast approaching, I’ve been thinking back to the sacks overflowing with chocolates and candies that were filled by hours of house-to-house extortion. While I’m too old to properly trick-or-treat these days, I still enjoy the occasional Reese's or Almond Joy, and I especially enjoy a craft beer that invokes memories of a pillowcase bursting with sugary treats.

Here are four craft brews that are perfect to pair with an evening manning the front door and handing out candy to all the wandering ghosts, ghouls and princesses. They’ll even remind you of those coveted candies from Halloweens past.

Stone Brewing Co - Smoked Porter with Chocolate and Orange Peel

This new variant of Stone’s classic smoked porter balances the signature smoky aroma with chocolate and aromatic orange peel. There’s a vibrant orange quality that reminds me of ripping into a fresh mandarin orange when the oils erupt from the rind as you peel it. The chocolate is present, but subdued, and the smoke...

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Scouting report: Uni garlic bread, lobster rolls at Playa Provisions' Dockside

 

Chef: "Top Chef" runner-up Brooke Williamson and her husband and partner Nick Roberts. The two also own Hudson House and the Tripel. 

Concept: Four different concepts in one space, just off the water in Playa del Rey. In the front you can pick up sandwiches and salads at the King Beach before you hit the sand. Small Batch is an ice cream counter with house-made ice cream flavors and Dockside is a sit-down restaurant with a seafood-centric menu. At Grain, the bar, there are more than 50 whiskeys and bourbons including a house barrel-aged whiskey. 

What dish represents the restaurant and why? The lobster roll. Williamson and Roberts' version of the classic comes on a buttered, toasted roll stuffed with chunks of lobster in a light dressing, diced celery, crunchy crushed potato chips and pickled mustard seeds. It's an elevated classic that's fun, not stuffy. There's also salt cod clam chowder in a bread bowl, albacore and rock shrimp ceviche with fresh coconut, passion fruit and salmon...

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Crumbs Bake Shop to reopen on Larchmont Boulevard on Tuesday

After closing all of its stores nationwide in July, Crumbs Bake Shop will reopen a location on Larchmont Boulevard on Tuesday. The company also recently opened a location on Broadway in the New York Garment District and at the Chicago Water Tower Place. 

The bakery, which helped fuel the nationwide cupcake craze a couple of years ago, is reopening under new owner Marcus Lemonis, host of CNBC's "The Profit." The show focuses on Lemonis' efforts to save struggling businesses.  

"This is a very exciting time for all of us with Crumbs,” said Lemonis in a statement. “I am happy to put people back to work and to continue leveraging collaborations between Crumbs and other companies in my portfolio to introduce a wide variety of baked and frozen treats that consumers across the country will have access to in store and online."

The new shop will feature classic Crumbs cupcake flavors as well as a few new varieties including Sweet Pete's Salted Caramel Chocolate cupcake and the Key West Key Lime...

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It's World Tripe Day! Where would Jonathan Gold celebrate?

The first question you may have about World Tripe Day is whether the occasion in fact exists. It has not, as far as I know, been sanctioned by Congress or any other official sanctioning body, and unlike Melon Day in Turkmenistan (Aug. 9), or National Pigs in a Blanket day in the United States (April 24), it appears on no sanctioned calendars. In fact, if you want to be official about it, Oct. 24 is designated National Food Day by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which is the organization intent on telling you that your last plate of kung-pao chicken had 1,400 calories in it and that a single bite of spaghetti carbonara will put you into immediate cardiac arrest. Have fun celebrating with those guys.

But World Tripe Day, which seems to be spun out of the efforts of the possibly satirical Tripe Marketing Board and its possibly fictitious chairman Sir Norman Wrassle, so ably profiled by Russ Parsons earlier this week, may be as real as any of the other food holidays this...

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France reclaims the title of world's biggest wine producer

France has once again become the biggest wine producer in the world, up 10% from last year, according to the French agency OIV (Organisation Internationale de la Vigne et du Vin). That means France has surpassed Spain and Italy, both of which saw poor harvests.

Laurence Girard in the Paris newspaper Le Monde [link in French] reports: “France has regained its title as the first wine producer on the planet."

Long a global leader, France had ceded the title to Italy in 2012, falling to No. 2. In 2013, it fell to No. 3 after a monster harvest in Spain. This year Italy's harvest was down 15% and Spain was down 19%, returning to an average level of production, according to the OIV report

And if you’re wondering, yes, the United States is the largest consumer of wine in the world, beating out France for the first time, as French consumption fell by nearly 7%. So we have that to be chuffed about. Yet our wine production is still less than half that of France this year.

However, as Jean-Marie...

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