Daily Dish The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles
'Yucatán,' Barbara Kafka top James Beard book awards

David Sterling's "Yucatán: Recipes From a Culinary Expedition,” published by University of Texas Press' William and Bettye Nowlin Series in Art, History, and Culture, was honored as the best cookbook of the year Friday night at the prestigious James Beard awards in New York.

In the lavishly illustrated book, Sterling, who runs a cooking school in Mexico, pulls together the various ethnic and cultural strands that make up Yucatecan cooking -- influences from France, Spain and Portugal, Lebanon and elsewhere in the Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean.

This is the second big win for the book. "Yucatán" had earlier won the first $10,000 Art of Eating prize for the best cookbook of the year.

Also Friday night, longtime author Barbara Kafka was inducted into the cookbook hall of fame. She joins Diana Kennedy and Anne Willan as winners since the category was switched in 2013 to reflect authors rather than specific books.

Kafka, a protege of Beard, is the author of numerous cookbooks including...

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Los Angeles craft breweries take home medals

The results of the 2015 Los Angeles International Commercial Beer Competition are in, and the list of winners is heavy with SoCal breweries and brewpubs, including a dozen wins for L.A.-area craft beer producers.

The competition is organized by Fairplex as a part of the Los Angeles County Fair. After an open call for entries from commercial breweries, the judging took place over Saturday and Sunday, and medals were awarded in over 80 style categories, inclduing American IPAs, sour beers and traditional German and British styles.

Two L.A. brewpubs each took home a trio of medals. Agoura Hills’ Ladyface Ale Companie took home silver medals in the Marzen and English IPA categories. The winning marzen, Conejo, is a particularly excellent example of a style rarely seen in Los Angeles. It was also awarded a bronze in the Wood-and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer category for its Verruckt Weizen.

A product of the brewpub’s burgeoning barrel program, this soured weizenbock is a novel combination of tradition...

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Fritzi Dog will open in downtown, with carrot dogs

Downtown dwellers need to prepare for the carrot dog. 

Neal Fraser, who serves a sous-vide whole carrot on a bun at his hot dog stand at the Original Farmers Market, is bringing his dogs and carrots downtown.

Fraser will open a location of Fritzi Dog at Vibiana, just a stone's throw from his other restaurant, Redbird, on Monday. 

He'll be serving hot dogs Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can expect the full Fritzi Dog menu, along with a new dog called the Smoky Snappy. It's a beef and pork dog with snap, and a little smoke. 

And if you're into the idea of carrot dogs, you can order them topped with crispy Brussels sprouts, warm sauerkraut, parsley gremolata, cheese and super spicy mustard — not all on the same dog. Although if you really want to, go right ahead. 

If you buy any dog and drink, an order of tots or fries is free. 

I have a thing for danger dogs and I don't care who knows. Follow me on Twitter @Jenn_Harris_

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Counter Intelligence: Batter up! 15 hot dogs that are out of the park, and a naan starter
Weekend project: Homemade pretzels for National Pretzel Day

National Pretzel Day is this Sunday. And how are you celebrating?

There's nothing like a really great pretzel. Freshly puffed and temptingly aromatic, they're the ones with the deep brown sheen that -- if you're lucky -- you get still warm, the large specks of salt catching the light just so as they're slid out of the oven.

Chance upon a good bakery at the right time, and you might be able to snag one. But homemade? Until recently, I simply didn't think it was possible. But I couldn't shake the thought of trying. It took a little trial and error, but I've found the process is surprisingly easy (well, except for twisting them in the air -- like flipping pizza dough, that takes practice).

Did I mention fun? It really is fun -- and, best of all, nothing beats the flavor of a homemade pretzel fresh out of the oven.

I did a story on homemade pretzels, including a bunch of recipes and tips:

Pretzels 101

Recipe: Soft pretzels

Recipe: Hard pretzels

Recipe: Pretzel rolls

Pretzel toppings from salt...

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Easy dinner recipes: Three great chicken stew ideas

There are times when nothing beats the simplicity of a one-dish meal. Check out these chicken stew ideas:

Tuscan chicken stew: Chicken thighs are braised with white beans in a light tomato sauce, the stew finished with fresh spinach and lots of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Best of all? The whole meal comes together in about an hour.

Pollo al Colmao: Cuban institution El Colmao credits this recipe to "old grandpa Eduardo Sousa." The specialty features tender, slow-cooked chicken stewed in a Creole-style tomato sauce dotted with green olives and peas and spiced with chile powder.

Massaman curry with chicken: Bright, fresh and mildly spicy, Cholada Thai's homemade Massaman curry paste marries perfectly with sweet coconut milk in this rich, slow-simmered chicken stew, which -- assuming you already have the curry paste on hand -- comes together in about an hour. You can find the recipe below.

MASSAMAN CURRY WITH CHICKEN

Total time: 1 hour | Serves 4

Note: Adapted from Cholada Thai Cuisine in...

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