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Counter: Italian cooking, then and now and by whom

Getting a little hungry after updating your March Madness brackets? Try some taco bracketology over at L.A. Taco, or maybe just head out to dinner. There are tacos, of course, which you should probably eat in the back of a pickup truck if you have that option. (Like cortados, tacos are best consumed as close to their source as is possible.)

This week we've also been thinking about Italian food, as it applies to new operatic restaurants and to old trattoria favorites, as well as who's cooking all that pasta on your plate in the first place. Thus Jonathan Gold reviews a new Italian restaurant in downtown, and Evan Kleiman thinks back on her long career at Angeli Caffe, and what it means to cook food that is not from your own culture.

In other news, there's the lunch scene in Los Angeles, which is almost as thriving as breakfast and brunch. We also have some stories about fried chicken and about craft chocolate, because the Mast Brothers are finally opening a shop here in L.A., also conveniently in the Arts District. Thinking about relocating? You could do worse than head to that part of town, which has an extraordinary number of excellent restaurants, coffee and tea shops, and now fancy chocolate too. Somebody get the city planners some farinata.

Amy Scattergood

Risotto next to a gun club

This week, Jonathan considers Officine Brera, the newish restaurant in the Arts District from the folks who brought you Factory Kitchen. It's a giant lofty space with restaurant veterans (Angelo Auriana, whom you may remember from Valentino) serving excellent Italian food next to a gun club. To quote Jonathan: It's "the grand, serious Italian restaurant Los Angeles has been yearning for."

Not your grandmother's cooking?

Evan Kleiman, longtime host of KCRW's "Good Food," whose Angeli Caffe was an institution in this town for 27 years, talks about what it means to choose to cook the food of a culture that is not the one you were born into. For Kleiman, this was Italian food, a cuisine she fell in love with as a teenager in Silver Lake. Who gets to cook what's on your plate is hardly a new topic, but it's one that's gotten a lot of traction these days — rightfully so, given issues of authenticity and cultural appropriation, not to mention excellent pasta and khao soi.

Craft chocolate alert

What to do before you head to Officine Brera (or Bestia) for dinner? Get some chocolate. Because the Mast Brothers are opening their highly anticipated chocolate shop in the Arts District. And if you're still worried that the Brooklyn-based bean-to-bar chocolate makers aren't in fact making their own chocolate, they have lots of evidence that they do at their new chocolate factory.

New restaurants open for lunch

Because you deserve better than eating out of a paper bag at your cubicle, Jenn Harris checks out five new restaurants that are open for lunch. Sure, you can still get Subway, but you can also get French food, Korean barbecue and not a few other pretty spectacular meals at newish restaurants you may want to check out anyway.

Pairing beer with fried chicken

So you're the kind of person who spends way too much time at Tokyo Fried Chicken or Hot n Sweet in the San Gabriel Valley, or Willie Jane's in Venice, eating, well, lots of excellent chicken. So what craft beer to pair with all that fried chicken? Our beer writer John Verive answers the question — just in time for all those basketball games on television.

Your "City of Gold" reminder: It's playing. Maybe go see it. Maybe don't go hungry, which brings us to...

Jonathan Gold's 101

Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants, the authoritative annual guide to local dining, is online for subscribers.

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