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Counter: Izakayas and maize

It's an old adage that location can mean everything, which is kind of true, whether it's where you live or where you eat your dinner. This week, we've been thinking a lot about that as we take a look at restaurants that have opened branches in other cities, restaurants that we've road-tripped to get to, and shops and restaurants in unlikely places — in this case in a Tetris-like complex of shipping containers.

Jonathan Gold's review this week is of a restaurant that was a destination spot in Las Vegas, but now has a very different location — and clientele — here in L.A., where izakayas are a lot easier to find. Jenn Harris treks down to Baja, where she finds a restaurant that pairs its food with wine, by pairing its location with an actual winery. We also check out West Adams, where those shipping containers form a constellation around a barbecue restaurant. And we head to Costa Mesa, where chef Carlos Salgado of Taco Maria isn't changing the location of anything, except where he sources the corn for his glorious tortillas.

Amy Scattergood

A Vegas izakaya opens in West Hollywood

This week, Jonathan heads to West Hollywood, where a noted Las Vegas izakaya has opened a branch on La Cienega. On the Vegas Strip, Aburiya Raku is a destination restaurant, famous for its cheffy following as much as its foie gras rice bowls. And in this town, where the level of Japanese cuisine is far more advanced, it's apparently still where you want to be. Fried ice fish!

Carlos Salgado's corn project

Taco Maria in Costa Mesa is a fantastic restaurant, No. 2 on Jonathan's most recent 101 list. It's also where chef-owner Carlos Salgado has been experimenting with using landrace maize from Mexico in his tortillas, as well as other dishes. Gillian Ferguson reports on Salgado's mission to reclaim the tortilla, working with chef Jorge Gaviria of Masienda to bring heritage corn to Taco Maria and other restaurants.

Thinking inside the box

If you've been spending time in West Adams recently, you may have seen a brightly colored Tetris-like formation of shipping containers popping up. Inside these containers, writes Lara Rabinovitch, are vegetable stands and coffee shops centered around a barbecue restaurant. Welcome to the Shops at Adams Gateway, where 10 (and counting) containers are redefining a neighborhood shopping experience — and what city revitalization can look like.

Another reason to head to Baja

Sure, you can head to Santa Barbara or San Francisco for a good meal, but why not head south and across the border to Baja California's Guadalupe Valley, where deputy food editor Jenn Harris found Corazón de Tierra, a terrific farm-to-table Mexican restaurant next to a winery and a gorgeous six-room hotel.

More fun with banh mi

If you've grown tired of average sandwiches, you may not be eating enough banh mi. These Vietnamese baguette sandwiches are outstanding, and you can find them in Vietnamese shops and on the menus of restaurants where you might not expect them. Katherine Spiers checks out six great places in L.A. and O.C. to get banh mi, including Little Sister DTLA, Gjelina Take Away and Saigon's Bakery.

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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