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Counter Intelligence: Cadet, for your post-Easter rabbit hunt

Cheryl A. Guerrero / Los Angeles Times

GGood morning!

The roses are bright, the hollyhocks tall and the gentle purples of wisteria have already shaded into vivid jacaranda violet. Which is to say we're firmly into Los Angeles spring, when everything is still vivid green. Could this mean it's time for the delicate rabbit boulettes at the gastropub Cadet in Santa Monica, where Kris Tominaga is trying to reinvent cocktail party cuisine? Indeed it might, along with his braised favas with fresh ricotta, his ember-roasted carrots and a sprightly French 76 from the bar. Also, we drop in on the new Ostrich Farm to talk about pork ossobuco, visit Knuckle and Claw for a taste of lobster, and the estimable S. Irene Virbila picks up wine for a fancy dinner party at Costco. Did she also secretly pick up a Costco hot dog? I'm betting not, although it might have been interesting to assess the sympathetic resonances between sweet pickle relish and a D.O.C. Duoro red.

And be on the lookout for Wednesday's In the Kitchen newsletter, with cooking tips and news, including new recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen.

Jonathan Gold


Rabbit meatballs in Santa Monica

This week, Jonathan Gold reviews Cadet, the newish restaurant in Santa Monica where you'll now find chef Kris Tominaga. You may remember him from his time at the Hart and the Hunter in the Palihotel, or, more accurately, you may remember the biscuits from that restaurant, which were among the very best in town. Cadet has everything you'd expect these days: exposed brick, wood grill, playlist, good cocktails. What it also has is rabbit meatballs, more traditionally known as boulettes.

Betty Hallock / Los Angeles Times

No ostrich at Ostrich Farm

Ostrich Farm, a neighborhood restaurant in a former pupuseria, recently opened in Echo Park. And no, they don't serve ostrich on the menu. (The place is named after a long-gone railway that traveled the nearby hills and ravines to Griffith Park.) Instead there's a pork "ossobucco," chicken liver on toast, Brussels sprouts with pancetta and a noteworthy grilled Caesar salad. 

Louise Yang / Los Angeles Times

A new place for lobster rolls in Silver Lake

We also check out Knuckle & Claw, which opened last month. It's a seafood shack in Silver Lake that began life as a farmers market booth, then a Kickstarter campaign and is now a brick-and-mortar restaurant. And if you're not into lobster rolls (really?), you can always order the Dungeness crab roll. Maybe just order both. 

Tien Nguyen / Los Angeles Times

Two Guns coffee opens in DTLA

If you live or work in downtown L.A., there's now a lot more than Starbucks. Yes, there's G&B, the permanently crowded espresso bar in Grand Central Market, and Blacktop Coffee, and not a few other coffeehouses. As of this week, there's also Two Guns Espresso, one of the best specialty coffee shops in the South Bay, which is now also at a small walk-up kiosk in the plaza of the Figueroa at Wilshire building.

John Verive / Los Angeles Times

Notes from the food and drink underworld

Forgot to hit up your local wine shop before looking for skirt steak or a storage shed at Costco? Not to worry. The giant store has wine too. S. Irene Virbila checks out five wines to pick up for dinner at Costco. Just because they sell ink cartridges doesn't mean they don't have good Oregon Pinot Noirs too. 

Wine from Costco — and beer from kumquats? Yes, you can do more than put the little orange citrus in desserts. Torrance brewery Smog City has made beer from kumquats, thanks to nonprofit Food Forward, which donated the "rescued" surplus fruit to the brewery as part of a special project fundraiser.

And because you can never have enough stories about beer, one last note. Namely, we consider what to drink during Sunday night's "Game of Thrones" long-awaited return to HBO. Because you’re going to need some beer to get through what's sure to be a drama-filled bloodbath.

P.S. be on the lookout for Wednesday's In the Kitchen newsletter, with cooking tips and news, including new recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen.

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