Counter Intelligence: Batter up! 15 hot dogs that are out of the park, and a naan starter

Amy Scattergood / Los Angeles Times


The restaurant column is taking this Saturday off — I'm busy vaporizing my liver in preparation for the cocktail issue, of which there's more later. (If you're looking for clues, I will concede that the absurdly fragrant spritz from the Normandie Room is an absolute miracle of nature.) But if you're looking for other restaurant news to chew on, Jo Stougaard discusses 15 Los Angeles hot dogs, ranging from the grass-fed wieners at Let's Be Frank to the classic chili dog at East L.A.'s beloved Chroni's. And Food Editor Amy Scattergood reports on the new family-friendly Italian place Jon & Vinny's from the guys behind Animal. I find a place serving naan tacos, and Jenn Harris contemplates the merger of Blue Bottle and Tartine, which means that we all may have frangipane croissants in our future. See you next week!

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

Naan tacos and the Chipotlization of the world

Jonathan may be drinking a lot this week, but he's still eating out. Thus to California Chutney in Pasadena, a new Indian spot that uses the Steve Ells approach — with Indian food. You pick your naan and the folks behind the counter make what are essentially tacos with it, filling the flatbread with chicken tikka, tandoori shrimp and a wealth of chutneys. Is it Mayura? Of course not, but it is a lot faster. 

Jo Stougaard / For The Times

15 classic L.A. hot dogs

Springtime in Los Angeles means that there is Dodgers baseball — to make us all even hungrier than usual for an old-fashioned hot dog. We find 15 of the best, or the most classic. From Art's Chili Dog Stand, which has been open since 1939, to Belcampo Meat Co., which opened last year in Grand Central Market, you can find a dog for you or track down over a dozen while you listen to a game on the radio. 

Amy Scattergood / Los Angeles Times

The Animal guys begin pizza delivery

Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo have been pretty busy since they opened Animal in 2008. They've opened a few restaurants and had a few kids between them, and now comes their latest project — a pasta and pizza joint. Jon & Vinny's has coloring paper for kids, a wine room for grown-ups and is open seven days a week — with pizza delivery. 

Chad Robertson

Tartine is coming to L.A.

For all of us who make the pilgrimage to San Francisco to stand in line at Tartine bakery, great news. Chad Robertson will be opening a bakery in downtown L.A later this year, next to Blue Bottle Coffee. Why there? Because Tartine and Blue Bottle are merging. More bread and coffee for us all. 

Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times

Notes from the food and drink underworld

Jenn Harris reports that cult New York City burger joing Shake Shack will open next year in West Hollywood.

Russ Parsons reports that David LeFevre (MB Post, Fishing With Dynamite) will open a new steakhouse in Manhattan Beach in May. 

John Locher / Associated Press

And two alums of both Mozza and Campanile are slated to open a pair of Spanish-themed restaurants, one in Grand Central Market, the other in the space that was home to the recently closed Short Order in the Original Farmers Market. 


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