Counter: Listen up, city slickers: 'One thing. Just one thing.'

Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times

Well, hello: My friends say that I seem happiest when I am in a restaurant that basically serves One Thing, and they may be right. When you go to Lawry’s, the Lobster or Din Tai Fung, you know what you’re going to get before you walk in the door. If you take the trouble to visit Yu Chun Chic Naeng Myun, it is because you really want a crack at the chewy cold noodles called chic naeng myun, and if you order the barbecued short ribs instead, you are just being perverse.

So you can understand why I am a very happy man. In this week's newsletter, we round up a slew of single-subject eateries. Amy Scattergood drops by the new Madcapra stall in the Grand Central Market, a counter you’re definitely going to be hearing more about. Jenn Harris finds not only a new bánh truck but also one that serves piping hot beignets, just like New Orleans' Cafe du Monde. And John Verive tells you where to drink beer and watch the Dodgers on TV, an activity that many of us — harrumph! — are still unable to pursue in our own homes.

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

Food truck banh mi

Jenn continues her visits to new and noteworthy L.A. food trucks, this week checking out Dot Saigon. The new bánh food truck is operated by partners Troy Hoang and Ellise Nguyen, and it uses Nguyen's grandmother's recipe for caramel pork. Enough said. 

Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times

A new falafel stand at Grand Central

Among the many recent openings at downtown L.A.'s vibrant Grand Central Market is a Middle Eastern stand specializing in falafel. Run by two chefs who recently relocated from Brooklyn, Madcapra serves falafel sandwiches, freshly made flatbread and beet-sumac soda across the aisle from DTLA Cheese. Amy visits for lunch, served on gorgeous marble counters.

Amy Scattergood / Los Angeles Times

Bring on the beignets (and chicory coffee)

Did you know there's a food truck that serves nothing but New Orleans-style beignets, chicory coffee and hot chocolate? It's like our own portable Cafe du Monde. Just watch your fingers: No matter how irresistible those things might seem, they are scorching hot.

Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times

Drink beer, watch the Dodgers

Beer writer John Verive checks out a number of bars that not only serve craft beer but carry also the Dodgers games on television. This is important for many reasons, not least of which being that many Angelenos still can't watch the games at home. 

John Verive / Los Angeles Times

Notes from the food and drink underworld

Ever wonder why Bloody Marys taste so good on a plane? No, you're not a lush (hopefully); researchers from Cornell University find that something about the noise up there makes certain things, including tomato juice, taste better. 

Ringo H.W. Chiu / Los Angeles Times

And if you somehow missed last week's Cocktail Issue (really?), you can still check it out online. Bottoms up.  

Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times


We’d love hear from you. Email us at