Nice to see you again. This week we’re doing something a little different here on Planet Food – a blowout issue devoted to the art of the American cocktail, including Jenn Harris’ bartender profiles, Amy Scattergood’s musings on ice, and my survey of the 26 essential cocktails in Los Angeles at the moment. We have not included a listicle ranking the top 10 Lyft drivers in town, although we probably could at this point, and as a public service, Amy did write about a few of her favorite mocktails.
In other news, Jo Stougaard finds a Studio City restaurant that serves tacos from a VW bus, Jenn journeys through the Krusty Burgers and Lard Lad doughnuts in Universal Studios’ new Springfield food court, and Amy finds the 90-year-old cook who used to make gumbo for Muhammad Ali.
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.
The cocktail issue
In which we consider 26 of the best cocktails in town, five particularly noteworthy bartenders, a few mocktails, the latest in cocktail ice, a not inconsiderable amount of cool bar gear — and then what to eat with all those martinis.
Homer Simpson's progressive dinner
Jenn Harris checks out Springfield, the new "Simpsons"-themed neighborhood at Universal Studios Hollywood, and imagines what Homer would have done, were he faced with all that "Simpsons" food.
Where your taco is made inside a VW bus
The newly opened Studio City restaurant Ceremony is remarkable for many reasons, not least the VW bus inside, where cooks actually make your tacos. You can also get cubanos and chocolate volcano cake, both inspired by the Jon Favreau movie "Chef."
Gumbo night, thanks to Muhammad Ali's former cook
After chef Govind Armstrong learned that one of the regulars at his Baldwin Hills restaurant Post & Beam, 90-year-old Edith Bell, cooked a terrific gumbo, he had her come in and show it to him. Then he put it on the menu every Tuesday. Bell, who once cooked for Muhammad Ali, is showing Armstrong how to make jambalaya next.
More Things in a Bowl
Josef Centeno likes to change things up at Orsa & Winston. First he put put yakitori on the menu — now he's making grain bowls. Because we can never get too many iterations of Things in a Bowl. Next up for the chef? Baco Shop, a quick service version of Baco Mercat.
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