Across the Table: Making Sichuan wontons and pearly meatballs is a fun way to spend an afternoon with friends. The work is convivial, and the outcome is delicious.
Critic's Choice: Sometimes a chop or a rasher just won't sate that pork craving. That's when these two restaurants and a takeout spot become the places for a pig-out.
Critic's Choice: Josie Restaurant, Patina at Disney Hall and Saddle Peak Lodge are there to indulge your hankering for elk, quail and other game.
Wine of the Week: The 2011 Valpolicella Classico Ripasso from David Sterza winery in Fumane, Italy, is wonderful everyday wine for less than $20.
Critic's Choice: Whether you fall in the freshly made camp or the dried, here are some L.A. restaurants doing right by their pastas: the Factory Kitchen, Bucato and Angelini Osteria.
Across the Table: At Bodegas Muga in Spain's Ebro river valley, Juan Muga's pairings include 2012 Muga Blanco with white asparagus, 2005 Prado Enea 'Gran Reserva' with baby lamb chops.
Across the Table: With many of the top names in Champagne produced by conglomerates, there's a rising market for grower Champagnes, which offer a different experience and mostly lower prices. They're worth seeking out.
Critic's Choice: Three Los Angeles restaurants, Bucato, Girasol and Farmshop, are good bets for brunch, which can be a lifesaver when you have houseguests.
Across the Table: The trend toward flying plates as diners engage in the 'foodie pass' at restaurants takes away the pleasure of ordering your own choice and not having to share.
Critic's Choice: Smoke is a versatile tool for the savvy chef. Three Los Angeles area restaurants that use it well: Hinoki & the Bird, Barney Greengrass and Horse Thief BBQ.
Across the Table: Although last century's fashion favored French wines, California's similar climate to Italy has some vineyard owners considering a change of grape.
Critic's Choice: For those who love fresh, sweet corn, creative dishes at Tar & Roses, Gjelina and Cliff's Edge let you savor a summer flavor.
Critic's Choice: Southern California restaurants indulge the fresh tomato mania. Three places to try are Il Grano, Marche Moderne and Lucques.
Charcuterie plates: From selection to display, expert advice on creating the perfect plate of handcrafted salami, smoked ham and more. Sample and enjoy.
Recipes that speak plainly can be a joy. Julia Child can take you step by step by step, but there's something freeing about a few sentences that assume the skill of a seasoned cook.
Covenant Wines makes kosher wines that have gotten strong reviews from Robert Parker and Wine Spectator. How did it come about? Jeff Morgan and Leslie Rudd of Rudd Vineyards put their know-how and hopes to the test.
From Evan Kleiman pie tips to Mario Batali's Italian recipes to a master cocktail course from two New York mixologists, six apps from The Times' S. Irene Virbila.
Hans Reisetbauer is known for intense, flavorful schnapps. He says it all starts with one perfect ingredient. Now he's becoming known for his Blue Gin too.
Los Angeles Times restaurant critics S. Irene Virbila and her husband find that in one calendar week they'd agreed to host six dinner parties. Here's how they got through the marathon week.
Downtown L.A. restaurant reopened in January after a $1.5 million redo with a new look, menu and chef. Highlights include the raw bar, fish 'n' chips, Dungeness crab.
A1 Cucina Italiana in Beverly Hills has assembled some of the team that once made Alto Palato special, including Danilo Terribili and Fredy Escobar. In the old Il Buco space, the Italian restaurant has a revamped menu of solid Italian food in an intimate setting with a contemporary, smart look.
Restaurant review: Ink, a new restaurant by 'Top Chef' champion Michael Voltaggio, features cutting-edge cuisine that is exciting and very much the chef's unique vision.
With the success of Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles, Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich try for a repeat in Newport Beach. The food succeeds, but the atmosphere, well...
Pizzeria il Fico: Nicola Mastronardi of Vincenti in Brentwood branches out with a location near the Beverly Center in L.A. Its ambitous menu includes pizza, antipasti and pasta dishes with a southern Italian accent.
The new Spice Table in Little Tokyo weaves the vivid flavors of Vietnamese and Singaporean cuisine into a delightful menu that gets just about everything right.
Thierry Perez's L'Epicerie Market in Culver City started uncertain of itself but has gotten reinforcements of late with the addition of Sébastien Archambault and his flavorful, casual southwest French cooking.
Chef-owner Michael J. Young's Ombra goes beyond being just another neighborhood Italian restaurant with authentic dishes, including excellent pastas, and a personable atmosphere.
Steve Samson and Zach Pollack's southern Italian restaurant Sotto could break the mold for L.A. Italian cuisine. It's strong in pizza and regional meat dishes, but the pasta and dessert offerings need some work.
Museums aren't generally known for harboring distinguished restaurants. And the original one at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art was never much more than adequate. But Ray's and Stark Bar have more ambition and are actually pulling it off.
London restaurant reviews: St. John Hotel is a carnivore's haven, with some succulent twists. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal offers playful reinterpretations of English dishes savored through the centuries. Together, they make London the world's most exciting place to eat.
Hostaria del Piccolo in Santa Monica: The décor evokes a contemporary Italian restaurant in the mountains. The food passes the exacting standards of an Italian native.
Tim Goodell's Public Kitchen & Bar in the Hollywood Roosevelt offers laid-back, classic American fare with bright flavors in an unpretentious setting with a bit of Hollywood glamour.